On the far left and most of the mainstream right, people of all stripes hate cleaner energy. Notice how I say cleaner ? And not clean? Or renewable? Even if the adjective lacks detail I don’t find its use offensive or deceptive, but I rarely use it.
I recently talked with somebody who is very offended by green washing and lumps solar in with fracking as just as “green” as each other. Principly it seems because the stuff to make solar panels is mined (shock bloody horror!)
I pointed out that if its not grown or mined in this “lovely” modern existence then frankly it doesn’t exist. I absolutely hate it when people point this shit out, like its some revelation. No, most people understand the concepts of embedded energy and carbon intensity and choose to use different methods of supplying power than those that your utility might have.
Of course most people doesn’t include the happless public who are apparently being scammed with promises of 100% green energy, like solar panels grow on trees or something.
I get it, we are fucking ourselves
I have written before about the relationship we have with our only planet, our life giver. I have written before about how silly it is to call electric cars clean and how there is no such thing as 100% clean energy.
Yet this is not enough for some. I must accept that we are being completely scammed into accepting “green” energy only to further divorce ourselves from our connection to our planet and we must abandon all industrial activity immediately in order to survive as a species.
I chose to accept a messy reality that isn’t perfect. I chose to understand the argument that just sees cleaner energy as a continuation of our destructive habits towards our home and each other, but quite frankly I also chose to see it as a national benefit which would be insanity to avoid. Why wait until technology matures enough to be a little nicer on the environment to revolt against the corrupt powers that just want to enslave environment and population alike? Why now, in order to avert climate chaos we must abandon all industrial activity? Why didnt we have the balls 50 years ago..We fucking well knew then.
The discussion I recently had was buttressed by a Noam Chomsky quote I can’t even find, but I will reconstruct best I can. (In fact the only pieces I can find on Chomsky talking renewable energy are him lamenting a lack of US policy in the area)
“Anybody who is talking about renewable energy isn’t serious about maintaining sustainable life on this planet”
To the best of my memory. It’s a scary quote, full of fear of catastrophic climate collapse, I’ve read articles with similar themes. It begs a lot of questions;
Are we attacking the idea of using cleaner energy because it isn’t clean enough?
That enough of it can be deployed in time to have any substantial effect? (This is a monstrously complex question)
Or that basically energy in any context, denoting destructive activity is bad for our current predicament because everything has a carbon intensity no matter how low it might be.
Energy in any context, can and will be used by governments against their favourite target, their own population (a popular and coherent Chomsky meme)
This quote was given with no context (No, on Facebook? No, bloody cheek.) So any and all could be correct, but the jist of the whole argument at the end was just to point out that renewable energy is bullshit. Yes kids, just like Santa Claus. Attempts to talk solutions, which might have included discussion of the above begged questions where not met with interest. Huh.
If it barks like a troll….
I have been on the other side of this argument. Lots.
I have talked with a LOT of people about energy and climate, I have said lots of dumb stuff and heard plenty of it too. I encounter people who think renewables are a pathway to the dark ages, intermittent and expensive boondoggles and now I am arguing with people who think that anything short of abandoning anything but food calories as energy is nuts.
This is how I know I likely fall into a group of people who aren’t nuts. I fall in the middle, sure, I would love for society to only use and store energy generated when its possible to do so with cleaner intermittent sources. This I am assured is insanity.
I dont think we’re ready to rush headlong into a period of history marked by the complete absence of electricity. This I am assured is insanity.
When I talk about the enertia of industrialized society, complete with the collapsed civilizations of old in the rear view mirror, I don’t think I’m crazy. You cannot force a civilization to collapse before its time, there is no self imposed cold turkey in the history books, you don’t change your ways suddenly absent an external force. In the case of modern energy the twin sisters of peak oil and climate change are barking at our heels. We are boiling frogs to be sure and we will maintain what we can while being mindful of threats, and pondering systemic change. Slowly.
I’ve also often said that we need to see ourselves fall on our faces to know we’ve failed; to breed out our hubris over a generation. The only question is how far is that fall, and are we willfully changing too slowly in the face of these threats?
I don’t know, all I know is “renewable” energy is bullshit to anyone who doesn’t like reality unless it’s perfect. Fret about how we’re collectively being taken for a ride and sold down the river with promises if you want, I see things differently. With an open, but critical mind.