While we’re on the topic of the environment:
- Here’s a helpful summary of key emails from ClimateGate 2.0. Don’t fall for the line that misconduct revealed by these emails is irrelevant to scientific conclusions. The emails reveal that the source data is a complete mess. No one knows where it came from; no one can trace data points to specific locations; it’s been “corrected” or “adjusted,” i.e. fudged; it reveals gaping holes in the basic methodology of using tree rings as proxies for temperatures; it yields no clear conclusions about climate change, even according to the leading climate change researchers, who admit that at key points their work rests on “guts feelings” rather than science.
- Richard Fernandez calls environmentalists parasites. That would once have been unfair. It’s not anymore. The meliorists who led the movement at certain stages have been pushed aside by people who are more than willing to shut down the economy to achieve their goals. Indeed shutting down the economy appears to be one of their goals. At the very least it’s a feature rather than a bug from their point of view. The Canadian government is now on to them, perceiving the radical and devastatingly harmful nature of their agenda.
- Even under perfect conditions—a solar array in Death Valley—the government can’t make solar energy work. Once regulations grow past a certain point, the jungle they constitute is no longer passable. Walter Russell Mead writes: “if the wrangling, process crazed bureaucrats wrestling with the conflicting, nonsensical regulations and requirements issued by various state, local and federal bureaucracies can’t work out reasonable solutions to the relatively simple question involved in a no-brain solar installation in the desert, what chance is there that these same bureaucracies will redesign the American energy grid and take us to the low carbon utopia that always seems just out of reach?”
- Current environmentalist objectives here in Austin show the state of the movement quite clearly. It ranges from the annoying—the city council is about to ban bags plastic or paper from Austin stores—to the foolishly destructive. There’s a move afoot to shut down the Fayette power plant, which provides a large amount of energy to central Texas at very low cost, because it burns coal. Never mind the fact that the utilities involved (Austin Energy and the Lower Colorado River Authority) just finished installing state-of-the-art scrubbers on the plant which eliminate 95% of its emissions. Never mind the fact that the plant won’t shut down; if Austin wants out, there will be plenty of buyers. Never mind that there’s no obvious replacement for Fayette as a power source. Never mind that any replacement that might be found would cost many times as much, adding about 30% to the average electric user’s bill. It’s insane. There would be no environmental gain whatsoever. The cost would be immense. And it’s fairly likely to happen nonetheless.
Eventually people will wake up to the destructiveness of environmentalism in its current form. By then it may have done so much damage to its host, to use Fernandez’s metaphor, that the economy won’t be able to recover.