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Has the climate change obsession harmed conservation?

For some time now I have been aware of environmentalists who
dislike the way their agendas have been hijacked by climate change.
The orthodox view is that climate change is raising the profile of
all environmental issues, but is it?

Can it really be easier to raise money for a wildlife
conservation project in Madagascar or Galapagos when everybody is
saying that the major threat is not habitat loss or invasive
species, but slow warming?

Can it really be helpful for bird conservation when green groups
take money from wind companies which kill golden eagles?

Can it really be helpful for rainforests when pressure groups
support biofuels that then destroy orang utan habitat?

Can it really be helpful for fish and coral conservation when so
much money gets spent on ocean acidification instead of

I would like to hear from some conservationists who feel this
way, even secretly.

Here’s a fine essay from the Globe and Mail by Margaret
Wente that makes the same point. An extract:

Before they were sucked into the
giant vortex of global warming, environmentalists did useful
things. They protested against massive Third World dams that would
ruin both natural and human habitats. They warned about invasive
species and diseases that could tear through our forests and wreck
our water systems. They fought for national parks and greenbelts
and protected areas. They talked about the big things too – such as
how the world could feed another three billion people without
destroying all the rain forests and running out of water. They
believed in conservation – conserving this beautiful planet of ours
from the worst of human despoliation – rather than false claims to
scientific certainty about the future, unenforceable treaties and
radical utopian social reform.


By Matt Ridley | Tagged:  rational-optimist