Settled! Really? Part II
We must look at all our options and for us to depend on ending the use of fossil fuels as the only rodeo may be a bit too naïve. It would be a Shakespearian Tragedy if we did all that AOC wants us to do and CO2 levels dropped, and nothing happened to global temperature. A little foreshadowing that could give us a clue, during our Covid 19 shutdown, CO2 levels did drop by 17%, but shockingly no corresponding temperature drops occurred. This, of course, is too short a time frame and not sufficient evidence, but it does raise a question, especially when CO2 was 25% lower in the 1930s when we had some of the highest temperatures recorded. With these paradoxes, we need real numbers rather than just computer models before we find out that some computer glitch occurred. By the way, the climate models do not all agree. They vary by significantly different predictions. What we are fed are the averages. Sometimes the minority report has the real truth. Keep in mind that predictions are not evidence.
Global warming has brought us some positive news. The earth is “greening”! Biomass is expanding all over the globe due to the warmer climates extending to latitudes further north. The growing seasons are also extended, and CO2 is actually a fertilizer that makes plants grow faster and bigger. Overall, cold kills more people than heat. In fact, all causes of death related to climate are shrinking over the last 100 years, as shown in Bjorn Lomborg’s book, False Alarm.
If indeed it turns out that CO2, and cow belching and farting, is the leading causes of global warming, turning all our vehicles into Teslas, killing all the cows, and becoming vegetarians, other than making Elon Musk even richer, is likely to be too much for our culture to achieve in the 12 years we have left. We must have other arrows in our quivers.
Renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydroelectric sources are nowhere near enough to fill the void that will be created by the elimination of carbon-based fuels. Besides, they only make electricity when the wind blows, or the sun shines. Wind produces 8.4% of US energy, Solar comes in at the spectacularly low level of 2.3%, and Hydropower rivals wind at 7.3%. Germany drank the Kool-Aid of renewable energy and abandoned Nuclear power for renewables. They are at 52% of their energy supplied by renewables, despite tremendous costs to the government and the German people. Germans pay 37.5 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity, compared to the 15 cents we pay. As a consequence, they use only a third of what we use. They do remain faithful to their dogma and use the other renewable, like wood, to make up much of the difference. Of course, they do not have enough of that either, so they buy it from us. It is shipped to them in diesel-powered ships and trucked in from Bremerhafen to the rest of the country, also with diesel trucks.
Someone should tell them that the pollution of carbon-based sources kills many more than nuclear energy ever has. Nuclear turns out to be the safest source of energy.
That brings me to the question as to why our “environmental Nazis” shun nuclear so much? It is strange that the safest source of energy is so maligned. Hydrocarbons kill tens of thousands, from coal mining accidents to lung diseases. Wind machines are possibly the most environmentally unfriendly to birds, especially the larger variety such as falcons, eagles, egrets, and many others. Perhaps Green Peace has not heard of that yet. The anti-nuclear crowd has some very questionable motivations for their position. Prominent California politicians have been caught leading anti-nuclear protests, which have benefited them from the takedown of coastal nuclear plants, as oil properties they own are more essential than ever. Now, with nuclear out of the way, they would become surprisingly more profitable. Has anyone mentioned “Conflict of interest?”
Nuclear energy solves so many issues, such as pollution, being energy dependent on other countries that are not necessarily our friends, pipelines that could cause environmental catastrophes and change the landscape, and of course, CO2 production. Very little is heard about Thorium that sidesteps many of the objections to Uranium and Plutonium. It is safer, degrades faster, does not have run-away fission meltdowns, is plentiful, is difficult to weaponize, and harder to hide. It can burn up exhausted fuel rods that are an issue as to where to store them. Spent Thorium is less of a storage issue. This sounds like a much better option than all the other alternative sources of energy, and costs less than eliminating fossil fuels.
If CO2 is the primary problem, then other avenues of addressing CO2 production have been mostly ignored. Trees are wonderful CO2 converters. Looking at atmospheric reflective formations such as clouds or substances, such as ice crystals, and some more intrusive chemicals like SO2, have been mentioned as means of reflecting the sun’s rays back into space (geoengineering). Storing energy in more efficient batteries, or some other physical devices utilizing gravity, for example, that could release the energy later, have not been given a chance. The enormous energy of the moon reflected in the tides has hardly been exploited.
Eliminating fossil fuels is a one-trick pony that does not give credit to the human ingenuity we possess. There are legitimate climate scientists questioning the urgency of this “Deal,” and there is certainly not 99% unanimity. We are delegating way too much that appears to be more political than science to a Brooklyn bartender and a defrocked ex-Vice President who jets around the globe, not giving a damn about his carbon footprint.