Worse, we continue to alter the chemistry of our atmosphere and waters in ways that will have real consequences.
We are now at > 405 parts per million carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the highest in over 800,000 years. Over the past 150+ years, the pH of surface ocean waters has fallen by ~0.1. Since the pH scale, like the Richter scale, is logarithmic, that 0.1 drop represents a 30% increase in acidity. As we continue to pump CO² increasing the concentration, the ocean will continue to acidify, dramatically changing life.
It’s time to aggressively move to renewable energy sources like geothermal, hydropower, wind, solar, and yes advanced nuclear.
I joined Tucker Carlson again last night on Fox News to discuss California AB 1884 which will make distributing a single use plastic straw to a customer unsolicited a violation of the Health and Safety code.
I argued that plastic pollution is a significant and serious environmental problem. I support efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Tucker then tied homelessness into the topic. He and I battled over that topic as well where he advocates punishment and I advocate rehabilitation and housing.
Here is a highlight clip and below is the full segment.
In this video, Ethan discusses the latest unemployment report from the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dated December 5, 2014.
The headlines in media and pundits all over were touting the huge success of this report with a number of 321,000 new jobs. While getting Americans working in full-time jobs is something worth celebrating, the truth is different from the 321,000 number.
In reality the numbers look like this: 119,000 new people entered the labor pool, 115,000 people lost their jobs, the number of full-time jobs decreased by 150,000, and part-time jobs increased by 77,000. Not as good as the headlines is it?
The U-3 official unemployment rate stayed steady at 5.8%. 321,000 new jobs but unemployment stayed the same? That’s because the net new jobs was only 4,000.
That official unemployment number never tells the true story anyway. They don’t want to scare the masses and speak the truth. You CAN handle the truth. The truth is the U-6 unemployment number. The U-6 unemployment rate is 11.4% or 1 in 9 Americans.
According to the BLS, U-6 is total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.
What that means is that 1 in 9 Americans either can’t find a job for the past 27 weeks (the number in U-3), can’t find a full-time job only part-time, or have fallen out of the stats because they have been looking longer than 27 weeks.
Not quite the rosy picture now, is it? What are the politicians doing to reduce red-tape, streamline bureaucracy, allow innovation to flourish, and simplify the tax code thus vaulting the United States to the top of business competitiveness?
Later in the video, Ethan covers some of the fallacies of the massive lithium-ion battery because of the sources of lithium.
President Obama has directed the EPA to issue new rules to the 600 coal burning power plants in the United States. This fiat move under the Clean Air Act is intended to reduce carbon emissions 30% and allow the U.S. to meet United Nations negotiated carbon emissions from 2009.
Needless to say, coal states have cried foul and the Chamber of Commerce says this will negatively impact our economy to the tune of $50 billion per year.
Keep in mind that the U.S. has already reduced carbon emissions from the 2005 benchmark of 6 billion metric tons of CO2 to 5.29 billion metric tons of CO2 in 2012 (source: USDOE), mostly through the switch to cheap natural gas.
I want clean air and clean water for me and my children as much as anyone.
Coal is a dirty fuel source. It creates pollution during mining, pollution during transport, pollution during the energy production, and pollution in the waste storage.
Coal is the number one source of toxic mercury pollution. Mercury is an acute neurotoxin that builds up in the environment and builds up in your body over time. Coal is also a major source of sulfur dioxide pollution.
But is this the right move? Are we focusing on the right issues? Is carbon a greater threat to my children’s health or is mercury and sulfur?
I care more about the immediate effects of toxic pollution like mercury and sulfur, more than the debatable topic of carbon pollution.
Shockingly, nearly 30% of coal power plants have no controls for toxic air pollution which we can quickly fix in a way that is economically sound. The coal power plant pollution chain can readily be cleaned up.
For example, Constellation Energy has a very large, 1,300 megawatt coal power plant just outside Baltimore called the Brandon Shores plant. They quickly built a scrubber to meet new Maryland rules, breaking ground in June 2007 and completing the work in September, 2009. There were up to 1,385 construction workers building this upgrade, at a cost $875 million, and the power plant remains profitable.
The scrubber – a large chemical plant next to the plant – cuts 95 percent of the sulfur dioxide and 90 percent of the mercury.
So why did the President leave out cleaning up toxic pollution? Why not talk about carbon capture and storage (CCS) or geothermal power?
Sadly, neither is likely to get the attention they deserve in this heated debate.
Carbon Capture and Storage
CCS is, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), “where carbon dioxide is captured at its source (e.g., power plants, industrial processes) and subsequently stored in non-atmospheric reservoirs (e.g., depleted oil and gas reservoirs, unmineable coal seams, deep saline formations, deep ocean).”
There are numerous CCS projects in the works, but it has been a secondary approach to carbon emissions. A properly functioning CCS power plant produces fewer carbon emissions than even a natural gas plant. Should this technology mature, retrofits to existing coal plants would become viable.
The holy grail of reducing any energy production pollution that has been in use, and widely ignored, for over 50 years is geothermal energy.
Geothermal, simply put, uses the heat in the earth a couple of kilometers down (shallower than some oil wells) to heat water, which makes steam, which turns turbines, producing electricity. Take a look HERE for a video and description.
Any environmentalist who actually cares about what they claim, should be pushing geothermal far before wind or solar. Made in the USA, reliable (even more than a coal plant), doesn’t require any exotic materials or technology, and produces little to no pollution, geothermal is really the greatest answer to our energy needs.
Why isn’t the President talking about geothermal? Money. Too many of his donors have vested interests in the false promise of solar and wind technologies (which are perfectly fine for off-grid uses). There simply isn’t enough money to be made by his donors producing reliable, clean geothermal power.
If this administration or those in the environmental movement really want to reduce emissions of any pollutants, they need to look at how the economy will function in a manner that supports many aspects of our country and actually admit what is the truth in their goals.
“The West Coast Is Being Absolutely Fried With Nuclear Radiation” “The Pacific Ocean is Destroyed”
You’ve seen this posted across social media sites and emails. False. Untrue. Balderdash.
The radiation headlines are the most off-base. If you take a minute to check either the EPA Rad-Net or the community based Radiation Network, you will see that radiation levels are actually quite low on the West Coast and have been this whole time since the massive earthquake, resulting tsunami, and major damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility suffered catastrophic damage and failure from the massive Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 resulting in meltdown beginning the next day as cooling equipment failed and poor human response made the meltdown worse. Massive explosions occurred sending radioactive material into the air which did circle the world in minute amounts. Since the facility was located on the coast, with a high water table underneath. thousands of tons of water containing cesium 137 and cesium 134 have been and continue to be released into the Pacific Ocean.
To the issue of the Pacific Ocean and cesium 134 and cesium 137 contamination, a kernel of truth exists there. Radioactive cesium-137 is produced when uranium and plutonium absorb neutrons and undergo fission and has a half-life of 30 years, while cesium 134 has a half life of two years. Scientists monitoring around the Pacific Ocean have detected NO increase in these cesium isotopes. But tuna, a migrating fish species, have measured a very small uptick in cesium.
The reason why there isn’t a problem on the West Coast is because the Pacific Ocean contains 70 million cubic miles of water or 187,189,915,062,857,142,857 gallons, (187 quintillion gallons or 187,189,915,062 billion gallons). Even a million gallons of contaminated water is an immeasurably small amount. And remember that the radioactive materials are already diluted in the water spilling. Please remember the concepts of diffusion (watch this animation) and dispersion where material is distributed.
Really this is the kicker, regarding the bluefin tuna from Professor Nicholas Fisher a distinguished professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University: “In estimating human doses of the Fukushima-derived radioactive cesium in Bluefin tuna, we found that heavy seafood consumers – those who ingest 124 kg/year, or 273 lbs., which is five times the US national average – even if they ate nothing but the Cs-contaminated bluefin tuna off California, would receive radiation doses approximately equivalent to that from one dental x-ray and about half that received by the average person over the course of a normal day from a variety of natural and human sources. The resulting increased incidence of cancers would be expected to be essentially undetectable.”
Would I eat fish caught off the East coast of Japan? No. Would I eat fish caught off Hawaii, Alaska, or California? Yes. Why? Because the data shows I don’t have to be afraid of eating these delicious fish, and because of mercury and heavy metal pollution (unrelated to Fukushima) I already limit my fish intake to approximately once per week.
Why the scaremongering? Money. There is money to be collected in donations for environmental groups, there is economic war between the traditional power source providers like coal, oil, and nuclear versus the new solar and wind companies.
So let’s stay focused on finding a clean, renewable, base load power source like geothermal energy, instead of constantly scaring people.
From the report: “Outside of the geographical areas most affected by radiation, even in locations within Fukushima prefecture, the predicted risks remain low and no observable increases in cancer above natural variation in baseline rates are anticipated.”
Who is protecting the average person? Is there an agency making sure that technology pushed onto the unknowing public isn’t harming us?
I have written numerous articles on my concerns with genetically modified organisms (GMO). But now every natural fragrance will be replaced with GMO yeast engines pumping out smells according to the New York Times?
I understand and support technology helping humanity, but shouldn’t we be careful about replacing everything in the wild with a lab-produced product? Is it a good idea to lose knowledge of the natural world and the remaining knowledge being chemistry?
We already have a massive problem of unregulated chemicals. We need to get a handle on the hundreds of millions of tons of chemicals we pump out every year and ensure safety before we continue down the path of potentially further toxifying not only ourselves, but the entire world around us.
And then we have the socio-economic issues of all of the poor, third-world farmers of the natural products. From the article:
“Rick Brownell, an executive at the Virginia Dare Extract Company, a leading supplier of natural vanilla based in Brooklyn, said 80,000 farmers in Madagascar, one of the world’s poorest countries, grow vanilla beans.
“I really count on that to make a living,” said Bersonina, 63, a farmer in Madagascar. Bersonina, who uses only one name, said in a telephone interview arranged by the company that the $200 he made last year producing about 50 kilograms, or 110 pounds, of vanilla barely supported his family of four. He said he was not familiar with the yeast-made vanilla substitute but imagined that an industrial process “could make thousands and thousands of tons,” posing a threat to farmers like himself.”
Not a chemically synthesized product, but genetically modified yeast. Maybe a good thing, maybe not, there are a complex set of issues in this solution to a problem that really didn’t exist.