Like most Conservatives, I have a problem with the Acolytes of Climate Change. While I agree, pollution is a real problem (who doesn’t), I strongly disagree with some of their cornerstone assertions.
The Acolytes would have us believe that because we are the second highest producer of CO2 emissions, we should agree to the Paris Accord and foot the bulk of the substantial bill worldwide to reduce emissions. They fail to recognize that while yes, we are heavy producers, it’s more due to vastly higher levels of industry and power generation than it is to unclean industry. Conversely, countries like China and India are exhibiting mass industrialization, unprecedented population, and pollution controls so inadequate they teeter on the edge of ecological disaster. Airborne pollution in places like Hong Kong are so bad that the effects on human health are tangible.
I would have a difficult time convincing myself that while the US has made amazing progress in reducing pollution while maintaining industry, that we should pay for the countries who value revenue moreso than clean air.
Another issue I have with the Climate Change dogma is their ridiculous campaign to clean up the environment by eliminating fossil fuels. While the reduction of reliance upon unsustainable fuels and foreign oil supplies is certainly a worthy goal, the globalist sycophants are approaching it from a dishonest, uninformed and ignorant route.
They promote a fantasy in which wind farms and solar generation are the answers to our energy needs. One sad, unadvertised fact cannot be avoided. These methods are not efficient, sufficient, or even ecologically sound.
Wind generation relies heavily on vast expanses of real estate. Wind farms leave a large footprint on the Terra firma. The process to make the equipment involves such pollution causing activities as aluminum casting, and fiberglass and polyresins. The operational windfarm also has a negative impact on wildlife. The systems are also quite costly. All this for a generation system efficiency that is at it’s peak 50%. Further, wind farms are at the mercy of the weather. At best, countries with expansive wind generation use this means of energy as a backup production source. Countries relying heavily upon wind generation do so at considerable risk. This lesson was hard felt by the people of South Australia, who were closing coal and natural gas units with the intention of “going green”. The effects we’re catastrophic. Read more about the South Australia energy crisis here.
Other Climate Changer Sycophants hail solar power as the other “renewable resource” that will save the polar caps. Solar power is a hot mess that’s not much better than a novelty for wealthy survivalists looking to live off grid. Solar power is not a viable option for meeting the populations consumption needs, and it’s far from ecologically sound. The cost of the technology alone makes it unfeasible for widespread use.
The process that produces solar panels relies on chemicals that are extremely toxic and harmful not only to people but the environment. A list of the poisons used to make this “green alternative” can be found here.
Another hidden problem with solar is efficiency. Typical peak efficiency of current technology is 15-17%. Industry experts predict it will be at least another 15-20 years before we see technological advances that provide meaningful improvements to overall system efficiency. Truth be told, even the 15-17% currently offered is a very finicky statistic. Photovoltaic efficiency is reduced by dust, surface contamination, weather, and surrounding vegetation. Also, for panels to produce, they require sun. Production at night isn’t happening. So, for constant supply of available energy, in addition to a very costly panel system, large, expensive, acid filled batteries are required to store excess power for times when the sun’s not shining.
What then, are we to do? We need a plentiful constant supply of safe, reliable power to keep our grid running. Yes, a reduction in CO2 would be wonderful to reduce smog in places like Los Angeles, however I don’t think we need to sacrifice our power grid to do it.
There is, however a third, much misunderstood and seldom discussed option. It’s seldom discussed because the fact that people are misinformed or outright uninformed causes them to be afraid. Contrary to popular myth, nuclear generation is a very attractive solution to this dilemma. While yes, it’s true that nuclear power has it’s downsides, such as the bi-product of nuclear fission, depleted uranium. The upsides are well worth considering, especially as technology is advancing to repurpose the radioactive bi-product.
Nuclear energy is, in spite of what eco-terrorists want us to believe, really quite safe, and in fact, has ecological benefits. On the whole, the safety record is pretty impressive. Three accidents world wide, two of which can be attributed to old technology and obsolete procedures. While the effects of the accidents should not be discounted, neither can the rarity of these events.
Having been involved in the construction of the first new nuclear power station in America in this century, I gained a much better understanding and appreciation of this form of energy. The risks, while real, are calculable and are outweighed by the reward.
Nuclear power is very efficient, using very little fuel comparatively to fossil fuel production. Plants are in operation up to 540 days without stopping for refuel. Refuel outage is also when all systems are closely inspected, repaired and refitted. This power production cycle equates to a very attractive cost per kilowatt hour of around .007 p/kwh.
As for safety and ecological health, yes, it’s also attractive. There’s an odd paradox intrinsic to a nuclear plant. They’re designed not to run. It seems dumb, but it’s true. Let me explain. The design of these mechanical marvels is so safety focussed, that within the bowels of a modern plant, there are countless controls and checks. Literally anywhere you turn, there are levers,valves, sensors and gizmos that, with no more than a worker bumping his head, can result in knocking the plant offline and into a safety lockdown. This is intended to safeguard against accidents or unavoidable events causing catastrophic accidents.
Another myth related to nuclear power is that it floods the environment with radiation and pollution. Quite the contrary. The plumes seen billowing from the cooling towers outside the reactor dome is steam.
In a PWR, the coolant water that contacts radiation is kept in a closed loop. The water that provides steam is held in a separate circulating loop.
Not only does this ensure that radiation contaminated water is contained, it also results in huge quantities of highly purified, oxygenated water to be circulated back into the river system. The effects of this are quite impressive. Health of the aquatic habitat downstream of an operating plant can be easily seen.
Another, less visable benefit is the economy produced by these plants. Construction, maintainence and operation of a nuclear plant produces jobs. Alot of jobs.
People from across a large array of fields from construction to engineers, scientists to even firefighters are employed either directly or indirectly at a plant. This in effect produces jobs outside the fence too. Lodging, restaurants, stores, etc all see revenue as a result of these plants.
If we could educate people to the benefits, as well as dispel the myths, we might just find that we don’t have to choose between two substandard power production options to help slow the pollution of our planet.