I don’t know whether the author is over-writing this piece or whether I’m just tired, but I’m finding this slightly dense reading. The gist, however, is that environmentalists apparently are having trouble expanding their vision beyond a fairly narrow focus:
…the recent focus of energy thinking has been particularly concentrated on the ways and means of reducing carbon emissions and, linked with that, cutting down energy use, rather than taking energy use as essential for conquering poverty and seeing the environmental challenge within a more comprehensive understanding. There would appear to be an insufficient recognition in global discussion of the need for increased power in the poorer countries. In India, for example, about a third of the people do not have any power connection at all. Making it easier to produce energy with better environmental correlates (and greater efficiency of energy use) may be a contribution not just to environmental planning, but also to making it possible for a great many deprived people to lead a fuller and freer life.
The problem here is this: The New Republic has made the mistake – and many, many people make this mistake – as treating hardcore environmentalists as anything except devout religious believers. Frankly, most Greenies don’t care if India has an awful power distribution grid. If they cared they’d do something about it. (more…)