“Sustainability” is a cliché woven into so many Western government and organizational communications, we’re exhausting its meaning and welcome. This fashionable term, appearing in early United Nations documents, has since crept into public and private policy at every level.
Who defines the term and who guides its implementation? The action often refers to dumping money into budgets that create positions for fulfilling the aspirations of enthusiastic environmentalists.
At every level, government-funded climate bureaucracy seems to metastasize, taking over dollars and desks to accommodate these net-negative occupiers. Meanwhile, roads and bridges suffer neglect and services are cut. Resources are assigned to dubious “greening” initiatives while other vital departments lack funding to maintain crucial public and social services.
For example, North Perth Community Living, in Listowel, was recently in the news stating their dire financial state. They are left unable to support vulnerable people with developmental disabilities who need help with immediate daily necessities such as food and housing.
At the same time, the Municipality of North Perth is discussing funding for several more electric vehicle charging stations at a very significant cost for each. It is unclear why government feels obliged to provide this service which will benefit only a very few people, specifically, those who can afford EVs. And this comes when auto makers announced broad production cuts of EVs due to plummeting sales. The private sector recognizes and responds to the reality of non-sustainability as their “green” ambitions hemorrhage red ink.
While this is only one example of the clash for public funding, there are a myriad of similar situations as governments perennially grapple with overstretched budgets that provide shrinking public benefits. Therefore, so-called green initiatives face increasing scrutiny as decision-makers try to find efficiencies in their balance sheets.
Indeed, there appears to be a gradual homecoming to scientific and economic reality — a steadily growing movement is pushing back against the often-misguided and ungrounded environmentalist battle for people’s minds and money. This renaissance is happening both at home and abroad.
In a very significant development, Germany’s high court recently ruled against the re-direct of budgeted funds to environmental projects, in response to a constitutional challenge filed by the official opposition party. This decision resulted in a US $65 billion cut to “green” funding, with the court highlighting the need to maintain “the sustainability of the country’s public finances.”
Such recognition of the need for fiscal responsibility is echoed by the IFO Institute, a major German economic think-tank which warned that “There are significant constraints for federal budgets in coming years in terms of spending on government support for decarbonization,” according to Clemens Fuest, President of the institute. Furthermore, the IFO Institute states that such government economic interventions only serve to destabilize the energy sector while doing little or nothing to reduce carbon emissions.
Closer to home, just west of Guelph, Woolich Township municipal council was recently asked to approve a new, fulltime position for a “climate and sustainability coordinator.” This job included pursuing government funding for local environmental projects. The salary ranged to almost $100,000 annually, plus benefits. Staff offered that after an initial two-year draw on municipal “greening” reserves, the position could eventually pay for itself by finding grant money, or, if necessary, by tapping into increased tax levies. The proposition was defeated by council.
As the political trend turns away from climate alarmism and toward authentic sustainability, it trails a similar shift among climatologists. After decades of being silenced for challenging the popular theory of human-caused climate change, a surge of climate scientists are very credibly demonstrating that climate variability occurs naturally. At the same time, the catastrophists are being discredited by the recurring failures of climate prediction models, or embarrassed by spectacularly abortive prophecies of an imminent environmental apocalypse.
Highly acclaimed New Zealand climatologist, Dr. Chris De Freitas, noted that: “Government decision-makers should have heard by now that … the long-standing claim that carbon dioxide is a major driver of global climate is being questioned…” adding that “If they have not heard, it is because of the din of global warming hysteria…”
Dr. De Freitas concluded that the “assumed need for costly measures to restrict carbon dioxide emissions” is a waste of time and money.
When did good stewardship turn into a presumptuous battle to save the planet? Is the political hijacking of earth-care nearing the end of its rampage as science prevails?
Resignations are snowballing at the scandal-ridden, government-funded Sustainability Development Technology Canada. Is the sustainability industry being exposed for what it really is — a money grab for those willing to pimp themselves out for the “cause?”
Global or local: do the Munich, Germany and Woolich Township budget-driven decisions indicate a growing awareness that sustainability involves more than jousting with inalterable climate variations? Might climate budget dollars once again be invested in measurable, public benefits, such as infrastructure and felt, human needs?
If so, it would have a positive, lasting impact.
John Schwartzentruber is a Huron County farmer.