m
Recent Posts
Connect with:
Thursday / January 20.
 
HomeAlaska IssuesCOP26: How the quest to become carbon neutral is destroying the West’s development efforts while Alaska gets stuck in the crosshairs

COP26: How the quest to become carbon neutral is destroying the West’s development efforts while Alaska gets stuck in the crosshairs

Glasgow, UK-6 November,2021: Thousands of people taking part in a demonstration march
against climate change in Glasgow city centre during UN COP26 climate conference.

By Ben O'Rourke

November 11, 2021

“Carbon Neutral”

 

In September 1999, I drove from Haines to Whitehorse in Canada, then down to Skagway, Alaska to catch what we were led to believe was the last light plane out to Juneau before tourist season ended. It was a hectic trip made worse by an extreme hangover after wrapping filming on the Discovery Channel documentary we’d been making and not filling the car with fuel before leaving.

We wrongly assumed there would be a gas station not far across the border into Canada.

COP26: How the quest to become carbon neutral is destroying the West's development efforts while Alaska gets stuck in the crosshairs

There wasn’t – and after driving for about two hours the full fuel gauge needle was well into the red. Luckily a small town appeared and we filled up in the nick of time.

The trip to Whitehorse is more than 240 miles and we needed to get there before the university library closed to film some old photos of the Gold Rush days. Had we had an electric car, we wouldn’t have made it as we would have been forced to stop for about an hour or so to recharge the battery. Even the more modern and expensive electric cars only have a range of approximately 230 miles.

My trip over the last week to the climate summit in Glasgow was about 400 miles there and back. No problem in my diesel SUV, which can cover nearly 600 miles on a full tank.

 

Eco-lunacy on a Grand Scale

It’s eco-lunacy on a grand scale, and yet in Alaska, the effort to attain an “energy mix” diversification with wind turbine projects on Fire Island next to Anchorage, near Healy, and near Delta Junction is praised by some as a remedy and offset to rising fuel prices. But these projects and this technology will not reduce our gas prices at the pump and they remain exorbitant and costly to maintain.

 

The question that comes to mind in the midst of all of the global warming and clean energy debate is what will happen in Britain when gas-driven vehicles are banned in 2030?

In the United States, the Democrats are likely to introduce a similar rule as in the United Kingdom. President Joe Biden is already shutting down pipelines at a time when our fuel prices are spiking. His attitude seems to be Americans will just have to deal with his party’s new planet-saving rules. At the COP26 meeting, Joe even insisted we’re in exigent times and “we only have a brief window before us.”

“At what point does it become too late?” asks Rick Whitbeck, Alaska State Director of Power the Future. “That voice has changed in the last three years. Greta: ‘We have 10 years’, A.O.C.: ‘We have 12 years’, John Kerry: ‘We’re past the point if we don’t do something in the next five years’. What’s the frikkin’ number??”

Kerry claimed in 2014 in Indonesia that “the window of time is still open for us to manage this threat.”  He added that “the window is closing.” The Indonesians completely ignored him and the nation is second, after China, on the list of those building coal power plants. 63 are under construction in Indonesia at the moment. China has more than 200 on the go. The rest of Asia is largely the same, with coal power stations sprouting across the map. Meanwhile, your hard-earned tax dollars are being spent on unreliable renewable energy projects, instead of coal and nuclear energies but for a few exceptions.

 

“I think if you stack it up against the economic impact of a too-fast transition away from fossil fuels, it’s more devastating,” notes Whitbeck, referring to the rapid push for so-called green energy that’s forcing the resource development sector’s workforce to take massive pay cuts as they’re nudged into the alternative energy sector.

Here in Scotland, the verdant green and pleasant lands have been tainted by thousands of turbines. While President Trump faced stiff opposition when planning the development of his picturesque golf course, there seemed little opposition to unsightly windmills blighting the landscape, especially south of Glasgow. The huge, loud, white rotating blades have the diameter of a soccer pitch yet contribute almost nothing to the national grid. Why are they so prevalent? Because private landowners are paid more than $50,000 USD per turbine, per year in government subsidies.

Where is all the money coming from? British taxpayers, of course.

A fair amount of turbines don’t even work and need non-renewable power to function. Huge areas of natural habitats and ecosystems for birds and other animals are destroyed so roads can be created (to get to the turbine installations). Birds are also killed by the blades, which they can’t see, while bees and other insects disappear into a blade-gauntlet when attempting to maneuver through the conflagration of wind farms. Sealife flees from the constant hum filtrating into the adjacent ocean waters which confuse whale and dolphin sonar. Massive amounts of energy are used to construct wind turbines, the instrumentality of which typically only lasts about 20 years after which time (when they malfunction) are dumped into huge pits because they’re too difficult and expensive to recycle.

It’s eco-lunacy on a grand scale, and yet in Alaska, the effort to attain an “energy mix” diversification with wind turbine projects on Fire Island next to Anchorage, near Healy, and near Delta Junction is praised by some as a remedy and offset to rising fuel prices. But these projects and this technology will not reduce our gas prices at the pump and they remain exorbitant and costly to maintain.

As I write, details of the Glasgow summit’s conclusion are being leaked, and go figure… Eco-leaders, protestors, professional advocates, and the indelible lobbyist contingencies are demanding more of the same. “Carbon dioxide-cutting targets by the end of 2022,” says the BBC headline.

Meanwhile in Russia and parts of Asia, business and development continue, uninhibited by punitive planet-saving laws.

Alaskan leadership at the city, borough, state, federal levels should be on guard and informed of what’s to come. COP26 is just a glimpse.

COP26: How the quest to become carbon neutral is destroying the West's development efforts while Alaska gets stuck in the crosshairsBen O’Rourke recently joined the Alaska Politics & Elections team. Ben has more than 25 years of media experience in radio, television, online, and newspapers working globally in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and the United Kingdom. He accidentally landed into news journalism in 2003 and has been writing, reporting, and producing videos and nightly news programs for Hong Kong television and South China Morning Post ever since. He’s currently a freelance news editor at Fieldsports Britain, a popular hunting, shooting, and fishing channel on YouTube. Ben spent three weeks in Alaska filming a documentary and that time had a profound effect on him and it quickly became his favorite U.S. state.

COP26: How the quest to become carbon neutral is destroying the West's development efforts while Alaska gets stuck in the crosshairs

Share

Latest comment

  • Ben. Balanced well written piece. When will the madness end? Never.