U.S. “green” group gunning to get on Oil and Gas payroll (if they’re not already on it)

December 4, 2012
By

I recently received a press release from the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announcing a “major new solution to cut existing coal-fired emissions by 26 percent.” Ever since reading David Ogilvy’s highly entertaining Confessions of an Advertising Man—which tells readers that putting big dramatic words like “major” and “new” into advertising headlines is almost always effective—I have learned to know an advertising pitch when I see it. The NRDC headline is most definitely an advertising pitch. And it is an advertisement for natural gas, which is a carbon heavy fossil fuel.

This is part of the Ocean Acidification awareness effort of the Living Oceans Society, a Canadian organization (see http://www.livingoceans.org). They call ocean acidification “the ugly twin of climate change.” Do they know that other ostensibly green groups, like the Natural Resources Defense Council, support the expanded use of fossil fuels like natural gas, which emits half a kilogram of ocean acidifying carbon dioxide for each kilowatt-hour generated?

Why is the NRDC, which calls itself an environmental group, selling fossil fuel? Because it is lucrative. NRDC is, as becomes obvious when you look at its website, a revenue-generating organization. And natural gas companies are rich: look at the television ads that have saturated the North American airwaves over the past few years. Those ads cost money. The ads are a glaring indicator of the sheer magnitude of the dollars the Oil and Gas lobby is spending to create a favourable public opinion climate. NRDC cannot have failed to notice this.

Why do I say the NRDC is peddling natural gas? Read the following excerpt from the press release:

[P]ower plant owners and states [could] reduce emissions through cost-effective means that could be accomplished by:

  • Reducing an individual plant’s carbon emissions by improving combustion efficiency, burning cleaner fuels or installing carbon capture and storage.
  • Shifting generation from high-emitting to lower- or zero-emitting plants. Lower emitting sources such as gas, wind and solar would earn credits that other plants could use, to reduce average emissions rates.

It is amazing that a self-styled green group would consider natural gas—which dumps half a kilogram of carbon dioxide into the air for every kilowatt-hour it generates—to be a solution to carbon emissions. After all, for gas to replace coal in the U.S. would mean that instead of two billion metric tons of CO2 being dumped into the air from power plants every year, only one billion tons would get dumped. Yes it is a billion-ton reduction. But I’m worried about the billion tons that ARE going into the air. How is that an improvement?

Nuclear generators dump zero kilograms of carbon dioxide. Why wouldn’t NRDC push for new nuclear plants?

I suspect it is because Oil and Gas are so damn rich compared with the nuclear industry. NRDC needs money. Oil and Gas lobbies have demonstrated, with endless expensive television and print ads, year after year, that they are willing to spend lots of money. NRDC has an ill-deserved reputation as a “green” group. That’s just the kind of ally Oil and Gas could use in lobbying the congress to ease up on any prospective climate legislation that might hurt their bottom line.

In the end, it matters not to NRDC what becomes of the billion tons of CO2 that their preferred fuel will dump every year. Much of it will eventually wind up in the world’s oceans, turning them more acidic (you can read up on ocean acidification here on NRDC’s website).

What matters is the lucre that pours in from their Oil and Gas clients.

What a bunch of sellouts. With “defenders” like the NRDC, the natural environment doesn’t need any more offenders.

4 Responses to U.S. “green” group gunning to get on Oil and Gas payroll (if they’re not already on it)

  1. donb
    December 5, 2012 at 11:59 am

    From the quoted press release:
    •Shifting generation from high-emitting to lower- or zero-emitting plants. Lower emitting sources such as gas, wind and solar would earn credits that other plants could use, to reduce average emissions rates.

    Funny, isn’t it, how nuclear is not mentioned in the list of lower emitting sources. This silence speaks volumes about NRDC.

  2. Atomikrabbit
    December 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I think it’s “NRDC” Steve.

    Kinda like how Sierra Club took millions from methane industry to slam coal (and also nuclear, since once in the bank account, the funds are fungible).

    I wonder how large the donation from NEI would have to be for NRDC or Sierra to see the light over the environmental benefits of nuclear? “What you are, madam, has already been determined. The only thing we are discussing now is the price.”

  3. Lynne
    December 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    The Ontario government opened the gates to ENGOs bearing trojan turbines only to find out they were full of natural gas.

  4. December 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    “Nuclear generators dump zero kilograms of carbon dioxide. Why wouldn’t NRDC push for new nuclear plants?”

    Because they take decades to put into production. Whereas gas plants go in end to end in a couple of years.

    I’ll take 1/2 the CO2 now for some sort of perhaps-a-future two decades out.

    So will everyone else, which is why there’s no new nuclear.

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Item 1: if Ontario did not have its nuclear generating fleet, last hour’s CO2 emissions would have been AT LEAST:

5,583 metric tons, and the CIPK would have been 374.1 grams

Item 2: Since prorogation of the Ontario legislature on October 15, 2012, provincial gas-fired generating plants have dumped this much CO2 into our air:

14,384,989 metric tons. This is a running total. Every hour, the total increases by the amount of Gas CO2 given in Table 1.

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