Sunday, April 17, 2016

Climate Catastrophist for Fracking--2

In reply to my comments in support of hydraulic fracturing under the New Jersey Star-Ledger editorial Fracking, a help in the climate fight, deserves respect from greens, correspondent jimmy2shirts wrote, in part:

@zemack One can approach  viable, large scale  renewables usage and without massive fossil fuel backup. Ask Germany. . . .  Any of the renewables negative pollution side effects you mention pale in comparison  with those of fossil fuels or nuclear. By the way, most hydro opposition is when it involves the unneeded damming of a wild river or other irreplaceable ecosystem. We're doing more to make the natural environment hostile than mother nature ever did. . . . Just take the runaway greed and corruption out of the energy decision making process. Solar has surpassed fossil fuels in per kilowatt generation costs across the globe. People who can think clearly agree: poisoning our drinking water is stupid. So is fracking.

Other correspondents called jimmy2shirts out on Germany. Mcovey36 noted that Germany “relies on more than 70% of its energy coming from natural gas,” and givmeliberty noted that the Germans are building coal-fired plants. Brian Comeaux had this to say:

Germany is a terrible example.  Despite an enormous effort, the German government's own statistics show that it produced less than 6% of its electrical needs last year by solar.   The claim that German power plants do not have fossil fuel backup is just not true.  Every single one of them does, and for the most part the backup, either natural gas or coal provides the bulk of the electrical generation.  On top of this, the obsession with renewables has caused the Germans to invent a new word in German for "energy poverty".  Germans pay three times what the average American pays for electricity, and the Germans who suffer the most for it are the poor and the elderly.

And, of course, Alex Epstein exploded the myth of Germany’s “green’ energy revolution. I left these comments in response to jimmy2shirts.

“Solar has surpassed fossil fuels in per kilowatt generation costs across the globe.”

If so, then why does the solar industry feel it necessary to push for subsidies and “renewable” mandates from NJ legislators (and around the globe)? I agree, get “runaway greed and corruption out of the energy decision making process.” Government interference breeds this kind of stuff. End all government favoritism and hostility toward all energy sources, and let energy producers compete freely in the market without subsidies, mandates, special tax provisions, and other forms of “greed and corruption” (also known as cronyism), and let consumers decide. .

If solar, wind, et al are superior to fossils, nuclear, and hydro, they will supplant those industries the way new and better technologies have supplanted older, entrenched technologies in myriad fields throughout the history of market economies and industrial progress, without any government “help.” Think the electric light bulb over kerosene lamps; the automobile over the horse-drawn carriage; fuel injection over carburetors; cell phones over rotary-dial landline phones; digital photography over film photography. The list of “entrenched” technologies being overtaken by innovative and better methods is almost endless. If solar and wind are capable of supplanting fossil fuels without bringing on catastrophic energy poverty, they will have no trouble relegating fossil fuels to obsolescence alongside kerosene lamps.

It’s the “renewable” side that’s attacking fracking. Frackers are not attacking “renewables.” They’re simply contracting with landowners and consumers to drill for and deliver natgas energy. Frackers only need the government out of the way. The “renewable” industry needs government in the way of the frackers. If solar and wind are viable alternatives, then I say “Bring it on!”—without the greed and corruption of government favoritism. Germany has not proven this, which is why it’s building coal-fired power plants at the rate of about one a month—albeit with the cleanest, most advance coal-burning technologies now available. As of now, fossil fuels are the greatest, most human life advancing energy technology we have, by far. Fossil fuels, like hydro, may not always be harmless to natural ecologies or every species, but it’s great for man, and human well-being should be our moral standard of value.


In an interesting twist, even the Star-Ledger acknowledged Germany’s backpedaling of fossil fuels. In an editorial It's time to walk the talk on climate change, the Star-Ledger lambasted Germany and others for hypocrisy:

German chancellor Angela Merkel . . . spearheaded an agreement to decarbonize the global economy by the end of this century.

It's a bold step, but as usual, everyone has commitment issues. Five of the G-7 nations (Germany, Japan, England, France, and Italy) have actually burned more coal, the largest source of global warming gases, since the 2009 Copenhagen Summit – even as they demanded emission reductions from developing nations.

Still no evidence that “renewables” can supplant fossil fuels, even from the nation's most loudly screaming for “decarbonization.”

Finally, I draw attention to jimmy2shirts’ comments on hydro-electric power:

[M]ost hydro opposition is when it involves the unneeded damming of a wild river or other irreplaceable ecosystem. We're doing more to make the natural environment hostile than mother nature ever did.

Hostile, to whom? 
This goes to the heart of how we should think about environmental issue—naturalist or humanist. Electricity is an enormous benefit to man. Dams disrupt “irreplaceable” ecosystems. “Ecosystem” obviously doesn’t include human beings, who need the electricity generated by the dam to produce the food, water, heating, lighting and run the machines that produce all of the material values our lives depend upon that nature doesn’t provide—and generally keep us safe from nature’s forces. Dams make nature less hostile to humans, but are not to be built, because they are more “hostile” to snails, fish, and other non-human parts of the ecosystem. Here is the anti-humanist moral essence of environmentalism; naturalism over humanism—the valuing of raw nature over human well-being.

Related Reading:

How Fossil Fuels Cleaned Up Our Environment—Alex epstein @ Forbes

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