Alan Winslow: Disdaining Africans — sea levels — nuclear things


Judith Curry, climate scientist, and Alex Epstein, corporate adviser, are outraged that Africa is not permitted to develop a fossil fuel energy infrastructure. We all should be.

Despite ample fossil fuel resources and a great need for reliable, affordable energy — the key factor to lift millions from poverty and disease — American financial institutions will not provide loans for fossil fuel development. Such is the global warming policy of the ruling party that is in permanent control of our government and U.S. financial institutions.

Yet, thanks primarily to fossil fuel energy expansion in other nations, especially India and China, absolute poverty amongst all of the world’s poor has shrunk from four in 10 people to one in 10 in the last 25 years. And you probably did not know how crucial fossil fuel-generated electric power was to such success. Most of us coddled Americans think our monthly check to “Food for the Poor” is enough.

Well, sorry, reliable electric power on a nationwide industrial scale is what Africans and all nations really need for advancement out of chronic impoverishment, high child mortality rates and hunger.

Free of the need for American financial support, India and China keep building large numbers of new coal-fired electric power plants to uplift their populations into healthier and less fragile lives. And with their fossil fuel energy programs, more people have been lifted out of wretched poverty than ever before in world history.

But Africa needs American investment to build a similar reliable, affordable energy infrastructure.

Not going to happen.

America says, “If you want to get continental, industrial scale energy going, you’ll need to construct hundreds and thousands of solar panel farms. And also sink hundreds of thousands of wind turbines into Mother Earth. That will be your approved national-industrial energy policy.”

Why, look at how well it works in Germany.

Germany is the world’s model for reliance on green renewable energy. And it’s a failure. They have had to recommission coal-fired power plants (talk about turning the clock back) because green energy — renewables — wind and solar — which is now half their power grid and which generates electricity only 10 to 30% of the time — has poor reliability and sufficiency to maintain electric power flow at sufficient scale.

But hey, it’s not whether people stay warm in the winter or poor folk can pay the utility bill. What matters is curtailing fossil fuel CO2 emissions to end global warming.

So tough luck, Africans … but thanks for your pointless sacrifice to stem our ruling party’s Chicken Little fiction. Oh, and please pass that gratitude on to your suffering children.

Sea levels

Government-funded climate scientists claim the world could experience the calamity of up to a 12-foot sea level rise this century. The culprit, of course, as always, is the burning of fossil fuels.

Very scary stuff, as in adios to coastal cities.

However, according to geophysicist David Hadke and others, a more plausible outcome looks like this:

Sea levels have risen over the past 15,000 years, ever since the last ice age. In the past 2,000 years, sea level rise has been a straight-line progression of 1 to 1.5 mm per year. (A dime is 1.35 mm thick.) This accumulates to about a 6-inch rise per century. Looking at the next 100 years, a 10.7-inch sea level rise is projected by Dr. Hadke, a scientist not yet infected by the virus of government funding.

That’s quite a spread, by a factor of 12.

The moral: Climate science funded by the U.S. government is about as trustworthy as virology labs in China.

Nuclear things

Michael Shellenberger, an environmental activist and once an advocate for renewable energy, offers an instructive “Ted-talk” on nuclear versus wind and solar power generation.

Neither source pollutes the atmosphere.

Wind and solar are intermittent providers at about 10 to 30% of the year, and nuclear is fully reliable at 90%.

Lancet, a British medical journal, rates nuclear energy the safest power source.

Wind and solar always require significant fossil fuel backup to maintain government reliability power generation standards of 99.99%. Nuclear is a steady contributor to the grid.

Wind and solar dilute energy sources and require gigantic parcels of land to generate comparable energy. Compared to a nuclear plant, these dilute, intermittent sources require 450 times as much land area. A nuclear plant requires about one square mile of land.

Solar panels have a 20- to 25-year life and then have to be replaced. Their lead, cadmium and chromium components are toxic elements and require special processing. In addition, a solar panel farm installation requires 17 times the building material of an equivalent nuclear plant.

Wind turbine blades, 65 to 130 feet in length, have a 20-year operating life. Disposal of such giants (millions of them over time) will be an environmental challenge.

Nuclear waste must be disposed of safely but the amount of space needed is a fraction of wind turbine disposal.

And comparing performance: France offers an example of nuclear power success. Seventy-five percent of France’s electric power needs are met by nuclear plants. Germany has 50% solar and wind power sources and has been decommissioning nuclear plants. Guess who has the bigger carbon footprint. Germany, by a factor of two. And electric bills in France are half that of Germany.

So one of the great puzzles regarding global warming policymakers in America is their utter disinterest in a nuclear energy solution, if even a solution is needed. It is bizarre. It seems nuclear energy isn’t green enough for these grandiose crusaders.

Such tiresome people. Such tiresome hypocrisy. And considering the world’s poor, such pitiless folly.

Alan Winslow, a resident of Seymour, occasionally writes a column for The Tribune. Send comments to [email protected].

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