One of the points which we have made here is that despite the faith many American greens put in the government, it is governments which are often the worst abusers of the environment. We have argued that the state is the greatest environmental ravager of them all.
We have also argued that respect for property rights (something governments often have a hard time with) and unsubsidized markets can be key in environmental preservation and sustainability generally.
Why are our coastlines decimated when a hurricane hits the East Coast? Because the government subsidizes the building of giant houses (for the relatively rich) on protective dunes.
Why doesn’t the Colorado River flow into the ocean anymore? Because we dammed it up to provide drinking water and energy for Las Vegas, a city which grew up in the middle of a desert.
Why were large swathes of the South Pacific irradiated and native islanders sickened and removed from their ancestral homelands? Because we decided that their land would make a nice place to test A-bombs.
And so on.
Governments are very often the problem when it comes to environmental issues. Not that one hears that much from (most) modern greens.
And if a government is particularly crony, like the one in Brazil for instance, then hey, watch out.
(From Amazon Watch)
This week Brazil has been roiled with heated protests and recurring calls for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff as revelations from the Lava Jato (“Car Wash”) corruption scandal have exposed a vast money-laundering operation, likely totaling at least R$10 billion (US $3.5 billion). A ruling Workers’ Party senator has testified that graft money skimmed from overpriced contracts to build the Belo Monte mega-dam was used to fund Rousseff’s election campaigns, and Dalton Avancini, the former CEO of Camargo Corrêa, one of Brazil’s largest construction companies, testified to public prosecutors that his company paid millions in bribes in exchange for contracts to build the giant and controversial dam on the Xingu River in the Amazon…
…Amazon Watch and our allies have long argued that the Belo Monte mega-dam project made no sensein terms of energy production or economics – especially taking into account the enormous environmental and social destruction it was certain to cause. The dam was constructed despite the steadfast resistance of the affected Kayapo and riverine peoples and in defiance of both national and worldwide condemnation. Time and again Brazil’s courts halted its construction and operation only to be ignored or overruled as the Dilma administration pressed on in its relentless efforts to make the Belo Monte monstrosity a symbol of her administration. Ironically, it has now become a symbol of her administration’s corruption.