Greens Aim to Take Us Forward to the Past

If you need more evidence that the Greens intend to destroy our
standard of living, you need not look further than the Oct. 18 issue of
New Scientist magazine — the cover of which reads, “The Folly of Growth: How to stop the economy killing the planet.”

The issue features eight articles that New Scientist editors believe
justify their editorial entitled, “Why economic growth is killing the
planet and what we can do about it.” Presented below the editorial is
an ominously drawn graph purporting to show how global temperatures,
population, carbon dioxide concentrations, GDP and loss of tropical
rainforest and woodland have dramatically spiked upward since 1750, and
how species extinctions, water use, motor vehicle use, paper
consumption, fisheries exploitation, ozone depletion and foreign
investment spiked during the 20th century.

The editorial concludes that “the science tells us that if we are
serious about saving the Earth,” economic growth must be limited.

In the first essay, University of Surrey (UK) sustainable
development professor Tim Jackson doubts renewable energy technologies
will work without reduced consumption. Rather than buying an energy
efficient TV, he says, you ought to consider not buying a TV at all.

Next, prominent Canadian Green David Suzuki says that nothing is
more important than the environment and that we need to lower our
standard of living. You need to judge your standard of living by
“quality of life, your relationships with other people and your
community,” Suzuki says. Stores filled with food, record longevity and
wealth are an “illusion,” he asserts, because we’re using up our
children’s and grandchildren’s inheritance.

University of Maryland ecological economist Herman Daly claims that
we’ve passed the point where economic growth provides benefits and that
we need to “transform our economy from a forward-moving aeroplane to a
hovering helicopter,” but that such a “steady-state” economy “doesn’t
have to mean freezing in the dark under a communist tyranny.” In trying
to explain his latter comment, he says that “Most of the changes could
be applied gradually, in mid-air,” by which he apparently means
replacing the income tax with a tax on goods to “encourage people to
use them sparingly.” Although he acknowledges that this regressive
policy would hurt the poor, he says taxes could be used to provide

James Gustave Speth — Yale University dean, co-founder of the
Natural Resources Defense Council and former adviser to President Jimmy
Carter — says that green values stand no chance against market
capitalism. Economic growth “creates barriers
to dealing with real problems,” he says. While we need to spend more
money on social services and environmental protection, he is “not
advocating state socialism," he claims, but rather a “non-socialist
alternative to today’s capitalism,” whatever that means.

Andrew Simms of London’s New Economics Foundation describes as
"disingenuous" the argument that global economic growth is needed to
eradicate poverty. He says that “we have to overcome knee-jerk
rejection of the ‘R’ word — redistribution” and that we need a “Green
New Deal” that controls capital and raises taxes to create
environmental jobs.

Susan George of the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute
advocates developing a World War II-type mentality toward life
including rationing, “victory” or home gardens and the government run
by wealthy elites who would work for a salary of $1 per year.

London Metropolitan University “environmental philosopher” Kate
Soper says that the tourist industry, food service industry, dating
services and gyms are evidence that we need to shift to a less
work-intensive economy. “Of course, we would have to “sacrifice some
conveniences and pleasures: creature comforts such as regular steaks,
hot tubs, luxury cosmetics and easy foreign travel,” she says, but
“human ingenuity will surely contrive a range of more eco-friendly

What’s missing from the New Scientist compilation of Green-think, of
course, are essays from Thomas Malthus, Karl Marx and, perhaps, Al
Gore. Malthus, a prominent 19th century economist, famously predicted
that a geometrically expanding human population would outpace the
arithmetically expanding food supply. Unable to foresee the
improvements in agricultural technology, he turned out to be entirely

Karl Marx could have chimed in with his communist slogan, “From each
according to his ability, to each according to his need” — where the
government gets to determine what your needs are. As implemented in the
Soviet Union and Communist China, Marxism resulted in the starvation
and murder of perhaps more than 100 million people and the political
and social repression of the survivors.

Al Gore could have contributed an essay reassuring Green elites that
none of this wealth redistribution and standard of living contraction
would affect those who, like him, can already afford home indoor heated pools or those who can could afford to spend $65,000 and three weeks jetting around the world with the World Wildlife Fund.

The New Scientist essays reveal how the Greens aim to eviscerate
life as we know it. They want to take us from 200 years of
“more-bigger-better” to a future of “less-smaller-worse.” Won’t happen,
you say?

With Barack Obama leading in the polls, one of his advisers recently
issued an ultimatum to Congress regulate carbon dioxide emissions in 18
months, or an Obama EPA will do it unilaterally. And then there’s
Obama’s famous colloquy with “Joe the Plumber,” where he said he was
for redistributing the wealth. And let’s not forget Obama’s comment in
May that “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep
our homes on 72 degrees at all times…”

Obama has said he’s for economic growth, yet he’s willing to
force-feed us Green policies that would crush it. And as it turns out,
that’s what the Greens are really after in the first place.

Steven Milloy publishes, manages the Free Enterprise Action Fund. He is a junk science expert, and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.