American Elephants

Are We Finally Coming to The End of Green Politics? by The Elephant's Child

mirrors-towerTwo engineers at Google were charged with thinking creatively about how to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. After four years, the engineers had concluded that it simply could not be done, and the project was shut down.

As we reflected on the project, we came to the conclusion that even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions. Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach. …

Incremental improvements to existing technologies aren’t enough; we need something truly disruptive to reverse climate change. What, then, is the energy technology that can meet the challenging cost targets? How will we remove CO2 from the air? We don’t have the answers. Those technologies haven’t been invented yet.

These engineers assume that the global warming theory is true, that  the rise of CO² in the atmosphere is inexorable, and that the warming will have dire consequences for mankind.  But renewable energy cannot make a significant difference.

Lewis Page writes in response in The Register about nuclear power. It is not, at the moment, cheap enough to provide a strong financial rationale, but that is because the costs have been forced far higher than it would be by the imposition of cripplingly higher health and safety standards. In the three nuclear “disasters” so far — Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima — the scientifically verified death toll from all causes is zero, 56, and zero. Other power industries come in far higher. Page writes:

There can’t be any doubt that if nuclear power had been allowed to be as dangerous per unit of energy generated as, say, the gas industry – let alone the terribly dangerous coal business – it truly would be too cheap to meter and Messrs Koningstein and Fork’s problem would have been solved for them decades ago.

The two linked articles are brief and should be read in their entirety. Neither assumes that carbon dioxide is possibly not the cause of warming, nor that as CO² continues to climb, and promote growth of the world’s plants, there has been no warming for over 18 years. CO² has been much higher in the past, and current levels in the atmosphere are not what is considered optimum for plant life. The planet has been much warmer in the past, as in the Medieval period that brought forth the Renaissance, and much colder as well, in the ice age and the little ice age — which some scientists believe we may be entering once again.

If Google listened to its own engineers, they wouldn’t be trying to get the taxpayers to bail them out for their federal loan for the enormous solar thermal plant at Ivanpah, which somehow didn’t get as much sun as they expected.

Anyone following the recent G20 will be aware that skeptical politicians such as Australia’s Tony Abbott and Canada’s Steve Harper have been under public pressure to change their public position. What is not so readily apparent is that there is a rather large voter backlash against their extreme green policies, and the failure of their massive investment in ‘renewable power.” Germany is building coal-fired power plants. Obama and his green policies were soundly rejected in the midterms, but as a true believer, he soldiers on, and blames everybody else.

Some Simple Clarity About Immigration by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson summed up the immigration debate nicely. Obama is not addressing the problems that most of us see and are concerned about. Professor Hanson lives in the great Central Valley in California which has been one of the centers of immigration of agricultural workers, legal and illegal, and has been an important voice in the debate.

Voters last week seemed to be saying that the entire immigration debate is morally upside down.

The true unethical position is that of the immigration hijacker who decides — without the force of law, public opinion, or court sanction — to enhance his narrow political, cultural, or economic interests. He cares little about the ensuing effects of his self-interest on collective infrastructure, social services, law enforcement, criminal justice, or state budgets.

So what, exactly, do Americans want out of immigration?

It would seem that Americans appreciate the vibrancy, energy, and new ideas that immigrants bring. But a great many Americans also insist that immigrants come legally, in manageable numbers, in ethnically diverse fashion, and that they be eager to learn English and assimilate quickly.

Everybody should be indignant about Obama’s idea that he can just do whatever he wants if Republicans don’t oblige him with what he wants. There are lots of difficult problems. There are the Afghan translators who worked with American forces and are now under threat for their families lives because they helped us. Immediate access.

But all these problems cannot be dealt with in one big Omnibus bill. We really have to stop the big omnibus bills.  Such legislation gets too long, and usually gets the incentives and unexpected consequences totally wrong. Address the problems one at a time, as a piece of a complete agenda. Send the bills up to Obama one at a time. He can sign them or veto them, presenting the Republicans with all sorts of opportunities.

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