So Scary It’s Profitable
A couple of excerpts from Matt Ridley, writing in The Australian:
No matter how many scares are proved wrong, the next set of dispatches of doom are treated with the same reverential respect.
Remember what the media said about the Y2K computer bug? “This is not a prediction, it is a certainty: there will be serious disruption in the world’s financial services industry . . . It’s going to be ugly” (The Sunday Times); “10 per cent of the nation’s top executives are stockpiling canned goods, buying generators and even purchasing handguns” (New York Times); “Army Fears Civil Chaos From Millennium Bug: Armed Forces Gearing Up To Deal With Civil Chaos” (Canada’s Globe and Mail). In the event nothing happened, but the media were soon saying the same thing about the next scare.
There’s a broad constituency for pessimism. No pressure group ever got donations by telling its donors calamity was unlikely; no reporter ever got his editor’s attention by saying that a scare was overblown; and no politician ever got on television by downplaying doom. …
Governments all round the world are interfering with markets to try to bring about this environmental revolution. One of the policies they have adopted has taken 5 per cent of the world’s grain crop and turned it into biofuel to power motor vehicles. This has driven up food prices, increased malnutrition and encouraged the destruction of rain forest, while enriching farmers.
Yet, given that the planting and harvesting of biofuels use about as much oil as the fuels they displace, it has had precisely zero effect on carbon emissions. Nonetheless, it is considered a green, progressive policy.
Another policy is to bribe rich landowners to festoon the most picturesque landscapes with concrete pads on which are placed gargantuan steel towers topped with wind turbines containing two-tonne magnets made of an alloy of neodymium, a rare earth metal mined in inner Mongolia by a process of boiling in acid that produces poisoned lakes filled with mildly radioactive and toxic tailings.
The cost of this policy is borne by ordinary electricity users and their would-be employers. So far, the wind industry’s contribution to cutting carbon emissions is precisely zero, because it provides less than 0.5 per cent of world energy use and even that has to be offset by keeping fossil fuel plants running for when the wind does not blow.
Oh, and wind turbines have killed so many white-tailed eagles in Norway, wedge-tailed eagles in Tasmania and golden eagles in California that local populations of the species are in increased danger of extinction. And this is a green, “clean”, progressive policy?
Writing in the American Thinker a year ago, Andrew Walden made similar points about the astonishing waste associated with government subsidies to wind farms – they are vastly expensive to build and maintain, they kill wildlife, they save no carbon emissions or fuel.
The same applies to large scale solar power installations.
But still Western governments are intent on spending our money on these utterly uneconomic, wasteful, and non-renewable ‘renewable’ energy plans.
We continue to face a major economic crisis, exacerbated by idiotic ‘stimulus’ spending which sucked up money from sectors which produce and employ.
At the same time, the Australian Federal government is determined to introduce a carbon tax which, even if the worst climate alarmist theories are true, will make no difference to the world’s climate.
What it will do as a certainty, is increase the cost of transport and energy, the cost of living for every person in Australia, and reduce our productivity and the competitiveness of the agricultural and mining exports on which our economy depends.
Somebody is making money out of these scares. But it isn’t me. Or any other ordinary Australian.