Mining Affairs Forum

By Ken Thornberg

“Enviro Extremism and the Myths Associated with it”

Ask a friend or associate, “Can you explain ‘Cap and Trade’ and the answer would probably surprise you. Actually, they probably will not have an answer except for a blank glare. What is alarming is that this proposed socialist scheme carries with it the future of our economy, and possibly our nation, as we have known it. What “cap and trade” really mans is government control of an ever-diminishing energy supply and the rationing that must accompany any restrictive policy implemented.

Cap and Trade came as a spin-off of the global warming hysteria from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And since Congress has not given in totally to this hysteria, proponents of it have tried the back door approach to control and environ-mental extremism within this proposed policy. The general trend of planetary warming has been going on since the end of the Little Ice Age about 150 years ago, proving there is no connection between CO2 and increasing temperature—except in that increases of CO2 levels in the atmosphere follow temperature increase on Earth because the oceans warm and outgas CO2.

When and if Congress approves this ridiculous policy, and it is getting dangerously close, it would be most devastating to the poor in developing countries who are already living on the brink of poverty. When access to energy in a society is limited, it is the disenfranchised that suffer the most. In past columns, I have outlined more details and spoken of the thousands of dollars each family would end up paying annually for the right to continue living as we do now.

Extremists Falter

First on our list of alarmists is Al Gore, whose book Inconvenient Truths was found to have nine significant errors according to Britain’s High Court, not just from some upset conservative grandmother. The result is a book whose conclusions are all based upon deliberate false data. In another example of self-condemnation, a member of Plane Truth promotes shutting down air travel because of a belief that CO2 emissions from aircraft are going to cause the planet to become uninhabitable from skyrocketing temperatures. Unfortunately, this man forgot to note that Earth’s temperatures have actually been decreasing during the past several years to record lows (in spite of some high ridge weather patterns the summer of 2013). This data came from satellite temperature readings and underwater ocean monitors. There is no word from Al Gore about stopping air travel, probably because he continues to fly around on his private jet from one “green” function to another.


One of the main issues being bantered around is the use of the insecticide DDT. But just what has the effects been of banning this insecticide? How many know that malaria was almost 100% eliminated by the use of DDT but then resurged when the EPA banned it and its exportation? The EPA then demanded that other countries adopt the same policy, thus leading to millions of deaths from malaria (the WHO estimates a million deaths per year). Another fact that our citizenry does not know is that DDT is harmless to both humans and animals, including birds! Were you aware of that?

The Myths of the Environmental Movement

Based upon poor science and the public’s laziness in investigating truth, this movement has grown with the help of the following myths:

  1. Overpopulation: Word population growth is actually decreasing and is expected to drop to less than 1% by 2030.
  2. Scarce Resources: Adjust for inflation, some energy and natural resource prices have been level or actually fallen for many years, an indication of abundance, not scarcity.
  3. Dwindling Food Supplies: World food supplies are growing faster than world population. Most of the world’s hunger is caused by political factors such as civil war or repressive economic policies.
  4. Global Warming: Most of the slight 1 degree Centigrade temperature rise over the past century took place prior to 1938, when the burning of fossil fuels was less than after WWII.
  5. Recycling: Many types of recycling use more energy and natural resources and thus create more pollution than producing products from new materials.
  6. Paper vs. Plastic: Studies show that paper biodegrades slowly, it at all, in landfills. Avoiding plastic products thus provides little help to the planet.
  7. Running out of Landfills: If the U.S. continues to generate garbage at its current rate, it would take 100 years to fill a plot of land 100 yards deep and 35 miles square.
  8. Running out of Oil: Try asking about this to those working today in North Dakota! Only about 18% of the planet’s 5.7 trillion barrels of oil have been used. (This figure could be larger now) Plus huge reserves in tar sands and shale remain. According to the U. S. Geological Survey, there are enough confirmed deposits of oil and ND, MT, TX, AK, and LA that if tapped, the U.S. would not need to import a drop of oil or a cubic foot of natural gas. Only the U.S. government is making that a problem for us today. Why?
  9. Saving Trees: According to the Department of Agricultures, we have 14 million more acres of trees today than in 1920.
  10. Running out of Clean Air: Air quality has actually improved for decades while pollution has declined! Total emissions of the six principal air pollutants dropped by 53% between 1970 and 2005, according to that bastion of conservatism, the EPA.
  11. Running out of Wilderness: Today “only” 46% of the earth’s land surface is wilderness.

What do you think of these myths? Did anyone change his mind about some of these? Enviro extremism is driving the goal of Cap and Trade, along with as many new socialistic programs as Congress is willing to accept, or its unwillingness to reverse president Obama’s Executive Orders. Stay tuned.