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Desperate Demographic Drill-Down



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From EENews’ ClimateWire today (subscription required), further proof that alarmists are soap salesmen, not messengers of truth. Here we see the shysters angling to target a new demographic, with ethnic-specific spin sure to follow.

Green groups see ‘untapped’ potential in Asian Americans

About 80 percent of Asian Americans surveyed consider themselves environmentalists, with a startling 96 percent of voters in the Chinese community identifying themselves as such. To compare, 52 percent of Californians overall would call themselves environmentalists, the poll found. [ . . . ]

“This population has largely been ignored,” said James Lau, executive director of the California LCV’s Education Fund, during a press conference. “We believe they represent an untapped source of influence.” [ . . . ]

“They are a critical force in terms of electoral politics,” said Paul Ong, director of a research program on Asian American culture at the University of California. “They will turn out to vote.” [ . . . ]

Might I suggest a strategy on how to reach out to this new, key demographic? Dust off and update an old favorite: “World to End: Asian-Americans to Be Hardest Hit.”

Scottish Students Insufficiently Brainwashed



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And at least one of them has a dirty mind. From Maurizio Morabito:

Not-so-surprising results from a “survey of sixth year students at a Scottish secondary . . . quizzed on what they would like to see provided in their town” by the “Selkirk Regeneration Group (SRG)”.

One student suggested a house for prostitutes.

The pupils voted against a wind farm.

Cue a customary “a disappointing outcome” quote from SRG chairman Dr Lindsay Neil, and mention that “more [needs] to be done to ‘get the message across’ ”. Why has he bothered to ask, one wonders.

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Send Al Gore to Alaska



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Gov. Sarah Palin has cancelled her trip to D.C. for the White House Correspondents’ prom to attend to major flooding in Alaska.

Think Progress, rather obviously, calls the flooding a “climate disaster” — clearly, proof that we’re all about to die from global warming.

The waters, of course, come from the melting of unusually heavy winter snow. And, as we all know, for snow to melt in May is an unprecedented weather event.

Bush’s Third Term



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President Obama is sticking with the Bush-era policy on polar bears:

The Interior Department is letting stand a Bush administration regulation that limits protection of polar bears from global warming, three people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will announce on Friday that he will not rescind the Bush rule, although Congress gave him authority to do so. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to pre-empt the secretary’s announcement.

Maybe it’s time for a nickname contest. Do readers prefer George W. Obama or Barack Obush?

Ethanol Train Wreck



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The Obama administration’s push for more ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply is running into resistance from . . . the Obama administration.

The president this week renewed Washington’s commitment (first mandated by President Bush and Congress in 2007) to produce 36 billion gallons of ethanol a year by 2022 by setting aside $786 million in stimulus funds to subsidize biofuel operations, retail fuel distributors, and the vehicles that burn it. “We must invest in a clean energy economy,” Obama said in a statement. To coordinate these federal programs, the administration has set up a biofuels working group that includes the EPA.

But as my Detroit-based colleague, Shikha Dalmia of the Reason Foundation writes, the very same EPA has just concluded a study that says such subsidies for biofuels are destroying the planet. “Demand for land on which to grow crops for biofuels can lead to deforestation and destruction of grasslands and wetlands,” reads the report, “resulting in substantial global warming pollution.”

“In other words, you, dear taxpayer, will pay higher energy prices to slow down global warming. And you will pay higher taxes to speed up global warming,” writes Dalima. “Either way, you will be doing something for global warming.”

Finally, a coherent national energy policy.

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A Better Way to Put Corn in Your Car?



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A new study suggests that burning corn (or other biomass) to generate electricity to power a car makes more environmental sense than turning the corn into ethanol. Another ding for the ethanol industry (which is fine), but then we still face the electric-car conundrum.

Also from the article:

All use of biomass — whether for ethanol or electricity — runs the risk of displacing food crops, however, as well as the need for large amounts of water. “Both pathways could be totally disastrous if these types of impacts can’t be avoided,” Campbell admits. “This is going to be a constrained area of land and amount of biomass, so how much transportation and greenhouse gas offsets can we milk out of this constrained land? It looks like the electricity pathway might get us more bang for the buck.”

So, as long as we can invent crops that don’t need water and people who don’t need to eat, we’ve got a winning solution.

It Takes Time to Cook Up a Free Lunch



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From Tom Nelson:

Democrats Try to Haggle Together a Cap and Trade Bill – TIME – [Can't we just structure a deal where EVERYBODY ends up pocketing billions of dollars in extra cash?]

Representatives of energy-intensive industries that have global competition — steel, aluminum, concrete, chemical and pulp and paper — are seeking credits if they produce less carbon dioxide per ton of output than the international average for each industry. . . .

The task for Waxman is to grant the concessions he needs to form a majority for a bill without diluting its environmental benefits. His current focus, he said, is to assure that no part of the country bears a disproportionate share of costs. But, regardless of concessions, he added, the emissions cap will guarantee that “environmental integrity” is preserved.

Romm is Burning . . . Again



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Well, some folks are just slow learners, I suppose.

Joltin’ Joe Romm — living proof that one doesn’t swear off ideological activism, even extremism, when accepting a Ph.D. — can’t stop himself from drawing attention to the Enron thing, oblivious to the fact that company’s stain is actually on his and his movement’s blouse, not on those who challenged the disgraced company that invented the global-warming industry. (Greenpeace-ex Jeremy Leggett in his book The Carbon War correctly identified promiscuous Enron as “the company most responsible for sparking the greenhouse civil war in the hydrocarbon business.”)

Here we see Romm attack various parties, desperately tossing “Enron” in the air for the fourth time.
 
What makes this noteworthy is that one target of his ad Romminem, Rob Bradley, has unearthed new Romm-to-Enron memos indicating that Dr. Joe was, in effect, an unpaid consultant and external enabler of Enron’s most fraudulent division.
 
Reading these revelations, and being a former Enron employee myself (if ever so briefly, having opened my mouth about their scheming in Week One), I thank Joe for bringing up Enron again. So now that we’re on the topic: did Romm know about Enron’s “mark-to-model” method of faking profits and energy savings? After all, he says in a memo quoted by Bradley: “I have had many discussions with EES’s senior staff.” (I doubt that Joe was talking them out of underwriting the global warming industry.)
 
Romm’s tragic love for Enron might have something to do with his bias for cap-and-trade, which is so strong that he even declares war on James Hansen in two posts (here and here) at Climate Progress. Hansen’s sin is to warn that corporations (a la Enron) will take over and ruin carbon-mitigation schemes.

I can’t help but hear the playground taunt “stop hitting yourself” when reading these inane ad Romminem tantrums. But they certainly do provide teachable moments.

Thinking Impossible Thoughts



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I missed this Ian Drury piece in the Daily Mail. Labour climate czar Miliband has doubled the estimate of what the Kyoto agenda will cost British families. Not to worry, though, the benefits are staggering. Via Benny Peiser:

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband admits the cost of laws Laws aimed at tackling global warming could cost every family in Britain a staggering £20,000 – double the original forecast.

Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband admitted the bill for introducing legislation to cut greenhouse gases had soared from £205billion to £404billion between now and 2050.

But in figures quietly released to Parliament, the Cabinet minister claimed the benefits to the UK would be more than £1trillion — a tenfold increase on the £110billion predicted last year.

Last night Mr Miliband was accused of entering ‘Alice in Wonderland territory’ with the figures in an attempt to stifle concern about the price of bringing in the Climate Change Act.

Senior Tory MP Peter Lilley said Mr Miliband ‘heavily massaged’ the statistics to ‘remove embarrassment’ that the laws represented poor value for money. . . .

Mr Lilley, a former Trade Secretary, said he accepted a reduction in global warming would cost a lot. But in a letter to Mr Miliband he said: ‘When it comes to your revised estimates of the benefits we enter Alice in Wonderland territory.’

Mr Miliband said the benefits had risen because a global deal on tackling carbon emissions was more likely because Britain had passed the Climate Change Act. He denied the figures were framed to produce a convenient answer.

Setting Future Priorities



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The time travelers at the New York Post published this morning the transcript of a talk Bjørn Lomborg will give later today. (Amazing!)

IN the heart of a financial crisis, most of us carefully consider every last purchase. It is important that politicians do the same when making vital policy decisions.

Instead of focusing on initiatives with the greatest benefits, they tend to be swayed by those with the most vocal advocates. Take the Kyoto Protocol. Its $180 billion annual global cost would perhaps be worth the investment if it made any substantial difference to global warming. But even if Kyoto were implemented for the rest of this century, it would cut temperatures by just 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

This doesn’t pass a basic cost-benefit test. The investment would cause more immediate financial hardship than eventual good. There are many better uses for the money.

That point was underscored by Copenhagen Consensus 2008, a project I designed to champion the use of economic tools in international aid and development policy.

For two years before Copenhagen Consensus 2008, teams of experts wrote papers identifying the best ways to solve the world’s biggest problems: air pollution, conflict, disease, inadequate education, global warming, malnutrition and hunger, sanitation and water challenges, subsidies and trade barriers, terrorism and gender-disparity issues. They identified the investments that would best tackle each challenge and outlined the costs and benefits of each.

A group of prestigious economists — including five Nobel laureates — gathered and examined this research. They took the long menu of investments and turned it into a prioritized list of opportunities. At the bottom — the least cost-effective investment the world could make to respond to any of these problems — was dealing with climate change through immediate CO2 cuts, as the Kyoto Protocol attempts.

At the top was the provision of micronutrients — particularly vitamin A and zinc — to undernourished children in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

For just $60 million annually, we could reach 80 percent of the world’s 140 million or so undernourished children. The economic gains from improving their lives would eventually clear $1 billion a year.

For another $286 million, we could iodize salt and fortify basic food with iron for 80 percent of the children who are at risk of stunting and poor development because they’re going without.

Interestingly — and perhaps predictably — many of the economists’ top-ranked solutions were to problems that don’t attract many headlines or much celebrity attention. The simple act of deworming children in developing countries, for example, would improve nourishment and allow some of the world’s most disadvantaged kids to learn more and get better jobs later.

Copenhagen Consensus 2008 showed that we know how to stop people from dying from malnutrition, pollution, HIV/AIDS and malaria. Solving these problems would open a world of opportunities, including allowing a disadvantaged community to grow, develop and care about longer-term issues like global warming.

What we need to do now is cheap and simple. It’s mostly a question of getting what’s needed (micronutrients, cleaner forms of fuel, free condoms and mosquito nets) to those in need. Death tolls remain high because we have limited resources, and these problems are not considered our biggest concerns.

Economic tools such as cost-benefit analysis and prioritization will never offer the last word in public policy debate — and nor should they — but they can provide a vital input for decision-makers.

The process that worked for Copenhagen Consensus 2008 — and that encouraged philanthropic organizations to invest more in malnutrition — is also relevant for national and state governments and city administrations.

Prioritization is difficult for any politician, whether a member of the Obama team or a city administrator. The project would give a city like New York the opportunity to focus on the spending priorities that achieve the most. Vested interests and lobbying groups create a lot of noise. Copenhagen Consensus sets aside that noise, so that the costs and benefits of competing options can be seriously considered side-by-side.

The recession that has made life more difficult also offers an opportunity for us all to rethink our priorities — and ensure that each dollar spent achieves as much as possible.

The Clunkers Compromise



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The House of Representatives has its “cash for clunkers” bill and it bears only a dim family resemblance to the enviro-alarmists’ original vision of forcing Americans into smaller, greener cars. Call it the “Cash for Old Guzzlers to Buy New Guzzlers” bill. Call it reality. Call it a refreshing reminder that green dreams to remake mankind must still get by mankind’s Congressional representatives.

Democrats claimed that “Cash for Clunkers” was based on Germany’s successful “scrappage” legislation, which has given a huge shot in the arm to that country’s auto sales. But this was a lie — parroted by media outlets — from the start. Germany’s program offers a trade-in on any car older than nine years in exchange for any vehicle the customer wants. Democrats, on the other hand, saw an opportunity for social engineering.

Last month, New York representative Steve Israel (D., Greens) offered legislation requiring that eligible vehicles for sale get a whopping 25 percent more than current fuel-mileage rules, or 34 mpg for cars and 28 mpg for trucks. In effect, this meant that only high-mpg hybrids would qualify for purchase, a fact that left out almost the entire GM fleet and all of Chrysler’s.

Enter Ohio representative Betty Sutton (D., Unions) — backed by the Michigan delegation — with a proposal broadening the definition of fuel-efficient cars to those that meet current CAFE mandates (27 mpg for cars; 22 mpg for trucks). Then enter the auto industry, which is sucking wind and thinks a scrappage program should actually sell cars.

Then stir and bake.

What emerged from the oven this week is this: Customers get a $3,500—$4,500 federal rebate (on top of similar, $4,000 dealer incentives) to trade in their old car for a new car getting just 22 mpg, or a truck that gets 18 mpg — which covers virtually everything except Lamborghinis and Hummers.

The greens got one bone: To be eligible for trade in, old cars and trucks must get less than 18 mpg, a perverse provision that will “diminish the program’s effectiveness in removing vehicles from the road,” says auto analyst Joe Baker with CSM Worldwide.

In effect, though, owners of a giant 2006 Chevy Tahoe SUV (fuel mileage: 18 mpg) can trade in for a brand new, giant, 2009 Chevy Tahoe SUV (18 mpg). Or a 1999 Ford Explorer SUV (16 mpg) can be traded for a 2009 Ford Explorer SUV (18 mpg).

The feds estimate that the clunkers program would increase sales by 1 million units, a paltry 7 percent increase over 2008 sales. Under Germany’s unlimited scrappage program, by contrast, sales have increased by 40 percent.

Despite the restricted eligibility, automakers were thrilled with the compromise because it will move new SUVs and sedans gathering dust on dealer lots — whereas initial green proposals would have moved very few.

“Anything helps,” says industry trade rep Charles Territo, who excepts the House legislation is likely to be adopted by the Senate.

Henry Payne is a writer and editorial cartoonist for the Detroit News.

Carbon Capture?



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Via Heliogenic Climate Change (“The Sun, not a harmless essential trace gas, drives climate change”), here’s a handy boil-down of “Carbon Capture and Burial — a Stupid Answer to a Silly Question,” from the Carbon Sense Coalition’s Viv Forbes:

“These are the likely effects [of carbon capture and storage (CCS)]:

  • About 30% [some say as high as 50%] of the power station electricity will be wasted in separating, compressing and pumping of CO2. Thus a power station now using 1 million tonnes of coal per annum will need 1.5 Mt of coal to produce the same output of usable power for electricity consumers or other industries.

  • A 50% increase in coal used will require a similar increase in coal mine capacity and transport and handling facilities — a huge waste of community land, resources and capital.

  • The resource life of every thermal coal mine will be reduced by 30% [50%].

  • Capital costs for every power station forced to wear this ball-and-chain will rise 30-100%, and electricity charges must rise by a similar amount to cover the parasitic power losses and the increased capital and operating costs.

  • No wonder some greens support CCB [carbon capture and burial] – it will make coal fired electricity so expensive that even piddle power from windmills will look attractive.

  • The same dismal story will emerge at every cement plant and steel works that is forced to install CCB.

  • The figures for gas powered facilities are similar in principle, and only slightly better.

  • The use of oxygen instead of air in the boilers merely shifts the nitrogen separation costs from the end of the process to the beginning.

  • And after all that trouble and expense, the effect on climate is probably undetectable. There is no proof or evidence that man’s production of CO2 controls the climate.

A typical 1,000 MW power station could burn about 3 million tonnes of coal per year, requiring 300 trains per year to supply the coal. If CCB is installed, the extra power needed will call for another 150 trains of coal. And if trains were used to haul away the captured CO2, the mass of material moved would require another 1,150 trains per year, each train carrying 10,000 tonnes.

Australia currently uses 128 million tonnes of coal per year to generate electricity. The CO2 produced by all of these stations could total over 300 million tonnes py. If triple header trains were used to transport this as liquefied CO2 it would require 30,000 trains per year or 600 trains per week. No matter what method of transport is used, the tonnage realities are still there and it will require immense energy to capture, compress, transport and bury the CO2 anywhere.”

Planet Gore, Explained



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When we named this blog, it was really to honor Mr. Al Gore, as in, we hope one day he’s charge of the entire planet. We’re really fans of his and hope this blog hasn’t caused him any “substantial emotional distress.” Yeah, that’s the ticket. 

(Prince Charles — we love you, too!)

Al Gore’s Green



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Marc Morano on The O’Reilly Factor. Good stuff:

Green Jobs Americans Won’t Be Allowed to Do



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Google is using goats to clear brush and weeds from the company’s headquarters rather than gas-powered machines.

Saved by Big Oil



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Turns out those big, bad oilmen are good for something after all: rescuing eco-sailors. The Beeb has the story:

An expedition team which set sail from Plymouth on a 5,000-mile carbon emission-free trip to Greenland have been rescued by an oil tanker.

The team, which left Mount Batten Marina in Plymouth on 19 April in a boat named the Fleur, aimed to rely on sail, solar and man power on a 580-mile (933km/h) journey to and from the highest point of the Greenland ice cap.

The expedition was followed by up to 40 schools across the UK to promote climate change awareness.

But atrocious weather dogged their journey after 27 April, culminating with the rescue on 1 May after the boat was temporarily capsized three times by the wind.

In one incident Mr Stoddart hit his head and the wind generator and solar panels were ripped from the yacht.

Water was also getting into the boat from waves breaking over it and the crew took refuge in the forward cabin.

The crew were 400 miles (644km) off the west coast of Ireland when they sent a mayday to Falmouth coastguards who co-ordinated the rescue with Irish coastguards.

The transfer from the Fleur to Overseas Yellowstone was achieved in 42mph (67km/h) winds.

Mr Spink and Mr Surcouf were able to jump across to a rope ladder. But Mr Stoddart fell into the sea, was thrown a line by the crew and hauled aboard.

The Prince and His Priorities



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The Telegraph’s James Delingpole has a few choice observations about the Frog-and-Prince video Greg linked earlier. Excerpted below, read the whole thing here:

Do we reckon all the logging companies and cattle ranchers making their fortune in the Amazon basin are suddenly going to go: “Oh well, if the future King of England, Han Solo and the star of that towering meisterwerk of international cinema Jumanji says what we’re doing is wrong, well we’d better give up now!”
[. . .] Do we reckon they’re going to listen to any new international rainforest-saving directives any more than they listened to any of the previous ones?

Of course they’re not. Prince Charles’s campaign has about as much chance as saving the rainforests as shoving a “Free Tibet” sticker on your car bumper does of driving the Chinese out of Lhasa. . . . It’s a total waste of energy.

This is what’s wrong with the modern green movement: like one of its early founding fathers Adolf Hitler, it will insist on fighting its wars on too many fronts. Some of its battles really are worth fighting: over-fishing is one; the destruction of the rainforests is definitely another. Unfortunately, the main effort of its campaigning has been wasted on a chimera: the thing they used to call “global warming” and now call “climate change.” As Bjorn Lomborg and others have pointed out, this has resulted in billions and billions of dollars being squandered trying to prevent a natural process, when the same amount of money could have been used to do real good: providing vitamins to deficient children; providing drinkable water to every person on the planet; etc.

It’s also exactly where Prince Charles goes wrong in his video. He uses rainforests as an excuse to bleat about “the urgent fight against climate change” and “the battle against catastrophic climate change”, conflating two very different problems: one real and quite urgent, the other largely illusory. If he stuck to the rainforests and ignored the anthropogenic global warming drivel, his message would have so much more impact and credibility.

There’s only one thing that can stop deforestation and that’s money: money to enable countries like Brazil to pay for enforcement; money for bribes, blackmail, eco-tourism projects, conservation, land purchase. Far more money, unfortunately, than Prince Charles nets every year from the Duchy of Cornwall; more money even than the millions  Al Gore has made from “carbon saving” projects.

Yet if it weren’t for the green movement that money would be much more easily available. To take but one example: the global costs of implementing the Kyoto Protocol on carbon emissions stand so far at around $633 billion. The potential temperature saving by the year 2050 this has brought about it is 0.006565159 degrees Centigrade. (Check out the hilarious but depressing clock at Junkscience.com).

For money like that you could buy yourself an awful lot of rainforest. But unless Prince Charles and his fellow green campaigners can get their priorities sorted, those beloved trees of theirs (and picturesque tribespeople, and two-toed sloths, and pink dolphins) are doomed.

The Environmental Impact of Electric Cars



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Here’s a good piece from the Christian Science Monitor on electric cars and the bitter reality that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. An excerpt:

Advocates of these next-gen cars, however, often act like someone who takes for granted that a light will go on whenever they flip a switch. They fail to ask two critical questions:

Will electric utilities be able to build enough power plants for all these electron guzzlers? And, even if they can, will new plants simply burn coal or oil in the same old dirty way — negating to a degree the anticarbon benefits of hybrid-electric cars?

Only a handful of studies have looked at these questions. “It seems that general excitement with the idea of PHEVs springs from the perceived possibility of a ‘free lunch,’ ” states the latest study, done by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “There are some concerns, however, about whether this lunch is really ‘free.’ “

The study says many electric-car owners will likely want to charge their vehicles in the evening during peak usage, rather than at night — even with lower rates. The result may be a rise in coal or oil burning by utilities. And all electricity consumers could see rates rise by 40 percent or more.

In Britain, a similar study by the Campaign for Better Transport found that a move to electric vehicles might require increasing the country’s electricity capacity by 2.4 to 3.5 times.

Nuclear would go a long way to solving this, but I highly doubt we’ll see any new nuclear plants any time soon.

Chuck Schumer: For the Birds



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Sen. Schumer is proposing legislation that mandates the FAA report each and every aircraft bird strike. Notes the AP piece, “Schumer said Wednesday the problem can’t be properly addressed until it’s understood.”

Maybe Sen. Shumer should have tried to understand the bird-strike problem before earmarking funds for non-lethal bird control. Note from the link that Sen. Schumer doesn’t mention the threat to people, only the goose threat to the environment.

Green vs. Green



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Fox News:

A key part of President Obama’s energy plan — replacing fossil fuels with green alternatives — is facing increasing opposition from an unlikely source: environmentalists.

Some environmentalists, who have successfully fought a wind farm on the border of Oregon and Washington, are trying to block a massive solar plant in the Mojave desert. And now an Oregon county is considering a ban on wind power in the foothills of the blue mountains.

“We all want to be as green as we can be. But at what cost?” Richard Jolly of the Blue Mountain Alliance. “To take everything from us? This valley could be surrounded by them.”

Jolly says 400-foot wind turbines are a bird-killing eyesore. The developer argues the danger to birds is exaggerated but admits every big energy project has its downside.

“If we hold out for the perfect environmental silver bullet, if you will, it will always be 15 years down the road,” he said. “We have to make incremental progress.”

For decades, environmental groups have talked about “big oil,” painting the petroleum industry as greedy and destructive. Now similar language is being applied to renewables. Instead of eco-friendly green power, increasingly it’s “big wind” and “big solar.”

Getcha popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show.

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