Paul Driessen


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 is author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power, Black death

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Most Recent Articles by Paul Driessen:

Virginia goes Don Quixote

Nov 19, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Virginia goes Don Quixote
Democrat Ralph Northam had barely won the Virginia governor’s race when his party announced it would impose a price on greenhouse gases emissions, require a 3% per year reduction in GHG emissions, and develop a cap-and-trade scheme requiring polluters to buy credits for emitting carbon dioxide.


Agitators, regulators and predators on the prowl

Oct 29, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Agitators, regulators and predators on the prowl
Legal and scientific ethics seem to have become irrelevant, as anti-chemical agitators, regulators and trial lawyers team up on numerous lawsuits against Monsanto. They’re seeking tens of billions of dollars in jackpot justice, by claiming a chemical in the company’s popular weed killer RoundUp causes cancer.

A key basis for the legal actions is a March 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer ruling that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” A previously little known agency in the World Health Organization (WHO), IARC has gained infamy in recent years—as critics slammed it for manipulating data and altering or deleting scientific conclusions to advance extreme anti-chemical policy agendas.


DC Swamp denizens strike back

Oct 23, 2017 — Paul Driessen

EPA reductions in biodiesel mandates

Despite what I thought were persuasive articles over the years (here, here and here, for example), corn ethanol and other biofuel mandates remain embedded in US law. As we have learned, once a government program is created, it becomes virtually impossible to eliminate, revise or even trim fat from it.

This year, it looked like this “rule of perpetuity” might finally change. The Trump-Pruitt Environmental Protection Agency proposed to use its “waiver authority” to reduce its 2018 biodiesel requirement by 15% (315 million gallons) and (possibly) lower the 2019 total down to the 1-billion-gallon minimum mandated by Congress. The proposed action would not affect corn or other ethanol production and blending requirements, despite growing problems with incorporating more ethanol into gasoline.


The Obama EPA’s crooked prosecutors

Oct 15, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Suppose a crooked prosecutor framed someone and was determined to get a conviction. So he built an entire case on tainted, circumstantial evidence, and testimony from witnesses who had their reasons for wanting the guy in jail. Suppose the prosecutor ignored or hid exculpatory evidence and colluded with the judge to prevent the defendant from presenting a robust defense or cross-examining adverse witnesses.

You know what would happen—at least in a fair and just society. The victim would be exonerated and compensated. The prosecutor and judge would be disbarred, fined and jailed.


Politicized sustainability threatens planet and people

Oct 8, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Sustainability (sustainable development) is one of the hottest trends on college campuses, in the news media, in corporate boardrooms and with regulators. There are three different versions.

Real Sustainability involves thoughtful, caring, responsible, economical stewardship and conservation of land, water, energy, metallic, forest, wildlife and other natural resources. Responsible businesses, families and communities practice this kind of sustainability every day: polluting less, recycling where it makes sense, and using less energy, water and raw materials to manufacture the products we need.


Funding the arts—or hurricane recovery

Oct 2, 2017 — Paul Driessen

A couple of friends recently said it was terrible that some in Congress and the White House could even consider reducing National Endowment for the Arts funding. It’s a critical program, they feel, essential for the very survival of many community and even big-time theaters, orchestras and other arts programs. The thought of trimming the NEA shows a low regard for this important component of civilized society.

For centuries, Kings and princes funded composers, artists, symphonies, operas and artwork, especially back in the days when royalty controlled the lands and wealth—and paid their peasants a pittance (if at all). Letting them listen to or gaze on some of the artistic creations helped keep them happy in an era when illiterate serfs were happy dreaming of being rewarded in the afterlife.


Now it’s a war on pipelines

Sep 24, 2017 — Paul Driessen

The radical environmentalist war on fossil fuels has opened a new front: a war on pipelines.

For years, activist zealots claimed the world was rapidly depleting its oil and natural gas supplies. The fracking revolution (horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing) obliterated that argument, by sending US oil and gas production to new heights. Indeed, it was record gas supplies and plummeting gas prices, combined with the Obama EPA war on coal, that closed down so many coal-fired power plants.


Irma illusions—and realities

Sep 22, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma brought out the best in us. Millions of Americans are giving money, toil and sweat to help victims rebuild. Unfortunately, the storms also highlighted some people’s baser instincts.

Some advanced ideological commitments to campaigns to “keep fossil fuels in the ground,” raise energy costs and reduce living standards. Others hyped Harvey’s record rainfalls, claiming carbon dioxide emissions made the Gulf of Mexico warmer and its air more moisture-laden. A few were just obnoxious.


Finally, some commonsense western fire policies

Sep 17, 2017 — Paul Driessen

President Trump promised to bring fresh ideas and policies to Washington. Now Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are doing exactly that in a critically important area: forest management and conflagration prevention. Their actions are informed, courageous and long overdue.

Westerners are delighted, and I’ve advocated such reforms since my days on Capitol Hill in the 1980s.


The Hurricane Harvey Hustle

Sep 10, 2017 — Paul Driessen

“When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight,” English essayist Samuel Johnson observed 240 years ago, “it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” That’s certainly true in the climate change arena.

After ending US participation in the Paris climate treaty and abolishing many government restrictions on fossil fuel use, the Trump Administration began preparing red team-blue team examinations of the science behind claims of “dangerous manmade climate change.” Asian, African and even European countries are building still more coal and gas-fired power plants. A recent poll found that only 28% of Americans think climate scientists understand the causes of global climate change “very well.”


Revisiting wind turbine impacts

Sep 3, 2017 — Paul Driessen

It’s amazing, though hardly surprising, how quickly some used Hurricane Harvey’s devastation to claim that fossil fuel emissions are driving catastrophic climate change and weather. Their proffered solution, of course, is to replace those fuels with “clean, sustainable, renewable” energy.

I’ve criticized this supposed solution many times, on multiple grounds. Unfortunately, a hasty numerical calculation for a recent column was way off base, and readers properly chastised me for the error. I just blew it, using megawatts instead of megawatt-hours to derive the number of wind turbines…and amount of land…it would take to replace the world’s 2016 electricity entirely with wind energy.


Yet another renewable energy boondoggle

Sep 1, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Wilkinson Solar has filed papers requesting permits for a 74-megawatt solar electricity facility about 35 miles east of Greenville, NC. If approved, 288,120 solar panels would blanket 600 acres (0.94 square miles) of now scenic, serene farmland next door to the Terra Ceia Christian School near Morehead City.

The company wants to catch the solar wave, and make a lot of money under “net metering” policies that require payment for electricity added to the grid, whenever it is generated and regardless of whether the electricity is needed at the time. Electricity generated from these new panels would not be sold in the local area; it would be exported to Virginia, Raleigh-Durham and other locations.


Callous CALAS activists against the poor

Aug 28, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Not long ago, supposed “environmental justice” concerns at least involved risks to mine workers and their families. The risks may have been inflated, or ignored for decades, but they were a major focus.

In one case, a state-run mine and smelter had fouled the air, land and water with toxic contaminants in a Peruvian town for 75 years. Environmental groups raised few objections—until a U.S. company bought the properties and began installing modern pollution controls, implementing worker health and safety practices, cleaning up widespread lead dust, and initiating numerous community improvement projects.


Fair trade for thee, but not for me

Aug 20, 2017 — Paul Driessen

“Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting someone else,” Ben & Jerry’s and Fair Trade co-founder Jerry Greenfield likes to tell us. Let’s hope he doesn’t drive an electric vehicle, doesn’t use a laptop or cell phone, and doesn’t rely on wind or solar power.

We’re constantly confronted with slogans and lectures about fair trade, human rights, sustainability, environmental and social justice, little people versus Big Corporations. Most of these subjective terms reflect perspectives and agendas of the political left, and are intended to advance those worldviews and stifle any discussion about them. But most of their self-avowed adherents never look beneath the surface of their own purchases. Indeed, they would have no standards at all if they didn’t have double standards.


Life in fossil-fuel-free utopia

Aug 13, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Al Gore’s new movie, a New York Times article on the final Obama Era “manmade climate disaster” report, and a piece saying wrathful people twelve years from now will hang hundreds of “climate deniers” are a tiny sample of Climate Hysteria and Anti-Trump Resistance rising to a crescendo. If we don’t end our evil fossil-fuel-burning lifestyles and go 100% renewable Right Now, we are doomed, they rail.

Maybe it’s our educational system, our cargo cult’s easy access to food and technology far from farms, mines and factories, or the end-of-days propaganda constantly pounded into our heads. Whatever the reason, far too many people have a pitiful grasp of reality: natural climate fluctuations throughout Earth history; the intricate, often fragile sources of things we take for granted; and what life would really be like in the utopian fossil-fuel-free future they dream of. Let’s take a short journey into that idyllic realm.


Shameless fear-mongering—versus reality

Aug 7, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Before I could enjoy a movie last week, I was forced to endure five minutes of climate and weather fear-mongering, when the theater previewed Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Sequel.” His attempt to pin every weather disaster of the past decade on humanity’s fossil fuel use felt like fifty minutes of water boarding.

Mr. Gore has made tens of millions of dollars pedaling this nonsense and his demand that modern society undergo a “wrenching transformation” from oil, natural gas and coal to a utopian make-believe world powered by biofuels, wind and solar power, electric vehicles and batteries.


Biofuel justifications are illusory

Jul 30, 2017 — Paul Driessen

The closest thing to earthly eternal life, President Ronald Reagan used to say, is a government program.

Those who benefit from a program actively and vocally defend it, often giving millions in campaign cash to politicians who help perpetuate it, while those who oppose the program or are harmed by it are usually disorganized and distracted by daily life. Legislative inertia and obstruction of the kind so graphically on display in the Senate over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) also help to perpetuate program life.


Tesla battery, subsidy and sustainability fantasies

Jul 23, 2017 — Paul Driessen

The first justification was that internal combustion engines polluted too much. But emissions steadily declined, and today’s cars emit about 3% of what their predecessors did. Then it was oil imports: electric vehicles (EVs) would reduce foreign dependency and balance of trade deficits. Bountiful oil and natural gas supplies from America’s hydraulic fracturing revolution finally eliminated that as an argument.

Now the focus is on climate change. Every EV sale will help prevent assumed and asserted manmade temperature, climate and weather disasters, we’re told—even if their total sales represented less than 1% of all U.S. car and light truck sales in 2016 (Tesla sold 47,184 of the 17,557,955 vehicles sold nationwide last year), and plug-in EVs account for barely 0.15% of 1.4 billion vehicles on the road worldwide.


Insanity and hypocrisy Down Under

Jul 17, 2017 — Paul Driessen

The Wall Street Journal called it the energy shortage “no one saw coming.” Actually, a lot of people did see it coming. But intent on pursuing their “dangerous manmade climate change” and “renewable energy will save the planet” agendas, the political classes ignored them. So the stage was set.

As an Australia-wide heat wave sent temperatures soaring above 105 degrees F (40.6 C) in early 2017, air conditioning demand skyrocketed. But Adelaide, South Australia is heavily dependent on wind turbines for electricity generation—and there was no wind. Regulators told the local natural gas-fired power plant to ramp up its output, but it couldn’t get enough gas to do so. To avoid a massive, widespread blackout, regulators shut off power to 90,000 homes, leaving angry families sweltering in the dark.

According to the Journal, Aussie politicians and the wind industry, the primary problem was businesses that exported 62% of Australia’s natural gas production in 2016, leaving insufficient supplies to run gas backup power plants that are supposed to step in when wind and solar power fail. Policy makers “didn’t ensure enough gas would remain at home” and couldn’t foresee temperatures soaring with no wind.


The crisis of integrity-deficient science

Jul 10, 2017 — Paul Driessen

The epidemic of agenda-driven science by press release and falsification has reached crisis proportions.

In just the past week: Duke University admitted that its researchers had falsified or fabricated data that were used to get $113 million in EPA grants—and advance the agency’s air pollution and “environmental justice” programs. A New England Journal of Medicine (NJEM) article and editorial claimed the same pollutants kill people—but blatantly ignored multiple studies demonstrating that there is no significant, evidence-based relationship between fine particulates and human illness or mortality.

In an even more outrageous case, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science’s journal Science published an article whose authors violated multiple guidelines for scientific integrity. The article claimed two years of field studies in three countries show exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides reduces the ability of honeybees and wild bees to survive winters and establish new populations and hives the following year. Not only did the authors’ own data contradict that assertion—they kept extensive data out of their analysis and incorporated only what supported their (pre-determined?) conclusions.