Environmentalists need to seek new allies and new rationales, according to the raging debates spurred by the “Death of Environmentalism.” This country’s most important foreign affairs column is increasingly giving voice to one such argument.
Tom Friedman in The New York Times once again bangs the drum for energy efficiency, renewables, and lowering oil consumption as a means to spur reform in the Middle East. He does throw in a call for nuclear power, an argument that won’t sit well with many greenies.
But Friedman dubs himself a “geo-green,” explicitly promoting green behavior for geopolitical ends. He wants to deprive the undemocratic regimes of the Middle East the huge petro dollars that allow them to buy their way out of facing realm reform.
You give me $18-a-barrel oil and I will give you political and economic reform from Algeria to Iran. All these regimes have huge population bubbles and too few jobs. They make up the gap with oil revenues. Shrink the oil revenue and they will have to open up their economies and their schools and liberate their women so that their people can compete. It is that simple.