Thursday, December 24, 2009

Why the Climate Talks in Copenhagen Were a Farce

Perpetual motion machines. Anti-gravity devices. Carbon capture and sequestration technology. Here’s the question— “What do these three scientific ideas all have in common?”

Answer— they violate all the known laws of physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics, and this inconvenient reality means that all three ideas are bogus in a way that makes them completely mythological. But don’t tell that to the Exxon Mobil public relations people. Exxon Mobil claims in television ads that the oil and gas corporate giant is spending 100 million dollars on a facility to remove carbon from natural gas and return the CO2 to the earth from which it came. 100 million dollars. WOW, what a commitment. That equals the profits made by Exxon Mobil every hour and fifteen minutes. Not only that, but this same carbon capture and sequestration technology is being touted by the coal industry as the wave of the future in their quest for green, clean coal.

All of this public relations smoke-and-mirrors campaign works extraordinarily well on the American citizens because they’ve been dumbed-down by 40 years of education in a school system that ranks #27 in the world at teaching science. Why is this important? Because these same scientific illiterates are able to vote and breed, and it’s their children who will suffer.

Consider these facts. Carbon capture and sequestration technology would take something like the WWII Manhattan Project kind of scientific effort to make it work, if it could ever work at all. The Manhattan Project which built the atomic bomb spent 2 billion dollars back in 1944 and 1945 when a billion dollars was serious money. That would equal about 55 billion dollars today. Exxon Mobil knows full well that 100 million dollars spent on public relations is much cheaper that billions spent on actual science, and the people who are targeted by their television ads don’t know the difference, so Exxon Mobil is, in reality, doing exactly what it should do to remain profitable. And, God knows, remaining profitable is really the only game that is being played here.

If the oil and gas industry’s shell game can be called self-serving and disingenuous, then the “clean coal” strategy followed by the global coal industry needs to be labeled as borderline criminal. China alone brings a new coal-fired generation plant on line every five days, and none of these are designed to be retrofitted with carbon capture technology at any point in the future. Even if this technology could become feasible, it could never actually be applied because of the gigantic number of applications involved. And if that situation seems daunting, then consider this— to replace all of the world’s existing coal-based electricity with nuclear power would require the building of a new nuclear generation plant every day for the next 36 years.

So this, in a nutshell, explains why the climate talks in Copenhagen are such a farce. It’s rather like the Curia of the Roman Catholic Church meeting to address priestly sexual abuse. The only thing that you can do as a private American citizen is to avoid buying any beach front property with the intent of passing it on to your grandchildren.

Editorial note about “The Stonecypher”

In this age of ubiquitous Facebook and Twitter, I had come to wonder if another simple blog like The Stonecypher had any real value. Hence, no postings by me for almost four months. But now, as I start to prepare for this year’s annual Conference on World Affairs, I’m back with what I hope will be relevant observations.