Latest posts by Jay Lehr (see all)
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If you are looking for a book that will fully explain why affordable, reliable energy is absolutely crucial to our social and economic well-being, Energy Freedom by Marita Littauer Noon is the book for you. This is truly one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a very long time.
I am not alone in my assessment.
John Fund, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, said of this book, “Even people who have no idea where the electricity that lights their home or gas that cooks their meals comes from will find Energy Freedom a clear, understandable primer on why we all have to care about energy.”
“Marita Noon’s Energy Freedom documents both the role energy plays in the exercise of American freedom and the efforts by some to subvert that freedom through restricting its supply,” said Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. Senator Harrison Schmitt.
Both these men are entirely correct.
Progress Through Energy Advances
In a thorough but very readable narrative, Noon explains how and why so many people work to bring us affordable energy. She also lifts the veil on the dark side of energy politics, where anti-energy extremists pull out all the stops to restrict energy production and consumers’ energy use. Indeed, she slays the “green” monster that warps the thinking of some of the most intelligent people in politics, and she explains how government regulation and red tape have prevented access to so many of our vast natural resources
Noon details how life would be with only electric cars and limited transportation, comparing it to the pre-1920s when Americans rode on horseback. Sure, there were no direct carbon dioxide emissions from transportation (other than horses’ breathing), but each horse required five acres of hay and oats to feed it, and the horses left piles of manure on city streets which created great stench and spread disease. The unintended environmental and health impacts of conventional energy substitutes may have changed over the years, but they remain in one form or another, regardless of how environmental activists choose to frame the issue.
Noon describes an environmental dystopia where the medicines that have helped double our life spans in the past century would be drastically curtailed by reduced availability of cheap energy.
Noon understands and agrees that we all want a green earth—clean air, fresh water, and a safe food supply—but restricting energy use and blocking technological progress are not good ways to achieve it. We have made huge environmental strides since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Despite dramatic increases in population, economic production, electricity generation, transportation miles, etc., U.S. aggregate emissions are less than half of what they were just a few decades ago.
When someone on a street corner or in front of a grocery store asks us to sign a petition to stop plans for a new power plant or some other natural resource project, we ought to remember the larger implications of the environmental utopia they seek, Noon notes.
Unmasking Environmental Extremists
She pulls no punches in linking today’s environmental zealots to the authoritarian leftists of the early and mid-twentieth century. Noon gives full documentation why many people correctly refer to today’s environmental activist groups as “watermelons”—green on the outside, red (Communist) underneath. She quotes George Will explaining, “today’s green left is the old red revised…. The left exists to enlarge the state’s supervision of life, narrowing the individual choices in the name of the collective good.”
Noon provides support for her points with detailed case studies, such as the nefarious ways of the seemingly innocuous Humane Society. Noon gives readers all the information we need to find and read the detailed case studies ourselves, which is a huge plus.
Noon also provides excellent information and data on the most dangerous environmental groups, such as their astonishing net worth. For example, the World Wildlife Fund, which is number three on the list, has a net worth of $426 million. Collectively, numbers two through 10 on the list are worth $2.6 trillion. The number one group on the list, the Nature Conservancy, is worth more than $5 trillion. Even groups ranking relatively low on the list have astonishing resources at their command. The number 7 group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, is worth $232 million. Number 8, Environmental Defense, is worth $145 million.
Topics that Stand Out
The book does an excellent job slaying misconceptions on many energy-related topics, and a few deserve special praise. Noon emphatically and persuasively documents the farce of “free” solar energy. She meticulously explains the absurdity of burning crops to make ethanol and biofuels, documenting the vast amounts of land and resources required to divert our food supply into fuel.
Providing context for energy-related environmental hoaxes, Noon succinctly conveys the deadly historical effects that followed the false DDT claims. She also documents the tragic economic toll on northwestern U.S. communities resulting from efforts to save the non-endangered spotted owl. Far greater economic costs are being imposed on the United States and western democracies in the name of fighting a nonexistent global warming problem.
Energy Freedom is both a thorough book and an easy read. It will make a great Christmas stocking stuffer.