It’s Not Easy Being Green, Especially with the Facts Against You

Drive a hybrid. Coal is bad. Recycle. How often have we been told these things that we must do in order to save Mother Earth? Environmentalists seem to want Americans to realize we are all going to die unless we drastically change our ways, and they are willing to get their way across by any means necessary, ranging from governmental intervention to outrageous sorts of public displays. Environmentalists believe that they are watchdogs for the planet and protectors from evil coal and oil corporations. But if I had only one word to describe them, it would be wrong. I think that environmentalists can’t see the overall big picture, and only use current events to defend their points.

Take global warming, or climate change, or whatever they feel like calling it now. They point out heat waves over the past two summers, and the increase of storms over the past decade help define this global change. In fact, NASA scientist James Hanson pointed out in 1988 that if we did not change our pollution output, global temperatures would increase by almost two degrees between 1970 and 2020. This all may seem like the foundation of a good argument, until you realize that since the late-eighteenth century, in the middle of America’s Industrial Revolution, global temperatures have increased almost three-quarters of a degree Celsius. That’s close to one and a third degrees Fahrenheit for us in the States.  This debunks the estimates made by Hanson, despite a continuous increase in greenhouse gases by man. Why is Hanson so important? Hanson was actually an adviser to Al Gore, and we all know how that turned out, with visions of flooding and violent storms drilled into the heads of environmentalists unless human beings act.

Next, the lie about hybrid cars. First of all, we all know that hybrids do save people money on gas by being more fuel-efficient and reducing pollution. But, as previously mentioned, it doesn’t even matter how much greenhouse gases are admitted, because the evidence that more pollution equals dramatic temperature change is false. Now, there are many solutions to make cars more environmentally friendly. One is to make the car lighter, whether by size or materials. But this has more of a negative consequence than a benefit. Lighter cars are more dangerous for people, and contribute to more deaths of people than their heavier competition. Are we willing to risk the individual safety of America’s drivers just so our grandchildren can have the pretty good chance to see the polar ice caps? Plus, even though consumers will be saving on fuel, the savings from buying a hybrid car does NOT go into effect until multiple years, even a decade for some, after buying a hybrid. Is that an investment Americans are willing to take; a car that is less safe than a heavier car and one in which drivers have to wait a decade in some cases in order to get a positive investment? We can see that Americans are not willing to take that chance, even causing General Motors to lose as much as $49,000 on each Chevrolet Volt built. Just don’t tell that to Joe Biden.

Recycling also has its drawbacks. Sure, reusing products, like coffee mugs, does reduce the need to cut down trees. At the same time, however, recycling actually INCREASES greenhouse gas emissions. I know I just pointed out that greenhouse gas emissions have little to do with temperature increase, but if they are willing to argue that point, then I’m willing to debunk them on it. We know that recycling paper reduces the cutting down of trees, but at the same time, the extra fueled burned while picking up recyclables creates more pollution. Think about it like this: you put a newspaper in the recycling bin. Someone comes up and picks up the recyclables in a truck, has to deliver it to a station for treatment, and then turn the pulp into new paper. Recycling newsprint actually creates more water pollution than just making new paper, and no one wants dirty drinking water. Of course we ask the government for more regulation. But then again, we would be giving responsibility to the group that can’t manage the Post Office, Social Security, Medicare, or the national budget effectively.

Finally, the complaints against coal and oil. It’s almost impossible to realize a world without these two powering us. Both have a low costs compared to their “environmentally-friendly” competition, and can be considered secure energy resource, as we have almost one and a half trillion barrels of oil that we found in the Green River and Washakie Basins in Wyoming ALONE, not to mention the amount of oil we can find by offshore drilling. But, the main debate is that both are dangerous for our health. Coal burning can cause carbon pollution, a release of toxic mercury, and ecosystem destruction with mountaintop removal mining, and oil can damage ecosystems through spills and incidents, such as the Deep Horizon oil spill in 2010. So, while the solution from a conservative’s stand point is to let the companies develop better technologies to match the wants of consumers, the environmentalists want to force us to use more environmentally friendly options. But do environmentalists know that coal companies like Peabody Energy do countless hours of research when planning a site, and have actually restored thousands of acres of mined lands, while oil companies like Exxon-Mobil are using new products to cut down on environmental waste? It seems like they fail to realize that even oil executives live in the same world as us, and even drink the same water we do. I’m willing to bet that if oil executives aren’t willing to drink polluted water, they aren’t willing to give their customers the same treatment.

There is nothing wrong with the idea to protect our planet and ensure a better tomorrow for the next generation. But using false statistics, making cars more unsafe, and failing to realize all programs sponsored by a company is not the solid foundation for a debate. If environmentalists wish to ensure a better future, they must understand the benefits of the current system, and better develop these technologies rather than replacing them with more expensive options. I guess Kermit was right: it’s not easy being green.

6 comments

  1. Your discussion of Hansen’s 1988 forecast is unintentionally apt. Some of his forecasts were inaccurate, but this is largely because of environmental regulation aimed at reducing ozone depleting CFCs, which are also potent greenhouse gasses. You’ve actually presented a rare success story for environmentalism.

    The “Hansen Was Wrong In 1988” is a popular, but vacuous talking point. http://www.skepticalscience.com/A-detailed-look-at-Hansens-1988-projections.html

    Meanwhile, some climate indicators, like ice loss, are far outstripping predictions made for them. This is not a trivial issue of losing picturesque scenery, as the author suggests; ice-albedo feedback is an important climate regulator.

    Climate change is real. Welcome to the Anthropocene.
    http://topologicoceans.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/global-warming-killed-my-friends-dog/

  2. The best remedy for bad science is good science, and real environmentalists support this 100%, but many conservatives don’t seem to agree. Many don’t care how much good science exists, they steadfastly believe that climate change is a hoax or the Earth is 6,000 years old. The GOP’s prominent anti-science positions are largely why only 6% of scientists identify as Republican. This is a really sad and unnecessary turn for conservatism. It’s also just a bad long-term strategy given that people are becoming increasingly less religious and care more about science, especially young people who are more likely to embrace environmental protection. We see conservatives in the UK working with Greenpeace, imposing taxes on polluters and taking climate change seriously. Protecting the environment and conservatism are not mutually exclusive.

    But your argument seems to mainly rely on strawmen. But this is a pretty good way to get people unfamiliar with a subject to come to your side…until they realize how your arguments fare when given even a modest amount of scrutiny.

    Environmentalists are overreaching because they want “government intervention”? Do you think nuclear waste or dangerous chemicals should be regulated? What about making sure the everglades or bald eagles are not made extinct? If so, you might believe in government intervention yourself.

    Environmentalist groups were just asked to rank the most green presidents. Republicans were #1 and #2! TR and Nixon conserved our lands, created the EPA, passed Clean Air/Water Acts, Endangered Species Act, etc. Sadly that history is long gone, and we no longer have GOP leaders who are leaders on the environment. You can believe in small government and individual liberty while effectively ensuring we protect and preserve our environment. This article seems more interested in knocking down strawmen then addressing not only the absence of environmental leadership from the right, but the right’s heavily entrenched pro-polluter and anti-science positions.

  3. “But, as previously mentioned, it doesn’t even matter how much greenhouse gases are admitted, because the evidence that more pollution equals dramatic temperature change is false.”

    Even if your remarks re: Hansen’s 1988 congressional testimony were at all correct, this statement would still be laughable. Take a physics class.

  4. “We know that recycling paper reduces the cutting down of trees, but at the same time, the extra fueled burned while picking up recyclables creates more pollution. Think about it like this: you put a newspaper in the recycling bin. Someone comes up and picks up the recyclables in a truck, has to deliver it to a station for treatment, and then turn the pulp into new paper.”

    Don’t you just love the way that, whereas recycling requires fuel for transport and processing, trash just disappears as soon as you throw it in the garbage can?

    “Recycling newsprint actually creates more water pollution than just making new paper, and no one wants dirty drinking water”

    Five minutes on Google were enough to debunk this.

    http://www.nrdc.org/cities/recycling/recyc/chap1.asp

  5. Very disappointing article. It’s this kind of sloppy and haphazard argumentation that will continue to show the world that conservatives don’t take public debate seriously, but just want to win arguments. This article read like a Rush rant, with requisite jumps in logic, non-sequiturs, and gross mischaracterizations. I’m no green voter, but as a conservative who takes political debate seriously I know there is more to certain parts of the green platform than this characterization. Carolina review: set your standards higher. This was a sophomoric rant.

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