Sunday, August 13, 2017

The (dishonest) madness of George Harvey

Once again (actually, no doubt more than once (see next paragraph), but once more it comes to this writer’s attention) George Harvey betrays his inability to acknowledge any adverse impacts of the energy alternatives he advocates for by setting up a straw man from which he launches an ad hominem dismissal and proceeds to change the subject with his usual non sequitur pabulum.

Harvey maintains a blog, cohosts a community television show, and writes for Green Energy Times, and the first piece referred to here was reprinted in The (Windsor County, Vermont) Commons newspaper from the Clean Technica web site. In fact it was reprinted also in the issue of Green Energy Times (in which issue 13 articles were penned by Harvey) that this writer picked up for another headline (see next two paragraphs). Thus the central example here is unlikely to be unusual.

The headline that caught our eye was “Hanover [N.H.] Pledges to Go 100% Renewable: How Are They Going to Do It?” by Rick Wackernagel. It is not a short article, yet it does not describe how “they are going to do it”. The few plans mentioned are, besides throwing up solar panels everywhere, mostly installing heat pumps, thus switching from fossil fuel burned efficiently on site to electricity (fossil fuel burned inefficiently off site). The one specific plan is that Dartmouth College will replace diesel in its steam heating system with “biofuel”, possibly from Dartmouth’s forests in the White Mountains in the ridiculous accounting by which mowing down forests is credited as “green”. Even this very issue of Green Energy Times mentions (in a book review) the importance of forest protection in reversing climate change and (in a rant against noise regulations for giant wind turbines) the contribution of deforestation to global warming. (The latter writer apparently exempts turning forested mountain ridgelines into energy plants.)

Nowhere is there mention of cutting the town off from the regional grid, so the fact is that they will still get the same electricity as everyone else in New England. Commendably, they plan to use less of it – along with less of other fuels – but “100%” will doubt rely mostly on buying the Enron-invented scam of “green tags”.

Back to George Harvey, ... actually, we have already said all that needs to be said about the piece of his originally mentioned, titled “The Sound of Wind Turbines and the Horror of Genocide”: He sets up a straw man from which he launches an ad hominem dismissal of all dissent and proceeds to change the subject with non sequitur pabulum.

There is, however, another piece by Harvey in the same issue that is actually informative. It is about research to reduce methane emissions from ruminant – particularly cows’ – digestion by adding seaweed to their diet. The results are reported to be quite dramatic, even to the claim of eliminating 99% of the methane.

Yet Harvey neglects to mention that the methane from cows is only part of the climate change contribution and environmental destruction of animal agriculture, which is the leading cause also of deforestation, species loss, water depletion, and ocean dead zones – none of which are due to their flatulence. The subtitle of Harvey’s article invokes helping to save the planet, but it is only about reducing one source of methane emissions, not at all about actually saving the planet. It is about “greenwashing” one of the planet’s primary destroyers.