Years of Living Dangerously Series Debunked

Part 8 of 8:

Season 2, Episode 8 - Uprising

Part 1 of 8: Season 2, Episode 1 – A Race Against Time
Part 2 of 8: Season 2, Episode 2 – Gathering Storm
Part 3 of 8: Season 2, Episode 3 – The Uprooted
Part 4 of 8: Season 2, Episode 4 – Fueling the Fire
Part 5 of 8: Season 2, Episode 5 – Collapse of the Oceans
Part 6 of 8: Season 2, Episode 6 – Priceless
Part 7 of 8: Season 2, Episode 7 – Safe Passage
Part 8 of 8: Season 2, Episode 8 – Uprising

By: Shawn Alli
Posted: May 31, 2017

Years of Living Dangerously Season 2, Episode 8 - Uprising

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*Disclosure: I am a climate denier, albeit a more rational one.


*Disclosure: I am NOT funded by any oil, natural gas or coal corporations. I am NOT funded by any private interest groups (NGOs, foundations or political entities).


We begin with feminist icon and actress Sigourney Weaver in China asking why people in the US should take climate change seriously when the Chinese government doesn't. That's a fair question. A decent start.


We then move to actress America Ferrera in Chicago talking about the battle between Big Coal and the Sierra Club. But during the Obama administration the Supreme Court blocks his climate change rules. Hence, the climate change movement has no chance under the Trump administration and his now confirmed nominee Neil Gorsuch. It will just be a lot of paperwork and massive litigation costs. Only the lawyers will be getting rich. In March 2017 Trump more or less dismantles most of Obama's climate policies. [1]


Weaver says that the Chinese government must have realized that they're breathing the same polluted air as the people. Yes and no. The super rich in China breathe clean air inside their homes and working areas via technology. [2]


And no, moving coal plants to rural areas instead of the city doesn't solve anything. It's just a quick cosmetic fix. The pledge of China getting 20% of its energy via renewables by 2030 is just that. There's no real weight to that pledge. Again, it's just cosmetics.


Ferrera goes to Illinois to talk to people about coal plants in their backyard. In reality, coal is only a problem because of the toxic particulate matter it gives off. Oddly enough, this is the first episode to show low-mid income visible minorities taking action against climate change. I only count two, but at least that's something.


Ferrera then meets with the Mayor of Waukegan Wayne Motley who is supposed to set up a meeting between anti-coal activists and the coal plant (NRG) but has yet to do so. It's a good conversation.


Motley talks about tax revenue and jobs, and if NRG shuts down it will lay off those workers and the city won't be able to balance its budgets. Or, they would have to raise property taxes on residents. Ferrera counters by claiming that the Sierra Club's investment in the town is health and future goodwill. Unfortunately, that future goodwill won't be paying the bills.


Again, climate change believers (especially celebrity ones) fail to recognize that if big tax revenues stop rolling in, cities will go bankrupt or charge an enormous amount for property taxes on residential homes.


In short, climate change believers are living in their ideological bubbles where cities can start at a blank slate and everything will work itself out. In reality, that fantasy rarely happens. If big tax revenues roll out of the cities, so does your health. Rich celebrity climate change believers don't understand that good health costs money as well.


Mayor Motley says that some people he talked to on the petition didn't know what they were signing. And that's a legitimate issue. In the episode we see two visible minority women (one with a young toddler) going house to house.


It's not exactly polite to turn down visible minority women, especially one with a young toddler. That's emotional priming. The activists are priming potential petitioners. Look at my infant child. Are you saying that his life doesn’t matter? Of course not. Where do I sign? Sadly, the end usually justifies the means for most climate change believers.


The second issue with the door to door activism is that the anti-coal activists don't tell potential petitioners that the closure of the coal plant would mean potential bankruptcy for the city or super high property tax increases. This is the problem with partisan issues (or all social issues for that matter).


Activists from each camp explain only one side. Both camps argue for their ideology through advertising and marketing and usually the camp that has the most money wins. Unfortunately, the resident/consumer/individual has to sort out all of this information and make a decision. In the end, everyone loses.


While it's nice that China has thousands of solar panels, at their low efficiency rate and smoggy days, very little energy can be produced. Again, most renewables in China are just for appearances.


And yes, China's $360 billion (USD) spending on solar and wind energy until 2020 is impressive. [3] But with China's growing economy, the efficiency rate of solar and wind isn't enough to satisfy its insatiable demand for cheap electricity. While China's economic growth is beginning to slow, that's relative to its lightening fast growth in the past. Many governments would kill for China's slow growth.


Weaver talks about the Chinese government's potential national carbon cap and trade system. Sorry, but like most systems, it will most likely be a complete joke. Why? Because it's the Chinese government combined with ideological junk science. Nuff said.


Weaver talks to China Light and Power CEO Richard Lancaster about switching to renewable energy. Lancaster says that in the future renewable energy will be more profitable than coal. Umm...what?


Solar and wind energy isn't profitable at their current low rate of efficiency. Corporations or governments will have to invest in massive hydroelectric power plants (which the Chinese government can do) in order to make a profit. But then again, making a profit selling electricity is unethical in a real democratic society (see Philosophy of Governance & Economics in Philosophy Reborn Part I: Purpose).


Remember, North America is already filled with massive wind and solar power plants. But most are only surviving because of government subsidies. Remove the subsidies and they won't be able to survive, let alone make a profit.


The anti-coal activists buy stock in NRG to attend NRG shareholder meetings. This method of change is well known to public corporations. The opposition buys stock and tries to advocate for a change in policy. But it's rarely successful.


To be fair to the climate change movement, if the coal industry can't stop the emission of toxic particulate matter, they have no future in the 21st century. Whether the coal industry will innovate a little or a lot remains to be seen. But the momentum is definitely with hydro and natural gas power plants.




[1] Davenport, Coral and Rubin, Alissa J. Trump Signs Executive Order Unwinding Obama Climate Policies. New York Times. March 28, 2017.

[2] Pinghui, Zhuang and Zhou, Laura. Why the rich breathe easier in China's choking smog. South China Morning Post. January 23, 2017.

[3] Forsythe, Michael. China Aims to Spend at Least $360 Billion on Renewable Energy by 2020. New York Times. January 5, 2017.