Friday, February 29, 2008

Environmental Justification

The term environmental justice is often used to justify the enviro zealots actions to push one plan or another. Here in Albuquerque, NM--where CARE is based--this term was recently bandied about at a farce of a hearing where the public’s say had no sway and the deciding committee had already made up its mind before the formality of a hearing was held. The more accurate term might “environmental justification.”

In this new piece from Energy Counsel Member Paul Driessen, he suggests a flip in the “environmental justice” policies. The enviro zealots use the term to punish those who do not agree with their policies--as you’ll note in Driessen’s piece. Here, he hypothetically suggests that we punish the enviro zealots when children people die due to their policies.

Could the plans set forth by the enviro zealots be hurting people--even killing them? Read on, and tell us what you think.

Humpty Dumpty Environmental Policies
Playing games with language, justice and people’s lives

“Environmental justice” is often used to benchmark corporate social responsibility.

“People of color and low-income populations are disproportionately impacted by pollution,” argues Leslie Fields, Sierra Club director of environmental justice.

It’s unjust that people lose their jobs when companies merge or downsize, to cut costs or boost profits, activists claim.

“Every time a child dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned,” for causing global warming, rants UK firebrand George Monbiot. Government leaders “should go to jail” for failing to act more quickly to prevent planetary climate cataclysm, insists Canadian eco-zealot David Suzuki.

These assertions range from simplistic to outrageous to straight out of Lewis Carroll.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” Humpty Dumpty replied, “who is to be master. That’s all.”

Indeed, activist terminology often guides public policy--and dictates who is to be master: those who must live with the consequences of their personal choices--or those who must live with policies imposed by others. That reality underscores why policies must be founded on full and fair assessment of risks and benefits, especially to the poor and powerless, rather than on what advances political agendas.

A few years back, mostly black residents of Convent, Louisiana welcomed the construction of a modern plastics factory that would have brought 2,000 construction jobs and 165 permanent positions that paid double the wages of working in sugar cane fields, plus health benefits and a stronger tax base. The local NAACP also supported the facility.

But Sierra Club activists opposed the plant, claiming Shintech, Inc’s factory might increase allegedly high cancer rates, in violation of environmental justice principles. The factory was built elsewhere, in a mostly white community, and Convent remained poor.

Allegations of high cancer rates turned out to be false. In fact, cancer rates might well have declined, because workers with medical benefits would have discovered the disease in time to get treatment. But activist notions of “environmental justice” had prevailed. They were the masters, and Convent’s residents never had a choice. By the time the truth came out, the activists were off lambasting other facilities.

Losing a job is always a wrenching experience. Capitalism’s forces of “creative destruction” are as powerful today as when horse-and-buggy craftsmen were laid off by automobile makers--and mountains of manure were replaced by exhaust from internal combustion engines. Mergers and acquisitions fueled by innovation, competition and profit-seeking clearly create jobs, though they also destroy jobs.

However, corporate decisions affect a limited number of workers--whereas government policies affect millions. The drive to eliminate fossil fuels, switch to a CO2-free economy and prevent computer-generated climate disasters might create some new jobs, but it would also cost countless jobs and impact families all across America.

European industries are already reevaluating investment decisions and cancelling projects, largely because of an increasingly strict and unpredictable regulatory climate in the EU, according to World Energy Council vice chairman Johannes Teyssen. New power plants are being put on hold, threatening to hike electricity prices even further and exacerbate a growing energy shortfall--and companies are pondering relocation to China and India, as it becomes harder to get building and expansion permits.

Similar anxieties are increasing in the United States, as Congress considers a dozen tough climate change bills. Not one of them acknowledges the uncertainties inherent in climate models and predictions of catastrophic warming. Not one considers recent solar magnetic readings that some researchers fear could reflect a downturn in the sun's energy output, which could trigger a planetary cold spell, severe weather and widespread crop failures.

Will legislators and eco agitators be as outraged about widespread job losses caused by such legislation, as they have been about comparatively minor “injustices” perpetrated by capitalists? Will they restore funding to the FutureGen coal project that was to evaluate the economic and technological viability of carbon sequestration initiatives on which so much climate change policy relies?

Will they reverse land use policies that have driven tens of thousands of blacks from San Francisco and other California cities--and reject proposals to limit how many miles workers can drive each year to get from affordable homes to jobs in those cities?

Drownings in impoverished Third World countries are tragic, but no more so than far more numerous deaths from malaria, dysentery, malnutrition and lung disease among children in those nations. But environmental justice agitators are among the perpetrators of these unnecessary deaths.

They pressure countries and aid agencies not to use DDT, insecticides or larvacides, causing disease, death and eventual resistance by mosquitoes to pyrethrum in bednets and by parasites to ACT drugs. They oppose biotech crops and medicines, which could reduce blindness, malnutrition, intestinal disease and deaths--and enable Third World farmers to grow more nutritious crops, with less water and fewer pesticides, under widely varied climate conditions.
Eco-alarmists tell impoverished Africans that global warming is the greatest threat they face--when Al Gore uses more electricity in a week than 100 million Africans together use in a year. Those people rarely or never have electricity and must burn wood and animal dung, resulting in lung diseases that cause millions of deaths annually. Yet alarmists oppose fossil fuel power plants, as well as nuclear and hydroelectric projects--guaranteeing that Africa’s poverty and death toll will continue.

Should we demand that eco-imperialists be jailed or drowned every time children die because of these policies? Certainly not. But we should demand real environmental justice. We should demand an end to the censorship and intimidation practiced by the United Nations and many colleges, as documented by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Evan Maloney’s provocative film, “Indoctrinate U.”

We should insist that the US government begin developing our publicly owned energy resources, as Congress of Racial Equality chairman Roy Innis suggests in his new book, “Energy Keepers - Energy Killers: The new civil rights battle.”

We should define “environmental justice” to recognize economist Indur Goklany’s finding that “future generations will be better off in even the richest but warmest” IPCC scenarios, and under worst-case scenarios presented by the Stern Review. If communities have abundant, affordable energy to sustain economic growth and technology, they will enjoy better health and be able to adapt to whatever climate changes nature (or humans) might bring.

We need kilowatts, not Killawatts--and reliable, affordable energy, not anti-energy policies that force poor families to rely on BeggaWatts.

Paul Driessen is author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power ∙ Black death ( and senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, whose new book (Freezing in the Dark) reveals how environmental pressure groups raise money and promote policies that restrict energy development and hurt poor families.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What Would a Green Economy Look Like?

If you have been following CARE’s Blog, you know that one of our concerns, one of the things we hope to bring to the public’s attention, is the real cost everyday consumers will pay for the incentives being promoted for a “green” world. All the plans sound good. After all, who doesn’t want clean air, fresh water, and a safe food supply? But the reality of these goals is not at all the environmental utopia one would envision and there are hard costs involved in these supposed benefits--costs both in cash and in lifestyle.

This morning, this new piece from one of our Energy Counsel Members, Dennis Avery, landed in our in-box. With Castro’s recent resignation, Cuba has been in the news spotlight. Here Dennis Avery brings an interesting perspective to Cuba’s plight that no one else has addressed: they are living the low-carbon-foot-print life! Perhaps everyone who is pushing through the extreme carbon cuts based on unproven theory should spend a few months in Cuba--not as a tourist, but as a resident. They should live the life the average Cuban lives. Chances are they’d have a much more clear picture why Cubans are willing to risk their lives to swim the 90 miles needed to make it to America.

Please give this posting a thorough read, pass it on to your friends--and add your response here. Did you find this piece to be as interesting and insightful as we did?

Will Kyoto Turn Europe Into Cuba?
The EU steel industry is terrified that Europe’s new cap-and-trade system of penalizing steel-plant emissions will cost 50,000 of its 300,000 steel-industry jobs. But don’t worry, if the EU gets serious about cap-and-trade, it will simply violate the rules of the World Trade Organization and start taxing imported steel for the CO2 emissions from Indian and Chinese steel plants.

The problem won’t be lost jobs in Europe’s steel or plastics industries. The problem will be that virtually nothing new will be manufactured for Europe.

No new appliances or autos. They take too much steel. No new concrete roads or brick buildings. Cement-making produces about 7 percent of the human-emitted CO2 emissions. Bricks must be fired in CO2-producing kilns.

No nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen fertilizer currently uses 5 percent of the world’s fossil fuels. If Farmers are forced to go all-organic, their yields will fall by half. There will either be wide-spread hunger and/or Europe’s remaining wildlife will be crowded off the continent by the need to plant more low-yield crops.

Factories will turn back to water wheels to save electricity.

In fact, the model for Europe low-emission future is--Cuba! Under Castro, especially since the Soviets stopped gifting the Cubans with free oil and fertilizer, Cuba has developed the closest thing on the planet to a “modern low-energy society.”

Instead of making new cars in emission-prone factories, Cuba’s workers spend their time machining new parts for the island’s few 1950s relics on elderly lathes left over from its sugar-exporting days. Castro originally sold clothing through the food rationing system, but now most of the clothing comes from antique sewing machines run by Cuba’s women.

The women also produce much of their families’ food in urban gardens, since the ration system doesn’t deliver much. Cuba’s ration cards are good for 6 pounds of rice per capita per month, 20 ounces of beans, six pounds of sugar, and 15 pounds of potatoes or bananas. Cubans get less than one quart of milk for each kid under 7 per month, but cool, rainy Europe may offer its consumers a bit more milk and cheese and a lot fewer bananas.

Cubans get a pound of beef per month, and two pounds of chicken--though often the “meat” is hamburger mixed with soy flour, or “chicken tenders” made partly with chicken and mostly with “other.” Europe’s per capita food supply will plummet to similar levels when fertilizer plants consume too many “energy points.”

The official Cuban transport system is energy-efficient hitch-hiking. With so few vehicles, and little gasoline, cars and trucks that refuse to pick up hitch-hikers on the highway are fined for a “crime against society.”

Tourism is Cuba’s biggest industry now, but that won’t work for a Kyoto-driven Europe. The EU won’t have any fuel for airplanes, and precious little for buses. Nor is Cuba building big rental houses on the beaches any more to attract their tourists. In fact, one of Cuba’s big problems is that Hurricane Michelle in 2001 destroyed or damaged 100,000 homes, which the Castro economy has been largely unable to rebuild. There isn’t much heavy equipment for such projects.

As a Kyoto bonus, Michelle’s damage to Cuba’s electric grid was severe.

Best of all, 90 percent of the jobs are with the Cuban government. No complaints allowed, even if your wife has to sew your shirts and hoe the garden in the hot sun. Kids over 11 owe 45 days per summer working on the farms, which teaches them how to control weeds and bugs without any nasty pesticides.

What a perfect post-fossil Green society!

DENNIS T. AVERY is a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC and is the
Director for the Center for Global Food Issues. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Hundred Years, Readers may write him at PO Box 202, Churchville, VA 2442 or email to

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Economic Impact of the Energy Bill and the Economic Stimulus

Since the release of his book Energy Keepers - Energy Killers, Roy Innis has become quite an advocate for energy. He is especially interested in the economic impact America's energy policies will have. Here he incorporates a wide spectrum of energy related issues in what has become CORE's energy platform. We at CARE believe this piece incorporates answers to many questions you may have as well. Read on!

Politicians Are Prescribing Aspirin To Treat The Economy They Are Poisoning
Congress and the White House, Democrats and Republicans finally agree on something!

We need a stimulus package, they intone. The economy is stagnating, unemployment is climbing, families can’t pay their bills. We have to prime the pump, reduce interest rates, increase unemployment benefits, provide temporary tax relief.

These unlicensed physicians are prescribing aspirin to counteract the poisons they routinely inject into our economy, while they prepare even bigger doses of arsenic.

Every one of these supposed shots of economic adrenaline is counteracted by toxic policies that drive up prices, cause layoffs and put families on energy welfare. It would be laughable, if it weren’t so hypocritical.

Oil, gas, coal and other resources on America’s citizen-owned public lands could meet US energy needs for centuries. Developing these resources – with full regard for ecological values – would generate jobs, economic growth and tax revenues, stabilize energy prices, and reduce our need to buy oil from unfriendly countries.

Onshore and offshore public lands could hold enough oil to produce gasoline for 60 million cars and fuel oil for 25 million homes for 60 years – and enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years.

But Energy Killer legislators, regulators, courts and eco activists have made most of them unavailable to the workers and families who own them. In addition, a Utah area with a trillion dollars worth of public coal was placed off-limits by President Clinton. Nuclear power has been in a regulatory stranglehold for decades. And activists blocked construction of dozens of coal-fired electricity plants in 2007.

The “energy” legislation President Bush signed doesn’t foster the production of a single drop of oil, whiff of natural gas, or kilowatt of new coal or nuclear power. No wonder OPEC ministers rejected his plea to increase oil production. Instead, the bill:
* Adds $6,000 to the price of new cars, while reducing passenger safety, by forcing manufacturers to downsize cars to meet 35 mpg ratings;
* Replaces billions of incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, necessitating expensive recycling facilities that can safely handle the mercury in each CFL;
* Increases ethanol production to 35 billion gallons a year – five times what we produced last year from corn grown on an area the size of Indiana, using 42 billion gallons of water and 5 billion gallons of petroleum (for fertilizers, pesticides and fuel);
* Promotes wind power – although generating enough electricity to power New York City requires huge turbines across an area the size of Connecticut, and they only work eight hours a day on average.

Because they keep our oil and gas locked up, these actions mean every barrel of oil “saved” via these “eco-friendly” measures is offset by reserves we use up and don’t replace. They create a huge energy gap between what we need – and what politicians let us have. Between real energy from fossil fuel, nuclear and hydroelectric power (96% of today’s energy) – and imaginary energy that politicians promise will someday come from wind, solar and ethanol (less than 1% today).

Worse, every ounce of “stimulus” is offset by a pound of new government arsenic.
Some 22,000 magnificent polar bears now roam the Arctic, and their numbers continue to increase. But bureaucrats and environmental activists want the bears designated as a “threatened” species.

Doing so would put courts and bureaucrats in charge of any activity that produces greenhouse gases: heating, cooling, transportation and manufacturing … bakeries, dry cleaners, hotels, office and apartment buildings, cement plants and dairy farms. The price of everything we do, eat, drive and wear would soar; jobs would disappear; and for millions the American Dream would slip out of reach.

Energy Killers justify these demands by pointing to computer models that conjure up disaster scenarios in which rising carbon dioxide causes icy habitats to melt 50-100 years from now, driving polar bears to extinction. However, hundreds of climate scientists emphasize that these models can’t forecast accurately even one year in advance, much less 50. They say there is no evidence that Earth’s moderate warming of the past century will turn into a disaster, or that CO2 is the primary cause of climate change.

Empirical evidence, they argue, demonstrates that climate change is driven primarily by solar energy output, cosmic rays and other natural causes. Indeed, average global temperatures have been stable since 2001, despite steadily rising CO2 levels.

Costly, punitive efforts to cut CO2 will likely have zero to minimal benefits. They would also affect crop and wild plant growth, which improves as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increase.
Nevertheless, the same models and alarmist reasoning are being used to promote legislation to slash carbon dioxide emissions and establish complex cap-and-trade systems. Politicians claim the legislation will stabilize a climate that has changed repeatedly over the ages.

Senator Jeff Bingaman’s bill is the least draconian. But the EPA says even it would send gasoline prices up an extra 57 cents a gallon, spark a 20% increase in electricity prices, and cut up to $370 billion from our Gross Domestic Product.

These sacrifices would reduce global CO2 levels in 2050 by 1.5% and average temperature by perhaps 0.05 degrees.

Other bills would be vastly more expensive. Senator Joe Lieberman admits his bill would cost “hundreds of billions” of dollars. Others demand that we eliminate up to 80% of CO2 emissions by 2050.

All would give bureaucrats control over virtually every aspect of our lives. All would make reliable, affordable energy a distant memory – even with an all-out program to build more nuclear power plants, which is anathema to many greens and legislators. All would force industry to spend trillions of dollars to capture, pipeline and store carbon dioxide. Experts say forcing the CO2 into high pressure subterranean storage could trigger small earthquakes, and ruptures could cause gas leaks and mass asphyxiations.

To quell concerns about US jobs and riches heading to China and India, the Administration is prodding them to take “measurable actions” to cut CO2 emissions. But their focus is properly on reducing poverty through economic growth, and cleaning up filthy air and water. Speculative climate catastrophe is a low priority.

Congressional and other “physicians” who are experimenting on our energy, economy and lives need to abide by the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm.

Affordable, reliable energy transforms constitutionally protected rights into actual rights and opportunities for better jobs and living standards. Restricting energy supplies rolls back civil rights gains.

CORE is not going to let politicians do that. Neither should you.

Roy Innis is chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (, one of America’s oldest civil rights organizations, and author of Energy Keepers - Energy Killers: The new civil rights battle.

Monday, February 11, 2008

High-tech, Clean-burning Energy

If you have been reading the recent posts here in Comments About Responsible Energy, you know that we have been talking about environmentally responsible energy consumption and the effective use of fossil fuels. This posting comes to us from a member of our Energy Counsel: Dennis Avery. It has been a while since he has sent us a contribution, but this one is a perfect fit with the theme we have been looking at.

Additionally, we've addressed an energy gap--the time between the desire to kill the current energy sources and when the next generation is available--and this posting concludes with a comment on an energy gap.

Here, we look at some new technology that makes sense. While the concepts presented here are still in the research phase, it is exciting to see that is being done to generate energy at a lower cost and with less pollution—that is responsible energy!

Lots of innovative things are being done in the field of energy. Read on and tell us what you think!

Turning Tar Sands Into Natural Gas With Bacteria
Scientists said recently in the journal Nature they can radically speed up the underground bacterial fermentation that turns Canada’s tar-like Athabasca sands into natural gas at far less cost and with far less environmental pollution. This is huge global news because the world has about six trillion barrels of such heavy oil, more than 20 times the proven oil reserves in Saudi Arabia. They’re focused in Canada’s Athabasca, in Venezuela’s Orinoco tar belt, and in the oil shale of the U.S. Rocky Mountains. All may be economically recoverable with bacterial refining.

Dr. Steve Larter of the University of Calgary says understanding how anaerobic bacteria ferment heavy oil into clean-burning methane underground opens the door to recovering the gas from deeply buried oil sands. “The main thing is you’d be recovering a much cleaner fuel,” he says. “Methane is, per energy unit, a much lower carbon dioxide emitter than bitumen.”

A separate family of microbes that produces CO2 and hydrogen from partly-degraded oil offers a way to capture the CO2 from the tar sands as methane.

Larter’s research team combined microbiological studies, lab experiments and oilfield case studies to demonstrate the anaerobic degradation of oil into methane. The findings offer the potential of “feeding” the microbes and rapidly accelerating the gas production process. Says Larter, “Instead of 10 million years, we want to do it in 10 years. We think it’s possible. We can do it in the laboratory. The question is can we do it in a reservoir? ”

No longer would huge diesel shovels have to dig up three tons of sand for each ton of heavy oil recovered. Nor would refiners inject expensive steam to liquefy the heavy oil so it can flow to the surface. With bacterial refining, the tar, and the contaminating sulfur, can be left deep underground—along with most of the sand.

The oil-eating bacteria have been used for some years to clean up contaminated soils and lagoons near oil refiners. Lab results have been encouraging, and the team expects to do field tests as early as 2009.

At almost the same moment, a Penn State professor said drilling newly-feasible horizontal gas wells across the Marcellus black shale in northern Appalachia could earn the U.S. a trillion dollars worth of additional clean-burning energy. The rock deposits run from southern New York westward through Pennsylvania into West Virginia and Ohio.

Dr. Terry Engelder says the vertical fractures in the Marcellus shale can’t effectively be tapped with vertical wells. A horizontal well costs three times as much, but can collect gas from dozens of the fractures. He says the horizontal wells could bring in 50 trillion cubic feet of gas, the equivalent of a Super Giant gas field.

Eco-activists have been telling us we must renounce fossil fuels because “they’re nearly gone anyway.” However, the U.S. has centuries worth of coal that could be burned in “clean” high-tech systems. Bacterial refining and Dr. Engelder’s horizontal drilling provides other examples of high-tech energy. Cambridge Energy Research Associates predicted in June that world oil production would rise another 30 percent by 2017, with nearly half of the increase from uncon-ventional sources such as natural-gas liquids. Man-made global warming alarmists have failed to offer any cost-effective substitute for coal, oil and nuclear in base-load energy production Solar and wind power are costly and erratic. Biofuels take too much land away from Nature. The problem is to bridge the energy gap between today and some as-yet-unproven energy tech-nology for humanity’s future.

DENNIS T. AVERY is a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC and is the Director for the Center for Global Food Issues. He was a senior policy analyst for the U.S. State Department, where he won the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement. He is the co-author, with atmospheric physicist Fred Singer, of the book, Unstoppable Global Warming—Every 1500 Years, available from Rowman & Littlefield. Readers may write him at the Center for Global Food Issues ( Post Office Box 202, Churchville, VA 24421.