22 novembre 2016

La gauche anti-science

On entend souvent parler de la droite anti-science, qui nie la réalité de la crise climatique ou qui rejette l'évolution.

Mais la gauche aussi a ses coucous qui rejettent la science:

(...) Greenpeace is a perfect example of this. (...) Yet Greenpeace adherents despise nuclear power, which happens to be a powerful weapon in the fight against climate change. They (correctly) point to the fact that buried waste is a problem, but their objectivity, and sense of perspective, seems to stop there.

(...) In over 16,000 cumulative years of commercial nuclear power, less than a hundred or so have died from related radiation sickness. Compare this to the tens of millions of people that die every year from fossil fuel-based pollution, and add that to the millions more that die as an indirect result of fossil fuel-driven climate change, and it is clear that the threat of nuclear power is massively overstated.

(...) Nuclear power has a very low carbon footprint. A comprehensive study in 2008 found that modern nuclear power plants have a footprint 14.5 times lower than that of coal-fired plants and 6.7 times lower than natural gas-fired plants. A world running on nuclear and renewable power would produce magnitudes less carbon dioxide than the one we live in right now.

(...) The US, for example, has its own Green Party. It’s headed by Dr Jill Stein, who is a candidate for the US presidency. Although her viewpoints can seem appealing to her base of left-wing supporters, a closer look reveals that she is actually extremely unscientific in her approach.

Her party wishes to turn the US into a 100 percent renewable nation by 2030, something that practically speaking, is highly unfeasible. Stein’s party also has a distinctly anti-nuclear stance – a position shared by the UK Green Party, the Australian Greens, and similar groups from many other countries. Without nuclear power, climate change will march on.

Incidentally, Stein also believes that Wi-Fi is harmful to people’s health, which all evidence concludes that it is not. On this issue, she actually disagrees with her own manifesto, which calls for universal access to the Internet. A recent Reddit AMA revealed that she is still, at the very least, ambivalent about Wi-Fi.

Stein has also used some concerning language regarding vaccinations in the past, and her party only just this year removed its support of teaching and funding homeopathy from its manifesto. Worrying signs indeed.

(...) And then, there’s genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

GMO crops are primarily designed to become resistant to diseases, harsh environments, and to become unreliant on potentially toxic pesticides. As you are probably aware, they have been met with unyielding opposition from many green parties and groups, including Stein.

The Green Party's official position is to place a moratorium on GMOs. If this was to happen, the supply of life-saving insulin – which happens to be mostly made using GMO techniques – would collapse.

“Greenpeace is not opposed to biotechnology – nor the use of GMOs – in contained environments,” Johnston told IFLScience. “We remain opposed to releases of [GMO] crops to the wider environment.” This implies, quite oddly, that they should never leave the laboratory, which really is the end game of the research.

Let’s be clear: There is overwhelming scientific evidence that GMO crops, which mostly consist of maize and soybean, are safe for human consumption. A major report by the US National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released just this year was cited by Johnston to conclude that there is no consensus on the safety and effectiveness of GMO crops, but a reading of the study shows that almost the exact opposite is true.

It points out that, with some minor exceptions, GMO crops “have generally had favorable economic outcomes for producers,” noting that crops with insect-resistant genes “decreased yield losses and the use of insecticides on small and large farms” with respect to non-GMO varieties.

After examining a plethora of experimental studies and long-term data on livestock and human health, the committee found “no substantiated evidence that foods from GE crops were less safe than foods from non-GE crops.

When it comes to GMOs, many “green” politicians are worried about large, opaque conglomerates like Monsanto owning too much of the world’s food supply. Although this type of monopoly is a legitimate concern – as is their overuse of potentially harmful pesticides – it does not make GMOs themselves dangerous.

Regardless, groups like Stein’s and Greenpeace strongly adhere to the idea that they are. They are not teaching people to be skeptical about GMOs, but rather advocating outright opposition against the technology regardless of the available evidence.

GMO crops are sometimes specifically manufactured to save lives. Golden Rice – a project funded and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – is an excellent example of this. It is a variety of the common crop that has more vitamin A in it that usual.

It’s designed to be grown in parts of the world where populations suffer from major deficiencies in it. At best, they go blind; at worst, they die – and 2 million a year do.

Although more testing is required, Golden Rice has shown promise in fixing this problem effectively and quickly. Greenpeace nevertheless protest it without scientific reason to do so, potentially endangering millions of lives every year. Over 100 Nobel laureates have asked them to stop spreading what they consider to be misinformation about the subject, but to no avail.

(...) Remember: There is nothing wrong with being a skeptic, and environmentalism is a cause worth fighting for, but you need to arm yourself with the correct information before you head out to battle. Otherwise, you could be perpetuating a great harm. Do your research and check your sources.

You don’t always have to be on the right of the political spectrum to be wrong on the science.

7 commentaires:

Hans Georg Lundahl a dit…

In over 16,000 cumulative years of commercial nuclear power

Explication, s v p?

fylouz a dit…

Des centrales nucléaires, il y en a un paquet en France. Si tu savais toutes les merdes qui paraissent à leur sujet. Ça tombe tout le temps en panne, c'est non sécuritaire, c'est une source de problèmes sans fin... Crois moi, le nucléaire, c'est loin, très loin d'être parfait.

Prof Solitaire a dit…

Oh, je n'idéalise pas mon cher, crois-moi. J'étais fou de joie lorsqu'ils ont fermé celle de Gentilly. Mais dans certains contextes, comme c'est peut-être le cas de la France, c'est une option moins polluante que le charbon et plus efficace que le solaire ou les éoliennes...

Hans Georg Lundahl a dit…

Et réduire l'efficacité nous nuirait en quoi?

Par contre, l'Uranium, ça vient de qq part. Par example du Canada, dont partie est radioactivement polluée comme mines d'Uranium.

Prof Solitaire a dit…

Je le répète, les centrales nucléaires sont bien loin d'être idéales et je suis très fier du fait que le Québec n'en a plus aucune, mais dans les circonstances de pays où l'hydro-électricité n'est pas possible, alors il s'agit d'un moindre mal.

Hans Georg Lundahl a dit…

Et réduire la consommation d'électricité?

D'ailleurs, avez-vous lu le récit sur un jeune Malawien (?) qui avait fait le genre de "moulins à vent" pour produire de l'électricité qu'on voit aussi dans le Kansas sur pas mal de fermes?

Hans Georg Lundahl a dit…

Le Garçon qui dompta le vent
Broché – 4 mars 2010
de William KAMKWAMBA (Auteur)