“Parasitic and predatory neoliberals” are responsible for global warming, the new environment secretary charged today.
In his first public statement since his appointment on Monday, Víctor Manuel Toledo Manzur promised an end to what he called the neoliberal environmental policies that have been pursued by previous administrations, blaming them for continuing environmental problems in Mexico.
“Human beings are not responsible for global warming, as a superficial environmentalism and uncritical science would like to tell us,” he said. “The responsible are a parasitic and predatory minority, and that minority has a name: neoliberalism.”
The new secretary promised to “take back” the Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat (Semarnat), which he said had been controlled by “merchants from the automotive sector,” and involve citizens in policy making.
One of Toledo’s predecessors, Juan José Guerra Abud, had previously been president of a trade association representing the interests of vehicle manufacturers.
In terms of environmental policy, Toledo presented a clear choice between policies that address ecological problems or ignore them.
“We can defend life, or we can continue destroying it in the name of the market, technology, progress, development, economic growth, etc.,” he said.
Toledo said finding new sources of energy is important because petroleum will start to run out by the year 2050, and global warming will start affecting food production.
He also highlighted the importance of legislation to ban shale fracking and genetically-modified corn and other crops.
Toledo replaced Josefa González-Blanco Ortiz-Mena, who resigned earlier this week after asking that a commercial airline flight be delayed so she could board.
Toledo holds a doctorate in biology from the National Autonomous University of México and is a researcher at UNAM’s Ecology Institute.