A Free-Market Energy Blog

Challenging Big Green for Human Betterment

By E. Calvin Beisner -- October 8, 2013

The statistics are startling. Johns Hopkins University scholar Nick Nichols found that in 2010, 13,716 environmental groups filed as tax-exempt 501(c)(3)’s with combined revenue of $7.4-billion. Their total assets? $20.6 billion.

Here are some specifics Nichols reports:

  • 2012: Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), $112 million revenue, $173 million assets;
  • 2011: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), $97 million revenue, $249 million assets;
  • 2011: Three Greenpeace organizations, $39 million revenue, $21 million assets.

And just what are these organizations doing with their money? Precious little in the way of environmental restoration or protection—lots in the way of advocating for policies that will fulfill Senator Barack Obama’s promise, when he ran for President in 2007, that if he were elected electricity rates would “skyrocket.” [1]

“I wonder whether the tax-paying coal miners of West Virginia realize that they are subsidizing progressives intent on destroying their jobs?” Nichols writes. “Do they consider Greenpeace charitable? I can’t speak for the coal miners, but I can confirm that both New Zealand and Canada have stripped Greenpeace of its charity status.”

EDF, NRDC, and Greenpeace are among the world’s leading advocates for climate policy that would force developed countries to switch from abundant, affordable, reliable energy sources (coal, oil, natural gas) to diffuse, expensive, unreliable sources (wind, solar, biofuels), driving up energy prices and therefore all other prices—and, ironically, gobbling up more land to produce energy!

The same policy would deprive developing countries of the abundant, affordable, reliable energy they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

The result? More generations of rampant disease and premature death that could be prevented with economic development fueled by affordable energy.

Opportunity in Danger

In contrast, groups like mine, the Cornwall Alliance, educate and advocate for common-sense earth stewardship. And ditto for other groups represented by contributors to MasterResource. Our mission is not only a better environment but also improving lives.

Lifting the needy out of poverty is our city upon the hill. Ronald Reagan used this metaphor well:

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it and see it still.

If the thousands of statist environmental groups can redirect their resources to real environmentalism and not neo-Malthusian pseudo problems, both the environment and the poor will benefit. Such is achievable with hard work because truth and goodness are on our side.


[1] Here is Obama’s full quotation to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board in January 2008:

“Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Coal-powered plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”

One Comment for “Challenging Big Green for Human Betterment”

  1. John W. Garrett  

    Dr. Roy Spencer has written a ringing condemnation of an op-ed authored by climatologists Andrew Dessler and Gerald North in which he states, “In the meantime, it would appear that Dessler and North would rather punish energy use, destroy prosperity, and kill poor people.” I commend it to your attention: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/10/dessler-north-demonstrate-why-scientists-appear-clueless/


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