Things aren't going too well for the Prime Minister's boast of leading "the greenest government ever", giving us, as he said last year, "a real opportunity to drive the green economy, green jobs, green growth". In 2007, Mr Cameron made a big play of opening a factory in Coventry to build electric-powered vans. Last week, after making only 400 vehicles in four years, the firm, Modec, sacked half its workforce and went into administration with debts of £40 million. – UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: Give it time. The Green revolution is coming … some day.
Free-Market Analysis: The 2000s are like the 1970s in so many ways. Then, too, Green businesses were touted as up-and-coming – throughout and the West and the UK, and especially in America, which tends to take the lead in such things. Many "can't miss" businesses sprung up; it was a heady time. We're not sure how many enterprises were subsidized in the UK, but in the US, the Carter administration funded a good many of them. But then the long recession came in and Ronald Reagan was elected president and gradually public funding diminished, not just in the US but in Europe as well. Little was heard about "alternative energy" and "Green power" for the next 20 years. The solar panel business gradually melted away; wind power was becalmed; even nuclear power fell out of fashion.
Today, in the 21st century, the memes are back in fashion. The Western mainstream press is filled with virtuous paeans about the world's Green future and what that means for a "cleaner" earth. The ramifications are obvious and have to do with further centralization of power and authority within the ambit of the "global" solutions the power elite is so fond of proposing. In fact, Green energy is nothing more than a dominant social theme, a fear-based promotion around which the powers-that-be hope to organize increased internationalism.
But there are various discordant notes being played within the larger symphony – as cynics have long predicted. (See article excerpt above.) They begin with the difficultly of disposing of "carbon" and the various debates now ongoing about where to sequester it. For those apt to believe that carbon dioxide – an essential building block of life – is not an especially dangerous substance, reading about "solutions" to this fiercesome problem provides a kind of out-of-body experience. Swap "oxygen" for carbon dioxide to gain an appreciation for the essential craziness of the conversation.
Today, various mavens of global warming are debating where to "store" the carbon dioxide being "captured." One solution is to bury carbon dioxide deep in the earth. Now substitute "oxygen" and consider the same scenario. Imagine capturing "oxygen" and burying it deep in the earth to make sure it doesn't damage the environment. Only Kafka could do justice to this idea. This is a meme degenerating into a farce.
There are other inconvenient facts rising to the surface regarding Green themes. In Australia, recently (as the article above mentions later on) Jill Duggan, a senior British official with the European Commission, went on radio to explain the good news about the EU's efforts to combat the scourge of oxygen – er, carbon dioxide.
Duggan spoke of the EU's intentions to slice CO2 emissions by 20 percent within the next decade. While Duggan apparently believed this was an uncontroversial message, she was confronted on air by two Green critics who pressed her about the expense. According to the Telegraph article, "she admitted she had no idea how many hundreds of billions of euros this would cost, or how much it could hope to achieve by way of reducing global temperatures."
Duggan ended up by defending the program as part of a larger Green effort to combat climate change that was responsible for over a million new jobs in Europe hundreds of thousands in the UK. Her interviewers cited a new study that had found for every new Green job, nearly four are lost. "Interviewers suggested that, with an unemployment rate of 10 per cent, there didn't seem to be much Europe could teach Australia."
A recent Wall Street Journal article mentioned some creeping doubts regarding the Chevy Volt, which we have written about in the past. The car is over-priced, underpowered and of limited range. This hasn't stopped a surge in popularity because of recently rising gas prices, but even here we wonder how much will be saved in the long-term, certainly from the standpoint of the consumer's pocketbook. Energy still has to be paid for and it is in fact more inefficient to gain access to energy via electrical recharging than by directly unlocking the energy contained in oil and gas. Here is an excerpt from the Journal article, entitled Chevrolet Volt: Does It Have A Future? …
The Chevrolet Volt electric car is a marvel in many ways, but so were automatic seat belts, the Ford Edsel and yes, the Sony Betamax. None of those lasted long, and now people are beginning to wonder about the Volt's long-term prospects and those of current electric cars in general. A few recent driving impressions, including one in the well-read magazine Consumer Reports, have pointed to the limited range, high cost and potentially annoying traits that are likely to make the Volt and its main competitor, the Nissan Leaf, unappealing to the majority of drivers. After months of buildup and often gushing reviews, it seems now as if the automotive consumer sector is exhaling and rediscovering skepticism.
The Volt, like the Leaf, has not sold many cars to date, though the Journal article indicates that the high price of fuel may be making both cars more attractive to consumers. But one wonders where the power will come from to run these cars in the future. It is increasingly difficult to build coal-fired plants and over the weekend, as a result of the Japanese earthquake, nuclear power has become subject to considerable questioning once again. As a result of Japan's terrible earthquake, several of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant units have experienced some sort of meltdown and subsequent explosions.
There are plenty of alternatives to oil, including hydro-electric power, coal and natural gas. But the debate over energy really isn't about planning for energy needs; it is about how quickly the power elite can implement additional plans to ration and control energy using fear-based dominant social themes. The idea is to create a society where energy is centralized, measured and rationed so as to provide evermore elite control over people's lives and lifestyles. Once one understands this is the real goal, everything else falls into place. That doesn't make Green industry more profitable; it merely explains why it exists at all.