- - Friday, September 12, 2014

America’s largest environmental groups earn millions from crude oil. The Nature Conservancy, for example, wants Americans to feel guilty when they fill up the tank and thinks they should be driving an “environmentally friendly” electric, not an SUV the size of a river steamer with the appetite of a dinosaur. Nevertheless, the Conservancy owns an oil well in Texas and has $23 million invested in energy stocks.

It’s not alone in its hypocrisy. The Sierra Club demands that universities withdraw investments in companies related to fossil fuels. An audit by the accounting firm Grant Thornton reveals that the club’s pension program invests in index funds that benefit from the stellar performance of oil and gas stocks, such as Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

The National Resources Defense Council opposes “dirty fuels,” but does not shed profitable fossil-fuel companies from its stock and mutual funds portfolios. Despite urging the United States to quit using fossil fuels completely by 2050, the World Wildlife Fund continues to earn from investments in affordable energy. The Nation, the left-wing political magazine, asked the Fund whether it applies environmental screens to its $75 million in investments in publicly traded securities. The Fund declined to answer.

The Ocean Conservancy preaches against Arctic drilling and blames fossil fuels for ocean acidification, but it includes “energy” and “utilities” in its investment portfolio, which suggests that it profits handsomely from activities it publicly condemns.

The great self-appointed guru of all things environmental, Al Gore, is one of the nation’s most indulgent electricity gluttons. While writing his “sky is falling” conservation screeds in the glow of three large-screen computer monitors, Mr. Gore runs up electric bills of $2,439 per month. That’s more than most families spend on electricity in a year.

Earlier this month, The Washington Times reported that Greenpeace flew its international program director, Pascal Husting, on a weekly 500-mile roundtrip commute between his home in Luxembourg and his office in Amsterdam. Greenpeace leads a charge against air travel for everyone else, claiming that the growth in aviation “is ruining chances of stopping dangerous climate change.” The actor Leonardo DiCaprio makes a huge carbon-dioxide footprint on the poor earth by flying around the world doing “good” for the environment.

Such high-profile work imposes binding rules on everyone but themselves. When they succeed, the economy suffers with the oil and natural-gas industry that generates $240 billion in economic activity every year.

North Dakota’s GDP grew nearly 10 percent from 2012 to 2013 with the extraction of energy from the Bakken Shale. More than 9 million Americans owe their jobs to the energy industry and the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, renaissance.

This energy boom is threatened by the anti-progress leftists who talk big about the need for everyone but themselves to replace affordable fuels with inefficient energy from windmills and solar-power cells. These leftists rarely travel the world in wooden sailboats, nor keep time with sundials. Their luxury Gulfstream and Dassault Falcon private jets are funded by the success of the affordable-energy industry. Instead of doing as the environmentalists say, we should all be fortunate enough to do as they do. We all reap the comforts and benefits of oil, natural gas and modern technology. That’s what it’s here for.

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