While the fossil fuel industry merrily hums along with blessings from the world’s body politic, especially in America, climate scientists ponder the question: Can global warming be solved… in enough time?
This handwringing conundrum has been swirling around for years but nobody has stepped forward with one really good idea that has gained traction, none whatsoever.
The National Academy of Sciences recently released a study that addresses the issue of whether technological manipulation can do the job. Their short answer seems to be “no,” but it is much more complex than that (Climate Intervention is Not a Replacement for Reducing Carbon Emissions; Proposed Intervention Techniques Not Ready for Wide-Scale Deployment, The National Academies, Feb. 10, 2015.)
Therefrom, it is obvious that the Academy recognizes a big, a very big, problem. Otherwise, why employ scientists to study methodologies to solve it? After all, it has been firmly established that human-caused greenhouse gases like CO2, burning fossil fuels, cause global warming. The evidence is overwhelmingly settled, as seen throughout paleoclimatic studies of the past five (5) extinction events during the course of Earth’s 4.54 billion years. Excessive carbon dioxide (CO2) was always present. Today, we may already be there, possibly beyond.
The general theses behind technological solutions are to (1) deploy carbon-capture for storage, or (2) albedo modification, reflecting sunlight back into outer space.
According to The National Academies, carbon-capture would take “decades to achieve moderate results and be cost-prohibitive.” A large-scale deployment would cost just as much, perhaps more, as transitioning the economy to clean energy, like solar and wind.
As for albedo modification, the study concludes it would be “irrational and irresponsible” to pursue without also reducing emissions if for no other reason than the fact that albedo modification does not resolve the root cause of climate change, which is burning fossil fuels. Additionally, there are numerous risks that may disrupt the entire climate system. As the study indicates, the difference between research and implementation involves matrixes of the “unknown.”
In conclusion, all arrows point in the direction of transitioning to renewables.
As it happens, serious-minded American entrepreneurs are taking a renewable energy leadership role. For example, Apple, Inc. is investing $848 million, as of Feb. 10th, 2015, in a new solar farm in partnership with First Solar, Inc. The company will receive power from 130 megawatts of First Solar’s California Flats Solar Project, Monterey County, Ca.
Already, Apple powers all of its data centers with renewable energy, all of them. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is a strong advocate of combating climate change, believing in technology as a tool to mitigate global warming. Apple’s deal with First Solar is one of the largest ever in the solar industry for a single commercial enterprise.
It is Apple’s second major solar commitment this year. Earlier this year, Apple announced the building of a massive solar-powered global data command center in Mesa, Arizona, investing $2 billion into the complex. Already, Apple has three active solar farms, two in North Caroling and one in Nevada.
According to CEO Tim Cook, “We know at Apple that climate change is real. Our view is that the time for talk is past and the time for action is now.”
Accordingly, what if every American company used renewable energy sources, like Apple does? Just like that, pops up another question: Why not?
Solar energy has undergone a transformation of its own as the more solar is installed the faster prices drop. The investment banker Lazar did a recent study showing the cost of utility-scale solar and wind as competitive on a cost basis with natural gas and coal.
Even Oklahoma, in oil and gas country, which does not require utilities to buy renewable power, recently experienced American Electric Power-Oklahoma triple its commitment to wind energy “because it made sense for our ratepayers.”
As for Apple, renewables really truly make sense, especially in consideration of its corporate motto: “We want to leave the world better than we found it.”
Howbeit, beware the Ides of March
Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Ceasar (the soothsayer’s warning: “Beware the ides of March”) brings the world face-to-face with the horrible darkness behind backstabbing, as well as its precedence.
Lo and behold, here comes Chris Christie on his foreign policy speaking tour/2014 in Canada and Mexico laced with North Americanism, a pivotal plan to combine the resources of the North American nations, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada in an energy matrix of unimaginable dimensions, the Saudi Arabia of North America, as detailed by Michael T. Klare, Keystone XL, Cold War 2.0 and the GOP Vision for 2016, TomDispatch, Feb. 12, 2015.
It is extremely doubtful candidacy-hungry Christie’s energy message, whilst hobnobbing abroad, would defy the true intentions of the Grand Old Party. In fact, he’s establishing a platform for the big dance. Why else specify the grandiose plan to foreign dignitaries?
Yes, the Grand Old Party (GOP) intends to launch an all-out, all-in-nations’ fossil fuel juggernaut, a North American Fossil Fuel Goliath. Christie calls it: “The North American energy renaissance,” accelerating, yes, accelerating the exploitation of fossil fuels across the entire continent, from Barrow, Alaska to the Yucatan, as well as reducing, yes, reducing governmental oversight of drilling throughout the great lands and more, more, more cross-border pipelines, to “guarantee economic growth… the path to a better life.”
In short, it’s “unbridled-the heartbeat of neoliberalism” energy production from fossil fuels, or “The path to a better life,” as stated so resolutely by Gov. Christie, one of America’s likely GOP candidates to lead the country forward beyond 2016 “to a better life.”
Visibly (oops), do Christie and Cook come from different planets?
Anyway, according to Michael Klare’s detailed, informative article in TomDispatch, the Grand Old Party seems to believe that the all-out, all-in-nations’ colossal fossil fuel energy three-way plan will buttress their hawkish militarized foreign policy, as the North American triumvirate will be less dependent on foreign oil imports and in a stronger position to combat Russia, Iran, ISIS and the lot. A war footing is never far off in their schemes.
Indeed, the acute dichotomy between the GOP and renewable aficionados like Apple “to best achieve the path to a better life” is the rhetoric surrounding the single most important issue of the 21st century, which is a planet that suffers from hyperthermia or heat exhaustion which can lead to “heat stroke,” which can vitally damage, including lifestyle-changing and/or life-threatening repercussions for all humanity, including Gov. Christie, who’s obviously totally oblivious, beyond the next election cycle’s fossil fuel fat bucks.
The Grand Old Party is blundering its way into an across-the-board fossil fuel bonanza, a ripsnorting consortium, inviting Mexico and Canada as partners to “clone the Middle East.” Where does this stuff come from? Hollywood couldn’t dream up a bigger phantasmagoria if their lives depended upon it, well, come to think about it, they probably could, but anyway, it’s a cuckoo, berserk, deranged revelation of socio-politico psycho madness. Has the planet reversed direction, spinning the wrong way?
After all, on the one hand, you’ve got the essential epitome of capitalism, Apple, Inc., the world’s largest, biggest-ever market capitalization company, “the darling of Wall Street,” gung ho 100% renewable energy whilst the staunchest supporters of neoliberalism, or “capitalism on steroids,” the Grand Old Party, gives’em the finger. What’s up with this confounded dichotomy? Is it really as simple as heartless demagogues, like immovable sparkplugs, combating/versus/at odds with levelheaded, poised architects of capitalism’s spirited technological revolution(s) with their superb brainy wisdom and advanced thinking? Ergo, maybe that’s where these minds part company, brilliance in one direction, benighted in the other.
Or, is the world spinning totally out of control backwards, confused, mixed up, and so distorted that the right hand doesn’t know what the Left is doing? Yes, they do!
Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org