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Some greens have seen the light on nuclear power and GM food. It’s a start.

Update: I’d like to add one thing to the story
below. Stewart Brand, who I know and admire, played a prominent
part in the Channel 4 film. He’s not a `convert’ to these views. He
has always been strongly pro-GM food and mildly pro-nuclear. So my
comments here were not aimed at him.


Last night saw a TV programme in the UK called What the Green Movement Got Wrong, in which
various greens admitted that they had done terrible harm by
opposing nuclear power and GM food and indoor DDT. It was a pretty
good programme, especially on Chernobyl.

But my first instinct was to say would it not be nice if the TV
channels gave space to those who got these issues right from the
start, rather than celebrating the converts? Or as James Delingpole puts it:

But why, pray, do they deserve any credit for
reaching conclusions that those of us who aren’t blinkered
eco-zealots reached years ago?

What about the hundreds – perhaps thousands –
of starving Zambians who died in the 2002 famine when, thanks to
the misinformed campaigning of green activists like Lynas, the
Zambian government refused to distribute US foreign aid packages of
GM food?

What about all the honest, decent scientists
and agricultural engineers and nuclear workers whose career path
was stymied as a result of green hysteria?

My second instinct was to notice the glaring inconsistency in
not even nodding at the possibility that if catastrophic
prognostication was wrong for those issues, it might be wrong for
climate change too. Or as Delingpole puts it so well:

Had these Greenies been capable of a scrap of
insight or self-analysis, they would have understood that the
current (now fading) hysteria about AGW comes from exactly the same
school of junk science and muddled thinking that gave us Atomkraft
Nein Danke and know-nothing idiots in masks and white jumpsuits
(Lynas among them) destroying fields of GM crops.

My third instinct, though, is that hard as it is, we must
welcome the apostates. Their conversion will do far more to worry
the green movement than our effusions.

During the debate programme that came afterwards, Monbiot was
allowed to get away with outrageous nonsense that the alarmists are
being outspent by the sinister right-wing sceptic conspiracy with
its `hundreds of millions of dollars’. He was sitting next to
representatives of Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. The latter
alone spends $2.2 billion in ten years!!! Then there
is the United Nations, lots of governments, most universities, most
big corporations, the Grantham Institute, scores of pressure
groups, the BBC, the Guardian, etc etc etc. The alarm industry is
far, far better funded than the sceptics.

By Matt Ridley | Tagged:  general  rational-optimist