Academic Slams Tyranny of the Greens

Written by Trevor Sykes

Professor Ian Plimer has never been renowned for moderation in his opinions about the extremist elements of the green movement and in this book he launches on them in a full-blooded, broken-bottle attack.not for greens

In his own words: “What started as a ­laudable movement to prevent the despoilation of certain areas of natural beauty has morphed into an authoritarian, anti-progress, anti-democratic, anti-human monster.” That Plimer should attack the greens is no surprise. More impressive is the book’s foreword, written by Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, who fully ­supports Plimer.

He congratulates Plimer for a book that provides a “different . . . and extremely rational look at the agenda of the green movement today”. “In many respects, they have become a combination of extreme political ideology and religious fundamentalism rolled into one,” Moore says.

“There is no better example of this than the fervent belief in human-caused ­catastrophic climate change.” Moore even rejects the core green belief that carbon dioxide emissions are harmful.

Plimer’s thesis is that the real agenda of green groups (often registered as charities) is nothing less than the destruction of modern civilisation and that a key aim is to kneecap the global energy industry which provides society with electricity. It has always seemed odd that greens are so hostile to a gas which is vital for the life of trees. As a trained geologist, Plimer is well aware that the planet’s climate has been changing since its birth 4½ billion years ago. “If the Earth’s climate did not constantly change, then I would be really worried,” he says. What he contests is that manmade carbon dioxide has anything much to do with such change. It must be comforting for left-wingers to blame evil industrialists for destroying our planet, but in fact carbon dioxide accounts for only 0.04 per cent of the atmosphere and man-made carbon dioxide accounts for maybe 4 per cent of that, so Plimer regards the proposition as nonsense.

Also, carbon dioxide emissions do not accumulate quickly in the atmosphere.

After five to seven years, they are absorbed by the oceans, trees or rocks. Plimer believes that for scientists to argue that traces of a trace gas can be the driving force for climate change is fraudulent.

What causes climate change?

Sceptical scientists do not know what causes climate change but it would seem a complex combination of factors. Plimer believes the atmosphere is merely the medium through which climate change manifests itself and the major driver is “that giant fusion reactor we call the sun”.

He says: “It is quite capable of throwing out immense clouds of hot, ionised gases many millions of kilometres into space, sometimes with drastic effects on both the Earth’s atmosphere and on spacecraft travelling outside the lower atmosphere and the Earth’s protective magnetic shield.” Plimer, who is not renowned for pulling his punches, describes green extremists as hypocritical – “a malevolent unelected group attempting to deconstruct healthy societies that have taken thousands of years to build”.

That may sound extreme, but it’s difficult to find an alternative explanation for the change they have forced upon the Drax power station in Yorkshire.

Drax used to boast it was the largest, cleanest and most efficient coal-fired power station in Europe, generating up to 3960 megawatts. Greens demonstrated against it, saying Drax was the largest carbon dioxide emitter in Europe. So Drax is changing from coal to biomass. Plimer says it intends to import timber from North Carolina for fuel. This is madness, both economically and ecologically. A plant which used to burn 36,000 tonnes of coal a day will instead burn 70,000 tonnes of wood.

Forests will have to be chopped down in North Carolina, which must involve some destruction of native habitats of creatures such as otters and woodpeckers. Habitat destruction kills birds and animals more surely than climate change ever will. The timber will be reduced to pellets in factories fuelled by conventional fuels, then shipped across the Atlantic in diesel-burning boats. Over the 20-year life of the power station, that would involve the destruction of ­511 million tonnes of wood.

The energy density of wood is about half that of an equivalent weight of coal, so wood will produce more expensive ­electricity. Burning wood also releases its stored carbon dioxide.

Wind and solar power unreliable

The European Environment Agency has ruled that burning wood is carbon neutral because the carbon dioxide will be absorbed over time by the oceans or other trees.

That leaves the EEA in the odd position of believing that a molecule of carbon dioxide emanating from wood behaves differently to a molecule emanating from coal.

The greens, having achieved their aim, have stopped demonstrating although there is a strong argument that the conversion of Drax will make it more, not less, harmful to the planet.

Wind farms and solar power stations are unreliable and totally unable to provide base load electricity.

Plimer gives calculations which show that wind turbines are barely able to generate as much electricity in their lifetime as it takes to make them.

 Even more bizarre was the Spanish solar plant which enjoyed such large subsidies that it could make profits generating electricity at night by shining floodlights on the panels. The floodlights were powered by a diesel generator. These are only three examples of green illogic from a book crammed with them. Plimer has assembled a massive case which needs answers.

Not For Greens, by Ian Plimer, Connor Court. $29.95.