To the rescue comes Steve Milloy’s Green Hell. At 294 pages, it is not encyclopedic, but just the right length to bring readers up to date on the methodologies, motives, and fallacies of this movement, and how to combat it.
The core environmental “danger” greens currently discuss is global warming, allegedly caused by man-made carbon dioxide. Nevertheless, greens do not wish to tolerate debate on the subject. Many scientists have refuted the claims of global-warming alarmists. Over 31,000 scientists have signed a petition denying those claims (www.petitionproject.org). Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring substance required by plants, and man’s contributions to carbon dioxide levels are negligible. Nevertheless, greens do not wish to tolerate debate on the subject. Even Al Gore, environmentalism’s leading pop guru, refuses to debate global warming.
One of the green groups Milloy points to is the Institute for Public Policy Research, a British think tank, which strategizes:
The task of climate change agencies is not to persuade by rational argument.... The “facts” need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken.... It amounts to treating climate-friendly activity as a brand that can be sold. This is, we believe, the route to mass behavior changes.
Milloy also cites Cristine Russell, president of the Council for the Advancement of Science, who wishes to drown out critics. Russell writes that “the era of ‘equal time’ for skeptics who argue that global warming is just a result of natural variation and not human intervention seems to be largely over.... The he-said, she-said reporting just won’t do.”
David Roberts, a writer for Grist Magazine, went even further, calling for “war crimes trials” for those who deny global warming, and “some sort of climate Nuremberg,” although he later retracted the proposal. Similar recommendations come from NASA’s James Hansen, who said that coal- and oil-company executives who cast doubts on global warming “should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.” In short, if greens have their way, just presenting the facts refuting global warming might be classified as a hate crime against the planet.
It has been a hallmark of true science that any theory be subject to objective testing and examination. Greens’ refusal to allow open discussion of global warming’s validity — except by themselves — is virtually an admission that their viewpoint is indefensible. What then, is the greens’ real motive?
Milloy insightfully notes the common denominators of all green demands: increased government regulation, reduced economic productivity, and a lower standard of living for Americans.
Greens argue that each human being has a “carbon footprint” — the amount of carbon emissions his lifestyle creates by driving cars, using electricity, etc. If a person’s carbon footprint is too great, radical greens want the government to penalize that person. This, if the greens prevail, would entail energy rationing.
A proposal made by the California Energy Commission in 2007 would have required homes to have “programmable control thermostats” by which utility officials could, by remote control, regulate home thermostats, water heaters, refrigerators, and lights to ensure consumers stayed within acceptable boundaries of energy use. Though the proposal was rejected, it demonstrated the degree to which greens will go to establish a “green Big Brother.”
In the meantime, the British government is conducting trials with “smart meters” that set off alarms when homes exceed allotted electricity limits. In Pennsylvania, Governor Ed Rendell has okayed a law requiring utility companies to cut their customers’ annual electricity consumption by one percent by May 2011, or be fined up to $20 million. In Marburg, Germany, as of 2008, new homes are required to include solar panels or face fines of $1,500. And that same year, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome proposed that citizens who mix recyclables with their regular trash be fined up to $1,000.
If greens were truly interested in improving energy resources, they should support viable alternatives — such as nuclear power, which creates no carbon emissions. Yet greens oppose it, and as Milloy documents, in many cases they have even obstructed the building of the highly touted “renewable energy” sources such as wind, solar, and biofuels, claiming that each has its own negative impact on the environment. What, then, is the real green agenda?
Energy is required for all activity. By opposing all forms of substantial energy development, from offshore drilling to nuclear power, greens are creating an artificial energy shortage, drastically increasing the cost of energy, and providing an excuse for the government to micro-regulate every home in Orwellian fashion. And, since global warming is seen as a “global” threat, it is also being used as an excuse for world government. Former French President Jacques Chirac said in a speech advocating the Kyoto Protocol:
For the first time, humanity is instituting a genuine instrument of global governance, one that should find a place within the World Environmental Organization which France and the European Union would like to see established.
Origins of the Green Iron Fist?
Though not mentioned by Milloy, Report from Iron Mountain, published in 1967 as the leaked findings of a private three-year study commissioned by the U.S. government, may shed light on this. The report made shocking recommendations, some of which are now becoming reality. The establishment press denounced the report as a hoax; five years later, the late Leonard C. Lewin proclaimed he had written it as a satire on government think tanks. For a satire, however, it was strangely devoid of humor. Many wonder if the “hoax” charge was issued for damage control.
The study chiefly discussed the implications of the world moving from the system of war — which nuclear weapons were making impractical — to disarmament. The report cited many advantages to war, one of which was allegiance by citizens to their government:
In general, the war system provides the basic motivation for primary social motivation. In doing so, it reflects on the societal level the incentives of individual human behavior. The most important of these, for social purposes, is the individual psychological rationale for allegiance to a society [read: government] and its values. Allegiance requires a cause; a cause requires an enemy. This much is obvious; the critical point is that the enemy that defines the cause must seem genuinely formidable.
The report noted that if wars disappeared due to the advent of nuclear weapons, a new “enemy” would be required to induce citizen allegiance. Among the solutions proposed were threats to the environment:
Nevertheless, an effective political substitute for war would require “alternate enemies,” some of which might seem equally farfetched in the context of the current war system. It may be, for instance, that gross pollution of the environment can eventually replace the possibility of mass destruction by nuclear weapons as the principal apparent threat to the survival of the species. Poisoning of the air, and of the principal sources of food and water supply, is already well advanced, and at first glance would seem promising in this respect; it constitutes a threat that can be dealt with only through social organization and political power. But from present indications it will be a generation to a generation and a half before environmental pollution, however severe, will be sufficiently menacing, on a global scale, to offer a possible basis for a solution.
It is true that the rate of pollution could be increased selectively for this purpose; in fact, the mere modifying of existing programs for the deterrence of pollution could speed up the process enough to make the threat credible much sooner.
Was this the green movement’s beginning? In the report’s wake, numerous environmental scares were raised: acid rain, overpopulation, ozone depletion, toxic waste, deforestation, endangered species, global warming, etc. Establishment foundations began pouring billions of dollars into environmental groups. (For a listing, see “Behind the Green Curtain” in the April 4, 2005 issue of The New American.) Indeed, as Milloy notes, “The ten largest green groups had revenues of more than $1.36 billion in 2007 and net assets in excess of $7.1 billion.” Contrary to media spin, environmentalism is not a “grass-roots movement.”
And as Milloy observes, the restricted living standards greens advocate are not meant for the green elite, but for the rest of us. Just two of the examples he gives: although Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has stated that “California will be a leader in the fight against global warming,” he spends three hours a day commuting to and from work in his own private jet — which, according to the Los Angeles Times, “does nearly as much harm to the environment in one hour as a small car in one year.” Al Gore’s Nashville mansion, which includes a heated pool house, consumes more than 20 times the electricity used by the average American home. And while Gore has belatedly added some environmentally friendly energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines, this is easily affordable for him since his net worth had grown to over $100 million by 2007.
Milloy documents a host of other harmful aspects to the green movement. Examples:
• Green opposition to DDT has led to millions of malaria deaths in Africa.
• Greens advocate population reduction since each person has a “carbon footprint” and is seen as a liability to the planet.
• Greens want cars to run on alternative energy. This not only drives up the cost of automobile ownership, but since the easiest way for car manufacturers to meet new, higher mileage standards is to make cars lighter, car safety is also reduced.
• Greens have opposed forest cleanups, resulting in costly, deadly forest fires.
• Although water is the Earth’s most abundant substance, greens want even its use restricted and regulated. As Milloy notes: “There’s World Toilet Organization founder Jack Sims, who pronounced the flushing toilet to be ‘unsustainable’ at the 2008 World Toilet Summit. Conference attendees called for various solutions such as … a ‘toilet tax’ to discourage flushing.”
• Even national defense is not exempt. In 2005, the Natural Resources Defense Council sued the U.S. Navy for conducting exercises using sonar — vital for detecting enemy subs — based on the unsupported claim that the exercises disturbed whales and other marine animals. The Supreme Court sided with the Navy, but only by a 5-4 majority.
• Many American school children, heavily indoctrinated in environmental “doomed planet” scenarios, are growing depressed about the future.
And Milloy projects that, under Barack Obama, the “green president,” things are apt to get much worse.
Milloy doesn’t just report the problem; he also presents solutions: educating the public (most of whom are more concerned about rising energy costs than global warming); lobbying legislators; shareholder activism to press corporations into reversing green compliance that reduces shareholder value; letters to the editor; Internet activism; and more. Milloy’s own website, www.junk science.com, is one of the best out there for debunking the greens.
We wouldn’t necessarily agree with every point in Milloy’s book. For example, he criticizes greens who have opposed vaccinations. However, growing numbers of individuals completely outside the green movement also oppose mandatory vaccinations, believing that their risks outweigh their alleged benefits and that they constitute an unwelcome intrusion of government into private life. Many outside the green movement would also not share Milloy’s confidence in genetically altered foods.
Nevertheless, Steve Milloy has written a clear, concise, up-to-date refutation of the green movement that belongs in any home library.
Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them, by Steve Milloy, Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2009, 294 pages, hardcover, $27.95.