Environmentalism continues to harm and kill people, especially the world’s poor. The corn-gas laws have become a significant contributor to higher food prices and a widespread food shortage. Steven Milloy writes:
“When millions of people are going hungry, it’s a crime against humanity that food should be diverted to biofuels,” an Indian government official told the Wall Street Journal. Turkey’s finance minister labeled the use of biofuels as “appalling,” according to the paper.
Biofuels have turned out to be a lose-lose-lose proposition. Once touted by the greens and the biofuel industry as being able to reduce the demand for oil and lower greenhouse gas emissions, biofuels have accomplished neither goal and have no prospect for accomplishing either in the foreseeable future.
The latest research shows that biofuels actually increase greenhouse gas emissions on a total lifecycle basis. Add in that taxpayer-subsidized diversion of food crops and food crop acreage to fuel production has contributed to higher food prices and reduced food supply, and biofuels turn out to be nothing less than a public policy disaster.
Did you get that? The environmentalist corn-gas laws not only hurt the world’s poor, but they worsen the environment, at least according to the environmentalists’ own standards.
This is not merely an accident; this is the way that socialistic policies work. There are two broad problems inherent in the environmentalists’ socialist agenda. First, political controls, by forcibly transferring resources and either banning or mandating certain actions, negate people’s ability to apply their personal knowledge to the problems that interest them. Second, political wealth transfers and controls necessarily become mired in special-interest warfare, as various groups vie for the transferred resources and for protectionist legislation. Thus, socialistic measures to “protect” the environment are unlikely to do much regarding the environment, but they are very likely to waste resources and reward the corrupt.
Milloy notes that many environmentalists are doing everything within their power to halt energy production:
As the Sierra Club campaigns to shut down our coal-fired electricity capabilities, the Natural Resources Defense Council campaigns to prevent nuclear power from taking its place. …
Millions in the developing world have died and continue to do so from the greens’ campaign against pesticides such as DDT. Nothing less should be expected from their new campaign that threatens global food and energy production.
So long as environmentalism holds that untouched nature is the moral ideal, the necessary consequence is the sacrifice of people to nature. (Preserving tracts of nature for human enjoyment is a different story.) To the extend that environmentalism puts people first, it becomes something other than environmentalism. I don’t much mind “environmentalists for nukes,” as Mother Jones calls them, except that such environmentalists tend to fall into old-school, left-wing politics. Those with a sincere interest in environmental issues and free-market capitalism are an unfortunately rare breed.