In all the climate change dialog there has always been something missing. We hear of rising sea levels and temperate lands turned into desert. Very little discussion is directed at how we can stabilize the climate, including the actual effect it will have on all of us.
South of Hampton is a new solar energy installation. It is dwarfed by proposed projects in southeast Iowa that would cover over 4,000 acres.
When I have friends visiting from other parts of the country, their main observation is how green it is here. In this summer of drought, just look at the corn. Experienced farmers marvel at the progress that has been made in corn genetics and how it has enabled the corn to stay green and yield under stress. A much bigger factor to me and visitors from distant places is the soil.
Joseph Stalin starved 3 million people to death in Ukraine to rob them of their extremely rare quality soil. Farmers in Ukraine at the time owned their own land. Stalin painted them as exploiters of consumers and workers. You don’t starve 3 million people over peanuts. Russians were easily convinced they must eliminate the capitalist oppressors.
To cover 4,000 acres of such a rare resource should require a good reason.
Professor William E. Rees has looked into climate change, the attempt to deal with it, and its effects. Alan Guebert, a liberal columnist who writes about the farming business has pointed out some of Dr. Rees’s findings:
To eliminate fossil fuel use would require 81% of the world’s energy use to be converted to electricity. Grid construction rate in the U.S. would have to increase 14 times over that of the last 100 years. Annual construction of windmills would have to quadruple every year for the next 15 years. Annual construction of solar panels over the same period would have to triple each year.
The process of this energy infrastructure production would then have to be repeated indefinitely because 15 years is the life span of this equipment. The landfills will be busy.
Each scenario will also take vast amounts of energy to accomplish. And like ethanol production, that energy will be provided by fossil fuels.
Then to store that energy, because the sun doesn’t shine and wind doesn’t blow all the time, batteries will be required. Elon Musk’s $5 billion, largest in the world battery factory, produces enough batteries in a year to store only 3 minutes of U.S. electricity demand.
Paul and Anne Ehrlich wrote “The Population Bomb” in 1968 predicting worldwide famine in the 1970s and 1980s. Their book did not account for scientific advances and efficiencies. The world has less hungry people now than ever. Entrepreneurs seeking profit by providing for willing buyers prevented the Ehrlichs’ forecast catastrophe.
What could get in the way of a similar outcome in dealing with climate change today are these useless solutions like alternative energy mandates diverting capital from projects that can truly help us adapt.
As Michael Moore’s recent documentary, “Planet of the Humans,” pointed out, much of the Green New Deal type legislation or rules will be ineffective and wasteful in alleviating the threat of human caused climate change (that is, if humans are responsible at all). And ultimately make things worse.
These things always come about when freedom is exchanged for security. I should say perceived security because as Dr. Rees and Michael Moore point out, all these climate change amelioration efforts are not affordable. So all the money taken from the market to accomplish them will go to waste.
Next thing you know those solar panels south of Hampton will power grow lights in a hydroponic greenhouse.