As promised (or as threatened, if you prefer), President Biden has made quick moves to advance the “greening” of America. Or, more accurately, to satiate the green lobby, an unholy alliance of ignorant virtucrats and corporate rent-seekers. He killed the Keystone XL pipeline (and 11,000 jobs), he banned new gas and oil leases (and fracking) on public lands, he’s rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, and he’s looking to kill federal oil subsidies (though sorting this out properly requires savant-level understanding of our tax code). He’s revealed a $2T environmental plan that aims to eliminate the entire carbon energy sector in 14 years. And that’s just in the first week of his administration. Before he continues to repeat his “millions of new jobs” claim, perhaps someone should read to him Frédéric Bastiat’s Parable Of The Broken Window.

Biden put climate matters at the front of his agenda, in no small part due to the socialists’ pushing their Green New Deal (a catchy title that merges two economically destructive ideas into a Frankenstein’s monster of a plan). That these plans will accomplish far more that has nothing to do with global warming than actual remediation is both deliberate and a tragedy.

Consider the desire to kill off the fracking revolution. And a “revolution” it is:

  • It brought energy independence to a nation that was held hostage by its reliance on Middle East oil for decades (and proved Obama spectacularly wrong).
  • It enabled America to actually reduce her carbon emissions (not just slow the rate of increase, as China has laughably promised), and do so faster than pledged in the Paris accord (gas produces less than half the carbon dioxide per unit energy that coal does).
  • It is offering immediate domestic health benefits (particulate emissions kill 15,000 a year; gas produces orders of magnitude lower particulates and sulphur than coal).
  • It has created jobs – real jobs, not government-funded make-work, and done so in many long-depressed regions of the country (Pennsylvania’s northern tier is booming thanks to fracking. New York’s southern tier, which sits on the same Marcellus Shale, remains stagnant thanks to Governor Cuomo’s fracking ban).

All for… what?

Tipping the economic scale toward wind and solar? If they were economically competitive, they’d not need the scale tipped.

Saving groundwater? Fracking has been deemed safe by countless reputable organizations.

Eliminating dirty energy? Our energy needs aren’t going to go away simply by banning production. Slowing the fracking boom means we’ll be falling back onto dirtier forms of carbon energy (cough cough coal), no matter the aspirations that wind and solar will make up the shortfall (here’s a secret: wind and solar need backup base capacity, typically offered by gas turbines that can be ramped up and down easily).

Reducing carbon emissions? Herein lies the farce.

Nothing America does in that regard in this fashion will make a hill-of-beans difference to global atmospheric carbon (John Kerry, hardly a climate skeptic, said so out loud). While we reduce our emissions (thanks again, fracking), much of the rest of the world is producing more carbon than ever, and that’s going to continue. The BRICS nations, in particular, aren’t going to decarbonize their economies the way Biden insists we will and must (and, as the West steps away from carbon energy, it’ll simply become that much cheaper for the rest of the world, further incentivizing its use). China will continue to increase emissions, with only a (rescindable) promise to hit a peak by 2030, and if you believe she’s going to abide by that promise, you’re just kidding yourself. Ditto for the rest of the BRICS. Most nations are already lagging their Paris Accord commitments (which are voluntary, by the way), and it’s acknowledged that 70% of Accord nations will need external financial assistance to approach their pledges.

And there it is: this is about OPM (Other People’s Money), as always. The Paris Accords, like our Green New Deal and most other such programs, are more about wealth transfers, power and control, and economic bludgeoning than they are about saving the planet. This is further demonstrated by a couple additional points: that no one’s talking about nuclear power (the greenest of all), that geo-engineering research, which would obviate the need for global decarbonization and allow the West to address issues without complete compliance (and, I’d bet, more cheaply), is not being funded, and that many don’t want either of these green initiatives because they’d make it less necessary for people to alter their behaviors, and less easy to leverage global warming for the purposes of power and control. Indeed, “green” is interlaced with a desire to “move away” from capitalism (and presumably to the ideology that murdered a couple hundred million people last century).

When parsed analytically, the Left’s “green” plans fall apart in the context of their stated purpose. How much of this is ignorance, how much is deliberate misdirection, and how much is self-delusion is tough to say. What’s easier to conclude is that they’re able to do all this stuff because the public is deeply ignorant of all that I’ve written here.

Much of that ignorance is to be expected. After all, relying on experts is how society functions. Specialization and division of labor are fundamental to productive societies (Leonard Read’s I, Pencil should be required reading for every school kid); no one can be expert in everything.

Unfortunately, those in whom we’ve invested our trust have failed us, leaving us (collectively) vulnerable to misinformation and outright deceit. We abet this bad behavior by our tribalism and groupthink, wherein we are more apt to believe what we’re told by people of our team, simply because they’re of our team. And, we perpetuate this when we reject “emperor has no clothes” revelations in favor of our cognitive biases.

So, because the Left has declared itself concerned with global warming and the need to mitigate it, left-leaning voters go along with, and even defend, all that they’re told needs to be done, including a terribly counterproductive ban on fracking. That fracking (and carbon energy production in general) is a “red state” thing only reinforces this tribal blindness, as do the sign-carriers (making a sign and carrying it around conveys absolutely no additional expertise on a subject, by the way) with whom some identify.

I’ve long applied a particular litmus test for global warming discussions: Anyone who purports to be concerned about anthropogenic climate change and who wants action taken, and doesn’t open the conversation with “more nuclear power,” is either ignorant (as in under-informed, mis-informed, or dis-informed), lazily virtue-signaling, or pursuing other (hidden) goals. Anyone who hears my advocacy of nuclear power and replies “Three Mile Island!,” “Fukushima!,” “Chernobyl!!,” or “Nuclear Waste!,” (as if anyone who knows anything about nuclear power hasn’t heard and refuted these countless times) is similarly ignorant of the facts. And, by virtue of thinking that this elementary-school level of erudition qualifies as a legitimate rebuttal, further demonstrates the dilettante’s unseriousness.

Fortunately, all this ignorance is easily cured, especially nowadays with the world’s body of knowledge literally at one’s fingertips. All it takes is a bit of will and enough clear-headedness to look past the spoon-fed stuff.

Until a big chunk of the population exercises that will, however, we will be foist upon by politicians and hucksters (but I repeat myself) who play to our emotions in order to advance their true agendas: power and payola.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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