Guest commentary by Indur Goklany
Sometimes the true agenda is laid bare.
From http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/08/19/1, a piece on Bill McKibben, in which E&E News’ Paul Fialka discusses his agenda, are these passages.
[My comments are in brackets. I have highlighted some passages.]
Many of the climate theories in [McKibben’s] book [“The End of Nature.”]– and the future career path of McKibben — were shaped by James Hansen, who was then and is now the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. Starting in 1988, Hansen had begun to testify before Congress that greenhouse gas emissions had begun to change familiar weather patterns on the planet and, without action to limit them, the changes would become more obvious and dangerous in the 21st century.
As Hansen explained and as McKibben later found out, the people who were most vulnerable to the flooding, famine and drought and the spread of tropical diseases lived in developing countries. McKibben was interviewing people in the slums of Bangladesh in 2006 when he was hospitalized with dengue fever, which is still untreatable. As he watched others dying, he recalled in a later book: “Something in me snapped. Nothing concrete had come from my work, or anyone else’s.”…
Putting the U.S. economy into ‘graceful decline’
While some companies have been critical of the chamber’s lobbying, McKibben will have great difficulty convincing them about another premise of his, which is that to cope with the more expensive food, weather, health and energy challenges of a climate-changed world, the growth of America’s economy can’t continue.
350.org supporters line up in Baku, Azerbaijan. They were among those in 188 countries who demonstrated for climate change solutions on Oct. 10, 2010. Photo courtesy of Flickr.
He talks about federal policies that put the economy in a “graceful decline,” one that stimulates small-scale, organic farming and has more of a focus on activities in neighborhoods, towns and states than on national and international affairs. “We need to scale back, to go to ground,” he says in “Eaarth.”
[COMMENT: (1) Apparently, it has never occurred to McKibben that the perhaps the major reason why people in developing countries were most vulnerable to flooding, famine and drought and the spread of tropical diseases and why Bangladeshis died from dengue is that they lacked economic development and had stuck to “organic farming” for much longer than farmers in the developed countries. (2) There is nothing “graceful” about lower economic development. Ask not only people in developing countries but also those trapped without jobs in developed countries.]
What McKibben says he wants from Washington ispoverty a “stiff price on carbon” emissions. He calls cap and trade, the Democrats’ most recent legislative attempt to impose a price on carbon emissions through an economywide emissions trading scheme, “an incredibly complicated legislative scheme that gives door prizes to every interested industry and turns the whole operation over to Goldman Sachs to run.”
…Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund…one of the leaders of a coalition of major environmental groups and corporations that pushed cap and trade through the House [when asked] about McKibben’s advocacy of civil disobedience, … said “that’s a matter of personal conscience and personal choice. It’s not among the tactics that EDF uses.”
Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a small, Washington-based environmental group, is among those lining up alongside McKibben…
Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton administration White House aide, has known McKibben for 15 years [and] now works with Washington’s Bipartisan Policy Center, said he isn’t surprised by McKibben’s move toward civil disobedience. “Because climate impacts will hurt and potentially devastate the poor disproportionately, the moral and social justice elements of climate are much greater than many other environmental problems,” Bledsoe said.
[COMMENT: So how would a decline in economic development – “graceful” or otherwise – reduce climate impacts?]
In the interview here, McKibben explained that his group, 350.org, gets about $1 million a year in donations, most of it coming from foundations. Most of its activists are volunteers, led by 20 to 30 staffers “who are paid very little.” Financially, it is outgunned by the U.S. Chamber and fossil fuel companies, which is why he has organized it as a “movement” to raise public awareness. “Our currency is bodies and spirit,” he said. “This [climate change] is the biggest thing that’s ever happened.”