Solar panels and wind turbines aren’t made out of nothing. They are made out of metals, plastics, and chemicals. These products have been mined out of the ground, transported, processed, manufactured. Each stage leaves behind a trail of devastation: habitat destruction, water contamination, colonization, toxic waste, slave labor, greenhouse gas emissions, wars, and corporate profits. (DGR, below)
Yesterday’s post shared with readers the scary premises and means of the Deep Green Resistance, now the Progressive/Left option to the Green New Deal.
Today’s post shares the DGR’s views on renewables, which this group correctly sees as invasive to the natural world. One wishes that mainstream, Washington, DC-centric environmentalists would wake up to the fact that wind power and solar panels are very invasive to the natural world relative to dense, mineral energies.
Here is the DGR’s views verbatim.
Will Green Technology Save the Planet?
No. Wind turbines, solar PV panels, and the grid itself are all manufactured using cheap energy from fossil fuels. When fossil fuel costs begin to rise such highly manufactured items will simply cease to be feasible.
Solar panels and wind turbines aren’t made out of nothing. They are made out of metals, plastics, and chemicals. These products have been mined out of the ground, transported, processed, manufactured. Each stage leaves behind a trail of devastation: habitat destruction, water contamination, colonization, toxic waste, slave labor, greenhouse gas emissions, wars, and corporate profits.
The basic ingredients for renewables are the same materials that are ubiquitous in industrial products, like cement and aluminum. No one is going to make cement in any quantity without using the energy of fossil fuels. And aluminum? The mining itself is a destructive and toxic nightmare from which riparian communities will not awaken in anything but geologic time.
From beginning to end, so called “renewable energy” and other “green technologies” lead to the destruction of the planet. These technologies are rooted in the same industrial extraction and production processes that have rampaged across the world for the last 150 years.
We are not concerned with slightly reducing the harm caused by industrial civilization; we are interested in stopping that harm completely. Doing so will require dismantling the global industrial economy, which will render impossible the creation of these technologies.
Aren’t renewable energies like solar, wind, and geothermal good for the environment?
No. The majority of electricity that is generated by renewables is used in manufacturing, mining, and other industries that are destroying the planet. Even if the generation of electricity were harmless, the consumption certainly isn’t. Every electrical device, in the process of production, leaves behind the same trail of devastation. Living communities — forests, rivers, oceans — become dead commodities.
The emissions reductions that renewables intend to achieve could be easily accomplished by improving the efficiency of existing coal plants, businesses, and homes, at a much lower cost. Within the context of industrial civilization, this approach makes more sense both economically and environmentally.
That this approach is not being taken shows that the whole renewables industry is nothing but profiteering. It benefits no one other than the investors.
OK, renewable technologies have some impacts, but they’re still better than fossil fuels, right?
Renewable energy technologies are better than fossil fuels in the same sense that a single bullet wound is “better” than two bullet wounds. Both are grievous injuries.
Do you want to shoot the planet once or twice?
The only way out of a double bind is to smash it: to refuse both choices and craft a completely different path. We support neither fossil fuels or renewable tech.
Even this bullet analogy isn’t completely accurate, since renewable technologies, in some cases, have a worse environmental impact than fossil fuels.
More renewables doesn’t mean less fossil fuel power, or less carbon emissions. The amount of energy generated by renewables has been increasing, but so has the amount generated by fossil fuels. No coal or gas plants have been taken offline as a result of renewables.
Only about 25% of global energy use is in the form of electricity that flows through wires or batteries. The rest is oil, gas, and other fossil fuel derivatives. Even if all the world’s electricity could be produced without carbon emissions, it would only reduce total emissions by about 25%. And even that would have little meaning, as the amount of energy being used is increasing rapidly.
It’s debatable whether some “renewables” even produce net energy. The amount of energy used in the mining, manufacturing, research and development, transport, installation, maintenance, grid connection, and disposal of wind turbines and solar panels may be more than they ever produce; claims to the contrary often do not take all the energy inputs into account. Renewables have been described as a laundering scheme: dirty energy goes in, clean energy comes out.
Biofuels, another example of “green tech”, have been shown to be a net energy loss in almost every case. Those biofuels that do produce net energy produce an exceedingly small amount. These fuels are often created by clearing natural ecosystems such as tropical rain forests or prairies for agricultural production, a process which releases even more greenhouse gases, reduces biodiversity, and reduces local food availability. Biofuel production is considered a major factor in rising food prices around the world in recent years. These rising food prices have led to widespread starvation, unrest, and violence.
Some people like to promote hydroelectric energy as a source of “green power”. This is false. Dams have enormous environmental impacts on rivers, beaches, and estuaries. Beyond these impacts, many dams are a large source of methane gas due to decomposing organic matter at the bottom of the reservoir. Methane from hydroelectric dams may be responsible for 4% or more of global warming.
Washington-DC environmentalists pretend that their favored renewables are clear ecological winners compared to natural gas, coal, and oil. Wind and solar power are not, for reasons given by the Deep Green Resistance. Still, the DGR is a fringe, violent, deep-ecology outfit that must be watched closely. They are not so much anti-energy as anti-human life.
All energy resources have both positive and negative “externalities.”
References I’ve collected:
Illegal mining in Congo wiping out gorilla populations
Presentation of Dr. Ken Morgan (about the environmental externalities of lithium mining & processing)
Are We Headed for a Solar Waste Crisis?
The rise of electric cars could leave us with a big battery waste problem
The Dark Side of Solar Panels
How Green Are Those Solar Panels, Really?
A Clean Energy’s Dirty Little Secret
Are electric cars worse for the environment?
Offshore Wind Power Cost Update
Retiring worn-out wind turbines could cost billions that nobody has
Wind Decommissioning Costs — Lessons Learned
Decommissioning Estimate for the Green River Wind Farm Phase I
Decommissioning Canada’s oldest wind farm
How much to take down a wind turbine?
BUFFALO RIDGE II WIND FARM DECOMMISSIONING REPORT
Long-term leaching of photovoltaic modules
If Solar Panels Are So Clean, Why Do They Produce So Much Toxic Waste?
Study warns of environmental risks from solar modules
PV Life Cycle Analysis
Economic Feasibility for Recycling of Waste Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Modules
Act Now To Handle The Coming Wave of Toxic PV Waste
If Solar Panels Are So Clean, Why Do They Produce So Much Toxic Waste?
Wind energy’s big disposal problem
Wide-scale US wind power could cause significant warming
The dark side of e-mobility
Despite Cleanup Vows, Smartphones and Electric Cars Still Keep Miners Digging by Hand in Congo – WSJ
Batteries could worsen CO2 emissions — study
Hperlinks can be provided upon request with email address.
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Read today’s Earth and Sky Website. Why is Mars’ glaciation and warming and cooling fully explained by its elliptical orbit and its precession, but Earth is not?
Secondly, if every fossil fuel car in the United States was replaced with an electric car, how much more electricity would be needed? I have no doubt that the US has not the capacity to meet that need. And of course most of the that need would come at night, when everyone plugs in for the evening to be ready for the next day. And solar will cover this, at night?
Thirdly, if natural gas is the only form of energy which can generate electricity to meet demand when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t sun, isn’t there an enormous inefficiency between natural gas cars (chemical energy to thermal energy to mechanical energy than Natural Gas chemical energy to thermal in a power plant, to mechanical then to electrical for the grid, then line loss, then electrical storage loss, then electrical to mechanical to drive the car. )
Fourthly, which is more efficient natural gas at one’s house heating the air for warmth in winter, or natural gas converting chemical to thermal energy to mechanical to electric energy to resistant heating in a house for warmth and water heating and cooking? All will require natural gas.
Fifthly, what about refrigeration gases which are being produced in massive amounts to feed the appetite of the newly emerging third world for air conditioners and refrigerators, and other industrial uses. These gases are as much as 10,000 times more GWF than simple Co2. And Methane breaks down in sunlight and the atmosphere. The refrigerants last for as much as 100 years or more.
Sixth, rice patties in Southeast Asia produce massive amounts of anthropogenic methane. No one is protesting about that.
Seventh, massive deforestation in the Amazon and Indonesia have significantly reduced the sequestration rates of Co2 by plants.
It goes on and on. The real question is not about global warming, it is about the Left’s desire to shift economic power from one group (the US) to other countries (China, India, and other emerging economies) Ironically, the Earth’s environmental condition IS rapidly deteriorating, but the problems far exceed the Climate Change issue. Global Warming is the least of our worries environmentally.
No mention of nuclear power, the safest thing humans have ever done. 43 deaths in the entire six-decade history, all caused by the Hindenburg of reactors, built in a country that had neither safety culture nor licensing criteria. It would not have been built anywhere else, and nothing like it will be built again. Fortunately, we know how to effectively destroy “nuclear waste,” actually valuable 5%-used fuel: separate fission products, 9.2% of which need custody for 400 years (a trivial problem), and put the unused fuel back into the reactor to make electricity. Read “Smarter Use of Nuclear Waste” in December 2005 Scientific American, or online.