Monbiot: The Stimulus Effect of the Renewable Economy is Tempting Green Entrepreneurs to Fly More

Green Pass
Hypocrisy is alive and well on planet Green.

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to Guardian Columnist George Monbiot, the renewable energy economy is putting so much money into the pockets of greens, that money is being blown on high carbon activities like long distance holiday flights.

While economic growth continues we’ll never kick our fossil fuels habit

George Monbiot
Wed 26 Sep 2018 15.00 AEST

There may be more bicycles but there will also be more planes. We’re still in denial about the scale of the threat to the planet

We’re getting there, aren’t we? We’re making the transition towards an all-electric future. We can now leave fossil fuels in the ground and thwart climate breakdown. Or so you might imagine, if you follow the technology news.

So how come oil production, for the first time in history, is about to hit 100m barrels a day? How come the oil industry expects demand to climb until the 2030s? How is it that in Germany, whose energy transition (Energiewende) was supposed to be a model for the world, protesters are being beaten up by police as they try to defend the 12,000-year-old Hambacher forest from an opencast mine extracting lignite – the dirtiest form of coal? Why have investments in Canadian tar sands – the dirtiest source of oil – doubled in a year?

The answer is, growth. There may be more electric vehicles on the world’s roads, but there are also more internal combustion engines. There be more bicycles, but there are also more planes. It doesn’t matter how many good things we do: preventing climate breakdown means ceasing to do bad things. Given that economic growth, in nations that are already rich enough to meet the needs of all, requires an increase in pointless consumption, it is hard to see how it can ever be decoupled from the assault on the living planet.

When a low-carbon industry expands within a growing economy, the money it generates stimulates high-carbon industry. Anyone who works in this field knows environmental entrepreneurs, eco-consultants and green business managers who use their earnings to pay for holidays in distant parts of the world and the flights required to get there. Electric vehicles have driven a new resource rush, particularly for lithium, that is already polluting rivers and trashing precious wild places. Clean growth is as much of an oxymoron as clean coal. But making this obvious statement in public life is treated as political suicide.

Read more:

Good luck convincing greens not to fly so much.

As WUWT reported California Governor Jerry Brown’s recent eco-conference caused a near traffic jam of private jets parked at the local airport.

The Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme was recently criticised for his ridiculously excessive air travel, even for a UN executive.

Then of course you have all the enormous fly in COP climate conferences, 10s of thousands of attendees and hangers on who likely didn’t arrive by wooden coracle.

Why are most greens such hypocrites? A study published last May suggested greens think they have a moral license to pollute.

I believe the evidence suggests that, barring a few honourable exceptions, the green vision of the future is a world where the rules only apply to the little people, not to important people like themselves and their fellow greens, who will still need access to cheap energy and jet travel to ensure they can continue to make the world a better place.

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September 30, 2018 3:43 pm

Regarding the usual Climate conferences, whats wrong with Tele-conferencing the meeting. Oh so Green, but wait, we also enjoy sightseeing once we get the conference over with.


dodgy geezer
Reply to  Michael
September 30, 2018 10:34 pm

The sex isn’t as good, either….

Reply to  dodgy geezer
October 1, 2018 4:06 am


Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  dodgy geezer
October 2, 2018 12:56 am

OXFAM does not make good experience on it.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Michael
September 30, 2018 11:37 pm

But who would drink all those fine wines & champagne, who would eat all that delicious food prepared by someof the finest chefs in the world? It would all go to waste! I know how agonised they all are munching on the World’s finest beef whilst discussing World hunger! It nearly kills them with pain, nearly but sadly not quite!

Mr Bliss
Reply to  Alan the Brit
October 1, 2018 8:32 am

“Think of the Chefs” is one of their rallying cries

Reply to  Alan the Brit
October 1, 2018 8:24 pm

And how many of them were doing it on their own dollar?

mike macray
Reply to  Alan the Brit
October 8, 2018 3:04 am

Alan the Brit..
.. “I know how agonised they all are munching on the World’s finest beef whilst discussing World hunger!”
?You mean like the Walrus and the Carpenter in Alice in Wonderland weeping over the tragic fate of the oysters they were eating…??
Some things don’t change!
Mike (another Brit)

Flight Level
September 30, 2018 3:51 pm

Fly baby fly, drill baby drill.

September 30, 2018 3:56 pm

“the stimulus effect of the renewable economy”?

What stimulus effect? 😐

Gary Ashe
Reply to  drednicolson
September 30, 2018 5:05 pm

The tax payer pain effect.

Reply to  drednicolson
September 30, 2018 7:04 pm

Those on the receiving end of stolen money have so much more money to spend that they feel stimulated to spend it.

Of course those whose money is being taken to spend on the new green over lords are dying in the cold and dark.

Reply to  drednicolson
October 1, 2018 5:00 pm



Search results: Production tax credits.

Search results: Feed-in-tarrifs.

On how both of the above are used to promote/stimulate renewable energy worldwide.

September 30, 2018 4:05 pm

Does anybody remember George’s piece on the existential angst of buying a car?

I wonder if he still drives?

Hair shirts are for the plebs

Warren in New Zealand
September 30, 2018 4:19 pm

” Why have investments in Canadian tar sands – the dirtiest source of oil – doubled in a year?”

Silly me, here I was thinking Alberta was cleaning up after a catastrophic natural event that polluted thousands of acres of land. You can’t win some days.

Reply to  Warren in New Zealand
September 30, 2018 9:21 pm

G’day Warren in New Zealand.
I was a Warren in New Zealand.
Now I’m just a Warren . . .

September 30, 2018 4:19 pm

This small post has nothing to do with Monbiot, at least directly.
Please see the ENSO forecast page, available here from a link provided below at the right in WUWT

See the, let’s say, outstanding prediction graphs for ENSO from NASA. They are ridiculous to say the least. I’m wondering if guys there are still trying to maintain a wet dream to have an ENSO event late this year and keep this AGW thing ongoing. Impressive forecast from measured data!! A week ago they were almost “vertical” forecasts. Now they scaled down a bit. Even so, where did these guys had statistics classes to make forecasts like those ones. Now imagine the quality of the models that they use to forecast…
Willis, any thoughts on that?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  J N
October 1, 2018 4:04 am


It is not a forecast, it is a projection. I am not saying “of what” but it is a projection.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
October 1, 2018 2:45 pm

Projection, whatever, it’s clumsy wrong. Considering the black curve, the projection is, at least, strange.

tsk tsk
September 30, 2018 4:20 pm

Malthus is eternal.

CD in Wisconsin
September 30, 2018 4:23 pm

“….How is it that in Germany, whose energy transition (Energiewende) was supposed to be a model for the world, protesters are being beaten up by police as they try to defend the 12,000-year-old Hambacher forest from an opencast mine extracting lignite – the dirtiest form of coal?…”

If Germany wasn’t shutting down its nuclear plants, it might not have to expand its coal mining and build more coal fired power plants. I don’t recall Germany ever having any significant accidents or incidents with its nuclear plants.

That’s the problem with an emotional knee-jerk reaction to incidents like the Fukushima nuclear incident…emotions overrule rational thought and reasoning. Looking back at Germany’s history in the 1930’s and 40’s, this does not appear to be the first time it has happened.

Meanwhile, Japan is in the process of restarting its nuclear plants and bringing them back online.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
September 30, 2018 6:51 pm

It’s hard to explain that the destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi industrial tool must be called an incident for the public
– when you keep storing more and more slightly contaminated water on site
– when you treat slightly contaminated excellent soil as toxic garbage
– when you evacuate based on an increase of the ambiant radiation compared to the LOCAL level of previous natural radiation, as if there was a specific race (specie?) of local Japanese people that were specially adapted to that OLD radiation level unlike the other people who lived forever in higher radiation.

We must apply to recommendation of Prof Pierre Pellerin regarding the fallout of Chernobyl and regarding nuclear in general.

Ne pas développer de façon excessive les mesures de sécurité dans les installations nucléaires afin qu’elles ne provoquent pas une anxiété injustifiée.

Énergie nucléaire
Jean-Louis Basdevant, James Rich, Michel Spiro
Editions Ecole Polytechnique, 2002

Do not develop excess security measure in nuclear plants to avoid unjustified fear.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
October 1, 2018 4:15 am

The “dirtiest form of coal”? But the Greens showed that it is the un-dirtiest form of coal because “dirty” means CO2 emitted per MJ.

So what does Monbiot mean by turning the cleanest form of coal into the dirtiest with a mere flick of his pen? We had better decide what “dirty” means if there is going to be such a complete reversal now and then. In the world of Marxist philosophy the meaning of words serves the interests of the Party. The Party interests change. evolve, are edited. Clean becomes dirty; dirty becomes clean.

I assume GM refers to lignite being “dirty”because in the bad old days the cleaning of stack emissions was absent and plants/boilers burning lignite emitted lots of particulate matter (PM). PM is the result of bad combustion, not something inherently unburnable in the lignite. So it is technically incorrect to say “lignite is dirty” because it hasn’t been burned yet to know.

At present the cleanest burning coal-fired heating stoves (for space heating and cooking) are all burning lignite. They do not have precipitators, filters or other PM collecting mechanisms. They burn the PM because they are designed properly. Old power stations were not.

That’s all.

September 30, 2018 5:10 pm

Ah but just feel the deep virtue of the carbon offset as they board….

I’m sure they do.

September 30, 2018 5:23 pm

Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s right hand man) tells us about the ‘green’ economy.

So he (Al Gore) found some partner to go into investment counseling with and says we’re not going to have any (carbon dioxide). But this partner is a value investor and a good one. So what they did is, is Gore hired staff to find people who didn’t put CO2 in the air. Of course that put him into services. Microsoft and all these service companies were just ideally located. And this value investor picked the best service companies. So all of a sudden the clients are making hundreds of millions of dollars and they are paying part of it to Al Gore. Al Gore has hundreds of millions dollars in your profession. And he’s an idiot. It’s an interesting story. And a true one. link

So, while you might think the ‘green’ economy is things like renewable energy, it’s actually people like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The thing is that they’re not that green. They consume plenty of energy. The communication industry is expected to consume 1/5 of the world’s electricity by 2025 . link

September 30, 2018 5:25 pm

The solution is quite clear. We need to stop growth. No economic growth and
no population growth. (humanely , of course)

Percy Jackson
Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 30, 2018 6:22 pm

Well the EU has a fertility rate of 1.6 births per woman while Japan has a rate of 1.3, the USA has a rate of 1.8. All three seem to have managed it in a humane manner.

Reply to  Percy Jackson
September 30, 2018 7:19 pm

When people are huddled together to keep warm the reproductive rate will probably go up! Nothing better to do on a cold dark night when you can’t afford the electricity.

Lee L
Reply to  Susan
September 30, 2018 10:17 pm

‘specially with the lights OUT!

Reply to  Bill_W_1984
September 30, 2018 5:45 pm

Only if you believe we weren’t managing our existence quite well using fossil fuels. Data shows we are increasing length and quality of life in every category.

Reply to  Bill_W_1984
September 30, 2018 10:34 pm

This is the solution proposed by Population Matters.

When they were called Optimum Population, they produced a spreadsheet showing where the population must be reduced. Of course it wasn’t uniform throughout the earth, it was mostly where those “little, brown people live”.

I don’t have a link to the spreadsheet as it has been removed, but I saw it with my own eyes.

Eugenics, anyone?

September 30, 2018 5:49 pm

If Greens think it is hard to get the public concerned about warming now, just wait until Greens start arguing that growth needs to stop and people need to lower their living standard. They will have to hide.

Reply to  donb
September 30, 2018 6:00 pm

They preach that we have to make energy much more expensive. The crap hits the fan when the price of energy starts hurting people. People tend to get irked when their parents freeze to death in the dark.

It’s one thing to be able to hide behind abstractions. It’s quite another thing when we can see the faces and hear the names of the innocent victims.

Reply to  commieBob
September 30, 2018 7:05 pm

Making energy more expensive is one means of applying/using Demand-side Management to reduce the consumption of energy.


Search results: Energy Demand-side Management.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  donb
September 30, 2018 6:22 pm

These types have never seen the level of poverty they want us to live in. I have and I much prefer the level of living that fossil fuels bring to humans and other creatures we rely on.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
October 1, 2018 6:26 am

Even if they had seen this level of poverty, they wouldn’t care because they have no intention of living at that level. It’s the rest of us who will have to live it.

September 30, 2018 5:55 pm

Some folks think the answer is clear.

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. H.L. Mencken

Time after time, after time, after time … we have people telling us that, if we do this one simple thing, the world will be perfect. They have always been wrong. Sometimes they succeed in making things much worse.

Facile is somewhere between merely bad and completely catastrophic.

tsk tsk
Reply to  commieBob
September 30, 2018 8:20 pm

Except that there really is one* answer that is clear, simple, and right: free markets. Let the market decide.

*I’m cheating a bit because the reason that free markets work is that they result in many, many answers as close to the level of the individual as possible.

September 30, 2018 6:00 pm

Out-of-sight and out-of-mind requires that ‘green” entrepreneurs and environmentalists travel to distant lands to sustain the clean, renewable myth.

R Shearer
September 30, 2018 6:58 pm

Monbiot doesn’t understand scale at all.

Brian Johnston
September 30, 2018 7:03 pm

Monbiot is a very good reason for not reading the Guardian. He talks about an electric economy – an all electric future – without having the faintest clue what he is talking about. Wind turbines are a fraud/scam/hoax and in many instances solar is not far behind. Monbiot is a socialist NWO whacko. Wind turbines nowhere power a house. WTs have to be connected in unison with the grid. The grid supplies real electricity while the WT produces harmonics. WTs were only ever built for the subsidies. WTs that power in isolated situations are only used for recharging banks of batteries they do not power 230 volt systems. If Monbiot had done the research he would have realised all this. Instead he makes a fool of himself and the Guardian.

Smart Rock
Reply to  Brian Johnston
September 30, 2018 7:49 pm

We’ve been through all this before. It can be done. It’s expensive and wastes a good deal of energy, but it can be done and is being done. Rectify and then invert. Stop wittering about harmonics, it’s a straw man.

ferd berple
Reply to  Smart Rock
September 30, 2018 9:35 pm

The issue is that a wind turbine over its lifetime is unlikely to produce enough power to pay back the cost without a subsidy.

And George is finally seeing that this subsidy needs to be paid for which will release CO2.

So while he calls it growth it really isn’t. It is The unintended carbon cost of the subsidy. Try as you might, there is no free lunch.

Jeff Mitchell
Reply to  ferd berple
September 30, 2018 10:57 pm

It would be nice if they also took into account the fact that all these alternative sources of energy affect the climate in other ways. Like wind drag from turbines, effects of dark solar panels. They’re running willy nilly into technology that they have no clue how it affects the environment.

Reply to  Jeff Mitchell
October 1, 2018 8:39 am

Yes Jeff: If you want to warm the Earth – Plaster it with solar panels.
The Stephen – Boltzmann equation says so.

Brian Johnston
Reply to  ferd berple
September 30, 2018 11:55 pm

A wind turbine in its life time will not produce the amount of electricity that went into its manufacture let alone a surpluss. The mining and manufacture of steel, iron, copper, rare earths, etc. Monbiot doesn’t have a clue. If he does have a clue it is worse, it means he is lying.

Reply to  Brian Johnston
October 1, 2018 12:56 pm


Articles: Include the 100% renewable energy issue.

Search results: World Wind Energy Association (WWEA).

Reply to  Brian Johnston
October 1, 2018 3:21 pm



Search results: California Air Resources Board (CARB)

Articles include CARB activities.

Brian Johnston
Reply to  Smart Rock
October 1, 2018 12:57 am

Harmonics are not turned into real energy. Real energy is generated. They cause major problems throughout the grid. They are not a straw man. Harmonics are termed in the industry as ‘dirty energy’. Wind turbines are destructive to the grid and everything connected to it. Speak to any electrical engineer who is competent and knowledgeable about electricity generation. You are way off track.

Reply to  Brian Johnston
October 1, 2018 1:55 pm

There is a massive range of things Monbat writes about without any idea of the subject .
For example his views on farming are both insulting and hilarious.

September 30, 2018 7:34 pm

I wonder how many or the radical greens realize that the only countries that actually believe in “global warming” are the European countries, plus the UK and Canada. All the rest just pay lip service at best, or see it as a way to manipulate Europe to get free handouts.

Smart Rock
Reply to  ScottR
September 30, 2018 7:46 pm

Try saying that in Oz. Or New Zealand.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Smart Rock
September 30, 2018 10:28 pm

The only reason Canada believes in it is we have an idiot PM Justin Trudeau who believes in the tooth fairy. Starting January 1 2019, he is going to implement a $5 billion carbon tax which if it is paid accomplishes nothing except raising inflation and if not paid, besides raising inflation, reduces the global temperature by 2100, a grand total of 0.0004 C. That is Canada’s contribution to lowering the temperature according to the alarmists themselves. In actual fact since increasing CO2 actually lowers the temperature in the atmosphere, decreasing it probably raises it by that amount. In either case can you accurately measure the difference? I was incomplete about Trudeau in my 1st statement. He not only believes in the tooth fairy, but Alice in Wonderland is his favourite gal and he also worships the Wizard of Oz. Canada desperately needs Toto to pull back the curtain.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
October 1, 2018 3:30 pm

Carbon taxes. Another Demand-side management “tool” for reducing fossil fuel consumption.

Reply to  Smart Rock
October 1, 2018 4:43 am

oh I do at every chance
its a point the average sheeple never thinks about
I can live with upsetting them;-)

Smart Rock
September 30, 2018 7:58 pm

Monbiot is intelligent enough to recognise, and he has said in the Guardian, that flooding in the UK in recent years is aggravated by tearing down hedgerows in upland farms (to make bigger fields) and by building on flood plains. And not by climate change, which is the default warmist position.

But he’s having difficulty grasping how an all-electric society will work without a massive decline in living standards.

He recommends eating road kill, but ignores the free food supplied by birds killed by wind turbines. You have to be quick, to snag them before the new generation of lazy, overfed foxes get them.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 1, 2018 5:04 am

oh good lord! it would figure theyd be so daft.
part from making flooding worse it would exacerbate runoff of soils making gullies as well as making hillsides dry out in summer, due to no held water
that sort of thinking…or NOT thinking is prevalent all over.
we had a brilliant Keyline land setup in NSW world class example of holding water and keeping things green
it got ruined and sold off for housing estates i believe;-(

E J Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Smart Rock
October 1, 2018 1:37 am

The third word should read ‘just’.

ferd berple
September 30, 2018 9:16 pm

Growth in the developing world is where the increase in CO2 is coming from.

Does George truly want to stop them from having the lifestyle he enjoys?

Is he prepared to live like the average person in sub-Saharan Africa? They are greener than George by a whole lot. Yet we dont see him living like them. Why doesn’t he practice what he preaches?

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  ferd berple
September 30, 2018 10:31 pm

He is a lunatic reporter who has drank the koolaid of global warming. What more is there to say?

Reply to  ferd berple
October 1, 2018 5:44 pm

Ecoimperialists are still imperialists.
Moonbat is very much the imperialist.
He is their lackey and cheerleader.
A veritable step-n-fetch it for the ecoimperialists.

E J Zuiderwijk
October 1, 2018 1:19 am

Haha, you couldn’t make it up. Greenies conditioned by economic growth to fly more. The poor little souls, forced by those evil fossil fuel merchants.

Georgie, I tell you what: they fly around, they absorb the lifestyle that you so abhor, because they like it. Every skeptic knows it, but you, greenies, just live in denial.

Peta of Newark
October 1, 2018 1:53 am

Not quite George.
UK Government wants people to fly
like all Governments, UK Gov is flat broke.

10 billion £££ is spent expanding Heathrow

So that gets 20 more planes per hour, 14 hours per day, 360 days per year and 200 people per plane and each of those people is paying *easily* £300 in Airport Passenger Duty

Before they are ripped off in Duty Free shops, on the ground and in the air and all those ripper-offers pay plenty tax on what are windfall incomes from captive punters

(Someone wrote recently that of a ticket to Australia, 66% of its cost was tax, payable to UK Gov.)

I get it that UK Gov gets its £10 Billion spend back inside 20 months and thereafter is ‘rolling in it’
Not bad huh. Dare say Donald would be impressed with that.

Have some road-kill stew George, then puzzle *that* one.
This may be tasty.. Please tell me it wasn’t an electric car. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeze.

October 1, 2018 3:17 am

Moonbot is consistently missing the point..
The parasites profiting from the green social mania enjoy the fruits of other people’s labor, like all parasites.
Of course if he admitted that, he might have to ask why he has decided to help the parasites and done so little to actually help improve the world…

Gary Ashe
October 1, 2018 5:10 am

High ‘carbon’ activities.
Isn’t he a complete tw@t.

CO2 George, is one third carbon, it is really high oxygen activity.

October 1, 2018 5:54 am

Guardian Columnist:
While economic growth continues we’ll never kick our fossil fuels habit

Greenie renewable mania isn’t enough, now they have to stop the evil, capitalist Economic Growth!

October 1, 2018 6:12 am

“Given that economic growth, in nations that are already rich enough to meet the needs of all, requires an increase in pointless consumption…”
So there we have it. Output should be limited to what we ‘need’ rather than want. That’ll make life pretty basic. I wonder if George limits his own consumption to what he ‘needs’? But maybe he thinks that he really, really, ‘needs’ all those extra things he spends his money on.

Reply to  Alba
October 1, 2018 2:07 pm

I’m quite sure he believes he does.

He will also believe that our belief is false however.

Unlike his.

It is in the nature of the ideologue that they can comfortably make such cognitive distortions.

Bruce Cobb
October 1, 2018 6:19 am

“When a low-carbon industry expands within a growing economy, the money it generates stimulates high-carbon industry.” Heh. Georgie Porgie would do well to read up on the broken window fallacy. The “low-carbon” industry doesn’t stimulate anything except the bottom lines of the filthy greedy Greenies.

Walter Sobchak
October 1, 2018 7:30 am

Dear Gospodin Monbiot: Welcom to the world of Jevon’s Paradox.

The cheaper it is, the more of it will be consumed.

October 1, 2018 10:59 am

The green piggies are more equal than others and Dear Leaders accept that routinely.

October 1, 2018 1:51 pm

Monbat the same person that claimed people should not fly shortly before going on a North America book selling tour and once again said he would not fly , shortly before flying to Canada to protest about a pipe line 2000 miles from where he went .
Super hypocrite , but typical of the greens .

Andrew Dickens
October 1, 2018 3:52 pm

We should be delighted that the Guardian has printed these thoughts of Monbiot. They would not have printed a similar article from a sceptic. I think Monbiot shows promise, he is that rare thing – a greenie who is sometimes capable of original thought. Give him a few years and he’ll come over to our side.

Johann Wundersamer
October 2, 2018 12:17 am

protesters are being beaten up by police as they try to defend the 12,000-year-old Hambacher forest from an opencast mine extracting lignite – the dirtiest form of coal?

These “protesters” have collected their own feces in buckets to empty them from the tree houses to the police.

40 policemen are incapacitated for work because of these trumatic experiences.

1 reporter crashed to death while trying to report about a tree house.

A wannabe activist * is in coma after a 13 m / 42 feet crash.


Johann Wundersamer
October 2, 2018 12:25 am

These “protesters” have collected their own feces in buckets to empty them from the tree houses to the police.

40 policemen are incapacitated for work because of these trumatic experiences.

1 reporter crashed to death while trying to report about a tree house.

A wannabe activist* is in koma after a 13 m / 42 feet crash.

Johann Wundersamer
October 2, 2018 12:35 am

These “protesters” chained themselves to underground supply channels – as they learned in 50 years of activism activity.

What they have not learned: carbon monoxide is heavier than air and accumulates in sinks.

The police were able to release them in time before suffocating in their own breath.

Johann Wundersamer
October 2, 2018 12:43 am

The hambacher forest activists have dug pit mines so that cranes and police equipment are destroyed – regardless of human victims.

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