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Climate protesters help jack up greenhouse gas emissions they were targeting at Burning Man
Dennis Wyatt 2022
Dennis Wyatt

Two wrongs don’t make a right unless, of course, you are a climate activist.

And we’re not talking just about celebrity greener-than-thou types jetting to climate conferences in their personal aircraft while burning through a couple of 220,000 pound Argentinosaurus dinosaurs worth of fossil fuel instead of flying commercial.

This time it’s the run-of-the-mill climate activists.

You know the ones.

They  do stunts like chain themselves to Lear jets.

They throw paint at 18th century art work.

They greenmail corporations.

Why do they do it?

They don’t think anyone is hearing the climate change message.

Either they are Luddites and own no smartphones, have no Internet access or else they are using climate change as an excuse to justify channeling their inner vandal.

The latest stunt is dripping with hypocrisy.

It played out in the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada encompassing 1,000 square miles some 100 miles north of Reno.

They used a 29-foot trailer to block a narrow two-lane highway that was the only way for some 80,000 people to reach a dried out lake bed where the Burning Man Festival plays out.

The result was a traffic backup that stretched for miles.

It included many vehicles  that were idling.

Anyone who knows anything about the greenhouse emissions of fossil fuel vehicles, idling is  when the carbon dioxide generation shifts into overdrive.

The federal Department of Energy notes “idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more emissions that contribute to smog and climate change than stopping and restarting your engine does. Researchers estimate that idling from heavy-duty and light- duty vehicles combined wastes about 6 billion gallons of fuel annually.”

Research also shows an hour of idling burns about a fifth a gallon of gas and releases nearly four pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Given the tendency of people to keep air conditioning running when they are stuck in the hot desert, the fuel consumption and CO2 release was jacked up because of the stunt the climate activists pulled.

That is because fossil fuel engines burn gas more efficiently — read that cleaner meaning less greenhouse gas emissions — when the vehicle is in motion.

It is why more than a few cities have banned drive thru windows at new fast food restaurants.

The protestors – a coalition dubbed Seven Circles that includes groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Rave Revolution — will argue the ends justify the means.

Let’s be clear. The Burning Man Festival — an event based on “community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance — isn’t exactly environmentally friendly even though organizers strive to leave no trace behind.

This year that might be impossible to do given the muddy mess numerous days of rain have made with 80,000 people moving around on a dried lake bed.

The ranks among the annual pilgrimage of hedonists and the rich to party in one of the most remote areas of Nevada that in itself as a state redefines the concept of remoteness for 90 percent of its land area are riddled with Monday morning environmentalists.

Some, who flew in on jets, that own companies that parrot the line they are “earth friendly.”

Others are situational greenies.

Many lecture others for failings when it comes to being eco-wise.

In short, they are like you and me with one big difference — the non-profit known as The Burning Man  Project doubled down on their hypocrisy earlier this year.

They sued the Bureau of Land Management over its approval of a nearby geothermal project.

 Geothermal energy is considered by most experts as the best renewable energy source.

A National Geographic report noted, “It is not a fossil fuel that will be eventually used up. The Earth is continuously radiating heat out from its core, and will continue to do so for billions of years.”

It is not reliant on the sun shining or the wind blowing.

Burning Man’s argument was the BLM failed to comply with National  Environmental Policy Act requirements when it decided the geothermal exploration  project in Gerlach, Nevada would have “no significant impacts” on the environment.

Burning Man Project’s General Counsel Adam Belsky was quoted as saying, “After participating in the public process and seeing no movement on our concerns, we filed this lawsuit to help ensure the impacts from the proposed project are minimized, and that Ormat is a good corporate citizen in this environmentally sensitive, economically vulnerable area of Northern Nevada.”

So how does importing 80,000 people to a remote area for a week-long celebration on 4,400 acres encompassing a dried lake bed make Burning Man “a good corporate citizen in this environmental sensitive area?”
Yes, Burning Man is a corporation in the sheepskin cloaking of being a nonprofit.

They are not the Sierra Club, the Red Cross, or any other run-of-the-mill typical non-profit.

They are a multimillion dollar group dedicated to pleasure with a year-round payroll of 20 fulltime people.

Yes, other non-profits from the offering pleasure events.

But they don’t do so renting federal land for a massive bonfire that would be outlawed in virtually every jurisdiction in California where most of the attendees come from.

In December 2020, the Burning Man non-profit sued the BLM for permit fees being too high — they were more than $18 million between 2015 and 2018.

A statement issued by the BLM in response to the lawsuit noted, "To ensure public safety and environmental compliance around this huge undertaking, the BLM issues a Special Recreation Permit that includes a commercial use fee.”

“As set by regulation, this fee equals three percent of the adjusted gross income derived from the authorized use, plus any applicable assigned site fee and/or exclusive use fee, as well as cost recovery including application fees.”

Just a few months later, Burning Man sued BLM to prevent Pershing County officials from getting a copy of the non-profit’s financials that had been filed with the BLM and was the basis for the 3 percent fee they were suing over being too high.

Tax records show Burning Man in 2018 brought in $46 million in revenue. Of that, roughly a third went to salaries, including $268,000 for its CEO.

Pershing County is required to staff law enforcement and other resources at the festival. They get $296,000 to help cover the cost of deploying the necessary resources to protect 80,000 people. In return they get $28,000 less than the Burning Man CEO.  

The. Seven Circles organization  that was behind the roadblock wants Burning Man to: “Ban private jets, single-use plastics, unnecessary propane burning, and unlimited generator use per capita at the nine day event in Black Rock City, Nevada.”  

The area where the festival talks place has few natural resources such as water.

Everything that is needed is trucked in.

You might think torching massive structures as the festival’s grand finale that sends carbon-filled smoke into what usually would be the relatively pristine desert air is what irks activists the most

It is not.

The Burning Man’s environment sustainability report filed in 2020 states 90 percent plus of the event’s carbon footprint comes from travel to and from the event.

An additional 5 percent is from gas- and diesel-burning generators need to run keep lights and air conditioners over a nine-day period.

The bottom line: Burning Man each year produces 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

It is the same carbon  footprint on an annual basis of 22,000 gas-powered cars.

And all the climate activists did was make the annual carbon footprint worse.