The proliferation of renewable energy will never please environmentalists. In fact, the more efficient and inexpensive energies like solar and wind become, the more environmentalists will fear and eventually hate them.
Currently, arguments against renewable energy are based on the accurate claim they are too inefficient to become widespread. The technology behind solar and wind power are just not where they need to be to justify widespread use.
In October 2014, data revealed the massive Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert fell well short of its anticipated output. During an eight-month period in 2013, the solar plant missed its goal by a whopping 40 percent.
Because of stories like these, many are reluctant to support large government subsidies for renewable energy projects. The lackluster performance of alternative energies have led several states to reconsider legislation requiring a portion of their energy to come from renewable sources. In January, West Virginia made headlines when the state ended its mandate in full.
The inability of alternative energies to compete with fossil fuels does not deter environmentalists. They see renewables as a solution to the problem of rising CO2 in the atmosphere and the climate change they say inevitably results from it. Their goal is to save Earth from climate disruption.
But what happens when renewable technology does become efficient enough to replace fossil fuels? What if another energy technology is developed that supplies us with abundant and pollution-free energy? The resulting scenario is one environmentalists fear the most: Civilization growth unconstrained by the threat of climate disruption.
This fear was exposed in 1989, when two scientists announced they produced excess energy through the process of cold fusion. This revelation, which turned out to be false, would have the potential to produce inexpensive and inexhaustible energy. People believed we were on the verge of creating free energy. This concept caused many environmentalists to show their true colors.
While people rejoiced at the prospect of free energy, author and activist Jeremy Rifkin was quoted by the Los Angeles Times saying, “It’s the worst thing that could happen to our planet.” Rifkin envisioned a world filled with waste—a world where people were free to use up Earth’s resources.
Biologist Paul Ehrlich said, “[It’s] like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.”
These environmentalists and many others reacted this way because the real threat, in their eyes, is human development and growth.
In the same article referred to above, environmentalists voiced concerns that abundant energy would open the door to an increase in population growth, the result being a “crowded earth.” This fear is still held today by environmentalists like Bill McKibben.
McKibben, considered to be “America’s most important environmentalist” by the Boston Globe, became a big name in the global warming debate in 1989 with the publishing of End of Nature. Since then, McKibben has written several more books about mankind’s impact on the environment, such as Maybe One: A Personal and Environmental Argument for Single Child Families.
In Maybe One, McKibben makes the case for potentially painfulpopulation control. Population control is necessary in the minds of many environmentalists like McKibben because large populations inevitably lead to more homes, office buildings, cars, shopping centers, and trash. This is why McKibben wrote in his two books Deep Economy (2007) and Eaarth(2010) that he did not want to see an increase in development but rather a “controlled decline.”
Environmentalists do not see fossil fuels and CO2 as a threat to mankind; they see mankind as a threat to the environment. Advocating for renewable energy is just an excuse to implement a constriction of fossil-fuel use and development across the world. If the time comes where renewable, clean, and abundant energies become a reality, environmentalists will surely withdraw their support in the name of protecting the planet.