‘RE-ligion for Rich People’: Green Guru – Michael Shellenberger Slams Hopelessly Unreliable Wind & Solar

Pope Pompous III: Now all hail and worship me, the wind & sun.


Environmentalists ready to slam never reliable wind and solar and back ever reliable nuclear are rare birds, indeed. Michael Shellenberger is such an animal.

Lauded by environmentalists in the US, Shellenberger is not so much crusading for the environment, but waging a war against the hypocritical and pompous who drive global warming alarmism; a group of virtue signalling jetsetters, dedicated to their mission of depriving reliable and affordable energy to all but themselves and their filthy rich peers.

Last week, that sanctimonious windbag, Al Gore dropped in to Brisbane to berate Australia’s ‘truculent turds’ for rejecting the Green/Labor Alliance’s plans to crush reliable and affordable energy – with a ludicrous 50% RET and crippling CO2 tax – and to wipe out coal mining and coal-fired power and the entire Australian economy, along with it.

So, it was fitting that Michael Shellenberger dropped in for a visit, too.

When it comes to the (glaringly obvious) fact that wind and solar can and will never work, Shellenberger had his road to Damascus moment years ago. For Michael, these days, it’s nuclear or nothing.

What impresses us about Shellenberger is that, while he frets about carbon dioxide gas, he has actually applied common sense to the question of powering the planet.

Here’s Michael Shellenberger being interviewed by 2GB’s Alan Jones.

‘A religion of rich people’: Leading environmentalist slams climate activists
Alan Jones and Michael Shellenberger
6 June 2019

One of the world’s leading global warming gurus says renewable energy simply doesn’t work and should be abandoned.

Michael Shellenberger once helped lobby for the US government to spend more than $150 billion on renewable energy, but now he’s fighting against it.

He tells Alan Jones Germany’s failure to power their country with renewables is the best example of why nuclear and coal-fired power can’t be abandoned.

“I think we’re at the beginning of the end of the big renewable subsidy push that began about 20 years ago.

“I do think that as the German renewables experiment comes to a spectacular failure, which is what’s happening, that people will start to see nuclear for what it truly is.”

He says it’s quite remarkable that renewables are put on a pedestal by climate activists when they actually have a largely negative environmental impact.

“Nuclear plants, natural gas plants, they don’t kill large birds… we would never let nuclear plants or natural gas or coal have that impact.

“The only reason we do for renewables is because we’ve all been bought onto this idea that renewables are more natural.”

Mr Shellenberger also took aim at those who campaign for clean energy when they use more power than anyone else.

“The funny thing is that environmentalists like Al Gore, they love to fly around the world in jet planes and stay at luxury hotels and luxury resorts.

“They consume more energy than anybody else. Environmentalism is sort of a religion of rich people.”

Here’s the audio of the full interview with transcript below:



Alan Jones: Well, look, in the wider scheme of things, this is critical stuff. On Thursday the 6th of June, there is no doubt that in the recent election climate change was a big issue. In fact every time Mr. Shorten was in a prime ministerial debate, he took to virtue-signalling like a duck to water. He was the only one who would address climate change, therefore, “Vote for me.” Away he went. He got 33% of the vote.

You’ll remember he wouldn’t tell us the cost of the energy policy. He wouldn’t tell us what it would cost to have a 45% emissions reduction target or a 50% renewable energy target. In fact, he told us that anyone who asked such a question was either dumb or a charlatan. He used those words. Well, it was upfront, front and centre, and quite frankly the climate change case was booted out of the political paddock.

As I said to you earlier this week, the vote for the left, that’s for Labor and the Greens, the vote for the left, across the country, was significantly down by over 200,000 votes on the vote for 2016, and the public are saying simply, “We want lower electricity prices.”

Now, of course, many thought Mr. Shorten was over the line, so the Queensland Government organised, talking about charlatans, organised the charlatan Al Gore to Australia. He’s currently speaking at a conference in Brisbane, from yesterday till Friday, where he’s going to “train” Australia’s, “climate volunteers” and “communicate the urgency of the climate crisis.” Total cost to the tax payer, $320,000.

Now, remember, Gore is the person who couldn’t win a majority of votes in his own state of Tennessee when he ran for the presidency against George Bush. His own people were a wake-up to him. It’s obvious the Queensland Government isn’t.

But the public are waking up to this renewable energy rubbish, I call it. It’s still infects political and educational discourse in this country. Climate change, renewable energy, is still being rammed down the throats of kids in classrooms. I’ve mentioned before this un-Australian mob, AGL, have a massive solar plant at Nyngan. They want to close down Liddell, the coal-fired power station, 2,000 megawatts. To replace the 2,000 megawatts, though, of Liddell, you’d require 69 Nyngans.

Now, of course, Nyngan is heavily subsidised by the taxpayer, that’s why AGL are in the game. They are in it for the taxpayers’ money. You’d need 69 Nyngans to replace Liddell, 93 million solar panels. Cost you about $20 billion. Plus the cost of additional transmission lines, Nyngan’s way out there. You got to get the energy, then, onto the grid. Then you need backup for when the sun’s not shining, and it would occupy an area over 17,000 hectares, which is equivalent to 28 Melbourne CBDs.

World energy demand has been growing at about 2% a year for nearly 40 years between 2013 and ’14. Again, using International Energy Agency data, world energy demand grew, grew, by just under 2,000 terawatt hours. That’s growth. We consumed, last financial year, fewer than 200 terawatt hours.

But as Lord Ridley, the British politician and author, wrote last year in The Spectator magazine, “If wind turbines were to supply all of that growth, but no more, how many wind turbines would we need to build each year? Answer, nearly 350,000.” And as he said, “That’s 350,000 just for wind to meet the growth in energy demand.” As he said, “350,000 wind turbines is about one and a half times as many as have been built in the world since governments started pouring consumer funds into this so-called industry in the early 2000s.” As Lord Ridley said, “At a density of very roughly 50 acres per megawatt, typical for wind farms, that many turbines would require a land area greater than the British Isles, including Ireland, every year.” And as he said, “If we kept this up for 50 years, we would’ve covered every square mile of land area the size of Russia with wind farms.”

Well, Michael Shellenberger is an American author and environmental policy writer, the co-founder of Breakthrough Institute and the founder of Environmental Progress. He was in fact Time Magazine’s hero of the environment. Only last month he wrote, “Over the last decade, journalists have held up Germany’s renewable energy transition as an environmental model for the world.” He said, “With Germany as the inspiration, the United Nations and the World Bank have poured billions of dollars into renewables like wind, solar and hydro in developing nations like Kenya. In an article entitled ‘The Reason Renewables Can’t Power Modern Civilization’ is because they were never meant to.”

Michael Shellenberger wrote, “Last year, Germany was forced to acknowledge that it had to delay its phase-out of coal and would not meet its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction commitments. It announced plans to bulldoze an ancient church and forest in order to get at the coal underneath it.”

Michael Shellenberger cites a major article in Germany’s largest news weekly magazine, Der Spiegel, titled A Botched Job in Germany, where the magazine’s cover shows broken wind turbines and incomplete electrical transmission towers against a dark silhouette of Berlin. Germany’s renewable energy transition was called Energiewende, and it was to be the environmental model for the world. It’s cost Germany about $36 billion annually and now the opposition is growing.

The conclusion is simple. The 20-year subsidies granted to wind, solar and biogas since 2000, we’re talking about Germany, will come to an end next year, and as the Der Spiegel article states, “The wind power boom is over.” As Michael Shellenberg says. All of which raises a question: if renewables can’t cheaply power Germany, one of the richest and most technological advanced countries in the world, how could a developing nation like Kenya ever expect them to allow to leapfrog fossil fuels? Are you listening, Matthew Kean, the new minister in New South Wales, a young, smart bloke who’s got these applications for wind farms on his desk all over New South Wales, and in Victoria, the same stuff, threatening public health, threatening public health, and destroying agriculture.

Michael Shellenberger’s on the line from California. Michael, good morning.

Michael Shellenberger:  Good morning, thanks for having me on.

Alan Jones:  Wonderful to talk to you. We’ve had all these views for years now, the transition to renewables was needed to bring modern civilization into harmony with the ecosphere, whereas you say, “Around the year 2000, renewables started to gain a high tech lustre. There were governments and private investors pouring trillions of dollars into solar and wind.” Where are we today?

Michael Shellenberger: Well, I think we’re at the beginning of the end of the big renewables subsidy push that began about 20 years ago. You see it starting to come to an end in Germany, and Germans are some of the best engineers in the world. They’re failing with it. In California, we’ve seen our electricity rate increase six times more than in the rest of the United States because we’ve done so much renewables.

You know, what’s happened is that the high cost of renewables actually goes up as they become a larger percentage of the grid because you end up producing too much electricity from solar and wind when you don’t need it and not enough when you do. So, in Germany, California, other big renewables places, we actually have to pay our neighbours to take electricity during times when we have too much electricity.

So the high cost comes not only because you need somewhere between 400 and 700 times more land area, which you just described for solar and wind than you do for either nuclear or natural gas, you also have to spend a lot of money managing the unreliable nature of solar and wind energy.

Alan Jones: So you said, in the piece that I read, that you’d written in Energiewende, the environmental model for the world, you said, “It’s become an excuse for the destruction of natural landscapes and local communities.” That is happening now in Australia and I can’t, no matter how many letters I write, get anyone in government to understand that.

Michael Shellenberger:  Well, yeah, in my article I point out that there’s really no other technology that we would let have such a huge environmental impact, such a huge negative environmental impact. I mean, nuclear plants, natural gas plants, they don’t kill large birds, eagles, hawks, owls, condors. There’s a bat species that could go extinct because of the spread of wind energy. We would never let nuclear plants or natural gas or coal have that impact on the environment.

Alan Jones: Great point. Great point.

Michael Shellenberger: The only reason we do for renewables is because we’ve all been kind of bought on to this idea that renewables are more natural. It’s kind of like when you go to the grocery store and you buy a product that’s labelled natural or organic, you think it’s better, even if it’s not, because our minds thinks that things that are natural are better for the environment.

There’s nothing natural about wind turbines and solar panels, certainly nothing more natural than any other way of making electricity, but because of that sort of marketing gimmick, we’ve come to basically let-

Alan Jones: That’s right.

Michael Shellenberger:  … solar and wind providers have a huge negative impact.

Alan Jones: And you see, taking the notion’s a cliché to say, oh, well, when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine everyone talks about that so you got no energy, and you’re saying, you summed it up by saying, the transition to renewables was doomed because modern industrial people, no matter how romantic they are, don’t want to return to pre-modern life.

I mean, what are you going to do? Live in the dark? No industry, no nothing. That’s the consequence of this nonsense.

Michael Shellenberger: Well, the funny thing is that environmentalists like Al Gore, who you mentioned earlier, they love to fly around the world in jet planes and stay at luxury hotels and luxury resorts, and they consume more energy than anybody else.

Environmentalism, it’s sort of a religion of rich people, right? So it makes sense that politicians, who want to serve rich people, would then provide subsidies for their rich people toys like solar panels and wind turbines. It doesn’t get in the way of them consuming lots of energy. Mostly what they want to do is just control the resources of developing countries.

That’s why I mentioned Kenya. It’s really a way of saying, “Hey, let us control your natural resources.” A way of putting kind of a green gloss on what is a kind of age-old colonialism.

Alan Jones: Absolutely, outstanding.

Look, we could talk all day. I want to ask you one final question here, and, again, not enough time, and I hope we can talk again, because I’m talking about nuclear energy and all the alarmist talk about nuclear energy.

We have a politician here in New South Wales, John Barilaro, who’s a bushy, and he says we should establish nuclear power, and I keep saying well there are 30 countries operating 450 nuclear reactors for electricity generation around the world, 60 nuclear power plants under construction in 15 countries, that’s according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, 20 alone under construction in China. We’ve got 40% of the world’s uranium reserves and we don’t have one.

Can you tell people listening to you all over Australia, a couple of million people, what should we be doing about nuclear energy?

Michael Shellenberger: Well, nuclear is, we now have had it for over 50 years. We now know that it’s the safest, cleanest way to generate electricity. In fact nuclear has actually saved two million lives to date because it prevents harmful air pollution.

Australia ought to be a world leader in it. Instead Australia’s been very superstitious, it’s had a psychological hangup. I think it had to do with the Cold War and sort of being a country that wanted to be in harmony with nature but was in a funny place in relationship to the Cold War.

So I think it’s just a matter of time that people will start to see nuclear for what it really is, which is it’s the most beautiful best source of energy. It produces heat without fire, and it’s a very strange thing for us, it’s a very recent thing in human development, but it’s what makes nuclear the best from an environmental point of view.

Alan Jones: See, the great thing about you … I don’t want to overly flatter you because you don’t succumb to flattery, but I’m saying to my listeners, Michael Shellenberger said, this is what he said, “Like most people I started out pretty antinuclear.” You’ve just heard what he said about nuclear. “Like most people I started out pretty antinuclear.” Then he said this. Now Gladys, are you listening? Scott Morrison are you listening? Then he said, “I changed my mind when I realised you can’t power a modern economy on solar and wind.”

And you make the point, Michael, that Germany built more solar and wind last year but got less electricity from it because of the weather. I mean, when are we going to wake up, though?

Michael Shellenberger:  Well, to paraphrase Churchill, I think we can count on human beings doing the right thing after we’ve exhausted every other option.

Alan Jones: Yes.

Michael Shellenberger: I think we’re in a learning phase here. Nuclear’s really young. People think it’s old, but 75 years, I mean, we’ve had coal and oil and gas for hundreds of years. We’ve obviously had windmills for hundreds of years, solar thousands of years, so it’s just a really new technology. There’s a lot of superstitions attached to it. People associated it with the bomb. There’s just a lot of confusion about it.

I do think that as the German renewables experiment kind of comes to a spectacular failure, which is what’s happening, that people will start to see nuclear for what it really is.

Alan Jones: Good on you. Well, look, I’ll tell you we’ll have you back on and we’ll talk just about nuclear. It’s lovely to talk to you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with our audience and we will welcome you back on the programme.

Michael Shellenberger:  Thanks for having me.

Alan Jones: Not at all. Michael Shellenberger, there’s an eye-opener, 7.30.

Michael Shellenberger: punctures pompous wind bags with common sense.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Impressive stuff. We appear to have reached ‘peak renewables’.

    If CO2 is the problem, then next generation nuclear ‘has’ to play a major part in the master plan.

    So get on with it!

    This baseload energy source could supply the electricity required to power a modern society well into the future. For example, Melbourne is a world leader in electric buses. They’re called TRAMS! And trams need a reliable source of electricity. Nuclear and hydro are the answer.

    One further point. Dan Andrews is again playing politics with the East West Link.

    To the planning departments involved, I say this to you.

    Electric cars will need a bypass too!

  2. Jeff Walther says:

    The crazy things is that the truly devout won’t learn from Germany’s example. I’ve had on-line debates with “green” Australians, who when confronted with the example of Germany, claim that the result in Australia is somehow different. It’s windier and the sun shines more or some such. Sigh.

    It’s like Sisyphus pushing that stone uphill.

  3. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  4. Dear StopTheseThings,

    Here are thoughts to be explored in a possible future article.

    1. During a future nationalization of the energy industry, I fear that all land beneath the turbines will also be confiscated.

    2. Turbines have been and are being built on some of the best farmland in the world.

    3. This may be the actual endgame of the alarmist agenda.

    Thanks for all your fine efforts.
    Best Regards


    Sent from my iPhone

  5. dmziegler7@reagan.com says:

    stopthesethings posted: ” Environmentalists ready to slam never reliable wind and solar and back ever reliable nuclear are rare birds, indeed. Michael Shellenberger is such an animal. Lauded by environmentalists in the US, Shellenberger is not so much crusading fo”

  6. Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

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