Well, as progress is still slow with the sea-level study, I thought I’d fill some space by mentioning something that caught my eye recently. Regular visitors to Climateaudit would have recently seen a post about our dear friend, Dr. James Hansen, discussing kool-aide drinking! Specifically, he was discussing how soft renewable energy isn’t a realistic alternative to our current energy mix. He also goes on to equate people who believe it can be to people that believe in the Tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny!
To be honest, I knew he was critical of many different alarmist camps, but I didn’t realize how deep that critical thought went. You can read his writing here. It’s an interesting read. Now, there is a bunch of fluff in it and some other things he gets wrong. I’ll briefly explore some of what he gets right and what he gets wrong.
Let’s look at what big Jim had to say……. He starts with some rambling about his grandchildren, but he almost reasonably ties the rambling in with the message he was trying to convey, so I give him points for that…… but only because I’m a grandfather, too and find concern for ones legacy entirely rational. More on grandchildren later.
He then starts to talk about the graft he’s received and how he invests the graft to receive more graft, off of the backs of the taxpayers of Penn. and the federal government. I could stop here and go into a rant about how I’m incredulous that Hansen would out of one side of his mouth state that soft renewables aren’t the answer, but in out of another orifice he takes our money to invest in a soft renewable. According to the information he provided, he received almost $40,000 of tax monies (over half of the investment) so he can get some free electricity. Very nice……. we wonder why our finances are the way they are? Here is a great example. But, I’ll rant later. But, to his credit, Hansen does recognize the fact that he’s benefitted, in an unfair way, from other people less fortunate. Quoting Hansen, “Utilities blame the increases in part on renewable energy requirements; if that is true, the majority of people without renewable energies are in effect providing another subsidy.” —— no doubt. He goes on to whine about how his daughter got shafted into only getting a smaller part of the graft and that the AEC market took a dive so the ROI isn’t going to be what it could have been. (AEC is an Alternative Energy Credit used by Pennsylvania) Waaa!!
He continues by showing how insignificant soft renewables are to the U.S. and world energy mix. He shows how hydro is the renewable source that provides most of the growth in the world renewable energy generation. He shows how unreasonable it is to believe soft renewables could provide anywhere close to the necessary energy needed by this nation or the world as a whole. Hansen introduces one of my favorite reality denying imbeciles, Amory Lovins. When looking for responsible parties of this renewable madness, Hansen correctly points at one of the culprits. Amory has a long history of advocating poverty through energy deprivation. The irony of Hansen pointing to Lovins is amazing. They are the flip side of the same coin!!! Lovins advocates use of renewables as a way to decrease the use of “fossil fuels”. Hansen just hates the largest part of the fossil fuel equation, coal. Both, through their individual advocacy, have caused poverty through energy deprivation. Oddly, though, Hansen has a few moments of clarity. Here is his money quote——- “The insightful cynic will note: “Now I understand all the fossil fuel ads with windmills and solar panels – fossil fuel moguls know that renewables are no threat to the fossil fuel business.” The tragedy is that many environmentalists line up on the side of the fossil fuel industry, advocating renewables as if they, plus energy efficiency, would solve the global climate change matter. Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.” ——- Dr. James Hansen
I don’t know why it must be stated, but apparently there are people out there so ignorant of the sources of energy and how much each supply, that they believe exactly as Dr. Hansen states. It is gobsmacking! Dr. Hansen also correctly states that renewables are no threat to the fossil fuel industry. This is another prevalent thought amongst alarmists that the fossil fuel industry gives a darn about renewable advocacy. There is only one fossil fuel industry adversely effected by the CAGW and renewable advocacy…… the coal industry. Oil? Nope. Natural Gas? Natural Gas?!?!?!?!?!? Natural gas has benefited greatly from this advocacy. But, even the coal industry understands one can’t just phase them out any time soon. Why? Because there isn’t an infrastructure in place that would allow for it without depriving much of world of energy. It simply can’t happen. Even if the infrastructure was in place, the effectiveness and pure logistics of soft renewables, (wind, solar, tidal….etc.) isn’t sufficient to supplant coal, nor will they be anytime soon. Dr. Hansen then goes on to briefly discuss the political realities of the alarmist advocacy. It doesn’t matter how hard one wishes, it won’t change reality.
Then, right in the midst of this moment of clarity, Dr. Hansen falls off the rails. He starts to discuss all of the evil processes we go through to get our fuel and energy! But, he disconnects because he doesn’t discuss why or even how it is bad, he just simply assumes we’ll believe, like him, that it is bad. He even has the audacity to mention hydrofracking. Why do I say that? Hydrofracking is a newish technique to get at natural gas. The reason this is becoming more prevalent? Because additional sources for gas is needed because of the increase demand for energy production. It is supplanting (in part) coal use. THIS IS WHAT HANSEN WANTED!!!!! If he wants to point fingers now, surely he has to recognize he is partially responsible. He whines about Lovins but doesn’t recognize his contribution to this insanity. Well, I guess clarity for people such as Hansen can only be taken in small amounts.
In his “Real Solutions” section, it really gets bizarre…………… Or maddening. Quoting Hansen some more, “The public can appreciate that a rising price must be placed on fossil fuel emissions, if we are to phase out our addiction to fossil fuels.”……. he continues, “The fee, to be effective, perforce must have a notable effect on the price-at-the-pump, utility bills, and almost all aspects of economic life………………… Such a rate would add about $1 per gallon to the price of gasoline. However, it would also yield an annual dividend of $2000- $3000 per legal adult resident, $6000-9000 per family with two or more children. Economic models show that this fee would yield a 30% reduction of carbon emissions at the end of the 10 years, and we would be well on our way to phasing out our fossil fuel addiction by mid-century.” He then returns to irrational talk of his grandchildren to conclude his ramblings.
Why do I say the “Real Solutions” section is bizarre or maddening? Because, he seems to recognize renewables cannot supplant the traditional sources for fuel and energy, yet, he advocates us “phasing out our addiction to fossil fuels”. While he gives momentary lip service to nuclear power, in its present state, it can’t supplant fossil fuels, nor will it ever…… if it is to remain in its present state. So, he bags on Lovins because renewables can’t supplant traditional sources, but he also advocates supplanting traditional sources, but offers no solutions to what could and should supplant the demand. At least Lovins offers a fantasy. So, either there is a disconnect in Hansen’s thinking, or he doesn’t care. And this is where it gets a bit maddening…….
Let’s look at his personal notes in his offering. He gets two large monetary awards. (Not mentioned is that he gets a nice salary, too.) Now, before I go any further, I want to state, I don’t begrudge Dr. Hansen of his money. We can debate about what is earned and what isn’t and whether or not it is ethical for a govt scientist in his position to receive such awards, but I don’t begrudge him his money. So, he divides his money between paying off debt, college funds for grandchildren and installing solar panels. (And taxes.) This is nice. Where it gets bad is the solar panels. The average taxpayer of Pennsylvania is subsidizing Dr. Hansen’s utility bill. There was a time when people of this nation didn’t accept government largess out of a position of pride. People standing in line when Uncle Sam was handing out sugar were frowned upon, especially those that obviously didn’t need it. Dr. Hansen doesn’t even seem to blink at the idea, even though he recognizes the fact that it is a fools errand the government is on by subsidizing the solar panels. Very nice…… but it gets worse. He later advocates an additional $6000-9000 per family out of pocket expense to solve his imaginary problem. I can’t decide if Dr. Hansen is so detached from reality that he believes everyone has this sort of money or if he simply doesn’t care about the people on the lower spectrum of personal income. But, Dr. Hansen, I don’t have $70,000 to plop down so other people can subsidize my electric bill. I’d like my grandchildren to go to college too, but I don’t have a government position that allows me to be rewarded for my advocacy. In fact, I can tell you my grandchildren’s family can’t afford $6000 – $9000 out of pocket expense, and their grandfather can’t either.
I’m sick and tired of this elitist mindset that ignores the working poor! Hansen pretends like everyone should have this kind of money. But worse, he acts like his ideas wouldn’t put unnecessary hardship on the people who are effected the most by his and Lovins advocacy. It’s as if the working poor don’t exist. They do, and they aren’t thriving. I started as a working poor person. But, I had opportunity for advancement, and later, an opportunity to finish my pursuit of a degree. And, that’s all I asked for. And, that is all that is required. This is the heritage and birthright of the American people. I don’t care about a starting point, just an ability to improve one’s personal conditions and an opportunity to provide for ourselves. Again, this is a birthright. It isn’t optional. Our forefathers fought and died over this birthright of self-determination and opportunity. I’ll be damned if some pinhead like Hansen is going to ruin it for my grandchildren because of his unnatural obsession with a molecule and his indifference for his fellow, less fortunate, citizens. (Whom he continues to feed off of.)
PS. To those people who believe behavior should be controlled by tax policy, this is a great example of why not.