Nononono, not Roger Pielke Jr, Bjorn Lomborg, Willard Anthony Watts, or Matt King Coal Ridley.
Recently as steam has run out on "Coal for Africa" with the falling prices of renewables making them the power source of choice in the third world, especially the rural third world, we have, courtesy of the Breakthrough Institute, Ecomodernism, which, according to the manifestoso
In this, we affirm one long-standing environmental ideal, that humanity must shrink its impacts on the environment to make more room for nature, while we reject another, that human societies must harmonize with nature to avoid economic and ecological collapse.It is worth asking how successful such attempts have been. Eli has learned a lot over the years about how humanity and the natural world are entangled, and how attempts to decouple them have not exactly worked out to plan. In the twentieth century those attempts were mostly the brainchildren of the "scientific" socialists, aka the communists. Marxism is industry oriented by birth, and to a marxist, such activities as farming, well, that can be improved on.
One of the best examples of early ecomodernism was China's Four Pests Campaign. Mao decided that there were four pests holding back China, mosquitoes, flies, rats, and sparrows.
according to environmental activist Dai Qing, "Mao knew nothing about animals. He didn't want to discuss his plan or listen to experts. He just decided that the 'four pests' should be killed."It is amusing to note the marxist roots of today's ecomodernism, the next bright shiny thing being rolled out to block action on real environmental problems.
Moreover, the idea fit in quite well with Mao's hard-line totalitarian Communist ideology. Marx himself was far from an environmentalist, proclaiming that nature should be fully exploited by humans for production purposes (a legacy which may explain China's poor environmental track record to this very day).
Well, what happened? It turned out that of the four pests, the poor sparrow was the one that pissed the powers that be off the most because it ate a lot of grain. China was mobilized, the birds in hundreds of millions were killed. Details at the link. They became extinct in China.
And in the ecomodernist dream world there was lots of food. Sadly not, because in addition to the grain seed, the birds ate a lot of insects
But the damage was done — and the situation got progressively worse. Locust populations swarmed the countryside with no sparrows in sight. Things got so bad that the Chinese government started importing sparrows from the Soviet Union. The overflow of insects, plus the added effects of widespread deforestation and misuse of poisons and pesticides, were a significant contributor to the Great Chinese Famine (1958-1961) in which an estimated 30 million people died of starvation.