Opinion: Daily Journal

Exposing Enviro-Extremism

RALEIGH – As North Carolina and the rest of the country braces for a major blast of winter weather – where’s global warming when you really need it? – now might be a good time to read up on the claims of environmental extremists and how the policies they advocates can harm human health and safety.

The first case is discussed at great length in the cover story of this month’s American Spectator magazine. The article, by journalist William Tucker, concerns the widespread scares about DDTs and PCBs that, some decades ago, help to create the modern environmental movement. Think Rachel Carlson, upstate New York, and malaria. You have to read this excellent piece, located here.

Another set of stories about environmental bunkum and reality is contained in a controversial new book by a Danish enviro named Bjorn Lomborg. The Skeptical Environmentalist is selling well despite attempts by the wackos to write Lomborg out of the environmental movement, largely because he subjects all claims to scientific scrutiny. If the truth be told, radical environmentalists have a religious mindset, not a scientific one. Theirs is a faith resistant to argument or evidence, not the result of a process of searching for the truth.

A good summary of Lomborg’s conclusions, discussed with care and fairness, can be found in the March issue of The American Enterprise, published by AEI in Washington. The article in question is not online, but this might be a good opportunity to pick up a copy of the magazine at your local bookstore. Two delicious points are contained in graphs. One shows that malnutrition and unsafe water are far greater threats to human life worldwide than air pollution (so regulatory efforts that damage a society’s ability to feed people and treat their water aren’t likely worth the cost). Another shows that environmental regulations are far more costly, per life saved, than other governmental interventions to promote health and safety.

Good stuff all around. And, of course, I’m not arguing for accepting the anti-extremists arguments at face value, either. Serious citizens of a republic read for themselves and draw their own conclusions, rather than soaking up notions about the environment from the nightly news and Hollywood.