What Deserves Protesting

An excerpt of an interview posted on Warren Myer’s climate site deserves a bump in the wake of the big protest movement that swept Toronto this weekend. I sympathize with this argument even if it understates potential problems with CO2, if the main point is that we need to acknowledge other priorities.

Don’t we have a duty to protect or planet for future generations?(i.e. save it from deforestation, pollution etc)

Sure, but as I stated above, we have all kinds of duties to future generations, and not all of them have to do with the environment. But I would argue that the current obsession with small changes to trace levels of CO2 in the atmosphere has in fact gutted the environmental movement. Nothing else is getting done. Take deforestation. My personal interest is in protecting wilderness, and my charity of choice is land trusts that preserve the Amazon. But do you know the #1 cause of deforestation in the Amazon over the last decade? It was the Brazilian ethanol program, which is supposed to be fighting CO2, but now has been shown to do little or nothing for CO2 and it is incentivizing farmers to clear the Amazon to plant more switchgrass and other ethanol crops. Ditto in the US, where ethanol programs are raising food prices and adding to deforestationI would argue that CO2 is not even in the top 10 worst environmental problems in the world. Take clean water in Africa, which I do consider a top 10 problem. The only way Africans are going to get clean water is from using cheap energy to pump and treat water, cheap energy whose only really realistic source is from fossil fuels.

I actually prefer his other site Coyote Blog but both are worth subscribing to.

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