Carbo-geddon, Part 1.5

THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE CONCLUSION to a two-parter, but as is often the case with multi-part series’ I write for Whiskey & Gunpowder, I got quite a variety of responses to the first installment. And the nature of these compelled me to write a “tweener” to address not only a little of this feedback, but also to clarify some of my main points and set the stage a bit more for some of the arguments I want to make about America’s energy policy…

But first things first. To all you who wrote in, I say, as always: Thanks.

Among the most notable feedback was a letter from a Canadian environmental scientist commenting that my first installment “…makes the reader think about fossil fuels and greenhouse gases in a completely different light from the mainstream nonsense.”

I also want to make special mention of the note I got from a bio-diesel alternative energy executive — who wrote in to clarify what the term “full lifecycle” means with regard to the CO2 impact of any fuel. In Part One of this series, I’d explained that it’s the oxygen produced by the raw plant sources of bio-diesel fuels that offsets its carbon emissions when consumed…

This is true, but I should have elaborated that it’s also the process by which plants make oxygen (photosynthesis) that offsets the greenhouse gases they result in when their end products are used as fuel. As we all learned in middle school, plants remove CO2 from the atmosphere in order to displace it with oxygen. I should have been clearer in my explanation — so thanks again to a sharp-minded Whiskey reader.

Aside from these, some hate-mail, a number of thinly-veiled pitches for books on climate change, and the usual sheaf of letters from those who want simply to argue about whether or not global warming exists, I received one other bit of feedback that warrants mention: A gem of a letter from a fellow who no doubt intended to pen a cogent rebuttal to my argument — but instead ended up objectively speculating, after a few paragraphs of meaningless, fact-less blather, that I must have a Confederate flag painted on the roof of my vehicle and a gun rack in the rear window…

It’s so refreshing to field some reasoned criticism. And just to clarify: I don’t have either of these things.

But that’s only because no one makes a gun rack to fit the rakish angle of my Prius’ rear window, and because Toyota doesn’t offer a Dukes of Hazzard paint scheme for it. Instead, I settled for the high-tech Chia Pet™ exterior finish of real, growing grass to lessen my “full lifecycle” carbon footprint. This came as an upgrade to the Earth Day option package — which includes as standard equipment woven hemp bucket seats, re-treaded recycled tires, in-dash CO2 output readout, 4/60 air conditioning (that’s when you roll down all four windows and go 60 miles per hour) and a giant portrait of Al Gore gazing vigilantly skyward through the windshield from the car’s desk-sized dashboard…

HOT, HOT, HOT: Jim, cruising Las Vegas in a borrowed, but stylish Prius.

I’m kidding, of course. I don’t really have a Prius. But I did drive a friend’s recently in Las Vegas. It was fun, in a golf-cart-ish kind of way. It’s perfect if you don’t have to haul anything, tow anything, drive on any roads rougher than a pool table, or get anywhere in any kind of a hurry (or in any kind of style)!

But enough of all this. On to bigger things, like just how big a pickle we’ll soon be in when it comes to both energy and the environment — if we accept as gospel the principal tenet of the enviro-ligion that The Reverend Owl Bore and his disciples believe:

That man and his machines really are causing this period of global warming, the latest in a billions-of-years string of climate change cycles this Earth has endured since eons before we crawled forth from the primordial ooze.

Coincidence ? Causation

Like I mentioned before, every time I write about energy or/and the environment, I get letters from people wanting to argue one side or the other of the global warming issue. The first part of this series was no exception. Some actually complained that I’d taken a neutral stance on whether mankind is causing global warming or not. In a way, this is why I wrote this interim essay — to explain my point of view more fully, even though it’s completely irrelevant whether man is causing global warming or not, or whether you or I believe it (I’ll explain why in a minute)…

Once more for the record, I’ve stated that I don’t pretend to be certain of whether or not man-caused CO2 and other so-called “greenhouse gases” are actually responsible for the modern up-trend in global temperatures. I’m not a climate scientist. Further, I make no attempt to minimize the fact that overwhelming evidence does indeed suggest that a slight increase in temperatures is happening on a global scale — or that coincidentally, levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide have increased measurably since the dawn of the industrial revolution.

However, within the framework of these actualities, I am certain of four things:

1) Planet Earth has experienced a huge number of climatic change periods in its history, both warming and cooling — all except the current one having occurred long before humans could ever have influenced the environment with their evil internal combustion engines or coal-fired power plants.

2) The “scientific community” (a term which has grown to include a lot of people whose credentials as climate specialists are questionable) is far from united in agreement that man-generated GHGs are the cause of the modern global warming trend. As an example, one of today’s most credible climate scientists, Carleton University paleo-climatologist and Professor of Geology Tim Patterson, testified in 2005 before Canada’s Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development that:

“There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth’s temperature… In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years. On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century’s modest warming?”

3) Lots of people — few, if any, of them scientists — are making lots of money and garnering lots of power and attention from the promotion of global warming hysteria. Conversely, those who challenge this mania (again, there are hundreds of credible examples of these) are mercilessly painted by the media and other global warming profiteers as “flat-Earthers.” They increasingly stand to gain nothing for their courage except ridicule, the ruination of their reputations, swift marginalization in polite circles and quite possibly a pink slip. To me, this gives their words a far greater weight than those on the other side of the argument.

4) The major media is not reporting on ANY of these three aspects to any significant degree — despite the somewhat inconvenient truth that credible backup for all of these facts can be found with just a few minutes of online research. (I did, and you can, too.)

Again, these are the only four truths of which I’m certain with regard to the entire climate change debate — except for one more thing: That even to a barely literate, synaptically challenged rube like me, it should be perfectly clear that the Earth’s climate should NOT stay static, but periodically change, sometimes radically.

Why does this come as a surprise to anyone? The simple fact that there are ocean-like deposits of oil — which is nothing more than the remains of eons worth of ancient plant matter subjected to huge amounts of pressure and time —under what’s now desert sand and arctic tundra should tell anyone with more than two brain cells that climatic change is the ONLY constant on planet Earth…

The Great Green Guilt-Trip

Before I elaborate on why U.S. energy policy is what it is, why it’s headed where it’s headed, and what it should be, I want to talk a bit about one of my biggest ongoing questions during the escalation of man-caused global warming theory:

If it’s not proven incontrovertibly by science, why do Americans seem to buy en masse into the idea that abundant-in-nature greenhouse gases are killing the planet simply because they come from their vehicle tailpipes and not solely the asses of buffalo and other natural sources?

The answer: Ignorance and guilt, both fostered by a corrupt politico-media spin machine.

Think about it objectively for a minute. It’s obvious that the media, our cultural icons and our elected leaders have been keeping us sheltered from the hard science or any real debate about man-caused global warming. These same people (especially the media) have also been making us Americans feel guilty for our success and the natural dominance of our less-flawed-than-everyone-else’s system for decades.Always do we hear about the strife in other countries and on other continents — and how it’s somehow our fault. Because we suck up too many resources. Because our trade practices are unfair. Because our foreign policy creates suffering and turmoil in nations that would ordinarily thrive. Because we aren’t doing enough to help…

And compassionate, feely saps that we Americans are, we buy it hook, line and sinker, whether it’s true or not. We feel bad about having it good — and for making it that way for ourselves. We never consider (because we never hear it) just how badly the Earth would have it if America did not exist. Who’d buy their bits of lead-painted junk? Who’d answer their call when they get unjustly invaded? Who’d send food and drugs and aid when they have an outbreak of disease or get washed out by a disaster? Where would they send their best and brightest to get educated? Where would throngs of their uneducated find gainful employment?

Worse than this, politicians exploit this guilt to tax us, regulate us, manipulate us, distract us, paralyze our thinking, stifle our tongues and seize ever more of our liberties. Nowhere is this more evident than in global warming policy. Based on nothing but faith in the correctness of a greenhouse gas THEORY promulgated by “objective” folks like movie stars, newscasters, politicians and the leaders of nations who benefit from our petro-strangulation, we’re losing our freedom to drive what we want (and what’s safest), consume as we desire and produce the things we need and that the rest of the world needs to buy — and used to buy from us…

This is the entire goal of the Kyoto Protocol, by the way — re-allocating the flow of world oil to favor underdeveloped nations and force the U.S. off the top of the heap in terms of economic and manufacturing supremacy (this is already happening, in large part out of concern for the environment). As I said in my first Whiskey & Gunpowder essay on this topic way back in March 2005:

“…the Kyoto Protocol was engineered to be extremely punitive to the U.S. — a nation which I’ve just proven burns its oil relatively cleanly and produces a comparatively large amount per unit consumed. Had the U.S. remained part of this farce, it would have been required to reduce its GHG emissions by an astounding 43% by 2012.

“The only way to do this would have been to radically curb oil consumption. This was likely the goal of the entire Treaty: Forcing the U.S. to use less oil, so that more would be available for the use of “developing” (read: major polluter) nations China, India, Brazil and about a zillion others in Africa — which are allowed under the Protocol to spew as much GHG into the atmosphere as is required to meet their needs. They are literally given the carte blanche right to pollute!

“When you really put it under a magnifying glass, the Kyoto Protocol appears to be nothing more than a UN-engineered scheme to siphon oil away from the U.S. and into the hands of pollution-exempt nations (many of them utterly corrupt) in UN President Kofi Annan’s native Africa and other zones — a disastrous move for the environment, from a Greenhouse Gas standpoint.”

As I’ve mentioned in previous essays, if Kyoto’s main thrust really was the reduction of greenhouse gasses, it would stipulate that a greater percentage of the world’s oil and fossil fuels be consumed by the nations with the technology and environmental conscience (read: democracies) to do it cleanest and extract the most wealth and prosperity out of it — countries like the U.S., not like China.

That’s how I know that Kyoto’s a bunch of Robin Hood-ish bunk — because it gives no weight to relative greenhouse gases per unit of fossil fuels consumed. If one believes that man-caused GHGs are ruining the Earth, then it makes no sense to restrict the fossil fuel consumption of nations that do it cleanly and facilitate the increased consumption of those that do it dirtily.

Bottom line: Literally, without anything resembling proof, and led by shameless profiteers globally and locally — some elected, some unelected and some previously elected — the United States teeters on the brink of energy policies which will accelerate our decline into dependency on other nations for not just energy, but all manner of manufactured goods…

And as I showed you in Part One of this series, this will do nothing but hasten the demise of planet Earth if the global warming alarmists do turn out to be right!

Anyway, thanks for bearing with me as I flesh out my own feelings on global warming a bit — and I’m sorry if my stance still seems somewhat neutral to you. I’m above all things objective, and like I’ve said all along: I’m not a climatologist, and not qualified to decide whether mankind is causing global warming.

However, I am qualified to expose corruption and self-interest, and the flawed policies that arise from them. And in Part Three of this series (the conclusion, I promise), I’ll show you the disillusioning truth behind what’s really driving U.S. energy policy — and what should be if we hope to survive in any form resembling the America we know and love.

Jim Amrhein
Freedoms Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder

December 14, 2007

The Daily Reckoning