Friday, June 27, 2008

Environmentalism hurts the environment, at least this time 

The environmental movement, having lurched from one grave concern to another over the years (partly because it has, admittedly, substantially remediated many of the original ugly environmental problems), is now finding that its past victories are standing in the way of its new favorite remedies.

Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years. The Bureau of Land Management says an extensive environmental study is needed to determine how large solar plants might affect millions of acres it oversees in six Western states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. But the decision to freeze new solar proposals temporarily, reached late last month, has caused widespread concern in the alternative-energy industry, as fledgling solar companies must wait to see if they can realize their hopes of harnessing power from swaths of sun-baked public land, just as the demand for viable alternative energy is accelerating.

If the reduction of greenhouse gas really is the great moral struggle of our time and failure to do so will yield planetary catastrophe (as AGW activists often proclaim), then we are going to have to build massive amounts of entirely new non-carbon energy infrastructure. That will be virtually impossible to do on anything like the schedule demanded by the AGW believers without the repeal or amendment of the various 1970s-era legal obstacles that delay new development and thereby massively increase the cost of the required capital. In addition, we should consider establishing a special federal court to consider lawsuits against alternative energy development, and give it both fast-track procedural tools and preempting jurisdiction and authority.

Innovate the solar, modernize the grid, harness the wind, license the nukes, distill the grass, plug in the cars, and -- because the greens cannot win every battle -- drill here. Now.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 27, 10:38:00 AM:

Many "Environmentalists" are just socialists or communists with gardens. Their main objective it to stop capitalism. That is why they champion Kyoto which exempts China, the paragon of environmental virtue. Just the coal seam fires in China spew more carbon dioxide than all of the cars in the US alone.

I knew the environmental movement was a fraud years ago when they did nothing to stop stop illegal immigration, after decades of telling Americans to have smaller families.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 27, 11:39:00 AM:

Solar power is one of the worst environment ideas ever. Covering millions of acres of land for part-time power when one large nuclear or natural gas plant produces more power, full time and on a tiny fraction of the land, is idiocy. It's especially amusing in light of environmentalist demands that people live packed like sardines high-density housing so as to stop "sprawl".  

By Blogger commoncents, at Fri Jun 27, 12:04:00 PM:

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By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 27, 12:07:00 PM:

Alternatives absolutely should be evaluated just like anything else. The idea of covering millions of acres of land with solar panels is just stupid. If the enviros really want to be green they should be advocating covering every roof in America with panels instead. The biggest environmental problem with electricity in this country is that power generation is physically removed from where the power is used. If there were a requirement to keep power plants close to the consumer, and coal burning plants were in downtown LA of NYC, the problem would have been solved years ago. As it is now, the coal smoke is thousands of miles away from the urban dwelling enviros, so they don't even know it exists.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 27, 01:09:00 PM:

With the suggestions at 12:07 and TH's parting words, I'd hand out the licenses for domestic drilling (under all the usual regulations) for enough research money.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 27, 02:01:00 PM:

The law in it's awesome majesty does not permit any action to be un"assessed". The power was given to the functionaries who have no incentives to speed things up or take risks. Alternative energy is not really favored by environmentalists only non-action.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Fri Jun 27, 05:21:00 PM:

If the enviros really want to be green they should be advocating covering every roof in America with panels instead.

The taxing implications of millions of houses generating power off grid scares the crap out of the politicians. Which is why they'll resist it if the technology appears to make manufacturing massively scalable (which the silicon based panels aren't).

However...nanosolar's manufacturing scheme does look massively scalable and they've won some large contracts from commercial power companies.

The minute nanosolar starts introducing residential product in any volume, I expect a nasty showdown in congress over how to tax it.  

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