Dismantling the ‘green energy’ myth?

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By: Hadebe Hadebe 

Well in the past I have declared my undying hatred for the climate change agenda and its so-called clean energy technologies such as wind turbines, electric cars, etc. In fact, this was always misconstrued as loyalty to hydrocarbons and not caring for “future generations”. Other people screamed at me for my Trumpist stance after I insisted that coal was needed to provide electricity in SA rather than renewables (from IPPs) which are a money wasted on nothing.

Environmentalists always appear to be very concerned about finite resources that are used create unsustainable energy. But they are also worried about rapidly growing populations on earth, a new staple diet for eugenics which traces its origins to eighteenth century solutions including Thomas Malthus and modern-day exponents of population culling such as Bill Gates. Now, environmentalists are suddenly caught with their pants down and also want to become aggressive.

This article explains the dilemma of environmentalists and global climate agenda through a review of the recently released documentary film titled: ‘Planet of the Humans’ by the vibrant American ‘confrontationalist’, activist Rob Moore. It would be interesting to learn how he dismantles the ‘green energy’ myth. And also how he sends environmental saints packing by exposing their hypocrisy and underhand dealings. The documentary should be interesting for energy experts, students and the public at large.

To start off, Moore is doing a great job to bring the global climate technologies into disrepute given their highest packaging in modern society, and how they are sold to unsuspecting publics as a panacea for all. With his film, Moore exposes a great scam between bankers and environmentalists. What may come as a great worry for staunch green fundamentalists is that Moore says that Big Oil and Big Business have literally repackaged themselves as ‘clean and green’. He showcases the environmental footprint of renewable technologies created by large corporations.

It is therefore unsurprising that climate change agenda has had support of the devilish Davos Club, World Economic Forum (WEF) and their lackeys across the world. Admittedly, it was not going to be easy for Moore as he once again ventures into highly protected terrains of global politics and finance. But the greenies are surely going to be left with eggs on their faces. Some people have likened the environmental movement to a secular religion with has large crowds who march purposelessly behind banners “chanting mantras and drenching themselves with fake blood.” Big Capital (banks and corporations) are unlikely to be fazed, they are the masters in games of delusion.

Overall, there are four key things that the film raises:

¥ Biomass and biofuels – the film creates a stir over its claims that sugarcane plantations not only result in forced removals but they also generate carbon footprint and lead to environmental degradation. Virgin Active’s Boeing 747 plane was said to have been powered via coconut oil mixture in a short trip from London to Amsterdam. This was part of Virgin owner Richard Branson to promote biofuels as a replacement for highly toxic jet fuels. The ‘clean’ fuel is made from plants, animals, sugarcane and massive logging world over. This not the kind of environmental attack that greenies imagine.

¥ State subsidies and rebates – he showcases large companies like Koch & Koch as recipients of massive federal subsidies in their claim to be solving the problems relating to the natural environment. He argues the requirement for these subsidies from governments is that ‘green technologies’ should provide additional benefits compared to the fuels they are supposed to replace. New policy legislations in SA, among others, such as carbon tax and related rebates are also brought to the spotlight.

¥ Green technologies – this links to the point above. Moore says that environmentalists and those promoting green technologies misuse the phrase ‘renewable’ in that they never divulge the large quantities of unsustainable inputs (e.g. minerals and fossil fuels) required to produce and or run such things as solar panels, electric cars, wind turbines, etc. In one episode, it is revealed that it takes hundreds of tons of concrete, steel, aluminum, carbon and other products to construct each and every mega wind turbine.

The film asks one fundamental question: “Is it possible for machines built by industrial civilization to save us from industrial civilization?”

Basically the documentary displays technologies as a scam: they ruin landscapes, kill birds, and will never work. In absence of a reliable base-load that is usually provided by coal, nuclear or natural gas for electricity generation, what happens to an electric grid that is powered by sunshine and or wind when neither is available? What are sources of energy that are used to kickstart the so-called carbon-free plants? These are some questions that environmentalists would prefer to avoid.

Countries such as Germany with their clean energy reputation still have to explain where the large quantities of imported coal go. In South African context, it is hoped that environmentalists will be forced to reflect on the mechanics of climate and that they will also stop to idealize Germany which is involved in logging activities worldwide to support its green agenda. Technology imports from Europe in particular would have to attract more attention since they are bombs that are soon going to explode on our faces – they made from non-renewable materials after all, and also have predetermined lifespans. Dumping practices will need to be watched closely.

¥ Capitalism has hijacked the global environmental protection agenda – the film shows billionaires such as Alan Gore, Richard Branson, Jeremy Grantham, Mark Bloomberg, etc. as dominant players behind global climate change initiatives such as the Beyond Coal Campaign. Also, Bloomberg is seen shaking the hand of ex-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at a summit on wrapping up of biomass/ fossil fuels he co-sponsored with the likes of KLM, Total, Boeing, Scania and Shell. The film accuses billionaires of “turning whatever is left in nature into profits.” Big money is right in the centre of the climate agenda.

The film also exposes hypocrisy of leaders in global environmental politics such as Sierra Club, 350 and other environmental groups that they receive billions from the (fossils) energy industry, as well the strong connections between leading environmentalists like Al Gore and Wall Street financiers. The eco-left movement all over the world is said to be unhappy with the film. Everything the likes of Green Peace, Friends of the Earth, Ocean Conservancy, etc. will have to be carefully looked with finer glasses. They are bankrolled by the very same companies they claim to fight.

The downside of the film is that it doesn’t provide solutions to the present entanglement. Unfortunately, Moore’s film also sees population growth (and consumption) as a problem and this seems to have leanings towards Malthusian theory. The main issue with this is that even the present coronavirus crisis has been linked to Malthusians and eugenics. On this point, Moore could easily be interpreted to be advancing ideas of his pet hate, the capitalists and what they are known for. He is famous for taking no prisoners when it comes to big corporations and also never hesitates to bludgeon capitalism. It would be concerning if his voice compromised in one way or the other.

As to be expected many people are not happy with the film: academics and activists have come up superlatives as a form of push back but they are not succeeding in coming up with counter arguments. In an interview with the Guardian, University of New South Wales’ energy systems and sustainability expert Professor Mark Diesendorf dismisses the commentary on renewable energy as “out-of-date, superficial, simplistic, misleading and very biased.” Environmentalists such as Bill McKibben of 350.org climate group are not pleased that Moore criticizes burning of wood and its immediate consequence, deforestation. This in spite of the fact that logging of trees takes place in countries such as Indonesia, US, Cameroon and Brazil

With the film, Moore seems to connect with climate science ‘deniers’ and long-time opponents of renewable energy, who have risen from the ashes to promote the documentary. I can be accused of that too, but it is fascinating to see the public contestation of ideas unfolds. Hopefully, SA can learn a thing or two from this exercise. Even manufacturers of electric cars are on a defensive and suddenly admit “No electricity source runs 100 percent of the time, including coal, gas, and nuclear plants in addition to wind and solar.” The falsehood that SA can turn its back on coal is unraveling – fossil fuels will continue to provide a baseload needed to power an industrial economy and large cities.

Often touted as a leading voice of the progressive left not just in the US but also across the world, Michael Moore has rattled the cage. Now his comrades in the green left aren’t very pleased with, and so are the ultra conservatives and capitalists. This goes on to prove my fascination with American progressives, Moore’s film has torn apart new technologies for renewable energy to bring chaos to the global agenda on climate change. Now there are attempts to have the movie taken down in an attempt to silence the rubble rousing film director. But that is America, the film will not be retracted as it happens with alternative voices and materials in SA.

It appears that everybody got it all wrong, there must be a new approach to saving the environment because, as some experts argue, “renewables are ineffective and more damaging than fossil fuels and nuclear.”