Posts filed under “Energy”
“Clean natural gas” from fracking has been touted for years as a cure for global warming.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas: 72 times more potent as a warming source than CO2.
As such, fracking actually increases – rather than decreases – global warming.
(The fracking boom is also causing other harmful effects.)
Numerous scientists have also pushed nuclear power as a must to stop global warming.
But it turns out that nuclear is not a low-carbon source of energy … and funding nuclear crowds out the development of better sources of alternative energy.
Scam and Trade
One of the main solutions to global warming which has long been pushed by the powers that be – cap and trade – is a scam. Specifically:
- The economists who invented cap-and-trade say that it won’t work for global warming
- Many environmentalists say that carbon trading won’t effectively reduce carbon emissions
- Our bailout buddies over at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and the other Wall Street behemoths are buying heavily into carbon trading (see this, this, this, this, this and this).
As University of Maryland professor economics professor and former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission Peter Morici writes:
Obama must ensure that the banks use the trillions of dollars in federal bailout assistance to renegotiate mortgages and make new loans to worthy homebuyers and businesses. Obama must make certain that banks do not continue to squander federal largess by padding executive bonuses, acquiring other banks and pursuing new high-return, high-risk lines of businesses in merger activity, carbon trading and complex derivatives. Industry leaders like Citigroup have announced plans to move in those directions. Many of these bankers enjoyed influence in and contributed generously to the Obama campaign. Now it remains to be seen if a President Obama can stand up to these same bankers and persuade or compel them to act responsibly.
In other words, the same companies that made billions off of derivatives and other scams and are now getting bailed out on your dime are going to make billions from carbon trading.
War: The Number One Source of Carbon
The U.S. military is the biggest producer of carbon on the planet.
Harvey Wasserman notes that fighting wars more than wipes out any reduction in carbon from the government’s proposed climate measures.
Writing in 2009 about the then-proposed escalation in the Afghanistan war, Wasserman said:
The war would also come with a carbon burst. How will the massive emissions created by 100,000-plus soldiers in wartime be counted in the 17% reduction rubric? Will the HumVees be converted to hybrids? What is the carbon impact of Predator bombs that destroy Afghan families and villages?
The continuance of fighting all over the Middle East and North Africa completely and thoroughly undermines the government’s claims that there is a global warming emergency and that reducing carbon output through cap and trade is needed to save the planet.
So whatever you think of climate change, all people can agree that ending the wars is important.
(War also destroys the economy.)
Fascism: Not a Great Idea
In 2010, James Lovelock – environmentalist and creator of the “Gaia hypothesis” – told the Guardian that we might need fascism to curb global warming:
We need a more authoritative world. We’ve become a sort of cheeky, egalitarian world where everyone can have their say. It’s all very well, but there are certain circumstances – a war is a typical example – where you can’t do that. You’ve got to have a few people with authority who you trust who are running it. And they should be very accountable too, of course.
But it can’t happen in a modern democracy. This is one of the problems. What’s the alternative to democracy? There isn’t one. But even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.
Lovelock subsequently apologized for being too alarmist and going too far.
Dumb as a Mongoose In Hawaii
In addition, “government scientists are studying the feasibility of sending nearly microscopic particles of specially made glass into the Earth’s upper atmosphere to try to dampen the effects of ‘global warming.’ ” Others are currently suggesting cutting down trees and burying them. Other ways to geoengineer the planet are being studied and tested (and see this and this), involving such things as dumping barium, aluminum and other toxic metals into the atmosphere.
Remember, the mongoose was introduced to Hawaii in order to control the rats (which were eating the sugar cane used to make rum). It didn’t work out very well … mongeese are daylight-loving creatures while rats are nocturnal. So the mongeese trashed the native species in Hawaii, and never took care of the rats.
Similarly, the harm caused by many of these methods have not been thought through … and they could cause serious damage to our health and our ecosystems.
So – whatever you think about climate – you can obviously agree that we should approach climate change from the age-old axiom of “first, do no harm”, making sure that our “solutions” do not cause more damage than the problems.
So What’s the Answer?
If nuclear, fracking and cap and trade aren’t the answer, what is?
That would empower people and communities, produce less carbon, prevent nuclear disasters like Fukushima, reduce the dangers of peak oil (and thus prevent future oil spills like we had in the Gulf), and have many other positive effects.
In addition, top climate scientists say that soot plays a huge role in the melting of snow and ice. The director of Stanford’s Atmosphere and Energy Program and professor of civil and environmental engineering (Mark Jacobson) believes that soot is the primary cause of melting arctic ice, and says:
Controlling soot may be the only way to significantly slow Arctic warming over the next two decades …
Reducing soot will be cheaper than the “decarbonation” which many policy-makers have proposed. And it would increase the health of millions of people worldwide.
Our Changing Scientific Understanding of Climate Change
When I studied environmental science at UCLA decades ago, we were taught that increased CO2 leads to global warming and melting ice … and that no other factors were involved.
Scientists have since discovered that climate change is a little more complicated.
For example, scientists announced last week that heat from the Earth’s upper crust and mantle contribute to melting the ice sheets … and that more melting occurs where the Earth’s crust is thinner.
A scientific experiment by one of the world’s top scientific laboratory showed that cosmic rays affect cloud formation … which in turn affects climate.
How could climate scientists be wrong about the factors which go into climate change?
Science is not a one-time, all-or-nothing endeavor. It is the process of refining our understanding of the universe and – if our model doesn’t fit reality – adding details or changing the model altogether.
And even well-known, well-intentioned scientists sometimes push incomplete or counter-productive ideas.
For example, top scientists, government agencies and publications have – for over 100 years – been terrified of a new ice age. (And – in the “for what it’s worth department”, NASA said 7 months ago that we could be on the verge of another solar minimum.)
Well-known scientists considered pouring soot over the Arctic in the 1970s to help melt the ice – in order to prevent another ice age. That would have been stupid.
Even Obama’s top science adviser – John Holdren – warned in the 1970′s of a new ice age … and is open to shooting soot into the upper atmosphere. That might be equally stupid.
We have to think like true scientists … and learn from our mistakes.
Big Banks Manipulated Energy Markets In California and the Midwest … Ripping Off Tens of Millions of Dollars in 9 Months The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says that JP Morgan has massively manipulated energy markets in California and the Midwest, obtaining tens of millions of dollars in overpayments from grid operators between September 2010…Read More
Reducing Energy Weight David R. Kotok Cumberland Advisors, July 29, 2013 Last week we reduced our energy exposure to underweight. It had been overweight for a while, and we successfully participated in the rebound in natural gas prices and the narrowing of the spread between Brent and WTI (West Texas Intermediate) oil. It…Read More
Climate change seems like this complicated problem with a million pieces. But Henry Jacoby, an economist at MIT’s business school, says there’s really just one thing you need to do to solve the problem: Tax carbon emissions.
“If you let the economists write the legislation,” Jacoby says, “it could be quite simple.” He says he could fit the whole bill on one page.
Basically, Jacoby would tax fossil fuels in proportion to the amount of carbon they release. That would make coal, oil and natural gas more expensive. That’s it; that’s the whole plan.
Jacoby’s colleague John Reilly told me the price of gasoline might rise by 25 cents a gallon in the first year. Over time, that would increase. By 2050, Reilly figures the carbon tax would add about $1 to the price of every gallon. Across the economy, prices of energy-intensive goods and services would rise. This would encourage people and businesses to be more efficient.
This is why economists love a carbon tax: One change to the tax code and the entire economy shifts to reduce carbon emissions. No complicated regulations. No rules for what kind of gas mileage cars have to get or what specific fraction of electricity has to come from wind or solar or renewables. That’s by and large the way we do it now.
Economists Have A One-Page Solution To Climate Change
NPR, June 28, 2013
BP clean up worker Malcolm Coco told Al Jazeera that there has been a massive coverup of the size of the BP oil spill: This fire initially was the biggest fire ever in the world. But every day we exceeded those numbers …. [Clean-up worker Malcolm Coco] says he has evidence there was more…Read More
For the Price of the Iraq War, The U.S. Could Have a 100% Renewable Power System Posted on April 11, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog What Are We Choosing for Our Future? Wind energy expert Paul Gipe reported this week that – for the amount spent on the Iraq war – the U.S. could be generating 40%-60%…Read More