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 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 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 6:36 AM

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,

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


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Architect Stephen Francis Jones A24 3:01PM

UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for A24 12:34PM

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

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