“Against stupidity the very gods Themselves contend in vain.”
-Johann von Schiller, The Maid of Orleans
Virtually everyone now agrees that global warming is a real phenomenon; even the oil companies grudgingly acknowledge that much. It’s also undeniable that the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses has been rising due to human activity. Conceivably the warming isn’t the result of greenhouse gasses, but it’s certainly a very plausible theory – and we should consider the alternative: if global warming is due to non-anthropogenic causes, like the Sun getting hotter, there’s probably nothing we can do about it and we’re doomed anyway. So we might as well take a shot at getting rid of greenhouse gasses – the worst that can happen is that we die a little poorer.
While there may be some hope of actively removing greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere, the most obvious thing to do is to stop putting them there. The single worst culprit is carbon dioxide, most of which (the human contribution, at least) comes from burning fossil fuels. We use a great deal of these, having dumped so much fossil carbon into the biosphere that the original amount has been substantially diluted. (This is why carbon dating on living organisms sometimes shows them to be thousands of years old; it isn’t because science is a Satanic ploy to deceive the Faithful, it’s because everything now living is made up partly of the aeons-old coal and oil we’ve been burning.)
The largest uses for fossil fuels are electricity and transportation; heating takes a fair chunk as well. Right now there are no alternatives to fossil fuels for transportation, and using anything else for heating is very expensive, but electricity, which is the single biggest energy use and could at least theoretically replace fossil fuels for transportation and heating as well, can be produced with negligible carbon dioxide output at a competitive cost, and we’ve had the ability to do this for forty years.
So why haven’t we? Mainly because of a psychotic paranoia inflamed in the Seventies by radical environmentalists (some of whom were funded by the coal industry, which was feeling threatened by the new, superior energy source). By a decades-long campaign of disinformation, irrational panic-mongering, fraudulent conflation of nuclear energy with nuclear weapons, and brazen lies, the largest (and least informed) part of the American population was persuaded that nuclear power is uniquely dangerous, that nuclear waste is an insurmountable environmental problem, that uranium is running out, and of even more outrageous falsehoods. I don’t intend to deal with all of them in detail right now, but one thing should be blindingly obvious: since the advent of nuclear power, nuclear waste has never been a problem. Coal, on the other hand, has added vast amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and we have every reason to believe that we will suffer major adverse climatic changes that will last for centuries as a result.
Coal isn’t the only offender, of course, but it’s the worst and it’s the one we could have eliminated if we’d wanted to. Since the Industrial Revolution, something less than a trillion tons of net carbon dioxide have been added to the atmosphere. About half of that could have been avoided by phasing out coal in favor of nuclear electricity as soon as the technology was available, and by now carbon dioxide levels would be coming back down. In other words, if we’d gone nuclear, we would not have global warming. We have to deal with it now only because so many people were taken in thirty years ago by corrupt activists and delusional fanatics – some of whom are still around, still doing their best to accelerate global warming.
In general, the self-proclaimed “environmentalists” are the worst enemies the environment has. Global warming is just the most glaring way in which they harm the environment through their ignorant fanaticism. Most people know by now that the obsession some idiots have with preventing all logging, anywhere, has resulted in many huge forest fires. Not many people are yet aware that the recycling of waste by industry is being jeopardized by the equally absurd obsession many “environmentalists” have with recycling glass.
Forty years ago glass was a large part of the waste stream and a major industrial material. Soda pop, milk, peanut butter, salad dressing, and dozens of other things that are now packaged in plastic were then packaged in glass. Glass was worth recycling. These days, it’s totally different. Only a few percent of the waste stream is glass and there’s so little demand for it that it’s cheaper to put it in landfill than to pay someone to haul it off. Furthermore, many large cities are now switching to “single stream” recycling methods where people dump all their recyclables in one bin to be sorted out later at a central plant, partly by machinery. This works well enough for most things, but glass ruins the whole system because it gets broken and winds up contaminating the valuable paper. So the glass, which is worthless and doesn’t use significant landfill volume, winds up reducing the value of important recyclables – and landfill space is wasted on sorted paper and plastic that have to be trashed because they’ve been impacted with crushed glass. Trying to recycle glass is a net loss not just economically, but environmentally.
So why do many recycling programs (including single stream) continue to take glass? Because “environmentalists” go into hysterics if they don’t. The average “green” has no clue about the realities of recycling (or anything else) – and doesn’t see her total ignorance as being in any way limiting. Glass recycling is an utterly retarded policy based on nothing other than nostalgia. Like every other idea that self-styled “environmentalists” keep in their tiny brains, it’s the result of obsession combined with astounding ignorance and, worst of all, a self-righteous arrogance so intense that they consider having any actual knowledge at all, or even giving a moment’s thought to their opinions, to be irrelevant or even immoral. Environmentalism isn’t so much a movement as it is a cult of brainwashed zombies.
In “Big Oil, Big Lies,” I described the environmental holocaust we are approaching as a result of overpopulation, unsustainable farming methods and bio-fuel production. You will seldom hear any “environmentalist” talk about that! You’ve heard them sniveling about how we’re running out of landfill space, no doubt. We’re not, and won’t for hundreds of years – there’s plenty of room for landfills, in this country at least. The reason landfill costs are going up is because we now have high standards for building them (as opposed to no standards at all). We now have landfills that won’t contaminate the groundwater, thanks to listening to engineers who know how to do things instead of “environmentalists” who just scream about how we should all learn to live off of moonbeams and turkey shit so we don’t create any waste.
The number one snivel of your average “environmentalist” greentard is nuclear power. Here are some facts about nuclear power, which could have prevented global warming:
- More people die in coal mining accidents every year than were killed by the Chernobyl accident.
- More land is ruined by farming every year than was contaminated by Chernobyl.
- No civilian nuclear reactor in the West is capable of a Chernobyl type event.
- A nuclear power reactor cannot be used to make bomb-grade material without shutting down every few weeks – it could not be done secretly.
- The environmental impact of a half century of nuclear power generation in the U.S. is zero. Not even the Three Mile Island accident released significant radiation compared to background radiation.
- About 95% of the mass of nuclear “waste” is reusable as fuel. Most of the rest is non-radioactive within a few years.
- We have had the technology for decades to separate the dangerous parts of the spent fuel and store them in an inert form (glass) that will last for millions of years.
- The waste components that are really dangerous last only for a few hundred years. By comparison, we release larger amounts of chemicals that are more toxic and will last for millions of years, instead of storing them safely, and we don’t even solve global warming in return.
- If we dumped all the long-lived isotopes from all the spent nuclear fuel we have into the ocean with no containment at all, the increase of background radiation would be too small to even measure.
- You would get more radiation dosage from taking a couple of long plane flights every year than from working in a nuclear power plant.
- Nuclear power costs about the same as power from natural gas, but without producing any carbon dioxide.
- There is enough uranium to last for as long as we will need it. If we stick with today’s inefficient (but proven safe) technology, we’ll have to use lower and lower grade ores, but it doesn’t really matter. The cost of recovering uranium is a trivial part of the cost of nuclear power.
- Nuclear power plants don’t need any more cooling water than coal or gas plants do. All large scale electric power requires cooling water.
- Nuclear energy costs a fraction of what wind energy does and, unlike wind, it is very steady and reliable.
- You can confirm any of these things for yourself with a little reading (and maybe some fourth grade math).
- If you’re a greentard, you’d rather continue to wallow in ignorance, spout bullshit that you “heard somewhere” and think that you’re an expert merely by virtue of having a big mouth. But then, if you’re a greentard, you probably can’t do fourth grade math and you probably didn’t get this far.
In summary: the number one cause of environmental damage isn’t evil corporations, it’s stupid hippies – we can thank them for global warming. Thanks, hippies.