As I was leaving for work one morning last week the recycling truck came hurtling down the street. Only one family in our immediate neighborhood, so far as I can tell, dutifully sorts their glass, plastic, and other stuff into the red, white and blue bins. The trashmen throw the contents of all three into the single gaping maw at the back of their truck.
At least they don’t lie about it: Right on the side of this big red-orange behemoth, in highly visible white letters, the truck describes itself as a “Commingling Recycling Vehicle.”
Most of that stuff will end up in the landfill, which is fine. Under current health codes, bottlers have decided it almost always costs more to sterilize and re-use a glass beverage container than trash it; most other recycling schemes either have to be subsidized to create the appearance of cost-effectiveness, or have been banned by competing interests. (I wrote not too long ago about the guy who was shut down by California regulators after he tried to set up in business, buying and recycling used french-fry oil as a motor fuel.)
It got me wondering in how many other ways the “green” movement encourages people to do or fund things designed to make them “feel good” about how they’re “helping the environment,” but which turn out to be an almost complete waste of time.
Jane Orient’s “Doctors for Disaster Preparedness” are usually pretty good on this topic. At www.ddponline.org we find their September “Reality Check”:
‘WIND HAS NO ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFIT’
“The Green religion constantly issues apocalyptic prophecies and proclaims dogma. Ice will melt, seas will rise, green is clean, and their policies will lead to health, prosperity, and the salvation of the Planet as well as humanity. But without a Memory Hole, these false prophets cannot prevail. …
“Greens are turning against Green energy — even before it becomes economically viable,” Dr. Orient’s organization points out. The Western Lands Project, Basin and Range Watch, and Solar Done Right “have filed a complaint with the Bureau of Land Management, stating that the agency ‘failed to analyze numerous impacts of solar energy plant development within several Solar Energy Zones.’”
The Greens are worried that the projects might disturb caliche deposits, which might release CO2 to the air, and threaten the habitat of the endangered desert tortoise, Mojave fringe-toed lizard, golden eagle, and desert bighorn, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sept. 4.
“If one is worried about trace concentrations of greenhouse gases, the solar energy industry has become one of the leading emitters of hexafluorethane (C2F6), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), which have, respectively, a greenhouse potency 12,000, 17,000, and 23,000 that of CO2,” DDP points out.
“Wind has no environmental benefit,” physicist and environmental activist John Droz told Doctors for Disaster Preparedness at their annual meeting this year. To build one megawatt of generating capacity requires 2,000 pounds of rare earths, Mr. Droz reported. ‘‘A 350-megawatt project generates 350,000 pounds of radioactive waste plus a huge amount of toxic air pollution. Offshore wind installations disrupt marine habitats. While the harm to birds, particularly migratory birds, has been diminished, there is no known way to mitigate bat takings. The loss of bats would have a profound effect on agriculture, as a bat eats about 1 million insects. …”
While the Brookings Institution claims there are more jobs in the “Clean Economy” than in fossil fuels — 2.7 million and 2.4 million, respectively — “There are only about 24,000 jobs in each of wind power and photovoltaic solar power. The big ‘green’ categories are waste management, public mass transit, and organic food and farming,” according to the Aug. 18 edition of the Science & Environmental Policy Project’s TV show, “The Week That Was.”
“Natural gas, once portrayed by the Sierra Club as the ‘good fossil fuel,’ is now ‘dirty, dangerous, and running amok,’” DDP has discovered. “The Beyond Coal campaign is killing the coal industry; Beyond Natural Gas wants to prevent new natural gas plants from being built whenever possible (Wall Street Journal 5/30/12, http://tinyurl.com/8ldsjxc). …
“Seemingly forgotten is that there are no wind plants without a gas backup — if ‘backup’ is the proper term for something that has to be working two-thirds of the time. …
“The reality is that apocalyptic Green predictions are regularly shown to be wrong,” conclude the folks at Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. “This doesn’t matter because the real agenda is not to protect human health or to promote clean, economical energy, but to reduce human population and jettison free enterprise and individual rights in favor of a state-managed economic system.”
DISCREDITED MYTHS, NO REBUTTALS
Meantime, after PBS’s “Frontline” broadcast its program “Climate of Doubt” on Oct. 23, promising to go “inside the organizations” that helped turn the tide of public opinion, and then of elected officials, away from excessive concern over the possible threat of man-made global warming, Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, commented “We welcomed ‘Frontline’ producer Catherine Upin and her crew to our Seventh International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago in May,” hoping despite previous experience that the producers would be even-handed.
In the end, the Frontline effort “wasn’t as bad as we had feared,” Mr. Bast reports, but “The quality of the program starts to deteriorate at about the 20-minute mark,” when “notorious global warming alarmists Gavin Schmidt, Katherine Hayhoe, Andrew Dessler, and Ralph Cicerone are presented as representative of the mainstream scientific community, which they are not.
“Rather than use the program to put an end to the myth of scientific consensus on this complex issue, (host John) Hockenberry repeatedly invokes the discredited myth of a 97 percent consensus,” Bast continues. “Evidence in support of that claim is farcical. The issue of what role, if any, consensus should play in science is not addressed at all.
“The second half of the program also speculates on the role that corporate and philanthropic funding plays in the debate … but it only addresses the funding of skeptics, not of alarmists. … Why didn’t Hockenberry end the myth, started by Ross Gelbspan but never documented, that global warming skeptics were or are currently being funded by oil companies to ‘sow doubt’? The Heartland Institute certainly was never part of such a plan, nor were any of the scientists we work with. Yet this libelous smear is repeated without rebuttal by Hockenberry and by the alarmists he interviews. …
“No scientist interviewed for the program offered proof that any of the climatic events shown at the end of the program were caused by human activity, nor could they. …”
GLOBAL WARMING IS OVER
The Heartland folks also provided a few helpful “facts to keep in mind” when watching such programs, including: “The best scientific data show there has been no warming for 16 years, something none of the computer models that predict an eco-catastrophe predicted or can explain. Data show no connection between man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and extreme weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods. … Global warming, simply put, is not a crisis.”
No wonder John Coleman, a senior meteorologist at KUSI in San Diego who co-founded the Weather Channel, noted last week: “There was no mention of ‘global warming’ in any of the three presidential debates this year. This is the first time since 1984 that the topic has not been brought up by one of the moderators or one of the candidates. This is not good news to Al Gore or the thousands of scientists who depend on the global warming scare to trigger the federal research grants that keep them richly employed while so many Americans can’t find a job of any kind. The reality that there is no significant man-made global warming seems to be more and more accepted by voters and politicians.”