In The Really Inconvenient Truths, I wrote about the environmentalist mantra I = PAT, where I is environmental impact, P is population, A is affluence, and T is technology. Under this formulation, as I put it, “Population, affluence, and technology are all evils of the modern world, not boons.”
It should therefore come as no surprise that, just as 19th century missionaries raised money and went out from the west to cleanse the poor benighted savages of Africa and the Indian subcontinent of their sins, there are modern day equivalents doing the same. Only this time, the sins are technological projects that will increase affluence in heavily populated areas.
We saw how they can work in the recent Chevron case, where activist lawyer Steven Donziger was found to have used fraud, bribery and other illegal means to secure a court victory against Chevron for supposed pollution by its predecessor Texaco in Ecuador. Demonstrations against Chevron have been found to have been staged, with paid protestors.
The Indian government, thankfully, is on to the tactics of this movement. According to The Hindu, the government’s Intelligence Bureau has determined that “foreign-funded NGOs were creating obstacles to India’s economic growth.” Accordingly, it has instructed banks to hold foreign donations to Greenpeace India Society from Greenpeace International and the Climate Works Foundation until it clears them for release.
The Hindu reports:
Greenpeace was specifically targeted because the IB report had charged it with orchestrating “massive efforts to take down India’s coal-fired power projects and mining activity.”
According to the report, public protests in Madhya Pradesh’s Singrauli region — which produces 15,000 MW energy — were being engineered by Greenpeace, “actively aided and led by foreign activists.”
In its directive to the chief general manager, Department of Banking Operations and Development, RBI, the Ministry has invoked Section 46 of the Foreign Contributions (Regulations) Act, 2010, that says the “Central government may give such directions as it may deem necessary” for execution of the provisions of the Act.
The new directive will effectively bar the NGO from accepting foreign money, as it will require seeking case-by-case clearance for each contribution.
It is to be hoped that India’s actions will awaken other developing nations to the existence of an externally-funded fifth column aimed at halting improvements to human welfare. As Bjorn Lomborg noted today on his Facebook page, in reaction to the news that Ghana has had to initiate power cuts in order to make sure there is enough energy for Ghanaians to watch the World Cup:
[M]ore than 1.2 billion people around the world have no access to electricity. In sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa, the entire electricity-generating capacity available is only 28 gigawatts — equivalent to Arizona’s — for 860 million people. About 6.5 million people live in Arizona. What those living in energy poverty need are reliable, low-cost fossil fuels, at least until we can make a global transition to a greener energy future.
A recent analysis by the Center for Global Development found that $10 billion invested in gas electrification can help lift 90 million people out of poverty, whereas the same money invested in renewables will help just 20 million-27 million people.
We should make sure to electrify Africa in the most-effective way. Not only for them to watch the World Cup, but in order to tackle the biggest global environmental killer, indoor air pollution, and power the agriculture and industry that will improve hundreds of millions of lives.
That can’t be done as long as there are missionaries calling such developments as Indian coal-fired power plants and African gas electrification sinful. As Fred Smith once said, for these missionaries, “There can be no salvation without the cleansing of society of the evils of modernity.” India has shown the way to a more enlightened future, perhaps one where because of abundant affordable energy lighting the streets, it will no longer be possible to call Africa, “the Dark Continent.”