I drove up to Byron, Minnesota a while back to buy some steel wheels for the Jetta. I had had enough of the slow leaks around the alloy wheel rims. By the way, 50 mpg on diesel, which emits less CO2 than gas, is greener than the autocrats in Washington dictate and ride around in.
From Byron, I drove into Rochester for my first lunch at a Chick-fil-A. It was okay for fast food. On the way into town I drove past a giant solar panel array on some rolling hills. It was pretty neat looking from a distance.
But anyone who enjoyed biology class as much as I did would look underneath. Plastic from China just doesn’t appeal to me. Under those panels was a world of interrelated plant and animal life that took 450 million years to evolve. The source of that life has been the sun all those years and it is a microcosm of what sustains life on earth. Now it will be starved.
There is a solar “farm” (as if a prison is a resort!) south of Hampton on soil so exclusively productive that it couldn’t be outclassed by 99% of the earth’s farmland.
On the other hand, the President has just approved 5,000 acres of solar installations in a California desert on public land that will power 275,000 homes. That makes a whole lot more sense than solar panels in the upper Midwest. The ultimate test though, would be if the owners of that land (and the tortoises) made that decision for themselves. The way it is, politicians made that decision for us and we haven’t consented.
One of the big issues with “sustainable” energy is its intermittent nature. Research on improved batteries is being federally subsidized and that means it will be directed by cronyism instead of market driven scientific vetting. Interestingly, I found that by far the most popular form of energy storage is by pumped hydro. So all these romantic sounding technologies like hydrogen and lithium batteries are dwarfed by simple water pumps and reservoirs.
The real king of solar energy storage is fossil fuels. Plants were nourished by the sun and compressed, like the wood pellets in a pellet smoker, but much more high tech. We can try but God knows more about creating than we do.
Let’s get on to human-caused climate change, the impetus for the tapping of taxpayers by green energy entrepreneurs. It seems like our national effort is at the same level as all our most recent wars. Our efforts have illustrated a lack of faith in the seriousness of the threats.
If we truly wish to accomplish the stated goal of a stable climate, I’ve listed some essential actions:
- Conquer China and India because their greenhouse gas emissions make any reduction here moot. Enforcing these invasions might look difficult but if the situation is so dire, isn’t any expense worth it?
- Ban all tillage. As a farmer, this issue is personal. Any time soil is tilled, tons of CO2 are released to the atmosphere. And millions of years building the soil is neutralized.
- Subsidize pedal powered computers.
- Birth control.
Before seeing these actions as ridiculous, consider that the world is bigger than Hampton. Consider that time is longer than our lifetimes. Consider that taxes paid by corporations are paid with your money. Expenses will be paid by ordinary people living ordinary lives, not billionaires sacrificing ski trips and yachts.
Adaptation to changing weather is practical. Changing the weather is impossible.