Hard to believe but… sometimes passionate environmentalists are really bad for the environment
You may have noticed some very weird winds blowing around the world these days. These strange forces are all about the environment, yet are not really part of the environment at all; they exist between peoples’ ears and nowhere else.
That doesn’t make these forces any less real; people of many stripes have been terrified into believing that the world as we know it could end in a dozen years because the IPCC has picked the year 2030 as a major tipping point for emissions reduction.
It helps to sell the message when there is a firm date for things, such as a messiah returning, or the end of the world. We therefore all receive this message loud and clear.
What makes things so peculiar though is that beneath the bluster, not only does the entire world go about its business as usual; the world’s population actually keeps increasing its usage of the very components that critics say have lit the fuse for the end of the world. That is, people of every stripe, around the world, keep using more energy than ever before. Indeed, the fear factor should go the other way – if natural gas sources were cut off within a dozen years, there would be no hope of survival in any major northern city. Rewiring the heating systems of billions of people using unknown/unproven sources is a multi-generational project at best.
And shockingly enough, mixed in amongst the genuinely concerned and the truly frightened are a mix of “environmentalists” that appear to have no real interest in the environment at all.
That may sound like an outlandish charge, but consider the forces in the US that are demanding a “Green New Deal”. They want something similar to President Roosevelt’s famous New Deal government program that rewired the US’ social safety nets.
Ordinarily that might just be another plank in the platform of some of the more extreme Democrats, but this mission is slightly more unusual. Reading the fine print of the GND, the proponents have vowed to fight strongly against “any legislation that promoted nuclear power, hydroelectric power, and carbon capture and storage…”. What the…why fight against carbon capture and storage? Because the group views carbon capture as a way for petroleum companies to remain in business. In other words, GND proponents want the petroleum industry disabled, dead, and dismantled. Within a dozen years. Even one of the original GND architects, who apparently had missed a few meetings, muttered ““Oh my goodness…there is no scenario produced by the IPCC or the UN where we hit mid-century decarbonization without some kind of carbon capture.”
Making matters worse is the way environmental issues are being made political. A GND spokesperson in the article above comments that “We want to ensure that the Green New Deal doesn’t continue the practice of placing fossil-fuel infrastructure in working-class communities and communities of color.”
Only post-grad sociologists will hear such comments and keep a straight face. What we should be concerned about is not just the economic damage but the environmental damage that movements like this are causing.
Proponents of the GND are simply ignorant of energy realities. They cannot see the line between idealism and naiveté. They don’t even know it exists. It is one thing to demand something be better; it is another entirely to be handed the keys and a budget and to be told “make it happen”. They won’t, and they can’t. Such groups have dragged environmentalism from science to social engineering, and in doing so have ensured that any progress will be twice as hard.
There are of course many excellent green initiatives going on as we take the very first tentative steps away from fossil fuels. We need to encourage and support these strategies, while ensuring they work with the existing systems. But these efforts will take decades before they come anywhere near a preponderance of supplied energy. And banning carbon capture schemes would set the entire process back decades, or make it impossible entirely. Thanks for the help.