“Now that governments have signed up to the unambitious Paris climate agreement and pledged to try to limit greenhouse gas emissions, we must ask whether we have lost sight of everything else. Is the environment just about carbon and parts per million of gases in the atmosphere? What about the environment that we can smell, see and touch today?
For 20 years or more concerns about nuclear waste, food production, the quality of river water, the health of our soils and seas, the fate of our forests, the impact of road-building and many other important ecological issues have been steadily marginalised, starved of resources or pushed off the agenda by climate change.”
So the UK’s Guardian, long a bastion of climate orthodoxy, writes. To which those of us who have long bemoaned the sacrifice of the environmental agenda to the supposed exigencies of the Climate Activists, are likely to reply ‘What took you so long?’
When Bjorn Lomborg wrote that air pollution should be addressed as a higher priority than climate change, he got a pie in the face from climate activist Mark Lynas and was trashed repeatedly by another bastion of climate orthodoxy, Real Climate. Lomborg has noted for more than a decade that conventional air pollution kills millions. He has been dragged through the mud by countless climate activists eager to keep attention–and funding–focused on their pet peeve.
When I wrote that “99% of stress on environments has other causes, most man-made, and addressing global warming in a mad and expensive rush without ameliorating our other impacts is madness, like treating a woman with cancer using a facial cleanser”, climate activist and Portlandia auditioner dhogaza said “The noise from Fuller can be ignored.” That was the politest thing he wrote about me.
London converted its famous bus fleet to diesel because it emitted less CO2. Now, according to the Guardian, “In Britain, 29,000 people die a year from breathing in particles of unburned carbon and construction dust, and an estimated 23,500 more as a result of nitrogen dioxide. …Our industries and governments have known for well over a century the health effects of polluted air. Yet they have fought in Europe to be allowed to continue polluting, and people have been encouraged to switch to diesel and more polluting fuels because they emit less CO2.”
The major threats to our environment in the 1970s were identified as pollution, habitat loss, introduction of alien species and over-hunting/fishing. Those are still the major threats today. None of them have improved–most have gotten worse.
Climate activists have a lot to answer for. I speak as someone convinced that human contributions to climate change will prove significant–in about 40 years or so–and should be addressed as a real and pressing problem. However, the bandwagonning, sliming of opponents, over-hyping and overall hysteria has left the planet in a worse position than it was 40 years ago.
While we were fretting and jetting India has managed to make itself more polluted than China. We cut down tropical rainforest to plant plantations for palm oil for biofuels. We evict indigenous people from their ancestral lands to preserve forests’ CO2–and then cut the trees down anyhow. We kill millions of birds with wind turbines and blame climate change for decreases in biodiversity.
Welcome back to reality, Guardian. It took you long enough.