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August 31, 2006

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Yeah for CA. I was an Environmental Engineer for 13 years, before launching off into other ventures. At the end of the day I got out because decision making became truely political and almost not at all concerned with scientific data. I've followed this global warming thing for a very long time, and could go on for a very long time. But let me just say that Scientific American has been doing some very good work in this area. I strongly suggest gettting on-line and reading a few articles from the last six months. Global warming is truely the issue of our time. All else pales in comparison. Finally people are beginning to wake up, but I've got to tell you - We are very late in the game. Things are truely worse than even the better informed than most understand. We are headed the wrong way. Even with no more increase in carbon emissions we are headed the wrong way and fast. And accelerating. This month Scientific American put out a special edition dedicated to our future with carbon. Coupled with some of their articles from previous months one can get a pretty full grasp of what we truely face. It's not for those of weak constitution. It will keep you up at night. The one thing I want to say here, which will not be entirely well recieved, is that some of you need to get over the aversion to nuclear power. Sadly it is the lesser of two evils, and one of the only options we can capitalize on in time to make the swift changes that must be made. I'm not saying forever, but right now. It is a must. I know what some of you will say - Wind - Hey wind is great, and as far as I can see right now going to be a big part of the long term solution, but it won't get us there in the short term, not even close. Solar. Sorry guys - fuck solar. I've studied it at length. Good for point source generation, but only has a 20-30 percent return. And it takes 20 years to get that return. The carbon emissions required to build them just run up the balance. I like switch grass. I like renewables, but If you want a cool planet, and you dig your heals in on nuclear, you are hurting the cause. Don't believe me. All I'm saying is study very, very carefully before you take a position on this. The common wisdom of the greenies may do us in.

Sorry didn't spell check that. I've gotta run.

nah on nuclear for the forseeable future. it only looks good with massive subsidies. dollar for dollar we will get much more with conservation for a long time.

nuclear only becomes an option after we've done intensive conservation - which will come with better price signals to consumers.

and who wants the waste? and who wants a terror target? Now if you get that fusion thingy figured out, give me a call.

I agree it is worse than most people realize. The Arctic is changing much faster than people realize. Plants' and animals' ranges are changing. This means more pests and diseases.

Conservation and new technologies for cars and trucks are the most promising. When CA got serious about vehicle emissions 30 years ago people said it couldn't be done, but it could and was and for far less than anyone dreamed. Plus Honda and Toyota made money at it. I think we need a variety of technologies plus lots of conservation. I'm not ready for nuclear yet. It isn't really cost effective. Neither is ethanol or hydrogen fuel cells. With some incentives we can come up with some new technologies, but people will really have to conserve. I suspect that in some way we will be forced to. (Iran War or some such blunder.)

No question. Conservation is Job 1. We need massive attention to economy both in transportation and in our homes. Tremendous change is already available there. But that won't get us there. If CO2 levels in the atmosphere stay the same. The polar caps may still melt. Once that heat sink is gone I simply can't imagine what this planet would be like. But notwithstanding the US China, India, other countries want the life. And that takes energy. Ethanol is very viable if switchgrass is the source. Gotta get the corn lobby out of the way. Wind is good. But cannot provide core power. You see, CO2 levels have been going up since the turn of the century. We can't handle any more up. We need down. And that means we can not afford to produce even a small fraction of the CO2 we create now. It took the planet billions of years to store all that carbon away. We let it back out in 100 years. At the end of the day carbon based energy with anything but zero bet release won't work for us in the future. That leaves us needing one hell of a lot of energy. It may be possible to do it without nuclear, but we only have decade to react or we're going to be in real trouble. If splitting atoms gets us moving in the right direction sooner rather than later. We have to deal with it. With smart waste management and todays technology, it's far safer that during the 3-mile island days. I wish I could say otherwise, but I have yet to see a credible plan that does not include the need for increased nuclear power during the next 50 years. A risk yes, but far outweighed by the certain end result of continued widespread use of fossil fuels. Go get the special edition of Scientific American. It should be on newstands now.

Some political leaders in CA started a blog outside of the usual channels; it is still coalescing. We will see what the Air Resources Board does when it implements the Nunez greenhouse gas emissions rollback legislation. Schwarzenegger has been shuffling environment department executives a lot; ARB has had some effective moments in the past.

All I really mean to say is that I don't believe we should stand in the way of ANYTHING that will reduce CO2 emissions NOW. The situation is just that serious. In an imperfect world sometimes we really do have to choose between the lesser of two evils.

Carbon sequestration is promising--injecting the emissions into a depleted oil well, for example. BP is trying it. Hydraulic hybrid engines for trucks that start and stop alot, like garbage and delivery trucks. We need to make major changes in our lives to make major changes in CO2 emissions, though.

Just to let politics rear its ugly head for a moment, this shows how vulnerable Democrats are if Republicans get even a little flexible, especially about environmental issues. After one of her many environmental outrages, I remember writing DiFi, telling her that she'd better just watch it if a moderate Republican runs to the left of her on the environment.

Der Gropenfuhrer's move also highlights what a gift the Democrats have been given in the Cheney administration's rigid hewing to the Exxon line on these kind of issues and how the current crop of incumbent corrupto Democrats are squandering it.

I've often fantasized about having politicians of both parties pandering to the environmental movement the same way they pander to AIPAC. Seeing der Gropenfuhrer actually capitalize on it just makes me anxious and sad for those other Democratic constituencies I belong to: unions, the poor, prisoners, the accused, education, health care.

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