Real Environmentalists Should Support Trump – Here Is Why

by | Mar 3, 2020 |

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The President is right – prosperity boosts environmental quality – 
It is a commonly held belief that advances in an industrial society lead to impairment of the environment. It is also a common mistake. While poor communities are usually willing to make sacrifices for some very basic components of environmental improvement such as safe drinking water and waste disposal, greater protections are not often instituted. However, as income rises, citizens raise their environmental goals and willingness to pay for a cleaner environment.
As early as 1943, prominent American psychologist Abraham Maslow showed that, once the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter are met in a society, people may demand less critical options such as greater environmental protection. These might deal with such things as cleaner air and rivers, recreation and the setting aside of protected wildlife areas. These less personal demands are usually more community-focused. Clearly, with higher incomes, citizens place a greater priority on their environment. This most definitely occurred in America following the post–World War II economic expansion, which is sometimes referred to as the golden age of capitalism.
This powerful correlation between increasing affluence and the emergence of quality of life issues was first documented in the 1950s by American economist and statistician, Simon Kuznets, the winner of the 1971 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. It led to the development of the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC), shown below as extracted from Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels (CCRII: Fossil Fuels), a 780-page report issued last year by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). It has been demonstrated to be applicable in both the developed and developing world.

Strident environmentalists have long ignored, misunderstood or downplayed these issues in order to support their own goals. They instead have viewed all economic growth as the cause rather than the solution to environmental problems.
A study by D. Coursey in 1992, found that the willingness of citizens to spend and sacrifice for a better environment rose twice as fast as per-capita income. CCR-II: Fossil Fuels explains, “Conversely, willingness and ability to pay for a better environment falls with falling income.”
The EKC diagram shows that, as development begins, environmental degradation increases until a per-capita income tipping point is reached, after which the environment begins to improve. CCR-II: Fossil Fuels cites a study by Grossman and Krueger (1995) on air quality that has shown that it tends to deteriorate until per-capita income reaches between $6,000 and $8,000 per year (in 1985 dollars), after which it begins to improve sharply. CCR-II: Fossil Fuels concludes: “Later research confirmed similar relationships for a wide range of countries and air quality, water quality, and other measures of environmental protection.”
Prior to the recognition of the Environmental Kuznets Curves (EKCs), many well-informed people also believed that richer economies damaged and even destroyed their natural resource endowments at a faster pace than poorer ones. They believed that a quality environment could only be achieved by avoiding industrialization and the drive to increase personal income.
At first, the EKC appeared to be a contradiction of such beliefs but it is now widely accepted by economists and environmentalists who are able to free themselves from partisan politics long enough to rationally examine how the real world works.
There is not a single EKC relationship between wealth and environmental improvement for all pollutants, places and times, but the relationship in the diagram above is always closely adhered to.

Factors such as strength of democratic institutions, levels of educational achievement, and income equality also play important roles in environmental protection. However, prosperity obviously has a beneficial effect on these variables. It is essentially a positive feedback mechanism.

In the final analysis, the productivity and wealth of nations depends more on their institutions, laws, incentives and regulations than on their natural resources. Countries where private property rights are defined, protected and tradable have significantly greater per capital wealth, economic growth rates and rising standards of public health along with environmental quality.
Throughout the last century of socialist governments in countries such as Cuba, Russia, China and Venezuela, all of the above-mentioned values have suffered and the impact on environmental protection has been devastating. Yet, ironically, some of those currently seeking the US presidency maintain that they are strong environmentalists while, at the same time, preaching a form of government that has never achieved environmental quality.
In contrast, President Donald Trump is well aware that, without prosperity, we cannot afford to protect the environment. Trump’s Earth Day Statement last year summed up the situation perfectly:

“Environmental protection and economic prosperity go hand in hand. A strong market economy is essential to protecting our critical natural resources and fostering a legacy of conservation.”

Environmentalists who care more for protecting nature than aligning with their traditional allies should be supporting the President, not opposing him.
Note: Portions of this article were excerpted from Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels (CCRII: Fossil Fuels), produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) published by The Heartland Institute, with permission of the editors Joseph Bast and Diane Bast. The authors strongly recommend the book for a complete expo of the fallacies behind the climate delusion.

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Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He has 40 years experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, technical trainer, and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic in Canada’s Parliament.

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Dave James
Dave James
2 years ago

Dr. Jay Lehr and Mr. Tom Harris are suppose to be members of “a non-partisan group of independent scientists, economists and energy and policy experts who are working to promote better understanding of climate science and policy worldwide.” (Source International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) website) However, opinion pieces like this one show Mr. Harris and Dr. Lehr are far more interested in promoting their political agenda that understanding climate science.
Mr. Harris and Dr. Lehr assert “some of those currently seeking the US presidency maintain that they are strong environmentalists while, at the same time, preaching a form of government that has never achieved environmental quality.” Dr. Lehr and Mr. Harris are making a partisan political argument rather than a scientific argument. Lehr and Harris assert that Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are advocates of soviet style socialism of the last century. Mr. Harris and Dr. Lehr confuse social democracy with soviet communism. The social democracies of western Europe have strong economies with strong environmental regulations.
Mr. Harris and Dr. Lehr have an agenda but it is not science. For example: Dr. Jay Lehr and Mr. Tom Harris claim that GOP leaders should decide their position on climate change based on “political strategy” rather than scientific evidence.
They castigated Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Trump appointee Neil Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for accepting the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change. Dr. Lehr & Mr. Harris asserts these Republicans are “…abandoning their base and supporting the climate scare is terrible political strategy for Republicans…” (Source “Conservatives Must Stand Up to Climate Change Bullying” by Tom Harris and Dr. Jay Lehr, May 9, 2019, PJ Media)

Tom Harris
Reply to  Dave James
2 years ago

Dave James’ usual nonsense. The fact that we boost Trump’s position on prosperity and the environment is not partisan. We would boost the Dems position if it was the right one. But, as we demonstrate, their position actually acts against environmental protection.
This Disqus profile – https://disqus.com/by/disqus_JzQ88MTX2I/following/ – shows that since March 31, 2016, Mr. James has made 4,565 comments. Here is a sample of some of his many, many posts apparently trying to discredit my writings in online article comment sections: https://www.google.ca/search?site=&source=hp&q=%22Tom+Harris%22+%22Dave+James%22&gws_rd=cr&ei=nyGDWefuDavcjwSb-oK4DA . I already explained to Mr. James that many of his points are either wrong or misleading . I will not waste any more time explaining this to him, unless other people bring up the same or similar questions.

Dave James
Dave James
Reply to  Tom Harris
2 years ago

Tom Harris admits his and Dr. Jay Lehr’s opinion piece boosts Trump’s position. Boosting a political position of President Trump or Bernie Sanders, or any politician is not the role of a “non-partisan group of independent scientists, economists and energy and policy experts who are working to promote better understanding of climate science and policy worldwide.”
Mr. Harris asserts that he and Dr. Lehr showed Dem position “actually acts against environmental protection.” Mr. Harris is mistaken. Like the comparisons of social security to communism or the comparisons of medicare to communism, Mr. Harris’ comparing Democrats to soviet style socialism of the last century is a false argument.
It is not my words which impact Mr. Harris’ credibility but his.

Thomas Harris
Reply to  Dave James
2 years ago

Wrong. Boosting a position on any topic is simply that. Nothing more.
Rather than attacking the messenger, do you have any comment on the content of the article?

Dave James
Dave James
Reply to  Thomas Harris
2 years ago

Pointing out Mr. Tom Harris’ and Dr. Jay Lehr’s arguments are partisan and political rather than scientific is a polite and a direct criticism of the content of their opinion piece. In sharp contrast Mr. Harris comments like “stalker “Dave James” are petty insults. Attacking me rather than my arguments.
If you claim to be independent and non-partisan group that is interested in climate science, then you should not be making partisan arguments and boosting President Trump.
During the 2016 election Mr. Harris wrote a series of opinion pieces demanding GOP leaders follow Donald Trump. According to Mr. Harris, “GOP candidates must follow Trump’s lead (on climate change)…” because of “Trump’s assertive approach to climate change…” (Source “GOP Must Follow Trump’s Lead on Climate Change” by Tom Harris, Sep 5, 2016, Epoch Times)

Tom Harris
2 years ago

Russell Cook just posted the following on my FB page concerning the attack by “Dave James”:
“The “usual attacker” being Tom’s comments section stalker “Dave James,” a critic who’s appeared at practically every article, op-ed, letter-to-the-editor Tom has written over the last 4 years. For those unaware of it, I essentially asked that “Dave James” guy at this prior Harris & Lehr article comment section https://americaoutloud.com/trump-must-pull-the-us-out…/… if he ever used more than one commenter user account to criticize Tom, and he of course sidestepped that. Much as I’d like to go a few more rounds with this character who does little more than cut ‘n paste prewritten screeds against Tom and Jay Lehr, I think I’ll sit this new effort out. It feels like ol’ Dave reduces my IQ by 10 points every time I try to dispute the collective folly of what he does. But I won’t discourage others from tormenting the guy about his blatant concept comprehension shortcomings, that’s where “Dave” is painfully vulnerable.””

Dave James
Dave James
Reply to  Tom Harris
2 years ago

Rather than provide a cogent defense of his opinion piece, Tom Harris repeats speculation and insults by Russell Cook. While Mr. Harris’ personal attacks have no impact on me, they shows the weakness of Mr. Harris arguments.
Russell Cook is a blogger and a fellow Heartland associate of Mr. Harris. (Source archived bio of Russell Cook on the Heartland website) One of Mr. Cook’s roles according to Mr. Harris is “get in and fight back” in comment sections with people who take issue with false and misleading op-eds by Heartland associates. (Source “Exploratory Journeys with Tom Harris” Episode – 17, Nov 27, 2019: Tom interviews Russell Cook)
Petty insults and speculation are not the basis of a well-reasoned post.

Mitchell McAleer
Mitchell McAleer
2 years ago

Mr James is clearly missing the point, and the science, on purpose in his rush to back shoot the messenger. ” A study by D. Coursey in 1992, found that the willingness of citizens to spend and sacrifice for a better environment rose twice as fast as per-capita income. CCR-II: Fossil Fuels explains, “Conversely, willingness and ability to pay for a better environment falls with falling income.” That’s science, and the science of how to save the planet from humanity. Controlling CO2 emission via a carbon tax is theft, based on a pack of lies, and missing from mr Jame’s vindictive, back biting spew.

Dale Mullen
Dale Mullen
Reply to  Mitchell McAleer
2 years ago

Mitchell: Internet stalker, Dave James always misses the point and seemingly, it is intentional, if we are to assume that he is even half the wit he would have us believe. Simply making comments suggesting that the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming fraud is anything other than the tax grab, wealth redistribution, and mega-billionaire scheme it really is, would suggest a level of naivety on par with those who fear space invaders, werewolves, vampires, and the Sasquatch. This is one of the first signs that he can’t be anywhere close to being serious.
Realizing this and witnessing his troll-like actions and infatuation with Tom Harris, suggests that he likely never meant to be serious in the first place but rather is simply a bashful admirer. The best response therefore is to completely ignore him and his shenanigans until such time that he matures and grows out of his self-developed nonsense role. That may take a while…

Dave James
Dave James
Reply to  Dale Mullen
2 years ago

Dale Mullen has nothing rational to offer so attacks me rather that attacking my arguments. Mr. Mullen asserts the human-caused climate change is a “…tax grab, wealth redistribution, and mega-billionaire scheme…” Mr. Mullen’s assertion is not supported by the scientific evidence. (Source 4th National Climate Assessment, Volume I)
Polite and well-supported arguments are far more persuasive than unsupported conspiracy theories and childish name-calling.

Dave James
Dave James
Reply to  Mitchell McAleer
2 years ago

Mr. Mitchell McAleer: Dr. Donald Coursey is an economists and fellow associate of Heartland Institute of Dr. Jay Lehr and Mr. Tom Harris. (Source DON COURSEY bio on the Heartland Institute website) Asserting Dr. Coursey’s 1992 economics paper is “the science of how to save the planet from humanity” is dubious.
Mr. McAlleer asserts “Controlling CO2 emission via a carbon tax is theft, based on a pack of lies, and missing from mr Jame’s vindictive, back biting spew.” Mr. McAlleer is clearly angry but he criticizes me for an argument I did not make. I’ve written nothing about a carbon tax in this comment section. Mr. McAlleer does not explain assertion that a carbon tax is theft.

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