Many “Green” policies trample on people, environment, science and ethics

By |2013-01-15T07:25:23+00:00January 13th, 2013|CFACT Insights|10 Comments

Policy integrity. Ethical culture. Environmental protection. Environmental defense. Friends of earth. Defenders of wildlife. Ethical investing. Not just their names, but their charter, culture and policies – their very being – represent a commitment to these profound values. Or so we are supposed to believe.

The activist groups and government agencies certainly talk a good game. They have certainly got the “mainstream” media and a lot of legislators and regulators on their side, while many who question their claims and agendas lack the Greens’ money, influence, connections and firepower – or the courage.  All that notwithstanding, these supposed “white hats” are often all hat and no cattle – or worse.

In truth, the very foundation for many of their policies is built on sand, worthless computer models or outright deception. A movement begun to curtail serious environmental abuses won most of those battles, but then evolved (regressed?) into organizations fixated on eradicating hydrocarbon and nuclear power, acquiring more money and power, and using environmental rules to control people’s lives, restrict or roll back modern technology and living standards, and perpetuate poverty, misery and disease in poor countries – in the name of precaution, biodiversity, sustainable development and climate stabilization.

Green worldOrganizations and agencies ill-funded and on the periphery 40 years ago now share tens of billions of dollars annually – courtesy of taxpayer payments and tax code largesse – and dictate decision-making. Companies are created, establish divisions and hire $50,000-a-month lobbyists to turn environmental policies and programs into billion-dollar cash cows that have more lives than Freddy Krueger.

Climategate, doctored data, new theories about solar forces – and the stubborn refusal of climate reality to cooperate with computer models, carbon dioxide theorizing and climate cataclysm headlines – have turned the Kyoto Protocol into a toothless laughingstock that stands for little more than wealth redistribution. By unlocking another century of oil and gas, 3-D seismic and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) have eviscerated Club of Rome and Sierra Club assertions that we are rapidly running out of petroleum.

One would think these paradigm shifts would alter environmentalist thinking and government programs designed to replace “disappearing” oil and gas with wind, solar and biofuel energy. But hell hath no fury like an environmentalist scorned. Any attempt to revise laws, regulations or subsidies is met with derision, outrage, expanded rules and funding, and new allegations, grievances and justifications.

Theoretical petroleum depletion and dangerous man-made climate change continue to drive public policy. This is so even when outdated programs that supposedly advance health and ecological goals are found to do just the opposite. A few energy sector examples illustrate the harsh reality that common citizens face.

* Congress enacted automobile mileage standards as an energy conservation mandate. The Environmental Protection Agency unilaterally raised the requirement to 54.5 mpg, based mainly on global warming concerns. The result has been more cars that are smaller, lighter and less crash-worthy – and thus thousands of additional fatalities, and tens of thousands of serious extra injuries, every year.  EPA routinely justifies onerous, job-killing regulations by claiming they will save thousands of lives, which the agency values at $8.9 million each. But it obstinately ignores the injuries, deaths and billions of dollars in healthcare and mortality costs that its mileage standards are exacting on America every year.

* In their determination to make more oil and gas prospects off limits, promote renewable energy, and slash emissions of carbon dioxide and air pollution, EPA and the Interior Department promote highly exaggerated health and welfare benefits, and statistical lives theoretically saved. They routinely ignore the adverse health and welfare impacts caused by regulations and other actions that increase heating, food and transportation costs, cause numerous layoffs, and hurt poor and minority families most of all. EPA has even employed illegal human experiments to advance its anti-hydrocarbon agenda.

Study after study has shown that unemployment results in reduced nutrition, increased stress, and higher rates of heart attacks and strokes, spousal and child abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide and premature death. This is especially true for older Americans who have been laid off, are scraping by on welfare and unemployment, have limited prospects for finding new full-time work, or may be forced to hold several jobs below their skill level and at sharply reduced wages. But the agencies refuse to consider these facts.

* Corn ethanol and myriad other heavily subsidized biofuel programs are supposedly clean, green, better for planetary climate and biodiversity, and vital for replacing oil imports and rapidly depleting petroleum reserves. In reality, U.S. and global oil and gas reserves are increasing, thanks to modern technology and despite the Obama Administration’s best efforts to further shackle leasing and drilling.

Millions of acres of farmland and algae ponds are needed to produce the same BTU output that could come from oil and gas fields that impact far less land temporarily with drilling rigs and minimally with wellheads and pipelines. With 40% of US corn production dedicated to meeting ethanol mandates, an area larger than subsidy-hungry Iowa must be planted in corn just to meet those quotas.

Especially in drought years, this takes a lot of water – several hundred to over a thousand gallons of water to grow corn and process it into one gallon of ethanol, depending on where the corn is grown and who does the calculations – plus fertilizer, insecticides and fuel for tractors, distilling and truck transport. This water cannot be the brackish variety that is often used in fracking, which increasingly recycles its water.

Demand for ethanol has driven corn prices from $2.80 a bushel in 2005 to $8.50 per bushel this year. That’s great for corn growers, but devastating for poultry, egg, beef, pork and catfish producers, whose feed costs have gone through the roof. Skyrocketing corn prices have raised family food prices, made it harder for aid agencies to buy enough corn to feed starving people, increased malnutrition, misery, disease and premature death for millions of children, and contributed to agricultural land shortages.

Now the United States is actually importing corn from Brazil, to produce a fuel that gets 35% fewer miles per gallon than gasoline, and achieves virtually no overall reduction in CO2 emissions.

* To generate expensive, subsidized, unreliable electricity from “eco-friendly,” “sustainable” wind, we must build and operate wind turbines and fossil-fuel-powered “backup” power plants that actually generate over 75% of the electricity often attributed to wind power. That means we must more than double raw materials requirements for power generation and transmission, fossil energy input (to mine, manufacture, transport, build and operate wind and fossil power plants), and impacts on habitats and wildlife.

Essential rare-earth metals and turbine components come mostly from China which, along with India and other developing countries, is emitting far more CO2 than all 39,000 U.S. wind turbines combined can possibly remove from the United States’ emission streams.

Worst of all, those turbines are killing an estimated 13,000,000 to 39,000,000 ecologically vital birds and bats every year – including thousands of bald and golden eagles, falcons, hawks and whooping cranes. The EPA, Defenders of Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service go ballistic over any bird deaths caused by oil and gas operations. But they are AWOL when it comes to wind turbines’ destructive power, and complicit in helping Big Wind bury the gruesome statistics, both literally and figuratively.

As energy analyst and author Indur Goklany has noted, fossil fuels have saved and enhanced lives for countless millions. They have saved humanity from nature’s recurring wrath – and nature from humanity’s need to turn forests and grasslands into fuel.

Real policy integrity, ethical culture, sustainability and environmental protection acknowledge these realities – and change opinions and policies to reflect reality. That today’s environmentalist industry refuses to do so underscores how abysmal its ethics and policies actually are.

About the Author:

Paul Driessen
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.


  1. Bryn January 14, 2013 at 5:08 AM

    One example here in Australia, is that green policies that
    prohibit back burning on farms and national parks are contributing to extreme
    Bushfires. As a result these resent extreme bushfires have destroyed millions of dollars of land, property
    and livestock.

  2. jameshrust January 14, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Another example of misguided policy is the EPA forcing the shutdown of many coal-fired power plants because the EPA wants to reduce their mercury emissions that are inconsequential. Then in the name of reducing greenhouse gases, EPA banned the manufacturing of incandescant light bulbs which forces homes to use compact flourescant light bulbs that contain 4 milligrams of mercury. Before EPA’s malicious ruling, mercury posed no hazard to Americans; now mercury is forced into homes where serious contamination problems may result.

  3. Eckenhuijsen Smit January 15, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    I wrote many times before:
    Why keep talking about the necessaty to deminish manmade CO2 levels, while it is 100% sure for all people with brains -thus excluding politicians and other idiots- that manmade CO2 can´t be the reason for global warming or global climate change!?

    • M. Kjonaas January 15, 2013 at 3:35 PM

      The is not the faintest possibility that CO2 can have any affect on climate since it is a natural ingredient of air, in a trace amount (less than 0.04%), and is necessary for life on Earth.

      • J.P. Katigbak May 7, 2013 at 9:33 PM

        Yes indeed, and I am very appreciated of sound scientific evidence to reveal that CO2 “can have any affect on climate since it is a natural ingredient of air”. It has a trace amount of less than 0.04.%, and is a necessary element for life on earth.

        Thank you very much both of you for giving sound scientific information to people like me about how important the element is for every life on earth. – J.P.K.

  4. […] Policy integrity. Ethical culture. Environmental protection. Environmental defense. Friends of earth. Defenders of wildlife. Ethical investing. Not just their names, but their charter, culture and policies – their very being – represent a commitment to these profound values. Or so we are supposed to believe.  […]

  5. […] Green News Source- Click to read full article […]

  6. Merkatto Lysbethe January 28, 2013 at 4:20 AM

    Why document of listening lobbyists US ? : US STATES finance ?

  7. J.P. Katigbak May 7, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    I suspect that the ideological and philosophical doctrine of environmentalism is an attack on various societies and economies around the globe.

    How come the activist ideologues are doing dubious acts to strangle people’s personal choices and responsibilities? I am afraid it is an ideological bitter pill to swallow. – J.P.K.

    P.S.: Can someone please recognize the pros and cons of “democracy”?
    Also, there has to make it clear that tried-and-tested traditional values and customs are very important to vigorously challenge the twin ideological and philosophical doctrines of environmentalism and “democracy”. I am aware of the historical and current realities that affect various societies and economies around the world.

  8. Scottar March 23, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    The enviro flat-brainers would think that since sunshine and wind are free that harvesting it would be a sustainable alternative. What they fail to see is that technology has not found a way to effectively harvest this vast and diluted energy source. And there is no effective way to store it currently. It takes more resources, more energy to manage it on the grid then what it’s worth. It’s not an energy source for the masses. Since the 1970 green advocates have claimed the technology is just 10 years away to replacing fossil fuels. The sustainable alternative with this resource alone would be going back to pre- industrial living standards.

    Clean and green is a enviro label of living in harmony with nature. That is a label that stretches application of the word harmony as nature is not very harmonious with a food chain of change and entropy. 98% of all species since the advent of life have disappeared before humans appeared. The better word would be conservative living in balance as just living comfortably has an impact on the order of things. The trick is living adequately without irreversible damage to a sustainable supporting ecosystem.

    By enviro standards plants are the only reasonable lifeforms. But the universe and the Earth can do so much more damage. But nature is dynamic and durable and has adapted to many mass catastrophes like major meteor strikes.

    The best use of windmills is for pumping water as the water can be effectively stored. Windmills might effectively power heater coils to heat water for heating. PV solar also has limited uses like heating coils or power small batteries for electronic devices. Both wind and solar are good for some remote applications but that is limited to those with deep pockets.

    The long term gain looks to be 4th and 5th gen nuclear which negates the meltdown problems. The eventual nuclear technology desired would be fusion but that is still a wet dream although it may be achievable.

    The best method for extending fossil fuels is efficiency and not necessarily reducing the so called carbon footprint. Extreme measures like cutting back on energy uses for domestic needs and ridiculous MPG auto targets is the big stick of carbinistas and bureaucrats. All this money spent on climate change studies would be better spent on re-equipping the needy with more energy efficient appliances and technologies while improving the isolation of the home and apartments, or just rebuilding more energy efficient dwellings.

    But politicians like to tinker with voter issues with false flags and expensive, crony solutions to puff up their stature in the voters eyes and ears.

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