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« Media balance | Main | Are greens now the bad guys? »

The madness of the greens

The ability of green issues to make otherwise kind and decent people lose their grip on reality is always something to behold and there was an extraordinary example in the Guardian at the end of last week.

Take a look.

In a speech in Washington DC Rachel Kyte, the head of climate change at the World Bank, argued that the destitute of the developing world, who currently cook on wood and dung fires, would suffer increased levels of respiratory diseases if they got access to coal-fired grid electricity:

Do I think coal is the solution to poverty? There are more than 1 billion people today who have no access to energy,” Kyte said. Hooking them up to a coal-fired grid would not on its own wreck the planet, she went on. But Kyte added: “If they all had access to coal-fired power tomorrow their respiratory illness rates would go up, etc, etc …

In her defence she does seem to insinuate that this would be a price worth paying, but it's hard not to be left open-jawed at her believing something quite so preposterous.

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Reader Comments (25)

The comments are at their usual levels of stupid. I was almost tempted to add my own tuppenceworth: “Keep them poor; they then die young. Fewer poor. Simples!” but realised that would be a concept (in whatever way you want to look at it) that would be beyond their ken.

Aug 3, 2015 at 9:03 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

I wonder if they have ever thought of asking what poor people want?
Or indeed sought opinions from anybody outside their immediate circle.

Aug 3, 2015 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Graeme No. 3
Why would they do that? To seek others' opinions would imply that those others might have opinions that could improve their opinions. That, in the mind of the bien-pensants would be such a contradiction their brains would probably fry.
As for asking the poor what they want, how can the poor possibly have a view? What are you, some kind of weirdo?

I agree with you about the comments. I mean, where to start? Now those are serious weirdos!

Aug 3, 2015 at 9:18 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Do you really think she believes "something quite so preposterous", or is it it just repeating alarmist nonsense because her master want to hear it because the masses will unthinkingly believe it.

Aug 3, 2015 at 9:20 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Just had a twitter exchange on the issues of coal and health. I look up life expectancy at birth in the UK between 1750 and 2011. In 1750, what I have taken as the era of Big Coal, the life expectancy at birth was 37 years. In 2011 after 265 years of coal pollution and widespread respiratory disease the life expectancy at birth was 80 years.

Dangerous, you bet it is, during it's heyday humans, through the cheap energy it provided were able to bring themselves out of poverty and ill health into prosperity and good health. We can't have that because to the greens the problem isn't the environment it's humans.

Aug 3, 2015 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

The Green's attitude to the poor - I'm on the bus, ding the bell.


Aug 3, 2015 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

Twenty five years ago while on a short Safari in Tanzania after hiking up Kilimanjaro, I visited a Masai village. I noticed that many of the people there had eyes that looked reddish or bloodshot and when I was shown into one of their dwellings I was not surprised. They were full of smoke. The level of pollution indoors was obviously very high. No doubt it would have been better if they had placed their cooking fires outside but although it was near the equator it could get quite cold in the evenings and early mornings at that altitude.

I hope things have improved for the Masai in the past 25 years. Does Rachel Kyte share that hope, I wonder?

Aug 3, 2015 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

The arrogance of the greens, the World Bank and most politicians in the developed world on this issue is staggering. It is no problem for India and China to greatly expand their coal burning; we in Europe can continue to burn coal (witness Germany which is building 19 new coal power stations) but the poor Africans must never be allowed to burn coal, benefit from reliable cheap energy and develop their economies and leave poverty behind. This is a despicable and arguably racist policy.

I wonder if Rachel Kyte or anyone else in the World Bank has ever tried to run a washing machine off a solar panel and battery system:

The Magic Washing Machine - Prof. Hans Rosling.

Aug 3, 2015 at 10:23 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Nothing that these lunatics say surprises me any more.

Aug 3, 2015 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Black is white, up is down, hot is cold etc. If that requires them to lie about health issues, so be it. Anything goes in climate la-la land these days just so long as it propagates their sacred theory.

Aug 3, 2015 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

She is, presumably from her position, no fool. But I fear her intelligence is being used exclusively to further her own career rather than help others in the wider world. Not least those who would benefit massively from coal-fired power stations in India and other places. We in the industrialised world would also benefit somewhat as well, since lower energy costs and the development of exportable technology for advanced power stations would be good for our economy and the environment.

Aug 3, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

You know those surveys that report the population as putting global warming rock-bottom on the list of things of any importance to them....?

...I think some other people see those results and then tell themselves "That means I can say absolutely anything I want about it, 100% wrong, lie, and nobody will care except my 'green' masters who have issued these edicts.

Aug 3, 2015 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Reading the nutty comments under the Grauniad article, at least one of the greenie idiots suggests that solar needs to be installed in African villages so they have access to the following essentials:
LED lighting and mobile phone chargers.


Aug 3, 2015 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered Commenterdavid smith

Andrew, the Guardian (because it is living off auto-trader funds and doesn't need readers) is trying to almost single handedly save the Dead Parrot Talks** in Paris from being a total disaster. As such it is currently running about three global warming stories a day - and as there aren't that many stories, they are having to fabricate them with an inevitable decline in quality (below even the Guardian norm).

**The Dead Parrot = global warming

Summary: Monty python man goes into a pet shop to complain about a dead parrot which was only on the perch because it was "nailed there". He had been told the reason for its inactivity was because it was "shagged out after a long squawk".

Aug 3, 2015 at 11:38 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

John Shade: She may be intelligent, but comes across to me as purposely ignorant. I just read a profile on her over at the FT. Her belief - her 'feelings' - that excessive bad weather/storms are the result of CC, when any check on the statistics of weather would puncture that belief lead me to think she is a dangerous person. Instead of trying to lift the poor of the Third World out of poverty by helping them develop cheap electricity supplies she prattles on about " the developed world should invest more in natural disaster preparation".

Aug 3, 2015 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

MikeHaseler: The Guardian is only living off the Auto-trader funds because it sold AT last year. It's mainly living off it's tax fiddling Trust held in an offshore company. They are in the same boat as Starbucks and Amazon - 'though I prefer Amazon's business to the Guardian's.

Aug 3, 2015 at 11:58 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

A conspiracy to keep the poor in rags and the rich in power would look exactly the same as what the modern "green" preaches.

The warm-mongers have come up with a hypothetical crisis that requires the children of the poor to die so the children of the rich inherit a better world. And if the hypothesis proves false and the crisis turns out not to exist, well, it is the children of the poor the ones that have died.

It is repugnant.

Aug 3, 2015 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

david smith 11:26, unless remote African villages have access to solar power, how are they supposed to connect to the Internet, and read Guardian fairy stories, about how wonderful their short miserable lives are?

Some of the Guardian commemters really ought to swap lives with the poor in foreign lands. The poor would love it, and the rest of the world will reap the benefits of life continuing without homicidal personality disorders, as their DNA deficiencies are unlikely to survive the demands of Mother Nature.

Aug 3, 2015 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Geronimo, the Guardian, the commenters and the Climate Change Representative of the World Bank all make the same mistake with respect to externalities. It's the mistake you have pointed out.

1) That externalities are positive as well as negative.
2) It is clear from studying countries with different levels of economic development (or studying history, as you did) that the positive externalities outweigh the negative externalities for the introduction of coal power over no development.
3) Economic development happens quickest when the costs are lowest – that means coal brings the benefits quicker than any other source of power (with rare geographical exceptions where hydro or geothermal are viable).

The mistake they make is to think that the negative externalities of coal outweigh the positive externalities of quick development. And the Third World knows that’s a mistake.
That’s why the Third World is ignoring the Guardian viewpoint on this matter.

Aug 3, 2015 at 12:06 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

M Courtney, nicely put, again!

The problem comes with what you have identified in the final line. If only the BBC and politicians would side with the needs of the people of the developing world, not the Guardian's dogma.

The Guardian's Keep It In the Ground campaign, is slowly burying the Guardian.

Aug 3, 2015 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The Guardian's Keep It In the Ground campaign, is slowly burying the Guardian.
And it's a terrible loss to the Left that we no longer have a broadsheet that sides with the poor and disadvantaged.

The Left ought to prioritise justice over wealth (both are good, of course) to build a better society.
But the Guardian has become Green instead of Left.

(Note: You don't have to agree with the policies of the Left or our aims. But it does need to be acknowledged that the Guardian doesn't agree with the Left anymore, either).

Aug 3, 2015 at 1:47 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

They count the pollution from a power plant without subtracting the indoor pollution from open wood fires. Selective attention from people who can only carry a single thought at a time...

Aug 3, 2015 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig Loehle

Only tangentially connected, but a few days ago our host reported on Mark Wilson of Aviva forecasting the end times.
Yesterday we had a guy called Steve Halliday (not Doc) chief executive of National Grid convienced that the end is nigh due to global warming.
He was writing on page 4 of the Sunday Telegraph business pages.
For shame this is the only print propaganda which nowadays crosses our threshold.
The reason for this is solely to read Bookers column.
Then this morning we had the biased BBC headlining OBarmys efforts to end grown up power generation.
It caused me to wonder if there might be a conference of some sort coming up.
We should be told.

Aug 3, 2015 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterwaterside4

M Courtney, as someone who is, on balance, right of centre, I agree again. On todays other thread, the SNP are digging a parallel hole for Power in Scotland.

That wealthy people and corporations get wealthier out of Green doctrine, at disproportionate cost to the less well off, will not be appreciated, until it loses legislative support.

The Peace Dividend, has been wasted on fighting wars for the Greens.

Aug 3, 2015 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Don't forget that many of the Great and Good believe in eugenics - so "keep them poor and they will die off". Which presumeably is why the World Bank is refusing to advance loans to build coal fired power stations in developing countries.

Aug 3, 2015 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterDizzy Ringo

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