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Still Boondogglin'
The Solar Curse Goes for a Three-peat

The hothouse solar industry, in general built on subsidies and hype, is known for throwing up huge companies that quickly fall apart. The last two companies to become the world’s largest makers of solar panels have both since gone into bankruptcy; now the third to hit the number one spot may face the same fate. Bloomberg reports:

Rising to the top of the solar industry is the easy part. Staying there has proven more of a challenge.

No one illustrates that better these days than Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., which was until last year the world’s biggest panel company by shipments. It’s lost two-thirds of its market value in 2015 and in May acknowledged “substantial doubt” about whether it can stay afloat amid a pile of debt. The Baoding, China-based manufacturer will report second-quarter results Tuesday and analysts are expecting a 16th straight loss.

There are two big problems with the solar industry as a whole. First, the resource simply isn’t good enough yet to compete without subsidies and a cozy crony relationships with government. Second, green prejudice is keeping us from deploying solar in the most useful and effective way. As we’ve noted, fields of GMO soybeans don’t need fertilizer or pesticides, which means that solar is replacing the energy that used to go into running the fertilizer and pesticide plants. Combining solar with GMOs is a wildly successful way to decarbonize the economy—without reducing efficiency or living standards.

But organized greens will be fighting these ideas when the last polar bear slips from the last iceberg in the warming Arctic. Irrational prejudice and hatred of science permeate the contemporary green movement. It would rather see serial bankruptcies in solar boondoggles than any actual progress made on decarbonization if that progress violates one of the movement’s many irrational taboos (in this case, against GMOS).

It’s a sad state of affairs: The world’s worst-led social movement continues to flounder and flail.

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  • Blackbeard

    The Greens are indeed failing if you think that reducing CO2 is the point. However once you realize that anti-Americanism, a hatred of capitalism and a desire to repeal the Industrial Revolution are really what they are after then you can see that they’re doing just fine.

  • Boritz

    “The world’s worst-led social movement continues to flounder and flail.”

    They aren’t failing, and you don’t need good leadership when the federal government supports you with billions in subsidies on ideological grounds.

  • Rick Johnson

    ‘Combining solar with GMOs is a wildly successful way to decarbonize the economy—without reducing efficiency or living standards.’ How can any intelligent human write something like that and expect to be taken as credible. I know TAI is soft on Green crap. But really. You don’t honestly believe this BS. Do you?

    • Co-homology

      If live in an right wing echo chamber anything is possible. See National Review Online to kind of stuff their rising stars ( Avik Roy , Kevin Williamson,..) write.

    • dawnsblood

      Maybe I am reading it differently but here is what I am getting from the statement. Since GMO crops do not need fertilizers and pesticides the fact that we no longer need to use them cuts the fossil fuel use of the factories that would otherwise create them. The solar part is the fact that the crops grow using sunlight to fuel photosynthesis. The plants themselves generate their own pesticide and fertilizer using solar power that way.

      The statement is unwieldy as all heck but fundamentally true. I do think the author is working way too hard fitting the phrase ‘solar power’ into the equation though.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “Irrational prejudice and hatred of science permeate the contemporary green movement.”

    They hate science because it disagrees with their religion. The Globe isn’t Warming, Genetically Modified Plants and Animals aren’t a disaster, and Plants and Animals that become part of the Human ecosystem of thousands of life forms never become extinct.

  • CaliforniaStark

    “‘But organized greens will be fighting these ideas when the
    last polar bear slips from the last iceberg in the warming Arctic.”

    What rhetoric! Move over Al Gore, Via Meadia is taking command in the battle against global warming. By the way, believe it was Al Gore and a Cambridge professor who were predicting the Arctic would be ice free in 2015. There still is a lot of ice up there; in fact the amount of ice may have actually increased since 2007. Some of my Scandinavian relatives are complaining about one of the coldest winters in years. It also may be some time before the last polar bear slips into the Arctic Sea and goes down like the Titanic. There is fairly strong evidence that the number of polar bears has increased; perhaps the result of a hunting ban enacted some time ago.

    Perhaps it would better to argue the benefits of GMO soybeans strictly on their own merits, rather than try and tie them in with Arctic ice and polar bears?

  • William Ockham

    The author should spend a lot more time explaining the relationship (if any) between solar panels and GMO soybeans. As it stands this article is near gibberish.

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    • Andrew Allison

      It’s even worse that that. The post linked to makes no mention of soy beans, i.e., a fertilizer and pesticide free GMO version is a gleam in the author’s eye. The fact that soy beans fix nitrogen as well as CO2 doesnt make them fertizer free. I think that the lunacies of opposition to GMOs and alternative energy stand, or rather fail, on their own.

      • William Ockham


  • Craig Austin

    The same groups who belive that GMO’s are dangerous to humans believe that CO2 is dangerous to plants.

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