In its Quixotic quest to fight global warming, Europe is switching many coal-fired electric generating plants to wood pellets.
Not a good idea.
One of the most important advances for both humanity and the environment was our move from using wood as primary energy source to coal, natural gas, and oil. That led to a reversal of the deforestation that was happening all over the Northern Hemisphere as population rose. The higher-density fossil fuels allowed us to generate far more energy while leaving a far small ecological footprint. A win-win for people and the planet.
But now, in the name of fighting global warming, Europe wants to turn back the clock.
(Liberals keep telling us that’s impossible. Apparently that’s just a rhetorical trick on their part, whenever they don’t want conservatives to undo their failed policies.)
And the negative results for forests are already becoming clear. Even the Washington Post gets it, publishing a story, “How Europe’s climate policies led to more U.S. trees being cut down.”
But if anything makes it clear that for leading Greens it’s not, at bottom, about protecting the planet but about driving humanity back into prehistoric conditions, this story does.
The retrograde movement from high energy-density coal and natural gas to lower energy-density wood pellets for electricity generation means ecological destruction, reversing the recovery of North American forests (not just in the U.S. Southeast but in the continent as a whole) from their low points in the late nineteenth century to their high point recently. And the more broadly this regression spreads, the more of the world’s forests will be threatened.
Why do the Greens want this? Not to protect the environment, clearly.
Not even to mitigate global warming. Studies show it actually leads to more, not less, carbon dioxide emission.
Because it impoverishes economies.
That may not be the thought-through aim of lots of low-level eco-activists, but it’s the declared intention of many of the top Green theorists and leaders: drive man back into “harmony with nature.”
That means, basically, subsistence living, best modeled by indigenous jungle tribes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, second-best by the subsistence farming practiced by most of the human race until the Industrial Revolution.
Sure. If you want to go back to life as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (Hobbes), this is a step in that direction.
(Featured image courtesy of crustmania under Creative Commons.)