Certain types of energy are certain targets for the 190 governments’ representatives gathering in Paris this week and from green activists surrounding the melee.
The goal of the U.N. climate conference in Paris, known as COP21, is to get an international agreement on reducing carbon emissions, out of fear that climate change is a global threat. But the agenda of some developing nations to make rich nations like the U.S. pay them billions of dollars to fund a transition to “clean energy” reveals one reason clean energy goals aren’t realistic.
The environmentalist left has a dream: to see the end of fossil fuels followed by total reliance on solar, wind, biofuels and the like. At least that’s what many of them say as they wage campaigns against coal, protest the Keystone XL pipeline, call for fracking bans and fossil fuel “divestment.”
The liberal news media have helped them in this crusade for a “clean” and “green” renewable Utopia. Only there are problems ...
It turns out environmental groups can’t even agree among themselves about which forms of energy to support.
Take the Sierra Club for example. It was for natural gas before it was against it. Many liberal environmentalists and the media also flip-flopped on ethanol promoting it as “the wave of the future,” but recanted after its use spawned food riots and environmental damage. Other eco-activists adamantly oppose hydroelectric dams, call for their destruction and celebrate the more than 1,200 dams torn down between 1912 and 2014. That opposition remains even though dams can be used to generate hydroelectric power, an energy source free of carbon emissions. Hydropower is considered a “renewable” by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Just not by many on the left.
The media have shown their anti-oil leanings for years criticizing “obscene” profits and calling for additional taxes on oil companies. Climate alarmism promoted by the news media has emboldened the left’s opposition to all fossil fuels. Like many news outlets that turned to opponents of fossil fuels, the broadcast networks turned to celebrity, anti-fracking activists in their coverage of natural gas drilling and repeatedly interviewed promoters of “renewable” or “clean” energy, often without any criticism or concern about the cost or feasibility.
Prominent eco-group Greenpeace loves the slogan “the future is renewable.” It liked its slogan so much that several Greenpeace activists trespassed at the Nazca Lines World Heritage Site in Peru to arrange letters and take an aerial photograph of the slogan, in December 2014. Peruvian authorities wanted to press criminal charges against the environmentalists for defacing the ancient site.
Because Greenpeace opposes fossil fuels and nuclear power and only sometimes supports biomass, the group has fancifully called for an energy “revolution.” It wants 87 percent of all U.S. electricity to come from wind, solar thermal energy and photovoltaic (PV) by 2050 (eventually it wants energy to be entirely from those sources). At most, those sources supply a meager 2.42 percent of America’s energy mix, according to 2014 EIA data. Clearly, even with major technological breakthroughs, this is fantasy, even for the rich and technologically advanced U.S.
The energy-focused non-profit Institute for Energy Research (IER) said the plan is “infeasible.” IER’s Director of Communications Chris Warren examined Greenpeace’s revolutionary plan and told MRC Business it couldn’t work because the group claimed energy use could be cut in half just through efficiency measures.
"The environmental left recognizes that the energy sources they promote, such as wind and solar, can't meet our energy needs. Therefore, they want to cut our energy use and put America on an energy diet through costly efficiency measures. Not only is their scheme infeasible, but it would be detrimental to the American people because energy is an integral and essential part of modern life. Greenpeace's dream scenario would be a nightmare for everyone else,” Warren said.
When it is all said and done, the left and the media condemn virtually all the energy sources that are reliable, affordable and can produce the massive quantities of energy needed to power the $17.7 trillion U.S. economy without dramatic harm to the economy or people’s lives.
In 2014, petroleum, natural gas, coal and nuclear comprised 90.21 percent of the energy Americans used. In contrast, the few sources liberals in the media and the environmental movement generally support are all limited by geography, portability, variability or cost.
Still, the news media warn it is necessary to give up fossil fuels. CBS National Correspondent Chip Reid made that argument on Nov. 3, 2014, when he warned fossil fuels must be abandoned to “slow” climate change.
Reid said slowing temperatures “would require a massive global shift from fossil fuels like coal and oil to renewable sources of energy like solar and wind and could even require expensive futuristic technologies to remove carbon dioxide and other gases from the atmosphere.” The only costs mentioned in the report were claims that warming would harm crops, and people’s health. Reid including nothing about how much it would cost or could harm people to complete the “massive global shift” to renewables.
Together the media and green activist groups have demonized fossil fuels, energy sources that improved the lives of billions of people throughout history. Environmentalists continue to demand policies that would arrest the use of fossil fuels and other forms of energy they view as undesirable.
Media Assist Greens by Making Fossil Fuels Look Bad
The U.S. still overwhelmingly relies on fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil, contrary to the wishes of Al Gore, Hollywood celebs, Greenpeace, and many politicians and media outlets. But all of those sources have come a long way since their initial use. Efficiency has increased along with safety and cleanliness over time, all while they helped humanity flourish.
Environmentalists have gone to war against them with the media’s help. The first step to getting energy policy changes that favor non-fossil fuels like wind, solar, biomass and more was demonizing the competition and convincing the public and policymakers that fossil fuels were dirty, nasty, evil and destroying the planet.
The liberal media have certainly done a thorough job of it. Journalists have called coal the "dirtiest” fuel on earth, "dangerous" and "polluting,” and focused on mining accidents rather than how inexpensive and reliable coal power is. When the Obama administration went to war against the coal industry through EPA regulation many journalists turned a blind eye.
The media also attacked “Big Oil” for many years, from anti-pipeline propaganda in the 1970s, through George W. Bush’s presidency and beyond. An MSNBC guest even blamed the “big oil industry” for climate change and a blizzard heading for New York City in January 2015. More recently, both news and entertainment media have attacked the natural gas boom by promoting myths about the hydraulic fracturing process and giving celebrity critics unchallenged airtime to bash fracking. Movies like The China Syndrome even helped stall nuclear power.
News organizations also bought the climate alarmist narrative hook, line and sinker, giving them even more reason to cover fossil fuels negatively. Network journalists got excited in late 2014, when the Obama administration announced a “landmark global warming agreement” with China to reduce greenhouse gases. Story after story about the threat of climate change blamed “fossil fuels” from car and factory emissions, just as CBS Evening News did on Nov. 3, 2014.
That night, Chip Reid told viewers, “evidence that the Earth is warming is unequivocal and emissions of greenhouse gases from cars, power plants and factories are primarily to blame.”
The media pick and choose whose views to promote and on what issues. Although the media rarely support the pope over the sanctity of life, in 2015, all three broadcasts networks embraced Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on climate change. They repeated his concern that the planet was becoming “an immense pile of filth,” in part because of “fossil fuels.”
Those views are frequently reinforced by interviewing experts who promote global warming alarmism, like the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and engineer Bill Nye. CBS This Morning did just that in November 2014. Journalists consult people like Nye “the science guy” who got that nickname doing stand up comedy, while excluding skeptics (even skeptics with science Ph.Ds). This has continued even as global surface temperatures showed so little an increase in warming it was within the margin of error.
In June 2013, The New York Times was forced to admit global warming had hit a “plateau.” Justin Gillis, one of the Times’ alarmist writers acknowledged, “The rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace.”
Other news outlets, especially foreign press, reported the “lull” sooner, but the three broadcast networks ignored it. Liberal newspapers including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and New York Times recently seized on a paper claiming there was no such pause.
News outlets have often latched on to dramatic predictions from sources like the IPCC. Its dramatic warnings made headlines for years. In 2007, Good Morning America asked on screen “Will Billions Die From Global Warming?” as it reported the upcoming IPCC report. Again in 2013, the networks promoted the latest “catastrophic” warnings about climate change from the “landmark” IPCC report. Those stories didn’t take into account the failure of U.N. climate models.
Dr. John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), proved in 2013 that the United Nations’ climate models failed to accurately reflect recorded temperature changes in recent years.
“I compared the models with observations in the key area – the tropics – where the climate models showed a real impact of greenhouse gases,” Christy told CNSNews. “I wanted to compare the real world temperatures with the models in a place where the impact would be very clear.”
He checked the 73 climate models used by the UN’s IPCC for its Fifth Assessment Report and found “All 73 models’ predictions were on average three to four times what occurred in the real world.”
In spite of those flaws with the climate alarmists’ narrative and claims, the media and environmentalists continue to bash fossil fuels and demand that the world shift toward renewable fuels. No doubt that will be the refrain throughout the Paris conference.
Note: This is part one of a four-part series.