Environmentalism and the environment

There is no point per the author.

The Economist has an interesting article on the gas boom in America:

Gas has wrought some remarkable changes. Over the past five years America has recorded a decline in greenhouse-gas emissions of 450m tonnes, the biggest anywhere in the world. Ironically, given its far greater effort to tackle climate change, the European Union has seen its emissions rise, partly because its higher gas prices (linked to oil) have led to an increase in coal-fired power generation.

So let’s review the facts:

1.  America is reducing greenhouse gas emissions faster than anywhere else because Bush/Cheney ignored environmentalists and went with the “drill baby drill” strategy.

2.  Europe is switching to coal because gas is too expensive.  But wait; doesn’t Europe also have lots of shale gas? They do. But they listened to the environmentalists, and have all but banned fracking.

3.  But wait; doesn’t Europe have lots of carbon-free nuclear power plants?  Yes, but countries like Germany have decide to close them all down, on the recommendation of environmentalists.  Other countries are also leaning that way.  I can sort of understand Japan, but when was the last time you heard about an earthquake in Germany or Sweden?

Now it’s true that the US still has a worse record than Europe, especially in high energy consuming states like Texas.  But the same issue of The Economist has another article with this interesting tidbit:

At a casual glance, Houston looks much as it ever did: a tangle of freeways running through a hodgepodge of skyscrapers, strip malls and mixed districts. A closer inspection, though, shows signs of change. The transport authority, which branched into light rail in 2004, is now planning three new lines, adding more than 20 miles of track. Most of the traffic lights now boast LED bulbs, rather than the incandescent sort. More than half the cars in the official city fleet are hybrid or electric, and in May a bike-sharing programme began. Every Wednesday a farmers’ market takes place by the steps of city hall.

Other changes are harder to see. The energy codes for buildings have been overhauled and the city is, astonishingly, America’s biggest municipal buyer of renewable energy; about a third of its power comes from Texan wind farms.

But are windmills actually that good for the environment?  Still another article in the same issue has this to say:

By 2009 Inner Mongolia had become China’s largest producer of coal. It is the biggest source of the world’s supply of rare earths. The coal bed around Xilinhot, the capital of Xilin Gol, boasts 38% of global reserves of germanium, a rare earth used in the making of circuitry for solar cells and wind turbines. Ripping up the grasslands and sucking up scarce water for thirsty mines has been part of the price of these “green energy” products.

Here are some comparisons between Inner Mongolia and Texas:

Texas is a state with 25.7 million people.  It started out as a ranching state and is now dominated by energy production.  It’s mostly hot and flat, and is growing much faster than the rest of the US.

Inner Mongolia is a province with 24.7 million people.  It started out as a herding state and is now dominated by energy production.  It’s mostly hot and flat, and is growing much faster than the rest of China.

Much faster?  How’s that possible given that China has grown at 10% per year for decades?  Because Inner Mongolia has grown at 17% per year since 2001.  Even Texans can’t say that.

PS.  People trying to convince you that China’s a bubble often show a video of Ordos, the almost uninhabited new city.  Ordos is in Inner Mongolia, and is hosting the Miss World pageant next month.  Let’s see what Ordos looks like in 10 years before we jump to conclusions.

PPS.  Do you recall that America’s had two Presidents named Bush, the second of which was governor of Texas?  China’s current President is named Hu, and another Hu is being touted as a possible future president.  He’s now the governor of Inner Mongolia.

PPPS.  Think about Mercedes, BMW and Audi.  Then think about the quality of the stuff you buy that’s made in China.  Do you sleep better at night knowing that Germany is shutting down its entire nuclear industry, and China is building nuclear plants at a rapid pace.

PPPPS.  Please don’t ask me what the point of this post is.  It’s Sunday. There is no point.

Environmentalism and the environment
Sun, 22 Jul 2012 21:03:39 GMT

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