Bill McKibben Lets Loose Again

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, 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 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.


9 responses to “Bill McKibben Lets Loose Again

  1. Tom, once again I find myself in violent agreement with you:-)

    McKibben is not someone who has given me any reason whatsoever to respect the validity of his mantras and/or views.

    As I had noted a few years ago, when he had decided to latch onto the highly inapt, inept and inappropriate “apartheid” analogy:

    A somewhat more “established” anti-Israel virus has infected far too many universities (and other organizations) for far too many years: that of equating the State of Israel to the former apartheid regime in South Africa. In support of such scurrilous and completely unfounded slanderous disinformation, those who are bound and determined to delegitimize Israel’s mere existence have embarked on a campaign of “boycott and disinvestment”, while relentlessly flogging “a shoe that doesn’t fit” – as even the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen (certainly no slouch, when it comes to criticizing Israel) had noted in 2010.

    And, after citing additional similarities, I had further noted:

    And in the meantime, the United Nations and its coterie of NGOs (including McKibben’s fiefdom) remain – for all intents and purposes – scandalously impotent to address any of the real tragedies and suffering inflicted upon the innocent in too many parts of the world.

    Needless to say, in the intervening two years, there is every indication that the UN – and/or its ever-increasing army of cheerleading NGOs – continues to be scandalously impotent to address any real tragedies and suffering in the world.

    And on a related McKibben note – quite apart from the fact that Toronto is not the centre of the Canadian universe – I find it somewhat amusing that he has had to stoop so low as to choose the virtually unheard of, albeit far too grandiosely named, “NationalObserver”. A virtual rag that is, in reality, a relatively recent offshoot of the equally unheard of Vancouver Observer).

    That McKibben will evidently be accompanied on his Toronto “march” by Stephen Lewis (who really should know better, particularly since this is not his bailiwick) Naomi Klein, David Suzuki, and Maude Barlow (none of whom have any expertise in “climate science”) is somewhat yawn-inducing, to say the least.

    Just as yawn-inducing, IMHO, as his virtually perennial anti-Koch whines which the article dutifully recycles.

    Notwithstanding any and/or all of the above, I am quite confident that there are far, far more Torontonians who will choose to not march along with Bill, than there will be those who will … Most of whom will probably not even be aware – or care – that this self-important little man is even in town;-)

  2. I really don’t understand the mechanism by which McKibben became a public figure. He doesn’t say anything new. He’s incorrect on the facts. He’s not funny or pleasant. He looks like that actor Thornton as an anorexic.

    How did he get to be a big deal?

    • Mckibben got famous the same way as Naomi Klein. Their writing appeals to certain and sizable audience. As much as I dislike Mckibben, I’ll have to admit that he’s a good writer (I read “Eaarth” and wrote an Amazon review). In February of 2000, Peter Huber had a debate with McKibben at the Manhattan Institute. While Huber disagreed with almost everything McKibben said, he praised his ability to write about nature. It was a very interesting and civil debate available here:

      • Reading your comment I realized that I’ve read very little by McKibben. I’ve seen transcripts of interviews, but that’s not the same thing.

  3. I think McKibben became famous because people talk and write about him.

  4. McKibben is a climate parasite engorging off the public money. I see no reason to give him any more attention than I would a tapeworm.

  5. Just an update … I was wondering what might have prompted the parasite McKibben to decide to grace Toronto with his presence.

    It could well be the little known (and relatively little noticed but grandiosely named) “Climate Summit of the Americas” floating on the (advance) coat-tails of the long-ago scheduled Pan Am Games.

    It may (or may not) be significant that in the Canadian Press coverage of these advocacy antics, only Fonda and the long-past-his-prime warhorse, Suzuki – along with the well-beneath-deserving-of-credibility, Naomi Klein – received any “honourable” mentions.

    IOW, the once-upon-a-time Toronto schoolboy received no mention whatsoever.

    Pity, eh?!

    • McKibben, as all parasites, is working as quietly as possible filling his appetite. As someone said, “In it for the money”. Once the loot is lined up, I am sure we will hear more from him.

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