Environmentalists: Carbon Bigfoots?

Our friend Rob Bradley, founder of the indispensable Institute for Energy Research, has a brilliant post up on IER’s MasterResource blog today about how the all-important “carbon footprint” of the environmental movement is almost certainly positive (that is, their policies have led to a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions).

Rob’s authority for this heterodox proposition is none other than the grand vizier of climate alarmism, the manic depressive James Hansen.  Hansen has previously gone against environmental orthodoxy by embracing nuclear power.  Now he has a new report out, “Renewable Energy, Nuclear Power and Galileo: Do Scientists Have a Duty to Expose Popular Misconceptions?”, and I’ll let Rob pick up the story from here:

“Then Hansen shares a very revealing ‘ah ha’ moment when he discovered the perversity the energy strategy of Big Environmentalism:

The asymmetry finally hit me over the head when a renewable energy advocate told me that the main purpose of renewable portfolio standards (RPS) was to “kill nuclear”.

I had naively thought that the purpose was simply to kick-start renewables. Instead, I was told, because utilities were required to accept intermittent renewable energies, nuclear power would become less economic, because it works best if it runs flat out.

“So natural gas wins, nuclear loses, and climate loses by Hansen’s math because….

What to do when the wind is not blowing? The answer was: have a gas plant ready as back-up. In other words, replace carbon-free nuclear power with a dual system, renewables plus gas. With this approach CO2 emissions will increase and it is certain that fracking will continue and expand into larger regions.

Me (Steve) again: Nice going enviros.  Of course, Hansen’s fundamental mistake is thinking environmental activism is actually about the climate.  Some day he’ll figure this out, and get really depressed.