You often hear that in many college classrooms, legislative office buildings, and even church sanctuaries across America, many insist that preventing climate change is a moral imperative.
Unfortunately, you rarely hear that 18,000 scientists have gone on record to say they see no scientific evidence that humans are altering our climate. Nor do you learn that today’s computer models are too primitive to predict next winter’s climate – much less the climate for 2025 or 2050.
You’re rarely told that satellites have found almost no warming over the past 20 years, or that ground temperature gauges are so contaminated by urban and airport heat that they are worthless. Few people mention that the Kyoto Protocol will cost the U.S. and European economies several hundred billion dollars a year – while preventing a global temperature rise of only 0.1 degrees – or that major emitters like Brazil, China and India are exempted from the treaty.
Even worse, virtually no one breathes a word about the devastating impacts a global warming treaty will have on the world’s poorest citizens – ironically in the name of “saving the planet.”
Two billion people in Africa, Asia and Latin America still do not have electricity, and must burn cow dung or wood for cooking and heating. Four million infants, children and mothers die every year from lung infections caused by breathing toxic smoke. Millions more succumb to diseases caused by tainted water and spoiled food – simply because there is no electricity to purify water or refrigerate food. Their families can only dream of a better future, because without abundant, affordable electricity there is no hope or opportunity.
Ignoring these terrible realities, leading environmental “ethicists” like Gar Smith suggest, “If there is going to be electricity, I’d like it to be decentralized, small and solar-powered.” Actor Ed Begley, Jr. insists, “Everybody in Africa should have electricity where they need it – on their huts.” And even the Citigroup corporation says it will no longer fund hydroelectric or fossil fuel projects – the only kind that can provide enough electricity to free the Earth’s destitute people from poverty, misery and premature death.
Their position is ethically and socially irresponsible. As Kenya’s James Shikwati and India’s Barun Mitra, as well as numerous other spokesmen from the developing world, have long been stating, denying electricity to poor people is “lethal eco-imperialism” – the height of immorality.
“We must put humanity back into the environmental debate,” says Niger Innis, national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality. “We all want to protect our planet. But we must stop trying to protect it from illusory threats – and doing it on the backs, and the graves, of the world’s most powerless and impoverished people.”
Many pride themselves as supporters of robust debate, and ethical and humanitarian principles. Here’s a superb chance for them to prove it.