Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Deeper Perversity of Greenpeace China

In Ethical Oil, Ezra Levant finds the soft, vulnerable underbelly of a group that considers itself a world-class environmentalist rabble-rouser: Greenpeace China.

For a group that has prided itself on the ability to produce dramatic and stirring images -- small boats bobbing over calamitous waves while confronting gargantuan whaling ships, massive banners hung from flare stacks at Fort McMurray oilsands sites -- Greenpeace's relationship toward China has been remarkably docile.

As revealed by Levant -- well, perhaps Levant simply reminds readers more than revealing anything -- Greenpeace China, in order to simply exist at the mercy of an oppressive regime, must continually praise what it calls "progress" from China on environmental issues.

Yet, as part one of China reveals, China's environmental record is far from sparkling.

The rush to industrialize China at a rate faster than any previous in human history has led to environmental and human health disasters unimagined anywhere else in the world. In some places, toxic water has transformed cancer rates that were once believed to be one in 100,000 to one in 100 (although, to be entirely fair, some of the jump could be due to increased rates of detection as opposed to new cancers).

The images presented by Chinese activists in China are startling, and make anything produced by the most extreme anti-oilsands critics (such as "mutant fish" that are not actually mutated).

In fact, while China's environment brings cancer and death to so many of its citizens, Greenpeace China spends the bulk of its time complaining about recycling western celphones and disposable chopsticks.

To make matters worse, Chinese environmentalists who are not prepared to simply let these matters go out of deference to employment have very few resources available to them. Chinese law practically forbids suing the government, as lawyers are instructed that their prime goal is to ensure the continuation of the Communist Party political order... even if the communist economic order has long since been abandoned.

As badly as a lot of activists want to make the Fort McMurray oilsands the focus of the world's environmentalist rage, China is a much more dangerous polluter. As the film reveals, acid rain originating from sulphur dioxide emissions in China fall in Japan, Korea and probably Russia and India as well.

Yet Greenpeace refuses to drop the kid gloves with China.

Perhaps Ezra Levant is right: environmentalists love to pick on the oilsands because Canadians are so obliging as targets.

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