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Common Sense Environmentalism

The environmentalist left constantly warns us about how global warming will destroy our planet. Water levels will rise and drown all land. Desertification will cause millions of poor people to starve to death. The Gulf Stream will change course so that Europe will become a cold and barren continent. Human life is in danger of an unimaginable disaster if we do not dismantle the industrial world and join hands in a global socialist farming economy. This doomsday message is thought to our children in their schools as well as preached to the worlds governments. But does it really make sense?
 
Common sense teaches us not to listen to environmentalists. For almost a hundred years we have been warned that the earth’s natural resources are going to be depleted in a few years. Not a single resource has been depleted, due to market mechanisms. During the 1960s and the 1970s environmentalists told us that billions would soon die due to overpopulation. They were wrong. During the 1970s and 1980s we were told that the Sahara desert was expanding due to human activity. It was found that this was part of a natural historical cycle.
 
During the 1980s and the 1990s, we were warned that people would die due to lack of oxygen since the rainforests were cut down. There was no science behind this statement. During the same period we were told that up to 50% of the species on the Earth would die out in one or two decades. According to the UN only approximately 0.7% of the planets species died out between 1980-2000. Nobody has been so wrong, so often, as the environmentalist movement. At least not if you don’t count Jehovah’s Witnesses.
 
In fact the environmentalists have a lot in common with Jehovah’s Witnesses. They keep telling us that if we don’t do as they say, the world is going to end in a few years. When proven wrong they come up with a new doomsday theory. The difference is that Jehovah’s Witnesses base their beliefs on the Christian faith, while the environmentalist ideology has its roots among the political left. Indeed, it is not a coincidence that environmentalism grew strong as an ideology at the same time as the Soviet Union and other communist countries fell.
 
As their ideal society was proven to be an impoverished dictatorship that murdered millions of innocents and held slave labour camps, socialist intellectuals simply created new ideologies. Postmodernism, the new left, left wing feminism and environmentalism all had their roots in left-wingers seeking new arguments to expand the power of government. An important driving power behind environmentalist ideology has always been hatred towards capitalism, western culture and the United States.
 
But is there nothing to the global warming theory? Indeed, the Earths temperature has been rising the past years. But this is most likely due to natural phenomenon. A thousand years ago our planet was 2 degrees warmer than it is today. When the Vikings found Greenland it was indeed a green island. Due to natural cycles, the global temperature started to decline and between about 1560 and 1850 the earth went through what is called the “small ice age”. Since then the temperature has been rising towards a more moderate degree. The majority of the temperature increase that occurred during the 20th century in fact occurred during the first half, before the release of greenhouse gases had reached high levels.
 
Global warming is most likely not caused by human activities. More importantly, global warming would not be a disaster. Even if the Earths temperature would go up 1-2 degrees, water levels would only raise a couple of inches. Mass scale desertification is not very likely. If a place was not a desert a thousand years ago, why would it become one if the temperature goes back to that previous level? The Gulf Stream seems to have been intact for many thousands of years. It is unlikely that it would be so sensitive to temperature changes in the range of a couple of degrees. Besides, the effect that transfer of heat from the Americas to Northern Europe is by about 80% due to winds and not the Gulf Stream.
 
These alarming theories are popular simply because they are alarming. When the Christians went to Scandinavia they told the Vikings that hell was a very hot place. This wasn’t very scary for residents of the cold Scandinavian countries, so the message was soon changed to saying that hell was a cold place, which proved a much more effective argument. It is by the same logics that environmentalists have envisioned a world where small changes in the earths temperature would lead to a frozen Europe, a decertified Africa and a drowned Asia; intimidate people by telling them that the worst possible situation will happen.
 
Common sense tells us that global warming most likely will be beneficial to most places on the earth, since the land masses in the world that are too cold are larger than those which are too warm. Either way, the difference will only be slight. Measures such as the Kyoto protocol are meaningless. This treaty will cost huge sums of money and create a global world order, but do little to stop the emission of greenhouse gases. The environmentalists envision many more treaties. Their goal is to abandon capitalism and industrialism and create a global socialist farmers society. Given the facts and the history of the environmentalist movement, does it really make sense to follow their advice?

Written By

Mr. Sanandaji is the president of the Swedish think tank Captus and the editor of Captus Journal. He is admitted to graduate studies in biochemistry at Cambridge and is the author of an environmentalist research paper.

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