Enviro-disconnect: Climate change and poverty

posted at 1:21 pm on August 20, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Last week, HuffPo posted an interview with the director of the NAACP’s Climate Justice Initiative, which is meant to help address climate change’s  “disproportionate impact on communities of color in the United States and around the world” and to “educate and mobilize communities to address this human and civil rights issue.” While I’m sure (leastaways, I certainly hope) that these environmental activists have their hearts in the right place and want to help alleviate the problems of mass poverty, so do I — and this interview perfectly demonstrates the sort of green-tinged central-planning hubris by which I just can’t abide.

David Vognar: We hear a lot about how climate change will affect poor people overseas due to rising sea levels and poor access to food. How will climate change affect minorities and the poor in the U.S.?

Jacqueline Patterson: There are existing vulnerabilities for people who are in low-income situations whether it’s because they are living in conditions of poor housing stock or because they have homes that are in the floodplain or because they have mobility issues, because they don’t have vehicles and there is not community infrastructure. There are a range of different, preexisting vulnerabilities so that when things like extreme weather events come along, they are less prepared to be able to respond to them, or to be able to survive them in some cases. …

DV: Can you describe to me your recent work?

JP: Our focal campaign is around coal-fired power plants. It’s the ‘clean them up or shut them down’ kind of message. We recognize that in order to actually eliminate the harm that coal-fired power plants pose to both communities and the environment, we have to shut them down. …

DV: What about energy efficiency?

JP: Our second objective is to increase energy efficiency and clean energy. Particularly when we have the first objective of shutting down coal-fired power plants, we have to not be myopically just trying to eliminate the bad but have some feasible ways to replace it with the good so that we can reduce the harmful fossil fuel-based energy production. …

I am truly irked when environmentalists look at poor communities and third-world countries as laboratories for their wildest green fantasies. There is nobody — nobody — who would benefit more from cheap, abundant, and reliable energy sources than poverty-stricken communities. While environmentalists often look at prosperity as the enemy of environmental quality, the opposite is actually true — third-world countries are some of the worst environmental offenders because they have neither the resources nor the luxury to consider their ecological impact.

Real, penetrating, long-term solutions to poverty do not include finding ways to introduce still highly expensive clean-energy technologies into poor communities and hoping they’ll somehow magically take hold — even just in the United States, wind and solar have so far demonstrated themselves to present a net cost to economic growth as they require subsidies and special treatment for their survival. If you want to talk about “sustainability,” great, but taxpayers paying out the nose for expensive green jobs isn’t going to do anything to encourage economic growth or lift people out of poverty.

Many of the problems that Patterson laments persist in poorer communities — housing, infrastructure, and mobility issues — could be solved by encouraging more economically robust communities, which in turn means that perhaps we should be spending our time pushing for freedom and free enterprise instead of just for more clean energy. One thing that’s really helpful for those living in poorer communities is the opportunity to just have a job, which under President Obama has become increasingly difficult, and his EPA’s many environmental regulations and “necessarily skyrocketing” energy prices aren’t doing anything to help lessen people’s economic woes, either.

Please, greenies, I think we can all agree that we can and should be working to alleviate global poverty, but we need to quit attacking the symptoms and start attacking the disease.


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The gov’t goons claim that the inflation is low. Have they seen the grocery and gasoline prices, lately?

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Leftists have never understood, or deliberately destort, the pie concept.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Green = Communism. They really don’t care about the envirnoment.

Oil Can on August 20, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Ask the environmental-cases to show one example, just one, where green energy or whatever they call it has lead to improvements in the lives of the poverty-stricken,be it by solar power, wind power, poop power, etc.

Just one example.

pilamaye on August 20, 2012 at 1:28 PM

We must make energy too expensive for the poor. They’re much more maleable when they’re cold and hungry.

awc on August 20, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Ericka, my dear sweet and naive person, the environmentalist movement is not about the environment. It ceased being that before you were even born. It’s about wealth redistribution and the implementation of Marxism through law-fare. The environmentalist movement is a Watermelon, Green on the Outside, but Marxist Red to it’s corrupt core.

SWalker on August 20, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Hey. As long as they don’t have to suffer.

pat on August 20, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Last week, HuffPo posted an interview with the director of the NAACP’s Climate Justice Initiative, which is meant to help address climate change’s “disproportionate impact on communities of color in the United States and around the world” and to “educate and mobilize communities to address this human and civil rights issue.”

Don’t worry, the more equal Pigs in Congress are fast working on poverty for all!

The NAACP concerns of a “disproportionate impact on communities of color” will be rendered moot!

“Persons of color” – I shake my head at the generational mandates concerning what blacks will have you call them.

OhEssYouCowboys on August 20, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Green = Communism. They really don’t care about the envirnoment.

Oil Can on August 20, 2012 at 1:27 PM

That is exactly what it is, and the founder of Greenpeace after quitting Greenpeace even stated that as his reason for departing Greenpeace.

What does “You didn’t build that” really mean?

SWalker on August 20, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Well, if it a legitimate global warming result…

verbaluce on August 20, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Madrid is the same stinkhole as Mexico and the likes. They get a break, due to double/triple standards around the world. To hell with all the leftists.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Climate justice? Now hot weather in summer and cold temps in winter are racist?

Liam on August 20, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Its not about reducing poverty or the environment or climate, etc.

Its all about the central-planning. THAT is the goal.

catmman on August 20, 2012 at 1:33 PM

While I’m sure (leastaways, I certainly hope) that these environmental activists have their hearts in the right place and want to help alleviate the problems of mass poverty

No they don’t. Where their hearts are, is in a place that keeps serfs on the lord’s manor. They want to keep these people poor. Maybe at one time, wide-eyed idealists could get away with thinking that they were helping people with their liberal programs. But now there’s too much data suggesting otherwise for them to continue with this thinking.

rbj on August 20, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Climate justice? Now hot weather in summer and cold temps in winter are racist?

Liam on August 20, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Well, snow is white…

catmman on August 20, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Elitists behind the man-made Global Warming SCAM want to control all natural resources. So they are trying to stop people from using them in order to make those resources valueless, so they can move in.

Axion on August 20, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Green = Communism. They really don’t care about the envirnoment.

Oil Can on August 20, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Yep.

Green is the new Red… is a true statement.

Axion on August 20, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Central planning has such a great environmental record in places like the USSR and China./

Flange on August 20, 2012 at 1:38 PM

There’s nothing wrong here…
The whole question of whether climate change is going to impact the poor more is moot. We know that the leftist Berkeley grad activist scientist Michael Mann fabricated the hockey stick in an effort to show that current temperatures are unusual. Current temps are fine, plain and simple, which means nothing is wrong.
Mann went to great lengths to suppress the Medieval Warm Period. The latest is that, though we have been in a period of natural warming as we have recovered from Little Ice Age that ended circa 1850, there is evidence that perhaps the 1930s were hotter than today. I’m still sorting through it, but Steven Goddard makes a point here.

anotherJoe on August 20, 2012 at 1:39 PM

It has never been about the environment. It is always about the redistribution of wealth and punishing the prosperous.

tom daschle concerned on August 20, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Impromptu

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Elitists behind the man-made Global Warming SCAM want to control all natural resources. So they are trying to stop people from using them in order to make those resources valueless, so they can move in.

Axion on August 20, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Funny how, regardless of the fact that the Marxist concept of a centrally planned economy has utterly and completely failed every single (something like 70 times since Marx and Engels proposed it) time it has been tried it’s pseudo-intellectual or morally bankrupt intellectuals and their faithful useful idiots keep attempting to prove that it can be made to work. “If only the RIGHT people” were to implement it. And somehow, oddly enough, it is always they, who coincidentally enough, just happen to be the right people who will get it right this time.

SWalker on August 20, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Climate justice? Now hot weather in summer and cold temps in winter are racist?

Liam on August 20, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Well, snow is white…

catmman on August 20, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Not necessarily. I’ve seen yellow snow. Didn’t eat it, though.

Mitoch55 on August 20, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Poor access to food?

Last time I checked, plants liked warmer weather and lots of CO2.

The Rogue Tomato on August 20, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Well, snow is white…

catmman on August 20, 2012 at 1:34 PM

That just proves cold weather is racist. Bring on the global warming!

The Rogue Tomato on August 20, 2012 at 1:49 PM

If ever there was an instance where the strong force their views on the weak, this is it.

I saw an interesting British documentary a few years ago where they visited a Nigerian hospital where some environmentalists had set up a solar panel and suggesting that this was the acceptable way to power the hospital. The panel only had the ability to either power the refrigerator or some hospital equipment but not both. The doctor commented that if they really cared about the people of Africa, they should build power plants to creat energy that would save lives by providing modern medical equipment.

Another part of the documentary mentioned the thousands of children in Africa that die every year from the inhalation of toxic gases created by burning dung in order to heat their homes.

Finally, the Africans mentioned that the environmentalists got in their jets, come and lecture them about enviromental practices, then get back in their jets and leave them to wrestle with their environment.

Don’t ask Africans about the value of environmentalism. It’s all well and good with a full belly and a modern power grid. But if you wish for yourselves the same thing the environmentalists enjoy, you’re off the reservation.

itsspideyman on August 20, 2012 at 1:51 PM

We hear a lot about how climate change will affect poor people overseas due to rising sea levels and poor access to food.

Has anyone ever told these enviroweenies that higher CO2 concentrations increase crop yields? There are hundreds of experiments that show this!

There are existing vulnerabilities for people who are in low-income situations whether it’s because they are living in conditions of poor housing stock or because they have homes that are in the floodplain or because they have mobility issues, because they don’t have vehicles and there is not community infrastructure.

So poor people need vehicles? Great, but powered by what? If they don’t get horseless carriages, who will build the infrastructure to clean up all the horse manure, which emits methane?

Particularly when we have the first objective of shutting down coal-fired power plants, we have to not be myopically just trying to eliminate the bad but have some feasible ways to replace it with the good so that we can reduce the harmful fossil fuel-based energy production.

How about natural gas-fired power plants with gas from the Marcellus Shale, that emit half the CO2 per kilowatt as coal? You know, the kind that Obama’s 2010 EPA regulations won’t let us build!

Steve Z on August 20, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Green = Communism. They really don’t care about the envirnoment

Watermelons: green on the outside, red on the inside. Throw a communist out the door, they crawl back thru the window as an Environmentalist

skanter on August 20, 2012 at 2:01 PM

While I’m sure (leastaways, I certainly hope) that these environmental activists have their hearts in the right place and want to help alleviate the problems of mass poverty

We are well past the dividing line of hearts-in-the-right-place people and it has nothing to do with the poor. It has everything to do with a) fleecing the well-meaning of their hard earned money via voluntary donations of supporters and b) fleecing taxpayers via the nearly bottomless pit that is the governments’ grants programs by the con-artist sector of the population just to make a buck.

Dusty on August 20, 2012 at 2:02 PM

So, in order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?

-Maurice Strong, at the Rio Summint in 1992

That’s what it is all about. Prepping the battlefield prior to taking over.

iurockhead on August 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Let’s make all electricity 4-8 times MORE expensive, for the good of the poor.

Do these people even have any clue who the poor are? Some days I wonder.

I think “let them eat cake” is actually more insightful at this point than the environmentals concern for the poor.

gekkobear on August 20, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Well, if it a legitimate global warming result…

verbaluce on August 20, 2012 at 1:30 PM

First of all there is NOTHING legitimate about the global warming fraud.

So tell me, if eliminating fossil fuels will “necessarily cause energy prices to skyrocket” as your messiah directly stated – who is most affected by that increase in prices? Do you really think the poor person who can’t afford to heat their home in the middle of winter or buy decent food gives a darn whether the sea levels might rise an inch 10 years from now?

dentarthurdent on August 20, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Green = Communism. They really don’t care about the envirnoment.

Oil Can on August 20, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Elitists behind the man-made Global Warming SCAM want to control all natural resources. So they are trying to stop people from using them in order to make those resources valueless, so they can move in.

Axion on August 20, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Yes and yes. Seems to me we’d get farther if we start examining and compiling opposition research on all of these supposed “environmental” groups to not only determine their true intent — which almost always involves power and control — but to head them off at the pass.

PatriotGal2257 on August 20, 2012 at 2:12 PM

I have spent a lot of time doing missionary trips to third world countries (Nicaragua and Peru) and poverty is the number one issue. Electrical power is not always even available. Some small villages have a small old diesel generator that may run a few hours a day because that is all that can be afforded. Most homes have one circuit. In the cities a lot of the power is “tapped” from the lines. In any city there is a literal birdsnest of wires coming off a powerline. When the average wage is 5 dollars a day (if you can get the work) you barely can afford power. Does she think people have air conditioners, refrigerators? This woman doesn’t have a clue.

Bikerdon on August 20, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Put up a 10 square mile patch of land with windmills and it takes a handful of workers to maintain them.If anything major breaks down the company contracts the work out.One coal mine employs entire towns and some counties.Do the enviros know the economic value difference or does it matter?

docflash on August 20, 2012 at 2:31 PM

“Cheap and dirty” also has its downsides. Putting in last-decade’s (or last century’s) infrastructure doesn’t help a country move forward.

The bigger question in my mind is how do you scale an infrastructure in a country that has none, and no government support for creating one? You don’t get very far with any energy policy if you can’t get the power from the plant to the community.

jdfister on August 20, 2012 at 2:41 PM

NAACP’s Climate Justice Initiative

Does anyone really need to read any further?

tom on August 20, 2012 at 3:05 PM

The gov’t goons claim that the inflation is low. Have they seen the grocery and gasoline prices, lately?

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2012 at 1:25 PM

That big LCD TV is much cheaper than last year. This is what they use to lower inflation. Electronics are going down in price so they assume every family buys a huge Big Screen TV every year and other Electronics that are going down in price. So they Compare a 70″ TV with the price for the same a year ago. Then the next year an 80″ or whatever is at the top of the market and way over priced. In reality of course we all spend about the same for a TV year after year based on out ability to afford. We do not replace that often.

Watts up with that. Is a site that completely debunks every study these people come up with. It exposes their lies. They will use 3 Trees and cherry pick them to support that graph showing tempertures going sky high for example. Another trick they use is to put a burn barrel right next to a temperature recorder and also large expanses of asphalt or locate it hear runways or Air Conditioning Units that run year round. Perhaps all of these. They will use the readings of only the sensors that show warming. They constantly ignore anything that does not show warming. They also fire any scientist that is not buying their warming religion. This is purely a religion is is not the least scientific. The only “science” is in deception.

Now most likely we are warming which is fine with me. I would rather warming than another Ice Age that would wipe out most of the United States. But Syberia used to be a tropical paradise this is well known so the Earth has been much much warmer than now and we are just fine.

Pollution was much worse back in the 1970′s. That is under control at least in America not China and other countries though.

Steveangell on August 20, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Coal Fired plants produce plant food. CO2 is a good thing.

This isn’t even a case of Marxists interfering, this is one more instrument to regulate private property and impose Fascism.

“Environmental Justice” simply means I tell you what to do in the name of the planet. Good God!

Bulletchaser on August 20, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Ah, VICTIMHOOD! Don’t ya just love it!

GarandFan on August 20, 2012 at 5:15 PM

“Cheap and dirty” also has its downsides. Putting in last-decade’s (or last century’s) infrastructure doesn’t help a country move forward.

From no energy infrastructure to a “cheap and dirty” electrical infrastructure is a step forward.

The bigger question in my mind is how do you scale an infrastructure in a country that has none, and no government support for creating one? You don’t get very far with any energy policy if you can’t get the power from the plant to the community.

jdfister on August 20, 2012 at 2:41 PM

There you go looking to the government when you should look to private industry. Guarantee me 30 years without the government taking over, setting prices, or changing laws and I’ll have a power plant and distribution set up and operating within three years. But you will have to put the money into a trust fund to pay for everything the corrupt government steals.

Slowburn on August 20, 2012 at 5:18 PM

It is difficult to imagine that these “Greenies” will give up air conditioning and airline travel along with “cute” little autos.

Herb on August 21, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Stated as fact: Coal fired plants = BAD.

Replace the BAD with the GOOD.

OK exactly what is GOOD ?

Does GOOD = high priced windmills or solar ?

Her Conclusion: GOOD will alleviate poverty.

My conclusion: Her conclusion is nonsense. How is high priced energy (electricity) going to improve the situation of those who can barely afford low priced energy.

rpupton on August 21, 2012 at 12:04 PM

The attitude expressed by the “greenies” in this article exposes them as Pagans: an ancient and highly dysfunctional religious order which resurfaces from time to time…ultimately to wither as they are exposed and discredited once again.

The heart of Paganism is the idea that human life is NOT a thing to be valued, but something called “nature” is. This philosophy is diametrically opposed to Christianity and other religions which VALUE human life above all else. Pagans devalue and degrade human life in every way they can: promoting prostitution and deviant sexuality, promoting abortion, and generally spreading human misery.

Risking human life by tearing down power plants, destroying personal transportation, making food scarce and expensive, and destroying healthcare are current examples of Paganism in action. The sooner we purge Pagan philosophy and practice from our government and get back to “government of the people, by the people, and FOR THE PEOPLE,” the better!!!

landlines on August 21, 2012 at 5:10 PM