|The Green Resolution|
In Robert Bryce's book, "Power Hungry" (The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future), he debunks many of the fables regarding wind and Solar and biofuels and how they can and should replace fossil fuels, doing a rather good job of it. Hailing from Texas, the epicenter of American energy production (most of the investments in the fracking technology being utilized in the Marcellus shale, North Dakota and California were tested in Texas' Barnett shale and financed by Dick Cheney's Halliburton and other Texas moneyed corporations that knew new supplies of conventional oil in the USA had peaked decades ago and that it would only be a matter of time before they did so worldwide) however, means he has a decided bias toward fossil fuel and fracking, and therefore, its main 'byproduct', natural gas.
One thing that caught my interest was his assertion that natgas produces only half the CO2 of coal. This is quite misleading. And the other fact that suggests he's being less than forthcoming on other fossil fuel data amounts to a lie of omission, in that there is nary a mention of the one coal-fired plant per week that was brought on-line during the GW Bush, his fellow Texan's, stint in the White House.
Instead he blithely skips from London's 1952 killer smog, so well dramatized in "The Crown", (the entertaining period piece produced by Netflix), to Al Gore's 2008 call for activism. Which activism was spurred by the very fact he fails to mention: the construction of a coal-fired power plant every week in order to process the prodigious quantities of corn the boondoggle of ethanol required, adding more than 425 coal-fired plants to the more than 1000 already in existence, none of which, hence the protests, had carbon scrubbers or CCS (Carbon Capture and Sequestration: a rather dubious technology that's given rise to the term "Clean Coal").
Otherwise, though, the book is packed with well-researched data and brilliantly debunks the green image of most of the 21'st Century's ideas of where to go to get the fuel to power the continued explosion in human population growth and the concomitant destruction of all other forms of living creatures on the planet that humans find rather inconvenient.
His conclusion, though, is very close to that reached by the moderator of NOVA's, "The Nuclear Option", How will we power the planet (ahem ... Power the planet? The planet is in no need of being powered, it is US that "needs" it) without wrecking the climate? (ahem again ... it's a little late for that, don't you thinK? What you mean to say, but don't dare (can't be alarmist now, can we?), is, "Without wrecking the climate even further"). What that conclusion is, the one shared by Bryce, is that the only feasible way is by exercising what the name of the program suggests: The Nuclear Option.
But, just as Bryce vastly underestimates the CO2 output of switching from coal to natgas, the conclusion of the NOVA program, as it pictures those well-known nuclear power plants' steaming chimneys, is that nuclear is the superior choice because those fumes bellowing out of their smokestacks in such prodigious quantities is only water vapor. See? It is not CO2, and therefore, we need have no worries. What they conveniently decide not to tell their viewers, is that water vapor is itself a powerful greenhouse gas. So should we decide to build up the nuclear industry to even close to the capacity needed to provide the ever-growing population with an ever larger supply of electricity, we will steam the planet like a Chinese dumpling in the process.
What that means, if we recall my post from yesterday wherein I mention the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere of 405.7 ppm, is that, we are layering on top of that, which won't disappear, because the vegetation in the northern hemisphere that is currently the only means by which that carbon load is reduced every spring (but not ever again below the 400 ppm threshold, as we're about to see for the first time in the history of mankind this May) is that, like a down comforter on your bed that keeps you comfortable on cold nights via the heat generated by your body, CO2 and water vapor does the same thing for our little orb in the cold night of space through which it zooms. But just like that down comforter, if you keep adding down to it, it will gradually become more and more uncomfortable, causing you to wish to throw it off. But what even the greenest of green energy production can't do, now that we've thickened the atmosphere under which we live, even without CO2 and water vapor being added to the already too large amount, is stop climate change, because instead of lying quietly under our comforter, we are having wild sex under it, and there's no way to either throw off the comforter or dissipate all that excess heat being thereby created.
Civilization is itself a heat engine, and Modern civilization, no matter how it is powered, is an exponentially higher heat generator than any that preceded it. So even if we add not a single feather to the comforter called the atmosphere, it is already so stuffed with down, that the excess heat we are generating, like the sexual activity under the down comforter, allows no escape for all that extra heat. Whether it's goose down (CO2) or duck down (Water Vapor), the effect is the same: Global Warming and the resultant climate change it must inevitably foster so as to arrive at and maintain a new stasis.
So as humanity continues to ignore the obvious problem of population overshoot, as though we have no more consciousness than mindless bacteria growing in a petri dish, one into which we keep injecting more and more energy, we are fostering the growth of the obnoxious culture therein, while continuing to allow paganism-disguised-as-religion to be used as an anvil to forge humanity into a primitive atavistic organism by pummeling into people's heads, while they are still helpless children, disastrously outdated precepts and antiquated notions developed by primeval homo sapiens eking out a hand-to-mouth existence, which leaves us no chance of ever arriving at any right answers because we keep asking all the wrong questions.