Review of Not for Greens, by Ian Plimer (Connor Court Publishing, 2014).
In this entirely excellent book, Prof. Plimer answers three questions: What do geologists bring to the debate over climate change? What do environmentalists (“greens”) do that benefits either the environment or humanity? What would happen to the environment and to humanity if we outlawed the use of fossil fuels?
Regarding the first question, Plimer brilliantly explains why geologists, and only geologists, understand the history of climate change dating back to Earth’s creation; its myriad causes, cycles, and effects on weather and life on Earth; how today’s climate both differs from and is the same as climates past; and what role, if any, human activity (including the combustion of fossil fuels) may play in all of that.
Briefly put, geologists were studying climate change long before physicists started to speculate about the effects of carbon dioxide on temperatures. Geologists understand that changes in weather and average temperatures in recent decades pale into insignificance compared to changes on scales of millions, thousands, and even hundreds of years. As importantly, geologists know what we don’t know about the movement of carbon dioxide between reservoirs (terrestrial, oceanic, and atmospheric) and the effects of solar cycles and changes in ocean currents on temperature, precipitation, sea level, and life itself.
Geologists also play a key role in making possible the discovery, mining, or drilling of minerals including metals, coal, oil, and natural gas. Plimer shows how geologists contribute to nearly every stage in the production of the goods needed for humanity’s very survival. To make this long and incredibly complicated process comprehensible, Plimer tells the fascinating story of how a simple stainless steel spoon is made. Science, innovation, capitalism, trade, commerce, and most especially fossil fuels, all in a chain stretching over centuries, were necessary to convert iron ore into an every-day yet utterly indispensable tool.
What, then, of the contributions to humanity made by environmentalists? To say they make no contribution at all would be much too generous, since they actively seek to undermine and ruin everything that is good for humanity and oftentimes for the environment, too. Plimer delights in describing how environmental activists are misguided, poorly educated, and often misinformed. Following their advice is often ruinous for society as well as the environment, as illustrated by the horrible environmental destruction caused by wind factories and solar power generators. They destroy more value than they create, add nothing to our culture or learning, and sponge off the rest of society.
What would happen if we outlawed the use of fossil fuels? According to Plimer, widespread famine, poverty, and death, nothing less than a return to the age of hunters and gatherers. Modern society is completely and utterly dependent on coal, oil, and natural gas to locate, recover, smelt or refine natural resources into the metals and fuels we need to create everything from spoons to bridges, skyscrapers, and airplanes. Without them we could not plant or harvest crops, transport food from field to table, or shelter people from the elements. It is impossible, physically and not merely economically, to replace fossil fuels with wind or solar energy without causing a catastrophic decline in living standards.
Plimer proves all of this convincingly and (surprisingly) without a single footnote or reference. Along the way he sprinkles wonderfully light-hearted asides, jokes, and gratuitous insults that invariably land right-on-target in the laps of leftist environmentalists, scientifically illiterate journalists, and grubbing politicians.
This is exactly the kind of book that will be banned in Joe Biden’s America. You should buy it and read it now, while you still can. Buy copies for your kids, they will cherish them forever.