[Editor Note: Part I yesterday outlined the continuing problems of eco-imperialism at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which uses taxpayer dollars to pursue Obama-era climate objectives. The post ended with the tension of such deep state eco-imperialism with humanitarian ends. Part II today examines the negative impacts of renewable energies from taxpayer subsidies, as well as USAID’s ignoring the true issue of infectious diseases.]
“The Climate Change Strategy is a green cancer that has spread throughout USAID. It is eco-imperialist, carbon colonialist and callously inhumane. It violates the most basic human right to have access to the modern energy, agricultural, disease control, and other technologies that create the jobs, living standards, leisure time, health, prosperity and longevity that we in developed nations almost take as our birthright.”
Problem 2: Ecological Problems of USAID Energy Subsidies
Obama era climate and sustainability policies also fail every ecological test. As multiple articles have pointed out (here, here and here, for example), “clean renewable” energy requires vast amounts of land, concrete, steel, copper, rare earth elements, lithium, cobalt, petrochemicals and other raw materials. All require extensive mining, processing and manufacturing – using fossil fuels.
But the pollution, CO2 emissions and other impacts are in somebody else’s backyard. So it’s OK.
However, the USAID Climate Strategy doesn’t just oppose fossil fuels for generating electricity. Under the benign sounding terminology of “preserving landscapes,” it also opposes “deforestation” – clearing land for farming. (This makes the USAID the ultimate Agenda 21 land use arbiter.)
“Deforestation” is a major offense in “manmade climate chaos” circles because, they say, it eliminates “carbon sinks” and produces greenhouse gases. The fact that people in poor countries also turn forests into firewood and charcoal – because they don’t have coal, natural gas or electricity – escapes them.
Even crazier, under extremist “Agro-Ecology” principles, “environmentally conscious” activists and bureaucrats oppose the use of hybrid and genetically engineered crops, chemical fertilizers and insecticides, even tractors and other machinery. These policies reduce crop yields per acre, require that more land be cultivated to feed people, and demand far more back-breaking, dawn-to-dusk labor.
And then USAID and rabid greens say, Don’t clear more land for food production!
But apparently there is no climate or ecological problem if large forest areas are cut down for wind farms, solar panels or canola, corn (maize), and soy biofuel plantations. Or if thousands of acres of forest habitats are converted into wood pellets for electricity generation in Britain, to reduce coal burning.
In fact, American and Canadian companies are cutting down thousands of acres of forest habitats, and turning millions of trees into wood pellets, which they then truck to coastal ports and transport on oil-fueled cargo ships to England. There the pellets are hauled by train to the Drax Power Plant and burned to generate electricity, so the UK can meet its renewable fuel targets!
That way, Britain avoids burning coal, and doesn’t even have to burn natural gas that it actually has in abundance but has thus far taken only a few baby steps to develop via fracking.
So when USAID says its policies ensure “more stable and prosperous futures” for its “partners” and creating “new markets for clean technology and expansion of the green economy” – what it really means is that the agency is improving the bottom line for members of the climate and renewable energy cabal, at the enormous expense of nearly everyone else, especially Third World families.
Problem 3: Climate Policies vs. Infectious Disease Prevention
A decade ago, USAID finally put DDT back in its anti-malaria arsenal, so that the walls and doorways of mud-and-thatch, cinderblock, and other primitive homes could be sprayed with the most powerful and long-lasting mosquito repellant ever invented. One DDT spraying every six months keeps the vast majority of these flying killers out, irritates those which do enter so that they don’t bite, and kills any that land.
DDT thus reduces malaria infections by 80% or more, making it far easier for inadequate and overtaxed doctors and healthcare systems to treat those who still get this vicious disease.
Sadly, the policy change came only after the global Kill Malarial Mosquitoes Now! campaign – led by three Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of prominent civil rights champions and people of faith – persuaded Congress to compel the agency to do so.
Today Deep State USAID bureaucrats seem determined to repeat this black mark in agency history, with millions more needless Third World deaths. This time, they’re not just blaming “manmade global warming” for spreading tropical diseases – an Al Gore myth that ignored malaria’s centuries-long prevalence in Britain, northern and central Europe, Virginia, Maryland, Wisconsin … and even Siberia.
USAID claims that deforestation and other land use changes also help spread infectious diseases. The agency has thus implemented an Infectious Disease Emergence and Economics of Altered Landscapes (IDEEAL) program. How it concocted these claims no one knows. But USAID asserts:
Over 60 percent of emerging infectious diseases over the past six decades – from SARS to Ebola and HIV – have originated in animals, with nearly half linked to land use change, agricultural intensification or changes in food production. Land alterations accelerate the pace and diversity of human and animal contact, enabling pathogens to spill over from animal populations, a first spark in the chain of events that ignite global pandemics. Deforestation and forest degradation account for between 14 to 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the entire global transportation sector. A key strategy in reducing the dual threats from diseases of pandemic potential and climate change is a robust evidence base that accurately captures the value of ecosystems, including their critical role in regulating disease.
The IDEEAL program specifically calls for USAID to use its enormous power to influence and further control land use policies in developing counties. In the agency’s own inimitable words:
Emerging infectious disease of pandemic potential and unchecked climate change threatens social and economic stability and represents significant impediments to sustainable development. Capturing the economic impact of disease emergence presents an opportunity to promote sustainable land use policies to mitigate these threats, leveraging USAID’s partnerships and expertise developing solutions to pressing development challenges.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill’s description of Russia, this policy justification is an absurdity, wrapped in a non sequitur inside a deception. It is such absolute rubbish, one scarcely knows where to begin.
That agriculture, pathogens, pandemics, deforestation, forest “degradation,” greenhouse gases, social stability, sustainability and Washington, DC-imposed land use policies are somehow inextricably linked is absurd on its face. Bald assertions by USAID do nothing to persuade otherwise.
Humans in poor countries have always been, and remain, in much closer contact with animals than those living in modern developed countries – where the vast majority of people live in urban and suburban areas, and modern mechanized agriculture feeds their national populations and exports food to the rest of the world. Diseases have arisen from human-to-animal contact for ages, but are spread more rapidly today because people are far more mobile and can rapidly travel across multiple borders before any infectious disease manifests itself.
Modern agriculture would greatly reduce human contact with wild and domesticated animals alike. And yet USAID climate and sustainability alarmists (and their allies) are intent on perpetuating ultra-organic subsistence farming in poor countries, while simultaneously restricting farmers’ land use options.
USAID seems to think that agriculture practices needed to feed growing populations are not merely “unsustainable” – but are not sustainable because they might cause dangerous climate change and pandemics. This is nonsense, but it is where the Climate Change Strategy takes the agency.
Land use changes and modern agriculture in America, Canada and Europe have not resulted in global pandemics, nor has climate change – “unchecked” or otherwise, manmade or natural. That poor countries would somehow have a 180-degree opposite experience defies logic, experience and common sense.
Whoever concocted this nonsense seems to be determined to expand their personal and USAID influence and control, to intrude in every corner of international life. They are equally determined to justify their agenda by resort to every faddish, fear-inspiring term they have set their eyes on. It is junk science and government overreach at its worst.
Conclusion: USAID Reset Urgent
The Climate Change Strategy is a green cancer that has spread throughout USAID. It is eco-imperialist, carbon colonialist, and callously inhumane. It violates the most basic human right to have access to the modern energy, agricultural, disease control, and other technologies that create the jobs, living standards, leisure time, health, prosperity and longevity that we in developed nations almost take as our birthright.
It is also racist – because its worst, most lethal effects fall on predominantly darker skinned people in poor countries.
This cancer must be pinpointed and excised wherever it resides. The bureaucrats who devised this carcinogenic policy must be rooted out – and replaced with people who believe in evidence-based science, human rights, and America’s proper and vital role in improving opportunities and lives.
Modern civilization is still over 80% reliant on the use of abundant, reliable, affordable fossil fuel energy: the Master Resource that makes everything else possible. Improving lives in the world’s poor countries will likewise depend on burning fossil fuels.
USAID should be leading the way in helping Earth’s poorest, most defenseless and politically powerless families realize their dreams of having lives akin to what average Americans enjoy. It should not be allied with despicable, tyrannical organizations that employ bogus justifications for inhumane policies … and share so much of the blame for perpetuating joblessness, poverty, misery, disease, malnutrition and premature death – in an era when eliminating those conditions should be no more than a generation away.
We trust that President Trump, Secretary of State Pompeo, Administrator Green, and Members of Congress – Republican and Democrat alike – will take steps immediately to rescind every vestige of this insane, inhumane policy.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of books and articles on energy, climate change and economic development. David Wojick is an independent analyst specializing in science and logic in public policy.