Problems we don’t have

Speaking with a gentleman who vends in a neighbourhood farmers’ market, I learnt something interesting, and probably true. Surviving family farms usually lack “organic” credentials. This is because getting them, from the bureaucracies that dispense them, is an immensely time-consuming process, and involves costs that would erase most of the little farmer’s profits. You have to be a big, faceless, industrial concern to afford the official “organic” labels that sucker big city consumers into paying double for essentially the same goods. That the whole system is massively corrupt, can almost go without saying. It was designed to be.

By coincidence, the same day my eye caught, by accident on the Internet, the announcement of a Green Award to a big car assembly “park.” They had changed all the light bulbs in their factory buildings, thus saving themselves a few thousand dollars on their multi-million electric bill, and seem to have installed new toilets, too. This sprawling high-tech carriage works remains three hundred acres of unspeakable aesthetic horror, in which human beings are enslaved to machines. But now it is “Green.”

Gentle reader may find his own examples of this sort of systemic fraud: they are everywhere. Conversely, he may look for integrity under every stone, and sometimes I hope he will find it. But big business and its enabling big guvmint are a cynical affair.

The environmental business — currently buoyed by unprovable, often fatuous claims of anthropogenic global warming — is perhaps the most cynical. It has spawned vested interests on a global scale, that will not be overturned by occasional exposure. At its heart is the manipulation of statistics, and scare-mongering through compliant mass media. The general public are hypnotized by repetition. I have noticed in desultory dips into the news that e.g. anomalous weather will invariably be attributed to “climate change,” when more plausible explanations are easily at hand.

This zombification extends to most other areas of reportage: invisible bogeys blamed for imaginary trends. Solutions to “environmental problems” are proposed that will not make the slightest dent in them.

A leading example is electrification. It is true that fossil-fuel burning contributes significantly to whatever — chiefly plant growth through increase in planetary carbon dioxide. We want “clean energy” instead, and propose to get it through megaproject, bird-killing solar and wind arrays. To date, these virtue-signalling technologies have contributed a share to the world’s electricity generation that works out to well under 1 percent. With technical improvements, by the end of the century, perhaps this may rise to 2 percent, though on the face of things I doubt it.

But nuclear power, most easily in the form of molten salt reactors (on which research was killed fifty years ago), could replace most uses of coal, oil, and gas within a decade, through much smaller facilities eliminating huge transmission costs. It would be the cheaper because the fuels are readily available to start in the form of recycled nuclear waste, and the raw materials would be abundantly available thereafter.

On the question of safety, the death toll from mining, drilling, hydro dams, &c, is quite considerable — in the tens of thousands at least, post-War. Except for Chernobyl (one of many Soviet-era environmental disasters), the death toll from nuclear accidents remains about nil. No one died at Three Mile Island. Not one death was caused by the flooded Fukushima reactors (though well over twenty thousand were killed by the tsunami that caused the difficulty there).

In short, “clean energy” is not a problem. It had to be made into one by the fright campaigns of the environmentalcases, whose own power and income depends on sustaining the problem, and preventing the most obvious solutions.