'Climate Change' Hysterics Seeing the Lights

One by one, prominent members of the Doomsday Cult of Climate Annihilation are beginning to defect to the side of reason and rationality. First came filmmaker Michael Moore and his heretical movie, Planet of the Humans, which castigated the "environmental movement" for selling out to corporate America. Next up was Michael Shellenberger, whose new book,  Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, is currently setting the kat among the klimate konformist pigeons by daring to argue that -- hold on to your Greta baseball caps! -- in fact, we're not all going to die and that there is a sane alternative to Thunbergianism. Among his findings:

I know that the above facts will sound like “climate denialism” to many people. But that just shows the power of climate alarmism. In reality, the above facts come from the best-available scientific studies, including those conducted by or accepted by the IPCC, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other leading scientific bodies.

Shellenberger made these points in a piece he wrote the other day for Forbes... which of course yanked it from its website within hours, thus proving Moore's point about corporate hijacking of climate alarmism. So he reposted it on the Australian-based website, Quillette; have a look for yourself:

On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years. Climate change is happening. It’s just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem.

In the final three chapters of Apocalypse Never I expose the financial, political, and ideological motivations. Environmental groups have accepted hundreds of millions of dollars from fossil fuel interests. Groups motivated by anti-humanist beliefs forced the World Bank to stop trying to end poverty and instead make poverty “sustainable.” And status anxiety, depression, and hostility to modern civilization are behind much of the alarmism.

Shellenberger calls out the impractical Ludditism of the "Green Movement" Neanderthals, and offers policy recommendation that will turn the Greenies purple with rage, including a defense of clean nuclear energy:

Once you realize just how badly misinformed we have been, often by people with plainly unsavory or unhealthy motivations, it is hard not to feel duped.

Clean energy or Green energy? Your choice.

Well, as Barnum said, there's a sucker born every minute, including some very famous ones, among them chimp conservationist Jane Goodall, 86, who's moved on from general monkeyshines to weighty issue of climate, diet, the coronavirus and -- of course -- Why Everything Now Must Change:

With a background in primatology, Jane Goodall became well known in the 1960s through films about her work studying chimpanzees in Tanzania. She famously gave the animals human names. Her discovery that chimps in Tanzania and elsewhere were threatened by habitat destruction due to human activity informed her view about the interdependency of the natural world. She founded the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977, and it's now a leading voice for nature conservation.

Dr Goodall’s analysis of COVID-19 stays true to her beliefs. Speaking at an online event held by the group Compassion in World Farming, Goodall said our global food production system is in need of urgent reform. “Our disrespect for wild animals and our disrespect for farmed animals has created this situation where disease can spill over to infect human beings. We have come to a turning point in our relationship with the natural world.”

Talk about hostility to modern civilization: here we are: after more than half a century of the relentless battering of Western civilization by the likes of the Frankfurt School and their bastard children in academe, there are suckers aplenty in the West, who will go to their graves convinced that everything modern man has done to improve his life is wrong and bad, and that a prelapsarian state of nature is the way forward. Such is the suicide cult of Leftism as articulated by Rousseau and then passed down by Marx and Marcuse.

And yet, some common sense is beginning to reassert itself. In addition to Shellenberger, the Danish author and climate-hysteria skeptic, Bjorn Lomborg, the "skeptical environmentalist," has a new book out as well, False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet. As Richard Trzupek, an environmental consultant and analyst at the Heartland Institute, notes in his review:

Lomborg addresses his core mission statement early on: “[W]e’re scaring kids and adults witless, which is not just factually wrong but morally reprehensible. If we don’t say stop, the current, false climate alarm, despite its good intentions, is likely to leave the world much worse off than it could be.”

Everyone knows the meme: “Catastrophic global warming is real and it’s manmade.” It’s a simple statement of the perceived problem, one that would surely earn an “A” in Marketing 101. Whatever else it is, that simple statement is not science. The issue of climate change cannot be explained by any one statement, but must be addressed by answering a series of questions. This is what Lomborg bravely attempts to do in “False Alarm.”

And now along comes a lady with the felecitious sobriquet of Zion Lights, a spokewoman for Britain's lunatic Extinction Rebellion movement. When last seen, she was being memorably eviscerated by the BBC's Andrew Neil in October:

Today, however, she's singing a different tune.

Extinction Rebellion's spokeswoman has quit the protest group to become a nuclear power campaigner. Zion Lights, 36, has left the climate change cause, which brought London to a standstill last year, to join pro-nuke outfit Environmental Progress. The former XR communications head said she had felt ‘duped’ after being surrounded by anti-nuclear campaigners until she read more into the radioactive fuel.

Mother-of-two Zion said: ‘The facts didn't really change, but once I understood them I did change my mind.’ The switch took non-campaigners by surprise given her new role seems entirely at odds with her old position. Zion, who was born in the West Midlands and given her unusual name as a baby, said: ‘I have a long history of campaigning on environmental issues, most recently as a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion UK.

‘Surrounded by anti-nuclear activists, I had allowed fear of radiation, nuclear waste and weapons of mass destruction to creep into my subconscious. I realised I had been duped into anti-science sentiment all this time. Now, I have quit the organisation to take up a position as a campaigner for nuclear power.’

It's easy to laugh, but pay attention to the statement above: I had allowed fear... to creep into my subconscious. Fear is a hallmark of all zealous crackpotism, along with an urgent insistence that the world change right now in order to accommodate what is manifestly a form of mental illness akin to aliens sending you messages through the fillings in your teeth.

The environmentalist Left needs more people like Moore, Shellenberger, and Lights, struggling out the darkness of their former irrational anxieties and obsessions and joining the community of the sensible, and fewer deluded children like poor exploited Greta, shamelessly manipulated by the "movement" for malicious ends.

After all, who doesn't want the best for Mother Earth? There are many paths to conservation and civilization. We need not let fear prevent us from seeing the solution, and the light.

The Censorious Left Strikes Again

Believe it or not, there are a few honest Lefties -- Van Jones and Bill Maher (language warning) immediately come to mind-- and journalist Matt Taibbi is one of them. So, perhaps, is Michael Moore, whose refreshingly honest documentary about the "environmentalist" grifters just got yanked on YouTube for political wrongthink. Here's Taibbi's decidedly non-tribal look at what's going on on the censorious Left:

On April 21st, 2020, just before the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, Oscar-winning director/producer Michael Moore released a new movie called Planet of the Humans. Directed by Jeff Gibbs, the film is a searing look at the ostensible failures of the environmentalist movement, to which Moore and Gibbs both belonged. “Jeff and I were at the first Earth Day celebrations,” Moore laughs. “That’s how old we are.”

Distributed for free on YouTube, the film’s central argument is that the environmentalist movement, fattened by corporate donations, has become seduced by an industrialist delusion. “The whole idea of the film was to ask a question – after fifty years of the environmentalist movement, how are we doing?” recounts Moore. “It looks like, not very well.”

That's an understatement. "No enemies to the Left," has long been a "progressive" rallying cry; one of the reasons the Left is constantly on the attack is that it rarely if ever has to protect its left flank, or worry about the enemy getting to its rear. Moore's movie changed that. Which is why, after a manufactured outcry from the usual suspects whose gravy-trained oxes just got gored, YouTube took the film down for a "copyright infringement" over four seconds of fair-use footage.

The significance of the Moore incident is that it shows that a long-developing pattern of deletions and removals is expanding. The early purges were mainly of small/fringe voices on either the far right or far left, or infamously fact-challenged personalities like Alex Jones. The removal of a film by Moore – a heavily-credentialed figure long revered by the liberal mainstream – takes place amid a dramatic acceleration of such speech-suppression incidents, many connected to the coronavirus disaster.

A pair of California doctors were taken off YouTube for declaring stay-at-home measures unnecessary; right-wing British broadcaster and trumpeter of shape-shifting reptile theories David Icke was taken off YouTube; a video by Rockefeller University epidemiologist Knut Wittknowski was taken down, apparently for advocating a “herd immunity” approach to combating the virus. These moves all came after the popular libertarian site Zero Hedge was banned from Twitter, ostensibly for suggesting a Chinese scientist in Wuhan was responsible for coronavirus.

These and many other incidents came in addition to a slew of moves aimed at right-wing speakers accused of varying degrees of conspiratorial misinformation and/or hate speech, from a decision by Twitter to begin “fact-checks” of Donald Trump to wholesale removals from Facebook of “anti-immigrant” sites like VDare and the Unz Review.

One problem is the so-called “reputable” fact-checking authorities many platforms are relying upon have terrible factual histories themselves. There’s an implication that “misinformation” by foreign or independent actors is somehow more dangerous than broadly-disseminated official deceptions about U.S. misbehavior abroad, or manufactured scandals like Russiagate. We now expect libertarian or socialist pages to be zapped at any minute, but none of the outlets which amplified the bogus Steele dossier have been put in Internet timeout.

Taibbi notes correctly that the partisan "regulation" and "fact-checking" of speech on social media platforms is simply censorship. Sheep on the Right will bleat that it's not the government taking down speech it doesn't agree with it (that would be forbidden under the First Amendment) -- but the Bill of Rights has now been thoroughly shredded by the absurd Wuhan panic, so what difference, at this point, does it make?

Censorship -- especially the arbitrary takedown of a film by a mainstream leftist like Moore -- is still censorship.

The drive to step up “content control” isn’t all driven from the top down. A major additional factor has been the growth of a new intellectual movement geared toward delegitimizing speech and rationalizing censorship. The Moore incident provided a clear demonstration of how this new social reflex works. “Maybe we’re wrong,” Moore says. “We’d have liked to have that discussion. That was a big reason we made the movie.”

Instead, critics rolled out a now-familiar playbook to depict the movie as too villainous to exist.

"Too villainous to exist." This is the Leftist argument against everything it hates. Tax it! Criminalize it! Ban it! Everything from fossil fuels to free speech has come under their baleful gaze, and all of it must go. That way lies totalitarianism; on the Left everything that has outlived its usefulness, such as the First Amendment, is Nikolai Yezhov (pictured, and non-pictured, above), a secret policeman known as the "Bloody Dwarf," who helped run Stalin's purge, until the purges finally got him too, and he had to be "disappeared" -- not just physically, but from the pages of history as well. Having long hidden behind the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech, the Left no longer finds it useful, and wishes to criminalize it under the rubric of "hate speech."

No wonder President Trump just signed the Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship, which seeks to rein in such platforms as Facebook, YouTube, Google, Twitter and other tools of politically correct enforcement.

Section 1.  Policy.Free speech is the bedrock of American democracy.  Our Founding Fathers protected this sacred right with the First Amendment to the Constitution.  The freedom to express and debate ideas is the foundation for all of our rights as a free people.

In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand pick the speech that Americans may access and convey on the internet.  This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic.  When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.  They cease functioning as passive bulletin boards, and ought to be viewed and treated as content creators.

Today, many Americans follow the news, stay in touch with friends and family, and share their views on current events through social media and other online platforms.  As a result, these platforms function in many ways as a 21st century equivalent of the public square.

That's how they were sold, of course -- free and open to everybody.  That, however, turned out to be the drug-dealer approach to marketing his wares: a free trial, then the hook, then a lifetime of misery and penury.  As Moore correctly notes, no one is safe in this latest version of the Great Terror:

In the past, a copyright dispute would have been a matter for courts. So, too, would questions of defamation that might have been raised by the likes of McKibben. Now critics can just run to Mommy and Daddy tech companies to settle disputes, and there’s no clear process for those removed to argue their cases. This is a situation that carries serious ramifications, especially for people who have less reach and financial clout than Moore. “If they can do it to me, they can do it to anybody,” is how Moore puts it.

Maybe Moore is wrong about the environmental movement, but these new suppression tactics are infinitely more dangerous than one movie ever could be, and progressives seem to have lost the ability to care.

This is the world the Left is preparing, not only for its ovine followers but for free-thinking men and women everywhere. Who's in?  Who's out? Just ask Nikolai Yezhov, if you can find him.

YouTube Censors 'Planet of the Humans'

Well, they've gone and done it:

YouTube has taken down the controversial Michael Moore-produced documentary Planet of the Humans in response to a copyright infringement claim by a British environmental photographer. The movie, which has been condemned as inaccurate and misleading by climate scientists and activists, allegedly includes a clip used without the permission of the owner Toby Smith, who does not approve of the context in which his material is being used.

I'm not particularly fond of Michael Moore, but Moore and Jeff Gibbs (his longtime collaborator who produced and narrates this documentary) are old pros, and I am pretty skeptical of the claim that they would allow a project as sensitive as this, which they produced knowing that they would take tons of fire from their fellow lefties, to be fouled up by a copyright violation. Especially when some powerful people -- many of whom fall into the group of Moore and Gibbs accuse of perpetuating the Green Energy boondoggle to make themselves extremely rich -- have been looking for an excuse to censor it since it was released.

Gibbs made roughly the same point in his statement:

“This attempt to take down our film and prevent the public from seeing it is a blatant act of censorship by political critics of Planet of the Humans. It is a misuse of copyright law to shut down a film that has opened a serious conversation about how parts of the environmental movement have gotten into bed with Wall Street and so-called “green capitalists.” There is absolutely no copyright violation in my film. This is just another attempt by the film’s opponents to subvert the right to free speech.”

Gibbs said he was working with YouTube to resolve the issue and have the film back up as soon as possible.

It is worth noting that Toby Smith, who made the complaint, said that he went directly to YouTube rather than to Moore and Gibbs precisely because he has a problem with the content of the documentary. As he put it, "I wasn’t interested in negotiation. I don’t support the documentary, I don’t agree with its message and I don’t like the misleading use of facts in its narrative.” Sounds a lot like one of the "political critics" of Planet of the Humans.

To be fair, this is a bit of a tempest in a teapot. The film was released on April 21st, and was only supposed to remain up on YouTube for 30 days. Because of its success -- at the time YouTube pulled it it had been viewed more than 8 million times -- the run was extended by another month. Smith's complaint got the film pulled just a few days after it was originally supposed to come down. Even so, the whole thing remains highly suspicious. Is this, perhaps, the first big move in YouTube's long-bruited crackdown on wrongthink in anticipation of the presidential election in the fall? Their increasingly censorious tendencies are supposedly among the reasons for podcaster Joe Rogan's just announced decision to leave the platform for Spotify beginning in September.

In any event, if you were not among the millions of viewers lucky enough to catch Planet of the Humans before the PC police got to it, take some time to read The Pipeline's coverage from back when it was first released. In the meantime, Moore and Gibbs have posted the documentary at Vimeo.

Carbon Emissions Fell Months before Pandemic

One disturbing thing we've seen during the course of this pandemic is that there's a certain variety of Greenie -- not all of them mind you, but some -- who are almost gleeful about the state of things. John O'Sullivan pointed out one example back in March, when former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis tweeted the following:

Fun, eh? File that one under takes that didn't age well. But even so, it demonstrated an enthusiasm for large-scale, government mandated lifestyle change once the pandemic has come to an end. Another, perhaps more common source of environmentalist delight is the decline in CO2 emissions as a consequence of the the decrease of economic activity of every kind. Britain's left-leaning newspaper Guardian reported a few weeks ago:

Global carbon emissions from the fossil fuel industry could fall by a record 2.5bn tonnes this year, a reduction of 5%, as the coronavirus pandemic triggers the biggest drop in demand for fossil fuels on record. The unprecedented restrictions on travel, work and industry due to the coronavirus is expected to cut billions of barrels of oil, trillions of cubic metres of gas  millions of tonnes of coal from the global energy system in 2020 alone

And Jeff Gibbs, of Planet of the Humans fame, said in an interview just the other day:

[R]ight now we're learning that the three times when climate change and fossil fuel usage went down were during this pandemic, in the days after 9/11, and during the Great Recession.

There's something revelatory about this way of looking at things -- these horrible moments of tragedy, of poverty and loss of life, conform most perfectly with the vision of the environmentalist movement. Conservatives have been saying that misery would be the necessary outcome of environmentalists getting their way, and environmentalists seem to be in agreement.

But it is also oddly misleading. Their vision of graceless growth, of the gluttonous nature of modern capitalist life, leaves out the fact that the nations who have been most successful in employing technologies that decrease carbon emissions are market economies, generally in the West.

The United States, the country hated by environmentalists most of all, actually saw its carbon emissions decline by 2.8 percent last year, according to a new report released by the Energy Information Administration. A decline, it need hardly be stated, that occurred before the pandemic. Moreover, the U.S. has led the world in reducing carbon emissions over the past 20 years.

And it isn't just America -- worldwide carbon emissions were flat in 2019, even though the global economy grew.

The stall in emissions, as reported by the International Energy Agency on Tuesday, was mainly due to rich countries using less coal for electricity, replacing it with natural gas, wind, solar, and nuclear power. Coal generation in advanced economies fell by nearly 15%.

It is also worth noting that our transitions toward natural gas and nuclear (I'm less certain than the IEA about the contributions of wind and solar) helped keep worldwide emissions flat, even though the massive increase in coal usage throughout Asia meant that emissions in the rest of the world grew by nearly 400 million tons in the same time period.

All of which is to say, human misery and communist diktats won't lead to a cleaner environment, whatever the Greenies might tell you. Prosperity, rational development, stewardship, and freedom are the way forward.

This Is What Desperation Looks Like

I mean, someone is in denial:

If you're not familiar with his life and work, Gerald Butts is Justin Trudeau's college drinking buddy who grew up to be an environmental activist and, eventually, Trudeau's chief adviser. He was forced to resign back in 2019 for his role in the SNC-Lavalin affair, amid accusations from former Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, that he had improperly pressured her to drop corruption charges against the Montreal based engineering and construction firm.

Now he's back environmentalizing, and probably pulling in a lot more green than he was while he was in government. But that money isn't going to flow for too long if Canadians despair of the future of Green Energy, which is exactly what Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs new documentary will make them do.

No surprise, then, that he's hoping it will all just go away.

Oh, by the way, watch what Butts calls the "last wheezing gasp of climate denialism," also known as Planet of the Humans (which currently has more than 6 million views -- some wheezing!) before Butts' fellow leftists get it taken down.

The Harsh Sounds of Silence

Q. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to see it, did it happen?

A. That is a more complicated question than Bishop Berkeley, who first formulated it in the 18th Century, could ever have realized. Let me try to give you a full answer.

In the first place, if the person not in the forest is an environmentalist who supports strong action to halt climate change, then the tree did not fall but instead volunteered to play its full part in creating renewable energy. If the person not in the forest is Michael Moore who disputes the value of renewable energy industries, then the tree fell with a loud crash in order to alert people that it had made a contribution to climate policy. And if the person is a climate skeptic or denier, whether he’s in the forest or not, the tree did not fall because whoever heard of a tree falling without making any sound whatsoever.

And it gets clearer every day that the instinctive and sometimes preferred strategy of the climatist movement is to silence both critics and dissidents when they question the prevailing theory, rooted in IPCC reports and embraced by most Western governments, that climate change is an emergency threat to the world: either we reduce  the predicted rise in world temperature from 2.0 to 1.5 degrees by 2050 or the world will burn. Some Greens suggest that the world will burn at an even earlier date than the official IPCC-approved forecasts suggest. They include Greta Thunberg, Prince Charles, Extinction Rebellion, and Michael Moore, the last of whom has now fallen foul of climate censors to the surprise of all who have no idea how revolutions proceed.

A film made by Moore and Jeff Gibbs, Planet of the Humans, was shown to three million viewers on the internet last week, criticizing the theory and practice of renewable energy as a solution to climate change. It’s reviewed on this site by Tom Finnerty, Michael Walsh, and me, and though we differ on some points and regard the movie as mistaken in its main proposals, we all agree that it’s an important film that makes damaging criticisms of the renewables industry and that has divided the larger Green movement.

At the very least the Gibbs-Moore movie is a substantive contribution to informed debate on climate change. Ideally, it should lead to criticisms from opponents, a response from the film-maker to the critics, and a rejoinder from them to him, perhaps ad infinitum but more usually for about five exchanges on a hot topic. And that’s what we see where Tom Finnerty locks horns with Moore on The Pipeline.

But within days other climatist factions had called for the film to be withdrawn from public viewing and for Moore and Gibbs to be silenced. Here are The Guardian’s account of this, the letter from Moore’s critics denouncing the film, and Michael Walsh’s reflections on the politics of the controversy. The controversy is a window into the mind of the coercive utopian: he protects us from making bad choices.

Quite as sinister but more subtle is the approach of more “moderate” and “liberal” censors. They protect us from ourselves by simply not mentioning unwelcome stories or commentaries at all. Though Moore and Gibbs are accomplished film-makers, the film’s subject is a large topical one, and its approach has the “man-bites-dog” character of the classic news story, there has been almost no mention of the movie in forums that would usually give generous coverage to a story with those qualities —apart, that is, from reports that environmentalists want it banned.

Vladimir Bukovsky pointed out some years ago that intelligent readers in Soviet times were able to glean quite a lot of genuine news from Pravda and Izvestia by waiting for them to attack some Western claim or achievement which they had never reported in the first place. “Aha,” they would then say. Silence deprives readers of even that recourse. As the noted wit "Iowahawk" has famously observed:

In The Pipeline’s own original reviews, we pointed out that almost all of the film’s most wounding attacks on renewable energy projects echoed the arguments that climate sceptics and “deniers” (aka lukewarmers, in reality) had made over the years. And as Bukovsky would have predicted, these flaws in renewable energies came as a shattering surprise not only to climatists but to conventional bien pensant liberal opinion as well. That’s an indicator of just how effective the bias of silence has proved in keeping vital facts about climate change and climate policy off the front pages, out of public debate, and inside the corridors of power whether in the Washington Beltway or the Westminster village.

And that’s still going on.

This week, the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London published a paper titled The Climate Noose: Business, Net Zero, and the IPCC”s Anti-Capitalism by Rupert Darwall. Mr. Darwall is an economist, a former special advisor to the UK Treasury and Chancellor Norman Lamont, and the author of two books and many other works on climate change and energy policy. It’s a substantial work, and I shall be returning to analyse its reports and proposals more fully next week. For the moment, however, consider these questions it raises:

How much will it cost? The IPCC tries to sweep cost under the carpet, saying cost data on 1.5°C are scarce. The few numbers it provides imply the policy costs of net zero by 2050 are up to 61 times estimated climate benefits. 

What is the likely impact on the world’s poor? The IPCC concedes that draconian emissions reductions mean higher food and energy prices, the latter delaying the transition to clean cooking. Is there any chance of reaching net zero in 2050? Irrespective of what Europe and the US do, there’s not a chance. In less than a decade and a half, the increase in developing nations’ carbon dioxide emissions outstripped the combined total of US and EU emissions.

Above all: Why should companies target net zero when the world’s governments are going to miss it by a country mile? Unilateral net zero will make companies, their shareholders, employees, customers and local communities poorer.

Darwall does not place the total blame on the IPCC. Western governments have repeatedly endorsed the same goal of a reduction in the world temperature increase to 1.5 degrees by 2050 when any realistic analysis suggests that it’s impossible to achieve. They have repeatedly refused to impose any real cost-benefit analysis on their net-zero commitment—indeed, they treat reasonable demands for such estimates as immoral. They acknowledge that their commitment will have a serious negative impact on living standards, including those of poorer communities everywhere, through rises in food and energy prices without offering any serious idea of how to alleviate it.

Moreover, they place increasing political and financial pressure on private corporations to adopt policies that would make their investors poorer and their ability to help their economies to grow weaker. They don’t seem to grasp that the effect of this commitment on global economic relations would be to shift economic power from the West to Asia, in particular to China, at the very moment when we have become aware that Beijing is at best an untrustworthy power, and at worst an outright enemy. And they seem oblivious to the likelihood that the outcome of their approach would be an impoverished world under the aegis of a global economic regulator.

One might suppose that such a warning to the West’s governments would get at least some attention from a media supposedly committed to holding government to account. So far, however, Darwall’s monograph has not been mentioned in the main UK or US media. We would surely expect it to attract the attention of the Financial Times since its business readership has a direct interest in knowing what governments intend for them in its Green agenda.

Again, not a peep. Silence reigns today.

And tomorrow?

Will those who persist in seeing trees falling in the forest for no good reason, like both Moore and Darwall, find their next investigation being confronted by a sign that says: Trespassers will be prosecuted?

Thank You, Oil & Gas!

In the new documentary, Planet of the Humans, Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs explain that a major reason they've soured on green energy is that they came to see how reliant so-called renewables are on the very fossil fuels they aspire to replace. Wind turbines and solar panels are made of plastics which are produced using petroleum distillates, the crystalline silicon used to manufacture the photo-voltaic cells on solar panels make use of mined materials, etc.

And then, of course, there is the intermittency problem -- the sun isn't always shining, the wind isn't always blowing -- which makes it so that the Green Energy Industry requires traditional power plants to remain on stand-by to fill in the gaps, thus emitting more carbon than they would have otherwise. As Ozzie Zehner one of their experts puts it in the documentary:

You use more fossil fuels to do this than you're getting a benefit from it. You would've been better off [just] burning the fossil fuels in the first place instead of playing pretend.

This is meant to induce a sense of despair in the viewer, so as to lay a groundwork for their Malthusian suggestions and we-don't-ever-actually-use-the-phrase-population-control solutions. I was, however, reminded of this aspect of the documentary -- the exposé concerning the poison-pill fossil fuels mixed into your wholesome green energy -- while reading a Wall Street Journal editorial this week entitled Big Oil to the Coronavirus Rescue, which examined other products which rely on oil and gas.

The editorial begins by pointing out the irony of the New York City council's recently coming out of their pandemic hidey-holes to introduce a resolution divesting the city's assets from banks that invest in fossil fuels. Ironic because the industry that they are attacking is central to the production of supplies which we need to beat back the virus they've been hiding from. From the WSJ:

Exxon’s predecessor Standard Oil invented isopropyl alcohol (IPA), the key ingredient in disinfectants and hand sanitizer, in 1920. Its Baton Rouge chemical plant is now the world’s largest producer of IPA. While refineries have been throttled back, Exxon has ramped up IPA production by 3,000 tons per month, which is enough to produce 50 million four-ounce bottles of sanitizer.

The oil giant recently noted in a press release that the state of New York has turned to the Baton Rouge plant for critical supplies. Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be grateful Exxon isn’t holding a grudge after the state’s four-year inquisition for allegedly deceiving itself about its climate impact, which finally ended last December when a state judge tossed the state lawsuit as entirely without merit.

Exxon is also increasing production of a specialized polypropylene that is used in medical masks and gowns by about 1,000 tons per month, which is enough to manufacture up to 200 million medical masks or 20 million gowns. At the same time, it is applying its expertise in material science to develop new face shields that utilize a filtration fabric.

Working with Boeing, Exxon plans to manufacture as many as 40,000 masks an hour. According to an Exxon engineer, this new design and production method won’t be vulnerable to the supply-chain hiccups that have led to widespread mask shortages. No Defense Production Act coercion necessary.

The editors ask wryly whether "liberals want to divest from using those [products] to fight off the coronavirus?" Well, after watching Planet of the Humans which has one scientist saying that barring a "major die off in population, there's no turning back," you would be forgiven for concluding that at least for some liberals the answer is yes.

As for me, however, I'm extremely grateful that we have these products produced by the oil and gas industry. Every ounce of isopropyl alcohol, every bit of that specialized polypropylene they produce become weapons in our arsenal. I'm so enthusiastic about their work, in fact, that I'd like to see them focus their energies on it even more exclusively, to the exclusion of, for instance, cosying up to the Greens, who will never forgive them for existing anyway. Maybe they could even redirect the plastics earmarked for wind turbines and solar panels towards making face-shields, ventilators, and personal protective equipment for the next year or two.

Something to think about.

Michael Moore Strikes Back

We here at The Pipeline have been covering Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs' new film Planet of the Humans fairly extensively lately for the simple reason that we believe it to be a very important film, both because it is extremely informative on the topic of the "green energy" fraud, but also because it has blown open a major rift within the environmentalist movement. So much so that those on the other side of that rift are either ignoring the documentary entirely (as far as I can see, neither the BBC, the CBC, nor Australia's ABC have published a word on it -- kind of shocking that the state broadcasters of the English speaking world are ignoring such a big story) or, as Michael Walsh pointed out yesterday, are calling on YouTube to take it down for spreading misinformation (and, presumably, for giving aid and comfort to the enemy).

To rebut those claims, Moore and Gibbs have been on a bit of a media tour, and one stop on that tour was this lengthy interview with The Hill TV:

It is an illuminating interview, and I think it bears out my contention that, far from turning their back on environmentalism, Moore and Gibbs are willing to tear down that movement as it currently exists so that they can rebuild it as something somewhat leaner (in that it will have less cash), but definitely a lot meaner. Creative Destruction, you might call it.

First of all, Moore takes up the question of their motivation. He and Gibbs haven't turned on the movement - "We are lifelong environmentalists!" They've been in since the "first Earth Day!" Their main concern is "this evil economic system that we have [which] is based on greed," and the tendency of certain environmentalists to "[hop] into bed with corporate America." From his perspective, this gives the corporations a kind of moral authority that they shouldn't have, and allows them to treat the movement like a revenue stream:

[Y]ou've seen this happen over the last decade, how they've all gone Green, they all tout the big Green thing, and they saw basically that enough of us believed in Green, because we want this planet to live, and they saw, '[W]ow, there's the supply and demand right there -- the demand is for Green, lets give them Green, and lets make a lot of money off of it.

So, for Moore:

The failure of the movement has been to address this serious flaw, which is: We are not gonna save the planet or ourselves by allowing Wall Street, hedge funds, corporate America, to be anywhere near us, as we try to fix this.

The film is simply their way of breaking that to the true believers.

To my way of thinking, it's Gibbs who really gives voice to their ambitions:

You know, this is so much bigger than climate change. You know, we've eaten 90% of the fish in the ocean. Half of the wildlife have disappeared in the last 40 years, primarily because of expanding logging and agriculture. Fossil fuels is tragic, but there is a lot more to us damaging the planet than just climate change.... I think [that] looking at ourselves as a single species that's got this addiction to growth, my theory is that infinite growth on a finite planet is called suicide, and that's what we have to address.

I mentioned the Malthusian drift of the documentary in my review, and Gibbs responds to that critique:

We never use the word population control, we're not in favor of population control. We merely point out, there was a UN study that came out one or two years ago, that just points out that the doubling of our human numbers and the quadrupling of our human economy is the prime driver of extinction on this planet. Is the UN favoring population control? No!

Er, yes, but go on:

Many scientists are pointing out the obvious, but you don't read about that so much in the press anymore, since it's all only focused on climate change.

Funny how, while disclaiming population control, he argues that scientists are merely "pointing out the obvious," but doesn't himself spell out that "obvious" here. When you go to the documentary itself, you find what his scientists are actually "pointing out." Here's one representative sample: "Without seeing some sort of major die off in population, there's no turning back."

Back to the interview, Gibbs mitigates our need to read between the lines further when he says:

[R]ight now we're learning that the three times when climate change and fossil fuel usage went down were during this pandemic, in the days after 9/11, and during the Great Recession. Now, we're just raising the question, we've got to come to terms with this expansion. We don't have the answers in the film, but it is our growth, and especially our growth and consumption, driven by capitalism, that's driving this beast.

Ah yes, those three greatest moments of our civilization. Just as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did the other day, Gibbs is admitting here that their project is built on human suffering. This is what we call "Making the sub-text, text."

I've been seeing conservatives on Twitter and elsewhere over the past week who are elated about this movie, and in the short term it might work to our benefit. But don't be fooled -- Moore and Gibbs are not on our side. Their vision is very dark, and they themselves are very persuasive.

Michael Moore, Enemy of the People

It seems that Planet of the Humans, a new film produced by Michael Moore that calls out the "environmentalist" movement for having sold its soul to capitalism, has set the cat among the chirping songbirds of Leftist groupthink. And what better place from which to hear it than Britain's The Guardian, the Izvestia to the New York Times' Pravda, and the chief European enforcer of neo-Marxist  misanthropic orthodoxy.

A new Michael Moore-produced documentary that takes aim at the supposed hypocrisy of the green movement is “dangerous, misleading and destructive” and should be removed from public viewing, according to an assortment of climate scientists and environmental campaigners. The film, Planet of the Humans, was released on the eve of Earth Day last week by its producer, Michael Moore, the baseball cap-wearing documentarian known for Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine. Describing itself as a “full-frontal assault on our sacred cows”, the film argues that electric cars and solar energy are unreliable and rely upon fossil fuels to function. It also attacks figures including Al Gore for bolstering corporations that push flawed technologies over real solutions to the climate crisis.

Planet of the Humans has provoked a furious reaction from scientists and campaigners, however, who have called for it be taken down. Films for Action, an online library of videos, temporarily took down the film after describing it as “full of misinformation”, though they later reinstated it, saying they did not want accusations of censorship to give the film “more power and mystique than it deserves”. A free version on YouTube has been viewed more than 3m times.

We always knew that the Left's commitment to dissent and free speech was merely a flag of convenience, under which to continue their real project of shutting down dissent and free speech completely. Going all the way back to Mario Savio at Berkeley in 1964, "free speech" to them was simply the means to the end of destroying the existing postwar societies of the U.S. and Europe and setting their own rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem to be born.

What, exactly, has their knickers in such a bunch?

letter written by Josh Fox, who made the documentary Gasland, and signed by various scientists and activists, has urged the removal of “shockingly misleading and absurd” film for making false claims about renewable energy. Planet of the Humans “trades in debunked fossil fuel industry talking points” that question the affordability and reliability of solar and wind energy, the letter states, pointing out that these alternatives are now cheaper to run than fossil fuels such as coal.

Michael Mann, a climate scientist and signatory to Fox’s letter, said the film includes “various distortions, half-truths and lies” and that the filmmakers “have done a grave disservice to us and the planet by promoting climate change inactivist tropes and talking points.” The film’s makers did not respond to questions over whether it will be pulled down.

Pulled down? I thought progressives were against censorship in all its forms. Ah, but by now conservatives and cultural defenders have learned that banning, outlawing, and destroying artifacts that offend the Left's delicate, ever-changing sensibilities is their solution to everything.

As Yeats writes in "The Second Coming":

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

See the movie while you still can.

Environmentalism Looks in the Mirror

For Earth Day this year, Michael Moore gave environmentalists a very special present. It’s a greenish movie version of Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, in which a young environmentalist sells his soul to the devil in order to stay pure but becomes rich by getting capitalism to fund the replacement of fossil fuel energy with carbon-free renewables. He thinks he has tricked the devil. But when he sees his photograph on the brochure of the new Green Energy Mega-Corporation as its CEO, he is horrified to find that instead of the shining youthful purity of his original countenance, it depicts the corrupt features of a greedy, grasping old titan, deep in sin.

In Wilde’s novel, Dorian Gray stabs the picture from repulsion and despair and dies. In the 1945 Hollywood movie with Hurd Hatfield and Donna Reed, he also stabs the picture but then turns dying to God and begs for forgiveness. But in the Moore reboot, Dorian simply closes down his Green Genesis investment fund (which has been the target of a damaging investigative documentary) and partners with Al Gore and Bill McKibben to establish a new Do It Right (This Time) Brazilian Rain Forest Eco-Partnership, after which he graciously accepts an award from the Sierra Club.

Now, that’s my summary of Planet of the Humans. On another page Tom Finnerty has a more thorough and thoughtful account of its plot and message. So you probably think you don’t really need to see the movie. But Tom and I would advise you to do so all the same.

Planet of the Humans is not a great world-changing documentary from an artistic point of view, and it’s not really a signature Michael Moore film either. He’s listed as its executive producer; it’s making an argument that fits comfortably inside his socialist outlook; doubtless he arranged its financing and production; and his name helps sell the final product. But instead of Moore’s trademark style of sarcastic accusation, it has a sadder but wiser more personal tone.

Its director, Jeff Gibbs, a frequent collaborator with Moore, is here his own Dorian Gray. He takes us on an autobiographical ramble through the last fifty years of the environmentalist movement as it goes from idealistic student radicalism into the tentacles of corporate sponsorship and as he goes from hopeful believer to disillusioned radical. The film’s merits are that it’s pleasantly watchable, occasionally very funny, tells a real story, makes an honest argument, and not least is given away free on the internet. What’s not to like?

We'll get onto that in a moment. First things first, however: on the good side of the ledger, the film’s honest argument is that the renewables movement is essentially a fraud. And it makes that case very effectively.

The movie is cleverly bookended by two rock concert celebrations of the renewables industry—the first a small Vermont renewables fair, the second a massive star-filled exercise in corporate self-congratulation—that fall victim to the same flaw and illustrate the same argument. Though the concerts are supposed to be fully powered by renewable energy, they have to fall back on the local electric grid when the rain falls, the sun goes behind clouds, the wind falls away, or the amount of energy generated by biomass fuel is simply inadequate to keep a rock band bursting our ear drums. It’s comforting to know, thirty years after Tom Bethell wrote The Electric Windmill, that some things never change.

The argument these two events illustrate is that renewable energy sources—windfarms, solar energy panels, biomass—consume more energy in their construction and their operation than they generate for the energy user and they are not always available when needed (at night, when the wind stops blowing, etc.) This is a story that’s told—together with supporting statistical evidence, shocking pictures of post-industrial decay, and ominous music—again and again through the movie. It packs a punch. And it drives the message home.

I didn’t suppose I would usually go to the Hollywood Reporter for an economic analysis of the renewables industry, especially from a skeptical standpoint, but its review of Planet of the Humans hit this nail squarely on the head:

You may feel good about yourself if you drive an electric car, but don't forget that it's recharged by energy from a power company that uses coal or natural gas. And that the battery was manufactured by a company using fossil fuels. Solar panels are great, but they mostly don't last more than a decade or so. Renewable energy sources such as wind turbines are intermittent, leading to power outages unless they're backed up by power generated by fossil fuels. Indeed, there are no business entities running one hundred percent on solar and wind alone.

Two caveats should be attached to this insightful praise for the movie. The first is that, as supporters of the renewables industry have claimed, some of the film’s examples may be technically out of date—notably its criticism of the efficiency of solar panels. But that criticism would be stronger if “green energy” companies were not still demanding subsidies from the taxpayer to “compete” with the fossil fuels on which they rely. The day when these industries will see real profitability, moreover, constantly recedes into the future. Continued subsidies for renewables therefore undercut their fossil fuel rivals The reductio ad absurdum would be reached when fossil fuels themselves have to be subsidized to keep supplying renewables with the energy they need on cold rainy days. It’s the economics of absurdity, but alas that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

The second caveat is that while it’s admirable that environmentalists should admit and examine their own mistakes, the fact is that all of the film’s accurate criticisms are recycled versions of what the critics of deep-green environmentalism have said all along. Some credit should be given to the “climate deniers” for understanding reality first. If you want a sharp, lucid, and witty elaboration of the best points made in Humans, here is an after-dinner speech from 2014 by the Australian geologist, Ian Plimer, to the IPA in Melbourne. I’ve posted this before, but I never tire of watching it, and neither should you. No offense to Mr. Gibbs, but Professor Plimer is much funnier.

There are villains in Mr. Gibbs’s account, of course. They include  billionaires like Michael Bloomberg and Richard Branson and (inevitably) the Koch brothers who have greenwashed their reputations with donations to renewables and similar causes. Refreshingly for such indictments, however, enviro-activists and political sympathizers are named in the indictment too: Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Robert Kennedy Jr., the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, etc., etc.

Gibbs has a lot of fun, cross-cutting from noble speeches to Green groups by billionaires and high-profile enviro-activists to pictures of their failed renewable schemes and the dereliction the failures left in their wake. Hypocrisy is always an inviting target, and here it’s often an amusing one too. The message is hammered home that in dealing with the billionaires, the McKibbens and Concerned Scientists lent their prestige to the cause of enabling the rich to get still richer from renewable schemes that never had any real prospect of delivering a better energy source than fossil fuels.

But is that entirely true? And even if it is, is it entirely fair? Did the moguls and their green allies know that their investments were no more than ways of greenwashing carbon-based energy? That seems very doubtful to me. There must be at least the possibility that they hoped these investments would finance technical breakthroughs that would lead eventually to clean energy with no side-effects. Half the world’s scientists are trying to do just that. Indeed, the most likely solutions to the problems of energy and climate are technical ones. Admittedly, we can’t rely on future technical breakthroughs, as moderate environmentalists do when relying on carbon capture to justify a net-zero emissions policy, but it would be foolish to deny their possibility when history is littered with them. As Bertrand Russell used to say: “The existence of something is absolute proof of its possibility.”

But Planet of the Humans doesn’t grant that possibility. Indeed, the film has an almost religious objection to technical “fixes,” as do some of the activists they interview at protests and demos. The mere idea of a technical fix is denounced as a monstrous and threatening heresy. And this objection seems to arise less because the fixes would fail than because they might succeed and thus postpone the collapse of the present industrial system. As the film winds down, its message seems to be something like:

The End is nigh, and if it isn’t, it should be. So don’t talk to us about solutions.

That’s odd because Gibbs and Moore would usually be expected to advocate some such solution as socialism at this point. Its absence is glaring here. Tom Finnerty has a very interesting discussion of the reasons for this in his review, and I strongly recommend it. My own guess is that the filmmakers have a strong prudential reason for avoiding the topic.

Attacking capitalism is easy and acceptable in the current climate of opinion in which support for socialism is growing. But whatever its other attractions, it’s nearly impossible to advocate socialism on environmental grounds plausibly. Much the worst industrial pollutions, including Chernobyl, have not only occurred under socialist regimes but they have also been clearly traceable to the incentives of the socialist system. That truth has escaped from learned journals into the public mind, and it can’t be forgotten. So the film is shy about advocating socialism.

Its substitute for a solution is reducing the world’s population. Less is better. We are the problem. We are destroying the world, and the world will strike back, unless we master ourselves and reduce our numbers. That argument may initially sound responsible, but it's dangerous, unworkable, and short-sighted

Dangerous? The twentieth century shows the dangers of seeing people not as individuals with human dignity but as destructive pests. I’ll leave it at that.

It’s unworkable because governments can’t control population as they wish and make a mess of it when they try. China’s “one child” policy led to a serious population imbalance—not enough girls—and had to be abandoned owing to popular opposition.

Short-sighted? We know how to reduce population most effectively, and direct government anti-natal policies are not it. It's when it happens through millions of voluntary choices as a result of larger social changes. People have fewer children when women get a good education and when their employers seek to make the workplace both a family friendly environment and a flexible working one. Other policies play a part—affordable housing, for instance, so that lovers can found stable families.

But the key to all of them is that they are the kind of social policies that are found only in advanced, prosperous, democratic, market, and free societies in which women share fully in making family and social decisions. And such societies are the opposite of the poverty-stricken, cramped, static, technically-backward, and authoritarian societies that Greta Thunberg and the enviro-extremists want to introduce—and of which we’ve recently had a most unpleasant taste in the Covid-19 lockdowns.

And because we’ve had a taste of it, the End is probably not Nigh.