by P. Zane, Nov 17, 2023 in WUWT
The recycling myth – Save the planet by separating paper and plastic! – is a foundational falsity of the green movement.
By promising a relatively simple solution to an alleged problem, it has enabled the left to control behavior through a made-up morality that stigmatized dissent – Only bad people refuse to recycle.
Like most progressive interventions – from welfare policies that destroyed families while increasing dependency, to drug use reforms that have filled city streets with desperate addicts – recycling plans that sound good on paper (and plastic) have continuously collided with reality so that even liberal outlets such as the New York Times (“Your Recycling Gets Recycled, Right? Maybe, or Maybe Not”), NPR(“Recycling plastic is practically impossible — and the problem is getting worse”) and the Atlantic magazine (“Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work”) have finally admitted its failures.
The same dynamic is now at work regrading a far more significant green fantasy: the left’s push to decarbonize the U.S. and other Western industrial economies during the next few decades and attain an eco-purity calculus known as Net Zero. While brandishing the moral cudgel with full force – President Biden describes climate change as “an existential crisis,” i.e., every person and puppy will die if we don’t submit to his agenda – the left also suggests the transition will be easy-peasy: Just build some windmills, install some solar panels, and swap out your car, stove, and lightbulbs for cleaner and cheaper alternatives.
Though much of the cheerleading media downplays this fact, it is already clear that Biden’s enormously expensive, massively disruptive goal is a pipe dream. In a recent series of articles, my colleagues at RealClearInvestigations have reported on several of the seemingly intractable problems that the administration and its eco-allies are trying to wish away.
The dishonesty begins with the engine of the green economy – the vast array of wind and solar farms that must be constructed to replace the coal and gas facilities that power our economy. James Varney reported for RCI that the Department of Energy’s official line is that the installations required to meet Biden’s goal of “100% clean electricity” by 2035 will require “less than one-half of one percent of the contiguous U.S. land area” – or roughly 15,000 of the lower 48’s roughly 3 million square miles. However, Varney noted, “the government report that furnished those estimates also notes that the wind farm footprint alone could require an expanse nine times as large: 134,000 square miles. That is equivalent to the land mass of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky combined – plus all of New England.