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The green jobs literature and the “E”nvironmental movement have a canard littered throughout: “we can’t proceed full-speed ahead with ______ (insert detested new energy source here) because not enough research has been done on it.” Gas (via fracking) and nuclear would be most prominent. I see time and time again a supposed argument from “E”nviros that they are “not against” energy per se, or not against those technologies per se but rather that “there are too many unresolved safety, health and environmental issues.”

This is tiring. I give up. You win. With just one caveat.

I agree that we don’t know enough about the effectiveness of fracking, about whether its benefits are worth the costs (we actually DO know, but that is beside the point). I agree that there are still unresolved issues with pebble-bed fast-breeder nuclear reactors. Great. I agree.

Now apply that exact same logic to every single “green” investment you plan on making. Take LEED building, or recycling, or banning water bottles, or promoting wind-power, … how come the same logic doesn’t apply?

“We can’t proceed with a full-blown recycling program because there are simply too many uncertainties. There needs to be more research done on the environmental benefits of such programs, and the environmental, economic, human and social costs of such programs. After all, some recycling centers are dehumanizing and workers struggle under unsafe and unpleasant working conditions. After all, it is possible that we are paying too much to preserve landfill space that is not scarce. After all, it is possible that all of the human effort involved in the recycling process would be more highly valued in our K12 schools, you know, teaching children, and so on. And so while I am not really against recycling per se, I think we should ban it until we do more research.”

As I read somewhere once … until shrimps learn to whistle.

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2 Responses to “We Need to Do More Research on Baloney Sandwiches”

  1. Speedmaster says:

    ABSOLUTELY! One of my pet-peeves is the “more research is needed” canard when everyone with an IQ over room temperature knows they are simply against the item in question regardless of the facts.

  2. Harry says:

    Great post, WC. I got a big chuckle over the shrimp.

    Re government-imposed recycling programs, there have plenty of examples where municipalities have abandoned or curtailed them because they are unaffordable white elephants.

    Voluntary recycling occurs all the time when the price is right.

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