The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
Greenpeace: An elitist movement from rich countries? – Andrew Kenny
Writer, Andrew Kenny, criticises the Green movement for being elitist and preventing the development of poor African countries. Kenny claims that the Greens are against providing African countries with technologies that would improve food production, prevent disease and provide clean energy. Further, Greenpeace is also criticised for being an imperialist movement from rich countries, wanting to dictate to poor countries what to do. The article claims that Greenpeace is made up of humanity-hating snobs who shun science and make no effort to understand nature. It concludes that the Green movement and Greenpeace are preventing the development of poor countries and are against the interests of humanity. Read this opinion piece, first published on Daily Friend, below.
Greenpeace wants Africa to stay poor
By Andrew Kenny*
The Greens are elitist, representing rich people in rich countries. They do not want Africa to develop as Europe has done. They do not want poor African countries to become as rich and comfortable as Germany, Britain, Canada, the USA and other prosperous nations. They want to deny African countries the technologies that made their own countries safe, rich and clean. They have a grim record of trying to deny to poor countries technologies that will improve their food production, prevent disease and give them clean, plentiful energy.
There was a vivid illustration of this in a front-page photograph in the Cape Times of 8 March 2023, under the headline, ‘Gwede hauled over the coals’.
The occasion was the Africa Energy Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Just as Gwede Mantashe, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, was about to give the opening address, a group of Greenpeace activists went to stand in front of him bearing placards that said ‘COAL = LOAD SHEDDING’, ‘GWEDE STOP BLOCKING RENEWABLES’ and ‘COAL = CORRUPTION’. Mantashe didn’t seem much bothered by them, and made no move to have them expelled. It was a symbolic clash of interests and ideologies.
Gwede Mantashe is a rich man from a poor country. He has done some bad things, such as making South Africa unattractive for mining investment and attacking André de Ruyter, then CEO of Eskom, in a shameful way, giving him no option but to resign. But on our electricity problems, he talks more sense than any other ANC minister. He is right to say that coal is essential for our electricity supply now and will be for a long time to come; he is right to say that ‘renewables’ (meaning solar and wind) can never give us reliable, affordable grid electricity; and he is right to say that Africa should be allowed to develop its own energy resources, in exactly the same way that Europe did two centuries ago.
Read more: Banks love solar, but nuclear is the future for South Africa – Ivo Vegter
Greenpeace is an imperialist movement from rich countries wanting to tell poor countries what to do. In colonial days, when Britain wanted to teach the natives a lesson, she sent out a gunboat. Today, when rich nations want to overawe the natives, they send out Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior, an expensive, high-tech sailing ship with a powerful diesel engine.
They did this in 2002 when they came to Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. They showed they were not only rich, arrogant imperialists but rich, arrogant, lying imperialists. First, they asked permission to visit Koeberg. When that was granted, they pretended that they had invaded Koeberg to show how useless its security was. Koeberg was, and is, the cleanest, safest, most affordable source of electricity in South Africa. This is what Greenpeace really hated. Greenpeace showed absolutely no interest in the terrible forms of energy that were killing poor black people in the townships, who burn wood, coal and paraffin in their shacks, with dreadfully dangerous indoor air pollution. That didn’t bother Greenpeace at all.
Greenpeace began as a noble environmental movement that cared about humanity and nature. But it degenerated into spiteful movement of spoilt, humanity-hating snobs from rich countries, who care only about the elite, such as themselves, who shun science and make no effort to understand nature.
In 1971, Patrick Moore helped to found Greenpeace, which campaigned against the abominable testing of US and European hydrogen bombs (nuclear fusion bombs) in the Pacific. He also campaigned against whaling. Moore was a man of science and humanity, and watched in dismay as Greenpeace began to turn against both, adopting more and more crazy and destructive ideas. Moore said the last straw was when somebody from Greenpeace wanted to campaign against chlorine, which is an essential element of the human body and which has probably saved more lives than any other chemical in history by cleansing drinking water. He left in 1986.
Moore has made an invaluable contribution to climate science by pointing out that we only narrowly avoided a climate catastrophe in the recent past (beginning about five million years ago) when CO2 in the air had dropped to disastrously low levels threatening the existence of most plants on Earth. (‘The Positive Impact of Human CO2 Emissions on the Survival of Life on Earth’, Patrick Moore, June 2016).
Read more: Criticising de Ruyter’s stance on renewable energy – Andrew Kenny
During the ice ages they dropped to 180ppm, just 30ppm above the level where C3 plants (most plants, having the most usual photosynthesis chemistry, known as C3) cannot survive. Then the ice age ended, ocean temperatures rose, releasing CO2 into the air, and CO2 levels increased to 280ppm. Finally, mankind, by burning fossil fuels from the 19th Century on, pushed them up to about 430ppm today, still far too low but out of the danger zone. Mankind, accidentally, might have saved most life on the planet. Above 150ppm, CO2 has never been seen to have any warming effect, and so the climate scare is nonsense.
After Moore left, Greenpeace campaigned against Golden Rice. This was a modified form of rice with beta-Carotene in its kernels, which humans convert to vitamin A, which is important for eyesight. Golden Rice could save hundreds of thousands of poor children from blindness. Greenpeace was for many years successful against its being grown.
In India, Greenpeace campaigned against genetically modified crops (GMOs) that had been proven safe and proven to increase crop yields, turning the fortunes of poor farmers for the better. Worst of all, Greenpeace campaigned against DDT, a wonderful, safe, environmentally friendly chemical that had been proven highly efficient against malaria, and had saved the lives of hundreds of millions of people. DDT was never shown to harm humans, even when abused (which it was). It did not harm bird populations, including the Bald Eagle and the Peregrine Falcon, and did not cause eggshell thinning. Yet the greens (not Greenpeace in this case) managed to ban it, and malaria came storming back, killing millions of people with dark skins in poor countries.
In a moment of truth, some of the greens admitted their real reason for opposing DDT. For example, Alexander King, co-founder of the Club of Rome, wrote this about DDT: ‘In Guyana, within almost two years, it had almost eliminated malaria, but at the same time the birth rate had doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it greatly added to the population problem.’
Read more: China sets sights on cornering another green energy market: Hydrogen
Heir to the eugenics movement
That sums it up. Today’s green movement seems heir to the eugenics movement of the first half of the last century. Then, learned white intellectuals, such as Bernard Shaw, were greatly worried that what they regarded as the European master race was being outbred by stupid, primitive dark-skinned people in Africa and Asia. Measures must be taken to reduce the population of the inferior breeds. Shaw suggested, ‘The only fundamental and possible socialism is the socialisation of the selective breeding of man’.
Hitler, another socialist and the ultimate believer in eugenics, would have agreed. Today the greens worry that the African population is growing too quickly. It must be reduced. They suggest various tyrannical ways of doing so, such as enforced birth control and encouraged abortion; perhaps they will suggest compulsory sterilisation next.
What they never suggest is the one and only proven method of reducing the birth rate: prosperity. Make all Africans as rich as Germans, and the African birth rate will come crashing down to German levels. There is no mystery about how to make Africa rich: copy the methods and technologies that made Europe rich, which means free markets, private property and extensive use of coal, gas and oil to produce reliable, affordable energy, without which development is impossible.
Nuclear would be great too, especially now, with the development of small modular reactors (SMRs) that would suit the small grids of African countries. In fact, it will be easier for Africa to become rich now because it can learn from the European experience and because there are now much better technologies available.
Greenpeace doesn’t want this. It doesn’t want coal, oil and nuclear for African electricity grids. Instead it wants solar and wind, which have proved an expensive disaster in every country in the world that has tried them, benefiting only the rich elite of the renewable power companies. In Germany, Denmark, the UK, the USA and Australia, electricity prices for the customers have soared and electricity failures have increased as more wind and solar are added to the grid.
Even in rich European countries, solar and wind have thrown some of its working classes into energy poverty. Solar and wind also have huge environmental problems and use vast amounts of natural materials, far more than nuclear. In Africa, it would be much worse. This is because Europe only turned to solar and wind once they had developed using coal, gas and oil; Africa has not yet developed, and solar and wind would simply prevent it from developing. The only winners of the policies Greenpeace proposes for Africa would be the European suppliers of solar and wind power systems, who would make fat profits while poor Africans suffered energy poverty.
Read more: Driving green infrastructure projects at scale across the African continent – COP27
Denied access to decent energy technology, poor African people, out of pure desperation, would continue to chop down precious forests for firewood and ravage the African environment to try to survive. Perhaps some African housewife, laden down with firewood after six hours in the bush searching for it, could wave at some rich, white European Green activist as he drives past in an air-conditioned SUV.
One Greenpeace placard at the Energy Indaba said, ‘COAL = CORRUPTION’. In South Africa, there certainly has been massive corruption in Eskom’s coal procurement and in the running of its coal power stations. But there is also massive corruption in South Africa’s public transport. Does Greenpeace want to shut down all public transport in South Africa?
Germany is starting up new coal power stations; is there corruption in them? Corruption is one thing; the choice of technology is another. We must stamp out all corruption. We must choose the best technology. We must choose the best technology based on safety, environmental concern, reliability, sustainability, security and ease of siting.
For grid electricity, nuclear is best, coal and gas are fine, and solar and wind are useless.
Please may we approach our problems of poverty and energy shortages with science and humanity? Please may we tell the arrogant imperialists of Greenpeace to go away?
*Andrew Kenny is a writer, an engineer and a classical liberal
Read more: African and Global partners launch Multi-Billion Alliance for Green Infrastructure at COP27
The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend, the IRR or BizNews.
Copyright of The Daily Friend 2023
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.