Too many environmentalists are actually nuts
There’s an old joke that environmentalists are “watermelons” since they’re green on the outside and red on the inside. The real problem is that too many of them are actually nuts, especially on climate issues
I believe that protecting the environment is both a good thing and a legitimate function of government. But I’m rational. So while I want limits on pollution, such policies should be determined by cost-benefit analysis.
Banning automobiles doubtlessly would reduce pollution, for instance, but the economic cost would be catastrophic.
On the other hand, it’s good to limit carcinogens from being dumped in the air and water. So long as there’s some unbiased science showing net benefits. But while I’m pro-environment, I’m anti-environmentalist. Simply stated, too many of these people are nuts.
Then there’s the super-nutty category.
But since I’m an economist, what really worries me is that these people are statists. There’s an old joke that environmentalists are “watermelons” since they’re green on the outside and red on the inside.
But maybe it’s not really a joke. At least not in all cases. Check out this video from Reason, filmed at the so-called climate march in New York City.
Just in case you think the folks at Reason deliberately sought out a few crazy people in an otherwise rational crowd, let’s now look at the views of Naomi Klein, who is ostensibly a big thinker for the left on environmental issues.
Slate published an interview with her and you can judge for yourself whether her views are sensible. Here’s some of what Slate said about her.
"According to social activist and perennial agitator Naomi Klein, the really inconvenient truth about climate change is that it’s not about carbon—it’s about capitalism. …she’s turned her argument into a hefty book… This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate is focused on exposing how the relentless pursuit of growth has locked us in to a system that’s incompatible with a stable climate. …"
And here’s some of what Ms. Klein said.
"The post-carbon economy we can build will have to be better designed. …not only does climate action mean a healthy community—it’s also the best chance at tacking inequality. …The divestment movement is a start at challenging the excesses of capitalism. It’s working to delegitimize fossil fuels, and showing that they’re just as unethical as profits from the tobacco industry. …profits are not legitimate in an era of climate change."
By the way, I’d bet Naomi Klein has a far bigger “carbon footprint” than the average person.
And I can say with great certainty that other leftists are huge hypocrites on the issue. Check out the vapid actor who did some moral preening at the climate-change march.
Shifting back to policy issues, even “mainstream” environmental initiatives are often very misguided. Here are a few examples.
The bottom line is that we presumably have some environmental challenges. For instance, it’s quite possible that there is some global warming caused by mankind.
Daniel J. Mitchell, a long standing contributor to The Commentator, is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, the free-market, Washington D.C. think tank. His articles are cross-posted on his blog by agreement
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