Phoney ambition 2009

In: Uncategorized

2 Jan 2009

Andrew Simms, the policy director of the New Economics Foundation (NEF), provides a typical example of environmentalism’s phoney ambition in his New Year’s Day comment piece for Britain’s Guardian newspaper. In response to what he calls “climate upheaval” he urges readers to: “squeeze those eyes open to 2009, and history tells us great things are possible. We are still in control. We just need to build, rapidly, new energy and transport systems and change our behaviour.”

Simms is certainly right when he points to the great achievements of the Victorian engineers of the mid-nineteenth century. But their goal was to build huge amounts of railway track to enhance mobility. In contrast, he says in his article he wants to “get people out of their cars”. Although Simms says he supports cleaner transport as an alternative it is hard to avoid the conclusion that he is anti-mobility, or at least would like to see it restricted, given his opposition to cars along with the NEF’s emphasis on local communities. A similarly narrow attitude is apparent in the emphasis on renewable energy when more high technology sources are needed to provide the world with the energy it needs.