The recent US election upset has caused no small alarm amongst serious environmentalists in light of the electee’s past statements as well as his cabinet selections. Perhaps because I am only a mere sympathizer, I can allow myself a sense of cautious optimism in a few rays of light amid the heat emanating from the Trump phenomenon.
First there is there is the man’s appreciation for both natural (as well artificial) beauty. No bird killing giant airplane propeller wind generators ruining my ocean view. Hopefully, this not-in-my-backyard attitude will extend to the nation as a whole when Mr. Trump becomes president, and a resurgence of vertical-axis generators will be forthcoming.
Secondly, when Trump says he wants clean air and water with little publicity attending the statement, I tend to think he means just that. Likewise for utterance of the phrase “clean coal” (more on that later).
Lastly is the man’s stupendous ability and desire to negotiate trade deals that could potentially bring a worthwhile portion of the world into doing their part while the US functions with one hand behind its back, especially nations spewing far more pollution than us, whether their contributions be total, per capita, per GDP, per area, etc.
But who really knows how environmental and energy issues will play out in this radical new setting? Such unpredictability should bring a lot of voters out of the complacence that usually follows the success of a “green” candidate. For example, higher mpg mandates for new vehicles may sound progressive on the one hand, but these can be, and usually are, negated by the newfound profusion of single occupant cars on the road at the drop of a hat for more miles driven, with new technologies encouraging life in the car.
On the collective front, global warming alarmists need to come to grips with how much their storyline has become as absurd as “a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese”. First and foremost here are the phrases “global warming” which sounds benevolent and for many is desired; and “climate change” which has been rightfully pointed out by deniers as having always been so. The real danger of increasing world temperatures lies in the increase of thermodynamic entropy which essentially means greater unpredictability of weather patterns and less usability of energy sources available. Global entropy is a very serious threat.
Power plants must breathe also, and do so less efficiently when they exhaust into a hotter atmosphere – thus requiring more fuel, be it fossil or nuclear fuel. To appreciate the equivalence requires refining the understanding of the atmospheric CO2/temperature correlation. It is more the violence of kinetic carbon exiting smokestacks and tailpipes than its heat trapping attributes that produce the well recorded results.
Thus much demonized CO2 (plant food) is not required to goose up local and world temps. The megatons of nuclear plant waste heats spewed hourly make their contribution too, and in both plant types, water vapor is the prime heat trapping agent. Should we be denigrating H2O?
Regarding coal, environmentalists need to acknowledge its essence as stored solar energy. By this characterization however, coal (and other fossil fuels) should be the alternative fuel, especially in light of the storing process having transpired over millions of years. To make coal the alternative backup, it should be refined as much as oil was in its pre-cracking days. Nitrogen, mercury, and sulfur – all valuable substances in their places – should be mined out before coal is burned.
A century ago, such impurity elimination used to be the meaning of “clean coal”. Recent efforts made in this direction have enjoyed some success, but the cost of doing so has posed a barrier, which is the whole point – to put coal on an equal footing with what are now regarded as alternative energies, especially photovoltaic applications.
For a fuller development of these thoughts on energy by the author of Geocentric Design Code, view and/or download this 14 page essay.