There is supposed to exist something known as the Green Paradox which says that ‘policies of lowering carbon demand may aggravate rather than alleviate climate change.’ It’s nonsense, of course, because it’s based on the theory that industrial carbon dioxide emissions cause statistically significant increases to a fuzzy concept known as global temperature. Even assuming that you subscribe to the CO2 theory, this particular green paradox does not exist for reasons explained here.
But there is a green paradox that might be described as ‘the policy of preserving pristine rainforest may reduce, rather than maintain, biodiversity.’
Consider this uplifting story which appeared in the Independent last week;
A frog with fangs, a blind snake and a round-headed dolphin are among more than 1,000 new species recently found on the incredible Melanesian island of New Guinea, environment group WWF said.
Scientists made the astounding discoveries, which also included a river shark and dozens of butterflies, on New Guinea at a rate of two a week from 1998 to 2008, WWF said in a new report on the island’s natural habitat.
A frog with fangs? A blind snake? And these weren’t horribly deformed post-Fukushima mutations?
They were not. The World Wildlife Fund must be kicking themselves that these creatures were discovered too early to take full advantage of another apocalyptic scare story…
Uh-oh. I spoke too soon…
Seemingly unable to bring themselves to display unbridled optimism for so large an increase in the biodiversity they constantly mourn, the Indy’s journalists followed up the very same day with this tale of doom and destruction:
Once again, new species emerge into the light to be confronted by an overwrought greenie prostrating himself before them, shaking his head and telling them that they only have months to live.
God forbid the more honest approach – which would entail the green NGOs admitting their collusion with the city and the politicians in their determination to vilify fossil fuels. The corporate green campaign, built entirely on the back of unproven and dishonest CO2 propaganda, has resulted in a significant switch to eco-fuels which, in turn, has created a valuable new market for palm oil. The environmentalists’ blindsiding suggests they were strangely unprepared for their corporate chums’ opportunism.
Nobody but a greenie can blame the New Guineans for seeking to exploit their natural resources in exactly the same way that other countries have always done. And nobody but a greenie will deny that the market for eco-fuels is being largely driven as a direct result of their own, confused green agenda.
If the environmental lobbyists seriously believe their stories of imminent biodiversity collapse and mass extinctions resulting from the palm oil industry, they should back the use of coal, oil, nuclear and gas fracking: all are considerably less physically invasive than wall-to-wall palms and windmills. And as previously reported, the green solutions actually exacerbate the made-up problems they are supposed to cure.
But what of the conundrum at the heart of this story?
The green NGOs never tire of telling us that rainforests are vital habitats and should be preserved. However, I suggest that it is almost certain that all the new species found in New Guinea were found as the result of the forest clearance that facilitated palm oil production – the timing certainly fits. What’s more, all these new species appear to have survived deforestation unscathed – because if they hadn’t, I’m sure we would have been told.
The question arises, is it better that we discover and understand the full range of biodiversity or should we accept that some species will come and go unnoticed?
If the former, do we not have to accept that virgin habitat is counter-productive to our aim? If the latter, why are the unknown species less important than the species we know of? What would be the perfect green balance between known and unknown and by what authority would anybody make such a determination? It also stands to reason that ‘hidden’ extinctions take place when unknown species are over-run by a locally dominant species. Do we tolerate these as natural events and, if so, why is there not a comparable belief that our actions as the dominant species are not equally natural?
So, should we deforest or leave well alone? Either option involves a decision that will shape our world in different ways, but as greens regularly pursue the environmental status quo – to the extent that they are generally intolerant of human interactions with nature – neither course of action can meet with green approval: not without rank hypocrisy, anyway.
And therein lies the paradox. Whatever we might choose to do, we cannot satisfy the green movement.
The way forward is for our politicians to ignore them.