The hidden agendas of sustainability illusions

Absurd, impractical sustainability precepts are actually a prescription for government control

Guest essay by Paul Driessen

As President Trump downgrades the relevance of Obama era climate change and anti-fossil fuel policies, many environmentalists are directing attention to “sustainable development.”

Like “dangerous manmade climate change,” sustainability reflects poor understanding of basic energy, economic, resource extraction and manufacturing principles – and a tendency to emphasize tautologies and theoretical models as an alternative to readily observable evidence in the Real World. It also involves well-intended but ill-informed people being led by ill-intended but well-informed activists who use the concept to gain greater government control over people’s lives, livelihoods and living standards.

The most common definition is that we may meet the needs of current generations only to the extent that doing so will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability thus reflects the assertion that we are rapidly depleting finite resources, and must reduce current needs and wants so as to save raw materials for future generations.

At first blush, it sounds logical and even ethical. But it requires impossible clairvoyance.

In 1887, when the Hearthstone House became the world’s first home lit via hydroelectric power, no one did or could foresee that electricity would dominate, enhance and safeguard our lives in the myriad ways it does today. Decades later, no one anticipated pure silica fiber optic cables replacing copper wires.

No one predicted tiny cellular phones with superb digital cameras and more computing power than a 1990 desktop computer or 3-D printing or thousands of wind turbines across our fruited plains – or cadmium, rare earth metals and other raw materials suddenly required to manufacture these technological wonders.

Mankind advanced at a snail’s pace for thousands of years. As the modern fossil-fuel industrial era found its footing, progress picked up at an increasingly breathtaking pace. Today, change is exponential. As we moved from flint to copper, to bronze, iron, steel and beyond, we didn’t do so because mankind had exhausted Earth’s supplies of flint, copper, tin and so on. We did it because we innovated – invented something better, more efficient or practical. Each advance required different raw materials.

Who today can foresee what technologies future generations will have 25, 50 or 200 years from now? What raw materials they will need? How we are supposed to ensure that those families meet their needs?

Why then would we even think of empowering government to regulate today’s activities today based on the wholly unpredictable technologies, lifestyles, needs, and resource demands of distant generations? Why would we ignore or compromise the needs of current generations, to meet those totally unpredictable future needs – including the needs of today’s most impoverished, energy-deprived, malnourished people, who desperately want to improve their lives?

Moreover, we are not going to run out of resources anytime soon. A 1-kilometer fiber optic cable made from 45 pounds of silica (Earth’s most abundant element) carries thousands of times more information than an equally long RG-6 cable made from 3,600 pounds of copper, reducing demand for copper.

In 1947, the world’s proven oil reserves totaled 47 billion barrels. Over the next 70 years, we consumed hundreds of billions of barrels – and yet, in 2016 we still had at least 2,800 billion barrels of oil reserves, including oil sands, oil shales and other unconventional deposits: at least a century’s worth, plus abundant natural gas. Constantly improving technologies now let us find and produce oil and natural gas from deposits that we could not even detect, much less tap into, just a couple decades ago.

Sustainability dogma also revolves around hatred of fossil fuels, and a determination to rid the world of them, regardless of any social, economic or environmental costs of doing so. And we frequently find that supposedly green, eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives are frequently anything but.

U.S. ethanol quotas eat up 40% of the nation’s corn, cropland the size of Iowa, billions of gallons of water, and vast quantities of pesticides, fertilizers, tractor fuel and natural gas, to produce energy that drives up food prices, damages small engines and gets one-third less mileage per gallon than gasoline.

Heavily subsidized wind energy requires standby fossil fuel generators, ultra-long transmission lines and thus millions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, rare earth metals and fiberglass. The turbines create chronic health problems for people living near them and kill millions of birds and bats – to produce intermittent, wholly unreliable electricity that costs up to 250% more than coal-based electricity.

For all that, on a torrid August 2012 day, Great Britain’s 3,500 giant wind turbines generated a mere 12 megawatts of electricity: 0.032% of the 38,000 MW the country was using at the time.

The United Kingdom also subsidizes several huge anaerobic digesters, intended to convert animal manure and other farm waste into eco-friendly methane for use in generating electricity. But there is insufficient farm waste. So the digesters are fed with corn (maize), grass and rye grown on 130,000 acres (four times the size of Washington, DC), using enormous amounts of water, fertilizer – and of course diesel fuel to grow, harvest and transport the crops to the digesters. Why not just drill and frack for natural gas?

That brings us to the political arena, where the terminology is circular, malleable, infinitely elastic, the perfect tool for activists. Whatever they support is sustainable; whatever they oppose is unsustainable; and whatever mantras or protective measures they propose give them more power and control.

The Club of Rome sought to build a new movement by creating “a common enemy against whom we can unite” – allegedly looming disasters “caused by human intervention in natural processes” and requiring “changed attitudes and behavior” to avoid global calamities: global warming and resource depletion.

“Building an environmentally sustainable future requires restricting the global economy, dramatically changing human reproductive behavior, and altering values and lifestyles,” said Worldwatch Institute founder Lester Brown. “Doing this quickly requires nothing short of a revolution.”

“Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, the use of fossil fuels, electrical appliances, home and workplace air conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable,” Canadian arch-environmentalist Maurice Strong declared.

“Minor shifts in policy, moderate improvements in laws and regulations, rhetoric offered in lieu of genuine change,” former Vice President Al Gore asserted – “these are all forms of appeasement, designed to satisfy the public’s desire to believe that sacrifice, struggle and a wrenching transformation of society will not be necessary.” Environmental activist Daniel Sitarz agreed, saying: “Agenda 21 proposes an array of actions intended to be implemented by every person on Earth. Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all humans, unlike anything the world has ever experienced.”

“Sustainable development,” the National Research Council declaimed in a 2011 report, “raises questions that are not fully or directly addressed in U.S. law or policy, including how to define and control unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and how to encourage the development of sustainable communities, biodiversity protection, clean energy, environmentally sustainable economic development, and climate change controls.” In fact, said Obama science advisor John Holdren, we cannot even talk about sustainability without talking about politics, power, and control. Especially control.

Of course, the activists, politicians and regulators feel little pain, as they enjoy salaries and perks paid by taxpayers and foundations, fly to UN and other conferences at posh 5-star resorts around the world, and implement agendas that control, redesign and transform other people’s lives.

It is We the Governed – especially working class and poor citizens – who pay the price, with the world’s poorest families paying the highest price. We can only hope the Trump Administration and Congress will dismantle and defund sustainable development, the alter ego of cataclysmic manmade climate change.


Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

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223 thoughts on “The hidden agendas of sustainability illusions

  1. Go and have a chat with the residents of South Australia about “sustainability”.

    Q. What did South Australians have before candles?
    A Electricity.

    • My company was into sustainability, I was dragooned into serving on the Sustainability Committee. It was proposed that we eliminate the use of Styrofoam coffee cups and replace them with paper ones. So one guy went and researched Styrofoam vs. paper and found out more energy went into producing the paper ones than Styrofoam ones. We abandoned that scheme.

      But what do we use now? The cafeteria uses paper cups and plates and containers that get soggy. Sustainability my Aunt Fanny.

      • “Sustainability dogma also revolves around hatred of fossil fuels, and a determination to rid the world of them, regardless of any social, economic or environmental costs of doing so. And we frequently find that supposedly green, eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives are frequently anything but.”

        The doctrine of “sustainability” has been infiltrating our society, governments, local governments and education systems ever since United Nations Agenda 21, (and now Agenda 2030), was drafted in 1992.

        Take a look at your governments and local governments website. It is most likely that your government has been implementing Agenda 21 policies without you knowing it!
        Take a serious look at your countries/state education system.
        Do not rule out your judiciary!

        Dont be surprised if you see something like this! https://thedemiseofchristchurch.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/exemplar-3-2008-exam.pdf

        I have a number of posts on my website that look into this, but this is a huge powerful movement and I have only touched on it.

        Cheers

        Roger

        https://thedemiseofchristchurch.com/2013/03/13/are-we-experiencing-a-communist-infiltration-sponsored-by-the-united-nations/

    • I’ve just put this offer out there on another site it’s OT but relevant .

      OT but I’ve come to the conclusion why fight them , the greens labs and Libs can have my vote on the following basis or in America you can have Democrat or republican.

      Power is to get cheaper not more expensive .
      Any power outage caused by renewable energy will incur a $10’000.00 fine per event per consumer affected , not to be paid by taxpayer money but by the personal assets of what ever party was in favour of said clean green electricity scheme . This includes personnel assets of the politicians and registered party members .
      Tax payer funds only allowed for systems that can guarantee 24/7 electricity production and base load generation .
      Battery storage cost is to come from profits of the electricity providers and not to be passed onto consumers .
      This only covers energy production but I don’t think any politician would agree to this because it makes them clearly accountable and personally accountable for decisions they make and it’s about time they were all made accountable for stupid decisions they make .

    • Doesn’t matter. The source of all human wealth, and the sole source of human survival is through the conversion of natural resources. When (if) you can create natural resources, you might have a chance to create sustainability.

      • Obviously not true.Insurance for example creates wealth yet involves no conversion of natural resources at all.

      • @Phoenix44
        “Insurance for example creates wealth yet involves no conversion of natural resources at all.”

        “Wealth” is a somewhat ambiguous word, with several different definitions, some metaphorical.

        For example, we can say that a particularly detailed map contains a “wealth of information”. Hard to put a cash value on that.

        But the most basic definitions include “an abundance of valuable possessions” and “plentiful supplies of a valuable/desirable resource”.

        It is also a synonym for “prosperity”, which can be understood as “the state of having wealth”.

        So all of these definitions are based on the premise of possessing some valuable or desirable objects (i.e. “resources”).

        Insurance policies, like paper currency, stock certificates, IOU’s, lottery tickets etc, are intrinsically valueless. They do not create wealth, per se, but can be viewed as a kind of uncertain promise or probability for obtaining wealth, under specified conditions.

        For an insurance policy to pay off, some “conversion of a natural resource” does have to occur. I.e. a person/thing has to expire or change in such a way that its insured value is diminished. Not much different than a Super Bowl bet, which generates revenue if the team loses as wagered.

        Least of all, a group of politicians/bureaucrats, spending other people’s tax dollars, are in no way “creating wealth”. IMHO, it’s not even an efficient method of “distributing wealth”.

      • And exactly what natural resource did Zuckerberg convert to make his $Billions? At least the cap-n- trade farce has a goal of saving resources.

      • I disagree. It is not the physical resource that is the source of the wealth, but the conversion of it into something useful that others desire. For example, until we had a way of refining it, oil had no value. In fact, it destroyed wealth in that if you had an oil seep on your land, it was worth less because you couldn’t use the soiled land for crops or animal grazing. It was only valuable once someone learned how to refine it into useful products. The same goes for diamonds, rare earth metals, uranium, and everything else.

        Wealth is created when someone thinks of a way to make something that is of use and/or desired by others, and then puts in the work to create it. So it is this inspiration + perspiration that creates value which leads to wealth. Just think about music, art, and computer software. There is no physical resource that is exhausted when those things are created. And it can’t be denied that they have enormous value and make many people very wealthy.

      • As has been shown again and again, the Sustainability Preachers are usually blatantly wrong. ALL the resources they claim we are running out of fall into two categories. Those that are used up (like fossil fuels) and those that are transformed (like copper, iron, silicon).

        The transformed material literally can’t run out unless ALL of it is currently being utilized. It can be recycled endlessly, and in many cases already is. In fact, the only reason all such materials aren’t already is because they are often cheaper to dig up then recycle.

        The other group, those that are used up or consumed, (which include the obvious like fossil fuels, but also materials that are hard to recover and of a limited supply, like Helium) do have a point were we won’t be able to economically produce them. But for hundreds of years now the Alarmists and Neo-Malthusians have always over estimated how quickly we might run out of such materials.

        Another issue is HOW we might run out. The Population Bombers and Peak Oilers always assume a sharp peak followed by a rapid decline, so rapid that civilization can’t respond and instead immediately falls. This is of course ludicrous. Even if we assume a sudden sharp decline after a peak, that would only result in a price increase that would a) limit the resource’s market to those who could afford it, and b) encourage conservation and alternative resource development.

        of course, there rarely ARE sharp peeks in resources. Historically what we usually see is a plateau and/or slow decline. The only times you get a sudden peak is when a group controlling the resources limits it for political reasons (OPEC, Russian NG, US Helium during WW2), or when Technology causes a resource to be replaced.

        Despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, there is no sustainability problem.

      • Bynum, you don’t understand insurance, nor wealth.

        Insurance facilitates wealth generating transactions that may not have otherwise occurred.

        For example, When I bought my house, the bank lent me money on the basis I maintain insurance to protect their asset.

      • @phoenix44

        Insurance does not create wealth.

        It spreads the cost of loss of wealth.

        A nation comprised of only insurance executives would starve.

        A nation comprised of farmers prospers.

    • Suggesting that demand fiber optics reduce the demand for copper is absurd and bad example.

      Transmitting information is different than wires for power and pipes for water.

      We took aluminum cans and cardboard over to the recycle place and made $4. We had to show a drivers licence and leave a thumb print because of the market for stolen metals.

      My grandfather had voting machines stored at his bottling plant which closed on election day and became a place to vote in our small Ohio town. He was the republican representative. We also had barrels for scrap glass and metal. Use cardboard had a stack. The compost pile was next to the veggie garden.

      I just love good old conservative ideas are discovered by the left who seem to think they are the only ones who love the environment.

      I just hate the idiots here who are against something just because some other idiot is for it. Idiot vs Idiot.

      • Sorry, retired KP, I must be having a slow day. Still trying to work out what your point is.

        Suggesting that demand fiber optics reduce the demand for copper is absurd and bad example

        Do you mean that fibre-optic cables increase the demand for copper? That sounds absurd to me.

        As for electric wiring, here’s a couple of future developments that will reduce the demand for copper:

        1. Single-wire circuits with multiple smart switches to branch devices (already starting in the automotive sector and probably going to happen in home wiring).

        2. When all light bulbs are LEDs working off DC (eliminates wasteful rectifiers in the lamp base that consume more power than the bulbs themselves) household wiring circuits to lights will have 1-Amp breakers and use 40-gauge copper wire. With a single rectifier at the breaker panel. You read it here first! It may take a while for regulatory agencies to embrace the idea, of course.

      • “1. Single-wire circuits with multiple smart switches to branch devices (already starting in the automotive sector and probably going to happen in home wiring).”

        Been there done that. Back in the 40’s-60’s cars. When the body metal was used for ground return. After a season or two of salted winter roads there was hardly a signal or brake light remained operative. Epic fail.

  2. Thomas Malthus reincarnation is the water melon that is sustainability. Malthus couldn’t comprehend the inventions of Cyrus McCormick or Eli Whitney. Much less the industrial efficiency of Henry Ford.

    Thankfully, those that can, do. Those that can’t teach. Those that cannot teach administrate. Those that cannot administrate govern. And those that cannot govern preach.

    Sustainability is a religion.

      • The circular flow of the economy is a concept dating from Schumpeter in the early 1900s. It has no relationship to looney causes or belief systems other than it perhaps is becoming a borrowed term, I dunno, maybe you can enlighten me.

        I used the term in a thread comment on one of Willis’s economic postings a week or two ago. If it has become a term of derision in our debates then all I can say is people are being manipulated by the left into abandoning useful concepts and will eventually have no way to express rational thought.

      • Indeed. The reason is that all malthusian predictions are self-defeating prophesies. The prediction ensures a reaction which more than negates its premise.

    • “Third World” !
      There is only ONE (world) and you are on it.

      If you mean poor countries then just say so.

      • Generally, they’re not poor countries but rather poorly run countries.
        Most countries have some form of natural resources and/or the ability to trade for what they need.
        That is, unless the powers-that-be act to prevent upward mobility for the people.
        Contrast Haiti with Dominican Republic.(no natural resources)
        Contrast Venezuela with Canada.(with natural resources)
        Having natural resources doesn’t make a country work.
        Good governments with the rule of law makes good countries.
        By most metrics, DR and Canada are better places to live than Venezeula and Haiti.

  3. I heard a psychologist say that when the person refuses to tell you their motivation, you can infer them by finding the end goal of their actions and inferring backwards.

    All environmental regulation costs money. All of the advocacy of environmentalists converges on a socialistic goal: less energy use, less prosperity, less liberty, bigger government. Those who demand “sustainability” never care that their plans cannot be and never are economically sustainable. They are socialistic in nature. That is, their full and true costs are so out of kilter that they must be hidden and they must be funded by taking money from somewhere else and somebody else.

    But economic truth cannot be hidden forever. Government eventually gets exhausted from the continual energy it must expend to keep up the economic mirage. That was true of nuclear power. It is just as true with solar and wind power. Who will pay to remove the abandoned turbines of a defunct wind power company?

    But these people are not motivated so much for a pristine environment as they are by some inner call to force humanity to return to its mythic origin in type of Garden of Eden, when humanity can start afresh, and maybe create the long yearned for secular Utopia.

    • Sustainability provides an excuse to use demand side management and demand side management is a tool for controlling people. A very old tactic.

      Rationing and taxes are also included in demand side management.

      Carbon taxes are a type of demand side management.

      Few governments dare to use rationing except in times of dire need such as war.

  4. The fact is that if we constrain or shackle progress today, we automatically bequeath a less advanced future.

    It is the innovations of today, that form the foundations upon which the advances in the future will be made.

    History suggests that enrichment today, automatically leads to enrichment in the future.

  5. …well-intended but ill-informed people being led by ill-intended but well-informed activists…

    First chuckle of the day (-:

  6. What’s even more disconcerting is when you realize CAGW and “sustainability” are merely different prongs of the same attack….that of denying property rights and economic wealth the world over in the name of power and control.

  7. World’s first hydroelectric lit house

    It wasn’t hearthstone it was cragside
    Northumberland england

  8. “For all that, on a torrid August 2012 day, Great Britain’s 3,500 giant wind turbines generated a mere 12 megawatts of electricity: 0.032% of the 38,000 MW the country was using at the time.”

    Well in 2017 there will be 10GW plus of solar panels operating on that torrid August day…

    And on a Wednesday in 2016 wind was supplying 26% of 48GW demand.

      • But how much did solar contribute on a December night?

        However you make a good point when you highlight the unpredictability of Wind. That 26% generated by wind displaced the reliable generation that we cannot do without. That displacement meant that the reliable generation was not covering its costs for the period when the wind blew. It has to raise that revenue when Mary Poppins scrams once more.

        That means higher costs. That means poorer people.

        Unfortunately the Sceptic side is not well funded and so cannot afford fancy hosting with editing facilities.

      • “A wednesday in December that should have been.”
        Ah yes, I remember those days well.
        A day that might have been.
        Or a time that could have been.
        A month that would have been.
        Gone now, in the unstoppable flow of time.

        Did you mean “a wednesday that should have been”?
        Or “a December that should have been”?

        Your comment is ambiguous, perhaps you could edit it to clarify?

      • Griff, imagine trying to run a business when on one day your supplier delivers 100 widgets for your factory, then the next can only manage 10. But to make matters worse, they can’t tell you how many it will deliver the following day or the day after that, yet you still have to produce your goods for an ever-hungry market.

        I used to work in the UK power industry back in the 80s and was amazed at how accurate the estimates were for the energy demands for up to 5 ahead, But of course back then, they knew exactly where they were going to get it from.

        The huge variability of renewables has made the whole system over-complicated and requires expensive backup invariably from diesel generators that produce far more pollution than good old reliable coal (and that’s real pollution as opposed to plant food in the form of CO2)

      • ““A Wednesday in December . . .”

        . . . but in the room people come and go
        And talk amid the candle glow . . .

      • @TonyL:
        re Griff’s “A wednesday in December that should have been.”

        He was retroactively modifying the last line of his previous comment, which lacked “December” and read:

        “And on a Wednesday in 2016 wind was supplying 26% of 48GW demand.”

      • Griff February 9, 2017 at 5:07 am

        A wednesday in December that should have been.
        (Is there no way to add editing here?)

        Sadly, as far as I know if you’re on WordPress there’s no preview.

        w.

      • @ roy 10:57 am, Please all of us can follow your explanation , but you are going to keep Griff up for hours to try and understand it. You did us a favor.

    • Griff

      This defines you very well, i’ll leave to figure out end of this your on.

      Well-intended but ill-informed people being led by ill-intended but well-informed activists

      • Not even ok. You have a suburb. Only 1/3 can have power tonight. The other 2/3 get nothing, no lights, no refrigeration, the food in their fridge will go bad.

        Far from ok in my books.

    • There you are, Griff.
      I checked the numbers for you. 3500 windmills produced 0.035% of the power needed that day.
      So to get 100% of the power we need 3500/0.00032 = 10,937,500 windmills. Given maintenance, call it 12 million even.
      No Problem!
      If you want sustainable, and a lot of greenies do, this is what it will cost you.
      All you need to do is explain how construction and maintenance of 12 million windmills is “sustainable”.

      • Griff acts like he learned his natural sciences from Toneb the “retired meteorologist” who tried and failed to answer the question, “what’s the law of thermodynamics to find out the temperature of some air?”

        Griff’s also locked up like a pole-axed ox when asked.

        Matter of fact profound levels of “too dumb to know the name of the law governing the atmosphere”

        tend to be the A.G.W. believers’ common, “core” value.

        Ever go to a global warming website?

        It’s a place where every comment has the intellectual adulthood of Griff..

        Knowing about atmospheric science is a sign you’re “not a believer.”

        I went to the science slanderer website named ”Hot Wopper” and asked them all – all of them – the owner too – if any of them could tell me the name of the law of thermodynamics to find out the temperature of some air. Not one person there – including the owner – could answer the question.

        I just went in there bold as buttons and asked them straight up: which one of you knows the first thing about the atmosphere, and what governs it’s temperature?

        Everyone should make it a point to do that. The answer to the question is the Ideal Gas Law. It’s equation is PV=nRT: and the reason it’s necessary to use it, is because there is an additional step to discovering the temperature of gases: they are compressible fluids, which makes them a different phase of matter: than either solids or liquids:

        therefore the density of the air must be known and properly solved for.

        *When someone tells you there is more than one law which can be used to solve the temperature of some atmospheric air, or gas, they are immediately self-identifying as a scam peddler.

        When I was young my parents had to bust chemistry scammers in several different fields including antiques and antique glass, (there are various chemistries to age antique objects according to what they are) as well as coins and stamps.

        Chemistry scammers depise talking about the laws of physics – and become agitated at the mention of them. Because anyone who ever works with the various phases of matter, and knows the general physical traits of matter and energy, can swiftly be shown to check for fraud in chemistry.

        Although chemistry is a complicated subject the rules governing it are, at their base, quite simple: and can not be violated. It is why the criminal fiends screaming that the scientific minds discovering their fraud are evil, seem to have allergic reaction to mention of the laws of thermodynamics.

        There’s nowhere for them to hide.

        The laws that led up to writing the Ideal Gas Law are bridged and unified in the Law, and the Law comprises several hundred years testing and revision.

        It is the factor “R” in the law which establishes the basic energy quantity per mole of atmospheric air: and the gas CO2 gets the identical energy factor Nitrogen and Oxygen get. When you calculate the temperature of atmospheric air – the law you use to do it properly, mathematically forbids you calculating the temperature differently because CO2 varies.

        If for some reason it becomes a matter of calculating the temperature of the gas pure, such as in a volcanic vent, or in a laboratory, CO2 has less energy per mole than atmospheric air.

        Just knowing the name of the law for solving the temperature of some air,

        Just knowing the reason compressible fluids have their own law, -due to their highly variable density,

        Just knowing what each of the factors mean, in the Law, is all you need to know whether it is possible for CO2 variance to alter the temperature of the atmosphere at large.

        The key is to simply go and educate yourself about how and why gas temperatures are calculated, and everything you are continually droned to forget, at global warming websites, comes back into focus,

        and it reminds you why the chemistry fraud buster’s motto is “go back to the laws of thermodynamics, because everybody can understand them, because everybody lives and dies by them, and they can tell what’s physical and possibly real if you teach them the laws that govern something.”

        Magicians,chemistry scammers, all depend on you getting sucked into “I might not know much,” and “I can trust this person to lead me, they’re insisting.”

        The global warming scam is fraud of prodigious proportions. people have been shaken down by to seemingly disparate groups of people – fraud peddlers and their believers – into simply not believing they have the right to demand truth or someone can take a hike.

        All scammers are inveterate liars and manipulators. You can always tell it’s not about the science, when you’re told that it’s not about the science, it’s about what you’re allowed to say. This is another big tip-off the scammer has to keep control over all the dialogue or the cat will get let out of the bag.

        Nowhere real science is discussed, do people “supervise” everyone’s conversation. I’ve run several different forums related to online gaming: and even thouse contentious people are able to get by, 90% of the time, without moderator interference.

        When people start telling you that they better “supervise your discussion so you don’t discuss the wrong science” you know they’re part of the scam: and it’s a shocking thing to go to one of the sites where belief in global warming is taught because

        everyone,
        who is allowed to talk,
        has a large list of things they aren’t allowed to say. It’s the mark of chemistry fraud and scamming in general.

        Don’t let the audience discuss things among themselves: insist their thoughts have to be “supervised”.

        Have you ever gone to another forum or blog in your life, to discuss basic science – auto mechanics, flight, electronics – where hovering “leaders” supervised what you said, because – “you might say the wrong things about science” ???

        This is the TRADEMARK of fraud.

        Don’t let the scammees bring or get near any instruments. Find reasons they can’t test.

        Control the dialogue and don’t let any discussion break out regarding the laws of thermodynamics: because they’re simple, and nobody can break them: and it’s easy to check if they try to tell you they did.

        Scammers would rather have a willing idiot,

        than an independent thinker who is a genius around.

        Every single step of the way this debacle of crime and theft through “inducements” and “subsidies” and “rebates” – other peoples’ money to buy my friends’ products instead of the real ones you need –

        has stunk of fraud to high heaven. As everyone is learning, it always did, and always bore every single fingerprint of fraud. There were none of the indicators missing.

        Why don’t climate websties have sections on “how to check for chemistry fraud?” Because climate science has become: chemistry fraud.

    • And there in lies the problem with wind. In a matter of minutes it can go from supplying 26% of your power to 0.032% of your power.
      If you don’t have ample spinning reserves, constantly burning fossil fuel running in the background, your power system collapses.

    • “And on a Wednesday [in December] in 2016 wind was supplying 26% of 48GW demand.”

      Yes, but which Wednesday. There were four of them. Since you didn’t say anything, I assume that wind was providing it’s usual bugger-all on the other three. And what about the other days of the week?

    • So, when wind was supplying 26% of demand, how many steam plants were idling, using fuel to keep up a steam head, while producing no power? Prime power movers have to be kept on line and warmed up no matter how hard the wind is blowing, for in the next few minutes, it may stop. My last cross country trip carried me through Kansas. I saw easily over a thousand wind turbines on a nice warm day. I saw less then 50 of them spinning, and I doubt any of the multi MW turbines were spinning fast enough to power a single home. Also saw a bunch of unattended oil pumps that apparently run 24/7, pumping good useful oil into local collection tanks, where a tank truck would fill up from on a regular schedule. I doubt any of those old wells have yet been fracked.

  9. There is a certain “allure” to sustainability, we actually considered doing a few things like buying a windmill, and looked into solar in various forms, but by the time we did all our homework it made a lot more sense to focus on efficiency, a bit of passive solar in the form of a sun-room with removable triple pane glass. The benefits are huge, but for most people insulation and high efficiency furnaces are just not that sexy a concept.

    • Mark from the Midwest: I agree. I bought a high efficiency furnace (96.4%) and saw my heating bill drop by 1/3. There’s so little heat left in the exhaust gas that it won’t rise up a chimney. It has to be fed through a small pipe in the wall of the furnace room. Absolutely marvellous. Ditto for LED bulbs. That’s where governments should be putting their effort. Efficient use of our precious fossil fuels is in everybody’s interest.

      • “That’s where governments should be putting their effort.”

        Governments should mind their own business.

      • Here are my questions about LED bulbs.
        1) Does the lifetime cost/benefit actually work out as well as advertised. I know CFLs do not! Their real world life is no where near as long as advertised.
        2) LEDs do not have full spectrum colour (usually only 3 wavelengths that our eyes interpret as adding up to white). Doesn’t that drive you nuts? I know when using LED flashlights that this issue results is a lot of light, but still no ability to distinguish detail about what I am trying to look at.

      • 1. Yes. Example… I converted my kitchen ceiling cans to LED and paid for them in the first year electricity savings. Reduced the heat output as well. I expect them to last longer than I will. 2. Choose the brightness you want for the application. I use soft white for most indoor use. Bright works better for me with flashlights as you’re usually not that interested in detail when using them. If you do the math LED efficiency and longevity is worth the cost.

  10. … home and workplace air conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable …

    The alternative to suburban housing is high density urban housing. Those tall towers are uninhabitable without air conditioning. Suburban housing, on the other hand, copes nicely. I spent the first half of my life without air conditioning. We also used to do sustainable things like growing vegetables. The greenies don’t realize that their various goals are incompatible.

  11. Sustainability is one of those ridiculous ideas that is so hard to kill because it sounds nice but means nothing, and so can be used as a cudgel to knock opponents out of the debate ring.

    If “unsustainable” means anything, it means that if we keep doing something in the same way we do it today, at some point in the future we won’t be able to do it any more because we’ll have run out of something necessary to keep doing it.

    So what? Since when was continuing to do something the same way forever a goal or value?

    • That’s a good question.
      The answer is “Never” in Science or Engineering. As those fields work in an imperfect,world. They are never complete.

      But there is a field that claims to be perfectly aligned with a perfect world.
      Fundamentalist Religion.

      • I love it when atheists pretend they understand religion.
        M Courtney, if you can find a fundamentalist that believes we live in a perfect world, I’ll never criticize you again.
        Christianity proclaims that this world isn’t perfect and can’t be made perfect. No matter how much we humans want or try.
        It’s you socialist/communists who believe that perfection is possible, if only you could be given enough power and money.

      • “Christianity proclaims that this world isn’t perfect”

        Far be it for me to proclaim that my view is more correct than yours, but, as I recall, the world was perfect except for the activities of Adam and Eve. So, all imperfection than, is human derived.

        Except of course for that serpent, who apparently wasn’t part of the perfect picture.

  12. The reason Malthus and the Club of Rome are wrong is that we keep innovating. Those innovations are the result of breakthroughs. Buckminster Fuller called the process ephemeralization. We really are doing more with less. There is debate about whether we can keep it up.

    • And M. King Hubbert and his peak oil hypothesis. Being a geologist, he should have considered source rock magnitude compared to reservoirs. Back during formation of his hypothesis, he couldn’t comprehend measurement while drilling or its combination with steerable bent subs and mud logs.

      • Keith J @6:49

        Could you please elabourate a bit…what is “source rock magnitude” and please explain the connection with “steerable bent subs and mud logs”. Did he ever find much oil? Thanks.

  13. “Sustainability” is only valid when one can truthfully assert that “Everything that can be invented has already been invented”. Now, when did I hear that before, ???

  14. To get an idea as to how far this “sustainable” BS has gone look at your local building code. Compare that code with the one for Alaska and then Florida, then Canada. Why do they look almost identical? My county building code looks like a clone of the one for Los Angeles. Now Google “UN Sustainable Program.” Or “a@enda 21” (correct the spelling as that is a forbidden phrase on this site.) Their you will see that the plan is global and the building code is part of it.

  15. Not being qualified to do much else, but still needing to find employment fulfillment, the people who populate NGOs and foundations – and most politicians – have found in these organizations perfect employment niches to satisfy their highly developed egos and highly developed senses of their superiority, while pulling down handsome compensation packages, with very low risk of negative personal consequences. They operate in a world where only strident opinion matters, and they get to tell the rest of us how to live our lives; while they live high on the hog, add costs, but supply no value.

    They have power, they reproduce, and, if they fail with one agenda, they’ll simply find a other with which to burden us (and, thereby, sustain themselves). So, we cannot ignore them, and we will always have to resist them.

  16. Paul Driesson says: “Mankind advanced at a snail’s pace for thousands of years. As the modern fossil-fuel industrial era found its footing, progress picked up at an increasingly breathtaking pace. ”

    I’d make a distinction between mankind and technology developed by mankind.

    Mankind is no different in 2017 than it was 5000 years ago. What is different is the availability of technology.

    Technology allows much better living conditions, better food production, for many more people. Mankind is still plain ole mankind. It also allow mass killing. Human behavior is unchanged but the [GAIN] is turned way up!

    With the dawn of the 20th century, the progressive left, those who want to subdue populations, have engineered with technology the democide of 262,000,000 people. [Rummell]

    Yes we have tiny cameras in mobile devices. Now we can watch mankind beat the cr@p out of itself on every street corner. In 100 years, there will be even greater machine, enabling greater monstrosities to be directed at people by our psychopath leaders.

    The war is not against CO2 or coal or bicycles or GMOs. It is against the liars who point to these smoke and mirror distractions as scapegoats and excuses to kill people. The CAGW activists just want to kill people.

    Patrick Moore, pointed to the damage to the environment as justification to slow human population growth and created Green Peace. That is just typical.

  17. The “sustainable” choise is to use whale oil for illumination and ivory for billiard balls.

    Both natural and ecologigal.

    Do I need a /sarc/ ?

  18. The biggest problem with the idea of “sustainability”, and even “energy efficiency” is that they completely ignore economics. A prime example of that was Obama’s disastrous “Cash for Clunkers” program.

  19. Trump needs an education on these issues and I think he’s got the right people around him. Agenda 21 is one of those motherhood-like Trojan horses that sappy unsophisticated municipalities have already adopted with zeal. Totalitarians know how to get the thin edge of the wedge into unsuspecting places. The swamp is much broader and deeper than Trump thinks. US education has got to be cleaned of subversive lefty foreign invasion. Universities are largely irreparable. We will need new ones to compete with the diseased ones. The job is enormous. Have much to do with your own children’s education!

  20. Sustainability is not a patent falsehood that is always wrong, as maintained by the author and many of the commenters here in this thread. It is but a notion or consideration that makes sense within logical limits, but which obviously is not by itself the holy grail of organizing principles either, as the enviro-extremists maintain.

    It is not sustainable to deplete a biological resource, such as tropical rain forests, until they are utterly destroyed through slash and burn temporary agricultural exploitation, which also destroys an entire ecosystem and all the species and even the biosphere itself that depend upon the tropical rainforests. But as the author points out, there are obvious limitations to the notion of sustainability, because it does not account for human reactions and innovations, in terms of both technology as well as responses to market forces. When the exploitation of petroleum resources in the second half of the 19th century made whale oil non-competitively priced for space lighting, the market for whale harvesting plummeted … and the over-exploitation of the whales was ended, which if not ended would have eventually resulted in extinction of the hunted whale species.

    In the 19th and 20th centuries, it was called “conservation” rather than “sustainability”, but it was the same principle.

    If climate skeptics act as if there is no value to the notion of sustainability or conservation, as seems to be the case here, then we become discredited as ignorant cranks who are quite fine with over-exploitation of resources … and just as discredited as those who believe that we can meet our energy needs only through renewable sources and by clamping down on technology and human advancement.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. Extremism and mindless snark is always counter-productive in any discussion of policy, from either end of any given spectrum of opinion. Logical and intelligent balancing of all the factors is always necessary to come up with effective policies.

    • I like conservation as a principle in resource use. Make the most efficient use of what you use. Take care to not deplete below replacement capability. Strive for continued improvements in efficiency (which the free market tends to do anyway).

    • It’s clear that yours is one of the ‘cooler heads’ Mr. Truitt — borderline cool that is. Suggest you read the essay again to sweep away the last of the cobwebs.

      • Straw man argument… as one who has practiced and taught sustainability in a number of diverse fields for 35+ years, I have never met a definition like the one the author uses: “The most common definition is that we may meet the needs of current generations only to the extent that doing so will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs. “. No one knows the future although many do pretend to – including this author.

        All the definitions of sustainabillity that I have met build off of early forestry & hunting practices that allow a harvest that is a percentile of the total available resource – usually based on the number of years to replacement.

        Sustainability usually focuses on reducing, replacement of non-renewable resources with renewable, and recycling. Is this the insidious program that will lead to one world government and the enslavement of us all?

        The huge majority of people, from my experience, involved in sustainability projects do so out of a motive that has stepped away from the self-serving, get-what -you-can, maximize your profit, mentality that has come to dominate economics and increasingly relationships. Again, in my experience, most are into local community networks and have no use for large scale corporate control – whether in the name of go vernment or the so-called “free enterprise” version.

        Such people have long been the hidden allies of sites like this – only with rabid comments like those found above, you alientate them and innoculate them from any possible open-minded understanding of truth as regards climate change.

      • les February 9, 2017 at 3:12 pm

        Straw man argument… as one who has practiced and taught sustainability in a number of diverse fields for 35+ years, I have never met a definition like the one the author uses: “The most common definition is that we may meet the needs of current generations only to the extent that doing so will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs. “. No one knows the future although many do pretend to – including this author.

        Thanks, Les. As you point out, your definition of “sustainability” has to do with “sustainable harvest”.

        However, the problem is that most folks are not using it for that. They’ve taken a concept applicable to a renewable resource and have applied it to everything from businesses to non-renewable resources to societies to development itself.

        So if you’ve “never met a definition like the one the author uses”, it suggests you’ve not strayed far outside your own field. For example, there a lot of people arguing about what “sustainable” means for things like oil … and I can guarantee they’re not using a “sustainable harvest” definition like yours.

        When Coca-Cola and Walmart have “sustainability policies” … something is awry.

        w.

    • Duane, you’re confusion Conservation with Sustainability. They are NOT the same thing.

      Conservation is basically about responsible use of renewable resources. Not using them up faster then the can replenish themselves. And I’d be willing to bet that everyone commenting here is in favor of Conservation.

      Sustainability on the other hand is about NOT using non-renewable resources, because that would deprive those in the future of being able to use them. ANY use of a non-renewable resource is viewed by those pushing sustainability an ‘non-sustainable’, because no matter how long you could keep doing so, it would run out qeventually.

      The poster child for this is Coal. There is enough coal to power the world for centuries. Not that we’ll need it to, Nuclear, Fusion, or something else is guaranteed to replace it as the primary fuel of power generation before the end of the century, and probably by 2050. That assuming Natural Gas doesn’t do so before then.

      And coal isn’t really a conservation concern. Nature doesn’t need coal. We don’t need to ‘protect’ it. It’s just there under the ground, not doing anything.

      So please, don’t try to insinuate that those of us who don’t buy into the Sustainability meme are against conservation. Trying to liken never burning coal with saving the rainforest is mindless and extreme.

      • If anything, digging up the coal and burning it helps the rainforests of the world. It puts that sequestered CO2 back into the air where the plants can get at it.

    • Something new? Whale oil for space heating? Whale oil was used for lighting by those who could afford it.

    • Thank you Mr.Truitt for a well written essay. Too many contributors to this blog site seem to favour quantity over quality re human numbers. When I was 14 years old I read somewhere that no country should have more population than it can sustain from it’s own resources. I am now 78 years old and I still think that was a capital statement. And I am very much a CAGW sceptic.

  21. I hate to think of those lousy grandkids zooming about the snowy streets of Sydney in their fancy australinium-powered jetson-mobiles sniggering at our attempts to guess future climate and future tech.

    Some things – like cast iron cookware and mud brick – are for the ages. Most technology and most resources are for using and dumping when something better comes along. So use and dump. Nothing runs out.

    As for those sniggering grandkids…

  22. A much more useful concept than sustainability or conservation is efficiency, and in particular, energy efficiency. An energy efficient system is always to be preferred over a less efficient system. The problem with wind and solar energy is that they are inefficient. Both forms of energy generation are intermittent in nature and hence require on-line backup, which in itself is grossly inefficient. Both tend to be located far from the end-users, requiring lengthy transmission lines. Quite apart from their cost, lengthy transmission lines are inefficient because they dissipate energy in the form of heat.

    Probably the most efficient form of large-scale energy generation is nuclear energy, because it does not require a major fuel delivery infrastructure and can be built fairly close to the end users (no lengthy transmission lines). Hydro-electric is highly efficient with regard to energy generation, although it usually requires lengthy transmission lines. Gas-fired thermal generation is efficient because its fuel delivery infrastructure, i.e. a pipeline, once built, is very cheap to operate, and the generating stations can be built close to the end users.

    • solar is frequently located right on your roof, so in fact there isn’t any transmission loss. Latest HVDC lines lose little in transmission.

      I’d rather the nukes were quite a way from me!

      • Who lives under the panels at a solar farm such as the one at Indianapolis Airport or Denver International Airport then?

        There is a hell of a lot of transmission loss from these Plus the fact the power is generated in DC and has to be inverted AC, even more power loss.

      • Those panels on your roof provide only a tiny fraction of the power needed by your house.
        You are also ignoring people who live in apartments, the way you alarmists want most of us to live.

      • there isn’t any transmission loss.
        ==================
        Not true. 12 VDC as used in solar panels has huge losses requiring extremely thick and expensive cables. Just look at the 12 VDC battery cables on your car. Now look at your 120 VAC household kettle or hair dryer. They use about the same amount of power as your car’s starting motor, yet the cables are relatively thin and light weight. Imagine trying to use a hair dryer with your cars battery cables connected to it and the wall.

        Now add in solar losses for AC/DC conversion, angle of the sun, batter charging/discharging. Now add in the simple fact that current battery technology only manages about 1000 charge/discharge cycles before the battery must be replaced. With day/night storage requirements, this means replacing all your batteries every 3 years best case. And the batteries can easily match or exceed the cost of the panels.

      • ~20% loss converting from DC to AC from my rooftop PV. Rooftop solar hotwater also wont work after four days of monsoon trough settling over the city so the booster gets turned on.

      • You really should refrain from comments regarding concepts you don’t really have any understanding of. Other people do. It makes you look even sillier than most assume you are.

  23. Windmills affect human health and kill vast numbers of birds. Does anyone now if the low frequency vibrations kill Bees or affect their health?

    • no, they don’t.

      Only a handful of wind sites cause harm to large numbers of birds. Multiple studies have shown no health risk

      • Griff:
        A friend of mine lives near Fenwick in East Ayrshire, in a once beautiful spot now dominated by numerous wind farms.
        The value of homes in the area has been destroyed by the wind farms, and it’s difficult to sell your house at any price if you want or need to move.
        People are kept awake at night by the noise, and there have been well documented problems with water supplies, as many houses are off-mains and have private supplies.
        Don’t try and pretend that people’s health is not affected by sleep deprivation and financial stress.

      • Information about wind turbine bird kills has been gathered and recently published in Ontario. Use internet search for Ontario Wind Resistance .Org. The bird kill information for Ontario is posted there.

  24. The government is even too incompetent to predict the past. Why does anyone think it can predict the future?

  25. ‘Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst’ = BS artist selling a book.

    I happen to think intentional misleading statements are the same as lying.

    “U.S. ethanol quotas eat up 40% of the nation’s corn, … gets one-third less mileage per gallon than gasoline.”

    American farmers are really smart productive folks. They process the excess energy out of feed corn producing a better feed and the ethanol is an additional product they can . E-10 does not change the thermal efficiency of ICE. The purpose of the 2005 Energy Bill mandate was to demonstrate an alternative to Saudi Arabia crude.

    George Bush and American corn farmers were not worried about sustainability.

    Paul D is full of BS.

    Speaking of BS (cow actually):

    “The United Kingdom also subsidizes several huge anaerobic digesters, intended to convert animal manure and other farm waste into eco-friendly methane for use in generating electricity. But there is insufficient farm waste.”

    AD is primarily an animal waste processing system. The largest application is for human waste. The best thing AD do is convert highly toxic animal waste to a safe and stable fertilizer by capturing 90% of the nitrogen. Electricity is a less valuable byproduct. The interesting thing about cow manure compared to chicken, is the enzymes that break down cellulose. This allows those AD to be used to process biomass waste stream for a tipping fee.

    “Why not just drill and frack for natural gas?”

    Paul D do you still beat your wife? The loaded question is a device used by liars not stupid people. Farmers and ranchers play the hand they are dealt. I have seen plenty of corn fields with gas and oil gather gear. Why not do both?

    “It is We the Governed – especially working class and poor citizens – who pay the price”

    I got even money that Paul D is not part of that ‘We’.

    • So much idiocy.
      Whether farmers are smart or not isn’t relevant when discussing the fact that much of the US corn crop is diverted from consumption to making fuel. This drives up both the price of food and fuel.
      Yes, the left overs from ethanol production are being used as cattle feed, but the total nutritional value is still well below what was there prior to it being processed for fuel.

      In your opinion, adding a fuel that has only 1/3rd the energy density of gasoline has no impact on gas mileage?

      As to the rest of your rant. If I could figure out what it is you are ranting about, I would respond.

    • The loss of mileage from ethanol laced gasoline has nothing to do with thermal efficiency; it derives directly from the fact that ethanol has less energy per unit volume than gasoline. Although I think the 30% figure is for pure ethanol, so that is likely wrong. But make no mistake, adding ethanol to gasoline reduces mileage. Ethanol is also more corrosive and has a shorter shelf life (due to a higher affinity for water) than gasoline, making it a poorer and more expensive fuel.

      Ethanol is basically a hand out to corn farmers and ethanol distillers intended to buy votes in the midwest. I live in corn country. Everybody that farms corn around here knows that without the government ethanol mandates and subsidies, corn prices would not be as high as they currently are, and profits would be less.

    • I happen to think intentional misleading statements are the same as lying.

      “U.S. ethanol quotas eat up 40% of the nation’s corn, … gets one-third less mileage per gallon than gasoline.”

      American farmers are really smart productive folks. They process the excess energy out of feed corn producing a better feed and the ethanol is an additional product they can . E-10 does not change the thermal efficiency of ICE. The purpose of the 2005 Energy Bill mandate was to demonstrate an alternative to Saudi Arabia crude.

      …wait.
      Nick? Is that you? Are you trying to get around your moderation with a new sock puppet?

      Accusing others of intentionally misleading or lying while using a misleading statement to ‘prove’ their point sure sounds like our boy Racehorse.

      On the gripping hand, even Nick should know about conservation of energy, and that you can’t take energy (in the form of alcohol) out of corn and still have the same amount of energy for feeding the cows. So there is nothing misleading about that statement.

  26. Those sustainability and Agenda 21 promoters won’t be satisfied until we, the proletariat, are all crowded into urban, East German-style government-owned tenements, from which we emerge every morning to ride government transportation to drop off our kids at government daycare before we and our spouse report to our government jobs.

    That is not an exaggeration or sarcasm.

  27. Absurd, impractical sustainability precepts are actually a prescription for government control

    Paul Driessen – let’s differ to

    Absurd, impractical sustainability precepts are actually a prescription for controlling the government

    • “Minor shifts in policy, moderate improvements in laws and regulations, rhetoric offered in lieu of genuine change,” former Vice President Al Gore asserted –

      and developed

      “Absurd, impractical sustainability precepts as prescription for controlling the government.”

  28. I point out, whenever appropriate, that the word “sustainability” didn’t exist when I was attending university. It’s a made up word, who shifted the meaning of that which can be sustained–as in non-declining/sustained yield timber management–with a policy which reacts to changes in market forces.

    Before the woods were closed to logging by concerns over an owl, there was a robust discussion of modifying non-declining/sustained yield (dn/sy)to reflect producing more logs when timber prices went up, and fewer logs when prices went down. But that policy, today, operates as a vestige of current resource utilization. We’re logging well below levels of nd/sy. due to lawsuits, regulations and the removal of large parts of the state from logging, period.

    “Sustainability” is a lie. There will always be enough of a thing if you’re wiling to pay the price for the thing.
    .

  29. Tayport solar farm connection delay threat to subsidy

    https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/362568/tayport-solar-far

    A solar farm near Tayport could lose government subsidy after councillors delayed giving the green light for its connection to the grid, it has been claimed.

    Around 5,000 panels are to be installed west of Kirkton Barns Farm but developer Sel PV 03 warned that unless the go-ahead was given on Wednesday to lay an underground cable connecting the site to a substation at Pickletillum it would lose the subsidy.

  30. Congratulations to (nearly) all above for great commentary! This essay needs to be required reading for every government agency and posted in all public places!

  31. ….” who can predict what technologies will families need in 200 years…

    I can.
    Families will need food.
    Information tech, tiny cameras, silica fibres – oh great. To do what apart from create noise and spread gossip, rumour and alarm. That fills stomachs alright. Bring it on.

    And they will want something better than glucose (processed starch) because the penny will drop that this is killing people. We are not evolved, even after 10,000 years of eating that mush, to actually eat it. It is an emergency stop-gap but lazy muddle headed people like that way. Humans eat plants when there is nothing else yet now it is regarded as ‘staple’
    Yet the consumption of sugar makes people lazy and muddle headed…Talk about a perfect positive feedback system.

    Another penny will drop in that it will be realised that most of the CO2 now appearing in the sky is coming out of farmer’s fields, exactly to grow nutrient free & tasteless mush, though sadly quite addictive.
    There’s not much good quality dirt on this planet to start with and we are eroding it (chemically with nitrogen and actively letting it wash away) at about 1 inch per ten years. Given that it was at most 2 feet deep, you do the sums.

    Also, that CO2 is being relentlessly sucked into the ocean, from where it won’t be seen for 10s & 100s of millions of years when its puffed out of a volcano or two. There is not an infinite amount of easily usable carbon out there, so there’s your crunch point – dirt and organic (available) carbon.

    The technology will therefore be the means of getting organic carbon out of (probably limestone) rock, turning it into something edible that does not contain the myriad toxins (esp glucose), irritants and allergens that come from eating plants (lettuce and broccoli – I’m looking at you!)

    But then, we’re down to eating rock, an even more desperate situation than eating plants.

    • Willis, I just reread it. Excellent, as is Paul’s.

      What struck me as I read it is that, if one really looks at the Sustainabilitite’s logic, life itself — in any form — is unsustainable. But didn’t we already know that about them? Despite their near supersonic handwaving to the contrary, they are anti-life.

    • Hello Willis,

      your name is not printed VISIBLE on MY representation of wuwt comments .

      Maybe tapped like a ‘link’.

      You have a tip to restore ?

      Thanks – Hans

  32. It could be argued that only poverty is sustainable. Every other activity consumes resources, and ALL resources are finite because the earth is finite.

    Either one is content to live in poverty, or one can use the resources of the earth to generate wealth and use this wealth to create and protect a society that benefits its members.

    Digging oil from the earth for example generates wealth that builds roads, schools, hospitals, factories, homes, etc. Leaving the oil in the ground does nothing.

    • I guess you could say that the universe is finite. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen.

      Not all of the energy available to us on Earth has yet been realized. If (Once?) we get fusion under control, you will only need a thimble full of matter to energize all of your needs.

  33. If it is not sustainable for us today to dig up the oil, that we should leave it for future generations, then how can it be sustainable for future generations? Shouldn’t future generations by the same argument also leave the oil in the ground for generations that follow after them?

    As a result, doesn’t the “sustainable” argument mean that we cannot consume any of earth’s resources, because on a finite earth everything is finite. If you consume it, eventually it will run out.

    • If you consume it faster than it is replenished, then it could eventually run out.

      Or, we move on to other resources. We once consumed whale oil faster than it could be replenished. We have since moved on to other resources.

      Your position only holds if we do not move on to other resources, some time into our future. Can you say that authoritatively? I would think not.

  34. Why does the UN believe it has the charter to produce Agenda 21 or even host the IPCC? The West needs to wake up to the true intentions of the UN which are couched in terms like “sustainable” and “voluntary” but have nothing to do with maintaining peace.

  35. Ethanol is a highly toxic, long lasting greenhouse gas, yet the gov. subsizes it.
    The toxicity of mercury is well documented, yet the gov. mandated the installation of mercury vapor lighting in homes.

  36. Bravo, a wonderful essay indeed.

    Our moral obligation to future generations is to MAXIMIZE our progress in science, technology, and material use, in order to help provide our progeny with the foundation to exploit resources that we do not even know about or currently see as resources.

    We need to trust that doing the best for ourselves IS doing the best for them.

  37. Anti-progressive complacent negativity backed by fear and denseness of mind. Paul Driessen, who pays you to manipulate minds with half-truths?

    [who pays you to have an opinion and comment on it here? -mod]

  38. Ultimately we need to move to a sustainable system. There is no way that exponential growth
    and use of resources can continue given that we are stuck on a finite sized planet. Whether you like
    it or not in about 200 years time the only sources of electricity will be renewable (unless you believe the hype about fusion). And we will all be eating organic food so we need to start preparing for that
    transition.

    • I agree to an extent, but the human experience is that as something becomes rarer it becomes more expensive and alternatives will be found.

      I’d be more cautious about predictions 200 years into the future too. After all we should have all been driving flying cars by now.

    • Germinio, exponential growth assumes people keep doing the same thing. For example, whales were hunted nearly to extinction for their oil, until fossible-based oil companies emerged and saved them.

      • And what are the alternative to fossil fuels? There is no infinite supply of them and they are bound to run out before the sun expands and destroys the earth (in several billion years time). More concretely they will run out in less than 1000 years.

        More realistically exponential growth is in fact only possible because people do different things.
        The exponentially increase in energy use was possible because people switched from whales to
        oil. Moore’s law only holds because new technologies are invented that allows smaller and smaller features to be written. The growth in communications capacity is again only possible because new
        technologies are being invented. If there is nothing new being introduced the rate of progress stalls
        and eventually stops.

      • Germinio, there are lots of alternatives to fossil fuels. Fusion for example works, as it is the power source of our Sun.

    • Sorry, but anyone who thinks Fusion (which powers the sun) is hype, yet thinks ‘Organic’ is anything more then a marketing strategy aimed at Millennials, probably has no business commenting on Sustainability.

      As for ‘exponential growth’ the only places experiencing population grown are the places without First World Infrastructure and Civilization. Solve world poverty and you solve population.

      The only thing ‘Sustainability’ sustains is poverty.

      • Fusion is probably hype. Or at least sustainable fusion on earth is. For starters all current plans
        rely on burning tritium which does not exist naturally and decays with a 12 year half-life. Thus no
        current fusion reactors are viable long-term power sources (even if they broke even power wise).
        And the proposals for creating tritium are laughable — they assume that 100% of the neutrons produced by a fusion reactor will hit a lithium atom and create a tritium ion with 100% efficiency.
        Chemists will then need to extract every tritium ion from the lithium blanket again with 100% efficiency and recycle it.

        Long term (>200 years) there are only two viable energy sources for the earth. The first is solar
        and the second is Deuterium-Deuterium fusion. We know how to do solar but there are no
        currently feasible plans for a D-D fusion reactor.

  39. What an inspired article. The whole argument for sustainability has many parallels with past utopian movements which have sought to bend science to favor their Progressive political aims.

    I’m currently reading (actually listening via audio book) G.K. Chesterton’s “On Eugenics and Other Evils” written in 1921, but conceived prior to the First World War. There are many eerie similarities in rationale, justifications, claims of scientific truth, and beliefs by the would-be controllers of men in their ability to predict and control the onset of a Utopian future. Much of what was considered as scientific truth in the Eugenics movement could easily be recognized as Post-Normal science by CAGW skeptics, today.

    Here’s a link to the free audio book via LibriVox.org https://librivox.org/eugenics-by-chesterton/

  40. I don’t have any particular problem with what the article advocates and in fact I agree with the general sentiment but I am a little uneasy.

    I can’t imagine any sensible person saying that they are going to ignore the sustainability of a course of action. I can’t imagine any sensible person saying that they are going to reject a course of action unless it is 100% perpetually sustainable.

    In the end I think my unease is that sustainability or sustainable development is not a yes or no issue. I would prefer the author to have allowed room for sustainability as a factor in sensible decision making. His final paragraph leaves no room at all.

    • I read the last paragraph as stating the “sustainability” requirements, per government regulation, should be done away with.

      Different locals enact different sustainability standards, and the “nefarious” sustainability efforts need to be squelched rather than grow to the federal level.

      I don’t know anyone that I trust to make my (sustainability) decisions for me.

      I can’t imagine a government mandated definition of “sustainable private anything” that could also be applied to that same government. We need a “sustainable government” as example, so we can follow.

      • Yes DonM. I did not consider the government/private enterprise divide. Governments can do what they like on sustainability because they are accountable to the electorate. Private enterprise should be given the same opportunity because they are accountable to their owners. There is an intersection between the two areas which blurs the division but that is my general principle.

  41. How can anyone write an article like this and not mention Julian Simon, who wrote many papers and books expressing exactly this view in the 1970s. He even won a bet against Ehrlich – the Michael Mann of his generation…

  42. “Sustainability” is just another Trojan Horse of collectivism. It uses the tried-and-true assumptive close from sales that we have collective guilt and collective responsibility.

  43. Griff February 9, 2017 at 8:27 am

    no, they don’t.

    Only a handful of wind sites cause harm to large numbers of birds.

    Where on the planet would this shoddy excuse for destroying raptors and bats, both keystone species, be accepted except by “environmentalists”? I don’t care if only one of the windfarms is shredding birds, TEAR THAT ONE DOWN. One is far too many. The laws wisely don’t let the oil companies kill birds, but the “environmentalists” have gotten exclusions for bird chopping wind farms. Yer a bunch of environmental hypocrites of the finest water.

    Multiple studies have shown no health risk

    Depends on how you define “health risk”. It definitely LOWERS property values near the birdchoppers … are we to assume that that is because humans find them so health-giving and such good neighbors? The Irish beg to disagree:

    Families forced from homes due to wind farm noise win court case

    A number of families in Co Cork who were forced to leave their homes because of noise from a nearby wind farm have won a significant case in the High Court this week.

    The families claim they have been severely impacted by noise since the wind farm began operating in 2011. This is the first action of its kind in Ireland and may now open many wind farm developers to the prospect of legal challenges from families in similar situations.

    The case was taken against wind turbine manufacturer Enercon who have accepted full liability for causing nuisance to seven families who live up to 1km from the wind farm.

    Or if you don’t like courts, how about this study?

    Adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines
    Roy D. Jeffery, MD FCFP
    Family physician in the Northeastern Manitoulin Family Health Team in Little Current, Ont.
    Carmen Krogh
    Retired pharmacist and a former Editor-in-Chief of the Compendium of Pharmaceutical Specialties.
    Brett Horner, CMA
    Certified Management Accountant.
    Author information ► Copyright and License information ►

    Canadian family physicians can expect to see increasing numbers of rural patients reporting adverse effects from exposure to industrial wind turbines (IWTs). People who live or work in close proximity to IWTs have experienced symptoms that include decreased quality of life, annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headache, anxiety, depression, and cognitive dysfunction. Some have also felt anger, grief, or a sense of injustice. Suggested causes of symptoms include a combination of wind turbine noise, infrasound, dirty electricity, ground current, and shadow flicker.1 Family physicians should be aware that patients reporting adverse effects from IWTs might experience symptoms that are intense and pervasive and might feel further victimized by a lack of caregiver understanding.

    Regards,

    w.

    • http://www.aweablog.org/when-medical-practitioners-mislead-trio-targets-family-doctors-with-bad-information/

      “This is a deeply misleading article by long time anti-wind activists that may lead unwary medical practitioners to inappropriately attribute symptoms to wind turbines and possibly exacerbate pre-existing conditions. It ignores the vast majority of evidence and opinions of medical professionals in assessments worldwide that wind turbines do not cause health impacts.

      The authors–Jeffrey, Krogh and Horner–do not cite the 19 reviews worldwide of the peer-reviewed evidence and anecdotal health claims that have found no evidence of harm from wind turbines to human health outside of easily mitigated noise annoyance. Most recently, the Australian state of Victoria’s Health Department released the results of their assessment and clearly state that wind turbines do not cause health impacts. [1]

      They disagree with much more strongly credentialed Canadian public health professionals such as Dr. David Colby and Dr. Arlene King, to name two primary figures among the overwhelming majority. Drs. King and Colby participated in and led formal cross-disciplinary reviews of all of the peer-reviewed literature and anecdotal claims in 2009 and 2010, respectively, which found no health impacts from wind energy.”

      And the Irish case is most intriguing: details are scarce and it is certainly one of a handful of cases even brought worldwide.

      I strongly suspect there’s something we are not being told about it.

    • Oh – and if you look at reports on wind turbines and bird deaths they pretty much all extrapolate from the Altamount Pass figures… Altamount is of old design and epicly badly sited: it is an outlier; sites like it are not built since the 1980s and there were only a handful then.

      • Have you looked at the Ontario bird & bat kills from wind turbines? These turbines are not old style Altamont turbines.

        And they are located in a major migratory bird flight path.

        There is a Migratory Bird Treaty that is supposed to protect migratory birds (c.1918) but is being ignored by both the U.S. and Canadian governments.

  44. Folks

    Step back a bit and think about the underlying issue of sustainability which is there is not enough stuff or we just can’t afford some of the basic stuff. Then the next issue is that getting that stuff or using it will destroy the planet. Take a look at EM Smith’s (Chiefio) take on this when he wrote the following back in 2009. What me worry?

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/there-is-no-shortage-of-stuff/

    I have done some of my own research on several of his long if not fully complete list of “things” and he has been thorough and accurate IMO. My anxiety level is way down.

    Bernie

  45. The article goes like a proverb “There is the Tiger – here is the Tail”. The word “Sustainable Development was there even before the global warming outage. Climate change is not global warming – fossil fuels but this is much more. Sustainable development is multifolded activity related issue – water resources, agriculture. In the figure it shows “organic”. See below an article of mine published in the “The Hans India”, daily news paper:

    http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/News-Analysis/2017-01-30/For-a-workable-Green-Revolution–/276832

    For a workable Green Revolution
    THE HANS INDIA | Jan 30,2017 , 02:12 AM IST

    .

    India is an agrarian country providing employment directly or indirectly to around 60 percent of the rural population. Even with heavy input subsidies, loan waivers schemes and minimum support prices, among other things, farmers’ suicides are rampant while agricultural growth remains sluggish.

    Ironically, it is the middlemen who are reaping dividends. Why it is so and what is the remedy?

    The traditional agriculture was a soil and climate driven farming system that encompassed animal husbandry and provided socio-economic, food and nutrient security. Those were the ‘golden days’ in the history of farming. It was an environment-friendly system and was highly successful and sustainable. No pollution, no worry about seeds and fertilizer adulteration as they used good grain as seed and compost of farmyard manure and green manure as fertilizer.

    The 1960s saw “profit-driven western chemical inputs tailored-mono crop technology” that came to be known as Green Revolution Technology [GRT], increased the production substantially in terms of quantity but failed to achieve the quality of traditional agriculture. Unfortunately, our scientists get paid from public money but serve western multinational companies. It is all like the present demonetization scheme wherein government and people lost through new notes printing, importing Chinese Machines, using US Cards and losing livelihood.

    On an average, around 65 percent of cultivated area is at the mercy of “rain gods”. The remaining 35 percent of the area under irrigation presents high year to year fluctuations. The present rulers are diversifying lakhs of acres for non-agriculture activities; yet our land statistics are not changing.

    When GRT was introduced nobody knew that this would create an environmental catastrophe – air, water [particularly non-point source], soil and food pollution. Even the Nobel Prize awarding organization was not aware of this while conferring it to Norman Borlaug.

    The traditional technology was evolved over hundreds of years’ experience of farmers and whereas the GRT was evolved over few years research farm experience with large yield gap between on farm and research station. To make it viable entered government’s input subsidy, a huge component. Around one-third of the fertilizer finds its way in to black market. In accordance with my proposal, the then UPA government initiated to pay cash subsidy directly to farmers with Aadhaar link, instead of retailers or industry. However, this subsidy does not include organic fertilizers. This needs to be addressed.

    In India Bt-cotton, the Genetically Modified [GM] Seed is in use since 2002-03. The productivity has been stagnant for the past five years – in the case of GRT it is stagnated since 1984-85. With the no crop rotation and changes in climate, in the five Bt-Cotton states, the farmers’ suicides are rampant with the high investments. The 2nd Green Revolution must be farming system. To achieve this goal, governments must create a mechanism to collect traditional inventions of progressive farmers and integrate them into traditional technology to achieve the 2nd Green Revolution that safeguards the environment and provide food safety, bio-safety, food and nutrient security.

    To achieve sustainable agriculture, therefore, the governments must change the policy. It must include low input costs, pollution-free quality food technology such as organic inputs under cooperative farming setup. This not only brings down the cost of production but also reduces man-hours spent on procuring basic inputs by individual farmers, improves the utilization of natural resources and thus helps to reach sustainable agriculture. Better water management plays a crucial role – diversifying through less water intensive crops under micro irrigation systems. We need crop rotation and intercropping system to reduce the risk under cash crops.

    However, the success depends upon: better post-harvesting technologies including sufficient storage facilities, export facilities, transport facilities, food processing industries, better education and health care facilities, which might reduce the migration to urban centers.

    (The writer is a former Chief Technical Advisor of WMO/UN)

    By Dr S Jeevananda Reddy

    • Dr Reddy, it was noticed during the Raj, that ‘middlemen’ caused famines by hoarding for profit. As you say, the system worked otherwise and modernity should only have made it better. Electricity, communications, education by correspondence (well, literacy first); Massey in NZ has much to offer in good farming university papers etc. for instance.
      I was impressed to learn a few years ago of the success and techniques of the Indiam Forest Research Institute/Service in getting huge forestry growth only noticed elsewhere by satellites. Their “getting the villages to take, and have, actual ownerhsip”.seemed to work wonders. Same as it has in all successful democracies as they build their resources. People build, not bureaucracies. I thank you for your insights.

  46. The “sustainability” boom is built on the same fears as the old Malthusian scares about population growth.

    Yet the Malthusian projections have already been defeated in the industrialized nations: Once a high living standard is reached, population growth falls to replacement levels or lower. We have the cure in our own hands. It works. We know how to do it. With lower energy costs we can also recycle more materials that are currently too expensive to reprocess. Those materials won’t go away, Earth isn’t losing them to space.

    I think one of the best cures for ‘Malthusianism’ is a long intercontinental flight from, say, London to San Francisco in clear weather. The long hours spent flying at high speed over empty lands in Canada or the USA shows you just how small the worlds population is when compared to the amount of space still available. With sufficiently cheap energy we could populate those lands and even use them to grow food, especially if the globe warmed up a few degrees.

  47. One of the things that amazes me about the whole “sustainability” movement is the purported concern for future generations. It is about the only time you will hear the pushers speak of future people in a positive light.

    Interesting how “potential people” take precedence over existing people when it comes to “sustainability”. (Usually the argument is the other way around.) Shouldn’t the Malthusians have a problem with sustaining the human population at all?

  48. A hidden agendum indeed.

    Another superb article by Mr. Paul Driessen: he is absolutely spot on.

    The comments are quite interesting and it is now obvious that the eco-tards, the bedwetters and the green-piss cling-ons are in panic mode. (Many thanks Anthony for this fine article).

    Another lovely day, so it is.

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