In my recent column on the State of the Union Address I stated the basic case against global warming/climate change theory. That is not my purpose for this column. Today’s column is to warn you about the direct effect on you and your family resulting from this erroneous theory.
On the last day of February the largest newspaper in the country ran a story in the center of their front page by Wendy Koch entitled “Why You Should Sweat Climate Change”. I am not certain, but it appears that Ms. Koch was a co-author of the article. Her writing partner must surely have been Chicken Little. The article begins with a comprehensive list of human suffering, none of which has anything to do with climate change, followed by a plethora of cataclysmic predictions that are equally irrelevant. All this hyperbole is wrapped up in a graph that does its best to hide the fact that no warming has occurred in over sixteen years.
The reason any of this should matter to you, is that this is the first in what will be a year-long series of articles on the topic of climate change. As a consumer and an employee, you must realize that the politics and emoting over climate change are actively creating policy, which in turn is already creating economic hardship on you and your employer.
Allow me to use a little fable to illustrate: Johnny attends high school in Western Kentucky. Last year a man came to Johnny’s school (okay it was me) and tried to teach Johnny a bit about how science should be done. The man demonstrated that Climate Change theory does not stand up under the scrutiny of the scientific method. He even demonstrated that there has been no warming in the past sixteen years. But this man works for a power plant where they burn CO2 emitting coal, and he was probably biased. Besides, he is local and therefore cannot know what he is talking about.
Today Johnny’s teacher read the class a front page article from USA Today. The article was exciting and scary, almost like a drama, and it was on the front page of a national paper, so it must surely be accurate. What’s more, Twitter was “blowing up” with buzz from celebrities about this “important piece of journalism”. That evening Johnny goes home, turns on every light in his house, his TV and his computer. He reaches into his electric refrigerator and grabs a Coke. Then he sits down and talks to his parents about all the terrifying occurrences that he heard about in class today.
Johnny’s Dad mentions that, on his way home from work, he heard Al Gore on NPR lauding the praises of the USA today article. Later that night the family spends time together writing a letter to their Senator demanding something be done to protect Johnny’s generation and future generations from climate change. The letter calls for more renewable energy and the rapid shut down of the dirty old CO2 emitting coal fired power plants.
Meanwhile, in a land far away, Jeffrey Moneypenny is having dinner with Johnny’s Senator, Mortimer Stuffpockets. Mr. Moneypenny owns a business that builds electric generating turbines. Business has been a bit lean for the past few years because the economy is down. However, Mr. Moneypenny has branched out into a new area. He now builds wind turbines. After his dinner with Senator Stuffpockets, Mr. Moneypenny can expect a federal subsidy for every wind turbine he builds. In addition, the Senator is going to pass a law so that his state is forced to install a minimum number of wind turbines each year. Unfortunately, wind turbines cannot stand alone. In order to keep the grid stable, a backup natural gas turbine must be built for those days when the wind doesn’t blow. Likewise, new sections must be added to the electric grid to connect the new wind farms with the existing grid. Therefore there will be additional subsidies for operators of wind farms, let’s say $32.00 per megawatt. The Senator will announce these subsidies and laws with great fanfare. After all, he is doing all of this for our children and for future generations, lest they suffer the horrible effects of climate change.
Back at home Johnny’s parents, feeling quite good about their stand for the environment, have no idea that they will pay significantly higher prices for wind power because of the subsidies, than they would have paid for the same electricity from the old coal plant. Unfortunately our story is not over. Since Senator Stuffpockets has mandated that wind power be given priority and go to the grid first, and because manufacturing is declining, when mild spring weather hits, demand plummets. Older coal plants are forced off the grid and shut down. Then the coal plant, which has provided safe reliable electricity for fifty years, must sit idle. Like an old reliable Chevy that is parked in the driveway for weeks, this idle time is hard on the old plant.
Before we know it, summer is here. Temperatures, as they tend to do in summer, climb into the triple digits. Like their neighbors, Johnny’s parents turn on their air conditioning. Demand for electricity skyrockets. At the same time, wind turbines cannot come close to meeting that demand. Suddenly, the old coal plant is very much needed. However, as the plant attempts to ramp up after weeks of being idle, an equipment failure results at the plant. Now there is more demand for electricity than there is supply. The grid is under tremendous strain from all the unmet demand. Johnny’s home town then suffers a blackout. Johnny and his parents sit in the stifling dark living room of their home, cursing the greedy power companies for their incompetence.
The family never realizes that the hysterical article they read about a crisis that really wasn’t a crisis, based on a theory that had no basis in actual science, contributed to a domino effect. The result was significantly higher power bills and a less reliable grid. Tune in next week for the conclusion of our story.