NIMBYs: Not-In-My-Backyard Environmentalists

Ilana Mercer, December 18, 2009

Obama’s talent for wasting scarce resources is formidable. Even more impressive is the president’s ability to frame waste as thrift. When you purchase something you don’t need, with funds you must borrow, on the pretext that years down the line the outlay will pay dividends ─ it’s safe to say you’re a wastrel. To convince ─ and coerce ─ America to squander, B.O. is proposing to subsidize cash-strapped Americans in retrofitting their homes with costly green gimmickry.

This is but one example of how this dedicated central planner is directing resources not his into inefficient, expensive technologies, with the aim of shaping production in politically pleasing ways. Big Brother Obama’s latest “clever” exercise in the misallocation of confiscated capital has been dubbed Cash for Caulkers. (To “caulk” is to hermetically seal.) It was preceded by a similar act of legislative creative destruction ─ Cash for Clunkers ─ in which desperate car dealers were “incentivized” to entice greedy, gormless consumers into junking perfectly good rides and purchasing new ones, and in the process taking on more debt.

But that bit of economic Brownian motion nudged the GDP upwards (which gives you an indication of the credibility of this politically massaged indicator). So now, BO is urging Congress to provide “temporary incentives for Americans to weatherize their homes.”

The fool-in-chief’s first order of business in pushing people to purchase fashionable items they do not need was to sell them on the latter’s sex appeal. His pitch the president staged at a Home Depot store in a Washington suburb, where he talked-up the sexy aspects of home insulation. Obama still sells. If the Big O thinks something is sexy, it too will sell. Besides, a tinsel nation needs little convincing to splurge on trendy big-ticket items.

State-sponsored “sexy” technologies in the West have decidedly ugly outcomes for worker bees in the East. The Copenhagen Crowd’s cravings must be sated, but not by despoiling California, if you know what I mean.

Enter the Chinese worker.

“You buy a Prius hybrid car and think you’re saving the planet,” divulged Lindsey Hilsum of PBS’s “News Hour,” “but each motor contains a kilo of neodymium and each battery more than 10 kilos of lanthanum, rare earth elements from China. Green campaigners love wind turbines, but the permanent magnets used to manufacture a 3-megawatt turbine contain some two tons of rare earth.”

Mining for rare earth metals is not the cleanest undertaking. Hybrid hypocrites prefer by far that it be done by the poor villagers of the Baiyunkuang District of Darhan Muminggan in Inner Mongolia, northern China. There lie the largest deposits of rare earth metals.

The Prius is packed with the stuff.

The Limousine and Learjet liberals who legislate “green” industries into being prefer to outsource all energy-related extraction. Leave it to the industrious Chinese to “meet 95 percent of the world’s demand for rare earth.” As most of the separation and extraction of rare earth metals is done in China, “the pollution stays in China, too,” reports Hilsum from Baiyunebo in Inner Mongolia.

The environmental problems include air emissions with harmful elements, such as fluorine and sulfur, wastewater that contains excessive acid, and radioactive materials, too.

And “local villagers whose farmland has been ruined by seepage from the lake pay the price.”

Laments one such farmer: “The Baotou Environmental Protection Bureau tested our water, and they concluded that it wasn’t fit for people or animals to drink or for irrigation. … Rare earth is the country’s resource, but small people like us need to eat, too. We live on farming, but the crops no longer grow, and we will go hungry.”

Tough luck, you provincial little man. NIMBYs (not-in-my-backyard environmentalists) like Big Brother O and his Copenhagen accomplices plan these screwy, skewed production lines, and in the process supplant sustainable industries. To satisfy their “visionary,” voracious excesses ─ and do the dirty work for them ─ witless NIMBYs have unwittingly conscripted the Chinese Worker.

December 18

CATEGORIES: Barack Obama, China, Energy, Environmentalism, Technology