American Elephants


What do Americans know about energy and the environment? by The Elephant's Child

What do Americans believe about energy and the environment?  The Manhattan Institute undertook a poll, with the help of Zogby, to find out with a survey in January of 2009 of 1,000 Americans, chosen to be representative of public opinion generally.  Some examples:

  • 49 percent of respondents believe that Saudia Arabia exports the most oil to the U.S., while only 13 percent correctly identified Canada as our major supplier.  Only 16.1 percent of our imports came from the Persian Gulf region.
  • More than 67 percent believe that we can meet future energy demand through conservation and efficiency.  Historically, energy demand increases with efficiency gains.  The Energy Information Administration projects U.S. energy use to increase 11.2 percent from 2007 to 2030, while global energy consumption will increase by 50 percent.
  • Only 37 percent correctly answered that no one has ever died from the actual generation of nuclear power in the U.S.  The U.S. has not built a nuclear -power reactor since the meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979, 104 active reactors safely generate roughly one fifth of our nations electricity.
  • 63 percent of those surveyed believe that human activity is the greatest source of greenhouse gases.  In fact, such emissions are significantly  smaller than natural emissions.  Most of the CO2 that enters the atmosphere comes from the oceans and the biosphere — 41.46 and 55.28 percent respectively.  The burning of fossil fuels accounts for only 3.27 percent  of the carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere.
  • Fewer than 28 percent believe that U.S. air quality has improved since 1970.  The six most common pollutants have decreased by more than 50 percent.  Air toxins from large industrial sources have fallen by nearly 70 percent, and new cars are more than 90 percent cleaner.  During the same period, GDP tripled, energy consumption increased 50 percent and motor vehicle use increased almost 200 percent.

Offshore oil drilling can be accomplished in an environmentally sensitive manner.  Spent nuclear fuel can be stored safely. 91 percent of our electricity is generated by fossil fuels and uranium.  Renewables will not soon make any significant dent in that.



Happy Earth Day! But don’t tell me any good news. by The Elephant's Child

Happy Earth Day!  Steve Hayward, author of the Index of Leading Environmental Indicators (14th edition) which mostly consists of the good news.  Today, at NRO,  he points out his favorite tidbit from this year’s edition:

Elizabeth Rosenthal reported in the New York Times of a recent estimate from the Smithsonian Institution research in Central America suggesting that “for every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics on land that was once farmed, logged or ravaged by natural disaster… The new forests, the scientists argue, could blunt the effects of rain forest destruction by absorbing carbon dioxide, the leading heat-trapping gas linked to global warming, one crucial role that rain forests play.  They could also, to a lesser extent, provide habitat for endangered species.”  The next sentence, however, has a drearily predictable beginning: “The idea has stirred outrage among environmentalists,” not because it might be untrue, but because it might blunt support for “vigorous efforts to protect native rain forests.”

Mr. Hayward adds: “Imagine, Environmentalist outrage over potentially good news.”  But then they have a lot of outrage over good news.  The news that the globe is cooling, not warming, has sent them into paroxysms of fury.  Suggest, correctly, that the Arctic and Antarctic have the normal amount of sea ice, or that  polar bears are just fine and adapting to cooler and warmer weather just as they have done for at least 130,000 years, and you have a berzerker on your hands.  They are not interested in good news — or perhaps it’s just that their definition of what is good news is different.



Meet the Firecrackers. Jump rope as an extreme sport. by The Elephant's Child
April 22, 2009, 1:20 am
Filed under: Entertainment, Heartwarming, Humor, Sports | Tags: ,

The Firecrackers are a team of elementary and junior high school girls from Ohio. This demonstration was at halftime of an Army/ Navy basketball game. Both sides gave the girls a standing ovation, and then some.

The girls practice for 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, and they have to keep their grades up too. And each girl must pass an etiquette class before joining the team. Enjoy.

(h/t: Kim Komando)




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