The big lie

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Lies will get you in the end

At the closing session of the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, former President Clinton talked about “The Future of Equality and Opportunity” with Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos founder. What would a 30-year-old healthcare billionaire know about economic equality?

A drop of blood

Theranos was the best-known Silicon Valley startup company created by a charismatic Stanford University dropout who investors saw as the next Steve Jobs. Elizabeth Holmes dressed in black turtlenecks and found top investors who shared her dream of providing the best healthcare at the lowest cost. At its height, Theranos’ market value was $10 billion.

Holmes hated bloodwork using hypodermic needles to extract vials of blood from a vein. Her device would use a drop of blood with a portable lab to conduct a full suite of blood tests using microtechnology.

Inc. magazine said “Holmes believes her company will save lives. Her diagnostic lab test upstart is aiming to disrupt a $75 billion industry, and to help grow it by another $125 billion.”

Bill Clinton was enthralled with Elizabeth Holmes and anything she said. Then, the truth came out: the “one drop of blood” diagnostic test was a scam, a complete fabrication that never made sense to the experts. The dream died with a Wall Street Journal investigation showing Theranos was built on lies.

George Shultz, the former Secretary of State and Theranos board director, ignored all the red flags along with the top investors. The Walton family lost $150 million, Rupert Murdoch $125 million, and Betsy DeVos $100 million. The scam ended with blood and tears, “I did not have relations with that woman,” would have been a great line to end the story.

Lies are lies

Big lies start as small lies, taking a life of their own as they grow. As long as someone is making profits the lies go on. Millions of dollars invested change the nature of the lie. The money grows with new promises until the lie is too big to fail.

Climate lies

The UK lies started when the European Union made promises to decarbonize. The Drax 4,000-megawatt power station was UK’s largest polluter. Drax got subsidies to buy wood pellets from the Enviva pellet mills, pretending that “planting trees” would offset clearcutting the US forests.

Biofuelwatch and other organizations did not buy the lies. Drax countered with a promise to capture the carbon dioxide emissions. As if that wasn’t hard to do, Drax promised to sequester the carbon emissions by injecting them into the ground. When geologists worried about gas leaks and structural issues, Drax said they would sell the carbon dioxide.

The Drax lies grew from Carbon Neutral to Carbon Capture, to Carbon Capture and Storage, to Carbon Capture Use and Storage. BioEnergy Carbon Capture and Storage is Drax’s latest lie.

Paying for lies

Tony Juniper, a UK leading environmentalist, has written great books about ecology and nature. He has said, “It’s often assumed that nature must be sacrificed in order to create jobs and achieve economic growth. This couldn’t be further from the truth.”

But surprisingly, Tony Juniper made a video promoting the Drax climate deception. The purpose of the video is to peddle the Drax power station burning wood pellets and gas as clean energy. Please see “The Biomass Sustainability Story,” where Juniper tries to show Drax cares about the forests. “Organizations with opposite views declined to participate,” he says. Tony Juniper is just one more cog in the wheel of lies.

The greatest lies

Drax burned 232,000 acres of US forests in 2020, Every year the demand for electricity goes up. By 2030, Drax would have to burn 326,000 acres of US forests per year.

Burning wood creates fine particulate emissions. The coronavirus takes a ride on the airborne micro particles increasing the Covid-19 fatality rate!

Drax says, “The 2021 COP26 in Glasgow gives us a unique opportunity to set a clear pathway to net-zero emissions globally.” But Drax has a way out of this mess, “Drax’s ambition is only achievable with an effective negative emissions policy and investment framework from the UK government.”

Drax pellet mills will go the way of Theranos, their lies will get them in the end.

Dr. Luis Contreras

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