Jeff Bezos and Amazon Join the Religion of Green
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the world’s richest man, likes to depict himself as rising from difficult circumstances. His mother was still in high school when she became pregnant and his biological father left early on. Bezos as well as his former wife, Mackenzie, are members in good standing of what Charles Murray called the new upper class, in his book: Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010. The Bezos couple exhibited high intelligence, were successful at the best colleges, and rose rapidly in their careers. Members of the new upper class marry each other, live in nice houses, send their kids to private schools or good public schools, and are very much out of touch with the thinking of ordinary people.
None of the new upper-class billionaires are monsters. They come from middle to upper middle-class origins. They are all brilliant entrepreneurs. They mostly use their power to damage Trump politically because they don’t like Trump. That is not usually illegal, but it does affect the future of the country because they do have great power
Amazon is a great company. I’m a faithful customer and I published my book: Dumb Energy: A Critique of Wind and Solar Energy using Amazon’s Kindle system. I hope I’m not going to wake up tomorrow and find out that my book has disappeared.
Lately, Amazon has jumped on the global warming/ renewable energy/ sustainability bandwagon. They are spending millions on television ads to tell everyone how virtuous they are. Amazon’s 2019 annual report is heavy with climate change, carbon footprints and renewable energy. Amazon is building wind and solar farms. They have signed a “climate pledge.” Previously, when Amazon mentioned climate, they meant the economic climate. Although Amazon has a history with renewable energy, it is necessary to keep in mind that in some circumstances, due to massive subsidies, renewable energy can be a profitable exercise.
Amazon is genuflecting to the Religion of Green, explained in this PragerU video. The Religion of Green is where the new upper class goes for spiritual sustenance, having given up on Episcopalianism. The Religion of Green claims to be backed by science. That is not necessarily a lie, because a lot of scientists are enjoying great success thanks to the Religion of Green. Since the popularization of global warming, climate scientists have risen from occupants of an obscure corner of academia into world-jetting celebrities. For these scientists, worldly fame has displaced scientific investigation. But Amazon is late to the green party. Apple and Chevron have been celebrating the Religion of Green for a long time.
Renewable energy is the concrete manifestation of the green religion. Yammering about global warming or recycling is mostly show. Renewable energy is billions of dollars for wind and solar farms that are absolutely a complete waste of money. Every claim made about the virtues of renewable energy is a lie and not a subtle lie. Further, the advocates of renewable energy that are technically literate have to work very hard not to see the truth.
Of course, not seeing the truth is easier if your paycheck depends on not seeing the truth. Climate Scientists for Nuclear agree with me. They say renewable energy is useless and won’t be remotely useful for reducing CO2 emissions. James Hansen, the most prominent climate scientist in the world and a proselytizer for global warming, calls renewable energy “grotesque.” You can see a video of Hansen and the prominent environmental advocate Michael Schellenberger making those points here.
Climate Scientists for Nuclear tell us that wind and solar will never be effective for reducing CO2 emissions. They are horribly expensive energy, requiring an 80% subsidy. If you get to the point of replacing about 25% of the grid electricity with wind and solar, the cost and difficulty of adding more becomes overwhelming.
Nuclear, on the other hand, does not emit CO2. Although nuclear is more expensive than fossil fuels, that is mostly due to the anti-nuclear movement launched by the same environmental groups that scream climate change. They have entangled nuclear in so much regulation and so many lawsuits that it is nearly impossible to build a new plant in the U.S. In other places, like France, South Korea and China, nuclear is progressing rapidly. The priests of the green religion are in a pickle. If they endorse nuclear, they will be endorsing what was formerly the work of the devil. But, if they don’t endorse nuclear, they are not serious about global warming.
Most likely, Amazon has jumped on the green train to deflect from the criticism it is getting for being a monopoly and stepping on toes of other interests. Bezos purchased the Washington Post newspaper, a virulently anti-Trump publication that has not become less anti-Trump under its new ownership.
President Trump has responded by suggesting that Amazon is ripping off the Postal Service by not paying enough for its package deliveries. If Trump is reelected, Bezos may have to start currying favor rather than promoting Trump hatred. Members of the new upper class are overwhelmingly Democrat voters with a low opinion of Trump. Manhattan and Marin County, California, hotbeds of the new upper class, voted better than 80% for Hillary in the last presidential election.
The billionaire members of the new upper class that run Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter can’t stand Trump. My opinion is that jealously plays a big role in inciting this hatred. From nowhere and using only his native cunning, Trump got himself elected president. This is hard to bear, especially considering that Trump is a relative pauper compared to the tech billionaires. The less opulent, run of the mill members of the new upper-class sense that Trump is not one of them and doesn’t care about their class interests. They sense that the Democrat party is run by fellow class members, so they feel at home with the Democrats. The Republican Party, in contrast, is filled with people still following traditional religion, rather than the Religion of Green.
Since the Religion of Green is a religion, it can be difficult to counter with scientific or engineering facts or data. The facts and data concerning global warming (now called climate change because there wasn’t enough warming) lead directly to a swamp populated with computer models. But when it comes to wind and solar, the renewable energy that counts, the facts are very clear. The crippling handicap of wind and solar is intermittent and erratic operation. Because their operation is unpredictable, wind and solar can’t replace existing fossil fuel plants. The existing plants have to stay, in full force, to take over when the wind stops or the sun is obscured by clouds. Either wind or solar electricity costs, exclusive of subsidies, about $80 per megawatt hour. The cost is mostly the capital cost of the plant amortized over the life of the plant. The alternative is to burn natural gas in the existing plants at a fuel cost of $15 per megawatt hour. Renewable energy is a scheme to displace $15 electricity with $80 electricity.
Norman Rogers writes often about renewable energy. His Renewable Energy is Dumb Energy app is here.