To distract us from the City’s budget woes, Mayor George Heartwell returned from a mayors’ conference in Salt Lake City with a resolution in hand demanding that state and federal governments enact policies to bring the United States in accord with the carbon-cutting Kyoto Protocols to reduce global warming. Heartwell put the measure before the City Commission, which unanimously and idiotically approved the plea to embrace these economy-wrecking protocols. The fatuousness of the entire enterprise belies belief.
Not one out of seven commissioners knows enough about the Kyoto Protocols to know that there is no scientific foundation for the claim that human activity is causing “global warming”, let alone whether or not a general increase in temperatures is even a bad thing – assuming that it’s even happening. (Climatological data shows that the post-Ice Age warming trend has in fact reversed. It peaked most recently in the Middle Ages.) Nor have any of the solons of the city clued into the fact that the Kyoto Protocols are a dead letter everywhere else in the world. The Third World countries rejected them for the good reason that they are not going to stop their industrializing economies to soothe the pieties of bien pensant Westerners like St. George the Self-Righteous, and the Europeans have no intention of ever implementing them.
Meanwhile, the Grand Rapids Press uncritically ran last Saturday editorials in support of the City Commission’s vote to destroy River City’s economy from Heartwell and his ally, Tom Leonard, executive director of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC). The Press let Heartwell blather on and on about his enlightenment in Salt Lake City by so-called experts in the “pending disaster known as global warming”, apparently too witless to realize that none of the majority of scientists who have refused to join the global warming bandwagon would not have been invited to dissent at such a cozy gathering of like-minded Chicken Littles. Mindlessly, Heartwell drones on about how we in the U.S. and River City in particular must cut the carbon we emit into the air oblivious to the incredible feats of conservation we have already achieved in the use of fossil fuels in this country over the past three decades. There just isn’t much more in the way of greenhouse gases to eliminate in the U.S. short of shutting down the country.
Ah yes, Heartwell does invoke the hoary escape hatch for all extreme environmentalist demands to get rid of fossil fuels: Renewable energy. Well, it appears that the mayor just doesn’t get it when it comes to the engineering of the energy infrastructure of any modern economy. Fossil fuels are extremely compact compared to energy from wind, solar, hydro-electric, and biomass. For any of these alternatives to provide any significant substitution for fossil fuels would entail huge tracts of land that would disrupt nature far beyond current industrial activities. Windmills would need millions of acres of land along the migratory routes of birds. Solar panels would carpet the deserts and plains destroying local habitats. Hydro-electric would dam rivers and flood valleys. Biomass would necessitate tilling areas that are marginal or even hostile to farming. And none of this addresses the most basic problem with most of these alternatives when it comes to the nation’s electrical grid: The generation of electricity must be synchronized with its consumption or the system blacks out. A coal-fired generating plant can be turned on or shut down as electrical demand increases or decreases. You can’t turn the wind on or off as you please.
THE A.W.O.L. ENVIRONMENTALIST
OK, enough of the primer on energy. You get the idea. St. George hasn’t a clue when it comes to the real world of energy policy. He’d do more to stop global warming by shutting his piehole. But there is more to this problem than his self-righteous sermonizing. To address that, let me turn to the second editorial the Press ran on Saturday, the one by Leonard of WMEAC. Leonard’s statement is burdened by the same faulty assumptions underlying Heartwell’s sermon, but he at least does us the favor of bulletin-pointing the resolution Heartwell and the commissioners passed. In doing so, he highlights the resolution’s Trojan Horse of “promoting sustainable building practices” within the City, which empowers the City Commission and staff to embrace whatever goofy green ideas come along that make it harder and more expensive to build in River City.
That is the reason why Leonard’s editorial is disgusting. He and his group are fixated upon telling us how we are going to live our lives instead of taking up the gauntlet for us when malefactors like the Boardwalk developers dump real poison into our backyards. Although Leonard and WMEAC received piles of scientific, photographic, and videotape evidence from the Local Area Watch of the illegal excavation, transport, and disposal of 26,000 of hazardous waste from the Boardwalk project site, they did nothing but write a polite letter to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). When the MDEQ responded by telling Leonard and his gang to bug off, that’s what they did. We received no support whatsoever from River City’s foremost environmental activists as we have fought in the courts over the past three years to get the Boardwalk developers to clean up the toxic materials they spilled onto our streets, into our storm sewer system, and into illegal landfills like that at the Monroe Avenue Water Filtration Plant.
Leonard and WMEAC were A.W.O.L. in this battle to protect you from the greedy scheme of the Boardwalk developers to turn a buck by burying their poison where your children play. Yet, Leonard and WMEAC have the time and the resources to urge on the half-baked plans of Mayor Heartwell that do nothing but give the City government an excuse to interfere with how you live your life. I am heartily sick of progressive phonies like St. George and the A.W.O.L. Environmentalist who talk up how much they care about you and your family when they want something from you and give you nothing but self-righteous sermons about how you need to do better when they fail to deliver.