Taking a short break from all of the presidential primary and terrorism news, let’s take a quick look at US energy policy and the ongoing battle over “green energy” subsidies and the goals of the various political entities debating this topic. Even as the United States has moved into a position as a global energy production leader, influential voices in liberal circles still maintain a steady drumbeat against the progress we’ve made, insisting that we must divest from all those nasty fossil fuels and move to some sort of green energy future. They’ve been remarkably successful, particularly in light of the nearly $50B in wind and solar subsidies buried in the President’s 2016 budget. (The Republicans were willing conspirators in this, by the way.)
But who are the folks driving these initiatives and what are they actually trying to accomplish? For today’s recommended reading, I would highly endorse this article from Alex Epstein at Forbes, titled “Why Green Energy Means No Energy.” The author covers some of the uncomfortable realities of the energy needs of not only our nation, but our species, and how those who seek to curb energy use are really fighting against the rise of civilization. Epstein points out that fossil fuels, nuclear and hydroelectric are the only mass forms of practical energy which can meet our global needs, but these are precisely the types which the Greens oppose most strenuously.
Why does the green movement oppose every practical form of energy?
There is only one answer that can explain this. Greens oppose every practical form of energy not out of love for the non-existent virtues of solar and wind energy, but because they believe practical energy is inherently immoral.
It’s in their philosophical DNA.
To “be green” means to minimize our impact on nature. In the green philosophy, the standard of value, the metric by which we measure good and bad is human nonimpact—does an action make our environment more or less altered by humans?
If we take that idea seriously, then practical energy is not a good thing.
The major complaint of the Greens is that we produce too much CO2. But what has this production done in terms of the human condition over the course of recorded history? The author provides one simple chart which you should keep in your virtual pocket for future reference.
Some of the key figures in the history of the Greens have made their intentions clear over the years, and Epstein revisits a few of their golden oldies. Among the best examples offered are the responses of green energy proponents during the period when we thought we were close to making nuclear fusion power a reality. (A fantastic idea which may still someday come to fruition, but for the time being seems to be completely stalled at a technological barrier we can’t overcome. It still takes more energy to run a fusion reaction than can be sustainably produced from it.) If it had worked we could have provided most of the stationary power the world would need while fueling it with water. (Hydrogen, actually.) So how did the Greens respond to this prospect back in the 80s and 90s?
There are some quotes from a story in the Los Angeles Times called “Fear of Fusion: What if It Works?” Leading environmentalist Jeremy Rifkin: “It’s the worst thing that could happen to our planet.”
Paul Ehrlich: Developing fusion for human beings would be “like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.”
Amory Lovins was already on record as saying, “Complex technology of any sort is an assault on human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.”
Fusion energy would produce no carbon. It would require no mining of materials from under the ground or the cutting down of rain forests. It would produce helium. (We’re not actually running out of helium as you may have heard, but it is scarce.) So what was the basis of the objections raised by these green energy warriors? We simply can’t be trusted with it. Who knows what mischief we might get up to with all of the clean, low priced energy?
The fact is that it is only our mastery of technology which has facilitated the rise of man. Without vast energy resources available, our planet couldn’t support anywhere near the human population which now rides around on our blue marble in space. (Some estimates have indicated that if we cut off all the liquid and electrical energy the global population would need to be reduced by 75% or more.) The Greens are pining for a world which resembles the one which existed when people were still figuring out how to control fire and possibly create the wheel. But they would likely be horrified to discover how short, brutal and harsh life was for people back in the “good old days.”