They Don't Want a Solution

Via Jane Galt:

The environmental movement has so far utterly failed to develop a
coherent approach to replacing carbon producing power sources. Wind and
solar are not such a coherent response without a massive breakthrough
in battery technology, because variable sources are inadequate to
provide base-load power. Also, they too have negative externalities:
wind kills birds and destroys views, and many solar panels are loaded
with gallium arsenide, a highly toxic substance that is apparently
rather tricky to dispose of.

All this wouldn't be so bothersome if the environmental movement
merely failed to provide realistic alternatives, but in fact, many
environmentalists actively move to block new wind installations (I'm
looking at you, Robert jr.) and nuclear power plants, spread hysteria
over nuclear waste, and otherwise actively work against the cause they
are trying to advance. As such, it is perfectly legitimate to demand
why they are blocking the only things that have any realistic chance of
replacing carbon-emitting power plants.

The answer, in my opinion, is that too many environmentalists flunk
basic and economic knowlege, which is why so many people believe it is
practical to replace a coal-fired turbine that pumps out 1,000
megawatts with a solar installation that will, in peak sun conditions,
produce about 1 kilowatt per 150 feet of space, twelve hours a day; or
wind farms, which average less than 1 megawatt per turbine in prime
spots. In addition, the core of the environmental movement are people
with a whole host of linked views about things like capitalism,
consumer culture, and so forth; they find solutions that support,
rather than changing, the existing system much less emotionally
interesting than radical conservation strategies. Unfortunately, the
latter are a thoroughgoing political failure, but the environmental
movement has strenuously resisted adjusting to this reality. (Some
leaders have, God bless them). As long as this attitude persists, the
environmental movement is blocking change that could and should happen;
it is perfectly legitimate, nay necessary, to tax them on this.

She only sortof answers her own question at the end.  The real answer is that many who currently lead the environmental movement don't want a technological fix that sustains economic growth without CO2 emissions.  The whole point of latching onto, and exaggerating, the theory of anthropomorphic global warming is to find a big new club to bash capitalism and wealth.  Just watch this segment of Penn & Teller's Bullshit! where film of environmental movements is shown.  All the rhetoric is not anti-polluter, it's anti-corprorate and anti-capitalism.  Many leading environmentalists want nothing less than to shut down the global economy, and if that means taking down every poor person in the world just to get at Exxon and General Motors, they are willing to do so.

  • Jim

    Show me the money. It is really only about justifiction to levy a carbon tax on the leading economic nations and/or selling carbon-offsets.

  • Mesa EconoGuy

    It is about that, but it is also about much more, specifically rent-seeking (these rent-seekers are first on-board):

    http://www.environmentaldefense.org/article.cfm?contentID=5828

    With increased regulation come increased associated costs and market distortions and inefficiencies.

    Given our already screwed-up legal system, it is in the interest of many companies, particularly the major polluters and fossil-fuel producers, to jump on board as a pre-emptive move to mitigate or prevent future damage, just like it is in McDonalds’ interest to settle out of court about their scalding coffee. It is not an admission of guilt, or in this case an endorsement of environmentally friendly action, but rather a “least-worst” damage control option, and perhaps capitalization on future regulatory distortion.

    There are currently no solutions because the market hasn’t put the right mechanisms in place to create them, specifically the costs of developing substitutable technology currently outweigh the costs of continuing to use fossil fuels.

    Most of the “solutions” offered (commanded) by the new religion are a conglomeration of nonmarket shutdowns and outright bans.

    Carbon offsets are a pseudo-market non-solution.