Anti-energy campaigns harming countries

Commentary, Patrick Moore

It is obvious that civilization would not be possible without the mineral and energy resources mined and extracted from the Earth. Yet there is a growing movement to oppose nearly all such activities.

Even though 86% of the world’s energy supply, including 98% of the energy for transporting people and goods, comes from fossil fuels, there are proposals to end their use altogether. The G7 countries, including Canada, recently agreed that “zero emissions” is the desired long-term goal.

It is very difficult to obtain approval for a new mining development, even in the leading mining countries like Australia and Canada. It is virtually impossible in any European country where nearly all their metals are imported, mostly from developing countries.

This trend is based on the perceived negative environmental impacts caused by disturbing the land and water and by emitting CO2 into the atmosphere. The environmental activist community is quite unanimous that ending the use of fossil fuels is paramount.

And if you ask a Greenpeace executive or an environmentally-driven political leader to give an example of a mining operation that meets their standards for environmental performance you will always draw a blank. “Green fundamentalism” is a combination of extreme left politics and religious intolerance.

A few countries’ governments are beginning to recognize that this kind of zero-tolerance policy towards some of their most important industries is simply not acceptable and amounts to a kind of death wish.

In India, the government of Narenda Modi has all but shut down Greenpeace India along with hundreds of other organizations working to undermine national programs. Greenpeace has led the effort to foster opposition to coal mines, coal-fired power plants, nuclear plants, and advances in agriculture.

The government interprets this as a threat to the economic security of the country, a kind of sedition. Prime Minister Modi’s goal is to bring electricity to 300 million people who are now without it. This is impossible if new power plants are not built.

Argentina has also moved forward with energy development despite a massive anti-development campaign by activists, again led by Greenpeace. The government of Kristina Kirchner, which can be described as populist centre-left, recognizes the need to use science and technology to lift tens of millions out of poverty.

Argentina has recently completed construction of two nuclear plants and a number of hydroelectric dams, all of which were threatened by campaigns of misinformation and fear.

South Africa has decided to build eight new nuclear plants in addition to the two near Capetown it has operated for many years. Even though this will reduce the use of coal, which accounts for 90% of South Africa’s electricity, Greenpeace, led by their South African executive director, Kumi Naidoo, has fought an unrelenting war against the plan to build nuclear.

In all three aforementioned cases, the funding to undermine national energy and development plans is coming largely from wealthy European organizations, in particular Greenpeace Germany.

Here in Canada we seem to lack the political backbone to get serious about the threat to our economic security posed by the campaigns to stop new mining ventures, to block pipelines moving oil, to disrupt forestry operations, and to prevent new power plant construction. Meanwhile hundreds of millions in funding from wealthy US foundations is flowing into Canada in a well-organized effort to damage our national energy and resource policies.

Canada has among the best environmental and social policies in the world. It’s time Canadians realized that we are being played like a violin to a tune that is extremely detrimental to our future well-being.

This op ed was originally published by The Toronto Sun on Monday, September 21, 2015: http://www.torontosun.com/2015/09/21/anti-energy-campaigns-harming-countries