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“Save the planet!” Ah, what a wonderful phrase. To quote an adorable little Swedish girl, “how dare you” even think otherwise? Well, pace Greta, dare we must. Garry Kasparov recently hit the nail on its head, when he tweeted, “You can’t save the planet if you don’t save people on it.”

Is Kasparov a stooge of evil oil corporations? No. He is a chess grandmaster, who over the years has issued warnings about Russia’s expansionism. And he clearly sees what environmentalists don’t: when you become overzealous in trying to save the planet, you forget about people living in nations invaded by tyrants of resource-rich countries.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and the war in Ukraine is proving it.  

Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine is multicausal. But surely, he must have known all too well that Germany— and the European Union at large— would be hesitant about succoring Ukraine. Germany’s leadership may pay lip service to the defense of an invaded country, but when push comes to shove, military aid has been very limited. The motive for this apathy comes down to two words: natural gas.

Germany’s Green Party is a political force to be reckoned with, and their influence has been felt in the country’s decision to cut down on nuclear power. This trend has expanded to other nations in the developed world, not only regarding to nuclear power, but fossil fuels as well. Giving in to environmentalist pressure, US President Joe Biden has cancelled the Yellowstone pipeline, as he has claimed that “climate change is the biggest threat facing America.” As alternatives, renewable sources are proposed by environmentalists. But so far, they have been an utter failure; there simply is no comparison between a solar panel (useless on cloudy days) and a nuclear plant.

Developed countries may try to shut down sources of energy all they want, but their populations will not change their consumption habits any time soon. So how do their governments meet the energy demand? By getting it from nations who are not willing to cut down on energy production. In so doing, politicians from developed countries play feel-good politics and applaud Greta when she delivers her (scripted) speeches, while still making sure that their constituents have gas for their cars and homes are heated in the winter.

They of course fail to notice that their woke virtue-signaling act empowers tyrants like Putin. Does the Russian strongman care about the environment? Of course not. In fact, if he has to severely repress environmentalists, he will. And with his gas provision to Europe, Putin has now become unrestrained in his imperial designs, as he knows very well that his European clients will not interfere in his military adventures.

Soon after the invasion of Ukraine began, Russian forces seized control of the Chernobyl plant. Environmentalists are now worried, because they do not trust the Russians to adequately control the radiation emanating from there. But this is an outcome of environmentalists’ own doing. Nuclear power per se is not the danger. The danger is corrupt governments that develop (or seize) nuclear plants, and in their lack of transparency, do not enforce adequate safety protocols. These corrupt governments have been strengthened by environmentalists’ naivetéall along.

So, will we save the planet? Of course we will. But we must do so intelligently. Climate change is not a myth. But measures to cool down global warming must be taken with a proper cost/benefit analysis. For the time being, renewables’ cost is too high, and their benefits are too low. The war in Ukraine is now showing that there is an additional political cost that few people considered in the first place. Environmentalism has a dark side, and we should learn the lesson.

Gabriel Andrade

Gabriel Andrade is assistant professor of medicine at Ajman University, in the United Arab Emirates. He received a PhD from University of Zulia (Venezuela), in 2008. He worked as Titular Professor at University...