The late, great humorist P.J. O'Rourke used to quip that everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to wash the dishes.
Well, now that can be said for traditional environmental groups that seem to have lost their way.
Green groups are supposed to be about keeping our rivers, lakes and streams clean. They are supposed to be about fighting litter and keeping toxic chemicals out of the air. Their job is to maintain the beauty of our national parks and save elephants and tigers.
Not anymore. The New York Times recently reported in a disturbing headline: "Environmental Groups Cut Programs as Funding Shifts to Climate Change."
In other words, the Left's climate change hysteria and its campaign to end fossil fuels is interfering with a commonsense green agenda. Worse than that, the climate agenda is in some ways making the condition of the environment worse.
According to the Times story: "A significant shift in donor contributions to nonprofits fighting climate change in recent years has left some of the nation's biggest environmental organizations facing critical shortfalls in programs on toxic chemicals, radioactive contamination and wildlife protection."
The Natural Resources Defense Council, "the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and the Environmental Working Group, which have been at the forefront of efforts to clean up waste water, regulate pesticides and adopt tougher standards for atomic power plants, are facing similar financial problems," said Times reporter Ralph Vartabedian.
This is all being driven by a mad pursuit of billions of green dollars for stopping global warming. That is, they are chasing and spending money on a cause — changing the planet's temperature — that they can have almost no impact on.
How much money are we talking about? In 2022, environment groups spent and raised $8 billion on climate change activities. That doesn't fully include the tens of billions of dollars that central governments are spending on climate issues.
All of this money has funded scores of ritzy climate change conferences around the globe, as well as virtue-signaling protests, propaganda campaigns in schools, and a war against oil, gas and coal, cars, stoves and air conditioners. And now eating meat is verboten.
Yet, the climate agenda is often pushing policies that destroy the planet rather than save it. In poor countries, the war against fossil fuels has meant that villages are burning wood, or even feces. Instead of spending money on ensuring the world's poor have safe drinking water, we are spending billions of dollars pushing windmills and solar power.
These "green energies" use 10 times more land than a coal or gas plant. The landscape of America is being paved over and industrialized by our pursuit of zero-carbon policies. How is that a pro-environment policy?
Moreover, raising the cost of energy makes people poorer, which is counterproductive if we want to keep the planet clean. The richer a country, the more money they spend to clean the air, the water and to preserve wildlife.
The bigger question environmentalists should be asking is: What has the half-trillion dollars that have been spent on climate change bought? No measurable results.
Fossil fuel use reached an all-time high in 2022 and 2023, and carbon emissions have been climbing rather than receding. The more governments spend, the more money the United Nations insists we need to spend. The U.N.'s latest report says more than $4 trillion needs to be spent each year until 2030 to stop global warming.
With that much money, we can end global hunger and illiteracy.
Instead, the fanatics in the Biden administration and the billionaire donor class demand that we save the planet from carbon emissions at any cost, and if that means diminishing funds for fighting real pollution that kills people, so be it.
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a co-founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. His latest book is "Govzilla: How the Relentless Growth of Government Is Devouring Our Economy." Read Stephen Moore's Reports — More Here.