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Old Green: Clean Energy—New Green: No Energy

In the wake of the Solyndra scandal, green energy companies have been losing friends left and right, but at least they could count on support from loyal greens—or maybe not:

Two environmental groups in April filed suit to block an energy project they said would seriously harm the local ecosystem.

It wasn’t a coal plant, or an oil refinery, or a nuclear reactor. It was a wind farm — the very sort of “clean” energy environmentalists champion as an alternative to dirty traditional supplies. . . .

But national and local environmental groups are fighting to block or delay many solar plants, wind farms, hydropower and biomass plants and other forms of “clean” energy, along with new transmission lines needed to bring that energy to customers.

The effect, observers say, is to slow green energy growth. Even if renewable production rose at three times the overall energy output pace, it would still make up just 16% of domestic supplies by 2035, from 10% now, according to the Energy Department.

For years, the green argument was something like this: If only we can replace fossil fuels with cleaner, renewable energy sources, we can enjoy our current standard of living without endangering the environment. Now it appears some greens have advanced the argument to a brand new phase: It’s as if they’ve replaced a green energy policy with a no-energy policy.

Good luck with that.

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  • Eurydice

    I’ve never been a fan of the Green’s fuzzy thinking, but I don’t see inconsistancy here. For environmentalists, “green” means the environment first – and “green energy” is a concession to economic forces, not their essential mission. I don’t know if environmentlists have been long-time supporters of green energy, but I do know they’ve been fighting the Cape Wind project for 12 years now.

  • Kris Gilbert Tufts

    It has been at least 20 years since the environmental movement actually cared about ‘clean’ energy. The green agenda has been, and remains, to stop all progress and development, using whatever straw man argument works at the moment.

  • Richard Treitel

    Dog bites man.

    Browns have been pointing out for years that wind farms kill birds, and for that matter, Greens have been opposing dams even though hydro-electric power is renewable, because of the effect on fish.

    Over here in California we’ve been working on reducing our energy consumption for a long, long time: insulating buildings (in one of the US’ mildest climates), buying EnergyStar appliances with subsidies from state and/or local governments.

    http://yearbook.enerdata.net/energy-intensity-GDP-by-region.html

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    They hate mankind and we should hate them right back.

  • Randy

    In the energy industry we have several acroynms for this kind of thinking (besides the well-known NIMBY):

    BANANA – Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything
    NOPE – Not On Planet Earth

  • http://fat-city-usa.blogspot.com/ Walter Sobchak

    When they were Communists, we could ascertain the party line with some accuracy and little effort.

    The problem is that there is no hierarchical party, to set forth a line that has any coherence. So every NIMBY, NOPE (nowhere on planet Earth), and ninny can pull out the enviro-horn and sound a blast at any moment.

    This automatically triggers the environmentalists who are really going for the green (dollars, that is) to ride out and fund raise.

    Don’t expect coherence out of environmentalists, they are just reaching into their bags of sticks to find one to beat you with.

    Don’t bargain with them, they can’t deliver their end.

    Don’t think they are acting in good faith. A few are, but most aren’t, and they won’t come clean for you.

  • Sam L.

    Greens are often a circular firing squad. One proposes a project; the others shoot it down. And they all get together and shoot anything down that’s proposed by someone else.

    I think their codewords are Nothing, Nowhere, Not Now, Not Ever, No Way.

  • Will Richardson

    @ Walter Sobchak Here is another label for you.

    “Watermelons” Green on the outside, red on the inside.

  • Mike_K

    California is really on the down escalator in energy. Los Angeles was going to boycott Arizona over the SB1070 law until someone told the city council that 25% of the electricity for Los Angeles comes from the Navajo coal plants in Arizona. Now, they are trying to figure out how much they hate coal.

  • BarryD

    @Richard Treitel, yeah, THAT’S the solution! That’s all we have to do! Tax people and give the money to other people for buying fancier washing machines!

    I’ve got a Bosch side-loader, myself. Damn nice machine, and efficient as all get-out! Amazing what you can buy for 1400 bucks these days. Perhaps if I still lived in California, someone else would have been forced to buy it for me.

    Never mind that the population continues to increase. Energy Star appliances will make it so that we won’t need energy. Just shut down power plants, build nothing to replace them, and buy Energy Star!

    I have been using high-efficieny bulb replacements, appliances, etc. for a long time. The idea that a more efficient washing machine will mean that we can do without energy is one of the most idiotic lies of the greens, and that’s saying something. I mean, the idiocy is truly mind-boggling — until you meet a green true believer. They you understand how someone can be so stupid.

  • Koblog

    California boycotting Arizona? Hah.

    ALL the power produced by the Parker Dam in Arizona goes to California.

    All the water in Lake Havasu goes to California.

    In the midst of our first heat wave and “Flex-Power” commands from the “brothel of environmentalists, lawyers, public-sector unions and legislative bums” in Sacramento, Redondo Beach is seeking to dismantle a working natural gas-fired power plant that will never be replaced due to the onerous regulations of that same “brothel.”

    What’s so hilarious is that these same “greens” are consuming more power than ever. It just comes out of the wall by magic…as much as necessary and in never-ending quantities.

    Fools.

  • Faith+1

    To see what happens when you adopt a no energy policy compared to a clean energy (as in natural gas, real energy and not the pseudo-science kind) just compare Haiti to Domincan Republic. Same island, same basic population, only Haiti has stripped their island bare and ruined the environment because they didn’t have access to cheap, affordable energy.

    Nothing has done more damage to the environment than the “environmentalist”. But hey, it must be OK because it makes them feel morally superior. Right?

  • Militant Catholic

    This article hits the nail on the head. The new Greens are an uber-hypocritical, humanity-hating, God-hating, self-hating, miserable, angry bunch of Ultra-Left dangerous psychopaths who should be shut down quick whenever they appear. They are no one’s friend and are a danger to every society they encounter, including themselves. ( see #Occupy)

  • johninMA

    Most environmental groups simply want to reduce man’s impact on the rest of the animal and plant world. Whether they fight the right battles is surely debatable. But one thing is certain – they have no overall, coordinated plan. At best they are happy with the effects of their random battles, namely reducing man’s commerce/output and therefore wealth. Most I know also have a somewhat unspoken dream of a global human population cut by a large amount.

  • joel

    There is an article in this Sunday’s NY Times Magazine section on home solar power. Very positive. Numerous readers wrote to support the idea. The solar companies install for free and you lease the equipment and make up the difference in reduced power bills. People then buy Leaf’s to use up their excess power.

    You have to solarize your house to make this work.

    Sounds way too good to be true, and of course it involves plenty of govt subsidies and forced cooperation of the electric utility, and no mention of the complete energy cycle for building and recycling the solar panels,etc, but hey, if it sounds good, it must be good, right?

    Meanwhile, electric power in CA is very expensive. I wonder why?

  • johninMA

    Oops. To finish my thought, reducing the human population is the more important goal versus energy adequacy. To most environmentalists, the only solution is less energy production with one necessary step being less demand through whatever means.(efficiency is only seen as very temporary)

  • JimW

    Scratch a green and you find a red.

  • joel

    I remember well when the Greens were all for coal power electric plants, as a reason to avoid building nuclear power plants. That worked out well.

    Of course, the Greens have amnesia about that.

    They never did get those monorails crisscrossing the country on the interstate highway medians, though. Now that would have been a winner. Imagine the first time a trailer truck crossed the median and took down a major monorail route, maybe with a few hundred people with it.

    The Greens have forgotten that, too.

  • JKB

    Sam L.

    That is pretty much how DC works. After a career in the real world, I got transferred to HQ in DC. No matter what you wanted to do, three people would start working against you. Never the same three either. I can only assume it is how they keep busy and keep the money flowing. Which is really probably the goal of the Greens. Keep those donations, and more importantly government grants, coming.

  • Bohemond

    This is nothing new at all. Years ago when the “discovery” of cold fusion was announced, this was Green Guru Paul Ehrlich’s response: “Like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.”

    More of the same from Amory Lovins: “If you ask me, it’d be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it.”

    And Jeremy Rifkin: “It’s the worst thing that could happen to our planet.”

  • BooMushroom

    The environmentalist wants one thing: for everyone ELSE to starve to death in the dark.

  • Boyd

    I think you’ve missed something important here. I believe the greens have discovered what we conservationists (an old term for people who actually do care about the countryside they live in)have known since the start – green energy is increadibly destructive of the environment they claim to want to preserve.

    Nothing says “who cares” about this destruction beter than hundreds of square miles of solar panels covering the outback of my Nevada. I have spoken to one group who interestingly has come to see this destruction as far more threatining than mining or grazing.

    All I can say is, it’s about time, and thank God.

  • Old School Conservative

    I hope enough voters remember this November that Carol Browner, Lisa Jackson, and Van Jones really are communists. The entire USEPA has been permeated with watermelon green activists, and what they have been unable to achieve through the legislative process they have decided to achieve via judicial fiat and executive orders, many of the latter also illegal.

    Throw da’ bums out!!!

  • Tblakely

    I would wager a lot if someone proposed an ‘eco-friendly’ way of killing off 90% of humanity to the hardcore greenies (except for true-believers of course), they’d enthusiastically endorse it.

  • http://outoftherace.blogspot.com ExRat

    Peter Huber in Hard Green (1999) was prophetic when he noted that Greens (“Soft Greens”) will oppose every and all sources of energy in common use, and favor almost every source that is economically unfeasible, but when improvements in technology make a “favored” technology economically feasible, it will fall out of favor and the Greens will oppose it.

  • Militant Catholic

    The next time a Green starts lecturing you about population control, ask him/her why he/she doesn’t kill him/herself for the common good. Watch the mad spinning and ‘change for thee, not for me’ pour out.

  • http://www.aei.org/scholar/kenneth-p-green Ken Green

    I’ve been making this argument for several years now. The greens were never sincere in saying they wanted “clean” energy, what they want is to roll back people’s access to energy altogether, without admitting it.

    http://www.masterresource.org/2009/03/the-energy-strangulation-strategy-the-obama-game-plan-emerges/

    http://www.aei-ideas.org/2011/02/barack-the-energy-strangler-obama/

  • Rex Graine

    “I don’t see inconsistency here.”

    You’re correct. As long as the protesters live like the Amish, with no electricity or cars.

  • johninMA

    As Ken Green highlights, the goal of the more aggressive of the environmentalists has less to do with the short tern cleaning up of the energy sector, and more to do with the what I mentioned earlier – changing man’s way of life and man’s numbers so that per capita energy usage is significantly reduced. The goal is a vast shift in energy generation altogether, in my experience.

    It’s also worth noting to Boyd that some of the more sincere renewable energy advocates have been pushing the use of existing building structures such as large buildings (e.g. shopping centers) and parking facilities instead of unoccupied land. Termed Distributed Generation because it doesn’t allow for many large single installations, it still requires a significant change in the existing infrastructure and transmission network. But even those more realistic advocates rely on the climate argument to justify those upgrade costs. They are neither trivial in cost nor simple to accomplish.

  • Victor Erimita

    Can we please stop calling these people environmentalists? They are assorted Luddites, Marxists, neo-Puritans, anti-science hysterics, New Age apocalyptics and anti-human cranks. Their ravings no longer have any meaningful connection to any rational concerns about the coexistence of humans in an integral ecosystem. They are anti-sin poseurs who invent the rules as they go along, inconsistent, incoherent, amoral. They have forfeited the right to call themselves environmentalists or be taken seriously.

  • wagnert in atlanta

    It’s my opinion that we should — quietly, so they don’t figure out what we’re up to — encourage the radical environazis. Their campaign to shut down all the energy sources they don’t approve of, and their creeping disapproval of new energy sources will result in utilites grudgingly shutting down the oldest, smallest and least efficient coal generating plants and breaching the smallest dams with the oldest turbines. When this cuts sufficiently into the US power reserve capacity, there are going to be some really spectacular, India-style regional blackouts.
    These will be greeted with joy by the extremists. Then, and possibly only then, will Joe Sixpak realize what the great and good he has been passively supporting have in mind for him, and they will be lucky if he doesn’t hang them from the nearest (non-operating) lamppost.
    I think this may be starting already in Germany — they began their anti-Kernkraftwerk campaign by not restarting a couple of nuclear plants that were down for maintenance. When the next couple of plants were powered down, they began immediately to have brownouts — in other words, they had shut down their reserve. Keep tuned for developments.

  • HC

    Scratch almost any variety of ’60s liberal’, but especially the greens, and you’ll find a Zero Growther and someone who thinks there are Too Many People. The variation is in the intensity.

    Ironic, in light of the fact that our civilization is beginning to suffer the effects of a serious long-term birth dearth.

  • Exurban

    Yep. A 2012 example for you: greens were in favor of natural gas until … well until natural gas became a practical available alternative. Then — now, that is — they were suddenly against it.

    Good points from Walter Sobchak and Sam L. about how there’s no point trying to bargain/negotiate with greens.

  • John Skookum

    “I think this may be starting already in Germany — they began their anti-Kernkraftwerk campaign by not restarting a couple of nuclear plants that were down for maintenance. When the next couple of plants were powered down, they began immediately to have brownouts — in other words, they had shut down their reserve. Keep tuned for developments.”

    Very clever. A reverse Cloward-Piven strategy. Give them what they are asking for, good and hard.

  • Cranios

    Let them live as cave dwellers without their iPhones, Starbucks, etc for a while, and they’ll come around. We can put them in a compund and watch them make the adjustment – should be good entertainment!

  • Charles Higley

    Read “Hunger Games.” It’s their goal. Districts with people fenced off from most of the land, each district producing one main, mostly low tech product, so that they could never be independent, and the Capitol in CONTROL of EVERYTHING, including the lives of the children. All districts but the capitol are kept isolated from the others—no communication—all communication through the Capitol. All Hail the Government! The Games are their way of regularly impressing the oppressed of their real helplessness.

    See the UN’s Agenda 21. It’s Hunger Games Worldwide.

  • TorreyJ

    If you’re interested, a big renewable energy company, Stream Energy, based out of Texas, is launching a new “Clean Nation” program that launches Wednesday, August 15. It is going to be huge. Help fund this nationwide movement towards renewable energy projects. Check out their website at http://www.cleannationonline.com. Email me at torrey.jacoby@gmail.com if you’re interested in making a lot of money while helping your carbon footprint!

    Don’t miss out on their nationwide launch tomorrow!

  • Tom Blacksmith

    Read “When the Sleeper Awakes” by H.G. Wells.

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