In order to describe my perception of a pragmatic environmentalist this page lists the principles that define that position. For my posts I am going to try to follow these Pragmatic Environmental Principles. Eventually there will be posts on each principle.
In almost all environmental issues there are two sides. Pragmatic environmentalism is all about balancing the risks and benefits of the two sides of the issue. In order to do that you have to show your work.
Sound bite descriptions necessarily only tell one side of the story. As a result they frequently are mis-leading, are not nuanced, or flat out wrong.
Alberto Brandolini: “The amount of energy necessary to refute BS is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”
Environmental initiatives often are presented simply as things we can do but do not consider that in order to implement those initiatives tradeoffs are required. Over at Climate Etc. the Planning Engineer said that when his children asked “Can we do this?” he used to annoy his children with the answer “We can do almost anything we want, but we can’t do everything.”
The more vociferous/louder the claims made by a stakeholder the more likely that the stakeholder is guilty of the same thing. This observation was explained better by Gary: My experience is that the things people complain about loudly are so very frequently the same things of which they also are guilty. The inability to see oneself realistically is a fascinating human trait.
Roger Pielke, Jr: The “iron law” simply states that while people are often willing to pay some price for achieving environmental objectives, that willingness has its limits.
Gresham’s Law is named after Sir Thomas Gresham, a 16th-century British financier who observed that “bad money drives out the good.” Lesser shows that green energy subsidies transfers wealth and does not create wealth. The subsidies or “bad” money take money out of the system that was “good” inasmuch as it was being used productively. In particular he notes that “subsidized renewable resources will drive out competitive generators, lead to higher electric prices, and reduce economic growth”.
Cliff Mass: The more extreme a climate or weather record is, the greater the contribution of natural variability.