Fracking

Anti-Fracking Activism Sacrifices Nature for Ideology, Correctly Argues USA Today Op/Ed

Reason warned back in 2011 that environmentalists would oppose cheap natural gas

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In its latest issue of Electric Power Monthly, the Energy Information Administration reported that for the first time ever the United States produced more electricity by burning natural gas than by burning coal. People who are worried about man-made global warming should cheer since burning natural gas produces about half the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide that coal does. This achievement was made possible by the fracking revolution that unlocked vast quantities of previously unobtainable gas from shale formations. And yet, many environmentalists furiously oppose the development of this much cleaner fuel.

Back in 2011, I warned in my article, "Environmentalists Were For Fracking Before They Were Against It," that environmentalists were turning away from what they had once hailed as the "bridge fuel" to the no-carbon energy future:

Given its greenhouse gas benefits, environmental activists initially welcomed shale gas. For example, in August 2009 prominent liberals Timothy Wirth and John Podesta, writing on behalf of the Energy Future Coalitionhailed shale gas as "a bridge fuel to a 21st-century energy economy that relies on efficiency, renewable sources, and low-carbon fossil fuels such as natural gas." The same year, environmentalist Robert Kennedy, Jr., head of the Waterkeeper Alliance, declared in the Financial Times, "In the short term, natural gas is an obvious bridge fuel to the 'new' energy economy."

The natural gas flip flop occurred because gas became cheap and did not just displace coal, but also made solar and wind energy relatively more expensive as ways to generate electricity. 

In their excellent USA Today op/ed, Breakthrough Institute founders Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus call out their fellow environmentalists for their ideological opposition to natural gas:

It is hard to remember now, but it wasn't so long ago that natural gas was seen as one of the most important solutions to global warming and a cleaner environment. That's one reason a new report released this month shows that natural gas has eclipsed coal as the largest U.S. source of electricity for the first time.

Environmental groups used to call natural gas a "bridge fuel" away from coal to renewables. The Sierra Club was so enthusiastic that between 2007 and 2010, according to Time magazine, it accepted $25 million in funding from oil and gas interests to pay a small army of lawyers and lobbyists as part of its "Beyond Coal" campaign….

It is more than a little ironic that at the moment that gas became cheap and abundant enough to displace coal at large scale, environmental groups began to oppose it.

Yes, it is.

Shellenberger and Nordhaus acknowledge the local NIMBY problems that producing natural gas can cause, but correctly conclude:

Ultimately, how America navigates the fracking wars will have a lot to say about how clean our air will be and how much carbon we will emit in the coming decades. Energy transitions come slowly, and it is highly improbable that gas production avoided through moratoriums such as New York's will be replaced in significant part with renewable energy.

Too often, blocking energy development locally simply outsources it somewhere else, often with much greater social and environmental consequences. Developing a truly zero carbon energy system will take many decades. In the meantime, despite its local impacts, gas can bring us great environmental benefits.

The whole op/ed is well worth reading.

NEXT: Uber Courts Reverend Al in an Effort to "Out-Progressive" the Progressives

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  1. The NIMBY arguments could, of course, apply to any kind of energy development. Wind mills and solar farms?

    “Great! But they can’t be anywhere that might harm my view.”

    1. Don’t forget, the sound frequency emitted by windmills is a ‘danger’ trigger for the human physiology, leading to high levels of stress among the people who live near them

      1. Do you have any citations to back that up? I happen to like a little white noise at night. Helps me sleep…

        1. The data came from a study by the “German National Metrology Institute” with regards to the infrasound range of 8mhz effect on the human brain (a frequency generated by windmills).

          It’s not as rock solid as chopping up birds, but it’s out there.

          (first spotted it here: http://www.breitbart.com/big-g…..the-brain/ )

          1. Interesting start. I’ll keep my eyes open for more evidence.

          2. Some links. Although, it’s worth mentioning that in the studies there are usually low numbers of people affected by the phenomena in question and at frequencies well above 8 Hz.

            http://www.richardwiseman.com/…..achine.pdf

            http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3077192/#.VagC6vkuf-s

          3. My understanding is people think it’s actually doesn’t but people believe it does.

            Either way this is much more helpful. Fracking causes water problems…oh wait
            https://pubsecrets.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/
            green-fail-windfarms-contaminate-the-water-supply/

        2. I prefer the wails of little orphans to help me sleep.

          1. I wish the white noise app I use had sounds like “wailing orphans” and “monocle polishing”.

            1. I see a golden business opportunity for the first white noise ap marketed to libertarians. Excuse while I go learn how to code for android and iOS…

              1. I wish the white noise app I use had sounds like “wailing orphans” and “monocle polishing

                Don’t forget gold coins raining, factories humming, and polar bears drowning.

  2. Too often, blocking energy development locally simply outsources it somewhere else

    Which is why the landowners of Pennsylvania applaud New York for it’s anti-science ban on fracking. If you don’t want the Marcellus shale gas money and jobs, we’ll take them.

  3. “It is more than a little ironic that at the moment that gas became cheap and abundant enough to displace coal at large scale, environmental groups began to oppose it.”

    You’d almost think they’re just anti-energy period.

    1. Well, anti-users of energy.

      1. You might say, anti-human.

          1. If there were no humans do you think they’d turn against plants and animals because they disrupted the “true” natural state of the Earth… which is a big hunk of rock blistering in the unmitigated sunlight?

            1. I think they like other forms of life, not the rocks per se, except to the extent that the rocks form the body of the goddess, Gaia. Which is why I don’t know why they aren’t clamoring for intentional global warming, in order to dramatically increase biodiversity. The much warmer periods Earth experienced in the past (in between ice ages) had much more life than now.

              1. Their faith is one of stasis. Change is bad, especially change that benefits humans. Increased biodiversity means mutants are running amok. Things must be as they always envisioned, and never change.

                1. But a warmer Earth might mean talking animals. We can walk with the animals, talk to the animals. . . .

      2. Anti-other users of energy

    2. They still support wind and solar despite their local environmental impact.

      They truly are opposed to cheap energy. Well, the top echelon are. The bottom tier are just idiots who get their marching orders and go in lockstep parroting half baked ideas and hyperbole.

      1. They still support wind and solar despite their local environmental impact.

        Of course they do, because those are expensive and unlikely to achieve widespread usage. The moment someone develops super-cheap, reliable solar is the moment they will switch over to something like hydro.

        1. No, hydro hurts the fishies, and we can’t have that. Geothermal has the same problems as fracking. Nuclear causes cancer and hurts the fishies. There is no acceptable source of energy.

          1. Solar is powered by fusion; therefore, fusion is good. Right? I mean, what’s more natural than nuclear fusion explosions?

            1. It’s kind of the source of… everything. Nuclear fusion IS the true Gaia! By the Goddess, I think you’ve got it.

              1. Artificial fusion is as much a sin as genetic modification!

                1. Okay, what if we just made the Earth into a small star?

                  1. ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS?EXCEPT EARTH
                    ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE

            2. Radioactive decay of unranium?

              1. What’s unranium? Is that a material in one of the Avatar sequels?

                1. Unranium, it’s so raniun, its Unranium.

                  1. You are so raniun, you don’t even know it.

            3. Fusion energy does not operate by fusion explosions. It is actually even safer than atomic fission, which is actually quite safe despite all the propaganda to the contrary.

              1. I was referring to the sun. I know we’re after controlled fusion as an energy source. Which is going to be opposed for some reason, too, once it’s viable.

    3. Because of KOCH!!!!!

    4. They’re generally anti-petroleum, regardless of the merits of any individual technology. They have a fetish for wind and solar because they’re “green” and hate nuclear because of the old anti-nuke campaigns.

      It’s all about the feels. Solar panel manufacturing has significant toxic byproducts, but that is largely ignored. Wind and solar are not steady state producers so they need storage, which will be environmentally destructive and unreliable.

      1. I’ve had my share of anti-nuke rhetoric being exposed to Vermont like I am.

        Shaking the stupidity is harder than getting rid of lice.

        1. Doesn’t France generate like 60% of its electricity from nuclear? And France is in Europe and Europe is good.

  4. “The natural gas flip flop occurred because gas became cheap and did not just displace coal, but also made solar and wind energy relatively more expensive as ways to generate electricity. ”

    The natural gas flip flops occurred because gas was no longer useful for controlling people’s behavior.

  5. I don’t think it’s ironic at all. What the watermelons want is no fossil fuel use at all so that Gaia can heal herself, or whatever. That natural gas is responsible for the drastic reduction of US emissions is irrelevant to them – because it wasn’t done in the manner they really wanted. In fact, in their eyes we are probably now addicted to natural gas to fuel our electronic devices and air conditioning and everything else that makes not living in caves awesome. So, no, it isn’t ironic at all.

  6. It is more than a little ironic that at the moment that gas became cheap and abundant enough to displace coal at large scale, environmental groups began to oppose it.

    Yes, it is.

    Not really. You assume that the environmentalists want energy production. If wind becomes so efficient that it starts displacing fossil fuels, the environmentalists will turn against it as well. If they really wanted low greenhouse energy production, why aren’t they jumping up and down for nuclear?

    1. If they really wanted low greenhouse energy production, why aren’t they jumping up and down for nuclear?

      For the average environmentalist, I’m pretty sure they believe that every nuclear power plant is just moments away from a catastrophic meltdown. So, for them, low greenhouse energy production doesn’t enter into that particular equation.

      1. Worse, they probably think any condensation coming off the cooling towers is radioactive fallout as well.

        1. +1 chem trails

        2. Plus it warms river water, which hurts fish.

          1. The fish love it. Some of the best fishing holes are around nuke plant outflows.

            1. Next you’ll be telling me that deep water drilling rigs attract fish too.

              1. What do you think they really make crude oil from?

              2. Just the leviathans

                1. +1 Peter Weller

            2. The fish love it. Some of the best fishing holes are around nuke plant outflows.

              +3 eyes

              1. +3 eyes

                Only at Fukushima

            3. The fish love it. Some of the best fishing holes are around nuke plant outflows.

              That’s because the fish don’t know what’s best for them. There oughta be a law…

              1. Geez, with as much time as they spend in schools you’d think they would know better.

                I bet their teachers aren’t unionized

                1. +200

  7. New York should also ban the use of any natural gas that is produced by fracking elsewhere. Don’t like it, don’t use it. Let New Yorkers pay the true cost of feel good bans.

    1. New Yorkers were advocating for fracking. Astroturfers and city-dwelling mutants were rallying against it.

      1. Even the CHUDs?

        1. They didn’t like the sunlight, so they didn’t come up to Albany – but they might have been on the internet advocacy teams

    2. TB: I like how you think!

      1. Except the ban was not put in place by referendum or by the advocacy of the people who would have to live with the wells. The people who were against it were all downstaters and imported astroturfers. We should not be further penalized for those *self-censored*

        1. This is why NY needs to be split into two states – everything south of roughly I287 should be sealed off from everywhere else.

          1. Mayor Wood was ahead of his time.

      2. I lived in Houston in the early 80’s. There were a lot of bumper stickers that read ” Let a Yankee freeze in the dark” when they were against pipelines and such.

        1. Why? If we’re buying their oil, don’t they benefit?

          1. Carter put in place price controls on natural gas to give the Northeast a subsidy atthe expense of producers in Texas and Louisiana

          2. Clearly, it was the bumper sticker maker who benefited.

        2. My favorite: “More people died at Chappaquifck then 3 Mile Island”

        3. Seriously? I thought “let the easter bastards freeze in the dark” was a Canadian original.

          Which came about when Liberal govt decided to force Canadian oil producers to sell oil at set price to refineries in the east. Created in 1980.
          I’m seriously beginning to think people who say all bad things in Canada come from the US are right. Our left just keeps taking your left’s shit and implementing it up here.

          1. Same on all fronts (NSA) actually, we’re eager to copy the US, but only their bad ideas. The good ones we pride ourselves on not adopting.

  8. The rigs, pipelines and truck traffic are changing bucolic landscapes that many people rightly care deeply about

    In PA, those “many people” are southeast PA liberals and moderates who’ve never been to a well site, aren’t living in the shale region, and who think fracking is hurting the bunnies and trees in those places in PA that they’ll likely never visit.

    To locals in the economically needy southwest and northern tier, those rigs and trucks mean jobs and royalties. The state has thousands of wells and we’re not exactly a post-Apocalyptic hellhole.

    1. To locals in the economically needy southwest and northern tier, those rigs and trucks mean jobs and royalties.

      That’s where the mask slips with proggies. They don’t care about poor people, especially if they live in flyover country and never, ever see them, except maybe when they are passing through on the way to Amish Country for a day trip, and even then they just ignore them, or worse, ridicule them.

    2. The state has thousands of wells and we’re not exactly a post-Apocalyptic hellhole.

      A certain Fallout 3 DLC would argue otherwise.

      1. The Pitt had Industry, intact structures, and a social order (okay, a bad social order, but it existed)

        1. Not when I was done with it.

          1. *nodding aggressively*

    3. I live amongst the southeast PA liberals who’ve “never been to a well site, aren’t living in the shale region, and who think fracking is hurting the bunnies and trees in those places in PA that they’ll likely never visit” and you are 100% spot on.

  9. Related: an FB acquaintance posted how horrible nuclear energy is because of all the waste and risk. You should have seen her fellow liberal progs jump down her throat! It was a thing of beauty.

      1. Lots of progs are very much in favor of nuclear energy. The one posting on FB was clearly way behind the times and hadn’t realized that, in order to stick with the herd, she shouldn’t be criticizing nuclear energy.

        1. I must be behind the times, because I thought they were still against nuclear.

          1. Last I checked, anything that actually generates more electricity than publicity is evil and destroying mother earth.

          2. So did I. I guess that’s good news? I’m sure they’ll turn against nuclear again if it ever becomes cheap enough to actually be competitive. Or the first time a reactor has even the slightest minor incident.

          3. Yes. Even the very author of this article has mentioned the shift in several articles.

            Here are a couple.

            One
            Two

            There are more, but I think I can only have two links in a post.

            1. Of course, the NRC will approve no design that can be economically built, so its a moot point.

  10. Fracking is BAD because they cause earthquakes. New Madrid, remember? Church bells in Boston, tsunamis in Houston and those frackers EVEN CHANGED THE FLOW OF THE MISSISSIPPI.

    If it wasn’t for those frackers, New Madrid would have NEVER HAPPENED.

    1. A: It was wastewater injection that was the possible culpret.

      B: more smaller earthquakes reduce the overall pressure and mean fewer bigger earthquakes.

      Oh, wait, my sarcasm meter is broken again

      1. But that’s geoengineering! You’re interfering with nature! You’re playing God! NO GEOLOGICALLY MODIFIED EARTHQUAKES.

        1. GLOBAL WARMING CAUSED THE HAITIAN EARTHQUAKE!!!

          Yes, it’s true. The UAW president said so

          1. Clearly, we didn’t frack haiti hard enough

            1. Haiti’s plenty fracked without our help. Just ask the Clinton foundation.

            2. Well, it made Bill Clinton wealthier . . . Never let a crisis go to waste

        2. Dude, you are freakin’ hitting it out of the park today!

          NO GME!!!!!

          1. He is a clever lad 🙂

          2. I had a liquid lunch. I was cerebrally modified.

        3. Wait, I thought geo-engineering was okaY because the studies for carbon sequestration were geo-engineering.

      2. “B: more smaller earthquakes reduce the overall pressure and mean fewer bigger earthquakes.”

        Congress should put FEMA in charge of causing small earthquakes up and down the California coastline… for the children.

          1. Can I buy a house in Otisville?

        1. “Congress should put FEMA in charge of causing small earthquakes . . .”.

          New mandate: FEMA employees, . On the count of 3, everybody jump up and down at the same time for 5 minutes! “

          1. This is what happens when people can’t understand a logarithmic scale.

            1. Government is so stupid, Congress would pass such a law and FEMA would mandate 5 minute , synchronized jumping.

  11. Wind and solar panels, bitches. Wind and solar.

    1. You put the wind farms next to the solar plants, with a restaurant at the end so the birds get chopped and fried and land on the plates for maximum efficiency.

      1. Only if: (a) the birds are free rangers, grass fed, antibiotic free and GMO koshered and (b) the restaurant has unionized labor [no one profits on the backs of the working man]

        1. But birds don’t eat grass, so we’ll need to invent some apparatus for forcefeeding them. Really fatten them up on that grass with some sort of pressurized hose-like device.

          1. Birds MUST eat grass because Washington DC says so.

  12. Unrelated: I’m sitting in a bar across the street from campus listening to the bartender and a couple early drinkers discuss how awesome the all-girl Ghostbusters reboot is going to be. Why? Who knows, and who cares, but goddammit they’re going to be seen in public vocally supporting this radically transgressive project.

    1. Why?

      Because, tits?

        1. Oh God. Well, guess I should pay attention to this crap more.

        2. Yeah – she and Kevin Hart are the latest “When the FUCK will their 15 minutes be up so I’m not subjected to their suckitude any longer”.

          Despise. Will not see anything ever again with her in it. Nor Kevin Hart.

          We’ll see who’s next on Most Overexposed and avoid them, too.

          1. I liked, like, one of Kevin Hart’s sets. After that…

            WE GET IT. YOU’RE SHORT. AND YOU’RE BLACK.

          2. she and Kevin Hart are the latest “When the FUCK will their 15 minutes be up so I’m not subjected to their suckitude any longer”.

            Kevin Hart is just shorter, louder, more obnoxious, less funny version of Chris Rock. Half his shit was being by Rock 20 years ago, but Rock had much better comedic timing than Hart.

            1. I like Chris Rock and think he’s funny. I do not think Kevin Hart or Melissa McCarthy are funny any more (they were for 15 minutes, I’ll admit) and I’m DONE WITH THEM!

              NEXT!

              PS You know who’s STILL funny? Sam Kinison, God rest his troubled, weird soul

              1. AHHH! Ahhh! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

            1. THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!

              #nailedit

          3. Kevin Hart did a funny video with Conan a while back, though. One that features Lyft, if you can believe it. Although I liked the interactions between Conan and Ice Cube and the Lyft driver better.

    2. by “Radically transgressive” you mean “tired and stale idea”, right? I mean, rule 63 isn’t new.

    3. I think the reverse-gender angle is silly and pointless, but let’s not kid ourselves–any reboot of Ghostbusters is doomed from the start. Just like the reboots of Animal House, The Blues Brothers, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail are going to be.

      1. Spamalot disagrees on the last point.

        1. MUSICALS DON’T COUNT. For instance, it’s okay to make a musical version of The Planet of the Apes. Or 2001:

          Yes, I’m sorry, Dave.
          So very sorry, Dave.
          But doing that, I’m afraid
          I cannot do.

          [Chorus: He’s so, so, very sorry, Dave.
          Can’t you forgive him, Dave
          For that thing HAL simply cannot dooooooo
          ]

          1. There’s already a Planet of the Apes musical:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUkYHcK3FfY

            1. I’m well aware of that one, else I’d have made up a stanza for it in the first place.

              1. *Bows head in abject humiliation, slinks from room.*

                1. Feces
                  Nothing more than feces
                  Trying to forget those
                  Feces you’ve slung.

                  1. Why do I have to apologize to the monkey? HE started it!!!

            1. Why won’t you
              Open the pod bay doors?
              Open those pod bay doors?
              Whenever you need succor,
              Open those pod bay doors.

      2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

        Wait, what? This is not really happening, is it?

        1. Unpossible. It’s the True Seventh Sign.

        2. I’d love to say no, but at some point, it’s going to be yes, as patently absurd as that sounds.

        3. It’s inevitable. Nothing is sacred. We live in a fallen world amidst the ashes of a once-glorious culture, a culture of pussy jokes and absurdist humor. Now all that’s left is ironic references and nostalgia cash-grabs.

      3. I think the reverse-gender angle is silly and pointless

        I blame Katee Sackhoff.

        1. -1 Watchtower

        2. When your source material is the original BSG, you get a pass.

        3. That’s just one fracking character, to be sure.

    4. Bar? At lunchtime?

      Well done, sir.

      1. I should probably be studying for exam tonight, but two beers so far beg to differ.

        1. Depends on the subject of the exam, I suppose.

          1. Bar Exam – DUH!

            1. At night? Sounds suspicious.

              I think that’s when Bo took it, too.

            1. Urinary. It’s why I’m getting pissed.

              1. Yeah, you think you’re pissed now…

    5. It’s going to suck. It would suck with men, it would suck with transsexuals, it’s just going to suck.

      1. So you’re saying it’ll be just like Epi’s mom?

  13. And yet, many environmentalists furiously oppose the development of this much cleaner fuel.

    That’s because environmentalists are never serious about wanting cleaner fuels or cleaner energy, because that would mean conceding that Man has a place on this Earth. Instead, they truly want to see a world devoid of human interaction. Understand for once that this is not just a question of personal asceticism for environmentalists but a quest to turn the Earth into the original Paradise and return Man to his “natural” state. They’re really religious nuts.

      1. “By the mid-1980s, the environmental movement had abandoned science and logic in favor of emotion and sensationalism,” Moore lamented.

        Amazing.

      2. Greenpeace is a cult, it is impossible for them to admit they have been wrong on anything.

  14. Fist Slate publishes something that’s not retarded, and now USA Today? Holy shit, I feel like I’ve slipped into an alternate dimension. Maybe their just getting their non-retarded reporting out of the way now before the 2016 election really gets going. Then they’ll go back to full retard.

    1. In fairness, they’d already set the bar so low that clearing it wasn’t too much effort.

    2. Wait, Fist runs Slate now too?

      1. I dodn’t know about the whole magazine, but I hear he runs the rape room along with Warty. His official job title is “Chief Rapiness Officer”.

        1. STEVE SMITH IS EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT!

    3. I bet the USA Today article was 80% infographics.

  15. DO NOT BECOME ADDICTED TO NATURAL GAS!

    1. But I like Taco Bell!

  16. It’s all gonna come down to potable water anyway. So all you jokers will be coming to the Great Lakes Region, sooner or later, begging for fresh, clean, unfluoridated drinking water…

    We’ll be waiting for you…

    1. We’ve got fresh water all over the place here. Heck, South Florida is a giant swamp.

      1. I wouldn’t call that drinkable, though

          1. Keep tellin’ yerself that. You’ll be here soon enough, along with the rest of ’em…

            *pushes back into rocking chair on front porch, starts rocking*

            1. The Everglades are a giant river. Florida is chock-full of underground fresh water. And let’s see how well you do when glaciation returns.

  17. Who provided the quote

    “It is not victory they desire, but War perpetual”

    Environmentalists need a Bad Guy. And the bad guy always has to be completely utterly irredeemably bad. When it turns out the bad guy is good for the planet? well, then fuck the planet.

  18. Sheesh, I just skimmed the comments at Richman’s Iran Treaty post. Lord, that derped hard from the beginning.

    1. Richman always brings out the derp, ever since he equated Chris Kile with Adam Lanza.

      1. Sheldon Richman is basically the same as Adam Lanza. That’s what you’re saying, right?

        1. Well has anyone ever seen the two of them in the same place at the same time?

  19. “It is more than a little ironic that at the moment that gas became cheap and abundant enough to displace coal at large scale, environmental groups began to oppose it.”

    Hardcore enviros are not so much for reducing large-scale coal usage as they are for de-industrializing the U.S. They extol the pre-modern primitive.

    1. If they are so enamored of it, they can live in whatever manner they please – what they can’t do is try to force their derangement on me.

      1. Agreed. But have you seen some the recent EPA regs to come out? They are shutting down coal mines and plants. They are putting people out of work, undermining private property, and assailing our standard of living.

        It looks like they’ve been pretty successful so far.

    2. “They extol the pre-modern primitive.”

      Which reminds me of the best OG skate video of all time, Future Primitive

      Shitty music. i think “Yeah right” wins for the best modern version.

  20. Semi-off topic.

    I was thinking of including in one of my books a group of terrorists whose objective is to directly reduce the human population to what they regard as ‘proper’ levels. Would it be all right to just call the Malthusians, or should I come up with a fictional term for them?

    1. Malthusians or something that references Malthusians. I am the worst at writing fiction, though.

    2. Malthusians might be a good word used to describe the group, but it would be cool if you came up with a fictional name for them, a la “Army of the 12 Monkeys”.

    3. “should I come up with a fictional term for them?”

      yes. “Rationalists” Because they want to ration life.

    4. I’d go with Tertullians.

      “Surely it is obvious enough, if one looks at the whole world, that it is becoming daily better cultivated and more fully peopled than anciently. All places are now accessible, all are well known, all open to commerce; most pleasant farms have obliterated all traces of what were once dreary and dangerous wastes; cultivated fields have subdued forests; flocks and herds have expelled wild beasts; sandy deserts are sown; rocks are planted; marshes are drained; and where once were hardly solitary cottages, there are now large cities. No longer are (savage) islands dreaded, nor their rocky shores feared; everywhere are houses, and inhabitants, and settled government, and civilized life. What most frequently meets our view (and occasions complaint), is our teeming population: our numbers are burdensome to the world, which can hardly supply us from its natural elements; our wants grow more and more keen, and our complaints more bitter in all mouths, whilst Nature fails in affording us her usual sustenance. In very deed, pestilence, and famine, and wars, and earthquakes have to be regarded as a remedy for nations, as the means of pruning the luxuriance of the human race. . . .”

    5. Did you see Kingsman? Samuel Jackson played a lisping enviro-terrorist whose aim was exactly that.

      1. I haven’t watched movies in years.

      2. Kingsmen is great fun. It’s anti-government, anti-environmentalist, anti-lefty film.

    6. Screw Malthusians, call them Erlich’s

      1. Why not the Malthusian Insurgent Liberation Front?

        1. Those tossers! Join the Insurgent Liberation Front of Malthus!

    7. You should model the arch villain after Liam Neeson and allow him to maintain his eternal youth in a mysterious pool of glowing liquid he christens the Gaia Pit.

      And it really sucks for Malthus that this is what he’s remembered for. The specter of overpopulation sucked in a lot of great minds through the centuries, but at least Malthus has the excuse that he was born in the 18th century, as opposed to latter-day figures like Ehrlich, who’s given the movement its fervor.

  21. I heard a snippet on the radio earlier this week about some connections between increase in fracking and high school drop out rates. It seems the availability of good paying jobs tends to draw young men to work.

    1. If there are 17 year olds willing to work that hard, God bless ’em.

    2. Well, considering public school is generally worthless at educating people it sounds like a good alternative.

  22. What is ironic to me is that, just as the religious right is anti-science and devoted to magical thinking, so is most of the left — just about different things. There is nothing remotely scientific about their opposition to fracking. As for nuclear, they are even worse on that. While it delivers carbon-free energy, it’s not acceptable because of the billions of lives lost at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukujima. (They believe billions died, when in fact the body count was 12 at Chernobyl and 0 at the other plants.) I’m sure if we ever get completely clean and waste-free fusion, they’ll oppose that too. Why? Because it was portrayed as doubling as a bomb in the last Batman movie — so how can it be safe? Eminent scientist Christopher Nolan said so.

    1. It’s a religious movement that’s far more destructive than the tribal religions it’s replaced. Say what you will about the Amish, but they’ve never tried to use social democracy to starve the world of inexpensive energy.

  23. What is ironic to me is that, just as the religious right is anti-science and devoted to magical thinking, so is most of the left — just about different things. There is nothing remotely scientific about their opposition to fracking. As for nuclear, they are even worse on that. While it delivers carbon-free energy, it’s not acceptable because of the billions of lives lost at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukujima. (They believe billions died, when in fact the body count was 12 at Chernobyl and 0 at the other plants.) I’m sure if we ever get completely clean and waste-free fusion, they’ll oppose that too. Why? Because it was portrayed as doubling as a bomb in the last Batman movie — so how can it be safe? Eminent scientist Christopher Nolan said so.

    1. The squirrels recognized the greatness of my comment and posted it twice. Nice!

  24. Developing a truly zero carbon energy system will take many decades market forces.

    Fixed it for you.

    1. Good point… probably many decades for market forces and many centuries for political forces. 😀

  25. The natural gas flip flop occurred because gas became cheap and did not just displace coal, but also made solar and wind energy relatively more expensive as ways to generate electricity.

    Austerity.

    The environmentalists want austerity. Austerity for the lesser sort, not for the environmentalists.

    With cheap energy, the proletariat and bourgeoisie can have large cars, air conditioning, dishwasher, washing machines, etc., not just the nobility.

    With expensive energy, the proletariat and bourgeoisie will be reduced to serfs who will then be forced to work on the estates of the nobility who be able to afford large cars, air conditioning, dishwasher, washing machines, etc.

    The environmentalists assume, of course, that they will be part of the nobility.

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  27. I understand they’re not against hopium and unobtainium.

  28. Ah, The Breakthrough Institute. They also said this:

    “After decades of incipient growth, it seems that wind and solar power are finally ready for prime time. These two renewable energy resources are growing rapidly and are beginning to move the needle in global energy

    Renewable energy’s growth has been fueled for years by deployment subsidies and other support policies ? feed-in tariffs, tax credits, portfolio standards, and the like ? exactly the kind of proactive public policies” TBI supported in the past.

    Hmmm.

    1. http://thebreakthrough.org/ind…..-weve-come

      So, government support and investment in solar and wind…still like them?

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