A Fool's Game on Climate
America has survived as a beacon of light for over two hundred years for two very simple reasons. First, we developed a Constitution that protects our God-given rights, especially those listed in the Bill of Rights, and second, we discovered and learned how to use fossil fuels.
Use of fossil fuels had an immediate effect on our environment, as the use of kerosene soon took the place of whale oil for lamps and preserved the lives of thousands of whales.
Under the Trump administration this long tradition was continued and even added to. The present administration has done much to reverse that trend. It is almost as if they have determined that every act of President Trump had to go.
A couple dozen executive orders were issued the first day Biden was in office. Many of these concerned the use of energy.
There was an immediate war on coal, oil, and natural gas, the very things that made America great. First was cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Then other pipelines bit the dust. Oil exploration projects on federal lands and off shore were ended.
The goal of the present administration is to stop all production of carbon dioxide in just a few short years. Carbon dioxide is a necessary gas from which every plant is built. From that tiny percentage (0.042 percent) comes the substance of every plant and all plant life in the oceans. We are just part of that carbon cycle. Animals produce carbon dioxide while plants produce oxygen, essential for all life.
It is foolish to think that man can reduce carbon dioxide and control the earth’s temperature. The goal of the liberals has been to end all use of fossil fuels, yet so far that use has not decreased, but has increased to meet the needs of a developing world. Although the present administration may have embarked on a war on oil, coal, and natural gas, countries like China and India are building literally hundreds of coal-fired electric generation plants.
Wind and solar will never take the place of fossil fuels. Use of fossil fuels has made us wealthier as a nation, and as nations become wealthier their protection of the environment increases.
Europe has closed coal-fired and nuclear generation plants. Now large numbers are in danger of freezing to death because of the cost of heating. Some folks are cutting trees to burn and keep warm, and this is certainly not environmentally friendly.
Wind and solar are only short-term solutions to our energy needs. Today we see ugly machines all over the country and they only provide for a couple percentages of our energy.
Sure, we can store electricity in batteries, but it will not be possible to build batteries for those times when the wind does not blow or the sun shine. Here in northern Idaho, there are weeks at a time when the sky is overcast or it is raining and snowing. Plus, the fact that the wind does not often blow when it is quite cold.
Solar panels produce no electricity when they are covered with snow. Their output is radically reduced when covered with dust. Not only that, they wear out in just a few short years and must be replaced.
Wind and solar electricity can be used to pump water to an elevated reservoir where it can run back down and produce electricity. But that method is very inefficient.
Electric cars -- that was the answer. Production of these vehicles has increased rapidly. However, Germany and Switzerland, among other nations, have passed laws making it illegal to charge electric cars when it is cold, as they need the power just for heat.
Batteries for electric cars are very expensive and require a lot of fairly rare minerals. These minerals come mainly from countries that are not very friendly to the United States. In some countries those minerals are “mined” by children.
Not only that, but these batteries only last a few short years and have to be replaced. When it comes time to replace them, the cost of the new batteries is more than the value of the vehicle. So used electric vehicles have no resale value.
We have all seen the ads for how wonderful electric cars are, yet when you check into it, you find that the power for the car comes from a coal-fired power plant. Or the picture of an EV charging station with the diesel generator providing the power; or the picture of a small EV with a portable gasoline generator in the trunk to provide charging when the battery goes dead. Then there is the picture of electric cars caught in a snowstorm where the batteries go dead while they run the heaters trying to keep warm. It is simply foolish to use electric cars in bad weather.
Wind turbines kill many birds, and after a few years they wear out and need to be replaced. Unfortunately, very little of what these huge machines are made of can be recycled, so they have to be broken up and buried. Not a very good use of resources. Not only that, many of these parts are made in China, not the best arrangement.
Then there is the giant solar installation at Ivanpah, California, which has already begun to wear out. It will cost nearly as much to replace it as it originally cost to build it.
No matter how many stories you read about fossil fuels it is rare to find one that talks about uses other than as a motor fuel. In fact, natural gas is used in the manufacture of nitrogen-based fertilizer, and someone has documented that over six thousand products are made from oil.
This includes things like vinyl siding and vinyl fences, asphalt roofing, asphalt highways, plastic containers for food items etc.
Plastic is the big thing: Today’s cars use a lot of plastic. Look around the house and see the things made from oil; even the carpeting on the floor.
This administration has foolishly determined to end all use of fossil fuels when that is the very thing that has made us great.
Jim Hollingsworth is a graduate of Pensacola Christian College. He has written four books: Climate Change: A Convenient Truth, Cortez: A Biography, The Ancient Culture of the Aztec Empire, and Abortion Compassion.
Image: Raimond Spekking