The Failure of the Environmentalist Lobby

argaret Wende has an excellent article in The Globe and Mail that describes the failure of the environmentalist lobby. She first lambasts environmentalists, politicians and journalists who had such high hopes for the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen earlier this year.

The only surprise was that this outcome should have come as a surprise to so many intelligent people. These people actually seemed to believe that experts and politicians have supernatural powers to predict the future and control the climate. They believed that experts know how fast temperatures will rise by when, and what the consequences will be, and that we know what to do about it. They believed that despite the recent abject failure of Kyoto (to say nothing of other well-intentioned international treaties), the nations of the world would willingly join hands and sacrifice their sovereignty in order to sign on to a vast scheme of unimaginable scope, untold cost and certain damage to their own interests.

“Copenhagen was not a political breakdown,” according to Wende. “It was an intellectual breakdown so astonishing that future generations will marvel at our blind credulity.” Fortunately, she adds, nobody will pay much attention to the climate conference in Cancun next week.

The delusional dream of global action to combat climate change is dead. Barack Obama’s cap-and-trade scheme is dead. Chicago’s carbon-trading market is dead. The European Union’s supposed reduction in carbon emissions has been exposed as a giant fraud.

The environmentalist lobby — “No interest group in modern times has been so free from skepticism, scrutiny or simple accountability as the environmental establishment,” according to Wende — hasn’t given up entirely. It shouldn’t, she believes. Rather people who care about the planet should turn to more pressing, real problems, as the fate of many animals, including lions and tigers, who see humans encroaching upon their habitats. “Their problem isn’t climate change,” she writes. “It’s us.”

Before they were sucked into the giant vortex of global warming, environmentalists did useful things. They protested against massive Third World dams that would ruin both natural and human habitats. They warned about invasive species and diseases that could tear through our forests and wreck our water systems. They fought for national parks and greenbelts and protected areas. They talked about the big things too – such as how the world could feed another three billion people without destroying all the rain forests and running out of water. They believed in conservation – conserving this beautiful planet of ours from the worst of human despoliation – rather than false claims to scientific certainty about the future, unenforceable treaties and radical utopian social reform.