Archive for the ‘Alaska’ category

Environmental Catch 22

August 31, 2015

President Obama will visit Alaska and plans to announce a change back from the Mount McKinley name to its original Indian name, Denali. He will use the trip also to emphasize the threat global warming presents and the need for the world to take it seriously. The President’s actions are understandable given the science, the melting glaciers, and that President Obama is in his last months in office.

Environmental groups are calling the Obama Administration “hypocritical”. How can the Administration be for the environment and still give Shell the go ahead for Arctic oil drilling?

For sure the Obama Administration wants it both ways. The Administration seeks to get kudos from environmentalists and yet also see the need for energy and satisfy economic realities with jobs associated with drilling. It does seem a bit odd that the Keystone pipeline has languished for so long even though it involves no new drilling. Building the pipeline will not increase the supply of oil but rather change where it is refined. Why the big deal with Alaska?

Environmentalists are loath to admit global warming is a far bigger and more complicated problem than just Alaska or the US, or other developed countries. China and India are moving towards the spots of #1 and #2 polluter and with their combined 2 1/2 billion people, they will draft the output of US’ 340 million. Getting a handle on global warming is much more involved than drilling in Alaska.

Environmentalist point out that unless the developed world presents an example, the rest of the world will not follow. Hmmm.

Reducing fossil fuel consumption must involved decreasing the world’s dependence upon most carbon energy sources. Wind, ocean, thermal, solar, along with hybrid systems all lie on the path to lower demand for fossil fuels and subsequently reduced global warming. Environmentalist might consider advocating for non-fossil or significantly reduced fossil fuel alternative energy sources.

Both political parties could take a message from this controversy too. The path away from fossil fuels is not clear and is expected to be costly (at least initially). Political parties, who either denying global warming, or approve new oil exploration while embracing global warming dangers is sending a very mixed message to voters.

The unintended message is that politicians cannot be trusted to see right from wrong, and cannot be expected to advocate innovative solutions to tough problems.  Voters may see non-traditional elected officials as just as good as the current crowd.

What say Ben Carson, Bernie Sanders, or Donald Trump?