On the new energy abundance:
7/28/12, "The Energy Revolution 4: Hot Planet?," Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest
"But there is one group (other than the Russians and the Gulf Arabs and the Iranians) that isn’t sharing in the general joy: the greens. For them, the spectacle of a looming world energy crisis was good news. It justified huge subsidies for solar and wind power (and thereby guaranteed huge fortunes for clever green-oriented investors). Greens outdid themselves year after year with gloom and doom forecasts about the coming oil crunch. They hoped that public dislike of the Middle East and the costs of our involvement there could be converted into public support for expensive green energy policies here at home: “energy independence” was one of the few arguments they had that resonated widely among average voters.
Back in those salad days of green arrogance, there was plenty of scoffing at the ‘peak oil deniers’ and shortage skeptics who disagreed with what greens told us all was settled, Malthusian science. “Reality based” green thinkers sighed and rolled their eyes at the illusions of those benighted techno-enthusiasts who said that unconventional sources like shale oil and gas and the oil sands of Canada would one day become available.
Environmentalists, you see, are science based, unlike those clueless, Gaia-defying technophiles with their infantile faith in the power of human creativity. Greens, with their awesome powers of Gaia-assisted intuition, know what the future holds.
But those glory days are over now, and the smarter environmentalists are bowing to the inevitable. George Monbiot, whose cries of woe and pain in the Guardian newspaper have served as the Greek chorus at each stage of the precipitous decline of the global green movement, gave voice to green grief at the prospect of a wealthy and prosperous century to come: “We were wrong,” he wrote on July 2,”about peak oil. There’s enough to fry us all.” Monbiot now gets the politics as well....
In other words, a newly oil rich United States is going to fight even harder against global green carbon policies, and the new discoveries will tilt the American political system even farther in the direction of capitalist oil companies.
Capitalism is not, Monbiot is forced to admit, a fragile system that will easily be replaced. Bolstered by huge supplies of oil, it is here to stay. Industrial civilization is, as far as he can now see, unstoppable. Gaia, that treacherous slut, has made so much oil and gas that her faithful acolytes today cannot protect her from the consequences of her own folly....
A year later, despite the success of environmentalists like McKibben at persuading the Obama administration to block a pipeline intended to ship this oil to refineries in the US, it’s clear (as it was crystal clear all along to anyone with eyes to see) that the world has every intention of making use of the “crappy liquor.”
Again, for people who base their claim to world leadership on their superior understanding of the dynamics of complex systems, greens prove over and over again that they are surprisingly naive and crude in their ability to model and to shape the behavior of the political and economic systems they seek to control. If their understanding of the future of the earth’s climate is anything like as wish-driven, fact-averse and intellectually crude as their approach to international affairs, democratic politics and the energy market, the greens are in trouble indeed. And as I’ve written in the past, the contrast between green claims to understand climate and to be able to manage the largest and most complex set of policy changes ever undertaken, and the evident incompetence of greens at managing small (Solyndra) and large (Kyoto, EU cap and trade, global climate treaty) political projects today has more to do with climate skepticism than greens have yet understood. Many people aren’t rejecting science; they are rejecting green claims of policy competence. In doing so, they are entirely justified by the record....
The problem is the original sin of much environmental thought: Malthusianism. If greens weren’t so addicted to Malthusian horror narratives they would be able to see that the new era of abundance is going to make this a cleaner planet faster than if the new gas and oil had never been found.
Let’s be honest. It has long been clear to students of history, and has more recently begun to dawn on many environmentalists, that all that happy-clappy carbon treaty stuff was a pipe dream and that nothing like that is going to happen. A humanity that hasn’t been able to ban the bomb despite the clear and present dangers that nuclear weapons pose isn’t going to ban or even seriously restrict the internal combustion engine and the generator.
The political efforts of the green movement to limit greenhouse gasses have had very little effect so far, and it is highly unlikely that they will have more success in the future. The green movement has been more of a group hug than a curve bending exercise, and that is unlikely to change. If the climate curve bends, it will bend the way the population curve did: as the result of lots of small human decisions driven by short term interest calculations rather than as the result of a grand global plan....
Perhaps, and I know this is a heretical thought, but perhaps Gaia is smarter than the greens." via Tom Nelson
Ed. note: Someday George Bush the 1st will get the credit he deserves for the past 22 years of the green movement. He institutionalized Global Warming 'action' in US government in 1990: "U.S. Global Change Research Act of 1990." (He mentions CO2 near the end).