Fresh from calling President Barack Obama a climate change denier, Bill McKibben is now lumping Canada with places like… Mordor, or maybe Nigeria. Fresh from his three day round trip flight to Ireland for a convention against CO2 emissions, McKibben said, “From a distance, watching the trashing of environmental regulations; watching the efforts to intimidate environmental groups, First Nations – watching all that’s been pretty sad.”
Canada has recently backed away from some environmental initiatives, but they have been in the forefront on the environmental front for decades. Condemning them because you don’t like one thing they’ve recently done is as stupid and crazy as… well, calling the most environmentally friendly president since Theodore Roosevelt a denier. Oh.
Perhpas McKibben can take solace in the publication of the recent Papal encyclical, which McKibben said was “a moment to revivify the many millions of Americans who stopped thinking that faith had something important to say to the world and to remind them that in fact it does have something important to say to the world.” It’s amazing how many new converts the Pope has from unexpected sources, ranging from McKibben to Eli Rabett to And Then There’s Physics.
One of McKibben’s greatest missions has been to disrupt Canadian excavation of tar sands for oil, which he pitches to the Canadians as an effort to protect their environment and which he pitches to the rest of the world as a way of leaving fossil fuels in the ground. Of course, the net result is more oil extraction from places like Nigeria, where “Royal Dutch Shell and the Italian multinational oil giant ENI have admitted to more than 550 oil spills in the Niger Delta last year, according to an Amnesty International analysis of the companies’ latest figures.”
Blocking the Keystone Pipeline has forced shipment of Alberta oil by rail and truck, coincidentally emitting more CO2 and increasing the chances of oil spills. Sort of destroying the village to save it, but at least it’s making Warren Buffet richer. Buffett owns the rail line that currently is substituting for the unbuilt Keystone pipeline. As McKibben doesn’t disclose who’s funding his efforts at 350.org, who knows? Maybe Buffet can find a way to thank him for his efforts, if he hasn’t already. However, although McKibben doesn’t talk about who funds him, others discovered that considerable funding for 350.org comes from the Rockefeller Brothers, who of course made the money they are donating to McKibben by extracting oil from Pennsylvania and other places far from Canada.
McKibben is also an enthusiastic advocate of divesting your shares in fossil fuel companies. McKibben apparently believes that the past success of international efforts to lower emissions means that governments worldwide will demand that oil companies leave oil in the ground as ‘stranded assets’, that China and India will quit digging for coal, that frackers will lay down their drill bits. Of course, the Department of Energy and the International Energy Agency believe consumption of fossil fuels will double in the next 20 years, so you divestors will be sort of selling at the bottom of the cycle, but that’s a small price to pay for purity.
In short, McKibben is an activist who is (in my opinion) wrong on all the major issues of the day, joining people like Rajendra Pachauri, Michael Mann and Paul Ehrlich at the top end, supported by bloggers like Eli Rabett, Michael Tobis and And Then There’s Physics at the bottom end.
Bill, pay attention here:
- Barack Obama is not a denier
- Stopping the Keystone pipeline will not stop oil extraction in Canada. It will however, make transporting it more emissive and more dangerous.
- The Pope understands poverty. Getting his opinion on climate change is not relevant
- Fossil fuel consumption will double in the next 20 years. People and institutions who sell their shares now will be selling to people who recognize a real opportunity. Those buyers may be less concerned about the environment than those who are selling.
Can someone point me to an instance of McKibben being right about anything? I suppose it doesn’t really matter very much, but I just wonder what kind of world we will create if we keep listening to people who are demonstrably mistaken on issue after issue.