We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Most of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The Environment is Always an Economic Boom: Debating the Rightwing

by Daniel Janett Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2003 at 2:36 PM

The five rightwing arguments for downsizing ecology are criticized. "Ecological moderniza-tion triggers innovations, creates jobs, opens up export chances and lowers health costs.. In Switzerland per capital energy consumption could be reduced two-thirds.."

The Environment is Always an Economic Boom

Rightwing circles remove environmental concerns from the political agenda. The five most common arguments are not convincing.

By Daniel Janett

[This article originally published in the Austrian Weltwoche 46/03 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.weltwoche.ch/ressort_bericht.asp?asset_id=6364&category_id=69.

Daniel Janett, 35, is a sociologist and director of a political research group.]

Besides the glacial ice, the importance of environmental policy silently melts away. In the 2003 waste disposal program, the government and parliament plan twice as much savings or cuts as in public administration. Despite clear energy-savings and employment effects, the “Energy Switzerland” program will be drastically cut. Parties and interest groups attack the environmental compatibility test and the grievance law, the core elements of Swiss environmental policy, according to an OECD-study. More than a third of the Swiss Diat supports a motion to dissolve the bureau. State-supporting institutions are not endangered in their existence. The assembly brushed off proposals for more energy efficiency, renewable energy and an ecologizing of tax policy while the Avanti-initiative for billions in constructing highway networks was widely accepted. Parts of the media shoot sparrows with cannons in assailing environmental policy and its supporters. They weaken the population’s awareness of problems. In 1990 the environment was an important problem for 70 percent of Swiss voters according to the Gfs-Institute. In 2002, 18 percent rated the environment as a crucial problem.

Political themes also have their boom seasons. However the continuous degrading of ecology cannot be explained with the customary attention cycles. How should this degrading be explained? What are the arguments of the rightwing for downsizing environmental policy?

“An Environmental Policy isn’t Necessary”

Firstly, referring to environmental successes, the air and water have actually become cleaner. Switzerland has done pioneering work in the waste area. Ecology was institutionalized in administration and science. This is gratifying but not a reason to end environmental policy. Ozone, nitrogen oxide and particle dust damage the biosphere and cause health coasts of seven billion francs. The waters are exposed to pollution by hormones and chemicals. 95 percent of indigenous amphibian species, 80 percent of reptile species and 45 percent of birds are regarded as extinct or very endangered. A third of the soil has lower soil fertility owing to erosion, hardening and pollutants. Despite the recession, the consumption of fossil energies increased 8.9 percent.

On the global plane, bright environmental optimism is much less appropriate. Emissions of fuel gases threaten to destabilize the world climate. According to the UN environmental agency, 150,000 square kilometers of forest are destroyed annually. A species destruction of geological dimensions is underway. Wildernesses grow; around a third of worldwide fish stocks are destroyed. Water scarcity leads to explosive distribution battles in different regions of the world. Environmental stress increases in the South through population growth and industrialization and in the North through unparalleled waste. If all people lived like an average US-American, three more planets would be necessary to cover the global demand according to the World watch Institute.

“Everything is only Scare-mongering”

The alleged alarmism of eco-experts is a second argument for the devaluation of environmental policy. Some predictions of environmental research were actually wrong or over-dramatized. Isn’t this true for all political fields? Are economic prognoses always correct? That certain scenarios have not occurred because politics was mobilized and innovations broke through like waste-gas catalysors and gas filters is important. The doom prophesies of environmental researchers were often justified, for example the destruction of the essential stratospheric ozone layer by fuel gases. This problem was denied for years under the pressure of shortsighted competitive interests until an internationally coordinated chlorophlorocarbon reduction began in the middle of the eighties. If politics waits for hundred-percent causal proofs, it will be too late. This is true for the risks of climate change. These risks are obviously enough to justify a substantial defensive policy in the sense of the precautionary principle.

“Voluntariness is More Effective”

Thirdly, there is the argument of the bureaucratic clumsiness of state environmental policy and the supposedly higher efficiency of voluntary measures of the economy. The successes of Swiss environmental policy recognized abroad would never have been accomplished with voluntary measures alone. Not much can be expected from voluntariness as along as the press doesn’t say the ecological truth. According to an ETH-study, Switzerland will greatly miss the CO2 reduction goal through voluntariness if enforceable measures are not taken at once. Corporations jumping on the bandwagon made voluntary financing for disposing glass bottles and batteries impossible. Not much is possible as long as social prestige is measured by ownership of gas-guzzling four-wheel drive vehicles. Fuel reduction for subcompacts also cannot be expected from the voluntary commitments of car importers. Voluntary environmental protection cannot succeed without a legal framework that charges the costs of consumption of nature to the causal agents and motivates them to economical use of resources.

“Single-Handed Efforts are Useless”

Fourthly, there is the globality of many environmental problems. Given the worldwide environmental encumbrances, a special engagement of Switzerland is futile or pointless, it is said. The individual’s use of the environment depends on the conduct of others on a small and large scale. If everyone waits for the first step of the other, the overexploitation of collective environmental goods is unavoidable. On the global plane, this vicious circle can only be escaped with clear rules of the gamed that are internationally agreed and obligatory in national law. Nearly all countries of the earth ratified the 1987 multilateral ozone agreement. Why can’t a similar agreement be ratified for climate protection or protection of species if enough states champion this? The environment has been one of the five priorities of Swiss foreign relations since the world summit of Rio. As a member of the UN, the WTO, the World Bank and other international organizations, Switzerland has many possibilities for an active environmental foreign policy, for example promoting the rapid conversion of the Kyoto protocol for protecting the atmosphere, financing international projects in developing countries or supporting a world trade order that doesn’t contradict the principles of sustainability. Pioneering nation-state initiatives are indispensable. Small states like Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands have profiled themselves in the last decades as pioneering ecological states and influence global policy. With their regulations, they have anticipated international solutions and their enterprises have gained competitive advantages.

“Environmental Protection is Too Expensive”

Fifthly and lastly, there are the costs. An engaged environmental policy simply cannot be financed given the continual growth crises, politicians and lobbyists complain. Certainly, ecological modernization is not free of charge. However ecological modernization also triggers innovations, creates jobs, opens up export chances and lowers environmentally caused health costs. According to the Federal office for statistics, the eco-industrial sector of Switzerland employed 50,000 workers in 1998 and had revenues amounting to 9.5 billion francs. According to the Berlin political scientist Martin Janicke, the environmental question is “an important dimension of the innovation competition between highly developed countries. A study of the World Economic Forum reveals a clear statistical connection between the competitiveness of a country and its environmental- and resource conservation policy.

Powerful interest groups consciously play down the economic benefit of ecological reconstruction. Renewable energy is one example. In Germany, this sector recently posted two-digit growth rates and employs more persons than the whole sphere of nuclear energy on account of its decentralized character according to the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. In Switzerland, per-capita energy consumption could be reduced two-thirds with the same quality of life according to an ETH-study. Appropriate technologies – from the zero-energy house and efficient subcompacts to materially efficient industrial production processes – are possible and offer disproportionate growth rates in the future. The Swiss have a series of products with excellent export chances. A model forecast expects a Swiss export volume of 2.3 billion Euros per year up to 2010 in energy efficiency and renewable energy. A new study of the ETH and the Paul Scherrer-Institute shows that thousands of jobs could be created in the private sector with domestic climate protection measures where small and medium businesses could profit.

The sickly economy and the crisis of public finances are not arguments to ignore environmental policy. Ecological modernization is not opposed to long-term prosperity but rather one of its central prerequisites. Instead of repressing environmental problems, we should give them a proper place on the political agenda again. Sustainable development isn’t a cranky idea of enemies of progress out of touch with reality but an indispensable reform project of the emerging world society that promotes innovation in every way.

Report this post as:

Local News

Woolsey Fire: Worst News of 2018? J01 12:18AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 4:03AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 3:58AM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Presents Night for Hope O30 5:38PM

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

FARCELONA 8.17.2017 J17 3:23PM



PR Debt Cancel, Judge Reviews Cofina Debt J16 9:04PM

Réseautage, fragmentation du capital J16 4:20PM

Paraphysique de manipulation mentale et sociale J15 9:51AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

Markets as a Fetish, Globalization, and Dissent Management J14 1:03PM

State Debts - The Primal German Fear J13 5:09PM

Sans liberté, sans égalité, sans fraternité J13 8:09AM

From Progressive Neoliberalism to Trump - and Beyond J12 9:22PM

Copper Cures Cancer J11 1:42PM

Steven Taylor, Investor who Evicts J11 9:24AM

Du sectarisme, des sectes, des clans J11 8:10AM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen J10 6:34PM

Patrick Kilpatrick discusses and signs Dying for Living J09 11:51PM

SexActs vs Sexuality USA 2018 Invitations to Power Marriages without Affection J09 8:36PM

Changer de mentalité, changer de société J09 9:17AM

Teacher Strike? Time for Labor Studies J09 6:26AM

December 2018 Honduras Coup Update J08 10:12PM

Paraphysique de la désespérance J07 9:38AM

The Unification Church with Rev Moon is in La and Orange Counnties J07 9:07AM

Time to Start Imagineering a Post-Ayatollah Iran J05 10:00PM

L'écomorphisme, du culturel et du temporel J05 10:33AM

Sexual Harassment Charges of Men Suing Women who are accused of Harassing Men are now 10% J05 4:08AM

Stases psychiques et stases sexuelles J04 11:34AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy