Sucking the Life Out of the Environmental Movement

One of the points I make in my climate lectures - global warming panic has sucked the life out of environmental concerns that matter.  Illustration - US sewage plants still making massive untreated dumps.

I know this might sound retro to some readers. But we need to finish what the early 1970s environmental pollution control laws set out to do: clean up all the sources of air and water pollution. The environmental movement has run out of steam and gotten distracted. Get back to the basics.

Agreed.  Another point I often make - we don't know how to keep growing China without creating CO2, but we do know how to grow China without making the air in cities like Beijing breathable.  Instead of talking to them about CO2 capture, what about air pollution 101 type things like ash bags and exhaust scrubbing?

And while I am on the topic, do we have to keep destroying the Amazon just to clear land to grow more plants for ethanol that in the end does nothing to abate CO2 emissions?


  1. me:

    Spot on! I was just about to leave a comment to that (the disregard for entirely more beneficial ecological improvements) being the most deleterious effect of the warming discussion. I do wonder if it's a species thing, our fetishism of the grand catastrophes...

  2. sch:

    Most of the rain forest in Brazil that is cleared is not suitable for sugarcane, but rather is used for a few years of subsistence or
    low end market farming and then switched to cattle til the soil gives out. Rain forest soils are relatively infertile without large
    inputs of fertilizer and organic materials. As to China, looks like they have two escape hatches cooked up: 1) As long as our CO2
    production lags behind our economic growth rate, we are ahead of the game and this counts as a reduction. 2) our CO2 production
    is actually a benefit to the first world, as we are producing products for the benefit of the the US and Europe (and others) so our
    CO2 production should be charged to Europe and the US.

  3. Miss Breeziness:

    Very well said, especially regarding China's economic development and pollution problems. It's pretty ironic - in the past, a car engine or factory that had only CO2 as its waste product would be considered a huge environmental breakthrough.

  4. Maddog:

    Here in Portland, Oregon we dump between 3 and 5 billion gallons of sewage in the rivers each year. That is only Portland. This makes the city the states largest polluter and of course the only consequence to the city is it must post when sewage is spilling into the rivers.

    Treat muni pollution just like corporate and the problem would be solved quite quickly.

  5. bearpaw:

    Another use for the clearcut rainforest is palm trees for palm oil or soybeans for cattle and vegetarians.And then because the rainforest is gone, it eventually becomes a desert. It's a rainforest because of the forest, which is what produces the rain. Humans can and do change the climate that way, but it tends to be locally.

  6. OBloodyhell:

    > Instead of talking to them about CO2 capture, what about air pollution 101 type things like ash bags and exhaust scrubbing?

    F*** that.

    How about designing a modular, safety-first nuke plant that we can sell around the world, and get rich while doing it?

    Then there's no reason to worry about the millions of tons of toxic sludge that scrubbers poop, or the thousands of excess deaths each year from coal mining and transportation, or the microparticulate aerosols, or any of the host of down sides to coal.

    The nuclear waste from a 3 GW plant would fit under a kitchen table.

    Hmmmm. Each year, a few cubic feet or 100 trains with 50 boxcars each, all filled with toxic sludge....



    I dunno, I can't figure out which is better. You?