The Keystone Pipeline and the Outsourcing of Pollution

This is truly a huge question, as I also value raising developing nations out of poverty through international markets, and I probably value this higher than environmental concerns, at least up to the point where environmental impacts create more destruction, poverty, lower quality of life, etc.

Let me go on a tangent with this one. Take the United Kingdom for example. The original natural environment of the UK is now almost completely gone. The vast forests that crossed the British islands only exist in tiny original pockets. Even in the remote Scottish highlands have a completely altered environment due to exploitation by people. Moreover, I heard somewhere that the amount of coal that was dug up under Britian and burned to fuel the industrial revolution was equal in energy terms to the amount of oil that sat under saudi arabia. The material wealth of Britain was built on this. Only now after much of the country's industry has been moved to poorer country's with cheaper labour pools has the natural environment started to return to something that is good for human beings and animals though the pristine forests and glens will never return (except possible in mountainous areas).

Simply the British spent their natural wealth to earn their current material wealth.

Now lets take Indonesia. Right now there are still large tracts of pristine rainforest on Borneo that are ideal for Palm Oil cultivation. Cutting down those rainforests for monoculture will both bring wealth to Indonesians and catastrophic destruction to those ecosystems. Naturally environmentalists in wealth country's are adamantly against this. But is it truly right for people who have the material wealth built up from their ancestors destroying the natural environments of their home country's to tell another country that they should not do the same thing to gain wealth?

/r/SRSDiscussion Thread