Some people in the environmental movement are beginning to dispute the idea that so-called “green” energy will be able to save the globe.
The “fast-track” method that is being adopted to create such energy sources as a reaction to a “climate emergency” may potentially have unexpected repercussions in the long run.
The environmental organization Protects Thacker Pass has issued a warning to the public that “green” energy projects may be exempt from important environmental reviews and regulations such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act if it is determined that these projects are part of an “emergency” response.
This raises concerns about bypassing critical protections for human health and the environment, just as we saw during the COVID-19 crisis with pharmaceutical products being fast-tracked for approval. These protections are essential to ensuring that human health and the environment are not negatively impacted.
In addition, the so-called “green” energy may not be as favorable to the environment as we believe it to be. In the book of the same name, “Bright Green Lies,” the author debunks the notion that solar, wind, and other “green” energy technologies are clean, renewable, and beneficial to the environment. Large-scale mining operations, which are required to extract the essential minerals for such energy sources, have the potential to have a catastrophic impact on marine ecosystems, habitats for species, and the overall biodiversity of the planet.
The concept of a “climate emergency” does not take into account the linked environmental problems that are the primary drivers of climate change. These problems include the deterioration of soil, poisoning of water, loss of biodiversity, and deforestation. Vandana Shiva, an environmental activist, notes that the industrial food system is a substantial contribution to climate change, despite the fact that there is little effort being made to convert to food systems that are more sustainable and local.
Instead, the reach and control of the industrial food system are being increased, and the end effect is a higher consolidation of power in the hands of large food businesses.
The idea of “net zero” has also been questioned on the grounds that it is an accounting system driven by the interests of corporations and that it does not provide a complete picture of the wider ecological catastrophe. Shiva cautions that global turmoil will persist if we solely concentrate on lowering carbon emissions without also tackling these other, more fundamental environmental problems.
The current state of the so-called “climate emergency” could make these negative trends even worse by consolidating power, enriching corporations, and causing immediate damage to the natural world. However, it would not significantly slow down the rate of climate change or promote genuine sustainability.