I remember last year when I read that the Eiffel Tower was going dark for an hour to show some sort of communal offering for the gods of climate change. It set me off then, and the now annual “Earth Hour” sets me off now. Putting aside any discussion of the potential of anthropomorphic climate change, the whole affair is only symbolic, and it shows hairshirt desire to punish us for our environmental sins. It’s a step back in time, when the setting of the sun, for most people, meant it was time for bed. It sends the message that technological deprivation is the solution to our environmental issues, and not technological progress. Joe Katzman over at the Winds of Change blog talks about my feelings on the issue more eloquently than I could:
So instead, leave your lights on between 8:30-9:30pm. I think it’s a great idea. Not just as a celebration of the human achievement and technological progress that has given us lives without parallel in human history, though it is that. Those space shots of North vs. South Korea say it all.
I wrote about this on my own blog almost exactly a year ago, and I haven’t changed my mind. I’ll be turning on extra lights during that hour to symbolically push back the darkness that others are symbolically welcoming so readily.
Yesterday, President Obama announced a new gambit to get Republicans closer to getting on board with the cap and trade scam — I mean, scheme — that he desperately wants to pass during his administration. He is now promising guaranteed loans to industry for the building of the first new nuclear power plants in around 30 years in the United States.
If I blur my eyes enough, this is a darn good thing. It’s inexcusable that with all the problems that the requirement for fossil fuels cause we still have “environmental” concerns about this tech. Anyone that won’t even consider nuclear power plants in the year 2010 is subscribing more to a religion than common sense. So, yeah, good on Obama, right?
Well, no, I don’t think so. The biggest problem that citizens have right now with our government is the catastrophic spending binge we’ve been on. It’s been a problem throughout the last decade, but has reached truly stupid levels in the past year. Given that, take a gander at this paragraph from the above-linked article:
According to the official, Obama’s 2011 budget “triples loan guarantees for nuclear-power plants to more than 54 billion dollars.”
This is a good thing? Really? So, we’re spending 54 billion of borrowed money to loan to private industry at great interest rates. News flash: this is a bad thing, not a good thing. My question is this: why the need for government loans? Is the price of generating electricity via nuclear power really more expensive than via coal, oil, or natural gas? If it is, why? Is it due to insurance costs? Excessive regulation? Waste disposal? The cost of the fuel? That should be the answer: attack the problem from those angles, and not go to our grandchildren for the money to finance our projects.
Republicans need to see this for what is is: the administration borrowing from the future to buy them off for votes for the tax and control scam cap and trade represents. I’m all for the industry building out our non-fossil fuel capacity. The government has no business greasing the skids — especially when the deficit is so ridiculous.
Thanks to Instapundit for the link above, even though we’re on different sides on this one (rare, but it happens).
Or so I’m reading from this news piece on OPB. They go on to describe efforts in eastern Oregon to kill other clean energy projects because the turbines hurt some people’s poor, delicate senses of what is natural and beautiful.
All this back and forth is a strange thing if you look at it from a Left and Right, Republican and Democrat perspective. Don’t fall into that trap, though. This is really a localized version of a fight that dictates what goes on in Washington, D.C. all the time: special interest groups duking it out in the lobbying area and the public perception arena. You have four groups fighting in this particular case: the businesses putting up the actual money to build the towers, the clean power/wind power groups, the wildlife protection groups, and the property owner groups. The second and third are usually associated with the Left, and the last really reflects the demographic make up of wherever the property owners are from.
Using this perspective, it makes a lot more sense to me how Leftist groups can be fighting so hard to kill something that falls so obviously under the Leftist ideals. Clean power, with no CO2 emmissions, no nuclear waste, no smog, and whatever they say, a lot less effect on the wildlife than hydroelectric.
I’ve linked to it before, but if you haven’t, read the essay The Coming of the Fourth American Republic by James V. DeLong over at AEI’s site. Everything that goes on — at least at the Federal level — becomes a lot clearer when you understand that special interest groups pretty much run the system. And that’s a feature, not a bug.
This came up on my radar this morning:
WA state biologist: wind project could pose risk
Bats, birds abide Skamania wind project site, biologist says
So, a proposal from a private company to build out 75 megawatts of clean energy is getting heat for the potential of bat and raptor death. We’re in the midst of a bad recession, fossil fuels are continuing a long term upward trend, and (putting aside my feelings about it), there’s concern about climate change due to burning too much oil, natural gas, and coal — and we’re talking bats.
This reminds me somewhat of Ted Kennedy’s fight against clean energy on the Nantucket Sound a few years ago. What does this teach us? Perfection doesn’t exist, and you need to prioritize. Ted showed his priorities with that wind farm (my view is more important than clean energy). We’ll see where the priorities lay with this wind project in the Gorge.
I read this, and scoffed. Loudly.
NEW YORK, March 27 (UPI) — The Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower and Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza are among the landmarks that will go dark Saturday night for Earth Hour.
This sends the message that the solution to possible climate change issues is to use less energy. Mind you, not by efficiency, but by living in the dark. This is a sad step backwards, and sends a depressing message to the younger generation. “Don’t expect to be able to be crazy with your lightbulbs like we were!” I’m all for clean energy, efficiency, being smart about energy use, etc. I’m not excited about going backwards in time a hundred plus years to find the solution to possible problem.
I suggest that, at 8:30 PM on March 28th, everyone turn on every light in their house. Call it the “Technology is Good Hour”. I’m going to.
Today I read on Next Big Future about Obama’s recently announced clean energy goals. The key is his commitment to “catalyze private sector efforts to build a ‘clean energy future'” with 15 billion a year of federalm money. While this is nice, sure, it’s certainly a lot less than I expected. For an annual budget of almost 3 trillion a year, this breaks down to about a half of one percent of the total. We spend almost 20 times that amount on the interest on the national debt alone. Forgive me if I don’t take this as a sign of Obama’s seriousness to renewable energy. We should be spending that much on fusion research alone (if not more), no matter solar, wind, geothermal, and other long shot renewables.
It’s early, of course, and he’s not even president yet. There may be a whole lot of inventive and smart things coming other than this to spur the “green energy revolution”. This, though, certainly isn’t it.