The World Wildlife Fund, the posh flagship of the global environmentalist movement, has just released its biennial publication assessing “the state of the planet.” Entitled “Living Planet Report 2012,” the publication bemoans alleged catastrophic effects that humanity is inflicting upon the Earth, and calls for drastic curbs on civilization as a necessary corrective measure.
According to the WWF, the human race is currently consuming at a rate that would be sustainable only if we had 1.5 Earths. Since we do not, overall human activity needs to be reduced by 33 percent to put mankind “in balance with the Earth’s biocapacity.”
The WWF amplified this thesis by determining how much acreage each person on Earth is using. With a total land mass of 12.6 billion hectares (a hectare is 10,000 square meters, or about 2.5 acres) and a population of 7 billion, there are now, on average, 1.8 hectares assignable to each person. However, according to the WWF, each American currently uses the resources of 7.2 hectares, so that if everyone lived like us, four Earths would be required. (The report does not consider productivity. For example, the fact that Americans on average produce eight times the per capita GDP and 24 times the number of inventions that non-Americans do goes unmentioned.) Even the living standards of countries like Botswana, Romania, and Iran, which score near the world average of 2.7 hectares used per capita, are still 50 percent too high.
No, if we are to live in harmony with nature, human consumption needs to be brought down to the consumption level of 1.8 hectares per capita. The feasibility of this is proven by the fact that this consumption level is currently being achieved by such model countries as Chad, Mali, and Sudan. In fact, even smaller “ecological footprints,” of less than 0.7 hectares per capita, are currently being demonstrated by the world’s top five environmental citizens, which are, from fifth to first place: Eritrea, Haiti, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, and, best of all, “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
So what is to be done? “The immediate focus must be on drastically shrinking the ecological footprint of high-income populations,” says the WWF. This can best be done by cutting carbon emissions. (The report presents no data showing what harm global warming may cause to wildlife.) The Kyoto Treaty’s target of reducing global carbon emissions to less than 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2020 (which would require cutting the world’s current 34 billion tons of annual CO2 emissions down to 18 billion tons over the next eight years) is insufficient, the report tells us. We must “increase the proportion of sustainable renewable energies in the global energy mix to at least 40 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.” As a means for achieving this impossible, economy-destroying objective, wind power — which kills innumerable birds — is strongly recommended, and the use of biomass — which can destroy natural habitats — is supported implicitly. But nuclear power, which draws on no resources used by the wild biosphere, goes unmentioned.
In order to enforce the policy of global impoverishment, governance in accord with a “one planet perspective” that “proposes to manage, govern, and share natural capital within the Earth’s ecological boundaries” is set forth. The proposed governing body will have the power to “redirect financial flows” and enforce “equitable resource governance,” which will “explicitly integrate population dynamics . . . and per capita consumption trends into national planning policies to support a better balance between population and available resources.” This will ensure that we “produce better” (“manage resources sustainably,” “scale up renewable energy production”), “consume more wisely” (“achieve low-footprint lifestyles,” “change energy consumption patterns”), and “preserve natural capital.”
Founded in 1961 by British Eugenics Society president Sir Julian Huxley and the Netherlands’ prince consort, Prince Bernhard, and supported over the years by a galaxy of aristocrats and jet-setters, the WWF (whose U.S. branch alone boasts an operating budget of $240 million per year) is the high church of the global environmentalist movement. It has used its considerable resources over the past half-century to take possession, directly or indirectly, of millions of square miles of land in Africa and remove them from the possibility of development. However, as the 2012 report shows, its core agenda goes well beyond the protection of wildlife. Rather, it is hunting bigger game.
The Earth is not endangered by humanity. But humanity is being seriously threatened by those who follow the guides of the WWF.
— Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Astronautics, a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy, and the author of Energy Victory. His newest book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism, has just been published by Encounter Books.