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
Coal-fired power plant scrubbers now remove 80-90 % of airborne particulate, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other pollutants. But that means “fly ash” and noncombustible residues (what we used to call clinkers) must be sent to landfills. That’s opened a new front for anti-energy activists, who use accidents, “detectable” pollutants in water, and scary stories about health threats to advance their agenda.
In 2008, a Tennessee Valley Authority earthen retainer dam near Knoxville ruptured, sending 5.4 million cubic yards of rain-soaked fly ash into a nearby river, lake and neighborhood. Twelve homes were damaged by the muck, which contained low levels of arsenic, cadmium and other metals. The TVA’s cleanup efforts were less than exemplary, as were its measures to prevent the accident in the first place.
“If you could pick just one thing to reduce poverty, by far you would pick energy,” Bill Gates has said. “Access to energy is absolutely fundamental in the struggle against poverty,” World Bank VP Rachel Kyte and Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen agree.
The UN Development Program also calls energy “central to poverty reduction.” And International Energy Agency Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol notes that “coal is raising living standards and lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” In fact, all fossil fuels are doing so.
Indeed, fossil fuels created the modern world and the housing, transportation, other technologies and living standards so many of us take for granted. They are essential for electricity and life, and over the past 250 years they more than doubled average life expectancy in countries that took advantage of them.
The $1.5-trillion Climate Crisis industry is not about to go quiet into that dark night, or to strut but an hour upon the stage, to then be heard no more. In these desperate times, it is unleashing even more sound and fury, and assaulting new targets, in a frantic effort to expand its heavily subsidized global empire.
The Donald Trump Administration and Scott Pruitt EPA continue to emphasize fossil fuels, job creation and economic growth, and deemphasize the Obama obsession with climate change. News headlines hail the shale revolution’s new world order, a huge oil discovery in Alaska and declining OPEC clout. As German industries head to foreign shores and 330,000 Deutsch households cannot afford electricity due to soaring prices, its Chancellery Minister announced to thundering applause that Germany would no longer pursue its unilateral climate, CO2-reduction, energy efficiency and renewable energy policies.
The Trump White House wants significant reductions at the Environmental Protection Agency: two dozen or more programs, including a dozen dealing with President Obama’s climate initiatives; a 20% downsizing in EPA’s 15,000-person workforce; and a one-fourth reduction in its $8.1 billion budget.
The plan requires congressional approval, and thus is hardly a “done deal.” Not surprisingly, it is generating howls of outrage. Former U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the proposal would be “crippling,” and “devastating for the agency’s ability to protect public health.”
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.
After calling dangerous manmade climate change a hoax and vowing to withdraw the USA from the Paris agreement, President Trump has apparently removed language criticizing the Paris deal from a pending executive order initiating a rollback of anti-fossil-fuel regulations, to help jumpstart job creation.
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.
President Obama’s parting edicts betrayed Israel and commuted prison sentences for terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera and traitor Bradley/Chelsea Manning. Another abused the Antiquities Act yet again, by banning economic use on an additional 1.7 million acres in Utah, where the federal government controls 61% of the state’s land. (This one new lock-up is nearly equal to Delaware and Rhode Island combined.)
The withdrawal was on top of 320 million acres in national park, preserve, wildlife refuge, wilderness and other restrictive land use categories—plus “buffer zones” around many of those areas—nearly all of it in the eleven westernmost states and Alaska. That’s equivalent to virtually all the land in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.
It’s called the Clean Air Act, but it was never intended to ensure pure, pristine air. Congress wanted America to have safe, healthy air, and regulations based on solid scientific and medical studies.
The law says costs cannot be considered where human health and safety are actually at stake. But legislators also understood that efforts to bring emissions to zero are unnecessary, technologically impossible, extremely expensive, harmful to electricity generation, factory output, job creation and retention, and living standards—and thus likely to reducehuman health, wellbeing and longevity.
These days, even shipwreck museums showcase evidence of climate change.
After diving recently among Key West’s fabled ship-destroying barrier reefs, I immersed myself in exhibits from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, the fabled Spanish galleon that foundered during a ferocious hurricane in 1622. The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum now houses many of the gold, silver, emeralds and artifacts that Mel and Deo Fisher’s archeological team recovered after finding the wreck in 1985.
With reform-minded folks in charge of the Executive and Legislative Branches, unelected, unaccountable, un-removable bureaucrats may soon be exerting far less power over our policies, regulations, lives and livelihoods. Energy and climate are high on the fix-it list. Another important topic is insecticides.
The European Union and Canada have provided object lessons in how not to regulate these important chemicals. Scott Pruitt and his new team over at EPA will certainly want to avoid their malpractice.
Many liberals went into denial, outrage and riot mode after November 8. Now they’re having meltdown over President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees with climate and environmental responsibilities:
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry at Energy, Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt for EPA, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson at State, Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke at Interior. As Department of Agriculture secretary and multiple assistant, deputy assistant and other senior level positions are filled, the meltdown will likely raise sea levels by several feet.
Donald Trump plans to “roll back progress” on climate change, energy and the environment, activists, regulators and their media allies assert. The claim depends on one’s definition of “progress.”
These interest groups define “progress” as ever-expanding laws, regulations, bureaucracies and power, to bring air and water emissions of every description down to zero, to prevent diseases that they attribute to manmade pollutants and forestall “dangerous manmade climate change.” Achieving those goals requires controlling nearly every facet of our economy, industries, lives, livelihoods and living standards.
Ever since the elections, our media, schools, workplaces and houses of worship have presented stories showcasing the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Liberal-progressive snowflakes are wallowing in denial, anger and depression. They cannot work, attend class or take exams. They need safe “healing” spaces, Play-Doh, comfort critters and counseling. Too many throw tirades equating Donald Trump with Adolph Hitler, while too few are actually moving to Canada, New Zealand or Jupiter, after solemnly promising they would.
Is this to be our future? Last week’s elections will soon end autocratic rule via executive fiat, the war on coal and hydrocarbons, IRS agents targeting conservative groups, government SWAT teams invading businesses and homes, and numerous other Abuses and Usurpations.
But now we’re getting leftist anarchy and riots—with mindless, incoherent radicals smashing Portland storefronts, beating a Chicago motorist, and pummeling a ninth grade Woodside, CA Trump supporter.
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