Clean Energy Has a Nasty Little Secret

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Shel Evergreen, MIT science writing student, has revealed a little-known secret about clean energy: It has an unsustainable appetite for minerals and dirty methods of obtaining them.

Evergreen’s Ars Technica report: Salt flats in South America’s Atacama Desert are sprinkled with small, turquoise-colored pools of lithium brine. Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo chip at the ground to find cobalt. Toxic chemicals in China leach neodymium out of the earth.

She writes that all this extraction “poses humanitarian, logistical, and environmental challenges.”

For those not enthralled in the green dream of clean energy, scenes like these might be familiar. What you may not realize is how much worse Mother Earth will be if the Greens (no relation), try to save her.

Last year, the International Energy Agency warned that to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, global mineral needs would have to rise sixfold.

“Those minerals must come from somewhere. This often means harmful sourcing, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and restrictions on mineral supply.”

It is somehow newsworthy that we cannot put minerals we don’t own into solar panels, electric car batteries, or wind turbines. It should be — GIANT-TYPE HEADLINE News — that clean energy is associated with increased carbon emissions.

More: According to Javiera Barandiaran (associate professor of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara), lithium mining in the Atacama desert has increased by three times over the past decade. She said, “We must continue to tell people that this is a nonrenewable resource and it will end.” “The faster we extract it, it will run out faster by a factor we don’t know.”

Evergreen made the observation that “renewable energy comes from finite resources” without irony.

Um… how renewable is renewable electricity, really?

It is also hungry for real estate.

New mining sites, Evergreen says,

Many times, they lead to a “land grab”, which can deprive people of their livelihoods and cause damage to human and environmental health. These can also lead to higher levels of poverty, a well-known correlation for areas that are rich in commodities known as the “resource curse”.

Although I was told that switching to clean energy would make everyone richer, the majority of the benefits have flown to billionaires with high-net-worth, often found in Communist China.

Can you guess which word was not used in Evergreen’s 2,400-word report?

Clean Energy

A brief exchange in the comments was very telling to me.

One Ars commenter wrote: Reduce, reuse, recycle.

“Reduce” is our first word and we don’t talk about it here.

Another commenter said: “Reduce can be hard when the battery production capacity must increase by around 1000x to facilitate the “green revolution.”

The first comment currently has 75 votes and the second only seven.

Let’s go back to the keyword “Reduce”.

Whatever the problems of our planet, a clean energy solution must include nuclear power.

Evergreen and IEA admit that extracting the minerals required for solar and wind power is a dirty business. It may be even more hazardous than drilling, fracking, or mining for coal.

These processes also release a lot of carbon, a postmodern boogeyman.

Clean energy can solve one problem of the Left: People who don’t like doing what they don’t approve of.

That one word, quoted above, is the key to unlocking the key: “Reduce.”

Non-nuclear, “clean energy” doesn’t aim to save the Earth. How could it? Even its advocates admit how dirty it is.

Non-nuclear, “clean energy,” is not about forcing people to use less energy. The goal of non-nuclear “clean energy” is to reduce crop yields, just like the Ukraine War, which is being used by the Biden Administration to push farmers to return to organic farming.

On Monday, Instapundit reported the following: [Obama Administration retread Samantha] Power telling Stephanopoulos potential food shortages were a way to push farmers in the direction they want them to go is similar to their regular arguments that high gas prices should encourage drivers to switch to electric cars.

All people, except the wealthy, would see a decrease in energy production. This would mean that everyone will live a preindustrial lifestyle. It will be difficult for the hoi polloi not to complain about reducing food production.

Am I being paranoid or just taking the Left’s words for what they are?