“Save the planet!” Ah, what a beautiful sentence. To quote an adorable little Swedish girl, “how dare you” even think otherwise? Well, Greta pace, dare we must. Garry Kasparov recently hit the nail on the head, when he tweeted“You can’t save the planet if you don’t save the people on it.”
Is Kasparov the minion of the evil oil companies? No. He is a chess grandmaster who over the years has issued warnings about Russian expansionism. And he clearly sees what environmentalists don’t see: when you get overzealous in trying to save the planet, you forget the people who live in nations overrun by tyrants from resource-rich countries.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and the war in Ukraine proves it.
Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine is multicausal. But surely he must have known only too well that Germany – and the European Union as a whole – would be hesitant to help Ukraine. German leaders can pretend to defend an invaded country, but when the going gets tough, military help is very limited. The reason for this apathy can be summed up in two words: natural gas.
Germany’s Green Party is a political force to be reckoned with, and its influence was felt in the country’s decision to reduce nuclear power. This trend has spread to other countries in the developed world, not only with regard to nuclear energy, but also fossil fuels. Bowing to environmental pressure, US President Joe Biden has canceled the Yellowstone pipeline, while it claimed that “climate change is the greatest threat facing America”. As alternatives, renewable sources are proposed by environmentalists. But so far they have been a complete failure; there is simply no comparison between a solar panel (useless on cloudy days) and a nuclear power plant.
Developed countries can try to shut off energy sources as much as they want, but their populations won’t change soon their consumption habits. So how do their governments respond to energy demand? By getting it from nations that are unwilling to reduce their energy production. In doing so, politicians in developed countries are playing welfare politics and cheering Greta on as she gives her (scripted) speeches, while making sure their constituents have gas for their cars and their homes are clean. heated in winter.
Of course, they fail to notice that their act of signaling awakened virtue empowers tyrants like Putin. Does the Russian strongman care about the environment? Of course not. Indeed, if he should crack down hard on environmentalists, he will be. And with his supply of gas to Europe, Putin has now become unrestrained in his imperial designs, knowing full well that his European customers will not interfere in his military adventures.
Shortly after the start of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian forces took control of the Chernobyl power plant. Environmentalists are now worried because they do not trust the Russians to adequately control the radiation emanating from it. But this is the result of the environmentalists’ own action. nuclear power in itself is not the danger. The danger is that corrupt governments that develop (or seize) nuclear power plants and, in their lack of transparency, fail to enforce adequate safety protocols. These corrupt governments have always been reinforced by the naivety of environmentalists.
So, will we save the planet? Of course we will. But we have to do it smartly. Climate change is not a myth. But measures to mitigate global warming must be taken with a proper cost/benefit analysis. For now, the cost of renewable energy is too high and its benefits are too low. The war in Ukraine now shows that there is an additional political cost that few people considered in the first place. Environmentalism has a dark side, and we should learn from it.