by Edward Ring
Earlier this summer, the CO2 Coalition was banished from LinkedIn. The CO2 Coalition, with only three full-time employees and an annual budget of under $1 million, had committed the unpardonable sin of sharing contrarian perspectives on climate science. Its work, produced by a network of volunteers that includes dozens of distinguished scientists, offers indispensable balance on a topic that requires honest debate now more than ever.
Among the many comments that followed LinkedIn’s decision, the mentality of the climate crisis mob came through loud and clear. If “the science is settled,” then any contrary perspective is dangerous and must be silenced. A typical comment: “Why does LinkedIn allow so much Climate Disinformation to persist throughout its platform?” Brigades of these content wardens continuously log complaints with LinkedIn against climate skeptics. The impeccable work of Bjorn Lomborg is one of their next targets.
This is not the environmentalism of previous generations, and this new zealotry does not negate or diminish the common sense concern for the environment that most reasonable people share. But this new breed of intolerant, fanatical environmentalism, manifested in the movement to avert a “climate crisis,” is perhaps the most virulent and dangerous expression of fascism in America today. If left unchecked, this fascistic climate change movement will destroy freedom and prosperity while it destroys the planet it purportedly wants to save.
Ideological and Economic Fascism Combined
This is not a frivolous accusation because, in this case, the shoe fits. There are two types of fascism. One is based on ideology and manipulates popular emotions, and the other is based on economics and appeals to elitist greed. The climate crisis movement has found a way to combine both.
Ideological fascism requires a tribal, us versus them mentality, and the climate crisis movement provides this. The climate warriors are the good guys, and the “deniers” are dangerous heretics who must be crushed. They portray the “climate emergency” as a crisis of existential dimensions, which must be resolved by any means necessary.
As with any fascistic movement, green propaganda is hyperbolic, primal, and terrifying: rising seas, flooding, super fires, extreme weather, burning heat—and anyone who says otherwise is the enemy. The time for discussion has passed. And with every big storm or super fire, the potential for more militancy grows.
Economic fascism is variously defined, but the climate movement in the United States fits every credible definition, as it affects big business and big government. Some call it socialism with a capitalist veneer. That would certainly apply, as the industrialized Western nations are suddenly required to atone for causing the climate crisis by transferring wealth to the developing world, and the privileged American middle class must similarly atone by giving up their homes for apartments, their automobiles for buses and trains, their meat for insects, and submit to rationing of energy and water.
Economic fascism is also defined as “planned capitalism,” or corporatism. America has been drifting in this direction for at least the last few decades, greatly accelerated by the climate crisis. Small businesses and small farms expire under green regulations they can’t afford, as oligarchs and multinational corporations gobble up the broken pieces. Environmentalist-enabled corporatism is the reason the American middle class is dying.
Environmentalist-inspired regulations have imposed curbs on home building, resource extraction, and infrastructure investment. These artificial limits create scarcity and exploding prices for every essential good, which diminishes the prospects of all but the very wealthy. Government and big business, working together, are using the climate crisis to destroy the economic independence of American households to empower and enrich themselves. This economic model is explicitly fascist.
But as the United States transitions from a constitutional republic populated mostly by a prosperous middle class to a fascist police state populated by a destitute and broken people ruled by an oligarchy professing fealty to an environmentalist ideology, are the policies they’ve implemented in the name of saving the planet even working? That is, even if they’re right about the dangers, and there really is a climate crisis, is all of this upheaval they advocate doing any good?
A disinterested examination of the schemes that constitute clean technology and renewable energy reveals a landscape of fads and scams that have cost trillions of dollars and accomplished absolutely nothing. Worse still, if these schemes are allowed to continue, the consequences for both humanity and the earth’s ecosystems will be more catastrophic than all but the most apocalyptic climate crisis scenarios.
Biofuel is an obvious example. Contributing barely one-half of one percent of all global energy, there are now an estimated 300,000 square miles of biofuel plantations on earth. From the jungles of Borneo and throughout the Pacific Islands, palm oil is extracted to produce biodiesel, while from the rainforests of the Amazon to the American Midwest, sugar cane and corn is grown to produce bioethanol. Every year, more jungle is burned and wildlife incinerated to create new biofuel monocultures, with a pall of smoke that drifts thousands of miles.
The environmental catastrophe that large-scale biofuel production represents is easily demonstrated. If you replaced 100 percent of the oil consumed worldwide with biofuel, it would require 25 million square miles. To put this in perspective, the total farmland worldwide is only 12 million square miles. Yet, in a barefaced and epic charade, every time these jungles burn, another European commodities broker gets to collect a commission on a “carbon credit.”
Imagine if not just oil, but all energy produced on earth today came from biofuel. To accomplish that would require 43 million square miles, which is 70 percent of the entire land surface on Earth including Antarctica.
Proponents of biofuel claim it will be possible eventually to extract ethanol cost-effectively from cellulose—the fiber that constitutes most of the mass of any plant. But notwithstanding the need either to leave harvest slash in the ground to maintain soil health, or inject massive quantities of petroleum-derived fertilizer, cellulosic ethanol extraction remains an extremely costly endeavor. Extracting biofuel from algae in a factory environment has promise in theory but remains far from a commercial reality.
Meanwhile, rainforests burn, supposedly so we can use less fossil fuel.
Land-Hogging Species Exterminators
Wind energy is equally disastrous to the environment. In 2021, wind turbines only contributed 1.1 percent of total global energy production, delivering electricity at a rate of only 26 percent of their installed capacity. Wind energy is an unreliable intermittent form of energy that ultimately will require additional trillions of dollars to be spent on new high voltage lines and battery farms to balance the power grid. But these “wind farms” already consume hundreds of thousands of square miles, with their land footprint set to increase as purveyors are discovering they cannot operate at maximum efficiency unless the turbines are spaced further apart.
An analysis published last year in the trade publication Energy Follower challenged the conventional spacing guidelines, which call for wind turbines to be spaced apart by a distance equal to seven times the rotor diameter. That alone calls for a stupendous amount of land, since that spacing would permit a maximum of four wind turbines per square mile. Citing work by Charles Meneveau, a mechanical engineering professor at Johns Hopkins University, however, the analysis went on to report that based on Meneveau’s analysis of the performance of utility-scale wind farms, for maximum efficiency, “the suggested recommended separation of each turbine being 15 times the rotor diameter away from its nearest neighbors.” That equates to one wind turbine consuming 1.2 square miles.
Based on this data, using wind turbines to generate the 28,466 terawatt-hours of electricity produced in 2021 from all sources worldwide would require 3 million square miles of wind farms. That’s more area than the combined footprint of every urban region on Earth. And this land would be uninhabitable—anyone who disagrees is invited to live on a wind farm. There will not be many takers.
Wind turbines not only consume unimaginable quantities of resources and land area. They already kill tens of thousands of raptors and bats every year. Potentially worse still, the blades are killing billions of insects at a time when total global insect mass—an essential part of nature’s food chain—is in alarming decline. Wind turbines are also ugly as hell, despite all the slick marketing photography showing them presiding beneficently over green hills and clear skies.
Intermittent, Toxic, Nonrenewable Solar Power
Solar power is perhaps the least problematic of the so-called renewables, but it’s still intermittent power. This intermittency is not only a daily challenge, which can only be addressed with massive investments in batteries. It’s also a seasonal problem. In temperate latitudes, the hours of daylight during summer are twice that of winter, and the further north you go the greater this seasonal challenge becomes. Solar power simply doesn’t work during northern winters, or if it does, it has to be grossly overbuilt to compensate for fewer hours of daylight.
Solar power is also not terribly renewable. The basic material for photovoltaic panels is “solar-grade” polysilicon, which is most efficiently refined using sand. But the world is running out of sand. Extracting silicon from other sources such as obsidian, granite, quartzite, mica, talc, and sandstone is possible, but it is much more expensive and comes with a greater environmental impact. All of the raw materials necessary to manufacture photovoltaic panels are nonrenewable, including aluminum, steel, glass, copper, and silver. If mining these raw materials is so sustainable, why have environmentalists declared war on America’s domestic mining industry?
And then there’s the challenge of what to do with photovoltaic panels once they’re spent. With a useful life of only around 25 years, and even at today’s relatively minute scale, an unrelenting deluge of toxic solar panel “e-waste” is about to descend on humanity. A 2016 report from the International Renewable Energy Agency predicted that by 2050 the world will be generating about 6 million metric tons of new solar e-waste annually. To date, recycling solar panels is an expensive, energy-intensive business.
If panels were manufactured in America, using raw materials mined in America, and could be produced cost-effectively and mounted on roofs, solar might make sense as just one part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy. But intermittent power is not practical without massive concurrent investments in grid upgrades and large-scale energy storage systems. These costs, and the environmental impact of these additional infrastructure investments, mean as the percentage of power derived from intermittent sources increases, the economic and environmental case for them decreases.
If everyone were to go electric, minus nuclear power, hydroelectric power, or fossil fuels, that would require roughly 500 exajoules of power (nearly 140,000 terawatt-hours of electricity) to come primarily from the intermittent sources of wind and solar. To balance this on-again-off-again power, has anyone thought through how much raw materials will be required to build a global fleet of batteries, all of which must be decommissioned and recycled roughly every 10 years, to perpetually collect, store and discharge tens of thousands of gigawatt-hours, day after day, through all seasons, decade after decade?
Turns out, someone has. The redoubtable Alex Epstein has performed the algebra that environmentalists either ignore or lack the basic math skills to comprehend. He concluded that 1,330 terawatt-hours, at $300 per kilowatt-hour of battery storage, would cost $400 trillion—or nearly five times the GDP of the entire global economy. These 1,330 terawatt-hours only represent one percent of 2020’s global energy consumption of 140,000 terawatt-hours, which therefore represents only three days of storage capacity. And even at that price tag, it is probably not enough storage to compensate for seasonal doldrums that periodically cripple solar and wind generation.
As it is, the raw materials for these batteries are sourced from overseas mines, devastating the local environment. West African cobalt miners, many of them children, endure appalling conditions. Naturally, environmentalists would never permit cobalt or lithium mining in the United States. Have you ever heard of blood diamonds? Call these blood batteries.
For everyone on earth to have access to half as much per capita energy as Americans use, global energy production has to double. That’s 1,000 exajoules, twice what we produce today, and to do this, we need to develop all sources of energy. It is the minimum goal we must set in order to achieve universal global prosperity. To try to accomplish this with “renewables,” via the supposedly benign footprint of biofuel, wind turbines, solar power, and batteries, would devastate the planet, consume all available raw materials, and fail to do the job.
Meanwhile, what is green fascism doing to ordinary people?
The Green Fascist Crimes Against Humanity
The green fascists have declared war on energy, water, and housing. They claim that conventional energy creates deadly CO2 emissions and attempt to forbid all debate about the validity of that theory. They claim water supply infrastructure destroys ecosystems and consumes unsustainable quantities of energy. They claim suburbs with single-family homes cause unacceptable increases in automotive pollution. Now they’ve also declared war on livestock, which they claim produce the allegedly deadly gas methane, and on farming itself, which relies on petroleum-based fertilizer. This is no joke. Look no further than the ongoing protests in the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and across the globe. They’re coming for our farms.
Where does this end? Without energy, water, housing, meat, and farm produce, civilization dies. Before that happens, though, billions of people who had either achieved a middle-class lifestyle, or were about to, will be wiped out. And as this reset runs its course, the green fascists will acquire more political power, and their corporatist allies will acquire more economic power.
If you have a problem with this, and speak up, you will be marginalized and smeared if not silenced. Just ask the CO2 Coalition. The rather staid mission statement of this network of expert volunteers, motivated by sincere concern for the future of humanity and the health of the planet, includes this excerpt: “The Coalition seeks to engage in an informed and dispassionate discussion of climate change, humans’ role in the climate system, the limitations of climate models, and the consequences of mandated reductions in CO2 emissions.”
LinkedIn needs to reinstate the CO2 Coalition immediately. And the green fascists’ agenda needs to become the topic of open, honest, balanced, and very public debate.
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Edward Ring is a senior fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He is also is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. Ring is the author of Fixing California: Abundance, Pragmatism, Optimism (2021) and The Abundance Choice: Our Fight for More Water in California (2022).