They haven't been.
As would-be power producers here in New Zealand have been refused permission under the RMA to construct power plant after power plant (or been granted permission with so many conditions attached as to make production imposssible), environmentalists like Jeanette Fitzsimplesimons have applauded the refusals, and hailed such decisions as the end of "old energy" and the beginning of "new energy." As each consent was opposed and each new power station was declined permission to produce, the cry has gone up from environmentalists: "Let's use renewables."
But "renewables" just aren't available. What distinguishes "new energy" from "old energy" it seems is that while "old energy" is reliable and actually produces energy, so called "new energy" is still experimental, and doesn't. It's the modern day equivalent of snake oil. While "old energy" fuels world industry, "new energy" still requires your money to prop it up, and barely scratches the surface of the sort of capacity required for a modern industrial nation. Said Australian PM John Howard recently, (and accurately):
Let's be realistic. You can only run power stations in a modern Western economy on fossil fuel, or, in time, nuclear power."Alan Jenkins from NZ's Electricity Networks Association issued a similar warning two years ago which has still been widely undigested, saying
It's very hard to invest in coal [because of Kyoto], nuclear's a sort of four letter word... hydro is suddenly becoming too hard... what's left? ...we can't do everything on windpower.BUT WE DON'T LEARN, do we. The anti-industrialists are still taken seriously.
Take the example of biofuels, for which environmentalists like Jeanette Fitzsimplesimons have also been clamouring for years, and here we are just one year away from having them imposed upon us in the name of "lowering carbon emissions," and it turns out that biofuels are not only going to send food prices through the roof (and are already causing food fights in Europe and elsewhere), are not only going to cause increased forest clearance and decreased biodiversity, but as Der Speigel magazine summarises Biofuels 'Emit More Greenhouse Gases than Fossil Fuels':
A team of researchers led by Nobel-prize winning chemist Paul Crutzen has found that growing and using biofuels emits up to 70 percent more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels. They are warning that the cure could end up being worse than the disease.This is a classic example of "unintended consequences" from idiotic top-down technical-economic policies.
Biofuels, once championed as the great hope for fighting climate change, could end up being more damaging to the environment than oil or gasoline. A new study has found that the growth and use of crops to make biofuels produces more damaging greenhouse gases than previously thought.
Does this bother the likes of Fitzsimplesimons? Do we hear themNot a whit! As my colleague Greg Balle says, the Greens and their fellow travellers should be taken severely to task for these atrocious policies and bad ideas that they wish to have imposed on transport, food and economic systems without even the virtue of decent research to back them up.
Instead, they get a free run in the media -- and now Fitzsimplesimons says it has become the fault of "gas-guzzling rich westerners" ahead of "the stomachs of the very poor."
The woman is mad. These Green idiot ideologues have been calling for biofuels for decades without having even the first clue as to the actual implications of such policies and at the first sign of a reality check they won't even take the blame for their crazy policies. This is Soviet era policy making on the hoof writ large once again, with fuzzy Lysenko-like Green "solutions" enforced by central governments globally.
WHY ARE THEY TAKEN seriously? Do they really know what they're talking about? Have they any clue at all about the full implications of wind, solar and other uneconomic technologies being made mandatory while reliable power production is slowly strangled? Why are they so ignorant about the powerful and positive effect of property rights on the environment? Why do they remain ignorant of the role of price signals in reducing scarcity? When will they stop meddling with the free market and let genuine solutions find their way through, as they have since time immemorial?
The easy certainties that many of them want enshrined in law would do less for the planet than just letting price signals, property rights and human ingenuity do the job they're supposed to: send information on resources and markets and avoid the destruction of environments, while leaving the productive free to invent new ways of doing thing.
And when will media commentators begin asking them serious questions to see if they have the first clue about the serious implications of their immature 'sky-is-falling' play-acting.
UPDATE 1: Bloggger 'Classically Liberal' asks Which National Leader really Hates the Poor? [hat tip Lindsay M]
What would you call a government that intentionally promoted a policy that increased world hunger and gave subsidies to the better off at the expense of the poorer members of their own society?UPDATE 2: So the Government's Energy Strategy is released again today, just as it was in December. As I said of the December release, this is not a hard-headed energy strategy to produce more of the energy we desperately need -- instead, "Ministers would tell state owned generators there was no need for new baseload fossil fuel generation for the next ten years" -- but a feelgood fumbling to fight a fiction with more top-down foolishness: Hugs, cuddles, electric cars, warmer houses and a renewed focus on "renewables" -- and more statements making it plain that the production of real industrial-level energy will become more difficult.
Why are they allowed to get away with this?