Thursday, September 12, 2002

(Under the new heading: "SELECTIVE GREENIE OUTRAGE")

And if the targets that the Left choose for their outrage seem arbitrary and inconsistent, the selectivity of their �Green� allies is even more amazing. In Australia, for instance, Greenpeace has mounted a sustained campaign to shut down Australia�s only refinery for producing motor fuel from shale. They run around in their beloved rubber boats doing all sorts of obstructive things and intimidate any company that tries to supply motorists using the refinery�s product. Australia�s conservative government has had to introduce special concessionary regulations to keep the refinery company afloat, so severe has been the Greenie pressure on it.

Given the constant Greenie scares about how we are likely to run out of petroleum products in double quick time if we do not mend our evil ways, one might naively expect that they would rejoice at a beginning being made on unlocking the vast reserves of hydrocarbons locked up in shale. Shale is ubiquitous and could potentially supply all our needs for petroleum products for at least hundreds of years. That Greenies do exactly the opposite and attack shale usage makes clear how much they really hate ordinary people. Greenie extremists WANT people to be hurt by resource shortages so they frantically oppose anything that will make more resources available.

They justify their attacks on the shale refinery by claiming that is a heavy polluter -- which it apparently was to some degree in its startup stages -- but now that its pollution levels have been reduced to levels normal for the oil industry the Greenie extremists are in no way mollified. And the pollution produced in Australia by this one refinery is of course absolutely minuscule compared to sources of atmospheric pollution elsewhere in the world. The now well-known �Asian brown cloud�, for instance, is studiously ignored by Greenies -- even though it is a considerable threat to the respiratory health of more than a billion (Yes. Billion, not million) people. This brown haze that constantly lies over India and its neighbours seems mainly to be produced by the Indian practice of using wood fires to cremate their dead and cow dung to fuel cooking fires. It is produced, in fact, by exactly the sort of traditional �sustainable� low-technology village lifestyle that the Greenies are constantly advocating for us all.

The sad fact for Greenies, of course, is that village Indians will only be able to move to less polluting practices as they modernize and move to the more efficient and clean-burning forms of cooking and combustion that are common in the developed world. But spending time advocating that Indians do more to modernize would not at all assuage the hunger for drama and self-advertisement that seems to motivate Greenie activists.

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