PS: CAGW means : Catastrophic, anthropic, global warming
Once upon a time environmentalism was cute, popular in its own way, but too austere for most people. Still, far more US citizens identified as environmentalists 30 years ago than today. It has more influence today but is less popular with people. Why is that? Environmentalist campaigns of yesteryear were intellectually popular: saving whales, polar bears, seal pups, gorillas. Getting back to nature (if only in theory). Jill public can identify with that. It appeared to cost us nothing to support such environmentalism.
Today environmentalism has never been more influential in the corridors of power. At the same time, less people will identify themselves as environmentalist supporters. How did that happen? Environmentalism discovered two complementary arguments: man-made global warming and sustainability. The devil and our promised land. Environmentalists sold themselves out to these two strategies. Literally. Man-made global warming (CAGW) is the 21st century bogey man. The devil to fear which will wipe species out, destroy lives, ..., blah blah, you've read the disaster scenarios. The important points are: man-made global warming can not be questioned, it will be catastrophic unless ...
This strategy aimed to take control of global energy by dictating only non-Carbon dioxide emitting technologies are allowed. First it had to capture politician's minds which it does by moral blackmail. Which brings us to the second modern environmentalist strategy: sustainability. Sustainability is the promised land to deliver humanity from evil CAGW. We are told to cover the actual environment with solar panels, wind mills and all sorts to low power density machines (solar, wind, wave, tidal, hydro, geothermal, biomass, biofuel) to harvest minimal energy from the environment. The collateral cost will be destruction of much of the environment that the modern environmental movement was founded to protect. All that while 'sustaining' us with a thin gruel of energy for a barely modern lifestyle. Count me out please.
Even rebel deep greens who opposed the new sustainability have a hard time explaining how it came about:
- Sustainability is destroying the Earth,
- Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist, by Paul Kingsnorth,
- Why I stopped believing in environmentalism and started the Dark Mountain Project, by Paul Kingsnorth
I think the best explanation is "follow the money". The modern environmentalist movement is funded by many billion and multi-million dollar foundations. E.g. Rockefeller, Ford, Hewlett and Packard derived, Intel derived. Funds have been flowing into environmental activism since, at least, the 1970s. Since the Club of Rome, 1968. They fund pro-sustainability environmentalist groups. The CAGW/sustainability argument is intellectually compelling for many left, liberals, and conservatives. It has that simple harmony to it, the harmony our minds crave: black and white, good versus evil.
The twin arguments of CAGW/sustainability will impose huge economic and developmental taxes upon humanity. Taxes in more than just a financial sense. This is why many real progressives oppose modern environmentalism. Why conservatives despise it. Why Jill Public is far less at ease with it than she once was. Modern environmentalism is also a vote killer. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas. We are the turkeys who are being blackmailed into poverty by the twin arguments of CAGW/sustainability.
Recent opposition to the Green status quo also comes from environmentally minded people. It doesn't oppose sustainability. It simply adds nuclear power to sustainable energy technologies, and distances itself ethically and philosophically. This Ecomodernism describes itself in opposition to current environmentalism (both mainstream and rebel). Ecomodernists accuse environmentalist ideas of being in thrall to 'harmony with nature'. The ecomodernist alternative is to understand humanity as in nature but also outside. Read the manifesto in this link.
Eco-modernists also see nuclear power as sustainable energy. It is not. Nuclear power is entirely different in quality to so-called sustainable energies. Traditional sustainable energies have low energy densities, and are intermittent. At the mercy of seasons, weather, tides, and time of day. This is why they can never economically sustain the lifestyles we need. Nuclear power has the highest possible energy density and is the most independent of seasons and weather. In this way, nuclear power and sustainable technologies are entirely different in quality. This ploy works for ecomodernists. Yet it means ecomodernists accept the basic premise of sustainability, and with that, the notion that traditional renewable energies are good (despite obliterating the environment).
I'm happy to support nuclear power as
- the most environmentally friendly,
- least polluting,
- reliable electricity,
- which can cost-effectively
- mitigate energy security issues.
My pro-nuclear arguments are much like those of 1960s Sierra Club enviros such as Ansel Adams, environmentalism before the Club of Rome!