Preface: A recent Gallup poll showed that 34% of American adults worried “a great deal” about “global warming”. This essay is written for that 34%.
Many well-intentioned people are desperately trying to stop climate change …
And yet they are proposing things that will put more C02 and methane into the air and otherwise do more harm than good.
Many propose nuclear and fracking as a way to reduce carbon emissions.
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.
Are Nukes the Answer?
Mark Jacobson – the head of Stanford University’s Atmosphere and Energy Program, who has written numerous books and hundreds of scientific papers on climate and energy, and testified before Congress numerous times on those issues – notes that nuclear puts out much more pollution (including much more CO2) than windpower, and 1.5% of all the nuclear plants built have melted down. More information here, here and here.
Jacobson also points out that it takes at least 11 years to permit and build a nuclear plant, whereas it takes less than half that time to fire up a wind or solar farm. Between the application for a nuclear plant and flipping the switch, power is provided by conventional energy sources … currently 55-65% coal.
Scam and Trade
One of the main solutions to climate change 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.)
Anyone who supports “humanitarian war” by the U.S. is supporting throwing a lot of carbon into the air.
Dumb as a Mongoose In Hawaii
Moreover, geoengineering would increase ocean acidification and decrease available sunlight for solar power.
And once we started, we could never stop.
Some of the geoengineering proposals are downright nuts. For example, “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, cap and trade and geoengineering aren’t the answer, what is?
There are 3 main strategies which both climate activists and climate skeptics can agree on, because they have big upsides whether or not the Earth is warming:
(1) Reducing soot will quickly reduce melting of ice and snow. 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
(2) Use specific smart combinations of solar, wind and geothermal energy
(3) Decentralize power generation and storage. 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
We don’t need fascism to make this happen … We just need a sound plan.