Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Green energy advocate mugged by reality

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

The article quoted and linked below is refreshingly candid.  In it, George Monboit, a self declared member of the "green movement" confesses environmentalism is a "belief system" that has failed to articulate "a convincing account of how humanity can get out of this mess".  By "mess" he means, I think, the "planet-wrecking project" humans have undertaken as a result of our propensity to improve our circumstances from day to day and generation to generation.

Monboit outlines three "green" solutions to the "planet-wrecking project" he deems inadequate.  The three solutions are accommodation of the world economy, dramatic downsizing of the world economy and collapse of the world economy.  Rejecting each solution as unworkable, he concludes:

I hope that by laying out the problem I can encourage us to address it more logically, to abandon magical thinking and to recognise the contradictions we confront. (emphasis added)

Decarbonising the economy, as Monboit wants to do, will require an increase in infrastructure on a scale that places "green solutions" in conflict with the world view favored by members of the green movement.  Specifically, he explains:

These questions are so divisive because the same world-view tells us that we must reduce emissions, defend our landscapes and resist both the state and big business.  The four objectives are at odds.

As our economy rebounds - globally the world economy grew at a rate of 4.6% last year - Monboit and his acolytes lament the fact the date for peak oil has passed with no collapse of the global economy.  The reason peak oil failed to cause global collapse, as predicted by many greens, is that other fossil fuels are now filling the gap - natural gas, and oil sands combine to dwarf crude oil reserves - while nuclear power and coal remain the cheapest and most efficient fuel sources for electric power.  Faced with this reality Monboit laments:

We have enough non-renewable resources of all kinds to complete our wreckage of renewable resources: forests, soil, fish, freshwater, benign weather.  Collapse will come one day, but not before we have pulled everything down around us.

What horrible and pessemistic world view.  I prefer to see the silver lining in all of this.  I view the need to preserve and conserve our spectacular natural resources as an intellectual, spiritual and economic challenge that can only be met by bold innovative thinkers striving to improve their lot, the lot of those around them and the lot of their children and grandchildren from day to day and generation to generation.   Restricting economic growth for billions in third wold countries - i.e. decarbonizing our economy to accommodate slower / lower economic growth - strikes me as short sighted and foolish in the extreme.

I agree with Monboit that members of the green movement need to "abandon magical thinking" and recognize the inherently contradictory solutions they advocate are part of a "belief system" consisting of "beliefs that in some cases remain unexamined."  Too many in the green movement have adopted a belief system that can best be described a "green religion"

From my perspective, as a Christian, I find it odd that my green friends - many of whom declare themselves to be atheists - argue from a "belief system" that requires incredible leaps of faith that prove complete untenable when analyzed in the cold harsh light of reality.  Monboit recognizes those realities.  Neither India nor China will ever agree to limit their growth to any substantial degree.  Accordingly, different solutions to these "green" conundrums are required.

Mastering the digital data associated with the facilities and infrastructure we create is one mechanism via which we can at least make intelligent fact based decisions regarding energy use in a variety of circumstances.  Misplaced blind faith in climate scientists - who have proven less than credible - big government - which has seized power through excessive regulation and taxation, and big business - which has proven all too eager to crawl in bed with big government, seems less than prudent to me.  I prefer innovative market based solutions and I would encourage my friends in the green movement to adopt green solutions driven by greenbacks rather than green beliefs.

Read the whole thing

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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