For a brief moment after Russia invaded Ukraine there was a burst of sanity where people said yeah, we probably better stop indulging the radical greens who want us to have nothing and be happy, now that we’re starting to run out and it’s not making us happy. But that was last week and now we’re back to having nothing and being happy. BBC “environmental analyst” Roger Harrabin (MA in Literature from St Catherine’s College Cambridge) does concede that some people favour nuclear while “Conservative commentators” want fracking. But “cheap – or even free – results, for instance, can be gained” by just using less oil and gas, by turning the thermostat down, jamming your grandparents’ “sausage” insulators under doors, only heating rooms while you’re in them, cutting the speed limit to 55mph and running trains less quickly and less often. Just think how much you could save by doing without food too. Phew. As for the deplorables who want stuff, “The public might accept the restrictions if they were persuaded of an urgent need.” They already are: the urgent need to develop our domestic energy sources.
Among those who don’t seem to grasp, or tolerate, the new public mood is Extinction Rebellion, whose members we suspect of being obnoxious as a core principle and climate alarmists only opportunistically. They have announced plans to “block major UK oil refineries in April as part of their Rebellion, beginning on April 9th” and “tell the story of the fossil fuelled corruption at the heart of our democracy, while standing in solidarity with all people around the world who are defending their lives, land, wildlife and cultures in the face of the crisis.” Unless you’re Ukrainian, that is.
Or anywhere that culture includes having stuff and being happy. But ER has it covered: “The Ukraine conflict and the climate crisis have the same underlying cause: the imperialist pursuit of land and resources for profit, concentrating power in the hands of toxic individuals and corporations. By decarbonising our economies we can take power back from war mongers and change course, averting climate breakdown and collapse. But it must happen now, before governments use the conflict as an excuse to get off Russian oil and gas, only to begin drilling closer to home.” Say, there’s an idea.
Greta Thunberg has similar concerns, retweeting a Guardian story that “”Oil and gas companies are facing a potential bonanza from the Ukraine war/…/and many are using soaring prices and the fear of fuel shortages to cement their position with governments in ways that could have disastrous impacts on the climate crisis.”
The noted scientific and economic journal Rolling Stone agrees. Jeff Goodall, armed with an MFA from Columbia (in Fiction Writing, an interesting background for a journalist) and a massive attitude, hollers that
“For decades, world leaders and Big Oil CEOs were happy to turn a blind eye to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s autocratic impulses and fantasies of empire building. They were all fossil-fuel junkies, hooked on the easy money of oil and gas, and Putin had plenty of it. They helped finance pipelines and drilling rigs, and then bought as much oil and gas as he would sell them. For Putin, the cash from fossil fuels fired up his darkest ambitions. It not only helped him build the military force that he sent into Ukraine, it also gave him the means to stash billions in offshore banks that he believed would allow him to weather any economic fallout from the war. This was pretty much business as usual in the twilight of the fossil-fuel age…. But when Putin started shelling civilians in Ukraine, everything changed.”
Not, you understand, because we realized buying the stuff from evil tyrants was bad and we should get it from friendly democracies. Heck no. We realized energy was bad.
“Among other things, Putin miscalculated how fast the world is changing. Industrial nations are in the midst of what energy geeks like to call ‘a great transition’ away from fossil fuels and toward clean-energy sources. It is driven by the simple and brutal understanding that if the rich, Western world continues to burn fossil fuels in the future the way it has in the past, we will literally cook the planet, making it uninhabitable for life as we know it today.”
It was hardly a miscalculation on Putin’s part to realize that despite all its hoo-hah about the ‘great transition’ towards clean energy, Germany and Europe generally still needed fossil fuels and if they weren’t willing to produce their own they would willingly buy them from Russia, making them strategically dependent on Moscow and unable to stop him from invading Ukraine.
Meanwhile back at the BBC, Harrabin is also keen on wind.
“Wind energy also lies in the medium term. Onshore wind power is cheap and consistently polls show it’s liked by the general public. That hasn’t stopped some newspapers labelling them ‘hated’ wind farms.”
And to be fair to the man, he passes the climate alarmist sanity test, giving nuclear an endorsement. Before failing it by calling on the government to “hold down bills” so people can afford to use more energy they must use less of.