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by inoljt

A Typical Example of Leftism in Latin America

3:59 am in Uncategorized by inoljt

By: inoljt,

One of the best ways to learn about the politics of different places is to read their newspapers. To that extent, I recently had the pleasure of reading a Bolivian newspaper supportive of, or published by, the government.

The topic was the Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro, a conference devoted to fighting global warming. The conference came in with low expectations after the failure of talks against global warming previously. It ended up issuing a vague statement affirming that it was important to fight global warming, but which didn’t actually do anything to further that goal.

This newspaper held very strong opinions about the conference. The conference had started with a proposal (Document Zero), made by developed countries, with strict obligations and a detailed roadmap for fighting global warming. The theme of this proposal was the “green economy.”

Here is how the newspaper viewed Document Zero:

The environmentalism of the green economy is a new colonialism of two types. On one hand, it’s a colonialism of nature by commodifying the natural sources of life. On the other hand, it’s a colonialism of the countries of the South whose backs are burdened with the responsibility of protecting the environment destroyed by the industrial capitalist economy of the North. The so-called environmentalism commodifies nature, converting each tree, each plant, each drop of water and each natural being into a market good submitted to the dictatorship of the market which privatizes wealth and socializes poverty.

The title of this article was: The “green economy” is the new colonialism for subjecting our peoples. The newspaper advocated an alternative – The vision of Bolivia to achieve the paradigm of Living Well.This alternative was described as the following:

It’s the continuous process of the generation and implementation of aspects and social, political, cultural, ecological, economical, productive, and affective processes as well as communitarian methods and actions done by citizens and public management for the creation, provision, and strengthening of conditions, capacities, and material, culturally adequate, and appropriate methods, promoting relations of solidarity, of support and mutual cooperation, of complementarity and strengthening of uplifting community and collective ties to achieve the Living Well in harmony and equilibrium with Mother Earth.

This nice-sounding and extremely vague Living Well was to be implemented through things such as “conserving the components, zones and systems of life of Mother Earth in the framework of an integral and sustainable management.”

The newspaper achieved its goal. The G77+China succeeded in removing almost all the components of the Document Zero envisioned in the rough draft, with their strict obligations for fighting global warming and punishments for not meeting those obligations. They succeeded in making the neocolonial concept of a “green economy” “only a tool – not a model nor a vision of development.” They replaced it with a statement that included such niceties as “recognizing the planet Earth as our home and that the expression ‘Mother Earth’ is common for various countries and regions.”

This is a typical example of the leftism that permeates Latin American thinking, and there is some logic in it. Many poor countries believe that their economic development ought not be stifled by agreements to fight global warming, which might include growth-reducing measures such as carbon taxes.

Sometimes this type Latin American leftism does good. Evo Morales has done a pretty good job of managing the Bolivian economy, as have most of his fellow leftist compatriots. Being the first democratically elected indigenous president of Bolivia is a huge accomplishment which deserves to be celebrated.

Yet Latin American leftism can also do a lot of bad. As this example illustrates, for instance, it can help defeat efforts to fight global warming. Indeed, Western advocates of a “green economy” are not the ones who the ones who would implement a new type of colonialism to subjugate the peoples of Latin America. It’s the Western opponents of a “green economy” who Latin Americans ought to worry about.

by inoljt

A Lighthearted PR Tip for Combatants of Global Warming

11:25 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

With the death of the Senate energy bill, efforts to combat global climate change have reached a standstill. It does not appear that a cap-and-trade scheme is anywhere in the near future.

A number of factors killed the energy bill. Democrats from states dependent upon traditional energy, such as West Virginia, did not support the bill. Neither did previous cooperative Republicans, such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Perhaps most importantly – and least mentioned – was the economic recession, which shifted the public’s concern from the environment to the pocketbook.

There was also another factor, a factor which should not have – but did – increase skepticism. This was the unusually cold winter from 2009 to 2010. A fair number of people must have thought something along the lines of “It is very cold right now – therefore global warming does not exist.” This type of attitude will continue to plague combatants of climate change as long as unusually cold winters continue to exist – which they will, given that even the worst case global warming scenarios posit an increase in temperature of less than five degrees Fahrenheit this century, far too little to end winter.

This blogger therefore has a PR suggestion for folks drumming up support to fight global warming. Instead of emphasizing the increase in temperatures, they ought to focus upon the increasing occurrence of extreme natural disasters resulting from climate change, such as Hurricane Katrina. Extremely cold winters could be used not as proof that global warming doesn’t exist, but as yet more evidence of disturbingly extreme weather caused by climate change.

A new name would help. Global warming doesn’t work, for obvious reasons. Climate change is too boring and non-attention grabbing. Adding an adjective – “extreme” climate change, for instance – would improve things. Something with words such as “intensified” and “disruptive” might work too.

This type of name-changing is harder than it initially sounds. After around an hour of thought, this individual could not come up with a non-ridiculous but adequately scary-sounding name. Scientists would eventually figure out something, however. They’re a smart bunch.


by inoljt

Why Do Conservatives Push Climategate?

12:18 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

By: Inoljt,

On any given day, if one is browsing through the current discussion on global warming, the topic of “Climategate” will often come up. Climategate alleges that climate scientists exaggerated the data to support global warming as part of their hidden agenda to push the theory.

Climategate will almost invariably be mentioned by a conservative commentator, seeking to attack the scientific consensus behind global warming. Conservative backing of Climategate is just another part of a long-standing pattern; for years, some conservatives have sought to deny the existence of global warming.

The point of this post is not to discuss the validity of Climategate. Scientists are not the all-seeing Gods society often labels them; they are humans too and prone to human errors. That does not mean that their conclusions are incorrect (notice how the controversial data always seems to be “exaggerated” but still actually backs global warming).

The puzzle, rather, is why some conservatives do this. There doesn’t seem to be a point to it, simply put. Conservative philosophy is not inherently anti-global warming; being a Republican does not necessarily mean one must believe global warming doesn’t exist.

This is different from other, more understandable stands a conservative might take. If a scientific study came out whose conclusions supported the pro-choice movement (e.g. fetuses don’t actually feel pain until they’re born, or something like that), it would make sense for conservatives to question the study. Being pro-life constitutes a fundamental part of conservative ideology; it goes with “traditional values” and “family.” Similarly, if a hypothetical study found that tax cuts are ineffective, one would also expect conservatives to attack it. This is because cutting taxes constitutes part of the conservative philosophy, which emphasizes smaller government and individualism.

In contrast, denying global warming does not have anything to do with what conservatives stand for. Unlike abortion or taxes, global warming is not an issue to be fought over but a coming challenge to be faced.

Moreover, there exists a conservative solution to the challenge. This is called cap-and-trade, which uses the power of the market to solve a fundamental problem. Conservatives are supposed to like this stuff; free markets constitute the bread-and-butter of their philosophy. Conservative President George H.W. Bush implemented a cap-and-trade program which essentially solved the problem of acid rain. In contrast, a liberal solution to global warming (one which many liberal institutions theoretically favor) would be a carbon tax, which uses government to solve the problem.

The problem, of course, is that that radical socialist Barack HUSSEIN Obama also supports cap-and-trade. As with so many issues facing the nation today, the stances of conservatives seem purely based upon being against what liberals favor (even if they favor conservative ideas such as cap-and-trade).

Now, to be fair, liberals also have a job to do. Too often their arguments have been made with the wrong tone: the type of arrogant, “I-am-better-than-you” style which does nothing more than harden stances on both sides. The scientific community is not exempt from this critique (if anything, it is even more guilty of claiming intellectual superiority over the rest of us mortals). When liberals label those who disbelieve global warming “idiots,” that does not convince conservatives that global warming is real.

Indeed, both sides must mature their stances with respect to the problem of global warming. Liberals ought to address conservative grievances with respect, not arrogant high-handedness. Conservatives ought to realize that questioning the existence of global warming has nothing to do with being a conservative and stop pushing nonsensical theories like “Climategate”.

by inoljt

The Real Reason Behind Increased Global Warming Skepticism

5:34 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

By: Inoljt,


American concern for global warming appears to have reached a nadir. Poll after poll indicates that Americans are more skeptical of global warming; meanwhile the Senate cap and trade bill has just died. As with so many other liberal issues nowadays, the news is grim.

Most pundits attribute this skepticism to partisan politics. The theory goes something like this: with partisan bickering at an all-time high, Republicans are tending to reflexively oppose any Democratic proposal, and vice versa. Because preventing climate change has become associated with liberals, Republican voters are now automatically treading against it. This Times article exemplifies the strain of thought; it is titled “Rising Partisanship Sharply Erodes U.S. Public’s Belief in Global Warming.”

There is only one problem with this theory: it is not true.

On the surface, there is a certain credence to this claim. Most would agree that partisanship is “rising.” Belief in global warming is also undeniably falling. Add consistent conservative disbelief of global warming, and everything links together.

In fact, increased skepticism over global warming is not confined to the United States – as would be the case under the “Republicans v. Democrats” explanation. In Australia, for example, an October Lowy Poll indicated that only 56% considered tackling climate change a “very important issue” – a 19% drop from two years ago. More globally, an online Nielsen poll revealed concern about climate change falling in 37 out of 45 countries, compared to October 2007.

There is only one thing has affected the entire world since October 2007: global economic recession.


As the picture above shows, it is this shift which holds responsibility for climate change skepticism – not partisan bickering in the United States or leaked e-mails of scientific lapses. (Also note the graph’s previous decline, which took place in the midst of the technology bust.) When people’s pocketbooks suffer, the environment automatically lessens in priority. The immediate disaster takes precedence over the disaster that will come in fifty years. Or, if one is a climate skeptic, it may never come.

To give conservatives credit for increased global warming skepticism, therefore, would be akin (warning: bad sports analogy incoming) to claiming Pau Gasol single handedly brought the Lakers last year’s championship ring. It is to miss the elephant in the room: the economy, stupid.