Heartland Institute Warns Renewables Will Damage The Environment & Harm People — Junk Science For Pollution

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The sky is falling! We must run and tell the king! That is the message put out recently by the Heartland Institute in a story entitled, “Policy Brief: How The Green New Deal’s Renewable Energy Mining Would Harm Humans And The Environment.” The message they have for their readers is this: electric car batteries use minerals like lithium, cobalt, manganese, aluminum, and others. Mining is a dirty business that tortures the Earth and can cause health problems for workers. Therefore, any mining for minerals used in renewable energy production is inherently bad and should be stopped!

Sharp-eyed readers will note that any extraction techniques used to wrest fossil fuels from the Earth are perfectly OK. No miner has ever suffered black lung disease and no one involved in fracking has ever suffered any health related issues. The Heartland Institute is one of many organizations supported by Koch Industries and other fossil fuel companies. Its mission is to bamboozle and baffle the populace with junk science so oil and gas companies can continue to rape the Earth under the guise of helping humanity.

The Institute has a long history of publishing “studies” that support its world view. Its methodology is simple. It sets forth the conclusion it wants the studies to come to, then hire stooges who will manufacture data to support those conclusions. If you shovel enough money at people, they will say and do anything you ask. The studies, however, have no scientific validity, although they do provide fodder for the lies and disinformation fomented by Rush “Anal Cyst” Limbaugh and Faux News talking heads.

This latest study, which you can download here, begins with this so-called executive summary:

The Green New Deal (GND)—promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and several other prominent elected officials—aims to replace all fossil fuels and nuclear energy with so-called “renewable” energy sources, primarily wind and solar.

The justification for this extreme policy proposal is based primarily on the fear that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from oil, natural gas, and coal will cause catastrophic global warming, as well as concerns about the alleged dangers of nuclear power sources.

The scientific case that manmade global warming poses an “existential threat” to humanity is highly questionable, according to many scientists, and the safety record for nuclear power in this country thoroughly belies the claims against it.

However, what is beyond dispute is that eliminating fossil fuels and nuclear power would require literally millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels, and several billion batteries like the half-ton power sources used in Tesla vehicles. This, in turn, would require a massive worldwide increase in mining for lithium, cobalt, copper, iron, aluminum, and numerous other raw materials.

Current mining operations to supply materials for today’s comparatively small amount of renewable power technology—plus batteries for laptop computers, smartphones, and electric cars—are already causing supply difficulties and serious problems for the environment. These mining operations are also imposing substantial harm on the men, women, and children who work in battery- and renewable energy-related mines, processing plants and factories in other countries.

As this paper shows, expanding mining on the scale needed to meet the renewable energy requirements contained in the Green New Deal and other proposed renewable energy mandates would cause unimaginable harm to the environment, wildlife, and humans.

The various Koch-supported think tanks all feature words like “freedom,” “free market,” and “liberty” somewhere in their mission statements. Decoded, those flowery words suggest to the weak-minded that zombie capitalism, which never, ever pays to clean up its mess, is somehow an outgrowth of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. As of this moment, nearly half of all Americans have bought into the lie that the total destruction of the world in pursuit of profits is somehow OK.

The author of this piece is one Paul Driessen. Driessen is not only a contributor to the Heartland Institute, he is also a senior policy advisor with the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.

OK. Let’s go a little deeper. According to DeSmog Blog, about half of all funding for CFACT since its inception has come from Donor’s Trust, a front group set up years ago by the Koch Brothers to funnel money to people and groups who will sing from the free enterprise song book. The major contributors for the CDFE are the Mercer Family Trust and ExxonMobil, according to DeSmog Blog.

The overarching policy of the Heartland Institute and all its kindred organizations is to prolong the fossil fuel era so industry executives can pocket as many dollars as possible while they still can. Any thought for humanity or the environment is to be avoided. Who cares if people are getting sick and dying from fossil fuel pollution so long as the profits continue to roll in?

Isn’t it interesting how Americans howled with indignation when Volkswagen dared to bring its polluting diesel-powered cars to the US, but no one utters a peep of protest when fossil fuel companies do things that are several orders of magnitude worse? Groups like the Heartland Institute are why there is such a disconnect between the American public and reality.

We present this story not to promote the sick, twisted lies of the Heartland Institute but to enlighten our readers, who are having trouble understanding why, in the face of existential crises like a rapidly overheating world, no one in authority is doing much if anything to address the problem and apply intelligent solutions. People who are happy to do the bidding of their paymasters instead of promoting the health and welfare of their fellow citizens are the reason. Now you know.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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