Burning Batteries Pose A Huge Risk To EV Mandates

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Editors’ Note: Progressives and the Green Industrial Complex are hell-bent on using your money (state subsidies) to force the public into “green energy” and particularly, electric cars. Instead of what occurred earlier at the turn of the 20th century when gasoline, kerosene, steam, and electric cars competed openly and fairly with each other, our elites want to cram their choices down our throats. But like every other decision, one must be aware of the trade-offs. One trade-off is that EV vehicles are not better for the environment. Another is the electrical grid is not prepared to support the widespread use of EVs. It appears that conversion to EVs favors China in many important ways. And now two other related issues:  The problem of intense and toxic fires and much higher overall insurance cost. Before you get bribed into using an EV, perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the negative trade-offs. Could it be the central planners don’t know any more about the environment than they did about Afghanistan, crime, inflation, and Covid? When the market makes a choice, trade-offs cannot be ignored as they play a key role in cost and consumer choice. Consumers voluntarily make choices and producers voluntarily comply with their wishes. What works can be maintained and that which does not work fails in the voluntary marketplace. This allowance for failure guides the market to correct and cost-effective conclusions. When the government makes the choice, it is one size fits all, backed by state subsidies and coercion. And as for failure, if recent history proves anything, it is that our elites that run our institutions are never held accountable for anything they do.

 

After a Volkswagen Golf (not an electric vehicle) caught fire in the underground car park in Eku-Platz, Germany, the city’s civil engineering department closed the car park for five months. Damages (all eventually paid for by insurance) amounted to 195,000 euros. As a condition for the reopening, however, the insurance company forbade the use of the underground garage by hybrid and electric vehicles.

There were several reasons. Lithium batteries can only be cooled with extinguishing water and continue to burn for several days. The car park’s ceiling is not high enough to pull out burning vehicles with heavy equipment. This means that every other vehicle in the car park, as well as the entire building, remains at risk of a fire or explosion that could have disastrous results. Yet as the fire protection report admitted, nobody had even considered the magnitude of the fire risk from lithium-ion batteries prior to the Golf fire.

The fire risk from electric vehicles is not just a German parking garage problem. Nearly a year ago the National Transportation Safety Board acknowledged that at least half of the nation’s fire departments are not equipped to put out battery-powered car (EV) fires. The NTSB too agreed that lithium-ion batteries burn with extraordinary ferocity; battery fires also release emissions of extremely toxic fluoride gas.

Last November Reuters reported that worldwide acceptance of EVs, despite government mandates and subsidies, is being threatened by a global string of fires from overheated batteries. The article included a list of recalls by major auto manufacturers and what their investigations found.

Hyundai recalled at least 74,000 Kona EVs, after 16 of them caught fire over a 2-year period, to upgrade their battery management systems. Of the first 23,000, Hyundai found 800 vehicles with battery defects requiring replacement of modules said the have a significant risk of an electrical short circuit.

Ford Motor Co. recalled 20,500 European Kuga plug-in hybrid EVs and suspended sales. Ford offered to replace the entire battery pack, identifying the root cause as a battery cell contamination in its supplier’s production process. The setback delayed the U.S. debut of the Escape SUV.

BMW’s recall was limited to about 4,500 plug-in hybrid EVs, admitting that debris may have entered the battery cells during production, which could lead to short-circuiting and a “thermal event.” BMW also recallefficd 26,000 other plug-in hybrids over potential battery problems.

In response to a petition filed pursuant to a class action lawsuit, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration recently probed potential defects in certain Tesla vehicles that could result in non-crash fires. The plaintiffs claim that Tesla limited the battery range of older vehicles via a software update to avoid a costly recall to fix alleged defective batteries.

Capping the list is General Motors, which initially recalled nearly 70,000 Chevy Bolt EVs over fire risks, with the fix limiting battery charges (and thus mileage) to 90 percent capacity. The NHTSA has also investigated why three Bolts caught fire while parked. GM says the problem was traced to a torn anode tab and a folded separator, both of which could occur at the same time and create conditions that could lead to a short in affected cells.

In August, GM announced a second recall of 73,000 more Bolt EVs (every Bolt ever made) to replace new battery modules; the fix could cost GM $1.8 billion. Moreover, GM has decided to idle Bolt production “due to the impact of the global chip shortage.” Meanwhile, GM has recommended that Bolt owners park their vehicles outside and limit battery charges to 90 percent or lower, at least until replacement batteries are ready and service appointments are scheduled.

The problem with this mandate is obvious. Those whose in-home EV charging stations are in their garages cannot exactly park their EVs outside and charge the vehicle at the same time. The same goes for EV chargers now located in underground garages. Moreover, the fixes typically reduce battery charging by at least 10 percent, further shortening the vehicle’s range.

One supposes that some EV owners could just move their charging stations outside, but who leaves a vehicle out in winter cold or summer heat when they have a perfectly good garage? Yet who wants to risk burning down the house to avoid scraping the windshield or putting their tushes on a hot car seat?

Earlier this year Value Penguin reported that auto insurance for EVs is on average about 23 percent more expensive than for an equivalent internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. This is despite the fact that the average EV is driven far fewer miles a year than ICE vehicles. In California, home to 40 percent of U.S. EVs, drivers average just 5,000 miles per year behind the EV’s steering wheel. For many, the EV is the second (or third) car. But will insurance companies also raise rates for EV owners with in-garage charging stations?

In the Golden State, embattled Governor Gavin Newsom a year ago issued an executive order that would ban the sale of ICE vehicles buy 2035, with enforcement left to state agencies. One problem with this mandate is that the California Air Resources Board may be able to implement rulemaking to ban ICE sales, but CARB has no authority over vehicle registration and no authority to set registration fees to make ICE vehicles more expensive.

President Joe Biden, too, has talked tough about a nationwide mandate for EVs, but he, too, may be in deep trouble with voters over a number of other issues. As more and more people learn that their EVs pose a fire risk by manufacturers telling them to park their EVs outside, it seems quite possible that voters will soon sour on any politician who mandates inconvenient outdoor charging to avoid the risk of setting their homes on fire.

*****

This article was published on September 10, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from CFACT, the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow.

The Future of American Cars Is Not All-Electric

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Environmental elites like to cast their creeds as unshakeable and their doctrines as inevitable. Take these three: The Earth is only getting hotter, human survival depends upon radical lifestyle changes, and governments are taking action on the climate whether we like it or not.

Or this: America will slowly phase out all oil, natural gas, and coal energy for wind turbines and solar panels—and, for a handful of brave dissidents, nuclear power plants. In this carbon-free future, everyone will drive an electric car powered by alternative energy sources. There’s no room for alternatives or debate, only submission to the wisdom of the climatistas. It’s the inexorable march of progress—right?

Don’t be so sure.

Not Enough “Green” Electricity

In August, the Biden administration announced its goal to have zero-emission electric vehicles (EVs) account for 50 percent of all cars sold by 2030, mirroring “green” California’s decision a year ago to phase out gasoline-powered cars by 2035.

EVs currently make up about 2.5 percent of the U.S. automobile market and are rapidly growing, with Tesla leading the pack. With nowhere to go but up, one would think that a government mandate would be a godsend for car manufacturers. So why is Toyota—maker of the famous hybrid Prius and the world’s largest car manufacturer—lobbying against the plan?

Left-wing observers have explained away the company’s lobbying campaign as an effort to stall stiff competition from full-electric vehicle manufacturers. Toyota’s hybrids use both gasoline and electricity, and Toyota has been slow to break into the full-electric vehicle market. After all, company spokesmen say the manufacturer wholeheartedly believes in an all-electric future.

There’s a simpler explanation: There isn’t enough “green” electricity to power that vision.

The average EV consumes 30 kilowatt-hours (kw/h) to travel 100 miles, which Pew Charitable Trusts notes is “the same amount of electricity an average American home uses each day to run appliances, computers, lights and heating and air conditioning.” That is extra electricity required from the grid—not produced by your traditional fuel-burning car—that must be produced from another resource. But from which energy source?

The U.S. electric grid gets 86 percent of its power from sources deemed unacceptable to the environmental Left: natural gas (40 percent), coal (19 percent), hydropower from dams (7.3 percent), and—horror of horrors—nuclear energy (20 percent). The widely acclaimed alternatives—wind (8.4 percent), solar (2.3 percent), and geothermal (0.4 percent)—make up just 11.1 percent of the country’s electricity generation.

Even if eco-activists got past their revulsion for nuclear energy, that still leaves the nation with a huge electricity deficit that wind turbines and solar panels hooked up to lithium batteries simply cannot fill. Not only would mining the tons of metals and minerals required to build them by the thousands create a genuine ecological disaster and possibly a “permanent” lithium shortage by 2025, it would doom the electric grid almost the minute the sun dips or the wind stops blowing.

“Green” Energy’s Gas Problem

Unlike natural gas, solar and wind generate power intermittently, not continuously, so they need to be backed up by a reliable energy source—almost invariably natural gas. Every wind turbine and solar panel built means pumping more natural gas to ensure a steady supply of electricity. In an honest world, we’d call wind and solar “supplemental” sources, not “alternatives.”

Little wonder that so many Big Oil companies are rapidly becoming Big Gas producers while boasting about their commitments to fighting climate change—global warming is great for business. “Climapocalypse” rhetoric from professional activists creates a powerful incentive for government regulation by “selfless” politicians, whose legislation is favorably shaped by well-funded industry lobbyists.

What Toyota and other sober minds see is a twofold problem: the Biden administration’s proposal to convert traditional cars to EVs to stop global warming is effectively a proposal to massively expand nationwide electricity production—an unlikely outcome made impossible when “green energy” mandates are added to the mix. That’s a bet that they’re not willing to take, especially when eco-activists are now demanding bans on low-carbon natural gas.

A Dim Future

But as RealClearEnergy editor Jude Clemente points out, even if environmental fundamentalists got their way, oil will continue to be critical to fueling airplanes, heavy trucks, petrochemicals, and even the production of wind and solar technologies—with no viable alternative in sight. What will change is the average American’s access to cheap and abundant electricity.

We already have an example in Germany, writes Clemente, where climate change policies have made electricity a “luxury good” for citizens of the industrial powerhouse–turned–Green Man of Europe and a cold snap in February left some 30,000 solar panels and wind turbines frozen over and utterly worthless for the shivering Germans who rely on them.

In December 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned the world that “electricity consumption will double if the world’s car fleets are electrified.” If all that extra electricity must come from so-called alternatives, we’re in for a nightmare. Francis Menton has calculated the cost of powering just California’s power needs with solar panels (the state’s strategy to meet its EV mandate) at his blog, Manhattan Contrarion:

If 180 days per year have less production than usage, and the average shortfall of production on each of those days is 300 GWH, then you will need 54,000 GWH worth of batteries (180 x 300). At $200 per KWH, that will run you around $10+ trillion. This would be about triple the annual GDP of the state of California [emphasis added].

None of this is to claim EVs have no place on America’s future highways. As Edward Ring writes in American Greatness, electric motors have much to recommend them, such as a simpler design and better horsepower than internal combustion engines, lower maintenance requirements, and longer lifespans. Electric cars will undoubtedly continue to make up some portion of the vehicle fleet for the foreseeable future, even if their growth may leave the U.S. more dependent on foreign energy supplies and not prove to be as much of a spur to innovation as experts once believed, according to my colleague Michael Watson.

Rather, we shouldn’t allow the Left to warp our decisions about the future of the nation’s electric grid with their blind ideology disguised as science—there’s too much at stake.

*****

This article was published on September 9, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from Capital Research Center.

House Republicans Probe EPA Official’s Ties to Chinese-Controlled University

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Republican members of a key House committee are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency provide records related to a political appointee’s continued ties with a university controlled by the Chinese government.

Christopher Frey, the deputy assistant administrator of EPA for science policy who was appointed in early February by President Joe Biden, disclosed in his ethics recusal statement that he had taken an unpaid leave of absence from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, The Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported.

The ex officio chancellor of the university, Carrie Lam, is Beijing’s handpicked bureaucrat to serve as the chief executive of Hong Kong.

The watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust, which first obtained Frey’s recusal statement, said the university is effectively an arm of the Chinese government and that “one can presume from the leave that [Frey] plans to return to his employment with the Chinese government upon completing his tenure at EPA.”

Frey’s continued professional ties with the university raise concern about his ability to fulfill the duties of his office, Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., ranking member of the environment subcommittee of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, wrote in a letter Tuesday to EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

Frey’s office is tasked with conducting research that serves as the basis for EPA decision-making related to safeguarding human health and ecosystems from environmental pollutants.

Norman writes:

Instead of resigning his position with [the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology], he is only taking a leave of absence, indicating Dr. Frey intends to return to work for [the university] after his service in the Biden administration. At a time when the Biden administration is pushing for costly climate change ‘solutions’ that benefit China, it raises questions about why a senior EPA official has such strong ties to China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Norman’s letter demands that the EPA provide documents to his committee related to Frey’s affiliation with the university and any communications he has had since his appointment with anyone affiliated with it.

The EPA stood by its decision to allow Frey to retain his relationship with the school.

“Consistent with White House policy over several administrations, political appointees (with the exception of Senate-confirmed appointees) are permitted to take a leave of absence from an academic institution during their government tenure, provided that the required recusals are in place to avoid a potential or actual conflict of interest,” EPA spokesman Timothy Carroll previously told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Dr. Frey has executed the appropriate recusal statement and will continue to follow the guidance of ethics officials.”

Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust, applauded the Republican lawmakers for investigating Frey’s ties to China.

“As the members mention, not only is China the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, but dissent and academic freedom are under increasing attack at the very institution with which Frey is affiliated,” Chamberlain said. “In the midst of questions swirling over the Biden family’s financial relationship with China, the EPA’s nonchalant defense of Frey’s ongoing relationship should raise serious red flags in the eyes of the American public.”

The EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

*****

This article was published on September 7, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal.

World’s Dirtiest Cities List Raises Issue: Why Don’t Politicians Call Out China?

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Editors’ Note: We remain skeptical that so-called greenhouse gases are causing the earth’s temperature to rise. Even if so, there are cheaper, less intrusive ways of dealing with the issues emanating from minor changes in temperature than the arrogant schemes of central planners, who can’t even govern our major cities, but yet insist they are qualified to change the entire climate of the earth. That said, the following article makes a trenchant point. Accepting the greenhouse hypothesis for the sake of argument, the US is doing well in reducing emissions and the real offender is China. Yet environmental groups and Democrat politicians give the Chinese a pass on the whole issue and demand more and more extreme measures be placed on us when all that means little if China continues to emit and pollute.

 

Ponder this: A new tally of global cities’ emissions finds that the top 25 are responsible for 52% of the planet’s urban greenhouse gas emissions. Twenty-three of those are in China.

New York City is the first American city to appear, at No. 26. Out of the top 75, just four other American cities are listed – San Diego, Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles – all of them ranked 41 or higher. In other words, the U.S. – including each of our major cities – is outperforming the world when it comes to emissions.

All this data begs a question of our elected leaders who say we have to do more for our environment, banking on the fact that many Americans hear “environment” and think only locally, as in their state or nation. The fact is that the environment – including carbon emission – is global, so what we do here matters but what happens globally matters as much, if not more.

Unless we can use our U.S. innovation and leadership to spur other nations to make meaningful progress, then global environmental improvement will not happen. This is an indisputable fact.

What we in the U.S. have been doing for the global environment is working, but trying to do more without the help of other nations will only hurt our economy and make life harder for families and small businesses – especially those in inner cities, on fixed incomes or at or below the poverty level. Many have heard about environmental justice; well, energy justice is real and it has far-reaching consequences.

Without a doubt, the U.S. must maintain its progress, which includes reducing emissions by more than any other nation for the last two decades – even as our record energy output made the U.S. the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas.

There are those who argue, as they always do, that “we must do more” to show American environmental leadership to the rest of the world. For one, we could start by touting our current successes, and not self-flagellate to please a narrow world-view that starts with blaming America and relies heavily on socialist principles.

We are already leading the world in terms of environmental regulations and controls, and again, we’ve – by far – reduced our emissions more than any country year after year for more than 20 years. By 2025, we will be more than two-thirds of the way to reaching our targeted emissions reduction of 28% from 2005 levels under the Paris Climate Agreement, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies. Part of that is owing to the good work we’ve done in our cities to reduce emissions.

Contrast this with the facts about China, which recently won plaudits from many in the “we must do more” crowd for promising to stop increasing emissions before 2030. While we’re cutting our emissions, China’s pollution by then will have surged an estimated 14%-25%. On top of that, China’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 exceeded those of the entire developed world.

Say that again: more than the entire developed world.

Those are facts, undisputed by even the most hardcore anti-business zealot masquerading as an environmentalist.

When facts don’t add up, you can count on activists and allied political figures to turn to fear as a sales tactic. Just look at the about-face on natural gas. After talking up natural gas as a “bridge fuel,” the big-money environmental lobby turned on it and, struggling to find a plausible reason for the 180-degree turn, warned of calamity over methane. The obvious solution, they posited in a fact-free manner, was stopping natural gas production and transportation.

Natural gas is in large part responsible for our emissions reductions, as is our more recent and growing wind and solar power deployment. All of this ought to be applauded, not derided. It’s all good for our families, small businesses and farmers, and our economy. Energy is fundamental to a modern life, and it is essential to a healthy economy and population.

Yet the “we must do more” gang is silent on China’s rapidly increasing emissions. This comes while the U.S. continues to rapidly reduce our emission – including carbon, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and many, many more.

However, the U.S. anti-energy activists are not so silent when it comes to asking the American government to go easy on China.

More than 50 environmental groups recently sent a letter urging President Biden to be less aggressive toward Beijing, because it could risk Chinese cooperation. The groups, with no apparent sense of irony, wrote that doing so would build a “global economy that works for everyday working people.”

We applaud their notion of supporting working people. But attempting to force the United States to curtail its affordable and reliable sources of energy is not supporting working people. It is harming them and taking away energy that ought to be the right of every American and indeed, everyone in the world.

If we want a forecast of the future as advocated for by activists, let’s look at our recent history. Barely eight months since a new presidential administration took over, we have seen what constraining American energy production does, through a moratorium on federal energy leases and the shutdown of the Keystone XL pipeline. Just look at the higher gas prices, lost jobs, proposed tax increases, and rising inflation and try not to have a flashback to the 1970s.

American families, farmers, and small businesses all benefit from safe, abundant, affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible energy. Without energy, we face job losses, economic opportunities and, in some cases, the loss of life when energy is needed but not there.

Government policies ought to start with the principle of delivering energy reliably and affordably to homes and businesses. The policies advanced by elected leaders who are expecting Americans to get used to going without energy – think planned blackouts due to inadequate energy supply – or to pay more for it when they need it most are wrong.

When political leaders tell us we must ban certain energy sources to meet our emissions reduction goals, we should ask them why. Ask them about what they are doing about other countries, before they ask us to send our electrical grid backwards to the reliability and affordability levels experienced in the developing world.

Americans should demand reliable, affordable and environmentally superior energy. We must accept nothing less, and tell our leaders we are watching what is happening in the rest of the world.

We cannot meet our global environmental goals unless others follow America’s lead, not the other way around.

*****

This article was published on September 9, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from CFACT, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow

Woke Companies Must Wakeup On ESG

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Growing numbers of companies, banks, universities and investment houses are adopting Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards and disclosure rules. They’re pressured to do so by activists, legislators and regulators. Many expect to get rich via taxpayer-subsidized “renewable” energy projects.

Nearly all hope to “greenwash” their reputations, by claiming they’ll “make the world a better place,” by reducing fossil fuel emissions, and thus planetary temperatures and extreme weather events.

They recently got a boost from the US House of Representatives. It voted 215-214 party-line to pass a bill supporting Securities and Exchange Commission plans to impose new ESG rules requiring publicly traded companies to disclose “climate risks” allegedly caused by oil, gas and coal production and use. Some think the SEC might now give greater scrutiny to ESG climate claims and misconduct, but that seems unlikely.

Regardless, woke organizations need to wake up to climate, renewable energy and ESG realities.

The ever-more-hysterical climate and weather claims have been roundly debunked by Dr. Roy Spencer, Gregory Wrightstone, Marc Morano, Steven Koonin and others. But what’s truly outrageous about ESG is the way it studiously ignores the massive, widespread damage inflicted by pseudo-renewable energy.

Wind and sunlight certainly are clean, renewable and sustainable. But harnessing their highly dispersed, unpredictable, weather-dependent energy to meet humanity’s huge and growing energy needs absolutely is not. That requires lands and raw materials that are anything but renewable – using fuels and processes that are absolutely not clean, green, ecological or sustainable. Because they fail to recognize this, ESG programs are dishonest, even fraudulent – and must be reformed, investigated or scrapped.

Wind, solar and battery land and raw material requirements are astronomical. Onshore wind turbines require nine times more metals and minerals per megawatt than a modern combined-cycle gas power plant. One onshore 3-MW turbine foundation needs 600 cubic yards (1,500 tons) of concrete, plus rebar.

Offshore wind requires 14 times more materials per MW. Just the 2,100 850-foot-tall offshore turbines (30,000 megawatts) that President Biden wants to install by 2030 would require 110,000 tons of copper, plus millions of tons of steel, aluminum, fiberglass, cobalt, rare earth metals and other materials.

At an average of 0.44% copper in ore deposits worldwide, the copper alone would require mining and processing 25 million tons of ore, after removing 40 million tons of overburden to reach the ore bodies!

Add in materials for solar panels, more onshore and offshore wind turbines, backup battery systems, electric vehicles, transmission lines, and all-electric home heating and cooking systems – to run the entire USA, Europe and world – and the “green energy transformation” would require hundreds of billions of tons of metals, minerals and plastics, trillions of tons of ores, trillions of tons of overburden, and thousands of mines, processing plants and factories. Nearly all these operations employ fossil fuels.

America’s laws and attitudes make mining in the United States nearly impossible, even to support ESG-certified “green” energy facilities. That means most mining and processing will be done in Africa, Asia and Latin America, increasingly by Chinese companies. The manufacturing is done increasingly in China, which is why that country is building more coal-fired power plants every month.

Pseudo-clean-energy activities utilize hazardous chemicals and release toxic pollutants. They require vast volumes of water, often in the world’s most water-deprived regions. They cause acid mine drainage, create mountains of waste rock, and often result in vast “lakes” of toxic chemicals from refining the ores. Most are conducted under almost nonexistent pollution control, mined-land reclamation, endangered species, workplace safety, child and slave labor, and fair wage rules.

Cobalt mining already involves 40,000 African children, as young as four! Many Chinese solar panels are made with Uighur forced labor. ESG “green” aspirations would multiply this slavery many times over.

These travesties occur overseas – out of sight and out of mind – letting ESG activists and profiteers make incessant false claims that fossil fuel replacement energy is clean and virtuous. But when wind, solar and battery facilities are installed, adverse consequences will reverberate across the United States.

Hundreds of millions of acres of scenic, wildlife habitat and coastal areas would be impacted; millions of birds, bats, tortoises and other wildlife displaced, maimed and killed. And when their short productive lives are finished, billions of turbine blades, solar panels and batteries will be sent to gigantic landfills, because they cannot be recycled; their toxic metals and chemicals could leach out into soils, streams and groundwater. The same will happen in Europe, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.

Even on windy days, Mr. Biden’s 2,100 monstrous offshore turbines won’t meet New York State peak summertime electricity needs. Meeting just US coastal city needs would require tens of thousands of turbines. Dredge-and-fill operations associated with installing them would smother mollusks and other benthic species. Vibration noises would harm whale and porpoise navigation and communication. Their mere presence would create major safety issues for aircraft and fishing, naval and commercial vessels.

A single industrial solar facility near Fredericksburg, Virginia required clearcutting thousands of acres of forest habitat. Dominion Energy is planning solar facilities on Virginia acreage totaling one-fourth of Delaware. Solar installations proposed for the American Southwest would blanket millions of acres of desert habitats. Wind and solar operations would threaten or eradicate dozens of bird and other species that environmentalists have utilized for decades to stop drilling, fracking and pipeline projects.

Connecting far-flung wind, solar and battery installations to industrial centers and urban areas would require thousands of miles of new transmission lines – and still more steel, copper and concrete. Battery fires have already destroyed electric vehicles and homes. Imagine huge warehouses filled with thousands of battery modules erupting into enormous, uncontrollable conflagrations.

Biodiesel projects have already destroyed important orangutan habitats, and thousands of acres of US hardwood forest habitats have been turned into wood pellets for Britain’s Drax Power Plant.

Threatened, endangered, migratory and marine species must be protected – wherever mining, processing and manufacturing take place, and wherever “renewable” energy installations are contemplated. Human health impacts from infrasound and light flicker must guide decisions on how close to homes and businesses wind turbines may be installed.

Reformed ESG rules – call them Environment and Human Rights (EHR) principles – must require that all these issues are addressed for every wind, solar, battery, transmission and biofuel proposal.

People must know in advance how many turbines, panels, batteries and power lines are contemplated; how many tons of metals, minerals, concrete and plastics they will require; where those materials will come from; under what environmental, pollution, safety, wage and child labor standards. Companies and government agencies must certify that supply chains are free from child or slave labor.

Project-specific, comprehensive and cumulative US and global environmental studies must be conducted before any projects are approved, and must include regular, independent reviews of bird, bat, reptile, whale, porpoise and other wildlife displacements, injuries and deaths. Project studies must fully assess all environmental, human health, human rights and other impacts worldwide, and must not be fast-tracked.

These reality-based EHR principles will help ensure that any “green future” is founded on ethical standards that address all human and ecological consequences, and actually do make the world a better place. They can also help guide SEC investigations and prosecutions for ESG misconduct and fraud – and help spur much-needed mining in the United States, to reduce our reliance on China, Russia, Taliban Afghanistan and other adversarial countries for critical and strategic minerals.

*****

This article was published on September 6, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from CFACT, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow.

Biden Chief of Staff Backs Green Energy Despite His Costly Role in Solyndra Scandal

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

When President Joe Biden signed an executive order early in August calling for half of all new vehicles to be electric by 2030, White House chief of staff Ron Klain predicted success.

“In the effort to combat the climate crisis—and create a lot of great jobs in the US doing it—today will be a historic day at the White House,” Klain tweeted.

Later in August, the Democrat-controlled House passed a Biden-backed $3.5 trillion budget framework encompassing many “Green New Deal” initiatives such as a “Climate Corps” and a program to encourage utilities to sell carbon-free energy.

Klain enthusiastically predicted success with green energy in the last Democratic administration’s $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra, a politically connected company that made solar panels. That decision became one of the most embarrassing scandals of President Barack Obama’s two terms.

Government documents—some long public, others obtained by The Daily Signal in a Freedom of Information Act request—tell the story of how immersed Klain was in pushing taxpayer dollars to a company that soon collapsed. The Solyndra mess became symbolic of crony capitalism and climate boondoggles.

‘Progress on Clean Energy Front’

Despite how the government loan guarantee for Solyndra turned out, Klain’s enthusiasm for government support of green energy hasn’t waned—based on his tweets, anyway.

Last week, Klain touted climate-related aspects of Biden’s agenda in light of natural disasters.

“Extreme weather is killing Americans north and south, east and west,” he tweeted Thursday, later following with: “The Biden ‘Build Back Better’ plan would combat climate change.”

In May, Klain had boasted about the Biden administration’s approval of the first offshore wind farm.

“More progress on the clean energy front,” the White House chief of staff tweeted in March about a New York Times report.

The Times’ article boosted the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—better known as the Obama administration’s “stimulus” bill—and concluded that federal loans for green energy both created jobs and brought in revenue.

“This @NyTimes story reports that the ARRA actually made money for the taxpayers, and created 1 million green energy jobs,” Klain tweeted.

Klain was a Biden point man on Capitol Hill for the $1.1 trillion infrastructure legislation as well as the separate $3.5 trillion spending bill. He met in March with the House sponsor of the Green New Deal, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and other House progressives.

Biden nominated Klain’s wife, Monica Medina, as assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Science Affairs, a top environmental position.

In March 2020, Medina, founder and publisher of the environmental e-newsletter Our Daily Planet, wrote a Washington Post op-ed about the “environmental upside” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Potential for Another Solyndra’

The Times describes Klain, a longtime Biden loyalist, as “the essential nerve center of an over-circuited administration whose day-to-day doings reflect how this White House works and what it aspires to.”

Klain, who turned 60 in August, is credited by other left-leaning outlets such as The Washington Post, the Daily Beast, and The American Prospect with taming the Democrats’ progressive wing.

During the Solyndra scandal, Klain also was chief of staff to Biden, who was then vice president.

With Klain having more power today in addressing contemporary energy issues, remembering a decade-old scandal informs what might be ahead for the Biden administration, said Mike Palicz, federal affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform.

“Ron Klain was at the heart of the Solyndra scandal,” Palicz told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “There is potential for another Solyndra with subsidies for electric-vehicle charging companies. That’s about picking winners and losers, the same as Solyndra.”

Palicz also noted that the Biden administration is pushing for $174 billion in spending to “create good jobs electrifying vehicles.”

This, he said, is similar to the Obama administration’s failed “Cash for Clunkers” program, also funded under its stimulus legislation, which attempted to turn old cars into electric vehicles.

The National Bureau of Economic Research reported in 2014 that about 60% of the subsidies went to households that would have purchased an electric vehicle during the two-month program anyway.

The Brookings Institution, a center-left think tank, found in 2013 that the “Cash for Clunkers” program spent $1.4 million for every job it created.

The White House did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment for this report.

Proposing Obama’s Visit to Solyndra

The Energy Department provided the $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra as part of the 2009 stimulus bill. Not long after building its factory, though, the California company filed in 2011 for bankruptcy protection and an FBI investigation ensued.

Solyndra did not attract a buyer and closed down later in 2011. After that, other subsidized green energy companies also collapsed.

It was Klain who suggested that Obama visit Solyndra in 2010, batting away concerns from other Obama aides, including senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Planning for a cash infusion to Solyndra from taxpayers began early, and Klain had a key role in distributing the funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act after Obama signed the legislation.

On March 10, 2009, Matt Rogers, senior adviser to then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu, sent an email to Klain while he was the vice president’s chief of staff, saying that “all is on track for this announcement in northern California.”

Rogers touted the rapidity of the effort, saying in the email: “First loan guarantee from the department of energy—delivered in 60 days from [Obama’s] inauguration.”

“The deal is to bring private capital off the sidelines,” Rogers added.

However, Solyndra executives later would refer to the Obama administration as the “Bank of Washington.”

Klain passed along Rogers’ email to the White House’s deputy chief of staff for policy, Rob Nabors.

‘Looks OK to Me … A Few Will Be Belly-Up’

On Aug. 10, 2009, less than seven months into Obama’s first term, Klain learned that the Office of Management and Budget expected the Obama administration’s $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra to close by the end of that month.

Klain seemed to express excitement and wanted to know how quickly Obama or Biden could visit Solyndra.

“This is great. When is vp next in California? When is potus in California?” he asked, referring to Biden and Obama, respectively.

Months later, Klain’s jubilance would settle.

Jarrett, the senior Obama adviser, emailed Klain on May 24, 2010, to relate concerns she had heard about Solyndra even as Obama was scheduled to visit the company the next day.

“We clearly need to make sure that they are stable and solid,” Jarrett told Biden’s vice presidential chief of staff in the email.

Klain checked it out, telling Rogers and Chu’s chief of staff, Rod O’Connor, in an email: “Can you guys look at this ASAP and get back to me.”

In an email response, Rogers characterized the financial concerns as “standard for companies pre-IPO,” referring to an initial public offering.

Klain replied: “Thanks, this looks fine to me.”

As Biden’s chief of staff, he then responded to Jarrett the same day.

“Sounds like there are some risk factors here, but that’s true of any innovative company POTUS would visit,” Klain said in an email to Jarrett.

“It looks OK to me,” Klain wrote, adding: “The reality is that if POTUS visited 10 such places over the next 10 months, probably a few will be belly-up by election day 2012—but that to me is the reality of saying we want to help promote cutting-edge, new-economy industries.”

In September 2011, a little more than a year later, Solyndra went—in Klain’s words—belly-up. The company declared bankruptcy and put 1,100 employees out of work.

In an appearance Nov. 17, 2011, before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations, Chu said he wasn’t part of the exchange with Klain and Jarrett.

Later communications, The Washington Post reported, showed that Solyndra executives and Energy Department officials attempted to keep the financial problems and layoffs secret until after the 2010 midterm elections.

*****

This article was published on September 6, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal.

Biden Wrong On Fires And Ida

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hurricane Ida brought powerful wind and rain to Louisiana and drenched the Northeast.

Devastating fires have consumed California forests and burned people out of their homes.

Politicians and pressure groups, from President Biden on down, rushed to capitalize on people’s heart-rending losses, and exploit them to push the global warming narrative.

President Biden said, “The past few days of Hurricane Ida and the unprecedented flash floods in New York and New Jersey is yet another reminder these extreme storms and the climate crisis are here.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “Global warming is upon us, and it’s going to get worse, and worse, and worse, and that’s why it’s so imperative that we pass the two bills.”

Embattled Governor Gary Newsom, speaking on the Caldor and Dixie fires, vowed to “continue to lead on climate change, and that is our resolve and commitment to take a backseat to no one in this country in terms of our commitment to radically change the way we produce and consume energy.”

There is a chorus of voices conflating our weather with climate in ways scientific data does not support.

Hurricane Ida strengthened over a warm Gulf of Mexico. Yet there is no trend that shows the Gulf warming in a meaningful way. This is U.S. government data. Could any number of wind turbines, solar panels, or electric vehicles have meaningfully altered this temperature data, or for that matter Hurricane Ida?


Biden wrong on fires and Ida 1

Similarly, California rainfall always varies greatly from year to year. Here, for example, is the precipitation data for San Diego. Rainfall is low this year, yet not as low as many other years, some over a century ago. Who truly believes that taxes, redistribution or energy mandates could have meaningfully brought more or less rain? Would that even be desirable if they could?

Biden wrong on fires and Ida 2

When Hurricane Katrina struck, New Orleans flooded, not because of climate change, but because aging levies and pumps failed. We spent the last sixteen years improving the levies and pumps. This year they held. That’s what genuine “infrastructure” investment looks like.

CFACT stands with everyone who has suffered loss from fire, wind or flood. Count on our thoughts, prayers and action.

We must manage our forests better, harden the New York City Subways against storm surge and rain as required, and continue to ensure our noble first responders have the equipment and planning they need to protect us.

There has always been extreme weather and always will.

Exploiting the suffering caused by nature’s fury to push radical redistribution and climate policies is shameful.

This article was published on September 3, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from CFACT, Committee for A Constructive Tomorrow.

California Wildfire Devastation Was Entirely Preventable Through Proper Land Management

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

The apocalyptic wildfires wreaking havoc across California on an annual basis are entirely preventable.

President Joe Biden declared the Caldor Fire threatening communities at Lake Tahoe, California an emergency Wednesday night to dispatch federal resources to the relief effort.

That blaze, only 25 percent contained as of this writing, has already burned more than 200,000 acres with roughly 32,300 structures in the path of destruction, according to a local California news outlet.

Meanwhile, the Dixie Fire 120 miles north of the area scorched half of Lassen Volcanic National Park and remains only 52 percent contained. Billed as one of the largest in modern California history, the inferno has already engulfed 1,300 structures and continues to spread, presenting a nightmare to the 12,000 people who live within a five-mile radius, as calculated by The New York Times.

The pair of mega wildfires mark another tragic summer on the heels of a record-setting season last year, in which more than 10 million acres burned in the highest yearly total since modern-day tracking began in 1983. It’s not just that 10 million acres burned, but also that many acres burned as a consequence of high-intensity fires. The latter claimed more than 17,500 structures with damages totaling $16.5 billion, according to the Yale Center for Environmental Communication. Last year’s fires ranked the third costliest on record, behind 2017 at $24 billion and 2018 at $22 billion.

None of this had to happen. The apocalyptic carnage across California each year is entirely preventable. While Democrats perpetuate the manufactured narrative by legacy media that climate change is the sole culprit for this charred devastation, western states are burning primarily as a consequence of bad land management.

A quick examination of the map for nearly every major forest fire to make national headlines will reveal the deadly blazes either start or grow on federally mismanaged land.

“I don’t think you can call it a coincidence,” said Jonathan Wood, the vice president of policy and law at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC), adding that two-thirds of fires start on federal property. “If it were one, maybe it would be a coincidence, but when you’ve got a series, you’ve got a trend.”

Wood told The Federalist the outbreak of current forest fires was entirely predictable, raising alarm in a report published in April that the U.S. Forest Service confronted a backlog of 63 million acres with a “high risk or very high risk of wildfire” and another 80 million acres in need of restoration.

The build-up of fuel to follow 100 years of fire suppression has led to the creation of massive tinder boxes ripe to go up in the conflagrations seen today. According to ProPublica, between 4 and 12 million acres burned in prehistoric California every year. Between 1989 and 1998, however, state bureaucrats only burned an average of 30,000 acres a year. That number fell to 13,000 acres between 1999 and 2017.

Yet the Forest Service remains behind, now devoting resources to immediate crises presented by the fires of today as opposed to preventing the fires of tomorrow with thinning and prescribed burns. That includes selective forest logging and low-intensity fires to reduce excess wood fuel. According to Wood’s report, co-authored with PERC Research Fellow Holly Fretwell, the Forest Service only has plans for fuel reduction projects dealing with 1.4 million acres per year.

“At that pace, it would take decades to treat the areas at risk of catastrophic fire,” they wrote.

In his interview with The Federalist, Wood agreed climate change was in part to blame for the accelerating growth of wildfires, but emphasized proper land management that addressed fuel reduction was the “only realistic way” to deal with what’s become routine crises. Several studies have also discounted the importance of climate change in the intensity of wildfires gripping western states.

In one paper cited by Wood and Fretwell, a team of researchers who examined four factors in wildfire severity found live fuel “was the most important” in contributing to fire growth, with 53 percent of relative influence as opposed to climate change at 14 percent. Fire weather was rated with a 23 percent average relative influence and topography with 10 percent.

Another study authored by a team of scientists from the Conservation Biology Institute, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the University of California Los Angeles concluded human presence diminished the importance of climate in the growth of wildfires.

“In regions where human presence is more important, the importance of climate is lower on average,” they wrote. “This suggests that, not only can humans influence fire regimes, as has been documented, but their presence can actually override, or swamp out, the effect of climate.”

Michael Shellenberger, the president of Environmental Progress and author of “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All,” called this year’s megawildfires burning California “100 percent” preventable if adequate prescribed burns and trimming around powerlines had been conducted by government land managers.

Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom however, who faces a recall election in less than two weeks, cut the state’s budget for wildfire prevention and resource management from $355 million in 2019 to $203 million last year, a more than 40 percent decrease.

“Everybody knew we were going to have them,” Shellenberger told The Federalist of this year’s fires. He went on to place greater blame on negligent land management than on climate change.

“Climate change causes warmer temperatures. Warmer temperatures means that more of the year is warmer, so it extends the fire season,” Shellenberger explained, but qualified the statement with, “high fuel load is a necessary and sufficient cause of high-intensity fires. Climate change is a neither necessary nor sufficient cause.”

In other words, while climate change may extend the fire season, high fuel loads in the nation’s forests are the culprit for the eruption of fires of this size. And negligent land management made that happen.

*****

This article was published on September 3, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.

Greenhouse Saturation Research Could Kill The “Climate Emergency”

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The “climate emergency” appears to have died, far out on the scientific frontier. Word of this death has yet to reach the mainstream.

Professors William van Wijngaarden (Canada) and William Happer (USA) have published some extremely important research on the radiation saturation of the major greenhouse gases. Their first report is titled simply “Relative Potency of Greenhouse Molecules”. It makes use of a major breakthrough in radiation physics.

Until recently the estimates of greenhouse potency were based on approximation bands of absorbed radiation wavelengths. Now the authors have done line by line spectral analysis, looking at over 300,000 individual wavelengths within these bands.

It turns out that saturation occurs much sooner than previously thought. In particular the primary greenhouse gases, CO2 and H2O, turn out to be “extremely saturated” at present atmospheric concentrations.

These results strongly suggest that the dangerous multi-degree warming assumed by the climate emergency simply cannot occur. Is CO2 significantly impotent? This should now be a major research question.

The paper is here: https://arxiv.org/abs/2103.16465. Their second paper — Dependence of Earth’s Thermal Radiation on Five Most Abundant Greenhouse Gases — is here: https://arxiv.org/pdf/2006.03098.pdf

The second paper extends the research to include methane, nitrous oxide and ozone. All three have important climate policy implications, including agricultural policy. Methane in particular has become the target of a climate policy witch hunt. Professor Happer has an illuminating video on this topic. See my introduction and the video here: https://clintel.org/agriculture-policy-is-a-climate-change-witch-hunt/.

I first wrote about this ground breaking research a year ago, see my article: https://www.cfact.org/2020/09/26/study-suggests-no-more-co2-warming/. Since then I have done a bit of research on their research. There is almost nothing on greenhouse saturation in the scientific literature and that needs to change.

Aside: there is a huge literature on “CO2 saturation” but it is about the saturation of porous rock during deep well injection. This is a big problem with so-called carbon sequestration, where CO2 is removed from our emissions and (hopefully) stored underground.

There is also some confusion. As explained below, saturation is not an absolute, rather it comes in degrees. There is no such thing as complete saturation, so when a scientist says CO2 is saturated they mean a lot saturated, not completely saturated. This is important because I have found several articles where the author says skeptics claim CO2 is saturated and then points out that it is not completely saturated. This is just a straw man argument because skeptics who know the science never claim complete saturation.

CO2 Saturation explained: The surface emits a limited number of photons (or units of radiation) of the sort that atmospheric CO2 absorbs. In effect the molecules are competing for the available photons. So as the number of CO2 molecules increases the absorption per molecule goes down. More and more molecules are looking to absorb the same number of radiation photons.

The greenhouse warming is based on the absorption not on the number of molecules. Thus the warming potency of the CO2 does not rise nearly as fast as the number of molecules. This diminishing effect is called “saturation”.

The warming first drops off rapidly as the number of molecules increases. This means most of the warming occurs when the number of molecules is relatively small, far fewer than we have today. After that the warming changes very little as more and more molecules are added. That is where we are today, with a little over 400 ppm of CO2 molecules. The CO2 is extremely saturated. Even doubling the number of molecules to over 800 ppm would have relatively little warming effect.

That H2O is also extremely saturated is very important. Much of the amplified warming built into the emergency computer predictions is based on a strong positive water vapor feedback from the relatively modest CO2 induced warming. But as water vapor is already extremely saturated this strong feedback cannot occur, even if the number of water vapor molecules increases a lot.

More broadly, all of the scary IPCC warming projections are entirely based on these five gases creating a lot of future warming. None of the climate models include the high degree of saturation found by Professors van Wijngaarden and Happer. And according to these researchers, their pioneering results are confirmed by satellite measurements of radiation.

In short it looks like the IPCC climate modeling is simply obsolete. The models need to be redone to include all this saturation. And of course there is a lot more research to be done on greenhouse saturation itself.

But in the meantime it looks like the so-called climate emergency is dead. It has been killed by a big breakthrough in radiation physics. The greenhouse effect does not work the way the scary computer models have all assumed, instead it is dominated by saturation.

This is how science is supposed to work: hypotheses die as science advances.

*****

This article was published on August 31, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from CFACT, Committee for A Constructive Tomorrow.

Environmentalism as Religion: Unpacking the Congregation

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Dramatic headlines and images showing a deteriorating environment exist to demand swift, decisive, and large-scale action. We saw this approach in the 1960s when the first made-for-TV environmental crises showed oil-drenched seabirds on the California Coast and more recently in depressing videos depicting starving polar bears. Dramatic imagery has become the norm when discussing environmental issues.

We also see trends in editorial writing, discussions among political groups, changing business practices, and increasingly scholarly claims that also use dramatic imagery. At face value, these trends could indicate that the public demands dramatic governmental action on environmental issues. Some scholars, however, see this as more than mere increased public demand for government intervention, and they highlight similarities between environmentalism and religious movements. For example, Laurence Siegal states:

In the decades since modern environmentalism began, the movement has taken on some of the characteristics of a religion: claims not backed by evidence, self-denying behavior to assert goodness, (and a) focus on the supposed end of times.

Scholars have tuned into the general public’s zealous interest in the environment and more importantly, emphasis on government action, to push forward their own ideological goals under the guise of scholarship. Whereas the ultimate goal of scholarship is to mitigate climate change and improve sustainability, the reality is instead corrupted by thinly veiled ideology masquerading as scholarship, which is sure to distort any useful policy recommendations.

This phenomenon is illustrated by a recent study making the rounds in Science Daily and The Climate News Network. The authors, Vogel et al., claim that the world must decrease energy use to 27 gigajoules (GJ) per person in order to keep average global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a recommendation included in the Paris Agreement. Our current reality illustrates the outlandish nature of this suggestion. We are a far cry from this goal both in 2012, the year chosen for this study, as well as in 2019, the most recent year for available data. Here is a snapshot of current per person energy consumption (GJ):

2012:                                                         2019:
United States: 285.59                             United States: 287.63
China:                 84.56                             China:                 98.83
Canada:            385.67                             Canada:            379.94
Denmark:         127.97                              Denmark:         120.73
Germany:         165.10                              Germany:          157.33
Russia:             201.26                              Russia:              204.32
India:                  19.84                              India:                   24.92

Using these data, the authors pair what they view to be excessive energy use with a failure to meet basic human needs worldwide. In their own argument, they acknowledge that among the 108 countries studied, only 29 reach sufficient need satisfaction levels. In each case where need satisfaction is met, the country uses at least double the 27 GJ/cap of sustainable energy use, thereby creating a conundrum both for those concerned about the environment and human well-being.

The authors, however, provide a solution arguing that their research shows a complete overhaul of “the current political-economic regime,” would allow countries to meet needs at sustainable energy levels. Some of their recommendations include: universal basic services, minimum and maximum income thresholds, and higher taxes on wealth and inheritance.

These policy recommendations are not supported by the research and directly contradict a body of literature that argues economic growth, not government redistribution, is our way forward. Vogel et al. argue against the necessity for economic growth and even go as far as to support degrowth policies on the grounds that their model finds no link between economic growth and maximizing human need satisfaction and minimizing energy use.

In short, their proposed solution would punish affluent countries and favor a collective misery in which any market driven environmental improvements are crushed under the promise of equality and sustainable energy use.

Conversely, Laurence Siegel in Fewer, Richer, Greener: Prospects for Humanity in an Age of Abundance and the 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) argue that economic prosperity allows countries to invest in new technologies and policies that improve not only environmental health but also the well-being of the people. Thus, if we want to continue to improve our relationship with the environment and human progress, we should be more supportive of economic growth and the entrepreneurship that drives it.

If the above relationship between economic prosperity, environmental health, and human well-being is the case, how can these authors claim the opposite? The most likely conclusion is that the authors allow an ideological bias to drive their research, a claim that is supported by their normative descriptions of affluent countries as examples of planned obsolescence, overproduction, and overconsumption as well as the authors’ obvious demonization of profit-making.

As Vogel et al. demonstrates, environmental issues can be exploited by the drama and religious nature of the movement. Unfortunately, academics, such as Vogel et al., have learned to use these tools to stretch their limited findings into a full-blown rallying cry for their own preferred policies; in this case, socialism on a global scale.