Green New Deal: Energy Sprawl Destroys Scenery, Wildlife and Rural Ambience

“Do people pretend to be Saving The Planet while simply rebranding business as usual? People DO.” (Chevron ad satire)

green new deal 3 logos edit1
Ominously upbeat logos reveal the future loss of open space to Green New SPRAWL. Climate change didn’t make land-use issues vanish. Environmentalists just became sellouts.

As a hasty response to Republicans’ climate and fossil fuel myopia, Democrats are pushing the “Green New Deal” which claims to be pro-environment but looks like the biggest industrial invasion of rural lands & oceans ever conceived. Acreage thought to be immune from development would be wide open to exemptions under a Clean Energy banner. Trump’s attacks on national monuments were already outdone by Obama’s fast-tracked wind energy blight. There’s a new psychological construct wherein a technology is only dirty if it directly emits smoke or CO2. Both the material chain of its existence and its physical intrusion on nature are wished away.

The core problem with “clean energy” is the scale of weak, intermittent sources trying to replace dense, reliable sources (oil, gas and coal) which inconveniently build the weaker infrastructure. A common term for this is energy sprawl and it’s already happening, but the GND would speed it up while adding costly social agendas. Wind power blight has been covered at length here (1, 2) but the solar component of rural uglification is increasing. Well-meaning environmentalists are in denial about this new sprawl, which they frame as a special case. You can’t just put new wind turbines on brownfields, nor can you only see them from there. They must know this.

Before environmentalists sold their souls to techno-fixes, few would link BIGNESS with greenness, like praising Glen Canyon dam or maximizing the Atlantic Ocean’s generating capacity. Had the Internet existed in the 1980s, conscientious searchers would be dismayed by thousands of hits for MASSIVE NEW PROJECTS linked to pro-environment causes. The word MASSIVE brings images of invasion and disruption, which is exactly what’s happening to our last open spaces. Even when they just invade farmland (considered “developed”) they kill the former feeling of openness. Invert wind turbines and you’ve got a claustrophobic H.G. Wells scenario, including red lights at night. Those who praise them the most rarely live among giants.

Fântânele-Cogealac wind farm Romania 1c

ANOTHER MASSIVE NEW WIND FARM is about to go online! This clean energy project created new jobs and economic growth, which is always good for the planet, of course. Don’t be alarmed because fossil fuels built it and it resembles urban sprawl. It’s different this time because we call it Green.

Due to the paucity of wind and sun in broad regions, new transmission corridors are needed, like the planned 780-mile Grain Belt Express Clean Line; a relatively benign example where pristine wilderness isn’t crossed. Unfortunately it’s planned as an overhead series of pylons, despite using new HVDC technology. Underground power lines have cost & maintenance issues, so most hidden lines are necessitated by lakes or oceans. When wild areas are targeted, politically-pressured environmentalists who normally fight clearcuts and lost carbon sinks may have to cave in. Constant attempts are made by wind companies to build in or near wilderness, which usually requires new power lines. Projects at Steens Mountain, OR and Crescent Peak, NV were rebuffed, but pressure will mount, just as it did with the fracking invasion.

The fallacy of “100% Renewable Energy” has become the cornerstone of progressive energy policies and needs to be called out. It’s based on carbon credits posing as “zero carbon” through accounting tricks and venture capital. RE100 is physically impossible with any known technology but the story’s been repeated too often to be quickly debunked. Shiny objects fool people who don’t trace their history. Not one wind turbine or solar panel has been built solely with energy from its kind, and ERoI will always matter in the physical world. When you debate supporters of these projects you often get vague answers about scaling and net energy factors. They don’t want to know because they’ve latched onto something new and it must be better.

The pervasive arrogance of the “renewables” crowd is deeply annoying to deep ecologists. As an example, if you try to post any substantial criticisms of landscape-change-denial to Green New Deal diehards, you’ll get a message like this: “You have been permanently banned from participating in r/RenewableEnergy. …. Note from the moderators: No whitewashing of Nuclear or Fossil Power; No casting doubt about feasability [sic] of Renewables.” In other words, telling the truth about energy sprawl is forbidden by eco-shills who claim to respect nature and open space but do exactly the opposite. It’s the politically-correct version of Trump crying “fake news.”

Imagine a committee of Green New Dealers writing an open letter to The Planet:

Dear Planet Earth:

We’re embarking on an ambitious plan to free the world from fossil fuels and stop climate change while employing the poor in new industries for a bright green future. This will allow us to solve serious energy problems, clean our air & water, and lift people of color out of poverty, all in one cohesive plan.

Oh so happy and green! Never mind the false scale. Cue up the Hallmark music!

Imagine the countryside glistening with beautiful solar lakes and unimaginably tall white forests, far more attractive than grim derricks and gray tailings, and even some living trees. Spin, Baby, Spin! We’ll show nature that we can coexist with it while changing only what we need to. The key is proper siting, and we’ve got plenty of space for that, according to Smart Growth planners. There’s also lots of room for immigrants in our diverse melting pot. Green growth is much different than standard growth-based capitalism.

On the social front, millions of misunderstood urban youth who once dealt drugs, tagged bridges and bumped bass will be happily cleaning solar panels and climbing wind turbines as they spread cool new 3D graffiti and move tasteful infrasound beats into farm & mountain country. These efforts will create countless jobs along with social justice and economic parity. It’s a win-win for nature and people.

We’re obligated to note that these green projects use quite a bit of space, so you’ll have to travel some distance on vacation to see unaffected vistas. But don’t worry, National Parks will remain mostly intact and you’ll get there in electric cars with a 500-mile range! It’s all good. Furthermore, there will be a number of casualties in terms of birds, bats, insects and other displaced species, but special breeding centers will mitigate losses. They may not fly as freely but they’ll be grateful for our help.

We fully expect Planet Earth to understand our wonderful new undertaking and we can hardly wait to get rid of all those ugly coal mines! Below is a sneak preview of Earth’s future using samples from the present. Just imagine this multiplied manyfold (in carefully sited locations). It’s Green so it’s all good!

Sincerely, Green New Dealers, Inc.

Scroll down to see just a small fraction of our b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l green future!

If the above looks like a bunch of un-green, bloated construction projects pretending to save the planet, you’re not mistaken. Quoting a famous rocker before climate fears buried aesthetic values, “How can everyone see it and yet be so blind?” The same capacity for denial that causes some people to ignore environmental problems makes others think they’ll be solved by the species that created them. It always comes down to building more stuff all over the place, never true conservation or personal restraint.

Earth, good luck with the Green New Deal if it ever gets fully implemented. This reluctant Democrat can’t support it. See “Roadmap to Nowhere” for one of the better take-downs of the whole scheme.

This page will be updated and reworded at random with new information. If you cite it, please post the link instead of a pasted snapshot.

5 thoughts on “Green New Deal: Energy Sprawl Destroys Scenery, Wildlife and Rural Ambience

  1. Karl

    Well written but it looks like this plan is dead in Congress–for being too radical. You know Dems will keep trying and it’s out of control anyhow. Sad scene for scenery and all the rest. The best hope is sticking most new ones way out at sea where only ships can see them.

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    1. Carson

      I believe 100% renewable is in reference to the energy that is being created and does not involve the process of manufacturing and transporting the materials for constructing and assembling the parts for this renewable energy (e.g. the fan blades for wind turbines & etc.). Sure, you can latch on to the idea that we’ll need diesel transport trucks to move these parts, but at the end of the day green energy is still FAR better than carbon-based energy. In fact, the energy that would be generated would largely outweigh any carbon footprint derived from their production.

      Now correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems as though your issue with wind turbines and solar farms are that they are an eyesore to nature and that would justify the opposition to its construction. However, from what I understand, almost all of these turbine and solar farms are built on flat land or in offshore waters in the case of wind turbines, and in my opinion would not obstruct any views of nature. If prairie lands and far-off ocean waves are your ideas of beautiful nature, I’m afraid to say you should bite the bullet.

      Even if there is global consensus that flat lands and oceans should be free of ugly fans, if we continue without green energy, all this nature you praise and seem to care so much about will cease to exist. Australia’s bushfires earlier this year are linked to droughts and climate changed caused by fossil fuel emissions. Coastal cities will plunge in foot-high waters with sea levels rising from ice caps melting and water expansion from heat. Coral reefs are devastated from air pollution. This just scratches the surface in terms of all the damage driven by human-caused climate change. These aren’t opinions but are provable facts. No matter how you look at it, a small eyesore is a necessary price to pay to save our world.

      If you have stuck with me this far, I wish to say a few last words. I don’t expect to change your view. If you are reading this and found that you are opposed to what I had to say, so be it, that was not the point of my comment. Say what you want about clean coal or how green energy is futile or how climate change is a Chinese hoax. For those of you who are pro-green, I hope I inspired you to voice the truth or at least stand by scientific data and facts. It’s going to be a challenging road to a green world but it’s a path that is absolutely necessary. You might not believe that you alone have an impact but I implore you at the very least to do research and stay informed about the way our leaders are acting on climate change. I encourage you to put yourself in other people’s positions, ESPECIALLY those against climate change to see why they might think the way the do and not to attack them. You and I might not be world leaders or multimillionaires who have the direct capacity to guide the way of our energy usage but we do have control of the dialogue and perception of climate change and green energy and that, in large numbers, is equally if not more important.

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      1. False Progress Post author

        If you assume I’m a global warming denier you didn’t bother to read the post. See the first line in the first paragraph. There’s also extensive coverage of AGW-denial in my “windschmerz” post.

        You’re pushing the familiar claim that vast tracts of ugly machines WILL stop climate change, and thus will magically save X or Y species from being forced into uncharted habitats, but it’s pure speculation and fails ERoI math. Why forsake all the trees being clear-cut for wind & solar projects, along with the birds, bats & insects being killed TODAY? It’s cumulative damage, not replacing older scars. A U.S. wind power map shows it literally filling up places that weren’t already developed: https://eerscmap.usgs.gov/uswtdb/ (wind power is a blatant scenery & ambience eliminator, including pleasant night skies)

        I’m baffled by “environmentalists” willing to trash so much acreage for something heavily vested in fossil fuels, which wouldn’t ethically be worth the blight anyhow. You’ve replaced core environmental tenets like “Tread Lightly” with rationalizations for rebranded growthism. Do you truly consider the physical scale of what you’re asking for?

        I strongly suggest watching Michael Moore’s new documentary on “renewables” hypocrisy. It might change your mind, since he’s tied to progressive causes. “Michael Moore Presents: Planet of the Humans” https://youtu.be/Zk11vI-7czE

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