March 17, 2007

Mini-Column of the Day: Steve Forbes on Al Gore, Globaloney, and Globalarmism

Too bad this is a subscription-only link; it’s about two-thirds of the third item there:

The Academy awards ceremony may have hailed Al Gore as a prophetic hero, but history will treat him as the personification of an incredible delusion: the idea that carbon dioxide emissions fundamentally affect the Earth’s weather patterns.

While much of the media treats this theory as catastrophic fact, the fact is it ain’t–it’s an unproved theory. Over the last few decades carbon dioxide emissions have risen, and there has been a slight increase in the Earth’s temperature. Ergo, goes the theory, it must be cause and effect and–ergo, ergo–we must take draconian measures to reduce the emissions, even if that means sharply cutting our standard of living and massively increasing bureaucratic controls over our lives.

Green socialism has now replaced the Red variety.

As near as anyone can figure, the Earth’s surface temperature increased 1 degree Fahrenheit in the 20th century. But about half of that increase came before 1940, when carbon dioxide emissions were a fraction of the level they are today. Temperatures declined slightly after 1940 until the mid-1970s, even though emissions were increasing. In the real world this would be pretty flimsy proof of a cause-effect relationship. But human beings are prey to hysteria and delusions. Gore-ites have taken to calling doubters of their apocalyptic vision “global-warming deniers,” a demagogic allusion to “Holocaust deniers.” Doubting climatologists are often hounded in government and in academia.

You’d never know from all the shrill hullabaloo that weather patterns have been changing for about as long as the Earth has existed. From about A.D. 900 to 1300 the Earth’s temperatures were even warmer than they are today, which is one reason Greenland was named Greenland. Southern England in those years was a wine-growing region. Last we looked, however, there was no evidence of knights in shining armor having ridden around medieval Europe in SUVs.

….. This hysterical belief in unproved theories is not new. ….. In the 1970s most experts were convinced the Earth faced imminent mass famine. In the first half of the 20th century many educated people believed in eugenics …..

Thankfully, despite all the widespread misconceptions about weather, we are not going to submit to Gore-ite socialist global government regulations. In fact, some good may come out of this: a major push for nuclear power–a proved, ultraclean, nonemitting energy producer.

I wish I could be as sure as Forbes is that “we are not going to submit to Gore-ite socialist global government regulations.”

It’s also a good thing Forbes put “may” into his last sentence. Despite its widespread use in France and other countries, the hard-core leadership of the enviro movement in the US isn’t about to concede to nuclear power being employed in the US after decades of preventing even the thought of it. That’s because to them it’s not about finding workable solutions — it’s about freezing us in time (or worse) and stopping all development, the consequences be damned.

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4 Comments

  1. “Nuclear power – a proved, ultraclean, nonemitting energy producer” – I think not! In the past 50 years we have had a disaster at Windscale, a partial meltdown at Three Mile Island, widespread contamination following the Chernobyl accident, extensive contamination from Dounreay, a near meltdown at Forsmark, a large radioactive leak at Sellafield, to name but a few. Reactors, reprocessing plants, and trains containing nuclear material are inviting targets for terrorists. Nuclear plants can be shut down by flooding, heatwaves, even maintenance. No solution has been found to the problem of disposing of nuclear waste, which remains dangerous for more than 10,000 years. When all the overt and hidden subsidies, especially insurance, are taken into account, nuclear is much more expensive than any other source of power. It may well consume more energy than it produces, while the construction of plants and mining of uranium release significant amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. I could go on.

    But there is an alternative.

    It’s called Concentrating Solar Power (CSP). Analysts have evaluated the solar resource in the US Southwest and found that CSP could provide 7,000 GW of capacity, or about seven times the current total US capacity. Half a million Californians already use CSP electricity. Once the plants are in place (simple technology, uses mirrors to concentrate heat on to liquid to drive conventional turbines) no further support is required and the heat source is free, unlimited, cost effective, clean and reliable.

    No contest, is it?

    Peter Jones

    see http://www.trecers.net , http://www.trec-uk.org.uk etc for more information.

    Comment by Richard Jones — March 20, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

  2. #1, go for it. What’s stopping you?

    Comment by TBlumer — March 20, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

  3. Peter @1
    You’re a laugh a minute on nuclear power.

    “It may well consume more energy than it produces” – what is this fantasy? More debunked van Leeuwen junk? Check your sources mate, they’re well past sell-by. Life-cycle analysis, not a very exact science, still favours nuclear over all other sources.

    I see you thumping the old “disasters” like they were worse than any other technology, but of course you’re wrong – nuclear is the safest energy source, even including Chernobyl. TMI was fully contained, Sellafield leaks ditto, Windscale fire had nil effect from studies, Forsmark wasn’t near meltdown, etc. etc.

    Can’t you CSP guys manage to push your technology without bashing nuclear? Is it not good enough to stand on its own merits?

    Comment by Joffan — March 22, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

  4. #1 and #3, I’m still waiting for why RJ won’t get into the CSP business if it’s so good.

    I know enough about solar to be a little dangerous, and as far as I know, no one has solved the storage problem or the heavy use of acreage, or the limited geographic capability. But my knowledge is about 5 years behind now.

    Joffan is right that solar should be able to stand on its own if it really is viable without nuke-bashing, esp since the record on nukes in the free world is virtually spotless. If TMI is really the definition of a nuke disaster, may we have many more of them.

    Comment by TBlumer — March 22, 2007 @ 2:46 pm

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