Brian Eller

Editor’s note: “The Right Way” is a political column from the conservative perspective. It will run side-by-side Jack Ingram’s “The Soapbox Diaries” every Tuesday.

During the month of January, Cal Poly has decided to implement a sustainability theme by bringing in speakers and creating related workshops.

The focus of the sustainability theme is to create awareness and to educate citizens so that they will consider this issue when creating, designing and using products.

However, underlying this theme appears to be a fear that continuing on our current path without such considerations will result in an environmental Armageddon, i.e. the end of mankind. And this result will occur very soon, if nothing is changed. This Armageddon could come in the form of global warming, resource depletion, or if you agree with keynote speaker John Peter Meyers, author of “Our Stolen Future,” chemical annihilation through some of our everyday household products.

However, I and many others (although you won’t see them on the speaker list for sustainability month) seriously doubt that we are facing impending doom due to any of these environmental factors (If doomsday in the form of an asteroid impact, nuclear attack or cataclysmic volcanic eruption occurs while reading this, don’t hold me accountable). In fact, I believe that acting on such assumptions is indeed very harmful.

Take for example, the Kyoto Protocol designed to tackle global warming, and a direct result of the environmental movement. While many scientists agree that global warming is occurring, many are seriously divided about the rate of warming, the consequences of this warming or whether the warming is the result of man, nature or a combination of the two, and ultimately whether we should take action or not.

This uncertainty surrounding global warming should give some pause. Applying the logic of the supporters of Kyoto, world governments should be spending enormous sums of money to defending against alien invasion, stopping the rise of killer robots or other possible, yet undetermined phenomena that could wipe us off the planet.

While scientists cannot accurately predict the impacts of Kyoto on the environment, economists can accurately tell us the economic impact of Kyoto if adopted. The cost for the United States alone is an estimated $94 trillion (in 1990 dollars). Think of what else $94 trillion could do: it could be used to combat poverty, develop a cure for AIDS, feed starving children, provide clean drinking water, control malaria or create a democratic and stable Iraq that could lead to the eventual democratization of the Middle East.

In the Copenhagen Consensus, a panel of eight specialists, including three Nobel Prize winners, was given a theoretical $50 billion to tackle the world’s leading problems. The Consensus ranked many proposals including the Kyoto Protocol, which it gave a rank of “bad,” meaning that the costs of adopting the proposal exceeded the benefits. In the words of Nobel Prize winner Douglass North “The benefits (of tackling climate change) are far into the future and the substantial costs are up front and immediate – Given the uncertainties associated with both the projections and the consequences, climate change cannot compete with the other urgent issues we confront.”

Michael Crichton drew an interesting analogy between global warming and another similar theory in his recent work “State of Fear.” This specific theory was taught in both colleges and high schools.

It was supported by presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Inventors Alexander Graham Bell supported the idea along with activist Margaret Sanger and Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University. Legislation to combat the impending crisis was passed in multiple states. Likewise, critics of the theory were labeled as reactionary, ignorant and blind.

This theory and the actions took in its name resulted in the death of millions. The theory is now seldom mentioned, and almost forgotten. The theory was not science at all, but actually pseudo science. The theory was that of eugenics, a theory which predicted a crisis in the gene pool caused by undesirables: Jews, blacks and immigrants that would cripple and destroy mankind.

The end result of this theory was the holocaust and the death of millions of Jews and other undesirables by the Nazis.

Brian Eller is a materials engineering sophomore and Mustang Daily columnist.

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