Monday, May 07, 2018

Perverse, conflicted ethical systems

Radical environmentalists put people last, and destroy habitats and wildlife to end fossil fuels

Paul Driessen

Third Reich Forest Minister Hermann Goering was an avid hiker and ecologist who once sent a man to a concentration camp for cutting up a frog for fish bait. In 1933 he and other Nazi Party leaders enacted anti-vivisection laws to stop what he called “unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments.”

Intensely hostile to capitalism, the Nazis controlled all industries and envisioned large-scale wind turbine projects that would generate “huge amounts of cheap energy” and create millions of German jobs.

But as Luftwaffe commander, Goering planned and directed the 1939 terror bombing of Warsaw and the final obliteration of the city’s Jewish ghetto. Thousands were slaughtered, and survivors were sent to the Treblinka concentration camp, under “the final solution” that he helped mastermind – to send millions of Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, “mentally deficient burdens” and other “sub-humans” to ovens and mass graves.

About the most charitable thing one can say about Nazi ethics is that they were perversely conflicted and schizophrenic. People clearly occupied a lower niche than animals on their “moral and ethical” hierarchy.

Sadly, the same observations apply to the more rabid elements of modern environmentalism. Ironically, in the name of “keeping fossil fuels in the ground” to “save the planet” from “dangerous manmade climate change” and other imagined calamities, radical greens also demand actions that would ultimately destroy the very habitats and wildlife they claim to love. Their own words underscore their attitudes.

“If we don’t overthrow capitalism, we don’t have a chance of saving the world ecologically.” (Earth First! activist Judy Bari) “Loggers losing their jobs because of spotted owl legislation is no different than people being out of work after the furnaces of Dachau shut down.” (Friends of the Earth founder David Brower)

People have become “a cancer … a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.” (National Park Service scientist David Graber) “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation.” (Prince Philip of England)

“Even if animal research produced a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it.” (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals president Ingrid Newkirk) “Six million people died in concentration camps, but six billion broiler chickens will die this year in slaughterhouses.” (Newkirk again)

Banning DDT in Sri Lanka might well unleash a malaria epidemic, but “so what? People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them, and this is as good a way as any.” Besides, in the United States, DDT substitutes “only kill farm workers, and most of them are Mexicans and Negroes.” (Environmental Defense Fund scientist Charles Wurster)

“Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” (Paul Ehrlich, who in 1968 predicted mass starvation and a collapse of civilization by the 1980s)

“It’s much cheaper for everybody in Africa to have electricity where they need it,” from little solar panels “on their huts.” (Actor Ed Begley, Jr.) People in developing countries “simply cannot expect to have the material lifestyle of the average American.” (Friends of the Earth president Brent Blackwelder)

These attitudes, policies and demands prevail today. Radical greens still advance the same irrational, intolerant views about pesticides to control insect-borne diseases; genetically modified crops to feed more people from less acreage with less water; and access to abundant, reliable, affordable energy required to power modern industrialized societies in Africa, Asia and other less developed regions.

The world’s poorest families still live unnecessarily squalid, miserable, diseased, malnourished, short lives. Billions still don’t even have electricity, clean water, light bulbs or a tiny refrigerator.

It’s awful enough that they were born into these places and conditions, and must endure corrupt, kleptocratic dictators. It is intolerable that their hopes and dreams are also stymied by unelected, unaccountable eco-imperialist activists and bureaucrats, who prance, preen and profess their commitment to “marginalized” people – but care about them only if they are “threatened” by capitalism or climate change. Not surprisingly, they brazenly ignore their own callous roles in this injustice.

The world’s dark-skinned people remain at the bottom of the environmentalist ethical hierarchy – with millions dying every year from preventable diseases of poverty, perpetuated by callous environmentalists. Developed country loggers, miners, factory workers, ranchers, pensioners and poor minorities are not much higher up; farmers also get short shrift, unless they grow corn, soybeans or canola for biofuels.

The battle over fossil fuels has recently entered other dangerous territory, as “protesters” launch campaigns reminiscent of radicals putting spikes in trees so that sawmill blades would explode and injure workers – while comrades bombed GMO and animal testing labs, meat packing plants and even houses.

Their targets now are oil and natural gas transport systems – as a prelude to more rampant destruction – as Putin aides and cronies assist and finance other groups that are trying to block US energy production.

A new cadre of Earth Liberation Front anarchists has taken to closing the valves on pipelines – sabotage that could result in pipeline ruptures, oil spills, explosions, injuries and deaths. In one case, the “valve turners” called the Keystone pipeline operations center just minutes before closing the valve, causing the valve wheel and ground below the saboteurs’ feet to shake. They could have caused a disaster.

If caught, arrested and prosecuted, these extremists invoke the “necessity defense” – asserting that they were compelled to break the law, in order to prevent a greater harm: manmade climate cataclysms.

The eco-terror groups have issued a “Decisive Ecological Warfare” manifesto, urging like-minded criminal elements to commit sabotage against pipelines, transmission lines, oil tankers and refineries. As in the past, the militants want “more moderate” environmental groups to support the “necessity” defense, acts of sabotage, and the use of eco-terrorism to “disrupt and dismantle industrial civilization” and “remove the ability of the powerful to exploit the marginalized and destroy the planet.”

They want more “mainstream” pressure groups to promote the notion that sabotage is acceptable and normal where Earth’s future is at stake. Environmentalists have already persuaded Western institutions not to support pesticide use, fossil fuel power plant construction and other modern technologies in poor, disease-ridden, energy-deprived countries – so maybe this lunacy no longer so farfetched.

Several states have passed “critical infrastructure protection” bills, assessing criminal penalties on terrorists and organizations that conspire to trespass on or damage essential infrastructure sites. The bills also hold parties responsible for any resultant damages to property or persons; they should also penalize foundations and other financiers of eco-terror. All 50 states and Congress should enact similar bills.

The asserted justifications that drive perverse, conflicted environmentalist ethics are based on ideologies, assertions and computer models that label humans, capitalism and modern technologies as existential threats to our planet. They have given rise to a $1.5-trillion-per-year Climate Industrial Complex that is determined to expand its revenues and control people’s lives, livelihoods and living standards – while redistributing wealth mostly to those who would be in power and those who would keep them in power, while sending just enough to the world’s poorest families to improve their lives slightly at the margins.

Ironically, in the process, eco-activists will inflict far more damage on environmental values than do the technologies they despise. Their “solutions” to alleged ecological “problems” will turn billions of acres into wind and solar farms, biofuel plantations, hydroelectric projects, and mines for materials needed for wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and other “clean, green, renewable” energy alternatives.

The twentieth century revealed how thin the veneer of humanity, civilization and ethics can be, when propaganda, fear-mongering, hatred and emotions take over. We need to muster enough science, intellectual rigor and freedom of speech to prevent more deaths in the name of “environmental justice.”

Via email

Is Ethanol Cronyism on the Ropes?
While then-candidate Donald Trump did participate in the usual campaign ritual of bending knee to Iowa farmers with a promise to protect the renewable fuel standard, there was reason to hope his pledge to drain the swamp would extend to ending or reforming the beleaguered mandate that requires most gasoline to be blended with ethanol. After all, the once seemingly unstoppable political clout of Iowa’s agricultural interests was notably weakened when Ted Cruz defied convention by openly opposing the renewable fuel standard and won the Republican Iowa caucuses anyway.

Perhaps Hawkeye State voters are no longer as into cronyism as the cronies and their representatives, which fuels hope that Trump may yet push for RFS reform.

Congress created the requirement to blend plant-based ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply supposedly out of concern for greenhouse gas emissions, as well as out of a fear that consumers would become increasingly reliant on foreign fuels just as global oil prices seemed to be skyrocketing.

It was wrong on both counts. The Government Accountability Office consistently projects that the RFS won’t meet its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In stark contrast, a 2016 University of Minnesota study finds that an unintended consequence of the biofuel mandate is that it actually increases net greenhouse gas emissions.

As the authors explain, the RFS creates a “market rebound effect” whereby the mandated expansion of biofuel production increases the overall fuel supply. This in turn lowers fuel prices, which encourages greater consumption. The lower emissions from biofuel use, based on Environmental Protection Agency figures, aren’t enough to offset the overall increase in fuel consumption. And this analysis doesn’t even get into the debate over the full life-cycle impact of ethanol production.

Likewise, seeing as politicians hold no special insight into future market developments, it should come as little surprise that their worries about dependence on foreign oil were negated by the U.S. shale oil and fracking boom and the subsequent drop in global oil prices.

But mere failure to accomplish legislative goals isn’t why the RFS is under scrutiny today. Most government programs share that inglorious distinction. What has the RFS under the microscope is its destructive impact on independent oil refineries.

Many refineries can’t economically meet the increasingly burdensome RFS mandate. As the requirements continue to expand well beyond both the capabilities of existing vehicles and the consumption habits of drivers, the strains on the sector will only get worse.

The program does allow refineries that can’t produce their own biofuel to purchase credits, known as renewable identification numbers, from those who can meet the targets. This escape valve worked modestly well for a time, but the price of RINs has exploded, and many refineries can no longer afford them, either. When the largest East Coast refinery, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, it cited the “soaring costs” of the renewable fuel credits as a primary reason.

President Trump, for his part, appears to be wobbling on the issue. He indicated a willingness to confront RFS cronyism and was presented a slate of options by EPA chief Scott Pruitt but is reportedly backing off after facing pressure from the corn lobby.

One proposed solution involves capping the price of RINs. That could provide immediate relief to refineries currently being squeezed. However, it wouldn’t address the fundamental faults in the program and would need to be followed up with serious legislative reforms.

In a similar vein, the EPA under Pruitt is increasing its granting of waivers from the mandate to refineries for “disproportionate economic hardship.” Though beneficial for the refineries that receive them, waivers are a short-term Band-Aid at best and risk empowering the government to pick winners and losers.

The RFS program has failed to achieve its stated policy objectives of improving the environment and promoting energy independence. Rather, it primarily exists today as a handout for corn farmers. This is made clear by the fact that reform proposals are evaluated primarily by their impact on farmers and that the most strident defenders of the status quo in Congress come from agricultural states. A president who is serious about draining the swamp wouldn’t succumb to their demands but would instead push for the permanent reforms needed to reverse an ill-conceived market intervention.


New Report: Green Policies Threaten Poor Nations

A new report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation finds that climate and green energy policies promoted by development organizations will cause millions of preventable deaths in the developing world.

The report, by eminent epidemiologist Mikko Paunio, says that international bodies and NGOs are trying to prevent poor countries from expanding their use of conventional fuels and have abandoned the so-called “energy ladder”  — the gradual shift to cleaner types of fuel that underpinned the clean up of air quality in industrialized nations.

As Dr. Paunio explains, this will have devastating consequences:

“Indoor air pollution from domestic fires kills millions every year. But instead of helping poor people to climb the energy ladder and clean the air in their communities, the poorest people are being given gimmicks like cookstoves, which make little difference to air quality, and solar panels, which are little more than a joke.”

What is worse, the greens inside and outside the development community are blaming air pollution on power stations, industry and cars, as a way to prevent any shift to industrial power production. As Dr. Paunio makes clear, most air pollution in poor countries is in fact caused by burning low-quality biofuels and coal in domestic stoves:

“Trying to blame power stations for indoor air pollution might make greens feel they are saving the planet, but the reality is that they are allowing millions of deaths from air pollution to continue. The body count is going to rival that of the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century.”

200 Million At Risk

Domestic combustion of solid (bio)fuels is by far the number one global pollution problem. 4.3 million deaths annually are directly attributable to indoor air pollution (IAP) according to the World Health Organization.

Domestic combustion of solid biofuels kills almost six million people per year when its effects on ambient air quality are also taken into consideration.

The so-called ‘energy ladder’ was introduced as a way of understanding how deaths from IAP might be prevented. The energy ladder seeks to reproduce the experience of rich countries, where households moved away from biofuels and were increasingly connected to electric grids or district heating systems, solving the IAP problem for good.

However, ever-growing resistance from the environmental movement has removed this beneficial approach from the development agenda.

Environmentalists fear that by taking steps upwards on the energy ladder, from dirty solid fuels such as cow dung or crop residues, and towards the use of electricity, poor countries would become wealthier and so increase their energy use and their carbon intensity.

They have managed to persuade all important multilateral development bodies and the WHO to drop the energy ladder entirely. Instead, they are now coercing the poorest countries to adopt utopian energy policies based on renewables. The result is that combatting IAP in, say, sub-Saharan Africa is becoming impossible.

Aggressive decarbonization is now high on the political agenda. Contrary to the widely disseminated claims of important global actors, this will not solve the problem of IAP.

Moreover, it will hamper the expansion of electric grids, which is a critical prerequisite for delivering adequate water supplies, without which it will be impossible to reproduce the public health miracle experienced in the rich countries.

These ‘ambitious’ global climate mitigation policies leave environmental health problems amongst the poor unaddressed and will result in the loss of over 200 million lives by 2050.

They are also unlikely – even in theory – to prevent the 250,000 annual deaths that the WHO speculates will be attributable to climate change between 2030 and 2050: high-quality IPCC-linked research has recently shown that solid biomass combustion actually increases CO2 emissions, at least over the next 100 years, compared to fossil fuels.


Rising Levels Of ‘Frustration’ At UN Climate Stalemate

Old divisions between rich and poor over money and ambition are again threatening to limit progress in UN climate negotiations.

Discussions between negotiators from nearly 200 countries have resumed in Germany, aiming to flesh out the rules on the Paris climate pact.

But developing countries say they are “frustrated” with the lack of leadership from the developed world.

Commitments to cut carbon are still “woefully inadequate”, they said.

2018 marks a critical stage in the global climate negotiations process. By the end of this year, governments will meet in Poland to finalise the so-called “rulebook” of the Paris deal, agreed in the French capital in December 2015.

This is seen as a key test.

The rules will define the ways in which every country reports on their emissions and on their carbon-cutting actions and, importantly, how they will increase these actions in the years ahead.

But while rich and poor countries united in Paris to push through the deal, significant ruptures have re-appeared in wrangles over key technical details.

The developed nations want almost all countries to share the same set of rules on how carbon emissions are measured, reported, and verified. This issue, called “transparency” in the negotiations, has run into difficulties with many emerging economies arguing for more “flexibility”.

According to some observers, the richer countries believe that some in the talks are trying to turn the clock back to the time when only wealthier countries had any commitments to cut carbon, while developing countries including India and China had no obligations.

“The EU, US, and other developed countries are worried about the slow pace of negotiations on transparency and other elements of the Paris rulebook,” said Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“And what they see as the efforts of some developing countries to reintroduce bifurcation into the climate regime – an argument they thought had been settled in Paris.”

The developing nations are, in turn, incensed that enthusiasm for the $100bn per year in climate finance support from the rich, due to start in 2020, has started to wane.

“It has been frustrating to hear some developed countries celebrate their climate leadership even as they fall well short of the modest commitments they have made over the years,” said Thoriq Ibrahim, environment minister for the Maldives and chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States, one of the key groups of poorer nations in the talks.

“If we spent as much time working on this problem as we do congratulating ourselves for caring so deeply about it, we would be closer to an outcome worthy of a celebration.

“As it stands, we haven’t mobilised nearly enough resources to tackle this problem and until developed countries match their rhetoric with action our survival will continue to hang in the balance.”

Poor Matt McGrath is still under the delusion that the Paris Agreement was anything other than virtue signaling. Perhaps I can help to make things a bit clearer for him:

1) Most developing countries are not interested in developed ones cutting emissions. If they were, they would be calling for the likes of China and India to do the same.

2) The UCS is worried about developing countries trying to reintroduce bifurcation.

Yet this was specifically written into the Paris Agreement, and countries like China and India would not have signed it otherwise.

3) As far as the developing countries were concerned, Paris was really just about money. But the chances of $100bn a year materializing any time soon is remote.

Even the first tranche of $100bn by 2020 is a long way off. In the UK for instance, most climate aid, small though it is, is not even new money, but simply recycled from within the existing aid budget.

The reality is that western governments never had the slightest intention of handing over such huge sums, which is why the Paris Agreement was so vague on the whole idea, with nothing binding.

4) The only really concrete thing to come out of Paris was the issue of regular stocktaking, ie monitoring of emissions. Yet China was adamant that it would not accept independent verification. Nobody should be surprised now about “a lack of transparency”.

Nothing it seems has changed since.

The simple reality is that Paris moved things on very little from Copenhagen. The same fault lines still apply:

1) The developing world, led by China and India, but incongruously including the massively wealthy Arab states, still refuse point-blank to even consider reducing emissions.

2) Western governments, in the thrall of global warming madness, still cannot understand why the rest of the world is not prepared to take them seriously.

3) The same Western governments, who thought that a bit of financial aid might do the trick, are now realizing that they are being blackmailed, and simply do not have the money to pay.

Of course, if Matt McGrath had bothered to actually read the Paris Agreement, instead of believing the BBC groupthink, he would not have needed me to tell him.


Renewable Energy Is Pushing California Towards New Energy Crisis, Regulators Warn

A growing number of Californians ditching utility companies for alternative power sources is pushing the state onto the brink of a second energy crisis, regulators warn.

California prides itself as a national leader when it comes to alternative energy production and distribution. The state implements a broad array of “environmentally friendly” programs for electricity consumers. Net metering, community choice aggregation (CCA), and Direct Access are among the top choices. These programs have proven attractive with a populace wishing to buck the state’s investor-owned utilities. They are expected to account for about 25 percent of California’s entire retail electric load this year and, based on projections, reach 85 percent by the mid-2020s.

However, such rapid changes don’t come without consequences.

Electric utilities, uncertain of how many customers they will have in the future, are becoming more hesitant to sign long-term contracts with power generators. Even natural gas producers — which have proliferated in the U.S. in recent years — are struggling to churn a profit in the volatile California market.

California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Picker is now warning that the state may be at risk of an energy crises. Customers may soon be subjected to skyrocketing electricity prices, rolling blackouts and other problems — unless the state plans accordingly. Picker’s office released a report Thursday detailing how state leaders can reform the electricity market and avoid an energy shortage.

“We have a hodgepodge of different providers,” Picker stated in an Thursday interview with Bloomberg. “If we aren’t careful, we could slide back to the kind of crisis we faced in 2000 and 2001.”

Picker referenced the unprecedented energy crises California faced nearly two decades ago. Following market deregulations, price caps and continual delays with new power plant approvals, the state experienced widespread blackouts. Hundreds of thousands of homes were plunged into darkness between 2000 and 2001. The political fallout tattered then Gov. Gray Davis’ standing, becoming the second governor in U.S. history to be successfully recalled.




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