Monday, July 14, 2014
Six bucks a gallon? Where gas prices might be without the U.S. energy boom
If you think the price of gas is high, imagine paying up to $6 a gallon.
That’s what energy expert Dan Steffens thinks the price could be if not for the domestic oil boom.
“With what’s going on the Middle East, I think it would five or six bucks (a gallon),” said Steffens, president of the Energy Prospectus Group out of Houston. “If it wasn’t for the shale revolution, you’d be in big trouble.”
Technological breakthroughs in recent years have led to an explosion in the energy industry in the United States.
Just how did fracking save American drivers from $6 gas?
Extraction from shale rock formations in places such as the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, the Eagle Ford Formation in south Texas and the Permian Basin in west Texas and eastern New Mexico has been so dramatic that, last month, the International Energy Agency announced the U.S. surpassed Russia and even Saudi Arabia in oil production.
A report from the commodities division of Bank of America says daily output in the U.S. exceeded 11 million barrels in the first quarter of this year.
“If we didn’t have the oil industry and oil and drill activity, the economy would be much, much slower,” Joseph Dancy, investment partner at LSGI Advisors, Inc., based in Dallas, told New Mexico Watchdog.
Drivers have been grumbling about the increase in the price at the pump. Here’s a look at the average price per gallon for the Fourth of July in the U.S. since 2008:
But the message from energy experts? It could have been much worse.
Violence in Mideast nations such as Syria, Iraq and Libya, as well as political unrest in the oil-rich nations of Nigeria and Venezuela, might have sent the price of gasoline through the roof. But benchmark U.S. crude was at $104 a barrel Monday and Brent crude, a benchmark for the international market, was down 33 cents last week to $110.91 a barrel in London.
“There’s no question that this his new-found abundance of oil from shale plays is having a significant impact on the global market,” said Bernard Weinstein, associate director at the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University.
“We’d probably be at $150 oil with this thing in Iraq going on,” Steffens said.
“While the situation in Iraq seems to be getting worse, oil prices have actually fallen (in some sectors) because the markets now understand that Iraq could go totally off the market and there’s still plenty of oil going around, not just here in the United States,” Weinstein said. “The world is swimming in oil right now.”
The political irony is that President Obama is a beneficiary of relatively stable gas prices, even though the energy explosion is happening in red states such as North Dakota and Texas, where Obama lost to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 by nearly 20 points and more than 15 points, respectively.
“It’s a wild boom and it’s all generating economic activity for a president who really does not favor the oil and gas sector at all,” Dancy said. “It is really ironic.”
But environmental organizations lament, rather than celebrate, the shale boom because energy producers use hydraulic fracturing — fracking — to get to the oil and natural gas under the earth’s surface.
“We can’t afford to support the extractive industries,” said Eleanor Bravo, senior organizer for Southwest Food and Water Watch. “The earth and the environment cannot afford to be burning any more fuel. Plus, the fracking process, when you count in the amount of methane that escapes during the extraction process, it’s as dirty or dirtier than burning coal.”
But there’s little indication the boom will stop anytime soon.
According to Weinstein’s statistics, there’s been a 60 percent increase in domestic oil production in the past six years, and Dancy cites figures showing global demand increasing 1 percent per year.
“If you look at the amount of refining exports that are going out of the United States, they’re hitting 20- and 30-year highs,” Dancy said.
THE BIOFUEL CURSE
by Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser
Certain western governments and their science advisers think that alternative energy sources (like wind and solar power) and biofuels in particular are the salvation from “climate change,” previously called “global warming.” biofuels
They view “carbon pollution” (a misnomer, as they actually mean carbon dioxide, CO2) as the root cause of the current economic and environmental malaise in general. That’s why they blessed the nation with the “Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).”
I think the opposite is true; neither CO2 nor the “carbon footprint” is the cause of today’s many problems. In fact, the world today would be much better off if that (scientifically proven) nonsense had never become a political football.
If anything, the world today is not suffering from excessive “carbon footprints” but from excessive “carbon think” by politicians in cahoots with all kinds of NGO (non-governmental organization) “experts.” The “grow-your-fuel” idea is just one of those NGO-driven and politician-embraced problems that do more harm than good. Let’s look at biofuels more closely.
The push to have a large proportion of corn converted to bio-ethanol for admixture into the nation’s gasoline supplies came from then Vice-President Al Gore as a means to garner votes in his home state of Tennessee. Then termed “global warming” was perceived as the number one threat to mankind’s survival and prosperity on the planet.
Agitators like Maurice Strong, Al Gore, David Suzuki and others promoted the idea of CO2 as a “global evil” that would cause runaway global warming, the starvation of millions of people and, ultimately, the wholesale destruction of life on earth. Thus was born the idea of growing fuel.
The farmers in the corn-growing areas were very receptive to that idea as they could foresee rising demand for their product, supported by the biofuel mandate and government handouts. Since its inception in 2005 this mandate has been expanded at least twice, from an initial 5% ethanol in gasoline to the current 15% (with seasonal and geographical variations) on average. That represents a lot of corn; in fact somewhere in the order of one third of what is grown in the U.S.
But the biofuel mandate goes further than just ethanol in gasoline. Even the U.S. military was compelled to use biofuels for the powering of ships and airplanes. Those types of biofuels come from oil plants like canola that were previously also grown strictly for human consumption. Of course, the canola farmers on the continent were equally receptive to such ideas.
Bio-diesel and bio-jet fuel can certainly be made from plant-derived oils. Chemically, such oils differ from normal diesel or jet fuel by having some oxygen atoms in their structure, but are comparable in many physical properties. However, the cost of growing and refining such oils for use in jets is prohibitive at ten to twenty times the cost of traditional fuel made from fossil oil. So why does the mandate persist? Does it prevent “climate change” or preserve the natural environment?
Are Bio-Fuels Good?
Whether you believe CO2 to be a “greenhouse gas” or not (it certainly is not) is entirely irrelevant in this context. The question here is only if growing (bio)-fuels and manipulating them to be used for powering various engines will reduce the CO2 output relative to the use of fossil resources. The unequivocal answer to that question is NO.
Every study performed that includes the often hidden costs of plowing the fields, sowing, fertilizing, irrigating, harvesting, drying, storing, transporting, converting, and distributing the fuel shows clearly that there is no energy gain at all but rather a loss. That energy loss automatically translates into a higher “carbon footprint” than otherwise necessary.
Good for nature?
Perhaps you think that pressing the (nearly) last piece of marginal land into agricultural production will enhance the local wildlife like the Monarch butterflies or protect the polar bears in the Arctic or be good for the penguins in the Antarctic.
Unfortunately, none of these is the case. The Monarch butterflies are close to being wiped out by conversion of marginal land which is the prime habitat for the milkweed plant (the preferred food for their caterpillars) and both the bears and penguins don’t give a hoot; they live off the other species in the oceans.
Good for the economy?
If you are a consumer of fuel like gasoline or diesel the biofuel mandate is certainly a part of increased fuel costs in recent years. Those increased costs come out of your pocket and largely go to the governments and biofuel producers by way of direct and indirect transfers. Of course and despite all protestations to the contrary nearly all levels of government are quite happy to see higher fuel prices as such automatically raise the revenue from cost-based taxes. Any claim to the contrary is a bold-faced lie.
Good for your mileage?
If your engine needs to deliver energy output at a certain level, the ethanol biofuel mandate is actually diminishing the available energy output from the ethanol-type fuel. The reason is easy to understand: both bio-ethanol and bio-diesel are, energetically speaking, already partly combusted hydrocarbons. Therefore, they cannot possibly deliver the same amount of energy as “un-combusted” fuel. Your fuel consumption will increase to compensate for that. Even if that were not a critical issue, ethanol in fuel can cause other problems in your vehicle.
Good for your vehicle?
Anything but. In fact most car manufacturers have clearly stated that using gasoline with more than 10 or 15% ethanol will void any and all warranties. Even small amounts of water, for example from the air humidity can lead to phase separation, particularly so for two-cycle engines and in colder weather. Apart from that, ethanol is an excellent solvent that can dissolve many different materials that are fully resistant to pure gasoline.
Very simply, it is bad for your engine.
Good for business?
A considerable part of the bio-ethanol and other biofuel consumed in the U.S. is either imported directly from Brazil or produced in the U.S. from sugar imported from Brazil. For example, at least one U.S. company produces fuels from sugar. Without various government subsidies and mandates in support of such “green” enterprises, none of these alternative energy suppliers would have ever come about at all and most depend on the continuation of these incentive programs.
In reality, the cost for all that green comes right out of taxpayers’ wallets. Too many of such enterprises have gone bust soon after they received their last government “pay check.”
Good for farming?
While many farmers welcomed the original ethanol mandate as it supported demand for their products, new findings show an unexpected flip side: Some weeds are becoming resistant to herbicides, such as glyphosate, that are widely used to increase corn yields, For example, the magazine Nature reports that in the U.S. alone some 60 million acres of farmland are infested with glyphosate-resistant weeds.
Indirectly, the biofuel mandate is also to blame for the increased resistance to glyphosate and other herbicides because it spurred reduced crop rotation. All in the name of “saving the climate” from a non-existent “greenhouse gas” effect by the 0.04% CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere,
The EPA is now seeking comments and direction from users on how to cope with the problem they have helped to create in the first place. Their assessment and new regulations to be forthcoming will likely introduce substantial new requirements on corn and soybean farming that will entail additional costs for the farmers in several ways.
I think the time may not be far off when even farmers will come to realize that the biofuel mandate is more of a curse than a blessing.
In apologising for having Nigel Lawson on to discuss climate change, the BBC has breached its charter
Rational debate is poisonous to Warmists
It is only a matter of time before Nigel Lawson — if he is allowed on the BBC at all — has to have his words spoken by an actor in the manner of Gerry Adams at the height of the IRA’s bombing campaign during the 1980s. In the case of Mr Adams, whose voice was banned from the airwaves by the government, the BBC stood up for free speech. But it is quite a different story with Lord Lawson. The BBC has effectively banned the former chancellor (and former editor of this magazine) from appearing on its programmes to debate climate change, unless he is introduced with a statement discrediting his views.
The BBC’s Editorial Complaints Department this week ruled that the Today programme broke BBC guidelines in February by inviting Lord Lawson to a debate with Sir Brian Hoskins, chairman of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change. It bizarrely claimed that his views are ‘not supported by the evidence’ — though he had pointed out, correctly, that the planet has not been warming for the past 17 years. Nevertheless, the BBC politburo warned, listeners should have been warned that Lord Lawson is in a minority and, therefore, his words ‘should not be regarded as carrying equal weight to those of experts such as Sir Brian Hoskins’.
Lord Lawson is, of course, not a scientist. But a great many people speak on the BBC on subjects in which they do not have any formal qualifications: Al Gore, for example. Or Rajendra Pachauri, a railway engineer by training, who now runs the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). Neither does the BBC seem to be worried about non-scientists addressing scientific issues when it comes to such things as fracking or GM crops, on which any green activists are welcome to speak, however bizarre their scaremongering theories.
What Lord Lawson is, however, is chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a think-tank that has no quarrel with the idea of global warming. Its aim is to appeal to reason, and to engage in mature argument rather than hysteria. Lord Lawson is advised by scientists who until recently included Lennart Bengtsson, a research fellow at the University of Reading. Professor Bengtsson was hounded off the GWPF board by his fellow scientists.
When people try to close down debate rather than engage with it, there is a pretty clear conclusion to be drawn: they lack confidence in their own case. The suppression of debate was shown again this week when Vladimir Semonov, a climate scientist at the Geomar Institute in Kiel, Germany, revealed that a paper he wrote in 2009 questioning the accuracy of climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was effectively censored by the scientist to whom it was sent for review. Their reasons for demanding passages be removed seems rather less than scientifically rigorous: one wrote that the offending material would ‘lead to unnecessary confusion in the climate science community’ and another said that ‘this entire discussion has to disappear’.
The process of peer review used in the scientific press is often held up as a mark of quality, which enables poorly conducted scientific research to be weeded out before it reaches the eyes of readers less qualified to judge the rigour of the work. This may to some extent be true, even if peer review failed to spot weaknesses in the now discredited Fleischmann-Pons cold fusion experiments of 1989 or stop the MMR scare.
But the peer review process is also open to abuse. Just as the social sciences became infected by political correctness 20 years ago, climate science has become governed by climatic correctness. To question the consensus that the world is facing fire and tempest as a result of anthropocentric global warming is, in the eyes of some working in the field, simply not allowable. That is something which was revealed in the Climategate scandal of 2009 when leaked emails from the University of East Anglia caught out scientists who had been withholding data, trying to keep rivals’ papers out of journals and in one case threatening violence against a sceptical scientist.
The BBC at first declined to go into the content of the emails, preferring to treat the story as a case of data theft. The fact that the emails contained material of extreme public interest seemed to count for nothing. The unknown individuals who leaked the emails can only dream of the hero worship afforded to Edward Snowden and Julian Assange; attitudes on the left towards release of information seem to swing dramatically depending on what information is being released.
The same is true of the BBC’s attitude towards balanced debate — something which is supposed to be guaranteed by its charter. The BBC has decided that it is allowable to debate such issues as whether benefit cuts are causing distress or whether sports-women are being discriminated against by male-dominated bastions — something the Today programme does virtually every morning. But dare to question whether it is wise for the country to embark on the economic experiment of abandoning fossil fuel on the back of some far-from-robust scientific models, and you will have to find another media outlet.
Frack to the Future
"I think it’s appropriate that George Osborne is dieting,” Nigel Lawson says, with a knowing smile.“Controlling public expenditure is about saying ‘No’ and sticking to it. And dieting is exactly the same.”
As a former chancellor of the exchequer and the author of his own best-selling diet book, Lord Lawson of Blaby knows whereof he speaks on the issue of belt-tightening. And with a sprightliness and energy that belie his 82 years, one of the Tory party’s biggest of big beasts is relishing his role as a troublesome éminence grise.
The recipient of The House magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year, he’s helped redraft the UK’s banking regulation, runs a thinktank on climate change and is a constant critic of HS2 and the EU. A regular attendee in the House of Lords, Lord Lawson appears to be more politically active than at any time since his departure from Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet 25 years ago. Far from resting on his laurels, he’s as focused on the future as any new intake MP.
Energy policy is one of his chief passions, not least since the creation of his own Global Warming Policy Foundation in 2009. But his keen interest in the issue stretches back to the early 1980s, when he was Margaret Thatcher’s energy secretary. With the coal strike looming, Lawson sought to redefine the way the UK bought and sold energy. Given the way the subject has soared up the political agenda of late, does he think he was ahead of the game?
“I do, if I may say so,” he says. “If you want an impartial witness, the leading energy economist in this country is Professor Dieter Helm, who has written the definitive account of British energy policy since the war. He says that the 1982 speech which I made to a meeting of the International Association of Energy Economists in Cambridge was the most important speech ever made by an energy secretary and it defined the whole of our energy policy for a long time to come.”
The main thrust of that speech was to say there is no reason to treat energy any differently from any other area of policy, despite the habit of British governments to interfere in the largely state-owned industry. “A sensible energy policy should be part and parcel of our economic policy,” Lawson says. “And just as our economic policy was to give the state a reduced role and to give market forces a greater role, so that should apply to energy as well.” Crucially, he prepared the ground for the gas and electricity privatisations to come.
The former chancellor has long defied the conventional wisdom on climate change too. When the world was congratulating itself on the Kyoto Treaty in 2004, Lawson was among those who wrote a letter to the Times warning of uncertainties in the science. Last year, he won a bet with Oliver Letwin that Kyoto would expire without any successor in place.
“I was not the first, but I think that certainly I realised very early on that this had been accepted as gospel by people who had not done any proper analysis,” he says. “It’s a new religion. That is why it is so difficult to change people’s minds, because they are not interested in the facts – it’s a belief system.” The Treasury still strong in his bones, he says the real issue is not so much the science as the policy response and a proper cost-benefit analysis. “What is the extent of the damage? And how does it compare with the benefits from warming? Because there undoubtedly are benefits, even the IPCC [International Panel on Climate Change] accepts that; it’s where does the balance lie?
“Then there is also the political issue that because it’s an extremely costly policy, it means we go from relatively cheap and reliable energy to relatively expensive and unreliable energy. And you’re not getting any benefit on the climate front because there isn’t a global agreement.”
One Cabinet minister who was brave enough to voice claims that there could actually be benefits from global warming was Owen Paterson. The Environment Secretary’s remarks to a Tory conference fringe last year caused uproar among some green groups. But Lawson is a big fan and says Paterson should not be moved in the coming reshuffle.
“I would be disappointed to see him moved out of government, not just because of this issue but because I think he’s one of the best ministers in the Government. I think he did a very good job in Northern Ireland and I think that he understands the countryside and farming very well, but he also has a very good mind. It would be a great loss to the Government, which needs all the talent it can get.”
He points out that conservation is a key Conservative belief. “Owen Paterson is very conscious of that. The green issue is not just one issue. If you get hung up on the evils of fossil fuel and as a result you litter the countryside with wind farms, not only is that economic nonsense in energy terms, but it is not environmentally friendly either. Solar farms, too, they are appalling environmentally. Wind turbines kill really serious numbers of birds.”
Of course, one of David Cameron’s first acts as Tory leader was to underline his ‘green’ credentials with his infamous trip to the polar ice cap. Lawson understands why David Cameron felt the need to ‘rebrand’ the Conservatives, but clearly feels it was misguided. “Margaret Thatcher, even though she was a really great prime minister, I think the country had got tired of her, as it gets tired of almost anybody after a long period of government,” he says. “But it was largely about her manner, not her policies. So there was no need to get a whole new raft of different policies in a great rebranding exercise. But the ‘hugging huskies’ and all that was part of the rebranding and of ‘going green’ in general.
“I think it was a great mistake. I think that, without really admitting it, I think they are trying quite hard to row back from that. But of course it’s always hard to row back from anything you’ve made a big splash about, but it’s all the harder because of the Coalition.”
Given his own enthusiastic backing for the expansion of the City during the Thatcher years, it’s perhaps not surprising that the former chancellor is not over-keen on the Coalition’s rhetoric about “rebalancing the economy” at the expense of financial services. “I think that is foolish and unwise,” he says. “The only sort of rebalancing I would like is to see the north of England share more in the economic success. But the way to do that is not by building this absurdly expensive High Speed 2, for which there is no sensible case at all.
“The way to do it is by developing shale gas resources in the north of England, particularly in the north-west,” he adds. “We need to go for that. If you look at what’s happened in the United States, it has completely transformed the economies of some of the poorest parts of the United States. We could have that here.”
George Osborne is resolutely behind HS2, but he does appear to have listened to people like Lawson and others who strongly support fracking. How often do the pair of them talk? “I do see him from time to time, but George sees quite a lot of people so I have no special locus,” he explains. The informal ‘council of former chancellors’ (Howe, Lawson and Lamont) no longer meets Osborne, however. “When I see him, which is only infrequently, I see him just à deux.”
The Real Climate Dogmatics
Some people find climate change ‘deniers’ the most irritating people on God’s green earth. On her Telegraph blog Martha Gill equates them with flat-earthers, which says a lot for the depth of her analysis. She points to a piece on the Huffington Post by Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (funded by billionaire Greenpeace contributor Jeremy Grantham, who also sponsors an $80,000 prize for environmental reporting – which this article will stand no chance of winning) and says it demolishes the deniers’ arguments. The problem is that it doesn’t.
Those who think ‘deniers’ are a problem and seek to put them down are in doing so misrepresenting the science they want to uphold. Once they said ‘deniers’ did not believe that carbon dioxide was a greenhouse gas or that mankind was pumping it into the atmosphere, or even that the globe had warmed in recent decades. And so-called deniers never took issue with any of this. Their questions were at a deeper level, but it took years for the media to notice.
You can make a strong case that all this ‘denial’ has been good for climate science. Some of these ‘deniers’ actually found that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s supreme icon – the ‘hockey stick’ graph showing a recent alarming rise in global temperature – was wrong. Then they pointed out that the global annual average surface temperature was not rising as predicted. To some it was an obviously fictitious, mischievous ploy to cast doubt on climate change, a misinterpretation of a minor recent blip in what is obviously an upward trend in global surface temperature that has been going on for well over a century.
But the ‘deniers’ were right. The non-publicity seeking real climate scientists who published their thoughts in peer-reviewed literature knew something was going on with global surface temperatures, and debated its significance and possible causes in unreported papers that only the ‘deniers’ seemed to read. Eventually the pause was recognised for what it is. The journal Nature called it the biggest problem in climate science, and so it is. Something that was said to be a denier’s ploy has now more than a dozen serious scientific possible explanations. The so-called deniers were closer to the science and far ahead of media commentators.
But there is still trouble with climate change ‘denial’ according to Bob Ward. He criticises Lord Lawson for saying that he denies any link between climate change and the weather events of earlier this year. Bob Ward said the Met Office has laid it out. Yes they have, and this is what their report said:-
‘As yet, there is no definitive answer on the possible contribution of climate change to the recent storminess, rainfall amounts and the consequent flooding. This is in part due to the highly variable nature of UK weather and climate.’
Bob Ward also cherry-picks his answer to counter Lord Lawson’s statement that the effect of carbon dioxide on the earth’s atmosphere is probably less than was previously thought. That is actually a fair and scientifically reasonable standpoint to take and were it made amongst scientists at a conference there would be sober discussion. It is significant that the latest IPCC report on climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide does not cite a best estimate, whereas the previous one did. The latest report notes a substantial discrepancy between observation-based estimates of the effect of carbon dioxide and estimates from climate models. This is not settled, there is room for debate.
Regarding the freezing of the Thames in the 17th century and the occurrence of Frost Fairs, Bob Ward says it is a ‘sceptic canard’ that this was due to a cold climate. He believes the narrowness of bridges and not the so-called Little Ice Age was to blame. Actually both had an influence, as did the building of embankments. The Little Ice Age – once thought to be confined to Europe but now recognised to have occurred worldwide – was a definite period of colder climate that had devastating consequences. We still cannot explain what happened.
Few scientists would say that scepticism is not a good thing in science, but somehow those who ask valid questions of climate science are different. Motives are impugned, qualifications questioned. The problem lies not with their questions but with the inflexible and dogmatic way that some commentators and indeed some scientists regard climate science. There is also a major problem with the quality of the scholarship of many commentators who are all too quick to dismiss sensible questions as ‘obviously fantastical rubbish supported only by anecdote and untested assertions.’
Climate science is important. We must deal with it and we must understand it. But it’s complicated. Not everything fits or is settled or consistent. Today’s obvious answers may not be tomorrow’s. Things change, values are revised up and down, and people have different opinions about the same data. Simple answers are seldom totally waterproof. It’s science and science is all about the awkward questions. The ‘deniers’ know this. Some others seem not to.
Holding Greenpeace accountable
Poor countries should hold Big Green groups and directors liable for deaths, ravage they cause
Fossil fuel and insurance company executives “could face personal liability for funding climate denialism and opposing policies to fight climate change,” Greenpeace recently warned several corporations. In a letter co-signed by WWF International and the Center for International Environmental Law, the Rainbow Warriors ($155 million in 2013 global income) suggested that legal action might be possible.
Meanwhile, the WWF ($927 million in 2013 global income) filed a formal complaint against Peabody Energy for “misleading readers” in advertisements that say coal-based electricity can improve lives in developing countries. The ads are not “decent, honest and veracious,” as required by Belgian law, the World Wildlife ethicists sniffed. Other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) make similar demands.
These are novel tactics. But the entire exercise might be little more than a clever attempt to distract people from developments that could create problems for thus far unaccountable Big Green organizations.
I don’t mean Greenpeace International’s $5.2 million loss a couple weeks ago, when a rogue employee (since fired) used company cash to conduct unauthorized trades on global currency markets. Other recent events portend far rougher legal and political waters ahead for radical eco-imperialists, especially if countries and companies take a few more pages out of the Big Green playbook.
India’s Intelligence Bureau recently identified Greenpeace as “a threat to national economic security,” noting that these and other groups have been “spawning” and funding internal protest movements and campaigns that have delayed or blocked numerous mines, electricity projects and other infrastructure programs vitally needed to create jobs and lift people out of poverty and disease. The anti-development NGOs are costing India’s economy 2-3% in lost GDP every year, the Bureau estimates.
The Indian government has now banned direct foreign funding of local campaign groups by foreign NGOs like Greenpeace, the WWF and US-based Center for Media and Democracy. India and other nations could do much more. Simply holding these über-wealthy nonprofit environmentalist corporations to the same ethical standards they demand of for-profit corporations could be a fascinating start.
Greenpeace, WWF and other Big Green campaigners constantly demand environmental and climate justice for poor families. They insist that for-profit corporations be socially responsible, honest, transparent, accountable, and liable for damages and injustices that the NGOs allege the companies have committed, by supposedly altering Earth’s climate and weather, for example.
Meanwhile, more than 300 million Indians (equal to the US population) still have no access to electricity, or only sporadic access. 700 million Africans likewise have no or only occasional access. Worldwide, almost 2.5 billion people (nearly a third of our Earth’s population) still lack electricity or must rely on little solar panels on their huts, a single wind turbine in their village or terribly unreliable networks, to charge a cell phone and power a few light bulbs or a tiny refrigerator.
These energy-deprived people do not merely suffer abject poverty. They must burn wood and dung for heating and cooking, which results in debilitating lung diseases that kill a million people every year. They lack refrigeration, safe water and decent hospitals, resulting in virulent intestinal diseases that send almost two million people to their graves annually. The vast majority of these victims are women and children.
The energy deprivation is due in large part to unrelenting, aggressive, deceitful eco-activist campaigns against coal-fired power plants, natural gas-fueled turbines, and nuclear and hydroelectric facilities in India, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and elsewhere. The Obama Administration joined Big Greeen in refusing to support loans for these critically needed projects, citing climate change and other claims.
As American University adjunct professor Caleb Rossiter asked in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Where is the justice when the U.S. discourages World Bank funding for electricity-generation projects in Africa that involve fossil fuels, and when the European Union places a ‘global warming’ tax on cargo flights importing perishable African goods?”
Where is the justice in Obama advisor John Holdren saying ultra-green elites in rich countries should define and dictate “ecologically feasible development” for poor countries? As the Indian government said in banning foreign NGO funding of anti-development groups, poor nations have “a right to grow.”
Imagine your life without abundant, reliable, affordable electricity and transportation fuels. Imagine living under conditions endured by impoverished, malnourished, diseased Indians and Africans whose life expectancy is 49 to 59 years. And then dare to object to their pleas and aspirations, especially on the basis of “dangerous manmade global warming” speculation and GIGO computer models. Real pollution from modern coal-fired power plants (particulates, sulfates, nitrates and so on) is a tiny fraction of what they emitted 40 years ago – and far less harmful than pollutants from zero-electricity wood fires.
Big Green activists say anything other than solar panels and bird-butchering wind turbines would not be “sustainable.” Like climate change, “sustainability” is infinitely elastic and malleable, making it a perfect weapon for anti-development activists. Whatever they support is sustainable. Whatever they oppose is unsustainable. To them, apparently, the diseases and death tolls are sustainable, just, ethical and moral.
Whatever they advocate also complies with the “precautionary principle.” Whatever they disdain violates it. Worse, their perverse guideline always focuses on the risks of using technologies – but never on the risks of not using them. It spotlights risks that a technology – coal-fired power plants, biotech foods or DDT, for example – might cause, but ignores risks the technology would reduce or prevent.
Genetically engineered Golden Rice incorporates a gene from corn (maize) to make it rich in beta-carotene, which humans can convert to Vitamin A, to prevent blindness and save lives. The rice would be made available at no cost to poor farmers. Just two ounces a day would virtually end the childhood malnutrition, blindness and deaths. But Greenpeace and its “ethical” collaborators have battled Golden Rice for years, while eight million children died from Vitamin A deficiency since the rice was invented.
In Uganda malnourished people depend as heavily on Vitamin A-deficient bananas, as their Asian counterparts do on minimally nutritious rice. A new banana incorporates genes from wild bananas, to boost the fruit’s Vitamin A levels tenfold. But anti-biotechnology activists repeatedly pressure legislators not to approve biotech crops for sale. Other crops are genetically engineered to resist insects, drought and diseases, reducing the need for pesticides and allowing farmers to grow more food on less land with less water. However, Big Green opposes them too, while millions die from malnutrition and starvation.
Sprayed in tiny amounts on walls of homes, DDT repels mosquitoes for six months or more. It kills any that land on the walls and irritates those it does not kill or repel, so they leave the house without biting anyone. No other chemical – at any price – can do all that. Where DDT and other insecticides are used, malaria cases and deaths plummet – by as much as 80 percent. Used this way, the chemical is safe for humans and animals, and malaria-carrying mosquitoes are far less likely to build immunities to DDT than to other pesticides, which are still used heavily in agriculture and do pose risks to humans.
But in another crime against humanity, Greenpeace, WWF and their ilk constantly battle DDT use – while half a billion people get malaria every year, making them unable to work for weeks on end, leaving millions with permanent brain damage, and killing a million people per year, mostly women and children.
India and other countries can fight back, by terminating the NGOs’ tax-exempt status, as Canada did with Greenpeace. They could hold the pressure groups to the same standards they demand of for-profit corporations: honesty, transparency, social responsibility, accountability and personal liability. They could excoriate the Big Green groups for their crimes against humanity – and penalize them for the malnutrition, disease, economic retractions and deaths they perpetrate or perpetuate.
Actions like these would improve billions of lives and bring some accountability to Big Green(backs).
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here
Posted by JR at 7:48 PM