It’s Earth Day! The annual global observance when billions of people take time from their busy days to nurture, pamper, and otherwise kiss up to the universally revered world-deity Gaia. Well, not really, but it is a day when preachy environmentalists attempt to guilt-trip people for squatting on the planet they are forced to live on. More than usual that is.
However, the 43rd Earth Day finds the greens a little bluer. Their movement is in disarray, their pet causes are in disrepute, and their influence in policy circles has melted away. A movement that thrives by promoting fear and uncertainty finds people progressively more complacent about the state of the planet. Greens hate that.
Despite decades of alarmism the globe has failed to warm. The oceans have not broken the beaches, the ice caps have remained coldly indifferent. Global temperatures have flatlined for 10-15 years, even though computer models promised we could soon be enjoying summers on beachfront property in upper Newfoundland. The acolytes of the warmist faith have been striving mightily to explain this unsettled science, but the inconvenient truth is their predictions are simply wrong. When even the European press grows skeptical about climate change they have to admit it’s over. Gaia is not keeping her end of the bargain.
Attempts to dissuade the world from using increasingly available fossil fuels have been stymied by the march of human ingenuity. Hydraulic fracturing has become a major economic force, and is the fracking power behind America’s growing energy independence. The Earther movement has been trying frantically to find a way to derail this miracle technology, to no avail. Matt Damon’s anti-fracking propaganda movie “Promised Land” failed to live up to its promise, and was not a money maker for Image Nation, the government production company of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates. No conflict of interest there, they just love cinema.
The growth in the energy sector has been so fracktacular that even the ideologically-driven White House has had to make compromises. President Obama stoically leads from behind on the Keystone pipeline issue, attempting to triangulate between the legitimate needs of the most vibrant sector of the otherwise zombified American economy, and frantic environmentalists who periodically erect drum circles outside the White House to protest the twin evils of cheap energy and job creation. But while Obama dithers on the pipeline decision pesky capitalists are moving the oil anyway by railroad making the issue moot. Given the triple blessing of more jobs, cheaper oil and declining energy imports from parts of the world where people want to kill us, it is a fracking miracle.
Mr. Obama’s green initiatives have mostly wilted, as breathless idealism got drilled by reality. The Solyndra solar-panel bankruptcy and other high profile failures have drained the Energy Department’s ill-conceived green energy loan program. The White House has been reduced to promoting stunts like forcing companies to file global warming impact statements on major projects, a pointless paperwork requirement that will waste thousands of man-hours and kill millions of trees. We were all supposed to be driving around in bitched-up golf carts by now, but that future never arrived. Electric vehicles remain an expensive, inconvenient luxury for people who don’t need to drive very much. The Fisker electric car has been a dramatic failure despite $1.2 billion in capitalization including a $200 million U.S. government loan which helped the company keep its plant in Finland running. Heavily subsidized cars like the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf have failed to capture the public imagination, and the top two best selling U.S. vehicles continue to be highly practical, domestically built, gas-guzzling pickup trucks. Because, America.
James S. Robbins is Deputy Editor of Rare