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Why relentless green drive may end up costing us the earth  

Spring in Malaysia is even more silent than it was when I reported how the indigenous jungle is being destroyed to provide palm oil for the Soil Association’s “environmentally-friendly” pesticide soft soap.

More great swathes of the eco-system are being replaced by oil palms to supply Europe with the biodiesel it must have by next year to comply with Directive 2003/30/EC requiring 5 per cent of road fuel to come from biological sources.

Both outcomes are typical results of green intervention in the market. They have not grasped that, to succeed, intervention must be complete and global – anything less merely creates a distortion used by shrewd businessmen to exploit the public purse, usually with further damage to the environment.

Locally, nationally or internationally, green policies are a dreary saga of intervention, unforeseen consequences and further intervention, with the environmental balance sheet always in the red.

A bit like the Red Queen, in the lexicon of green speak, words mean whatever they want them to mean so the temporary, short-term generation of landfill gas in rubbish dumps is deemed to be “sustainable” and electricity generated by burning it qualifies for Renewables Obligation subsidies, currently standing at about £48 per megawatt hour.

Curiously, nuclear – based on an estimated 4,000 years’ supply of uranium – is not sustainable. This encouragement to create landfill sites conflicts with the EU directive requiring less rubbish to go to landfill and more to composting or incineration. But both these operations require extensive transporting of waste to central facilities.

Burning chicken dung to generate subsidised electricity and replacing it with artificial manure with a carbon price of 5.7 tonnes of per tonne of fertiliser is another dismal entry in the environmental ledger, but the ultimate in “double speak” – less is more – is reserved for hydroelectricity.

Prior to 2002, hydroelectric stations of over 20MW capacity were excluded from Renewables Obligation subsidies. However, on 1 April, a date that made many people wonder if it really was a prank, the government quietly announced that stations above that level could be deliberately reduced in capacity to qualify.

Generating companies, among them Scottish & Southern Energy, promptly decommissioned alternator windings by between 18 and 47 per cent to reduce hydro capacity by a total of 59MW, achieving their goal of less renewable electricity but more profits at the expense of the environment.

Overall, I reckon green policies in Scotland have considerably increased emissions and I’m not including the extra given off by peat disturbed during wind power station construction. Nothing convinces me that it is any different.

Taking a global outlook, the recommendation in the Stern report for international carbon trading will simply become another mechanism for taking money from poor Europeans and giving it to a very few, very wealthy Third World dictators who will sell their countries’ carbon entitlement to line their own pockets. Carbon dioxide is the same whoever emits it and carbon trading will make no overall difference.

Already, national morale is wilting under the relentless green propaganda message that our lifestyle is “trashing the planet” and creating “climate chaos”. It will take more than a few thousands spent on Glasgow’s happiness centre to offset that and who in their right mind would chose to have children in a collapsing, chaotic world?

We will never achieve anything in response to climate change until we return to hard science, free-market economics, evidence-based policies and democratic accountability.

By John Stewart


This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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