California may run out of Water because of the PDO and Sunspot Activity, not because of Manmade Global Warming

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 22nd, 2013

Week in Review

It’s not snowing enough in the Rocky Mountains anymore because of global warming.  According to all the relevant climate scientists today.  Whose research appears to contain more politics than scientific analysis.  For they have arrived at conclusions based on a selective set of scientific results while conveniently ignoring contradictory data.  And because they do they can make claims like this (see Why Dwindling Snow—Thanks Largely to Climate Change—Might Dry Out Los Angeles by Bryan Walsh posted 6/17/2013 on Time Science & Space).

While the national government remains slow to deal with climate change, many cities have been moving ahead. Why the difference? Well, cities tend to be more homogenous politically, which makes any kind of decisive action easier to push through. But the real reason is that city managers know they will be the first ones forced to deal with the likely consequences of global warming: rising sea levels and flooding, deadly heat waves and water struggles…

Now a new study from the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests that the local mountain snowfall — vital for water supplies — could fall 30% to 40% below 2000 levels by midcentury, thanks to global warming. And if emissions don’t decline and warming is worse than we expect, more snow will vanish, even as greater L.A. continues to grow.

Included in the article are very scientific-sounding statements from climate scientists ensconced in one of our liberal universities (UCLA) which, of course, would have no liberal bias.

The mountains won’t receive nearly as much snow as they used to, and the snow they do get will not last as long …We won’t reach the 32ºF threshold for snow as often, so a greater percentage of precipitation will fall as rain instead of snow, particularly at lower elevations. Increased flooding is possible from the more frequent rains, and springtime runoff from melting snowpack will happen sooner…

This science is clear and compelling: Los Angeles must begin today to prepare for climate change.

All because of global warming caused by rising levels of greenhouse gasses?  Well, that’s what they say.  Of course, that doesn’t explain the fall in global temperatures over the last decade.  Odd climate behavior for a climate suffering from global warming.  Their models can’t explain this.  But this can (see Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) posted 3/2/2011 on appinsys.com/GlobalWarming).

Evidence is presented that the recent worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response to a worldwide warming of the oceans rather than as a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land. Atmospheric model simulations of the last half-century with prescribed observed ocean temperature changes, but without prescribed GHG changes, account for most of the land warming. … Several recent studies suggest that the observed SST variability may be misrepresented in the coupled models used in preparing the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, with substantial errors on interannual and decadal scales. There is a hint of an underestimation of simulated decadal SST variability even in the published IPCC Report.

They go on to discuss something called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).  And the PDO index.  Which they calculate “from sea surface temperatures and sea level pressures.”  What they found was a cyclical warming and cooling every 20-30 years.  This change in ocean temperatures caused a change in the low-level jet stream as it blew across the United States from west to east.  When it moves south it picks up more moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and causes more Midwest storms.  When it moves further south the Midwest suffers droughts.  Like those that created the great dust bowl of the Thirties.  And causes less snowfall in the mountains.

What causes the PDO?  Well, there is a correlation between sunspot activity and the PDO.  So that is a likely cause.  And a probable cause.  So sunspot activity causes warming and cooling of the oceans.  Which causes changes in the low-level jet stream.  Resulting in warming and cooling over land.  And depending where that low-level jet stream moves we may have floods, droughts, storms or mountain snow.  None of which has a thing to do with man-made greenhouse gases.

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New Paper shows Inverse Relationship between Global Warming and Coal-Fired Power Plants

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 6th, 2013

Week in Review

In the Seventies they were scaring kids about a coming ice age.  And about air pollution so bad that we would one day have to wear gas masks when going outside.  The planet is a lot cleaner now.  And there is no talk about Americans one day having to wear a gas mask when going outside.  And that coming ice age?  Well, they were just wrong about that.  For what they thought was global cooling was actually global warming.  An easy mistake to make.  Because they’re both about temperature.  One just moves in one direction.  While the other moves in the other.  And unless you do something like record temperatures periodically how are you going to know which direction those temperatures are moving?

Then again, perhaps there was cooling then.  Before that cooling turned into warming.  For it now appears the reverse is happening.  A move from warming back to cooling.  Thanks to the Chinese and the Indians (see Climate forcing growth rates: doubling down on our Faustian bargain posted on IOP Science).

Remarkably, and we will argue importantly, the airborne fraction has declined since 2000 (figure 3) during a period without any large volcanic eruptions… The airborne fraction is affected by factors other than the efficiency of carbon sinks, most notably by changes in the rate of fossil fuel emissions (Gloor et al 2010). However, it is the dependence of the airborne fraction on fossil fuel emission rate that makes the post-2000 downturn of the airborne fraction particularly striking. The change of emission rate in 2000 from 1.5% yr-1 to 3.1% yr-1 (figure 1), other things being equal, would have caused a sharp increase of the airborne fraction (the simple reason being that a rapid source increase provides less time for carbon to be moved downward out of the ocean’s upper layers).

A decrease in land use emissions during the past decade (Harris et al 2012) could contribute to the decreasing airborne fraction in figure 3, although Malhi (2010) presents evidence that tropical forest deforestation and regrowth are approximately in balance, within uncertainties. Land use change can be only a partial explanation for the decrease of the airborne fraction; something more than land use change seems to be occurring.

We suggest that the huge post-2000 increase of uptake by the carbon sinks implied by figure 3 is related to the simultaneous sharp increase in coal use (figure 1). Increased coal use occurred primarily in China and India… Associated gaseous and particulate emissions increased rapidly after 2000 in China and India (Lu et al 2011, Tian et al 2010). Some decrease of the sulfur component of emissions occurred in China after 2006 as wide application of flue-gas desulfurization began to be initiated (Lu et al 2010), but this was largely offset by continuing emission increases from India (Lu et al 2011).

We suggest that the surge of fossil fuel use, mainly coal, since 2000 is a basic cause of the large increase of carbon uptake by the combined terrestrial and ocean carbon sinks… Sulfate aerosols from coal burning also might increase carbon uptake by increasing the proportion of diffuse insolation, as noted above for Pinatubo aerosols, even though the total solar radiation reaching the surface is reduced…

Reduction of the net human-made climate forcing by aerosols has been described as a ‘Faustian bargain’ (Hansen and Lacis 1990, Hansen 2009), because the aerosols constitute deleterious particulate air pollution. Reduction of the net climate forcing by half will continue only if we allow air pollution to build up to greater and greater amounts.

Let’s review.  The airborne fraction carbon dioxide has fallen since 2000.  And, as a result, global temperatures did not rise as projected.  Even though there were no large volcanic eruptions.  Which cause global cooling.  Tropical forest deforestation and re-growth are balancing each other out.  So that’s not a factor in this decline of airborne carbon dioxide.  Which leaves the sole remaining answer for the decline in airborne carbon dioxide levels as China’s and India’s explosion in new coal-fired power plants.  Yes, the wonderful air pollution from burning coal apparently cools the planet.  Like a volcanic eruption does.

Are you seeing the bigger picture here?  For a hundred years or so the Industrial Revolution belched so much ash, soot, smoke, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the air that it left black clouds over cities.  And a layer of soot and ash on everything.  This is why we electrified trains in our cities.  To keep coal-fired locomotives and their great black plumes of smoke out of the cities.  Was there a global warming problem then?  No.  That didn’t come into vogue until Al Gore started talking about it in the Nineties.  When the planet was doomed if we didn’t act immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Despite only a few years earlier the climate scientists were warning us of the coming ice age.  Probably because of all that global cooling from our coal-fired power plants, steam engines and locomotives.

As oil, gas and electricity replaced coal-fired boilers everywhere (we even used coal in our home furnaces) all that pollution from coal went away.  And then came the Nineties.  And catastrophic global warming.  Just as China and India began to incorporate some capitalism into their economies.  Which they fed with electricity provided by more and more coal-fired power plants.  And as they belched all that wonderful pollution into the air the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide as well as global temperatures fell.  So I ask again, do you see the bigger picture here?

Yes, global warming is man-made.  At least this is what one can conclude from this paper.  And it is the climate scientists who made it.  By telling us to reduce all of the cooling emissions from our coal-fired power plants.  But, thankfully, the Indians and the Chinese still care enough about Mother Earth to pump those cooling emissions into the air.  And gave us a reprieve from the global warming apocalypse.  But if the climate scientists get their way they’ll bring on that apocalypse.  By pressuring China and India to stop putting those cooling emissions into the air.  And for the sake of the planet we can only hope that they don’t succumb to that pressure.

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Climate ‘Scientists’ have found Proof that Climate Change causes Humanitarian Disasters

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 3rd, 2013

Week in Review

Now we have proof that global warming causes humanitarian disasters.  Well, not proof in a real scientific way.  But in the kind of way that you have to note with asterisk.  With the asterisk denoting that this science is not real science.  But climate science.  Where the science is more politics than science.  As evident by the vast majority (if not all) the climate ‘scientists’ are anti-capitalists and/or favor more restrictive business regulations.  This is the ‘science’ that has found proof that climate change has led to a humanitarian disaster (see Humanitarian disaster blamed on climate change by Michael Marshall posted 3/1/2013 on New Scientist).

For the first time, we have proof that climate change has led to a humanitarian disaster. The East African drought of 2011, which resulted in a famine that killed at least 50,000 people, was partly caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases.

For the first time the climate ‘scientists’ have proof that all the climate doom and gloom they’ve been preaching the last few decades is for real?  That until now it was at best a hunch?  They didn’t say that then.  In fact they spoke then with the same certainty that they now speak with.  So why should we believe this now?  How do we know that they won’t say in the future that they can finally, for the first time, actually prove something?  And it won’t be different from something they told us in the past?

Humanity’s activities had no effect on the short rains – they failed because of a strong La Niña in the Pacific. “That’s natural,” says Stott.

But climate change did affect the long rains, making them more likely to fail (Geophysical Research Letters, doi.org/kmv). The model could only reproduce the scale of the drought if it included greenhouse gas emissions.

I have a model, too.  A formula.  It’s one that predicts the future economy.  Here it is.  EO=If(P=EC, good, bad).  Where P=President, EC=Economically Conservative and EO=Economic Outlook.  And it works as a standard ‘if’ function on a spreadsheet program.  If the president is economically conservative then the economic outlook is good.  If the president is NOT economically conservative then the economic outlook is bad.  And it is a proven formula.

The economy has been bad under President Obama who is not economically conservative.  But good under President George W. Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush, and Ronald Reagan.  Who were all economically conservative.  At least to a certain degree.  It was bad under Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon.  Who weren’t economically conservative.  With Republican Richard Nixon even calling himself a Keynesian after he decoupled the dollar from gold.  It went from good to bad under JBJ.  Who wasn’t economically conservative.  It went from bad to good under JFK who was economically conservative.  We call the Fifties Happy Days because the economy was pretty good under Eisenhower.  Who was economically conservative (his foreign policy dwarfed any interest in meddling with the domestic economy).  Truman and FDR were New Dealers.  Who weren’t economically conservative in the least.  And neither was Herbert Hoover.  Whose non-conservative economic policies helped to kick off the recession that FDR transformed into the Great Depression.  Both Calvin Coolidge and Warren G. Harding were economically conservative.  And their policies gave us great economic prosperity.  And so on.

I’d have to modify the formula to account for President Clinton.  For though the economy did well while he was in office it is a little more complicated with him.  Who kind of fell ass-backwards into some good economic times.  First of all he was still riding the wave of Reaganomics.  He had a peace dividend from Ronald Reagan winning the Cold War.  Asia was suffering a financial crisis.  Japan was just beginning their Lost Decade.  And after only 2 years in office Clinton lost Congress.  Forcing him to scale back on his liberal agenda.  Also, it was under Clinton that we got the dot-com boom (and irrational exuberance) and the subsequent subprime mortgage crisis.  Making a lot of Clinton’s economic growth, then, artificial.  A bubble.  The dot-com bubble bursting just after Clinton left office.  The subprime mortgage housing bubble bursting in 2007.  So Clinton, who was not economically conservative, made a mess of things but was lucky enough to be out of office when the train wreck of his administration’s policies hit.  Especially those initiated by his Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending that gave us the subprime mortgage crisis and the Great Recession.

So my model works.  History supports it.  Yet which model will be taken more seriously?  The one that is so complex with so many variables that no one can be sure what’s going on with it.  The one that took a lot of fine-tuning to get it to explain anything the way they wanted it to explain it.  Which is why it took until now to prove something for the first time.  Unlike mine.  Which has been proving things for decades.

The team calculate that climate change is responsible for between 24 per cent and 99 per cent of the risk of long rains failure.

Further proof that climate science is not real science.  Proving something is 24-99% responsible is not scientific.  I know.  I was marked down for something 4 places PAST the decimal point while in college.  When I protested that I was close enough the professor said that isn’t how science works.  Being close enough just doesn’t work.  You may eat food that is 99% salmonella-free.   But you sure aren’t going to eat food that is only 24% salmonella-free.

Although Stott’s findings add to the evidence that East Africa will face more droughts as the climate warms, for now, the region is slowly recovering from 2011. The short rains at the end of 2012 were good, and the latest forecasts suggest that the long rains will be roughly normal, or at least not far below that.

If the climate is warming because of man-made global warming how can the model show East Africa is cooling now?  Climate ‘scientists’ have been saying that if we don’t act NOW we’re doomed.  Because it could take decades to reverse the damage we’ve caused.  If so how is it that East Africa is reversing the damage in little over a year?  Despite the world NOT taking urgent measure to reverse global warming?  Or is what happening the normal ebb and flow of warming and cooling periods of climate that has little if anything to do with whatever man is putting into the atmosphere?

In the long run, studies that attribute blame in this way could be used by people attempting to sue for damages relating to climate change. A number of such cases are currently moving through US courts, spearheaded by the Alaskan village of Kivalina. The village is threatened by increased storm surges that may be linked to climate change, and its residents are suing major energy companies for the cost of evacuating.

Such cases still face significant challenges, says environmental lawyer Tracy Hester of the University of Houston in Texas. Anyone trying to bring one to court will have to link the damages they have suffered to a particular source of emissions.

How about that?  The ultimate use for such a model is for someone to sue some business.  Just as an anti-capitalist is wont to do.

I have another model.  This one points to who is responsible for global warming.  And who we should be suing.  Before global warming there was global cooling.  Climate ‘scientists’ were warning us about the coming ice age.  That changed sometime during the late 20th Century.  When the climate ‘scientists’ changed their minds and said the planet was warming.  Without really giving a good reason why they switched from cooling to warming.  But as they warned us they got the politicians to write new environmental laws.  To prevent warming.  And to save the planet.  Adding emission controls on our cars and power plants.  Launching their war on coal.  And what happened?  Temperatures continued to rise.  To the highest they had ever been.  As they continued to urge us to take even more drastic actions.  Before it was too late.

If the temperatures are still rising even after reducing harmful emissions what can one rationally conclude?  This temperature rise must be man-made.  The climate ‘scientists’ caused it.  (And should be the ones we’re suing.)  By forcing us to cut back on the cooling emissions of our coal-fired power plants.  For they put the same things into the atmosphere an erupting volcano does.  And erupting volcanoes cool the planet.  Which brings me to my other model.  It, too, is a simple equation.  CC=If(DIF=L, warming, not warming).  Where DIF=Dominant Influential Force, L=Liberal and CC=Climate Change.  If the dominating influential force is liberal they will restrict cooling emissions that are similar to what volcanoes produce, causing global warming.  If the dominating influential force is not liberal then cooling emissions may increase and not warm the planet.

Noting that people who are economically conservative are not liberal you can combine my two equations into one with some simple substitutions.  Which reduces down to an even simpler formula.  If you want a healthy economy and a healthy planet vote conservative.  Which the empirical data supports.  As President Obama’s policies are doing little to fix the economy or the environment.

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FT138: “High gas prices mean high food prices.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 5th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

We use Diesel Fuel in our Ships, Trains and Trucks to move Food from the Farm to the Grocery Store

People don’t like high gas prices.  When the price at the pump goes up more of our paycheck goes into the gas tank.  Or, more precisely, in everyone’s gas tanks.  For even if you don’t drive a car when gas prices go up you’re putting more of your paycheck into the gas tanks of others.  Thanks to oil being the lifeblood of our economy.  And unless you’re completely self-sufficient (growing your own food, making your own clothes, etc.) everything you buy consumed some petroleum oil somewhere before reaching you.

Gas prices go up for a variety of reasons.  The purely economic reason is the market forces of supply and demand.  When gas prices rise it’s because demand for gasoline is greater than the supply of gasoline.  Which means our refineries aren’t producing enough gasoline to meet demand.  And the purely economic reason for that is that they are not refining enough crude oil.  Meaning the low supply of gasoline is due to the low supply of crude oil.  Which brings us to how high gasoline prices consume more of our paychecks even if we don’t drive.  The reason being that we just don’t make gasoline out of crude oil.  We also make diesel fuel.

Diesel fuel is a remarkable refined product.  It just has so much energy in it.  And we can compress an air-fuel mixture of it to a very small volume.  Put the two together and you get a long and powerful power stroke.  Making the diesel engine the engine of choice for our heavy moving.  We use it in the ships that cross the ocean.  In the trains that cross our continents.  And in the trucks that bring everything to where we can buy them.  To the grocery stores.  The department stores.  To the restaurants.  Everything in the economy that we don’t make for ourselves travels on diesel fuel.  Which is why when gas prices go up diesel fuel prices go up.  Because of the low supply of oil going to our refineries to refine these products.

Oil is at a Disadvantage when it comes to Inflation because you just can’t Hide the Affects of Inflation in the Price of Oil

And there are other things that raise the price of gasoline.  That aren’t purely economical.  But more political.  Such as restrictions on domestic oil drilling.  Which reduces domestic supplies of crude oil.  Political opposition to new pipelines.  Which reduces Canadian supplies of crude oil.  Special ‘summer’ blends of gasoline to reduce emissions that tax a refinery’s production capacity.  As well as our pipeline distribution network.  Higher gasoline taxes.  To pay for roads and bridges.  And to battle emissions.  The ethanol mandate to use corn for fuel instead of food.  Again, to battle emissions.  All of which makes it more difficult to bring more crude oil to our refineries.  And more difficult for our refineries to make gasoline.  Which all go to adding costs into the system.  Raising the price at the pump.  Consuming more of our paychecks.  No matter who is buying it.

Then there is another factor increasing the price at the pump.  Inflation.  When the government tries to stimulate economic activity by lowering interest rates they do that by expanding the money supply.  So money is cheaper to borrow because there is so much more of it to borrow.  Hence the lower interest rates.  However, expanding the money supply also causes inflation.  And devalues the dollar.  As more dollars are now chasing the same amount of goods and services in the economy.  So it takes more of them to buy the same things they once did.  One of the harder hit commodities is oil.  Because we price oil on the world market in U.S. dollars.  So when you devalue the dollar it takes more of them to buy the same amount of oil they once bought.

Oil is at a particular disadvantage when it comes to inflation.  Because you just can’t hide the affects of inflation in the price of oil.  Or the gas we make from it.  Unlike you can with laundry detergent, potato chips, cereal, candy bars, toilet paper, etc.  Where the manufacturer can reduce the packaging or portion size.  Allowing them not to raise prices to reflect the full impact inflation.  They still increase the unit price to reflect the rise in the general price level.  But by selling smaller quantities and portions their prices still look affordable.  This is a privilege the oil industry just doesn’t have.  They price crude oil by a fixed quantity (barrel).  And sell gasoline by a fixed quantity (gallon).  So they have no choice but to reflect the full impact of inflation in these prices.  Which is why there is more anger about high gas prices than almost any other commodity.

Perhaps we can lay the Greatest Blame for the Current Economic Malaise on the Government’s Inflationary Monetary Policies

Current gas prices are hitting record highs.  And this during the worse economic recovery following the worst recession since the Great Depression.  Gas prices and the unemployment rate are typically inversely related to each other.  When there is high unemployment people are buying less gasoline.  This excess gasoline supply results in lower gas prices.  When there is low unemployment people are buying more gasoline.  This excess demand for gasoline results in higher gas prices.  These are the normal affects of supply and demand.  So the current high gas prices have little to do to with normal economic forces.  Which leaves government policies to explain why gas prices are so high.

Environmental concerns have greatly increased regulatory policy.  Increasing regulatory compliance costs.  Which has greatly discouraged the building of new refineries.  And making it very difficult to build new pipelines.  Which tax current pipeline and refinery capacities.  A problem mitigated only with their restriction on domestic oil production.  The current administration has pretty much shut down oil exploration and production on all federal lands.  Reducing crude oil supplies to refineries.  These environmental policies would send gas prices soaring if the economy was booming.  But the economy is not booming.  In fact the U-6 unemployment rate (which counts everyone who can’t find a full time job) held steady at 14.7% in September.  So an overheated economy is not the reason we have high gas prices.  But the high gas prices may be part of the reason we have such high unemployment.

Perhaps we can lay the greatest blame for the current economic malaise on the government’s inflationary monetary policies.  Inflation increases prices.  Especially those things sold in fixed quantities priced in dollars.  Like oil.  And gasoline.  The price inflation in refined oil products is like a virus that spreads throughout the economy.  Because everyone uses energy.  Especially the food industry.  From the farmers driving their tractor to work their fields.  To the trucks that take grain to rail terminals.  To the trains that transport this grain to food processing plants.  To the trucks that deliver these food products to our grocery stores.  From the moment farmers first turn over their soil in spring to the truck backing into to a grocery store’s loading dock to consumers bringing home groceries in their car to put food on the table fuel is consumed everywhere.  Which is why when gasoline prices go up food prices go up.  Because we refine gasoline from the same crude oil we refine diesel fuel from.  Oil.  Creating a direct link between our energy policy and the price of food.

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Environmentalists shut down Cheap Electricity from Coal-Fired Power Plants and sends US Coal to China

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 23rd, 2012

Week in Review

Environmentalists don’t like energy.  Because it pollutes.  So they actively fight against energy.  To reduce pollution.  And to save the planet.  No matter the costs.  They don’t care how much they increase the cost of electricity for the American consumer.  Or how unreliable they make our electric supply (see Analysis: Coal fight looms, Keystone-like, over U.S. Northwest by Patrick Rucker, Reuters, posted 9/23/2012 on Yahoo! News).

Call it the Keystone of coal: a regulatory and public relations battle between environmentalists and U.S. coal miners akin to the one that has defined the Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline.

Instead of blocking an import, however, this fight is over whether to allow a growing surplus of coal to be exported to Asia, a decision that would throw miners a lifeline by effectively offshoring carbon emissions and potentially give China access to cheaper coal.

The environmentalists stopped the Keystone pipeline.  Because they didn’t want that Canadian tar sands oil coming into the US.  Bringing down the price of gasoline.  Which would only encourage people to drive more.  They have encouraged shutting down our coal-fired power plants.  Perhaps our least costly and most reliable source of electric power.  Because we have an abundance of coal in America.  For unlike oil we are not dependent on any foreign sources for our coal.  Coal gives us true energy independence.  If it weren’t for the environmentalists, that is.

Tough new Environmental Protection Agency limits on power plant emissions are often blamed, along with low natural gas prices, for the drop in domestic coal use, but burning the black rock in Asia will have the same impact on the atmosphere…

With nearly 9 percent of U.S. coal furnaces set to go dark in the next four years and more utilities moving to natural gas, the 100 billion tons of coal still locked in the region need to reach new markets or face being frozen in the ground.

The environmentalists would rather that coal stay in the ground.  If they can’t have that they’d rather the Chinese get it for their energy needs than the Americans.  Even though according to the environmentalists it doesn’t matter who burns that coal.  For those emissions will make it into the atmosphere whoever burns that coal.  And if that’s true the US should burn that coal.  Not China.  We should not give up what energy independence we have.  Besides, we’re never going to please the environmentalists.

They don’t like coal.  They don’t like fracking that gives us cheap natural gas because it may pollute nearby water tables.  They don’t like nuclear power because of the chance of a nuclear accident (which has happened a couple of times in the 50-60 years we’ve used nuclear power to generate electricity).  They don’t like hydroelectric dams because they disrupt the ecosystem.  So what do they like?  They sort of like wind power.  If it doesn’t kill too many birds.  They do like solar power.  And some other renewable sources that provide a negligible amount of electric power today.  The things they like, though, will never be able to produce enough electric power to meet our energy needs.  Especially if everyone starts driving electric cars.

So while our energy costs rise and we endure more power blackouts as we shut down more reliable coal-fired power plants and replace them with windmills and solar panels China will be enjoying the power our coal will produce for them.  Is this fair?  It is if you’re an environmentalist apparently.

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President Obama’s Green Energy Investment into Electric Cars is a Failure According to CB0

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 22nd, 2012

Week in Review

Saving the planet with electric cars is a costly endeavor.  Part of the problem is that no one wants these cars.  Even with fat government subsidies.  Because people would rather have big SUVs, trucks and full-size sedans.  Vehicles that are useful.  Safe.  And have big gasoline engines in them that will always get you home.  Which is why the government’s green energy investment into the electric car industry will never deliver any of its promises (see U.S. electric car policy to cost $7.5 billion by 2019: CBO by Bernie Woodall and Deepa Seetharaman posted 9/20/2012 on Reuters).

U.S. federal policies to promote electric vehicles will cost $7.5 billion through 2019 and have “little to no impact” on overall national gasoline consumption over the next several years, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report issued on Thursday.

Consumer tax credits for buying electric vehicles, which can run as high as $7,500 per vehicle, will account for about 25 percent of the $7.5 billion cost, the CBO said.

The rest of the cost comprises of $2.4 billion in grants to battery makers and projects to promote electric vehicles as well as $3.1 billion in loans to auto companies designed to spur production of fuel-efficient vehicles.

“The more electric and other high-fuel-economy vehicles that are sold because of the tax credits, the more low-fuel-economy vehicles that automakers can sell and still meet the standards,” according to the report.

As a result, tax credits will have “little or no impact on the total gasoline use and greenhouse gas emissions of the nation’s vehicle fleet over the next several years.”

So auto makers are selling electric vehicles for two reasons.  Government subsidies.  And so they can sell more lower-fuel-economy and higher-polluting profitable vehicles.  The kind of vehicles the people want to buy.  And will buy without any government subsidies.  No one wants to buy the electric cars.  And the automakers can’t make any money selling the electric cars.  The only way any sales of electric cars happen is by transferring a large chunk of their cost to the taxpayers.  Against their will.  But, then again, that’s what government is for these days, isn’t it?  Going against the will of their constituents.

While drivers of these electric vehicles use less gasoline and emit less greenhouse gas such as carbon dioxide, the cost to the government can be high, the CBO found. The U.S. government will spend anywhere from $3 to $7 for each gallon of gasoline saved by consumers driving electric vehicles…

The CBO said an average plug-in hybrid vehicle with a battery capacity of 16 kilowatt-hours is eligible for the maximum tax credit of $7,500.

“However, that vehicle would require a tax credit of more than $12,000 to have roughly the same lifetime costs as a comparable conventional or traditional hybrid vehicle,” the CBO said.

And, the bigger the battery the greater the cost disadvantage for buyers of plug-in vehicles and conventional vehicles, the CBO said.

What happened to that laser-like focus on creating jobs?  That’s what President Obama said back in 2009.  And here we are in 2012 still suffering in the Great Recession.  Despite their Recovery Summer back in 2010.  The president is spending a lot of money.  Some $500 billion or more to the solar panel maker Solyndra now in bankruptcy.  As well as other green energy investments.  Including the investment into electric cars to wean us off of expensive gasoline.  While the cost of the subsidies for these electric cars will basically double the price of gasoline the rest of us pay (the price of the subsidy costs us as much as what gasoline costs us).

We’d be better off just paying for the expensive gasoline to put into the cars we want to buy.

But it’s worth the price to save the planet.  That’s what they say.  But I can’t help but notice that the planet has never been in worse shape since we started trying to save it.  We know volcanic eruptions can lower the earth’s temperature with the amount of smoke, soot, ash and sulfur dioxide they put into the atmosphere.   Periods of global cooling correlate to active volcanic activity.  So that’s a given.  We know it for a fact.  So is it any coincidence that when we started putting scrubbers onto our coal-fired power plants to remove these same things from our smoke stacks that global temperatures began to rise?

Once upon a time we all burned coal in our houses for heat.  Coal-fired locomotives transported people and freight.  And every factory had a coal-fired steam engine.  We covered our cities in smoke, soot and ash from all the coal we burned.  But there was no global warming then like we have today.  Why?  Can it be that burning coal releases the same stuff volcanoes release when they erupt?  And cool the planet?  Perhaps.  If the global warming alarmists were right then the attack on coal and all the emission controls they mandated on our cars should have made the planet a chilly place.  Shortening our growing seasons.  And given us a famine or two along the way.  But that hasn’t happened.  Because the global warming alarmists have been warning us that the end of the world was only 3 years away for the last 30 years.  How much longer are we to quake in our shoes from their nonsense?

The earth is fine.  We need to stop listening to these people.  Because all they’re doing is transferring enormous sums of money from the private sector to the public sector.  To play their games.  And live comfortably.  While those of us paying the taxes and buying the things they make ever more expensive have to sacrifice our quality of life so these talentless alarmist hacks can live a comfortable elitist life at our expense.  And they’re laughing at us all the way to the bank.

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China to Punish Airbus and EU Airlines if the European Union Proceeds with their Emission Trading System

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 16th, 2012

Week in Review

Fighting global warming is one thing.  But hurting aircraft sales is another.  Which will happen if the EU goes ahead with their Emission Trading System.  So Airbus is begging the EU not to ruin the aviation industry (see Airbus ministers seek EU CO2 plan delay: Hintze by Maria Sheahan and Victoria Bryan posted 9/14/2012 on Reuters).

Aerospace officials of the European countries where Airbus (EAD.PA) makes its planes will push for a suspension of the European Union’s Emission Trading System (ETS) for airlines to avert retaliation from China, an official said on Tuesday…

Michael Fallon, new business minister in Britain, said at the ILA Berlin Air Show on Tuesday: “Airbus has left us with no doubt that the threat of retaliatory action is a clear and present danger to its order list.”

There is harsh opposition to the ETS from European air travel companies and countries outside the EU such as the United States, Australia and Brazil that have said they want a global agreement to curb carbon emissions rather than a European law that extends to non-EU companies.

Which is a nice way of saying they should scrap the whole ETS.  But if they said that the environmentalists would say they hate the planet.  That they’re global warming deniers.  And that they, of course, hate children.   So by saying we should have a global system instead of just a European one sounds like they believe in global warming.  While at the same time knowing there will never be a global system because the world can’t agree on anything.  And that China is not going to fall for any of this nonsense.  Because they play hardball.

China has threatened retaliation – including impounding European aircraft – if the European Union punishes Chinese airlines for not complying with its emissions trading scheme (ETS), intended to curb pollution.

The dispute between China and the EU froze deals worth up to $14 billion, though China signed an agreement with Germany for 50 Airbus planes worth over $4 billion during Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Beijing last month.

If the dispute is not resolved, Airbus will have to cut its production target for the A330 “pretty soon”, Airbus Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier said late on Monday.

Cancel billion dollar orders AND impound European aircraft?  That’s right.  The Chinese don’t take crap from anyone.  Especially from a bunch of whiny global warming alarmists.  Airlines everywhere are thanking China (behind closed doors, of course) for playing the heavy here.  So they can act like they really want to do what is right for the planet.  Without losing billions in business.

The airline industry has said the ETS distorts competition, forcing European carriers to pay more simply because of the fact they are based in the EU.

“We feel we are being discriminated against,” Hintze said. “We demand a global solution from an industrial policy point of view because we could otherwise put ourselves at a disadvantage in major markets…”

Airbus sales chief John Leahy suggested at a separate news conference on Tuesday that one possible solution could be that all airlines around the world pay a tax to ICAO for carbon emissions, regardless of where they are based.

The ETS is nothing but a way to generate revenue for a cash-strapped European Union.  For what will they do with the money they raise from their ETS?  Pretty much anything they want.  And one of the things they most desperately want is to close their budget deficits.  And the EU thought they had a real winner in the ETS.  Collect money from EU members.  And collect money from non-EU members.  Effectively transferring some EU costs onto nations outside of the EU.  It was perfect.  Except for one thing.  It required other countries to voluntarily pick up the tab for some EU spending.  And some are choosing not to no matter how worthy the cause.

A global carbon tax payable to the ICAO?  The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization?  And what, pray tell, will the UN do with that money?  Spend it on grants to green manufacturers to see if they can make jet fuel out of sea weed?  The aircraft manufacturers are doing everything they can to reduce jet fuel consumption because a plane that burns less fuel is a plane that sells better.  They don’t need a grant to do that.  Planes are carrying and burning less fuel per passenger mile than they ever have.  And they still have an incentive to reduce that even more.  Without any grants from the UN to improve fuel efficiency.

As countries around the world are suffering through economic problems the last thing they need is a new tax.  If anything they need a tax cut.  So the ETS should be the last thing we should be doing.  The earth will get by just fine without it.  In fact, it might even do better.  For the rise in global temperatures interestingly correspond to the time we began to fight global warming.  Back in the days when industry, trains and home furnaces belched coal smoke, soot and ash into the air we didn’t have a global warming problem.  Our cities were covered with coal smoke, soot and ash but the temperatures were just fine.  Perhaps a little more of the same would reverse this warming trend.  Say, encouraging our airplanes to burn a dirtier fuel so they put more emissions into the atmosphere that can block those warming rays from reaching the earth’s surface.  It works with volcanoes.  Perhaps it’ll work with manmade emissions, too.

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Internal Combustion Engine, Electric Motor, Fuel Economy, Emissions, Electric Range, Parallel Hybrid, Series Hybrid and Plug-In

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 5th, 2012

Technology 101

We started the First Cars with a Hand Crank and Nearly Broke an Arm if the Hand Crank Kicked Back

The king of car engines is the internal combustion engine (ICE).  We tried other motors such as a steam engine.  But a steam engine is a heat engine.  Meaning it first has to get hot enough to boil water into steam.  Which meant any trip in a car took a little extra time to bring the boiler up to operating temperatures.  Boilers tend to be big and heavy.  And dangerous.  Should something happen and a dangerous level of steam pressure built up they could explode.  Despite those drawbacks, though, a steam engine-powered car took you places.  And as long as there was fuel for the firebox and water for the boiler you could keep driving.

Another engine we tried was the electric motor.  These didn’t have any of the drawbacks of a steam engine.  You didn’t have to wait for a boiler to get to operating temperatures before driving.  Nothing was in danger of exploding.  An electric motor was lighter than a cast-iron boiler.  And an electric motor could make a car zip along.  However, an electric motor requires continuous electricity to operate.  Provided by charged batteries.  Which didn’t last long.  And took hours to recharge.  Giving the electric car limited range.  And little convenience.  For the heavier it was and/or the faster you went the faster you drained those batteries.  Which could be a problem taking the family on vacation.  But they worked well in a forklift on a loading dock.  Because of the battery-power they produced no emissions so they’re safe to use indoors.  They had limited auxiliary systems to run (other than a horn and maybe a light).  And when they were running low on charge you rarely needed to drive more than 20 or 30 feet to a charging station.

The first ICE-powered cars took some manly strength to operate.  They didn’t have power brakes, power steering, automatic transmissions or starters.  We started the first ICE-powered cars with a hand crank.  That took a lot of strength to turn.  And if it backfired while starting the kick of the handle could easily break a wrist or an arm.  Putting a damper on any Sunday afternoon drive.  This limited the spread of the automobile.  They were complex machines that required some strength to operate.  And they could be very dangerous.  Then along came the electric starter.  Which was an electric motor that spun the ICE to life.  Making the car much safer to start.  Expanding the popularity of the automobile.  For there was no longer a good chance that you could break your arm trying to start it.  And through the years came all those accessories making it easier and more comfortable to drive.  Today automatic transmissions, power steering, power brakes, headlights, interior lights, power locks, power windows, powered seats, a fairly decent audio system, heat, air conditioning and more are standard on most cars.  All effortless powered by that internal combustion engine.

Current Battery Technology does not give the All-Electric Car a Great Range

The reason why an ICE can do all of this is because gasoline is a very concentrated energy source.  It doesn’t take a lot of it to go a long way.  And it can accelerate you up a hill.  It even has the energy to pass someone on a hill. It’s a fuel source we can take with us.  A small amount of it stores conveniently and safely in a gas tank slung underneath a car.  And when it’s empty it takes very little time to refill.  A ten minute stop at a gas station and you’re back on the road able to drive another 500 miles or so.  Even in the dark of night with headlights blazing.  While keeping toasty warm in the winter.  Or comfortably cool in the summer.  Things an electric battery just can’t do.  So why would we even want to trade one for the other?  In a word—emissions.

The internal combustion engine pollutes.  The more fuel a car burns the more it pollutes.  So to cut pollution you try to make cars burn less fuel.  You increase the fuel economy.  And you can do that in a couple of ways.  You can cut the weight of the vehicle.  And put in a smaller engine.  Because a smaller engine can power a lighter car.  But a smaller car carries fewer people comfortably.  And can carry less stuff.  A motor cycle gets very good fuel economy but you can’t take the family on a Sunday drive on one.  And you can’t pack up your things on a motorcycle when going off to college.  So the tradeoff between fuel economy and weight has consequences.

An electric car does not pollute.  At all.  (Though the power plant that charges its batteries does pollute.  A lot.)  But current battery technology does not give the all-electric car a great range.  Typically coming in at less than 75 miles per charge.  Which is great if you’re operating a forklift on a loading dock.  But it’s pretty bad if you’re actually driving on a road going someplace.  And hope to return.  The heavier the car is the shorter that driving range.  If you want to use your headlights, heater or air conditioner it’ll be shorter still.  On top of this short range recharging your battery isn’t like stopping at the gas station for 10 minutes.  No.  What one typically does is pray that he or she gets home.  Then plugs in.  And by morning the car would be fully charge for another 75 miles or so of driving.

To Maximize the Benefit of a Hybrid you’d want to Carry the Absolute Minimum of Batteries to Serve your Needs

So all-electric cars are clean but they won’t really take us places.  The ICE-powered car will take us places but it’s not really clean.  Enter the gas/electric hybrid.  Which combines the best of the all-electric car (clean) and the best of the ICE-powered car (range).  There are a few varieties.  The parallel hybrid has both an ICE and an electric motor connected to a transmission that powers the wheels.  The ICE also drives a small generator.  Batteries power the electric motor.  And a gas tank feeds the ICE.  The generator keeps the batteries charged.  The battery powers the electric motor to accelerate the car from a stop.  After a certain speed the small ICE takes over.  When the car needs to accelerate the electric motor assists the ICE.  The small ICE has excellent fuel economy thus reducing emissions.  The electric motor/battery provides the additional horsepower when needed to compensate for an undersized ICE.  And the gasoline-powered engine provides extended range.

In addition to the parallel hybrid there is the series hybrid.  It has the same parts but they are connected differently.  The series hybrid is more like a diesel-electric locomotive.  Gasoline feeds the ICE.  The ICE drives a generator.  The generator charges the batteries and/or drives the electric motor.  The electric motor drives a transmission that spins the wheels.  This car drives on batteries until the charge runs out and then switches over to the ICE.  For short commutes this provides excellent fuel economy.  For longer drives (well over 75 miles or so) it’s more like a standard ICE-powered car with a roundabout way of turning the wheels.

Then there’s the plug-in variety.  In addition to all of the above you can plug your car into a charger to further save on gasoline use and reduce emissions (produced by the car; not by the electric power plant).  Letting you recharge the battery overnight in a standard 120V outlet.  In a slightly shorter time with a 240 volt outlet.  And quicker still in a 480 volt outlet.  If your commute to and from work is 50 miles or less you can probably charge up at home and not have to carry a charger with you (to convert the AC power to the DC power of the batteries).  Saving even more weight.  But if you plan on charging on the road you’ll need to carry a charger with you.  Adding additional weight.  Which will, of course, reduce your battery range.  Also, you can adjust the number of batteries to match your typical daily commute.  The shorter your commute the less charge you need to store.  Which lets you get by on fewer batteries.  Greatly reducing the weight of the car (and extending your battery range).  A gallon of gas weighs about 7 pounds and can take a car 30 miles or more.  You would need about 1,000 pounds of batteries to provide a similar range.  So range doesn’t come cheap.  To maximize the benefit of a hybrid you’d want to carry the absolute minimum of batteries to serve your needs.  Knowing that if you got a new job with a longer commute you could rely on the ICE in your hybrid to get you to work and back home safe again.

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Climate Data shows Anti-Pollution Emission Standards cause Global Warming

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 29th, 2012

Week in Review

Global warming is real.  So says all the global warming climate scientists’ science.  With some interesting qualifiers.  Where they explain drops in global temperatures.  Which are caused by the very things that are causing global warming.  Man putting smoke, soot and ash into the atmosphere from our fossil fuels (see Climate Canard No. 2: ‘Warming Has Stopped’ — A Very Temporary Duck by Bill Blackmore posted 4/29/2012 on ABC News).

The slight dip in the 1950s is believed by climate scientists to have been caused at least partly by the post-World War II economic boom, which produced great amounts of industrial smog whose tiny particles reflect warming sunlight back into outer space — as does the thick smoke from volcanoes.

Now see, this is the reason why there are climate skeptics.  There is no science that explains this dip in temperature.  Just anti-science.  Hunches.  And guesses.  If smog and smoke lowered temperatures why didn’t they lower temperatures during World War II?  For American industry was humming during the war, too.  Not to mention all those trucks, tanks, jeeps, ships and airplanes pumping all of that pollution into the atmosphere.  None of which had any emission controls.  Then add in all those fires from the destruction of oil refineries.  Ships.  Planes.  Tanks.  And the burning down of cities.  Like Dresden.  And Tokyo.  Throw in a couple of mushroom clouds.  You add all of this up and it should at least equal the pollution we were throwing up into the atmosphere during the Fifties.  Yet this same chart shows higher temperatures during the war.  Which would make sense if pollution caused global warming.  Instead of preventing it.  As they claim happened during the Fifties.

If you back up one decade to the Thirties, it appears there was no change in global temperatures.  Again, this would make sense if man was causing all of the warming.  Because man wasn’t doing much during the Great Depression.  But then even this logic fails if you back up one more decade to the Twenties.  To the Roaring Twenties.  When the world was modernizing.  The new electric power supported a manufacturing boom.  Included in that boom was the new automobile.  That jammed our city streets.  Filling them with raw emissions.  While steam locomotives puffed soot, smoke and ash into our cities and across the country.  And what did all of this manmade pollution do?  It lowered temperatures.  Which supports their original claim that air pollution prevents global warming.  But then this doesn’t agree with the data from the Forties.  When air pollution caused global warming.  And to confuse us a little more they have another chart that shows temperatures fell during the Forties.

The dip in the global temperature from about 1942 to 1970 is believed by climate scientists to be due partly to the intense industrial activity of World War Two and the economic boom that followed.

The gray and black particles in the smoky emissions from factories actually help cool the earth by reflecting some of the warming sunlight back into outer space, thus preventing it from hitting the earth where it changes into the invisible infrared light that is trapped by greenhouse gasses, warming the air.

So what are they telling us?  Are we causing global warming by cutting emissions from fossil fuels?  Should we create more electricity from coal?  And should we let those plants belch pollution into the atmosphere?  To save us from the perils of global warming?  For if there is any correlation between the rise in global temperatures and manmade activity it is this.  Global temperatures took off when we started reducing manmade polluting emissions.  The data absolutely supports this.  And no one can deny it.  Not even the most respective global warming climate scientists.

Again, this is the reason why there are climate skeptics.  Because global warming climate scientists make it so easy to be skeptical.

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The Private Sector is Investing in Natural Gas because there’s a Real Market for it unlike Solar and Wind

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 1st, 2012

Week in Review

The environmentalists have finally got something they wanted.  Private businesses choosing a cleaner fuel because they want to.  Not because they were forced to.  Or because they were bribed to.  But because these greedy little bastards can make more money by going green.  They hate the profit motive.  But at least these profits come with a cleaner environment.  You’d think they’d be happy.  But, of course, they’re not.  Because for this cleaner world they’d have to accept something they just hate too much (see Natural-Gas Vehicles Will Run Best Without Subsidies by the Editors posted 3/29/2012 on Bloomberg).

Few areas of American governance have been as incoherent in recent decades as energy policy, which is saying something. But lately, we keep seeing reasons for optimism.

Almost miraculously, the U.S. is both reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions and becoming increasingly energy independent. As Bloomberg News recently reported, the share of U.S. energy demand met by domestic sources increased to 81 percent through the first 10 months of 2011 — the highest level in 20 years — and emissions are expected to decline 12 percent by 2020.

A major factor in both trends is increased use of natural gas, a cleaner-burning fossil fuel now being extracted in abundance across the country. Hydraulic fracturing, a new production technology also known as fracking, has helped push prices for the fuel to a decade low, and has created plenty of jobs in the process…

Natural gas has many advantages — which is exactly why the industry doesn’t need more government help.

Proponents of federal aid argue that the costs of switching to natural gas on a large scale are prohibitive for trucking companies and consumers. But as Bloomberg News has reported, trucking companies are already buying more long-haul natural-gas trucks simply because the fuel is so cheap. Annual savings over diesel can add up to $20,000 for a single truck — so a company can recoup the extra cost of the new technology in about two years…

To meet increased demand, companies are building infrastructure on their own: Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which provides natural gas fuel for transportation, plans to build 70 liquefied natural-gas stations by the end of the year. General Electric Co. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. have formed an alliance to help make compressed natural gas available at more filling stations. Honda plans to install fueling stations at some of its dealerships. Fleets of taxis, trucks and buses across the country are using the fuel in growing numbers.

In other words, market forces are working. It’s not yet clear what will be the most efficient means to get natural gas to power vehicles — many options are on the table — but the private sector is the best place to experiment. Billions of dollars in government subsidies will only further distort the energy sector, threaten to create another industry reliant on Washington’s largesse and drive up prices by artificially boosting demand.

No trucking firms are buying any electric long-haul trucks and installing recharging stations across the country.  For that would be too costly.  And waste too much time.  But time is money for a trucker.  They don’t have time to wait for a battery to recharge every time they need to’re-fuel’.  That’s why they stick to fossil fuels.  Even the change to a cleaner and cheaper fuel is still a change to fossil fuel.  Because there’s no other fuel source outside of science fiction that can do what fossil fuels can do.

Because there is a market for natural gas-powered trucks the private sector is providing the infrastructure for it.  Without any ‘Solyndra’ subsidies or loan guarantees.  There’s money to make so private capital is flowing to where it needs to be to make this a reality.  Without any help from the government.  The way it should be in a free market economy.

This is everything the Obama administration could ask for.  Less fuel emissions.  Less dependence on foreign oil.  And they don’t have to use the power of government to make anyone adopt this technology.  There’s no downside.  Except, of course, the environmentalists.  Who hate hydraulic fracturing.  AKA fracking.  (And basically any fossil fuel in general.)  They say it contaminates the ground water.  So they don’t want it.  Just as they don’t want oil.  Or coal.  Or nuclear.  Or hydroelectric power.  Which basically leaves out every way to generate electricity except solar and wind.  Which can’t come close to producing the amount of electricity the other sources of electricity-generation can.  Which will be a big problem for the environmentalists.  Who want everyone to drive an emissions-free electric car.  Cars that will be very difficult to charge if the environmentalists don’t let us produce any electricity.  And the only things that’ll let us do this are the fossil fuels.  Or hydroelectric power.

There’s no pleasing some people.  Unless we all go back to the horse and buggy days.  Maybe that would make the environmentalists happy.  Having the air thick with horse manure.  With our streets covered in horse poop, pee and swarms of flies.  Maybe that would make them happy.  As it would all be natural.  Then again, this may be a problem with PETA.  Who would rather have the pollution if the alternative meant violating animal rights.  Which we would be violating if we enslaved horses to work for us.

You know who’s not having silly debates like this?  Brazil.  Russia.  India.  China.  And South Africa.  The BRICS emerging economies.  And the reason why they’re emerging and we’re wallowing in recession is that they don’t let their environmentalists sit at the big table with the grownups. 

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