Thursday, April 28, 2016

McKibben's Call-to-Arms Against the Energy Industry of Life

I have written often about the “Jihad on Pipelines” being waged against oil and natural gas pipelines across the country, including in my Federal Energy Regulatory Commission post in support of the proposed PennEast Natural Gas pipeline through my home Hunterdon County, New Jersey. To the best of my knowledge, the term “jihad on pipelines” was coined by New Jersey Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine. But the jihad is much wider than pipelines.

Bill McKibben, one of the leading enemies of reliable fossil fuel energy, penned an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times showing that the jihad on pipelines is part of a broader environmentalist War on Fossil Fuel Infrastructure. In How to drive a stake through the heart of zombie fossil fuel, McKibben writes that the key to shutting down the fossil fuel industry is to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure from being built. We’re talking not just pipelines, but any and all major fossil fuel projects:

Even as global warming makes it clear that coal, natural gas and oil are yesterday's energy, two centuries of fossil fuel development means new projects keep emerging in zombie-like fashion.

In fact, the climactic fight at the end of the fossil fuel era is underway. In statehouse hearing rooms and far off farmers' fields, local activists are making desperate stands to stop new fossil fuel projects, while the energy companies are making equally desperate attempts to build while they still can. The outcome of these thousands of fights, as much or more than the paper promises made at the U.N. climate conference in Paris in December, will determine whether we emerge from this century with a habitable planet. They are the battle for the future.

It sure is. New fossil fuel projects keep emerging because fossil fuels continue by far to be the best energy technology available. Success by these anti-reliable energy jihadists will result not in immediate hardship but in progressive deterioration in our ability to live as human beings—our economic strength and standard of living. McKibben is crystal clear on the purpose of the Jihad on Fossil Fuel Energy Infrastructure:

Here's the basic math: If you build a pipeline in 2016, the investment will be amortized for 40 years or more. It is designed to last — to carry coal slurry or gas or oil — well into the second half of the 21st century. It is, in other words, designed to keep us extracting carbon, the very thing scientists insist we simply can't keep doing and survive.

The same “basic math” goes for propane export terminal projects or fracking or underground gas storage facilities or coal export terminals and so on, all mentioned in the article.

Yes, the energy abundance that gives us our prosperity today is there because of investments made years and decades ago. Energy companies plan long term. Killing that long-term planning will lead to increasingly intense energy poverty leading to steadily increasing suffering and death of billions of human beings—and all allegedly for an imperceptibly slightly cooler world, in theory!

Keep in mind that McKibben offers no alternative to fossil fuels. If there were a better alternative, they wouldn’t have to attack fossil fuels politically—i.e., by stopping energy investment by force. They could win in honest competition, winning away fossil fuel industry customers by offering a superior non-carbon alternative like nuclear power, some technological breakthrough form of wind or solar, or some other source that proves more a superior form of scalable energy that consumers would willingly buy. Be he doesn't because he can’t. “[F]or now,” he readily acknowledges, “there's really no other way to kill a zombie.”

Worse, McKibben knows this full well, and he doesn’t care. McKibben calls fossils fuels “yesterday’s energy.” But then what is tomorrow’s? “If you can't do fossil fuel energy,” McKibben flippantly asserts, “you have to do something else — sun, wind, conservation.” Sound familiar?—“Oh, you’ll do something!” This is classic Leftism: Pass economy-crippling laws and regulations, and then hope for somebody else to come along to pick up the pieces.

Clearing, McKibben’s concern is not for human well-being. McKibben’s moral concern is with keeping the climate and the Earthly environment as free of human industrial improvement as possible. This is key: McKibben doesn’t give a damn about your well-being, or mine, or our children’s, or anyone’s. To him, a “habitable planet” is a planet suited only for the lives of cave men before the harnessing of carbon dioxide-emitting fire. McKibben is the leader of the real zombies; those primitives who want to roll back industrial prosperity.

Yes, we are in a battle for the future. People who values their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren had better wake up to the sinister activities of our future’s fossil fuel enemies.

Related Reading:

The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein

Related Viewing:

Hans Rosling's 'Magic Washing Machine’


Mike Kevitt said...

McKibben isn't attacking fossil fuels politically or by economic competition. It can't be attacked politically. It can be attacked by economic competition, but that's not McKibben's approach to human relations. He's attacking it the only other way possible: by initiatory force, meaning by crime. He's using the physical power meant for government, for enforcing laws. Criminals infesting, infecting and displacing law and government with crime by criminal plan are the goons helping him. The goons establish criminal plans by the processes of legislation, executive orders and court rulings, thus perverting those processes. McKibben uses that and the perverted enforcement mechanisms. What's left of government and law does nothing to stop him. How did the goons get in there? Who put them there?

McKibben has no morality. His choices are only perversions. He has only perversion. That's because he has no concern with human life, except to destroy it.

Mike Kevitt said...

Politics, political power, politicians, law and government are phenomena existing only under the regime of individual rights, just like businessmen and economics itself. Political power is a form of economic power, one of the ways of improving the natural environment for human life and human living. It is the business of clearing out criminals and crime from human relations. It is the most crucial way, second only to thought itself, and prerequisite to all other economic power beyond the moment. It's productive, just like mining or manufacturing or assuring safe drinking water. Political power is innovative. It particularizes and applies individual rights to human relations to clear out crime and only crime. It innovates founding documents, the very concept of law, legal principles and the physical mechanism of enforcement: government.

Elements of the 'mixed economy', like fiat money, cronyism, wealth redistribution, etc. are products of criminal power: initiatory force. Any program or rules for it are criminal plans, not laws. They're put in place by perverting the processes of legislation, executive orders and court rulings, of law and government themselves. Totalitarian dictatorship is just the pure form of unmixed criminal power, no more 'mixed economy'. Mixed or pure, it exists only by moral default, allowing the polluting, destruction and prevention of human life.

It's criminals, criminal power and crime under cover of the guise of law and government we're up against, a criminal regime displacing law and government. That's the enemy, right here in the U.S. It must be met appropriately as such, publicly at large with the appropriate language, intellectually, but also with what's left of actual law and government to clean crime (not just corruption, but crime) out of law and government. Then we can clear up crime from the whole country and clear the field for all other economics and economic power and all other peaceful human relations.

Mike Kevitt said...

Nothing in my last comment, above, is an advocacy to curtail the free speech of those, such as McKibben, who would push for crime under cover of the guise of law and government.

Such people, like anybody, have the right to speak publicly even when they advocate what amounts to crime, initiatory force, such as statist policies, at least as long as they don't advocate direct physical violence upon persons. But no such person has any right to work in government, not as an employee, an appointee or as an elected official. Such a person is an infestation who will infect and start displacing law and government, destroying its proper function and mission in favor of statism, which is crime as surely as premeditated murder by a 'common' criminal.

If such a person is elected but not allowed to take office and his election is voided, nobody's rights have been violated.