WHAT ENVIRONMENTALIST'S DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW
William Hunt, MS
You may have noticed politicians now are making statements and photo ops related to global warming to score points with their constituents and admirers without understanding just what it is that they are speaking of. Prince Charles of the United Kingdom recently took a trip to New York to accept an award for effective work with environmental concerns and would take a commercial flight rather than chartering a small jet to reduce the carbon dioxide produced by his activities. While this may make the Prince and his admirers feel better, the commercial jet will fly partially empty, to allow for security measures. It will cost considerably more in fuel and fees to travel this way as commercial jets are designed to be most fuel efficient and cost effective when at full- passenger capacity. The British government will no doubt pay the airline for the empty space and extra security and the U.S. government will have to pay for the Prince's security in New York. All of these costs represent work done and a lot of extra gasoline, diesel, etc., used by all the extra persons, vehicles and equipment involved. Given the variables, the decision may well have doubled the Prince's use of fossil fuels just to cross the Atlantic in royal fashion.
On our side of the Atlantic, newly sworn-in Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wasted no time in making global warming a centerpiece of her agenda by announcing the creation of the "Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming" on January 18, 2007. She states, "The science of global warming and its impact is overwhelming and unequivocal. We already have many of the technology (sic) and techniques that we need to reduce global warming pollution, and American ingenuity will supply the rest. With this new Select Committee, we demonstrate the priority we are giving to confront this most serious challenge. Now is time to act; the future of our country, indeed our entire planet, is at stake." OK. To make such a statement either indicates a severe ignorance of the purely political nature of global warming as a tool to harm the western nations and particularly the United States, or that she is merely following the party line of the internationalists and environmental lobby that desire the industry and power of the U.S. to be ended.
Pelosi is quite correct about one matter: it would be easily possible for the United States to cease using oil products as fuel. We need to become energy independent again for many reasons. One is the cost of importing the oil from 7000 and more miles away. Another is being beholden to countries that do not have our concern for human life. Oil has been fought for since Hitler tried to take the Baku oilfields from the Soviets in 1942-1943. There is some irony in that most of the world's petroleum has been controlled by unstable and often despotic governments. From 1990 to 1993, most of the aid to terror groups provided by the Soviet Union ended with that nation's fall. Now, most funding for terror groups comes from Iranian, Syrian and Saudi oil sales. Drug money from opium smuggling and Islamic "charities" provides the balance of the terrorist's operating funds. Prior to our second war with Iraq, much of the funding came from Iraqi oil. That, at least, has ended. Ceasing to buy oil from these nations would help immensely in dealing with terrorism. There would be no further risk of retaliatory embargoes for stopping Islamic slaughter of the innocent or having to tolerate governments that glorify slavery and murder. U.S. energy independence would aid in stabilizing both the U.S. economy and the world economy as well.
The irony of Pelosi's statements and initiative is that it has consistently been the Democrats and the environmental lobby that has prevented the deployment of new power sources for almost thirty years, and they have locked us into using energy sources that produce a lot of pollution, such as coal and oil. Fully 71% of the electrical energy produced in the U.S. is now from fossil fuels. Fifty percent is from coal alone.
A recent example of how the environmental lobby kills positive changes to energy infrastructure: when the offer was made by the President in 2001 to improve coal plant capacity by 100%, the environmental lobby screamed because it potentially could add 20% in emissions if the plants were run at 100% capacity. However, since it would take years for that level of electric demand to arise, they completely ignored the fact that those plants would be producing only 40% of their current pollution to generate their current power output- 60% less in emissions! Even alternative fuels such as biodiesel have been all but ignored by most Democrat senators and congressmen and, surprisingly, by most of the environmental groups until recently. Biodiesel could be cheaply mass-produced from domestically grown oilcrops such as soybeans, and while it produces some pollution when burned, would reduce soot and nitrogen oxides in urban air when used to replace diesel fuel.
Biomass burning would be an efficient way to use second growth thinnings and would generate some electricity and steam, but eventually the environmental groups will realize that that, too, produces carbon dioxide and come out against it, just as many have come out against wind generation for killing the occasional bird.
Nuclear power- that awful bugaboo of the environmental lobby- could have freed us from energy imports and pollution from combustion a decade ago by hydrolyzing hydrogen from water to use for fuel, but nuclear generation has dropped to only 19% of U.S. electric generation. Hydrogen fuel has many advantages, but hydrogen requires one thing to be made practical - it requires low-cost electricity in large amounts to generate the quantities that we would need to fuel our land and water transportation systems. The only technology we currently have that could economically generate the power needed is nuclear power. Wind power could generate some of the electricity needed, but now many of the environmental lobby have turned against it because of "visual pollution" and the occasional avian casualty. President Carter inaugurated the current nuclear waste problem by preventing the construction of waste reprocessing plants to manufacture new fuel rods from spent fuel rod material. Despite his degree in nuclear engineering, Carter reasoned that terrorists would be able to make off with nuclear materials to construct bombs if reprocessing plants were constructed. That the fissionable metals would not be in a form that the terrorists could use apparently eluded him. Unfortunately, no administration or congress since has seen fit to reverse that error and now we have massive stockpiles of waste that sit, unused and a potential hazard when the containers wear out. Nuclear power in the form of breeder reactors would cut fuel consumption by 90 to 97% and effectively end the problem of waste. Eventually, the Baby Boom Generation of "against everything" environmentalists will die off and progress can be made in cleaning up our power generation.
One of the current wrinkles of the global warming fad now has politicians and environmentalists advocating the use of ethanol for fuel. The farmers like it, because it allows them to sell more grain. The politicians of the Midwest like it, because the farmers prosper. The environmentalists like it currently, because it appears better on the surface than fossil fuels. Unfortunately, ethanol is not practical. First, it requires diesel to power the farm vehicles in preparing the soil, planting, spraying, and harvesting. Then, coal is used to produce the electricity to grind up the grain into mash and then to heat the mash for fermentation. 98% of the energy in the grain is lost during the fermentation process. After fermentation, electricity is used to heat the mash and distill the alcohol. Lastly, diesel is used to transport the ethanol to gasoline wholesalers and then retailers.
Ethanol is a net energy loss and requires huge amount of fossil fuels to produce. In addition, pure ethanol has only one third of the energy of gasoline, meaning one has to burn three times as much to have the same mileage. Ethanol added to gasoline reduces the efficiency of gasoline engines. A ten percent ethanol, ninety percent gasoline mix reduces gas mileage by roughly thirty percent, so that a vehicle that would normally burn 10 gallons to go 200 miles on 100% gasoline would need 13 gallons of 10% ethanol mix to go 200 miles- an extra 2.7 gallons of gasoline are wasted to go that 200 miles. When the environmentalists realize the amount of fossil fuels needed to produce ethanol, and also realize that the net carbon dioxide from producing and burning ethanol is several times the amount created from producing and burning gasoline, they will no doubt turn against ethanol as well. Unfortunately, ethanol is the "in" thing now, environmentally, and a tremendous amount of money is being wasted at public expense to create the infrastructure to mass-produce it.
Unfortunately, the public good never seems to be a factor in global warming and the debate over what kinds of energy to produce and use. There are other fuels like natural gas, of which the U.S. has most of the world's reserves in the form of methane clathrates, that politicians would better serve the public in promoting.
Q and A
In order to clarify some questions on Global Warming, here are some questions and answers.
1. How would the theory of global warming cause the wiping out of industry and personal freedom as you stated in your article?
The basic idea of global warming goes back to the late 1800s, where it was predicted by those who wanted to eliminate industry in major cities because of the terrible pollution it caused and the human suffering of 1890s industry. It was picked up and expounded by the environmental socialists in the 20th century for the same reason. The effort to control "global warming" itself would not destroy industry and personal freedom. What would destroy industry and personal freedom is the pushing of blatantly political "global warming" agendas that harm national economies in which global warming in the name of environmental protection is used as the excuse. All of the ways to "deal" with global warming to date involve reducing carbon dioxide emissions by arbitrary amounts, effectively penalizing the western nations and especially the United States for their standards of living.
You may or may not have heard of Kyoto. The Kyoto Climate Change treaty is the chief plan of the UN and international environmental organizations for "reducing" "greenhouse gases" like carbon dioxide by severely reducing energy use. This, ladies and gentlemen, would restrict our personal freedoms. A nation's standard of living is ultimately based upon the use of energy- all of life's activities require energy, be it for work or play. Transportation systems require energy. Cooking requires energy. Heating one's house requires energy. Mowing the lawn or driving to the grocery requires energy. Making widgets requires energy. Going to the coast on the weekend or camping requires energy. All of these represent freedoms, both nationally and personally. The ability to get into a car and drive is an incredible freedom that most of the world does not have. Kyoto's plan to "reduce" global warming by reducing "greenhouse gases" requires the dramatic reduction of the use of energy and this would reduce or seriously restrict our freedoms and cripple our industry.
2. Why do the progressive liberals and environmental lobby invariably slow down or stop development of alternative energy?
The base problem with alternative energy sources is that they all have drawbacks of one kind or another. Nuclear power produces waste, wind power is dependent upon wind and causes very limited avian mortality, solar power is very costly and produces a lot of waste in manufacturing the solar cells, hydroelectric power diverts water and this affects fish and other aquatic life, etc.. The standard many use for the environment is perfection, i.e., no downsides and it's much easier to be against something, than to modify or repair the problems of any of these power sources. Too, most politicians and environmentalists are not knowledgeable in practical terms about the nature of energy and indeed, the way natural systems work, and so, any perceived threat to those natural systems, even one born of total ignorance, is to be stamped out ruthlessly.
In addition, alternative energy represents freedoms, both personal and public. Cheap, clean energy means that people can do more, both in their work lives and personal lives. The primary goal of most liberal progressive politicians is to gain power, keep it and wield it. Everything is secondary to that. Good of the nation, the common wealth, truth, scientific fact, honor, the value of human lives, freedoms, everything, is secondary to the desire for a political philosophy and power. At present, their dominant philosophy is socialism and as such, private enterprise and constitutional freedoms are suspect. The progressive liberals and the major media outlets have latched on to what amounts to false environmental stewardship during the last 20 years. This mindset has yet to produce any truly positive results. The conservative leadership mostly abandoned the true conservation movement during the same period. The voice heard today most commonly regarding energy and natural resources in the media is the radical environmental voice, rather than that of effective conservation.
Essentially all of the nation's environmental groups are socialist in their outlook, and this is insanity- protecting nature is directly contrary to the teachings of socialism. Socialism pretty much wiped out the environments in the East Bloc, Russia, China, and their satellite countries. The water, soil and air pollution was such that life expectancies in Poland's Silesia, East Germany as a whole, much of the other eastern European lands, parts of Russia and China dropped dramatically from birth defects, lead and cadmium poisoning and lung ailments when industry was well established by those nations.
In the 1960s, the United States began cleaning up its air, water and soil and in the 1980s; Europe began to do the same. Most of the former East Bloc is now cleaning up their horribly polluted environments, but only now that socialism has been overthrown. The industrial economies of the West have much greater life expectancy than the socialist and former socialist nations and overall, much better health and general welfare. The United States has cleaner air, water and soil than any other industrial nation and most of the world's developing nations. Despite these obvious contradictions in the effects of the two societal models of socialism and the controlled-capitalism of the west, environmental groups cling to socialism to "save the world" from environmental destruction.
This double-think and double-talk of the radical environmental movement is what I will continue to stay committed to uncover in my on-going series on Global Warming Exposed
© 2007 William Hunt - All Rights Reserved
William Hunt holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Education with an emphasis on Conservation Biology and Wildlife from Southern Oregon University in Ashland,OR. He has worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U. S Commerce Department.
William lives in Bend, Oregon and is an active naturalist, technical consultant and columnist for daily periodicals and NewsWithViews.com. William can be contacted via
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The irony of Pelosi's statements and initiative is that it has consistently been the Democrats and the environmental lobby that has prevented the deployment of new power sources for almost thirty years...