Sunday, November 21, 2004

Eco-Imperialism and Energy

The following is a excerpt from Paul Driessen's statement before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources on the subject of science, Eco-Imperialism and public policy on February 4, 2004:

Electricity. Two billion people in Africa, Asia and Latin America still do not have electricity – and must live without lights, refrigeration, hospitals, sanitation, safe water, or the hope of economic growth and better lives. Millions of mothers and daughters spend their days gathering wood or cow dung – and
breathing polluted smoke from cooking and heating fires that leave brown clouds over their villages.

Four million infants, children and mothers die every year from lung infections – millions more from dysentery and other diseases caused by tainted water and spoiled food. Wildlife habitats slowly disappear, as people cut down trees, because they don’t have electricity or other sources of income. And progress and economic development remain no more than dreams or mirages – because without energy and mineral production, there can be no wealth generation, no new investment in these destitute nations, no hope or opportunity for their impoverished people.

How can this happen? It is due in large part to strident opposition to hydroelectric, fossil fuel and nuclear energy projects by wealthy, powerful First World environmental pressure groups that insist that developing countries must rely on wind and solar power, or go without electricity. This is Eco-
Imperialism – and it’s harmful to people and their environment.

Paul Driessen is the author of "Eco-Imperialism -- Green Power. Black Death."

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Making the Desert Bloom

In an Op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal Europe, Gregory Conko and Henry I Miller inform us of the amazing potential of recent advances in ag biotech, especially to the poor of the world, and the danger posed by excessive governmental regulation of this world-changing technology.

Here are some excerpts:

Researchers at Cairo's Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute have shown that by transferring a single gene from barley to wheat, the plants can tolerate less watering for a longer period of time before their leaves wilt. This new, drought-resistant variety requires only one-eighth as much irrigation as conventional wheat, and actually can be cultivated with rainfall alone in some desert areas. It could literally make the desert bloom.

Aside from new varieties that use less water, the pest- and disease-resistant GM crops that are widely cultivated by North American farmers indirectly make water use more efficient. Much of the loss to insects and diseases occurs after the plants are fully grown—that is, after most of the water required to grow a crop has already been applied. Therefore, using GM varieties that experience lower post-harvest losses means that the farming (and irrigation) of fewer plants can produce the same total amount of food. Merely by planting some of the insect-resistant GM varieties now grown in America, African subsistence farmers could control the stem-boring insects that destroy as much as half their corn and cotton crops. In other words, more consumable crop for the drop.

Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have enhanced salt tolerance in crops as diverse as tomatoes and canola. The transformed plants are so tolerant to salt that they not only grow in salty soil, but also can be irrigated with brackish water. Eventually, it will be possible to transfer these traits to many other important crop varieties.

There is an impediment to this rosy scenario, however. Unscientific, overly burdensome regulation in the U.S., and by agencies of the United Nations and the European Union, has raised significantly the cost of producing new plant varieties and kept most crops from ever reaching the market.

This flawed public policy—which flies in the face of scientific consensus that GM is essentially a refinement of earlier techniques for crop improvement—adds tens of millions of dollars to the development costs of each new GM crop variety. Those extra costs, as well as the endless (and gratuitous) controversy over growing these precisely crafted and highly predictable varieties, discourage research on new varieties of subsistence crops such as millet, sorghum, cassava and sweet potatoes.

Biotechnology applied to agriculture can help the poor by sowing a second Green Revolution, but only if politicians create public policy that enables it to flower.

Green vs Black

Thomas Sowell has written a very to-the-point column on the suffering and deprivations caused by green bigotry.

Here are some excerpts:

Did you know that people in the wealthy San Francisco suburb of Sausalito, across the bay, own 80,000 acres of land in Kenya? What are they doing with it? They are setting it aside as a nature preserve, in order to keep poor people in Kenya from hunting animals for food on those 80,000 acres.

What are rich people doing, in the first place, trying to stop poor people on the other side of the world from getting something to eat? They are feeding their own egos by hindering poor Africans from feeding themselves.

Denying other people the same rights that you claim for yourself is the essence of bigotry. People who call themselves environmentalists could more accurately be called green bigots.

What "protecting," "preserving," and "saving" mean is using the law to impose the will of the green bigots on others.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Eco-Imperialism and Pesticides

The following is a excerpt from Paul Driessen's statement before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources on the subject of science, Eco-Imperialism and public policy on February 4, 2004:

Malaria. Every year, 250 million Africans get so sick from malaria that they cannot work, go to school, care for their families or cultivate their fields, for weeks or months on end. Every year, 2 million Africans die from this dreaded disease – far more than from AIDS. More than half are infants and children. Millions more are so weakened from malaria that they succumb to AIDS, typhus, dysentery and other serial killers that stalk these desperate, impoverished lands.

How is this possible? It happens in part because environmental activists – along with the World Health Organization and our own USAID – tell these countries they must rely on bed nets and drug therapies, since the WHO and AID oppose and will not fund pesticides, especially DDT.

These people can afford to take this position. They live in wealthy, malaria-free societies – because we used DDT and other pesticides to eliminate malaria in the United States and Europe, and still use pesticides today to combat West Nile virus.

But their inhumane policies mean hundreds of thousands of children and parents will die every year who would live, if their countries could also use DDT and other pesticides to repel, disorient and kill mosquitoes that carry the malaria virus.

This, too is Eco-Imperialism. It is immoral, irresponsible and lethal. It must stop, because the human misery and death toll – and the environmental impacts – are simply intolerable.

Paul Driessen is the author of "Eco-Imperialism -- Green Power. Black Death."

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Eco-Imperialism and Biotechnology

The following is a excerpt from Paul Driessen's statement before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources on the subject of science, Eco-Imperialism and public policy on February 4, 2004:

Malnutrition. Biotechnology could fortify plants with vitamins, to reduce malnutrition and blindness. It could increase crop yields, replace crops devastated by disease and drought, provide vaccinations, and reduce the need to cultivate so much wildlife habitat, and use so many pesticides and fertilizers.

But ideological environmentalists oppose this technology, too – on speculative environmental and specious ethical grounds. As Kenyan plant biologist Florence Wambugu says, "I appreciate ethical concerns, but anything that doesn’t feed our children is unethical."

Paul Driessen is the author of "Eco-Imperialism -- Green Power. Black Death."