Posts tagged ‘Via Jane’

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.

Disaster in Zimbabwe

I am a little late linking this, but the world is in the midst of one of those pure, tightly controlled experiments to demonstrate the true price of socialism.  And, as usual, no one will learn from it.  Via Jane Galt:

It is depressing to look back at history and see how regularly the same
nice-sounding idea--"let's take the land from the rich people who unjustly own
it and give it to those who need it"--turns into tragedy for everyone. It's even
more depressing to realise that despite the seeming predictibility of the
result, lots of people want to do it anyway.

The Atlantic, which she quote in a follow up post, has more detail:

Mugabe decided on what he called "fast-track land reform" only in February of
2000, after he got shocking results in a constitutional referendum: though he
controlled the media, the schools, the police, and the army, voters rejected a
constitution he put forth to increase his power even further. A new movement was
afoot in Zimbabwe: the Movement for Democratic Change"”a coalition of civic
groups, labor unions, constitutional reformers, and heretofore marginal
opposition parties. Mugabe blamed the whites and their farm workers (who,
although they together made up only 15 percent of the electorate, were enough to
tip the scales) for the growth of the MDC"”and for his humiliating rebuff.

So he played the race card and the land card. "If white settlers just took
the land from us without paying for it," the President declared, "we can, in a
similar way, just take it from them without paying for it." In 1896 Africans had
suffered huge casualties in an eighteen-month rebellion against British pioneers
known as the chimurenga, or "liberation war." The war that brought Zimbabwean
blacks self-rule was known as the second chimurenga. In the immediate aftermath
of his referendum defeat Mugabe announced a third chimurenga, invoking a valiant
history to animate a violent, country-wide land grab...

The drop-off in agricultural production is staggering. Maize farming, which
yielded more than 1.5 million tons annually before 2000, is this year expected
to generate just 500,000 tons. Wheat production, which stood at 309,000 tons in
2000, will hover at 27,000 tons this year. Tobacco production, too, which at
265,000 tons accounted for nearly a third of the total foreign-currency earnings
in 2000, has tumbled, to about 66,000 tons in 2003.

Mugabe's belief that he can strengthen his flagging popularity by destroying
a resented but economically vital minority group is one that dictators elsewhere
have shared. Paranoid about their diminishing support, Stalin wiped out the
wealthy kulak farming class, Idi Amin purged Uganda's Indian commercial class,
and, of course, Hitler went after Jewish businesses even though Germany was
already reeling from the Depression. Whatever spikes in popularity these moves
generated, the economic damage was profound, and the dictators had to exert
great effort to mask it.

Overall, the country has gone from a net exporter of food to outright famine.  For this particular experiment, I am happy to live in the control group.  Stay tuned, as this show is likely to hit the road soon and move to Venezuela