Why “Forward on Climate” is Pro-Blackout

“If you are anti-carbon dioxide and anti-nuclear, you are pro-blackout.”

This memorable expression comes from the great energy journalist Robert Bryce. And it is why I call the upcoming “forward on climate” rally “the blackout rally.” As I wrote a few days ago:

  In all of human history, there have been only three cheap, plentiful, reliable sources of energy: fossil fuel energy, nuclear energy, and hydroelectric energy. (Solar and wind have always been radically inferior as they have always been expensive and unreliable.) The leading “forward on climate” groups seek to destroy not only vital fossil fuel energy, but also nuclear and hydroelectric energy, which emit no CO2. Conclusion: This rally has nothing to do with climate, though I know many of its participants believe it does. It is about opposing any form of practical energy for any reason. It is a Blackout Rally.

Most Americans are too innocent to believe that there could really be a group of people who are pro blackout. But there are. Let me illustrate with the blackout rally leader I know best, Bill McKibben, since I debated him last November.

When I say that McKibben is pro-blackout, I don’t mean that he’s chomping at the bit to see his lights turned off, his food spoiled, his grocery store raided, etc. But he is still pursuing that outcome–because he deeply and blindly hates the industrial civilization that keeps his lights on.

This is a man who, following the tradition of primitive, nature-worshiping religions believes that “meaning has been in decline for a very long time, almost since the start of civilization” and calls for a “humbler world” in which “Human happiness would be of secondary importance.”

He believes that “Human beings—any one of us, and our species as a whole—are not all-important, not at the center of the world” and that “Consciousness doesn’t make us better than robots and rhinoceri. It just makes us different.” In his environmental philosophy, a better planet is one where we are poorer; “One-seventieth the income means one-seventieth the damage to the planet.”

Is it any wonder that McKibben and his fellow travelers find a reason to oppose every practical source of energy?

The dirty secret of the advocates of “clean energy” is that they don’t hate fossil fuels, nuclear, and hydroelectric energy because of any negative impacts of producing them. They hate practical energy because of the civilization we build by consuming it. The very purpose of energy is to change the planet to meet our needs. We use energy to transform the planet–or as we say at CIP, to improve the planet. But how could someone who believes that hunter-gathers are morally superior to modern Americans feel anything but hatred for industrial-scale energy, the lifeblood of civilization? As McKibben ally Amory Lovins acknowledges, on his worldview “It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.”

Of course, McKibben and the rest of the blackout leaders don’t share their real ideals and hatreds with their throngs of followers. If they did, they wouldn’t have many followers. In his book Eaarth, McKibben bemoans that “Nothing concrete had come of my work or anyone else’s” prior to his recent quest for public stardom with 350.org.

Since becoming a popular figure McKibben has downplayed his concrete goals. When I debated him in November, I repeatedly explained how his goal of outlawing 95% of fossil fuel use would ruin the lives of billions of people. He had no interest in discussing his goal. Nothing could stop him from righteously blasting the fossil fuel industry, the industry that flies him tens of thousands of miles so he can spit on them on an international stage. I thought it might give him pause when I cited the fact that high-tech fossil fuel civilization has caused a 98% decline in climate danger (climate-related deaths) in the last 80 years. But no–he never addressed it. Any positive facts about fossil fuels were an unwelcome diversion from his righteous hatred of them–a hatred cloaked in dozens of apocalyptic claims about fossil fuels, claims based on climate prediction models that can’t predict climate.

There is only one potential apocalypse when it comes to energy, and that is the apocalypse that would follow if the blackout movement gets its way. But, as the leader of the newly-formed Light Brigade, let me say this: “Not on our watch.”

PS As I wrote on Twitter, will @climateforward aka #blackoutrally debate me & @ericmdennis [CIP physicist Dr. Eric Dennis] or anyone from #lightbrigade — or do they want followers, not thinkers?