Is the Global Warming Hysteria Killing Environmentalism?

Of late, I have been getting the strongest sense that the global warming hysteria is sucking all the oxygen out of the rest of the environmental movement.  Quick, what is the last environment-related article you read that didn't mention global warming?

Here is an example:  I give a lot of my charity money to groups like The Nature Conservancy, because I personally value preservation of unique areas and habitats and I don't sit around waiting for the government to do it for me.  But it has become almost impossible of late to drum up enthusiasm from contributors for such causes, unless the land can be labeled a carbon-sink or something.  In fact, the global warming hysteria has really been a disaster for private land conservation because it has caused politicians to subsidize ethanol.  This subsidy is bringing much more wild land into cultivation in this country and has been the single biggest driver for deforestation in the Amazon over the last decade. 

Or take China.  China's cities are an unhealthy mess.  But focus on global warming has led environmentalists to take the position with China they have to stop coal combustion and growth in auto-miles entirely.  This is a non-starter.  There is no WAY they are going to do this.  But it is much more achievable to start getting China focused on a Clean-Air-Act type of attack on vehicle and coal plant emissions of real pollutants like SO2.   China could be made much more healthy, as the US has done over the last 30-60 years, but instead of working with China to get healthier, the focus is on getting them to shut down their growth altogether.

The UPI published a survey of people's environmental priorities:

  1. drinking water
  2. pollution of rivers, lakes, and ecosystems
  3. smog
  4. forest preservation
  5. acid rain
  6. tropical rain forests
  7. national parks
  8. greenhouse emissions
  9. ozone layer
  10. nature around "my" home
  11. urban sprawl
  12. extinction.

I feel like #1 is overblown based on a lot of media scare stories, but most of the top 6 or 7 would all be things I would rank well above global warming fears as well.  There are still real issues to be dealt with in these areas which can have far more of a positive impact on health and quality of living than CO2 abatement, but they are being suffocated by global warming hype.


  1. Bearster:

    The idea of buying a piece of land in order to keep it non-productive is one of the most anti-mankind ideas I can think of.

  2. ElamBend:

    I have a buddy who worked at an environmental NGO for 4.5 years after law school. He is now almost completely cynical. It happened over time, but the turning point for him, I think was the Bali conference where he saw Europeans hiding their problems by blaming the US, third-world countries baldly using the idea of global warming as a lever to ask for money from richer countries and an infusion of hucksters that didn't understand the science around global warming [FWIW] but saw this as an opportunity. [the last group are clearly the power hunger leftist set]

    The ignoring of truly workable environmental problems at the alter of global warming, to me, shows that a lot of the hype and support around it has more to do with taking power and controlling things [i.e. telling all us plebes how to live] than with any true concern of the environment.

  3. ColoComment:

    I used to contribute to The Nature Conservancy because I appreciated their capitalistic approach to land conservation (plus they issue a great magazine & as a member you get those super notecards-heh). UNTIL, that is, several years ago when The Washington Post caught them with their conservation pants down & highlighted their poor governance policies relating to "friends and family" inside deals. TNC has since changed those policies [they claim], but I hold it against them that they didn't recognize (or did, but ignored) these apparent conflicts of interest until publicly embarrassed.

    "Your character and your virtue are judged by how you behave when you think no one is looking. Peekaboo." Anon.

  4. Bill Brown:

    Anti-man? How so? Untouched land can be a value to individuals and if they want to pay money to preserve that value, it's entirely up to them.

    I have a backyard that is fairly unproductive in that there is no wheat growing there, no oil rig or other subsurface drilling, and there is no machine shop maximizing profits. Am I being anti-man? Why does it become anti-man if a group of individuals pool their money to pay for what they regard as a more valuable use of a piece of land?

  5. mbabbitt:

    I don't know about you, but I have turned already anti-environmental in attitude. This Green everywhere crap makes me sick.

  6. Kathy:

    Rabid environmentalists have already been the cause of millions of deaths due to the ban on DDT. They simply won't be happy until they get rid of mankind and have a beautiful pristine planet. Course, they won't be around to enjoy it will they?