Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Does “Climate Change Hysteria” Provide Cover for Industrial Polluters?

 
640px-Fishing_boat_Lake_Poopo
By Lovisa Selander – Transferred from en.wikipedia.

From a story I read this morning:

UNTAVI, Bolivia – Overturned fishing skiffs lie abandoned on the shores of what was Bolivia’s second-largest lake. Beetles dine on bird carcasses and gulls fight for scraps under a glaring sun in what marshes remain. Lake Poopo was officially declared evaporated last month. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have lost their livelihoods and gone. High on Bolivia’s semi-arid Andean plains at 3,700 meters [~12,000 ft.]and long subject to climatic whims, the shallow saline lake has essentially dried up before only to rebound to twice the area of Los Angeles. But recovery may no longer be possible, scientists say.”This is a picture of the future of climate change,” says Dirk Hoffman, a German glaciologist who studies how rising temperatures from the burning of fossil fuels has accelerated glacial melting in Bolivia.

That’s the lede. Pretty standard stuff for a climate change story. Further down, however:

The head of a local citizens’ group that tried to save Poopo, Angel Flores, says authorities ignored warnings. “Something could have been done to prevent the disaster. Mining companies have been diverting water since 1982,” he said. [Emphasis added.]

And then, towards the very end of the story:

Environmentalists and local activists say the government mismanaged fragile water resources and ignored rampant pollution from mining, Bolivia’s second export earner after natural gas. More than 100 mines are upstream and Huanuni, Bolivia’s biggest state-owned tin mine, was among those dumping untreated tailings into Poopo’s tributaries. [Emphasis added.]

Hmm …

The president of Bolivia’s National Chamber of Mining, Saturnino Ramos, said any blame by the industry is “insignificant compared to climate change.” He said most of the sediment shallowing Poopo’s tributaries was natural, not from mining.

How convenient.

Look, I’m no expert on Bolivia, tin mining, or the environment. I have no way of judging what’s to “blame” for this lake drying up. Maybe it’s mining. Maybe it’s climate change. Maybe it’s simply a natural cycle for this lake. Maybe a combination of all these factors. Maybe it’s something else entirely. I have no idea.

My point, simply, is that progressive environmentalists aren’t the only ones who potentially benefit from climate change hysteria. Hypothetically, if heavy industry could shift public opinion away from industrial pollution and towards CO2, it’d have a big incentive to do so.

There are 12 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    Climate change hysteria is about government control of resources. When governments are in control of resources, there is more pollution, more industrial death, etc. So, yes.

    • #1
    • January 21, 2016, at 8:31 AM PST
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  2. SkipSul Moderator

    Misthiocracy: Hypothetically, if heavy industry could shift public opinion away from industrial pollution and towards CO2, would it not have a pretty big incentive to do so?

    Yes, it very much would have such an incentive. However, Bolivia is something of a special case – its government is crony socialist, and that fact gives it its own perverse incentive to blame Climate Change as the bogey so that it can extort money and lay blame to all of the “evil capitalist” countries in the world. That makes for convenient cover for the graft, known environmental degradation, and likely local bullying by the government backed mining company.

    The situation sounds remarkably like the Aral Sea in the Soviet Union.

    • #2
    • January 21, 2016, at 8:33 AM PST
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  3. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    skipsul:

    Misthiocracy: Hypothetically, if heavy industry could shift public opinion away from industrial pollution and towards CO2, would it not have a pretty big incentive to do so?

    Yes, it very much would have such an incentive. However, Bolivia is something of a special case – its government is crony socialist, and that fact gives it its own perverse incentive to blame Climate Change as the bogey so that it can extort money and lay blame to all of the “evil capitalist” countries in the world. That makes for convenient cover for the graft, known environmental degradation, and likely local bullying by the government backed mining company.

    The situation sounds remarkably like the Aral Sea in the Soviet Union.

    Please note that the OP does not use the terms “capitalist” or “corporate” even once. (Ok, “companies” is used once, but it’s in a quote.)

    I chose the term “industrial polluters” very carefully.

    • #3
    • January 21, 2016, at 9:16 AM PST
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  4. MarciN Member

    I can barely read that story–this has been on my mind ever since Al Gore started his campaign. While everyone is worried about an imaginary problem, we are ignoring real pollution problems.

    Good post.

    • #4
    • January 21, 2016, at 9:29 AM PST
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  5. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Answer is no. For heavy industry the steps needed to attack climate change would involve substantially increasing energy costs and since heavy industry tends to use lots of energy it would increase their costs which is one of the reasons most oppose legislation in this area. In addition, large industrial polluters who also generate lots of CO2 directly would be subject to additional regulation.

    Specifically for the United States, having worked in heavily regulated chemical & manufacturing companies for 30 years, there is a lot of environmental enforcement out there and nothing has changed in recent years even as climate change has become a bigger issue.

    • #5
    • January 21, 2016, at 11:49 AM PST
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  6. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Arahant:

    Climate change hysteria is about government control of resources. When governments are in control of resources, there is more pollution, more industrial death, etc. So, yes.

    I think this correct. Note that the story above states the largest mine is state-owned. The old Soviet Union and East Bloc countries were good cases on point. If you read their legal codes, the environmental standards in those countries were often stricter than those in the West, but since it was all controlled by the state no one cared. I spent some time in Eastern Europe after the fall of the commies; the degree of environmental contamination and damage in those countries blew away anything I’d seen in the states.

    • #6
    • January 21, 2016, at 11:54 AM PST
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  7. I Walton Member

    Climate change is a perfect issue for professional environmental lobbyists, it may be true so there may be a threat out there, it can’t be proven, or disproven, it can’t be fixed, if co2 production is reduced by technological change and spontaneous adjustment, we can’t prove that it is or that the amelioration will endure. Thus one can raise money for ever. We should just accept that it might be real castigate the left for trying to use the issue to build their power and personal wealth, for their corruption, crony capitalism, and general rot, and focus on the deregulation at the local, state and national level that will reduce waste, fraud, Co2 production while creating general prosperity, strengthening the economy so that it can invest more to deal with calamity of any kind, adjust to heat or cold, and rapidly produce and adopt superior technology. I.E. freedom under clear rule of law. All waste has a high CO2 content. Governments at all levels are the primary source of waste in our system. Few of the things they do are necessary, most do more harm than good.

    • #7
    • January 22, 2016, at 6:31 AM PST
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  8. cdor Member

    I exhale CO2 when I breathe (good), the trees use CO2 to create photosynthesis (good), CO2 is .033% of our air (miniscule). What’s the problem? Let’s worry about keeping our water and air clean and create a bit less trash. This CO2 thing is a hypochondriacs dream and a crony socialist power grab.

    • #8
    • January 22, 2016, at 7:28 AM PST
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  9. Retail Lawyer Member

    There is a theory that the AGW alarmists have destroyed the conservation movement of a generation ago. This seems correct to me. Why worry about over fishing or polluted lakes in Bolivia if earth is on the verge of destruction from AGW?

    There is also a theory that NGOs not founded as specifically conservative organizations eventually become full progressive. This also seems correct. The Sierra Club, founded as a conservation organization, now supports unrestricted immigration. Hard to see how that promotes conservation, but there you have it.

    There must be some way for Conservatives to take back conservation.

    • #9
    • January 22, 2016, at 7:29 AM PST
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  10. I Walton Member

    Retail Lawyer.

    In the fifties conservationists were mostly Democrats because they were part of the FDR, WWII generation. They were fishermen, hunters, wilderness buffs and they believed that outdoor experiences were important to growing up wholesome and manly. That generation is gone. The movement was captured by an urban progressive elite. There are still hunters and fishermen involved at the local level, and many are on our side. We need to recruit them on conservation issues. There are also organized groups fighting with ranchers, developers, refiners not to mention the BLM, and they actually reach solutions on matters important to them. These are real people engaging real interests to achieve objectives that are important to them. But they think Washington can do the same. This is the fallacy of composition. Washington environmental groups are professional fund raisers, NGO bureaucrats, Federal Bureaucrats and professional lobbyists. Solving real issues, reaching real compromises does not serve their interests. So like everything else, we have to find a way to move these things back to the state and local level. State Fish and Game Departments can be allies so can professional foresters but not their leadership. One of the most successful battles in the 50s and early 60s was against the Army Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation who were destroying our rivers. We need to remind folks about this, about who the enemy is. The government remains the problem. Outdoorsmen and women are still the solution but it can’t happen in Washington.

    • #10
    • January 22, 2016, at 10:02 AM PST
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  11. Retail Lawyer Member

    I Walton

    I agree. Although I don’t hunt, I am a fan of Ducks Unlimited for these reasons.

    • #11
    • January 22, 2016, at 12:37 PM PST
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  12. The Reticulator Member

    I Walton: One of the most successful battles in the 50s and early 60s was against the Army Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation who were destroying our rivers.

    I’m interested to know what examples you have in mind. Some of my early years were spent along a Corps of Engineers project on the Missouri. Some of my 2nd grade friends and their families then moved up river to the next project. This was in the mid 50s.

    The Salamonie and Mississinewa Rivers in Indiana were dammed in the 60s, much against the wishes of local Miami Indians and other people who lived in the bottom lands.

    It wasn’t until the mid 70s that the Garrison Diversion project was halted, sort of, and it was in the 70s the Army Corps of Engineers finally conceded defeat on the project to dam the Delaware.

    These are all major points in my mental timeline of these issues. For the sake of accuracy and completeness, I would be interested in knowing of successful battles already in the 50s or 60s.

    It’s an interesting topic to me. One of my photos from 2012 is scheduled to appear in an article that touches on the aftermath of the damming of the Salamonie. It’s an abstruse journal, and I probably wouldn’t get to read it if the author hadn’t agreed to send me a copy. And it’s not “scheduled,” exactly, but I imagine the article will get published.

    • #12
    • January 22, 2016, at 8:55 PM PST
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