Diogenes Searching for Honest Policies

By Paul Driessen

Renewable Energy - Wind Farm
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USA -(Ammoland.com)- The Greek philosopher Diogenes reportedly carried an oil lamp during the daytime, the better to help him find an honest man.

People everywhere should join Congress and the Trump Administration in search of honest energy and climate policies – as too many existing policies were devised by special interests seeking money and power, and often using imaginary problems to justify their quest.

The health and environmental impacts from fossil fuels are well documented, though often exaggerated or even fabricated by activists, politicians, bureaucrats and companies with lofty agendas: securing climate research grants, and mandates and subsidies for renewable energy projects to replace fossil fuels; reducing economic growth and living standards in industrialized nations; and redistributing the world’s wealth, fundamentally transforming the global economy, and telling impoverished countries what kinds of energy and what level of economic development they will be permitted to have.

More often than not, proponents justify these agendas by insisting we must prevent dangerous manmade global warming and climate chaos, prevent unsustainable resource consumption, and safeguard people against purported technological risks.

My multiple articles on the catechism of climate cataclysmsustainability realities, absurdities and duplicities … and selective application of precautionary pabulum address the conceptual fallacies of these interchangeable, agenda-driving mantras.

All three are routinely defined, twisted, used and abused to block technologies that activists despise, and promote technologies and policies that advance their agendas and fill their coffers.

But beyond their glaring, often insurmountable conceptual problems are the practical issues. With what, exactly, will these agitators replace fossil fuels? Applying the same health and environmental standards they use against oil, natural gas and coal – just how clean, green, Earth-friendly, sustainable, climate-stabilizing, healthy, and human rights/social justice-oriented are their renewable energy alternatives?

If their alternatives are so wondrous, why do they still need permanent mandates, renewable portfolio standards, investment tax credits, production tax credits, feed-in tariffs, myriad other subsidies, exemptions from endangered species and other regulations, and laws requiring that utility companies buy their electricity whenever it is produced (even if it is not needed)?

Why must they build and run fossil fuel “backup” power plants for the 50 – 85 percent of the time that wind and solar are not producing?

The following brief examination will hopefully guide more rigorous analyses of the impacts of these “technologies of the future” – aka wind, solar and biomass technologies that served mankind rather poorly for countless generations, until the fossil/nuclear era began, and now are supposed to serve us once again.

Probably the biggest single problem with any supposedly renewable, sustainable alternative is its horrendously low energy density: the amount of energy produced per acre. We can get far more electricity or fuel from a few dozen, hundred or thousand acres of oil, gas or coal production operations than we can from millions or tens of millions of acres of renewable energy projects.

Moreover, fossil fuel operations can often be conducted in the middle of farm fields or wildlife habitats – or the land can be reclaimed and returned to those uses once the energy has been extracted. Offshore oil and gas platforms actually create thriving habitats for marine life. Most renewable energy operations displace food crops or destroy wildlife habitats – and must do so in perpetuity.

And so we have corn as high as an elephant’s eye, across an area the size of Iowa (36 million acres) to produce ethanol that replaces 10 percent of US gasoline but also requires vast quantities of water, fertilizer, fuel and pesticides to grow the corn and turn it into fuel – instead of feeding hungry people.

We find bright yellow canola fields across more millions of acres in Montana, Saskatchewan, Germany and elsewhere, to produce biodiesel – and still more acreage devoted to switchgrass for ethanol and algae ponds for “advanced biofuels.”

In Brazil, it’s millions of acres of sugarcane for ethanol, and millions more for other biofuels from palm oil, from areas that once were rainforests, “the Earth’s lungs,” as environmentalist groups like to say.

Once teeming with wildlife, they are now monoculture energy plantations – so that we don’t have to desecrate Mother Earth by drilling holes in the ground to produce oil and natural gas: nature’s own biofuels, created over millions of years and stored for mankind’s benefit.

Of course, when these expensive, environment-intensive alternatives are burned, they send more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the same as fossil fuels do – on top of the CO2 that was burned by fuels and released from soils and clear-cut trees to produce the “climate-friendly renewable” energy.

Meanwhile, American and Canadian companies are cutting down millions of acres of forest habitats, and turning millions of trees into wood pellets that they truck to coastal ports and transport on oil-fueled cargo ships to England – to be hauled by truck and burned in place of coal to generate electricity.

The pellets cost more than coal (which Britain still has in abundance), so utility companies receive huge taxpayer subsidies to make up the difference. One power plant received £450 million ($553 million) in 2015.

The financially and environmentally unsustainable scheme is justified on the ground that trees are renewable; so the scam helps Britain meet its climate change and renewable fuel obligations under various laws and treaties. Even though the trees-to-pellets-to-power process emits more carbon dioxide and pollution than coal-based power generation, the “wood fool” arrangement is considered to be “carbon neutral,” because growing replacement trees over the next century or two will absorb CO2.

If this sounds freaking dishonest and insane, it’s because it is freaking dishonest and insane. Diogenes must be turning summersaults in his grave. But there’s more.

On top of all this biofuel lunacy, we also have tens of thousands of wind turbines towering above fields, lakes, oceans and homes – butchering millions of birds and bats, and impairing the health of thousands of humans whose well-being is sacrificed to Big Wind profits. We’ve also got millions of solar panels sprawling across countless acres of desert and grassland habitats, to produce well under 1 percent of the world’s electricity.

Their expensive, intermittent power reaches distant urban areas via thousands of miles of high-voltage transmission lines. They all require greenhouse gas-emitting backup power plants.

Those turbines, panels, transmission lines and backups require millions of tons of steel, copper, concrete, rare earth and other exotic metals, fiberglass and other materials – much of it produced under nonexistent health and environmental laws in faraway countries, where injury, illness, child labor and death run rampant … and are ignored by local, national and United Nations authorities and human rights activists.

Removing all these worn-out turbines and solar panels will cost billions of dollars that state and federal governments don’t have, and developers have rarely had to cover with bonds.

Finally, the energy produced from all these “planet-saving” enterprises is far more costly than what could be produced using fossil fuels. Poor families are hit hardest, as they must spend a much larger portion of their incomes on energy than middle class and wealthy families. Businesses, factories, hospitals and schools also face rising energy costs, and must lay off workers, reduce services or close their doors.

The impacts ricochet throughout communities and nations, adversely affecting living standards, nutrition, health and life spans. We are reminded once again: Corporate fraud affects a limited number of customers; government and activist fraud affects every taxpayer, citizen and consumer.

The essence of all these renewable fuel programs is embodied in the notion that we must capture methane from cow dung, to safeguard Earth’s climate from this “potent greenhouse gas.” The operable term is BS.

The US Congress and Trump Administration could become world leaders in returning honesty and sanity to energy, climate, economic and environmental discussions and policies. Let’s hope they do.


About the Author:

Paul Driessen, is a senior fellow with the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, nonprofit public policy institutes that focus on energy, the environment, economic development and international affairs.

Paul Driessen
Paul Driessen

During a 25-year career that included staff tenures with the United States Senate, Department of the Interior and an energy trade association.

He has spoken and written frequently on energy and environmental policy, global climate change, corporate social responsibility and other topics along with authoring the book “Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death”.

  • 3 thoughts on “Diogenes Searching for Honest Policies

    1. While this was a well written article, there was a glaring omission of the one thing that could literally save planet Earth. And that missing thing is Hemp which is the world champion biosynthesizer of sunlight linked to photosynthesis. Nothing grows as fast as it under optimum conditions – and you wonder WHY it is illegal? Not allowed on the playing field much less even level? Synthetic VS organic. Which would You choose? Which is sustainable with 150K of pepul added to the worlds population each day 7 days a week? Unlimited food, fuel and fiber plus medicine grown out of the ground. George Washington said to make the best of the indian hemp seed and to sow it everywhere. Check out the USDA yearbooks of 1913 with the beginning of the govt. hemp genetic upbreeding and the hemp plants up to 23 feet tall and internodes of 6 1/2 inches in the 1927 yearbook. Or the Hemp for Victory video of WW2. UNlimited genetic potential cross breeding male to female. Playing God with a Plant. Other countries already farm its benefits. Why not the American farmer feeding the world literally with a John Deere tractor planting/ sowing hemp seed everywhere overtakng the reaper as the Bible already forecasts? And clean biodiesel without all that sulphur contamination pressed from its seed unlimited. Doves pick out the hemp seed 1st out of the bird seed. Wy? Becuz they dearly need its oil for preening their feathers for that extra MPH or two when that hawk behind them is intent on making them into a flying sandwich to take home to dinner.
      Once the NFA Act of 1934 (through its taxation scheme) which was upheld in the courts laid the ground work for Hemp to become outlawed ala reefer madness as nylon was patented in 1935 and hemp outlawed in 1937. Removed from the Pharmacopoeia after 1941. And our Constitution shredded out of necessity to support the war on Dwugs? No – a war on just pepul. The violent assemblies of men that seek my soul… sounds like those predawn wicked dwug warriors convieniently forgetting that pesky 4th Amendment in the Constitution. Yes at war with the enemy. What ever happened to the cops with the old style Dragnet or Adam 12. And they NEVER shamed the badge. No image problem there. Along the way something changed. Why? Shame of the heathen? Truly, I dare say. Mostly, the luv of money is the root of all Evil here.Yep! And the consequences of a synthetic society deliberately switched away from an organic society has NEVER been the same since. And America lost an important paer of its heritage and its roots literally.
      The only rationalization to pump poisonous fossil fuels out of the ground is during nuclear winter when there is NO sun or photosynthesis. Only darkness. And cold. And no where ever else to go.
      Hemp history has been forgotten but learn of its unlimited potential. Most assuredly, it can and will save the world from all the plastics and petroleum that are poisioning us all. The article above illustrates the fatal flaws of green energy but just remember that Hemp ACTUALLY is REAL God given green energy AND sustainable! Only the Devil himself could disagree otherwise!

    2. Paul Driessen,

      While I normally disagree with a majority of your articles that seem (at least to me) to be targeted at promoting the readers here to join in a mission to “DO AWAY WITH THE EPA,” this article seems to be more holistic and on point. This was a great article and a pleasure to read.

      I must further commend you (in all your articles) for providing incredible details for your arguments. This must take vast amounts of your time to collate and form into an OP-ED such as this. I realize this is/was part of your job and you are passionate about it.

      You are right that there is usually, if not always, an ulterior motive in government energy subsidies and other subsidies aside. There may also be some hidden motivation with particular environmental regulations as well (that I don’t know for sure but acknowledge it is a possibility).

      However, I just want to remind the readers on this forum who, like me, are sportsmen, hunters, outdoors men/women, and just recreational shooters, that the EPA is and has been since it’s creation a VITAL tool to protecting both Human health, animal and environmental ecosystem health and they set a standard worldwide for environmental sustainability.

      Personally, I believe there is a way to use fossil fuels as well as other (more) sustainable energy types in a way that doesn’t harm the environment and people as much as it did in the past. We can continue to move forward with energy production and other productions so long as we are making a responsible effort to monitor how it impacts the world around us.

      In closing, Thank You Paul for taking the time to share your knowledge and opinions with us. Whether we (I) like all of them or not is up to us. 🙂

    3. Nothing in this article should be surprising news to anyone who pays attention to news in general. Whether his precision about the energy produced “greenly” is correct or not, I can’t confirm or deny. But he is correct about the hidden costs of government subsidies. There are entire new environments under large arrays of solar panels. The literature is out there for anyone who cares to read.

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