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Matt Ridley is the author of provocative books on evolution, genetics and society. His books have sold over a million copies, been translated into thirty languages, and have won several awards.

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Ill wind

The myths of green energy

I've admired Robert Bryce's work since he did such a great job of exposing the biofuel boondoggle inGusher of Lies.

Now he has a new book, which I have just kindled, on the myths of green energy, called Power Hungry.

He summarises his argument in the Washington Post. One fact that jumps out is how much worse the dependence on foregin powers green energy would be than even oil is:

In the new green economy, batteries are not included. Neither are many of the "rare earth" elements that are essential ingredients in most alternative energy technologies. Instead of relying on the diversity of the global oil market -- about 20 countries each produce at least 1 million barrels of crude per day -- the United States will be increasingly reliant on just one supplier, China, for elements known as lanthanides. Lanthanum, neodymium, dysprosium and other rare earth elements are used in products from high-capacity batteries and hybrid-electric vehicles to wind turbines and oil refinery catalysts.

China controls between 95 and 100 percent of the global market in these elements. And the Chinese government is reducing its exports of lanthanides to ensure an adequate supply for its domestic manufacturers. Politicians love to demonize oil-exporting countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, but adopting the technologies needed to drastically cut U.S. oil consumption will dramatically increase America's dependence on China.

So, explain to me again what's so wonderful about wind power? It requires a vast acreage, a huge regressive subsidy and rare materials from China; it kills eagles and other raptors by the hundreds (please watch this video), it produces a trickle of power and its intermittent nature means it displaces zero fossil fuel use. And it enriches plutocrats and corrupts environmental groups.

If Edward Abbey were alive, his Monkey Wrenchers would be destroying wind turbines today.