Monday, October 13, 2008

The Bright Side of the Financial Crisis

The BBC laments that the fight, such as it is, against climate change is going to be a casualty of the global financial problems:

The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study.

It puts the annual cost of forest loss at between $2 trillion and $5 trillion.
The figure comes from adding the value of the various services that forests perform, such as providing clean water and absorbing carbon dioxide.

Good thing, too. Here are some recent items from what climate-change hysterics think we as a species have to give up, under the iron fist of as many scientist totalitarians as it takes, to save the planet:

We have to give up much of modern medicine:

Dr. Richard Nicholson, editor of the Bulletin of Medical Ethics, told the assembled bioethicists they had to look beyond their usual issues to consider the far larger ecological threat he said could soon end up destroying mankind.

The issue is urgent for bioethicists, he said, because the healthcare industry in the rich OECD countries is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions. It also spends vast amounts to prolong patients’ lives, about half of it in the final months before death. “The more effort we put into saving individual lives, the more likely we are to doom the human race to extinction,” he said.

“Just being a little bit more green isn’t the answer,” he insisted. Rich countries will have to find ways to cut their carbon emissions almost completely within the next few years. His outlook for the healthcare industry was summarised in a bleak PowerPoint slide:

Possible changes in medicine
• close most hospitals and concentrate on good-quality primary care
• reverse the brain drain and send redundant health workers to developing countries
• outlaw assisted reproduction
• stop medical research undertaken for utopian or financial reasons.

If western countries closed all their hospitals, he said, life expectancy there would drop by only eight months.

“What is more important,” he asked, “maintaining our wealth and economies for 20-30 years until climate change wipes them out, or trying to ensure that as much as possible of the human race survives?”

(Emphasis in original.) All medical research is conducted for financial reasons (or at least self-interest) of one sort or another, but leave that aside. Air travel too will be a foregone luxury we wistfully tell our grandchildren about:

The study concludes: "The notion that we can treat what we do in the home differently from what we do on holiday denies the existence of clearly related and complex lifestyle choices and practices. Yet even a focus on lifestyle groups who may be most likely to change their views will require both time and political will. The addiction to cheap flights and holidays will be very difficult to break."

(The study was led by Stewart Barr, who found that environmental hysterics were the most likely to take long-distance flights, with one cited, delusionally, saying he could offset his in-the-air carbon emissions by recycling. Climate sacrifice for thee and not for me.)

Finally, here is climate-change hysteria in a nutshell:

"It is time for civil society and environmental organisations to take the world," Pavan Sukhdev, an Indian economist and co-author of 'The Economics of Ecosystems and Sustainability' told IPS.

What if “the world,” or more accurately the free men and women who make it up, the Third Worlders hoping for something better for their children than cholera, malaria and being at the utter mercy of beloved "nature," the hard-charging entrepreneurs who want to use some CO2 to improve human possibilities, the adventurous young people who want to get in a car or plane and try live in a different place, don’t wish to be taken? Ultimately, hard green is about control over you and yours, and that is what makes it so dangerous. Despite the “losses” referenced in the BBC story, people somehow manage to get up in the morning, go to work, live ever-more autonomous lives, pass on a better standard of living to their children, and otherwise make the doomsdayers look silly. This – civilization and what it has meant for humanity – is what is at risk from modern environmentalism.



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