Beyond the Cusp

August 21, 2016

The Environmental Extremist Perfect World

 

Between recent events in state and local governments, the political dreams of some select Presidential candidates including one of the main candidates, Congressional and Senatorial campaigns and the abundant environmental NGO’s demands of candidates and governance, it is easy to extrapolate and draw an accurate picture. We have watched as coal mines and coal fired electric generating plants have been forced by government into closing their production, their generation of electricity or to an expensive changeover to natural gas and the current drive against the remaining coal plants and numerous oil powered plants to shut down or change to natural gas. Where the success has been most prolific there is a new drive, to close natural gas powered plants. Then there has been the court and legislative drives to criminalize fracking and close down any drilling or other harvesting of carbon fuels within zones such as schools, daycares, public malls, shopping centers, hospitals, residential housing or even any structure used by human beings with some demanding as much as a half mile setback which could have the effect of closing as high and three-quarters of all mining, drilling, fracking of other carbon fuel harvesting. Their intended goal is to have the majority of electrical generation come from renewable fuels or eco-friendly generation. The eco-friendly generation is where the problems arise. One might believe that hydro power would meet their requirements but one would be incorrect. Dams, you see, block rivers and thus prevent natural river flow and development and a number of environmental fanatics are demanding the undamming of rivers returning them to their natural flow rates and support for ecosystems. Then there is wind power but these are a danger to birds and until a safe and completely bird safe system can be developed they demand that wind turbines be parked to save the birds, especially those in the path of migratory birds. With even natural gas, the environmentalists’ favorite fuel, coming under fire where other fuels have been closed down or changed over to natural gas, what is now appearing to be a fool’s choice if natural gas is actually unacceptable as well.

 

So, what generation source would be acceptable to all the ecology fanatics? Even if wind power were acceptable, the demand for adequate production is beyond imagination. Industry and government data show that generating just 20% of US electricity with wind power would require some 18,000,000 acres of land, 186,000 turbines, 19,000 miles of new transmission lines, and 270,000,000 tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earths. Just multiply these figures by five and add another ten percent for good measure and you would immediately realize that such an idea is ridiculously demanding. The ecology fanatics like to tout wave technology which is in its initial stages and should it become viable then these fanatics would find a reason that it endangered kelp or jelly fish or some other problem. There are those who claim that solar power generation is dangerous as it causes heat pollution. So do human beings simply by living generate heat, but perhaps we should keep that a secret before the environmentalists demand we take measures to prevent our heat pollution from destroying the delicate balance and possibly adding to the loss of glaciers. As far as we can figure, there is no generation of electricity or powering our vehicles which in the end would be acceptable to these fanatics. Yes, there are reasonable ecological dreamers whose demands almost make sense but they are outdone by the fanatics who apparently have no lack of energy in generating demands and petitions not to mention making grand displays and demonstrations against virtually every form of power generation.

 

The reasonable ecological warriors have also made a miscalculation, though we are wary of informing them, in their claims that electric cars reduce pollution. These electric cars require charging which can most easily be done one of two means currently. The first is to power a generator on the vehicle with a gasoline powered engine which pollutes just as a regular gasoline powered engine would and even more power must be generated to make up for energy loss in any system. The other and most used manner is to plug the car in overnight and charge the batteries. Well, where does that electricity originate. A power plant which, as the eco friends will inform us at every turn, generates pollution just as would the gasoline powered cars. All battery powered vehicles manage is to relocate the pollution and have it enter the atmosphere at night, the one time when the air formerly had an opportunity to be safer from pollution. Even if it manages to reduce the hydrocarbons spewed into the atmosphere, the difference is likely minimal and one need weigh whether or not the difference is worth trading the freedom of traveling beyond the range of battery power for such things as, what is that thing called where you drive a distance to have simply family fun time? Oh yes, a vacation.

 

We had an introduction granted us lesser people from Al Gore whose homes are simply unbelievable carbon powered heat sinks and anything but eco-friendly (see below). Let us also not forget that Al Gore jets back and forth in a private jet rather than using commercial airliners which would cut back on his carbon footprint, but Mr. Gore is one of the privileged and cannot be expected to rub elbows with the great unwashed. The same can be stated for another great enviro-warrior, Nancy Pelosi. You see Ms. Pelosi demanded a larger more fuel hungry jet for her trips most weekends from Washington D.C. to her home in California because she was put off having to stop and refuel somewhere, often Arkansas, in flyover country where those other people reside, how totally revolting, almost like gagging on a spoon like a valley girl. Many of the Representative and Senators have similar stories about how they abuse the atmosphere and pollute the air the rest of America breathes and then have the audacity of demanding that people drive cars which are death traps should they have an accident with the large Mercedes or Cadillac or whatever luxury chauffeur driven vehicle these servants of the people use at both ends of their personal jet flight home whenever they feel homesick. Granted, not all of the representatives of the people act with such lack of caring. Many do fly regular airlines and even use cabs or drive reasonable vehicles, but they are the exception. Then there is Bernie, I’m a humble socialist living a life like any little person, Sanders who made news in the Washington Post soon after the Democrat conventions. Let us quote, “Sanders family’s ‘new waterfront crib has four bedrooms and 500 feet of Lake Champlain beachfront,’ according to the Vermont newspaper Seven Days, which broke the news on Monday. Sanders’s spokesman, Michael Briggs, told us the home is 1,800 square feet (hardly a mansion). Jane O’Meara Sanders, the senator’s wife, said she had ‘always hoped’ to buy a home in the area, which has more of a country village vibe than Hamptons feel.” We wish our apartment was 1,800 square feet and sat on a 500 foot lakefront though our cozy little apartment five blocks from the Mediterranean Sea is sweet enough even if it is a little too close to Lebanon if another war breaks out. Let us return back to our eco-friends.

 

Al Gore Home Montecito California

Al Gore Home Montecito California

 

Al Gore Home Nashville Tennessee

Al Gore Home Nashville Tennessee

 

Al Gore Home Santa Barbara California

Al Gore Home Santa Barbara California

 

The one thing which is disturbing about many of the friends of Earth demands is for the human race to stop using any electricity, end the use of fertilizer, stop making things out of plastics, use only renewable energy sources, replace vehicles with alternate transportation such as donkeys and horses, and return to living as our ancestors did a thousand years ago. There is a small problem with these demands; it would result in the death of a vast majority of human beings on the planet. This of course would greatly please the ZPG crowd, the zero population growth. Believe it or not, there is another group which would claim that the loss of these people was but a good start. These people call for the reduction of the human population by ninety percent leaving only a small group of eco-friendly people who know how to live in a reasonable agreement with nature. Even these people are not the most extreme as there is a group which calls for the eradication of the human race as without people the planet would be in balance and the human beings are only a source of Earthly destruction. We have a simple policy with both of these last two groups, you guys first as it were your idea and we promise to live in a manner nicer to the planet. What we are not telling them is we have decided their sacrifice was sufficient for the rest of us to continue in relative comfort. Satisfying the insatiable is a foolish game as by definition they will never be content no matter how much the society bends to please them. Their idea of perfection does not include the rest of us and there is the problem. If it comes to us or them and they are the fanatics who believe there are too many people, then let them lead the way and we can call that our solution, sounds good, no?

 

Beyond the Cusp 

 

May 19, 2014

Does a Renewable Energy Source Exist to Replace Coal?

There are rumors that President Obama actually desires making coal use for generating electricity or powering anything from locomotives to furnaces unusable by regulating and adding governmental costs making it financially unfeasible. So, that begs the question of what in the universe can we find to replace coal to produce the almost sixty percent of electricity currently facilitated by coal. There has been the suggestion that these coal fired plants could all be converted to natural gas. Besides the enormous expense of switching from coal to natural gas being prohibitive, not all the coal plants are capable of being easily transformed to coal and others might be more readily and financially affordable to switch to oil fired plants, also a target of the ecological lobby for extinction right behind the death of coal, so that would only be a temporary fix at great expense. Replacing the coal plants with nuclear fueled generation plants would take far too long to bring then on-line and producing as the first set of new regulations and fees on the coal plants are set to be applied this year. President Obama fully intends to keep his promise to make coal too expensive to be a viable fuel for electrical generation. The drive to force the United States to reliance solely on renewable energy production is well on its way to fruition. Coal is simply the first step and it will only be a matter of time before all carbon fossil fuels will be regulated and financially pressured out of business. So, what do we use that is reusable to produce electricity in the future or do we simply return to a pre-electricity society and using candles to light our homes at night and sweaters and blankets to warm us in the cold of winter?

 

The claim that solar power has become viable is a bunch of eco-propaganda. Hydrogen powered plants are not feasible as it is still far too energy intensive making the hydrogen in quantities necessary to generate sufficient electricity to meet the current needs, let alone the likely increase in the future. If fusion power had been made even possible it might have provided a sufficient alternative to coal. The real problem with finding an alternative to coal is the simple enormity of the demand as there does not yet exists any eco-friendly fuel that could even be considered a viable or available alternative. The one renewable source of fuel that currently exists is the venerable tree but even wood could not be renewed fast enough to actually serve the purpose. There would be other side-effects to attempting to use trees as a replacement and renewable fuel source for coal; it would not leave any wood for furniture, boats, baseball bats, crochet mallets (not an earthshaking loss) or numerous other items many of which are enhanced by the beauty of wood with its natural grains and other qualities. Wood from trees provides a building material unequalled and unreplaceable for many numerous applications. Simply burning trees to make electricity would first of all still produce the same pollutants as coal, as trees left to age deep underground long enough might become the coal in the future, and secondly would denude the world’s forests in a very short time thus making trees actually not workable as a renewable fuel source. Maybe we need to slow down just enough to realize a workable and affordable plan to replace coal as the main provider of electrical generation and phase it out rather than tax and regulating it out with no plan in place to allow modern life to continue. Do we need to find a cleaner fuel than coal? Probably, but coal has been made cleaner and many, if not most, coal fired plants have been modernized and are far cleaner than they were just twenty years ago. Technology has been working to find cleaner and renewable energy sources and will, with time, find the next fuel source. Until that discovery has been made and a reliable and affordable replacement fuel is found, it might be prudent not to burn down the bridges to coal power quite yet. The other thing that needs to be kept in consideration, coal is one of the most cost efficient methods of producing electrical power and without coal fired electrical generation much of the newly developing nations would not have the electrical power necessary to continue their evolution to modernity. With time and the added affluence that will come with advanced abilities and technologies these nations too will transfer to cleaner energy generation. The one truth we have learned from the experiences of European nations, the United States and the rest of the first world nations are that with affluence and advancing technology the amounts of pollution produces as a byproduct of industry and power generation steadily decreases. Should governments apply pressure to facilitate the switch to cleaner energy? Yes, but not at such a price as to make life so expensive that the level of comfort for the majority of the people is destroyed because power becomes too costly. The idea is to progress as quickly as possible without leaving any large numbers of people behind and unable to adapt to the new energies. Time, effort, research and eco-friendly considerations are necessary for progress in energy generation but so is compassion, economics, feasibility studies and a steady, methodical, well-thought-out setoff plans is also necessary if the entirety of society is to be brought into the new eco-energy age as a whole, and that should be the plan, not just a bull-rush, damn the torpedoes, full-speed ahead.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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