The hidden agendas of sustainability illusions

Absurd, impractical sustainability precepts are actually a prescription for government control

As President Trump downgrades the relevance of Obama era climate change and anti-fossil-fuel policies, many environmentalists are directing attention to “sustainable development.”

Like “dangerous manmade climate change,” sustainability reflects poor understanding of basic energy, economic, resource extraction, and manufacturing principles – and a tendency to emphasize tautologies and theoretical models as an alternative to readily observable evidence in the Real World. It also involves well-intended but ill-informed people being led by ill-intended but well-informed activists who use the concept to gain greater government control over people’s lives, livelihoods, and living standards.

The most common definition is that we may meet the needs of current generations only to the extent that doing so will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability thus reflects the assertion that we are rapidly depleting finite resources, and must reduce current needs and wants so as to save raw materials for future generations.

At first blush, it sounds logical and even ethical. But it requires impossible clairvoyance.

In 1887, when the Hearthstone House became the world’s first home lit via hydroelectric power, no one did or could foresee that electricity would dominate, enhance, and safeguard our lives in the myriad ways it does today. Decades later, no one anticipated pure silica fiber optic cables replacing copper wires.

No one predicted tiny cellular phones with superb digital cameras and more computing power than a 1990 desktop computer or 3-D printing or thousands of wind turbines across our fruited plains – or cadmium, rare-earth metals, and other raw materials suddenly required to manufacture these technological wonders.

Mankind advanced at a snail’s pace for thousands of years. As the modern fossil-fuel industrial era found its footing, progress picked up at an increasingly breathtaking pace. Today, change is exponential. As we moved from flint to copper, to bronze, iron, steel, and beyond, we didn’t do so because mankind had exhausted Earth’s supplies of flint, copper, tin, and so on. We did it because we innovated – invented something better, more efficient, or more practical. Each advance required different raw materials.

Who today can foresee what technologies future generations will have 25, 50,or 200 years from now? What raw materials they will need? How we are supposed to ensure that those families meet their needs?

Why then would we even think of empowering government to regulate today’s activities today based on the wholly unpredictable technologies, lifestyles, needs, and resource demands of distant generations? Why would we ignore or compromise the needs of current generations, to meet those totally unpredictable future needs – including the needs of today’s most impoverished, energy-deprived, malnourished people, who desperately want to improve their lives?

Moreover, we are not going to run out of resources anytime soon. A 1-kilometer fiber optic cable made from 45 pounds of silica (Earth’s most abundant element) carries thousands of times more information than an equally long RG-6 cable made from 3,600 pounds of copper, reducing demand for copper.

In 1947, the world’s proven oil reserves totaled 47 billion barrels. Over the next 70 years, we consumed hundreds of billions of barrels – and yet, in 2016 we still had at least 2,800 billion barrels of oil reserves, including oil sands, oil shales, and other unconventional deposits: at least a century’s worth, plus abundant natural gas. Constantly improving technologies now let us find and produce oil and natural gas from deposits that we could not even detect, much less tap into, just a couple decades ago.

Sustainability dogma also revolves around hatred of fossil fuels, and a determination to rid the world of them, regardless of any social, economic, or environmental costs of doing so. And we frequently find that supposedly green, eco-friendly, and sustainable alternatives are frequently anything but.

U.S. ethanol quotas eat up 40% of the nation’s corn, cropland the size of Iowa, billions of gallons of water, and vast quantities of pesticides, fertilizers, tractor fuel, and natural gas, to produce energy that drives up food prices, damages small engines and gets one-third less mileage per gallon than gasoline.

Heavily subsidized wind energy requires standby fossil fuel generators, ultra-long transmission lines and thus millions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, rare-earth metals, and fiberglass. The turbines create chronic health problems for people living near them and kill millions of birds and bats – to produce intermittent, wholly unreliable electricity that costs up to 250% more than coal-based electricity.

For all that, on a torrid August 2012 day, Great Britain’s 3,500 giant wind turbines generated a mere 12 megawatts of electricity: 0.032% of the 38,000 MW the country was using at the time.

The United Kingdom also subsidizes several huge anaerobic digesters, intended to convert animal manure and other farm waste into eco-friendly methane for use in generating electricity. But there is insufficient farm waste. So the digesters are fed with corn (maize), grass, and rye grown on 130,000 acres (four times the size of Washington, DC), using enormous amounts of water, fertilizer – and of course diesel fuel to grow, harvest and transport the crops to the digesters. Why not just drill and frack for natural gas?

That brings us to the political arena, where the terminology is circular, malleable, infinitely elastic, the perfect tool for activists. Whatever they support is sustainable; whatever they oppose is unsustainable; and whatever mantras or protective measures they propose give them more power and control.

The Club of Rome sought to build a new movement by creating “a common enemy against whom we can unite” – allegedly looming disasters “caused by human intervention in natural processes” and requiring “changed attitudes and behavior” to avoid global calamities: global warming and resource depletion.

“Building an environmentally sustainable future requires restricting the global economy, dramatically changing human reproductive behavior, and altering values and lifestyles,” said Worldwatch Institute founder Lester Brown. “Doing this quickly requires nothing short of a revolution.”

“Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, the use of fossil fuels, electrical appliances, home and workplace air conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable,” Canadian arch-environmentalist Maurice Strong declared.

“Minor shifts in policy, moderate improvements in laws and regulations, rhetoric offered in lieu of genuine change,” former Vice President Al Gore asserted – “these are all forms of appeasement, designed to satisfy the public’s desire to believe that sacrifice, struggle and a wrenching transformation of society will not be necessary.” Environmental activist Daniel Sitarz agreed, saying: “Agenda 21 proposes an array of actions intended to be implemented by every person on Earth. Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all humans, unlike anything the world has ever experienced.”

“Sustainable development,” the National Research Council declaimed in a 2011 report, “raises questions that are not fully or directly addressed in U.S. law or policy, including how to define and control unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and how to encourage the development of sustainable communities, biodiversity protection, clean energy, environmentally sustainable economic development, and climate change controls.” In fact, said Obama science advisor John Holdren, we cannot even talk about sustainability without talking about politics, power, and control. Especially control.

Of course, the activists, politicians and regulators feel little pain, as they enjoy salaries and perks paid by taxpayers and foundations, fly to UN and other conferences at posh 5-star resorts around the world, and implement agendas that control, redesign, and transform other people’s lives.

It is We the Governed – especially working class and poor citizens – who pay the price, with the world’s poorest families paying the highest price. We can only hope the Trump Administration and Congress will dismantle and defund sustainable development, the alter ego of cataclysmic manmade climate change.


About the Author: Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

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

  • Immortal600

    “In fact, said Obama science advisor John Holdren, we cannot even talk about sustainability without talking about politics, power, and control. Especially control.”

    That is the most pertinent quote in the article. It hits what AGW is all about, CONTROL. Economic control. Not really saving the planet but control of people’s lives. The AGW sheep can’t see it, of course.

  • Ian5

    More recycled rubbish from Paul… intentionally designed to mislead and misinform. Outrageous claims that are never substantiated.

    • Brin Jenkins

      Funny it’s surely the warmists who never explain because they have no understanding of their own.

      • Ian5

        Sheer laziness. Why not inform yourself and the tell us what you learned. You can’t refute any of it:
        BTW, Driessen is “senior policy advisor” for CFACT, the organization that uses fake Time Magazine covers to mislead and misinform.

      • RealOldOne2

        level – propaganda based on using two different measurement methods,
        tide gauges in the early part of the 20th century, the “adjusted”
        satellite numbers. The un-adjusted satellite data shows no change in sea level
        rise. The only common measurement method, tide gauges, shows lower rise rate in
        the late 20th century than the early 20th century.

        – “The rate of sea level rise was found to be larger during the early part
        of the century (2.03 +/- 0.35 mm/yr 1904-1953), in comparison with the latter
        part (1.45 +/- 0.34 mm/yr, 1954-2003).” – Holgate(2007), ‘On the decadal
        rates of sea level change during the twentieth century’

        – “we use 1277 tide gauge records since 1807 to provide an improved global
        sea level reconstruction and analyze the evolution of sea level trend and
        acceleration … The new reconstruction suggest a linear trend of 1.9 mm-yr^-1
        during the 20th century, with 1.8 mm-yr^-1 since 1970.” – Jevrejeva(2014),
        ‘Trends and acceleration in global and regional sea levels since 1807’

        Global temperature rise – propaganda based on
        corrupted-by-adjustment land/ocean numbers. The satellite data sets show no
        increase in global temps over the last ~19 years,

        Warming oceans – Ocean warming is caused by solar radiation,
        not ghgs. Ghgs in the atmosphere can’t transfer heat into the oceans because
        they are at lower temperature than the ocean surface, plus the energy from ghgs
        doesn’t penetrate beyond a few millionths of a meter, whereas solar radiation
        penetrates up to ~200 meters. The science is found here:

        Shrinking ice sheets – False propaganda. The Greenland and
        Antarctic Ice sheets have been increasing in mass.

        – “Ice, Cloud and Elevation Satellite (ICESat) data show mass
        gains from snow accumulation exceeded discharge loss by 82
        +/- 25 Gta^-1 … European Remote-sensing Satellite (ERS) data (1992-2001) give
        a similar gain of 112 +/- 62 Gta^-1.” – Zwally(2015), ‘Mass
        gains of the Antarctic ice sheet exceed losses’

        – Greenland is gaining ice faster than the 1990-2013 average,

        Declining Arctic Sea Ice – propaganda based on cherry picked
        period beginning at 1979 year of highest ice. Satellite record goes back to
        1974 when NH sea ice was 2 million km^2 lower. IPCC FAR Fig.20(a) shows cherry
        picked 1979 start date,

        Site also ignores record levels of Antarctic sea ice gains, /seaice.anomaly.antarctic.png ,
        which offsets Arctic sea ice losses. Global sea ice in 2013 & 2014 was
        right back where it was in the mid-1980s:
        / No “death spiral” there like the
        climate alarmists claim.

        Plus recent Arctic ice changes are just natural variations as experienced in
        the early 1900s: “The huge warming in the Arctic which started in the
        1920s and lasted for almost two decades is one of the most spectacular climate
        events of the 20th century.” – Bengtsson(2004), ‘The Early 20th century warming
        in the Arctic – A Possible Mechanism’ This was written after the 1979-2004
        Arctic ice changes.

        Glacial retreat – No empirical evidence that this was caused
        by anthropogenic ghgs. Glacial retreat started at the end of the Little Ice Age
        before there were any significant anthropogenic ghgs. Most of the ice loss was
        prior to the mid-1900s when the IPCC claims anthropogenic influences became
        dominant. This is also confirmed
        by this glacial loss chart:

        Extreme events – The US is not the world. And there is no
        empirical evidence that extreme weather has increased:


        Ocean acidification – Propaganda. The actual data shows that
        ocean has not become more acidic.

        Decreased snow cover – Cherry picked NH spring season. The
        annual data shows no significant change in NH snow cover over the past 45

        Climate change is STILL primarily natural, not man made, just as it has been
        throughout the entire history of the planet.

        This comprehensive report that includes hundreds of references to peer reviewed
        science shows that:

        • Brin Jenkins

          They never do, like all propaganda advocates never argue or explain an untruth, just continue with the next whopper.

  • Brian

    Agenda 21 – United Nations Sustainable Development Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.

    Jan 23, 2009 Agenda 21 explained very well.

    Including implications it will have on humanity. Opinions within the video come in some cases from those that were in on the negotiations. Truly an interesting watch.


    There is no doubt that global warming and all its phony permutations are a marxist hoax, intended to justify the imposition of a one-party one-world socialist government and the permanent rule of a collectivist hierarchy. Its main apparatus, the so-called United Nations, must be defunded and driven from our shores and its grotesque headquarters torn down and replaced by something useful.

    • Dano2

      HOX ever’buddeh!

      Clearly there is still a market among the Faux/Breitbartian faithful for claiming that:

      o Thousands of scientists;

      o across a century and a half;

      o in a wide range of specialties;

      o in dozens of countries;

      o on six continents;

      o speaking scores of languages;

      o having over ten thousand peer-reviewed papers;

      o are involved in a complex plot to ‘fake’ AGW.

      And, to hide their scam, scientists have recruited the natural world into going along with their plot, namely:

      o Scientists have tricked animals and plants to move up and poleward;

      o scientists have tricked plants to bloom earlier;

      o scientists have tricked seasons to begin earlier;

      o scientists have tricked the ocean into acidifying;

      o scientists have tricked carbon to change its isotopic signature from natural carbon to fossil carbon in the atmosphere, corals, and plants to further the scam;

      o scientists have tricked the tropopause to rise;

      o scientists have tricked the oceans to warm rapidly and sea levels to increase their rate of rise;

      o scientists have tricked the outgoing spectra of the earth into emitting less EM waves in the GHG wavelengths;

      o and all have been exposed by a few intrepid bloggers and fossil fuel billionaires.

      Has there ever been – ever – a less likely conspiracy theory ever than this one? In the history of the world?



      • Tom Austin

        Dano, Funny you being here. Back under your bridge troll before someone actually takes notice of your rantings.

        • Dano2

          Don’t have a sads because I laughed at the ‘hoax’ assertion. Turn that frown upside down!




      • youkeepthechange

        Yep, the Ice Age ended thousands of years ago and the changes you outlined have been occurring naturally ever since!

        • Dano2

          False. You can’t show it is true.



          • youkeepthechange

            Whoa, how thick is the glacier where you are?

            • Dano2

              That’s not showing. Try again.



        • Ian5

          Completely false. Inconsistent with climate science and global climate data. If you have other data to support your ridiculous statement, please point us to it.

        • Li D

          There is the clearest difference between more of the same and not more of the same. Jeez.
          Theres a pretty good handle on major and minor
          influences. We know which
          ones are in play and which
          ones are not and have pretty good idea by how much.
          A completely ignorant argument. Go to a library will ya.

          As to what poster Dano2 is
          saying, my thoughts are that its typical of mentality of conspiracy theorists to think the whole world is against them.

      • wally12

        @Dano: I see the troll is back with his normal line of BS.

        • Dano2

          You can’t refute a word of these facts. Not one byte.




    • Li D

      You are funny.
      Almost a caricature of a conspiracy theorist.

      • J T

        You are brain-dead.

        • Li D

          Mate i could go out into the street and ask a thousand random Australians what Drakes spiel typifies. And i promise you 999 replies would be ” loony conspiracy theory ” and
          the other single one would be ” could you repeat that, i forgot my hearing aid “.

    • AllenBarclayAllen

      No Miles is a realist ! A lot of see this phoney build up to the next communist power Europe ! But we’re not buy into their idiot logick !

  • Craig Rucker summarized : “Pivot to an eco-campaign that defies any objective measure of objectivity whatsoever: “Sustainability.”

    I think it is objectively measurable and John Christy stated the prime criterion very clearly :

    If it’s not economically sustainable , it’s not sustainable .

    • Dano2

      That simply shows your ignorance of the topics of natural sciences and of sustainability.


      The environment can exist without human economies. Human economies, however, are utterly dependent on the environment.

      10th graders learn these basics.



      • Did you make that silly image or did you copy it from somewhere ?

        Sustainability without reference to human welfare is meaningless .

        • Tom Austin

          Don’t feed the troll and he may go away. Dano is an “expert” on everything. Everyone else is ignorance incarnate, (sarcasm off)

        • Dano2

          The image shows how your assertion is utterly incorrect. Human society is utterly dependent on the environment for survival. It is not dependent on an economy for survival.



          • I will feed the troll just once more .

            “Human society is utterly dependent on the environment for survival.”

            DUH !! .

            ” It is not dependent on an economy for survival.”

            SO STUPID IT HURTS .

            • Dano2

              Let us know when you enroll in and attend your very first natural science class.



      • Brin Jenkins

        I think you mean your own ignorance Dano, now please explain for all the new guys how exactly C02 and infra red work to cause warming.

  • MyRoseHasTHORNS

    “Sustainability” has become embedded in Scouting projects and community service and on school campuses (high school and colleges)

  • J T

    So clear even brain-dead Dano could understand it, no?

  • AllenBarclayAllen

    Mentily illness of liberal globalist suffering from vegan dementia lack of zinc projecting there illness on the rest of the world !
    Werd how the mind does that when imballenced thinks it’s seperior to all others ! Consoling in others with the same dementia to form a collectivity of intolectual stupidity to commit sociatle suiside like Lemmings hesterically running for the first cliff to jump off !
    In there lack of science knowledge they actually become the greatest contributes of polution from all I’ve studied ! Agenda 21 sustainability global warming climate change all madness of a self extinction of a people that stand by and let it happen to them !
    Yet their leaders at the top believe none of their drool drabel ,but find it convenient to build a new world communist order with carbon tax bent only on taxing fossil fuel from only because free energy sources perduce no revinue ! And their are plenty ! But as usual establishment rich only invest to put a stop to them from the start ! The answers to their mental carbon problem they in setting up this communist government will never persue ! A kingdom of liars bent on self destruction with no intention of using free energy or cheaper than coal bloom energy !
    So goes the al Gore ,the Obama’s , the George SOROS all this generation of madness of mentally ill attempting to rual a would they couldn’t possibly understand especially mentally disabled with a zinc deficiency of veganism !

    But George SOROS just picked up some bargain coal stocks Obama left him ! Hmmmmmm ! So how Mutch of this b*ls**t of theirs should I buy !!!?????????????

  • wally12

    Excellent article Mr. Driessen: What I have become to believe is that most liberals accept this B.S. but also some republicans. What I don’t known is why. I suspect that liberals accept these concepts because that is what they they have been trained to do and are supposed to do. I suspect that some republicans accept these concepts because they are in it for the money and are it means they are invested in green energy, are simply liberals in disguise, or they are simply looking to show their basic liberal counties or state that they are for you before they are against. In other words, elect me first and I’ll do anything you want.

  • Immortal600

    For the AGW sheep.

    “We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s
    imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified,
    dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us
    has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and
    being honest.”
    – Prof. Stephen Schneider, Stanford Professor of Climatology, lead author of many IPCC reports

    • Dano2

      Smart ppl know this is a quote-mined passage. No word on why poor hapless Isandlwhana doesn’t know it.



  • Tuaca1107

    Well we don’t have to worry about fossil fuels and we can use as much oil as we need at a much cheaper price. Joyful news, oil is renewable!!! That’s right so put your fossil fuel worries to rest!!! Besides people, how many dead dinosaurs do you think there were?!