Sunday, May 29, 2016

Climate Sunday: The Fossil Fool

This week, Donald Trump gave a speech about his energy policy, which, if you think about it, would be a speech that should intersect with environmental policy and foreign policy and trade deals and all the stuff this guy thinks he knows stuff about and, well, doesn't.

His speech left something to be desired--like any competence at all with any of the matters at hand.

Coal jobs aren't coming back. We're not bringing them back because to do it, we'd have to deregulate to the point where we accept a callous loss of life, lower wages, and somehow make coal a desirable fuel source again in the developed world where most energy gets consumed. Do you see high-rise buildings put up with a coal furnace in the basement these days? I don't think you see that so much anymore, but Donald Trump builds great buildings, so maybe he knows.

He criticizes the wind industry for killing birds. I've joked before about his Quixotic attempts to tilt at windmills in Scotland, but do you want to know what really kills lots of birds? Large buildings.  As a builder of great big edifices, you think he'd know about this particular edifice dysfunction.

He also rather peculiarly seems to think we are shipping random bits of water out to sea in California to save fish and that there is no such thing as a drought.  This was dumb as hell when Carly Fiorina tried it, right?  If you are a farmer--which there are an awful lot of in California, you know your best water source isn't a spigot somewhere that magically sends you water. It's clouds, in the sky, that rain on your land.  Yeah, pumping groundwater and turning a knob somewhere to get the water flowing sounds nice--but we can't retroactively build reservoirs back when to catch the water that isn't falling right now. If someone somewhere wants to cough up money for a time machine and some building reservoir money--awesome sauce. But until you can--guess what? Realize the whole water situation changed in a vulnerable area where population expansion cause a higher demand than the local sources probably could sustain even under the best of circumstances.

He wants to back out of the Paris Accord, and I don't even think he knows what it is. He's looking at it like a trade deal--but to be quite honest, if he thinks there's a way to get anyone to sign up to behave responsibly without mutual cooperation, he's not dumb, he's delusional. There's no leverage in backing out. You lose all authority to tell anyone else what to do. But this doesn't bother him, most likely, because he is a nutter who believes shit from tabloids, and not climate science.

This guy? I environmentally can not with this guy.

2 comments:

Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, I don't keep up with this subject, but there may be enough evidence to actually hypothesize a human-involved factor that creates some level of problematic possibilities.

One serious issue connected with an attempt to phase out fossil fuels is that the world is not going to take up huge land masses to put in windmills; they will go to nuclear energy.

I believe that most of France is now nuclear energy. Japan is completely nuclear-based, but they have had earthquakes that seriously endangered their small amount of land and their population. You would think that after the experiences with nuclear energy we discussed on your WWII post that Japan would be very chary of going nuclear.

Nope. They jumped in with both feet. Here in the US we haven't built new oil refineries, but we are building new nuclear plants, one near me, and an old one is already present in my neck of the woods.

The more the world is pressed for something besides fossil fuels, the more they will go nuclear.

Vixen Strangely said...

I think you have a good point--for geographical reasons, nuclear might simply be more cost-effective than renewables for some areas--although I think we have some good lessons to learn from Fukushima: location matters, and some places may just not be tectonically sympatico with a nuclear reactor. Also, I think the US is way behind in trying to deal with the spent fuel rod issue. I understand Europe has a method that involves encasing the rods with cement before sinking them--if I'm already deeply concerned about how fracking and pipelines can effect water, you can guess how I feel about uranium leeching! And also, safety--every facility should have a worst case plan in place and a back-up worst case plan in place. I think there is a way to do nuclear intelligently, but I can't see it without strong regulations and inspections.