Who are these environmentalists Christopher Booker is arguing against?

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Pointing out the infinite factual inaccuracies and logical fallacies that appear in the articles written by Christopher Booker is a losing game. Every Sunday they just come and come. Booker’s writings on climate change are so awful that you can only conclude the Sunday Telegraph – an organization that apparently had the wisdom to fire Clive James – keeps him around as evidence of their eccentricity and perversion.

Booker is at it again today, railing against environmentalists for their support for big hydroelectric dams and the burning of wood to generate electricity.

Here is how Mr. Booker puts it:

A chilling recent report by the journalist David Rose showed the ecological devastation being wrought over thousands of square miles of hardwood forest in the US to fuel power stations in Britain such as Drax, by a process that even some environmentalists now admit ends up by giving off more CO2 than the coal it is intended to replace. In another report, Rose used shocking pictures to show how the “biomass” craze, heavily subsidised through Decc’s Renewable Heat Initiative, is creating a similar swath of destruction across ancient woodlands here in Britain, even including some owned by the climate-dotty National Trust. As one academic ecologist mourns, forests full of wildlife “are being butchered in the name of an ideology”.

Then, only last week, the University of East Anglia published a study on just one of the smallest of 40 massive hydro-electric schemes in Brazil. Twenty-five years after 1,000 square miles of the Amazon rainforest were flooded by the Balbina dam, to produce a mere 250 megawatts of electricity, less than 1 per cent of the 3,546 islands it created still have any significant wildlife left. Billions of animals, birds, reptiles and insects, not to mention the former forest‑dwelling Indian tribes, have vanished. Again, scientific studies show that the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from the rotting vegetation destroyed by this and other hydroelectric schemes, some very much larger than Balbina, is far greater than anything their “renewable” power nominally saves.

All in all, wherever we look, this pursuit of the dream of “carbon-free energy” is creating an ecological catastrophe. Like so many of the great crimes of history, this one is being perpetrated by people who imagine they are doing something praiseworthy. In this case, possessed by their delusion that they are battling for nature and the future of the planet, they are in fact doing as much as anyone to destroy the very things they kid themselves they are trying to save.

These are the words of a crazed lunatic who long ago lost his already greased up grip on reality.

Booker attacks environmentalists for supporting forms of energy which they in fact oppose!

This could have been found out if Mr. Booker acquainted himself with Google, and I don’t know, searched “Balbina dam Greenpeace”. If he had done this he would have found Greenpeace saying rather negative things about big hydroelectric dams in Brazil, or finding them calling big hydroelectric dams a “false solution to climate change“.

Rightly or wrongly, big hydroelectric dams have never been in favour with environmental groups, as even the most rudimentary of research would have told Mr. Booker. Small – small is beautiful after all – hydroelectric dams are another matter of course. But Mr. Booker does not seem to have those in mind.

Then we have the strange idea that green groups support biomass and biofuels. If Mr. Booker had been writing over a decade he would have been on to something. Many green groups, include Friends of the Earth, were supporters of a rapid expansion of biofuels in the early 2000s. But they aren’t any more. Again, Google – a research tool apparently unavailable to Mr. Booker – quickly leads to a report by RSPB, Friends of the Earth arguing that burning biomass for electricity was “dirtier than coal“.

I say all this as someone who frequently criticizes environmental groups for their positions on energy. But I always try to avoid straw manning, with the obvious recognition that one man’s straw man is often in fact a living, breathing, walking, talking human being. There are legitimate reasons to criticize green groups for their energy policies. We don’t need to invent even more.


4 thoughts on “Who are these environmentalists Christopher Booker is arguing against?

    johnrussell40 said:
    July 5, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Chris Booker’s articles are terribly shallow and repeatedly demonstrate a weak grasp of science, and even logic.

    Only the other day he was berating the Met Office for their recent report that the hottest July day had been recorded in London, on the grounds that, “this would still have been way short of the 38.5C recorded at Faversham on August 16 2003″! [ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/11718504/Mystery-grows-over-Met-Offices-hottest-day.html ]


    Mark Brinkley @slopingsite said:
    July 6, 2015 at 8:48 am

    If Booker were at all consistent, he would welcome the biomass craze because it appears to release more CO2 than coal. Surely a good thing in his universe.


      Robert Wilson said:
      July 6, 2015 at 8:51 am

      No. The rule is that we can only care about something harming the environment if it was actually supposed to help it.

      Perhaps Booker just takes delightful pleasure in the wicked irony of it.


    pestopete said:
    July 6, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Brooker specialises in the strawman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man) – but the best use of a strawman is when you don’t notice it’s a strawman and hence are moved by its destruction. Brooker’s strawmen, conversely, are very poor in quality.


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