The essential effect of the green economy is to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich.

This single consequence comes under many titles, such as: ‘Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)’ principles; ‘Socially Responsible’ investing; ‘Just Transition’; ‘Sustainable Development’; ‘Clean Energy’; and so on.

You will hear these phrases from the lips of green billionaires; you will read them on the brochures of big banks (spot the wind turbine in your bank’s latest advertisement); activist shareholders will thunder them at the AGMs of big corporations; rich executives will mouth them at every opportunity; wherever the green aristocrats gather in their private jets and luxury yachts, the air will be full of them.

Green billionaires such as Michael Bloomberg (who apparently is worth $50 billion – or R750 billion) will tell you that you can make a lot of money with green investments and save the planet at the same time. The first half of this statement is true. He himself is a prime example. He has made a fortune by pressing for his green investments. The second half of the statement is false. Where green investments are in green technologies (which is not always the case), they will damage the environment rather than improve it. I shall give examples.

President Al Gore has also made a fortune, and won the Nobel Prize to boot, by promoting completely bogus but very glossy green campaigns. There he goes! – in his private jet or on first-class airliner, leaving from one of his many mansions, emitting colossal amounts of CO2, to make a sanctimonious, dishonest, unscientific but extremely highly paid speech at some assembly of green plutocrats.

Let me explain why the banks just love green investments. Our disastrous Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) is the perfect example. Under this programme, green activists and renewable energy companies (here ‘renewable’ means solar and wind, not nuclear and hydro, which in fact are equally renewable) persuaded ruling ANC politicians to compel Eskom to buy their useless, unreliable electricity at guaranteed, fixed (high) prices for fixed, 20-year periods.

This was a huge burden for Eskom, already crippled with its own corruption, incompetence and mad ideology. The Full Cost of Electricity (FCOE) for solar and wind is staggeringly high, but Eskom only gets compensation for the minor part of it, which is the price of electricity at the wind turbine or solar array on the rare times they are generating. The effect of this was to push up the price of electricity for rich and poor alike but to benefit the rich alone, to increase the profits of the rich renewable energy companies. The banks rubbed their hands in glee.

Much safer

If they gave loans or equity to these rich greens, their investments were guaranteed by the government. Much safer than free competition; much more comfortable for the banks than the free marketplace. Green energy was very ‘bankable’. Who’s for green bonds?

It’s the same around the world. In Europe, the FCOE is soaring as the rich greens successfully persuade scientifically idiotic politicians to compel their electricity utilities to use more and more solar and wind for the grid – which are always and everywhere an expensive disaster. In rich European countries, more and more people are now in ‘energy poverty’.

The same is true in the USA states that use solar and wind. The same in Australia, which will now get worse after the recent election.

The green ideology is driven by religion and money. The religion is climate alarm, where CO2 is claimed to be the fount of all evil. I can think of no parallel since the witch-hunting hysteria in Europe in the 16th and 17th Centuries, when old ladies with warts on their noses were blamed for weather extremes, flood, droughts and famines.

Today the green church blames CO2. In fact CO2 is a wonderful, clean, natural gas, essential for most life on Earth, and now at very low levels in the life of our planet. Increasing CO2 does nothing but good, enhancing plant growth and having little if any effect on the climate – for reasons I have given over and over again, and am happy to debate with anyone and to provide a great mass of data and record. The green billionaires pretend to aim for ‘zero carbon’, a catastrophic outcome, which is fortunately impossible unless the whole world returns to hunger and short lives.

Green technologies such as solar and wind for grid electricity are not only economically ruinous (except for the green elite) but harmful for the environment. They both use enormous amounts of raw materials and large amounts of toxic materials that remain dangerous forever. Their waste problem is greater than for nuclear, and while nuclear has sound methods of disposing of its waste safely, solar and wind do not.

Green energy requires increasingly greater mining in poor countries for lithium, cobalt, rare earths, special metals and other elements. These dangerous, polluting mines often use child labour. The German energiewende, where nuclear was replaced with wind and solar, resulted in an awful lot of death, disease and infant abnormality among the poor Chinese people living next to the mines in Baotou, where they mine for neodymium and other rare earths used in renewable energy. Poor Chinese suffered while rich German renewable executives got even richer.

Interesting consequence

Green economics has had an interesting consequence for the share prices of companies producing and selling hydrocarbons such as coal, oil and gas.

We have heard Andre de Ruyter, CEO of Eskom, explaining that the banks will not fund coal power stations or coal mines. I heard a talk by an eager green activist, a charming young woman, explaining in all sincerity how she was campaigning among the financial institutions to stop them funding anything to do with hydrocarbons.

Every AGM of every company dealing in hydrocarbons today, such as Sasol and Thungela, is guaranteed to have shareholder activists attacking it for hastening the climate apocalypse. (Unfortunately, it is also guaranteed to have apologetic, hand-wringing executives surrendering to them by admitting that climate change is a crisis but promising to do something or another to alleviate it, rather than just saying they are speaking nonsense.)

The result is that few financial institutions will invest in coal and oil. But those who do make a fortune. The reason is simple. Green energy, being staggeringly expensive and compulsory, has pushed up all energy prices. Governments around the rich world, including the USA, have hindered or banned new projects in oil, coal and gas. The inevitable result has been soaring prices in these fuels, as we can see by the rising price of petrol around the world – which is exactly what the greens want.

High prices for their products increase the profits and the share prices of the hydrocarbon companies. They have fewer shareholders thanks to green activism but the shareholders they have are doing just fine. If I were your investment manager, I’d advise you to buy coal, oil and gas.

Paradoxically the green executives have made themselves very rich and have also made oil and coal executives rich too. The only people who suffer are the great mass of mankind, especially the poor, and especially in Africa. These ordinary people are ground down by the rising prices of electricity and fuels, which have pushed up the price of food and other essentials. (Putin’s atrocious invasion of the Ukraine has made things worse but the problem had set in long before then.)

Horrible mess

The answer for this horrible mess is simply to tell the truth and give the data. Rising CO2 is not changing the climate in a dangerous way, if it is changing it at all. (The latest satellite measurement of global temperatures, for May 2022, shows a slight drop over the last five years. Other temperature records show a drop over the last three thousand years.) Solar and wind for grid electricity are very expensive and environmentally harmful. ‘Clean energy’ is far from clean.

We should use coal, oil and gas, which are cheap and reliable, in a responsible way. We should use much more nuclear, the best of all energy sources for grid electricity.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media will not allow these truths to be heard. They have been captured by the green elite. In the USA, Bloomberg produces a non-stop flow of green nonsense and climate hysteria through his various media outlets. In South Africa, Business Day echoes Bloomberg. (Some years ago, I had occasional articles published in Business Day telling the truth about the climate and energy production. No more. I have been told I shall never be published in Business Day again. I have been cancelled, and my data with me.) The rest of our big media are much the same.

Are there signs of hope? Are there signs that people are sick to death of the lies of the rich green elite and the rising prices of electricity and petrol? I think so. I just wish they were a bit more vocal about it.

1st published by the Daily Friend.

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Andrew Kenny is a writer, an engineer and a classical liberal.

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