Thursday, August 12, 2010

Environmentalism’s Assumptions

A good article in the Washington Examiner looks at their underlying assumptions—and finds them wanting—something we also did in our 2006 report: The American River Parkway, Protecting its Integrity & Providing Water for the River Running Through It: A Report on the Auburn Dam Policy Environment,(pp. 19-31)

An excerpt from the Examiner article.

“For example, the base equation of modern environmentalism seems to be: Nature good - Man bad. By this logic, a tree is more beautiful than a skyscraper; a beaver dam a wonder of nature, a man-made dam an unsightly blight, etc.

“This is a false and dangerous dichotomy: Man is not separate from nature, he is a part of it. He was forged in the same evolutionary furnace as all Earth’s creatures; he is a product of the same bio-chemical forces, subject to the same physical laws and limitations.

“To accept the false premise of Man contra nature is to surrender reason and context – and thus to embark on political and economic folly. Take, for example, the environmentalists’ obsession with CO2.

“This naturally occurring compound, an amalgam of carbon and oxygen, is both necessary to, and a byproduct of, biological processes such as respiration and photosynthesis. It is also a bi-product of man’s industrial activity, and it is in this guise that environmentalists classify CO2 as the engine of Earth’s destruction in the form of “global warming.”

“Now, greenies will say that it is the amount of CO2 that man spews into the atmosphere that makes it dangerous. This is utter nonsense: Volcanoes have been pouring vast quantities of CO2 and other fluorocarbons into the atmosphere for billions of years. The Industrial Revolution, meanwhile, has resulted in significant atmospheric CO2 for less than a century.

“And yet environmentalists would have us believe that the Earth cannot handle the recent, paltry carbon production of homo sapiens. Or that humanity, having adapted countless times as our planet warmed and cooled over the millennia, would somehow be unable to cope with a slightly warmer average temperature.

“Madness, that way lies. The madness of wrecking our economy in pursuit of some fictitious, perfect global temperature.

“The BP oil spill provides another illustrative case. Oil and natural gas regularly seep into the ocean in large quantities through natural fissures in the ocean floor. According to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, for example, “there is an oil spill everyday at Coal Oil Point (COP), the natural seeps off Santa Barbara, California, where 20-25 tons of oil have leaked from the seafloor each day for the last several hundred thousand years.”