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The Left Is As Clueless About The Environment As The Right

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  activism critique environment policy

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I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the Republicans and the right are beholden to fossil fuel interests and the Democrats and the left are beholden to renewable energy interests.

Is that a generalization? Yes. Is it pretty much spot on, though? Also yes.

The left has a long history of conflating “renewable energy” with “sustainable energy” and forgoing substantive action on climate change for misguided polices that do nothing more than rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic. Actually, that’s an understatement. Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic doesn’t do any harm. Policies espoused in the “Green New Deal” and the latest climate change bill that is being discussed actively make the problem worse. So a more accurate metaphor would be puncturing additional holes in the hull. Sink, baby, sink!

The New York Times’ biases in reporting on the issue are evident of the lower quality of its reporting in recent years: after running completely unsubstantiated attack campaigns on legitimate criticism of 5G in past years, it devoted three headlines to the subject in the context of airplane interference this month. Trust the New York Times to miss the forest for the trees; they usually do. The latest climate change policy proposal is no exception. Both exemplify the outlet’s allegiance to corporate interests. But I digress; this isn’t about the New York Times, imperfect though their reporting may be.

This morning, The New York Times discussed key ideas from a potential isolated "Build Back Better" climate change bill. All the cornerstones of such a bill rest on flawed ideas. Let's review them piece by piece.

  • The largest pot of money would subsidize wind, solar and nuclear power, making them less expensive for companies, communities and households Consumers could also receive subsidies for solar panels and energy-efficient appliances.

    Here, we see a disconnect between reality and the mainstream environmental movement that has captivated the left. Electricity is inherently destructive. Converting energy for industrial activities, for that matter, is inherently destructive. It doesn't matter whether you use fossil fuels or not. Of course, reasonable people can disagree about the extent of destruction, but destruction is inevitable.

    Yet, somehow, politicians on the left have gotten the bright (green!) idea that we should be encouraging people to use more energy, not less! The actual and only effect of all of this will be cash flowing into the coffers of companies that produce solar panels, wind turbines, and nuclear reactors. This is, sadly, a predictable reality of the mainstream environmental movement:

    If you ask many of the people who march for the environment why they’re mobilizing, they’ll tell you they’re trying to save the planet; but if you ask for their demands, they often respond that they want additional subsidies for solar manufacturers. — Bright Green Lies, Derrick Jensen

    Less expensive energy won't help the environment. It'll only make the problem worse.

    Real solution: get rid of subsidies for renewable energy — and all forms of energy, including fossil fuels. The only way to help the environment is by using less energy. Nothing comes for free.

  • Many consumers would receive a rebate of $7,500 on an electric vehicle.

    Oh, please. Electric cars are good for the planet? Tesla wants you to believe that, but only a fool would. It's not exactly a secret anymore that electric cars are (gasp) bad for the planet. Lithium ion batteries are certainly a major reason why. Mining lithium is not green. Mining lithium is not good for the planet. This is a lie, a bright green lie that companies like Tesla push to sell their stuff. The cold reality is that electric cars only make the problem worse. They lull people into a false sense of optimism about the technology, when in reality, they're actively harming the environment, and masquerading this as "progress". A real environmentalist would find this appalling, downright disgusting, but "environmentalists" predictably scream "subsidies, subsidies"!

    These assumptions about electric cars couldn't be further from the truth.

    This mine, according to the mine’s supporters, is a green mine, because this lithium will be used to build electric cars, and to build batteries to support so called green energy technologies like solar and wind. Now, I used to support these things. I used to think they were a great idea. I don’t anymore. It’s not because my values have changed. I still value the planet, I’m still very concerned about global warming, and the ecological crisis that we find ourselves in. And in fact, that’s the reason why I oppose mines like this. — Max Wilbert, Update From Thacker Pass

    Isn't Elon Musk rich enough? Hasn't he done enough damage already?

    We need fewer electric cars on the road. We need fewer cars on the road, period.

    Real solution: End rebates for electric vehicles. End subsidies and investments in all private automotive transportation, period. End funding of Interstate highways, raise gasoline prices.

  • The bill would finance research into technology that would capture carbon after it has been emitted, rather than allowing it to contribute to the greenhouse effect.

    Haven't politicians learned enough about humans and their technology destroying the planet? It sounds like a good idea, but if humans can invent a technology that will screw things up even more, trust me, they will.

    Real solution: Here's a novel idea — how about we stop emitting carbon in the first place, rather than emit it and try to capture it?

Initiatives like these show that the left, and the mainstream environmental movement, are as clueless as about the problem as those on the right. We've reached the point where the main issue is no longer people denying the science of climate change or that it is, in fact, a problem. On the contrary, most people now acknowledge it's a problem, but disagree on how to solve it. Furthermore, the mainstream consensus is one that doesn't address the real underlying problems at all — anthropogenic environmental destruction and degradation.

The right is making it worse by pretending the problem doesn't exist. The left is making it worse by pushing sham solutions that don't solve the problem. Reasonable people can disagree about which is really worse.

I am not a "climate activist". I am an environmental activist, and a holistic one at that, which means I will not settle for or endorse solutions that don't actually do anything to solve the problem. Unfortunately, that seems likely to be the only result of the kind of misguided policymaking that has captured Washington today. Don't pretend, even for a second, that the Democrats are that different from the Republicans. They both fight for energy interests — Republicans, perhaps, for the fossil fuel ones, and Democrats for the renewable energy companies. Their allegiance is not to the earth or to the environment — it's to whatever (corporate and otherwise) interests will get them re-elected.

Of these, those that claim to be environmentalists are no more environmentalists than the Koch Brothers are. I suppose, appropriately enough, they may be called "environmentalists in name only".


As an environmentalist, I am saddened and frustrated, but not surprised.

Be honest. How many people are going to vote for people who raise energy prices, or stifle the economy?
Not enough.

How many people are going to vote for politicians promising to hand out a bunch of free stuff, and then make you (and them) feel good about it by greenwashing it all?
Enough that that is what they will do.

This has everything to do with electability and "what sells" and nothing to *really* do with the environment.

We will continue destroying the planet, left and right (no pun intended), until it is utterly beyond repair. With the Republicans propping up fossil fuels and Democrats propping up renewables, nobody is left fighting for the environment.

That's the ironic reality today: Republicans are right to reject to this climate initiative (or any other similar initiative) — even if for the wrong reasons. Dysfunctional politics isn't just bad for Congress. It's even worse for the real world.

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