Thursday, June 21, 2007

"Burning" questions

It is my goal to avoid politics and political opinions on this blog as I am not qualified to understand or express an opinion on anything that goes on in the realm of authority above me. But I do have some questions about global warming (I consider it a political issue)

1. Why is it called global warming? We have only tracked temperature for the last 100 years and I'm sure at one point in time Greenland was actually Green. What if we are just "coming back" from an abnormally cold period? What is the earth's perfect temperature anyway?

2. Why are we told to drive a prius to save the world but studies show that over it's lifetime a Hummer is more eco friendly?

3. Why are we told to switch from regular light bulbs to fluorescent ones? If you read the box carefully the fluorescent ones contain Mercury and can't be thrown away, the must be recycled. Also most of them aren't produced in the US but in coal burning factories in China.

4. Why are we told by some celebrities to limit ourselves to one piece of toilet paper, when their music tours use more resources than any of us will use in a lifetime? (yes, I do know that the t.p. comment was meant to be a joke)

5. And lastly, drive less, heat less, cool less, = save the world right? What if we attempted to balance the trade deficit? Shipping vast amounts of cheap products from other countries has got to make a dent somewhere. I'm not an economist but I do know that we buy way more than we sell and some sort of engine power will get it to us. (check out this up to the minute stat counter on the trade deficit)

These are real questions that I have, if you have any answers or if my conclusions are way off I would love to find out :) I guess the thing that bugs me most is that in all this hype about global warming is that I don't hear very much about protecting the environment, keeping it clean in reasonable ways and enjoying what we have.

I don't let my kids litter, I try to recycle, I only want to buy products from responsible manufacturers .. these are things I can do. I can't go out and buy a different kind of car, put solar panels on my house, stop eating methane producing beef etc. I just don't know who to believe about this stuff and who to trust.


andy gibson said...

Have you seen "The Great Global Warming Swindle"?

It is very good, and was made specifically based on scientific facts to debunk Al Gore's politically motivated movie on global warming, "An Inconvienent Truth",

Thank you for trying to ask the questions and inform youself, rather than blindly following our idiot politicians, and worse, Hollywood.

And there is a lot of stuff going around about that Hummer report being false. To see for himself, one of my business partners is reading it (yes, all 500+ pages or whatever it is), and so far it is spot on. When they are debunking that report, they aren't including all of the facts, and again, taking the "convienent" points from the paper to support their arguments for driving Prius for environmental reasons, etc.

My engineering opinion is (regarding the Prius or other Hybrids) that hybrids are a marketing ploy. If you want to be friendly to the environment and be "responsible", drive a diesel passenger car. A small VW TDI Jetta, Passat, etc. is way better than a Prius, and gets better gas mileage to boot. To support my opinion, Honda just announced last week that they will not produce the Accord Hybird as planned after 2009, as it is more efficient (and cheaper to manufacture!!!!!).

Now to take it a step further, and I'll probably get myself in trouble here, is we should be driving electric. However, it will only make sense if our country moves to 90%+ nuclear power, which is very, very safe. Much safer than our own Diablo, as it is much older. The hippiest country in the world, France, is about 78% nuclear power because it has been utilized responsibly, with nuclear regeneration. But to use nuclear regeneration, you need to build new plants, which can be made extremely safe, safer than we have now. But, one of our Presidents in the past signed a law banning both new plants and nuclear regeneration, so we in the beautiful red, white, and blue, are stuck in the dark ages. So much so, that by driving an electric car, you are doing more damage to the environment than the driver of an F-250 with the V-10 Petrol engine. Why? Because the power is inefficient (60%+ of our power is gas-fired or coal base)and environmentally unfriendly in getting to your electric car. There is an efficiency drop by the time it gets to your house, and another efficiency drop getting from your outlet into the cars batteries, so you only get about 30% into the car. Therefore you have to create and burn three times more coal or gas at the power plant to drive your electric car. Yeah, that's environmentally friendly. You may feel good about it (being environmentally friendly), selfishly, but fact of the matter is, you haven't thought it all the way through and learned the ramification of your actions if you do so, IMOP.

Jacquelyn said...

Thank you so much for the education Andy! BTW aren't electric cars more "carbon negative" to produce, maintain, and repair? Don't they have a shorter lifespan much like the hybrids? I guess I still have some questions even if we do start to utilize cheap nuclear power.

andy gibson said...

Yes, and yes. It's not an easy question, I agree.

Oh, and I meant in my first post, Honda won't make a Accord Hybrid, but instead will be making an Accord Diesel, as it is more efficient. Sorry, I left out the most important detail.

Brianna Heldt said...

I'm not savvy about the environment at ALL. As Christians I think we should seek to be good stewards of the environment, but it can be hard to sort through what's fact and what's fiction. I'm interested in doing what I can to be more "green." Maybe I should start by pottytraining my sons! :)

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