Our View: Green utopians trying again
Real life is foiling climate alarmists' schemes to transform the world into a green Utopia. About 130 world leaders will gather in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this week to establish more rules, regulations and transfers of wealth, ostensibly to eradicate poverty and protect the environment.
This is yet another U.N. attempt to advance its war against what first was demonized as "global warming," then "climate change" — when temperatures flattened out. The movement now frames its mission as "sustainable development."
Make no mistake, what they hope to sustain is the same tired attempt to move mountains of wealth from nations that create it to nations that don't, along the way enriching government budgets and lining pockets of facilitators, opportunists and cronies. Think Solyndra.
Changing the real world into an imaginary green holy land has run up against reality. Europe is in economic crisis. Emerging economies in China, Brazil, India and Russia grow more resistant to underwriting costs that would retard their economies.
The conference is a misguided movement directed at an inappropriate demon. If climate zealots got their way, they would retard living conditions, not improve them.
Bjorn Lomborg, whose Copenhagen Consensus Center seeks environmental solutions, says, "The summit is striking at the wrong target, neglecting the much greater environmental concerns of the vast majority of the world. Global warming is by no means our main environmental threat."
Lomborg, who believes global temperatures have increased somewhat and mankind is partly responsible, writes: "Even if we assumed unreasonably that it caused all deaths from floods, droughts, heat waves and storms, this total would amount to just 0.06 percent of all deaths in developing countries." Thirteen percent of Third World deaths result from water and air pollution.
"For each person who might die from global warming, about 210 people die from health problems that result from a lack of clean water and sanitation, from breathing smoke generated by burning dirty fuels, such a dried animal dung, indoors and from breathing polluted air outdoors."
Costly, subsidized "green energy" is less effective and less reliable. But rather than promote cheap conventional energy to bring modern life's comforts and health, poor countries are told to resort to green solutions such as organic farming.
"Unfortunately, Africa is almost entirely organic now, leading to low yields, hunger and deforestation," Lomborg writes. "A disconnected global elite is flying to Rio to tell the world's poor to have a solar panel."
Misguided environmental idealism fed by profiteering opportunists probably will stumble again this week in Rio because of the persistent self-interest of nations unwilling to foot the bill. Poor nations should breathe a sigh of relief that U.N.'s idea of help isn't on its way.