Thursday, October 2, 2014

Denial is Denial

There is the entrenched denial of an impending negative – like a diagnosis of cancer or climate change - even when the evidence is overwhelming.

Climate change deniers cherry pick the information they want.   Climate change deniers disregard what goes against their beliefs.  Climate change deniers often have a financial horse in the race.  Some have an emotional need to maintain their position. 

A main underlying reason for the intensity of climate change deniers is their wish to maintain some version of business as usual (BAU). 

Recently, we had hundreds of thousands marching for climate change.  They purport to see the big picture, the whole system.  They would denigrate deniers.  Many of these marchers are anti-fossil fuels and propose the solution is “renewable” energy.

Let me propose that this only appears to be another type of denial.  This one appears to support a positive; in this case a techno-fantasy dream of the future.  It, however, is really an illusion because it also cloaks the total system view behind this dream of the future.  There is often the same emotional commitment.  In essence, it is business as usual with a twist but still BAU.

I see no difference between these deniers and those that will not/refuse to see that the devices that are used to capture the sun and wind’s energy are extensions of the fossil fuel supply system.   Supporters of “renewable” energy will not see/admit that there is a massive infrastructure of mining, processing, manufacturing, fabricating, installation, transportation and the associated environmental assaults.  These advocates wish to simply overlook the physical facts that there would be no sun or wind capturing devices without this industrial infrastructure.  This infrastructure is not green, sustainable, or renewable. 

It is as if they believe there is a magic wand that materializes these devices out of thin air.

Many solar activists are fervently against fracking, tar sands, deep ocean drilling and most pipeline installations.  These activists turn a blind eye to the connection between the making of “renewable” capturing devices and the assaults on the environment; disregarding the energy and resource needs of the capturing devices.

These proponents of a new solar/wind regime do not calculate the energy it takes to make the devices.  They ignore the replacement of the devices in the future (with what energy).  They never even consider the making of the auxiliary devices necessary to control, distribute and store this energy or the energy for maintenance.  They forget about the making of the gizmos we want the electricity to operate such as pumps, hair dryers, leaf blowers. 

The saddest piece of their myopic stand is the belief in a bright new world powered by solar and wind capturing devices. I is truly nothing more then BAU with the accompanying cherry picking and blinders.

Mostly, I get dismissed, not because my facts are wrong but just the opposite.
Aldous Huxley — 'Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.'

This essay illuminates with charts and pictures the fossil fuel supply system and the huge industrial infrastructure supporting manufacturing, installing and maintaining wind and energy capturing devices.

What in these pictures are truly sustainable, renewable, or green?

An installation to generate steam by focusing solar


As stated earlier, supporters of “renewables” don’t consider the reason they want the energy for.  
Check out the list in “The Oiliness of Everything: Invisible Oil and Energy Payback Time” by Alice Friedemann ( ) of all the things that will be needed to made by renewables. The wise and educated read this essay, nod their heads, say it is so - but they don't connect the dots.

Like the person with a portable oxygen tank and tubes in their nose walking along smoking cigarettes - this willful blindness is addiction.

In defense of denial – it is comforting to prefer the noise of delusional magical thinking and pretending that the system of perpetual growth can work forever.  There is just too much tied up with it and any unraveling would be far too chaotic and unpredictable.  Wrapping our heads around the eventualities of global warming; of overshoot; of the desecration of world wildlife; of the acidification of the oceans; of the poisoning of pollinators stymies. A world no longer powered by fossil fuels, no matter what incarnation, is almost inconceivable and for many terrifying.    
I can understand.

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of my struggle to get my head around emergy; the concept and early methodologies that were developed by H.T. Odum to quantify the full energy embedded in any article. As the article on EROEI you link to states, it is daunting.

    Currently, the website "prosperous way down" continues the discussion started by Odum and others, with frequent side essays on the gathering crisis.

    In the end, the puzzle for me personally is how best to invest the fossil fuel energy we currently are burning through to at least create some long term, net positive infrastructural investments. An obvious one for me is using tractors, etc... to make rain capture swales and plant trees, but what else:? Even though I plan to install solar thermal for the house, I know that long term, this is probably not where we will end up. Rethinking every single tool, task, material, and behavior is required, so yeah, way past time to start the transition.