Monday, December 16, 2013

Energy, Philosophy, Politics, Art, wonderful nastiness and wind

Terrific, original, work worth noting...

George Monbiot is always worth a read, and I'm always interested in his writings on nuclear - and coal. His latest is good until the end, where I think it's great.

Power Crazed | George Monbiot
You don’t have to be an enthusiast for atomic energy to see that it scarcely features as a health risk beside its rival. I wonder whether the nuclear panic might be a way of not seeing. Displacement is something we all do: fixing on something small to avoid engaging with something big. Coal, on which industrialism was built, which over the past 200 years has come to seem central to our identity, is an industry much bigger and nastier and more embedded than the one we have chosen to fear. I don’t believe our choice is accidental.
Speaking of "fixing on something small to avoid engaging with something big" let's look at the weekend news out of Germany.

The cabinet structure, and ministers, are now announced for the new German coalition, so we now know how Chancellor Merkel intended to deal with the energiewende;  she's outsourced dealing with it.

Energiewende Ministries in New German Cabinet | German Energy Blog
After the members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) voted in favour of a grand coalition with the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), SPD party chairman Sigmar Gabriel will become Minister of Economics and Energy, with an enlarged ministry now also covering renewable energy. SPD treasurer Barbara Hendricks will become the new Environment Minister in the next cabinet of Angela Merkel (CDU), albeit without responsibility for renewable energy. As a result, the Energiewende shall be managed mainly by the Social Democrats.
The small nuclear problem is the focus as lignite is championed and electricity sector targets for 2025 promise 55-60% of all generation will come from coals and methane - which is where Germany has been since the turn of the century (the target is presented as 40-45% 'renewables').

Adding to the day's riches, a post from energy economist Severin Borenstein.  It's not his best, but it fits nicely into our narrative as he presents the Union of Concerned Scientists (and the divestment movement) as making a mountain of an 80-unit mole hill, and in so doing deflecting from dealing with coal/oil/gas ...

Is demonizing “big carbon” a strategy or a copout? | Energy Economics Exchange
Are we really being tricked, bullied or seduced into burning fossil fuels? That seems to be the message behind two arguments made recently by prominent advocates for climate action: we should blame the producers of fossil fuels for the failure to make progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Union of Concerned Scientists made a splash last week publicizing new research that traces at least 63% of the GHG released since 1751 back to 90 companies. In case you missed what you are to make of this finding, the UCS article says “And I bet you already know who’s most responsible—Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Peabody Coal are all among the top producers, along with state-owned organizations such as Saudi Aramco. This new research can be a game changer in our efforts to reduce global warming emissions…” 
Really? If those evil fossil fuel companies would just stop producing their energy poison, the problem would be solved?
On a quicker rebuttal headline note, The Onion followed the Guardian's recent Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions with "New Report Finds Climate Change Caused By 7 Billion Key Individuals."

If you read Borenstein's post you'll notice in the comments some thought leaders taking him to task for failing to understand the thought leadership role of the divestment movement.
Speaking of thought leaders, I'll put this really nasty piece from David Brooks into this review - because these people are too often my provincial capital.

The Thought Leader | The New York Times
Little boys and girls in ancient Athens grew up wanting to be philosophers. In Renaissance Florence they dreamed of becoming Humanists. But now a new phrase and a new intellectual paragon has emerged to command our admiration: The Thought Leader.
The Thought Leader is sort of a highflying, good-doing yacht-to-yacht concept peddler. Each year, he gets to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative, where successful people gather to express compassion for those not invited. Month after month, he gets to be a discussion facilitator at think tank dinners where guests talk about what it’s like to live in poverty while the wait staff glides through the room thinking bitter thoughts.
He doesn’t have students, but he does have clients. He doesn’t have dark nights of the soul, but his eyes blaze at the echo of the words “breakout session.”
...As a college student, the future Thought Leader is bathed in attention. His college application essay, “I Went to Panama to Teach the Natives About Math but They Ended Up Teaching Me About Life,” is widely praised...
OK - enough cynicism.

I wrote an article looking at the data behind industrial wind turbine curtailment this weekend - pretty dry but I'm glad I took the time to do it before another project was stupidly granted a renewable energy approval in an area of the province that has little need for any more power (the northeast section of the grid).
Today another project was granted a renewable energy approval in that northeast section of the province...

We opponents of Ontario's foolish green energy act policies lose most of our battles.

There's only one that's been won, and it's being appealed shortly by the green grifter industry and their Premier.  If you've been railing about rates and the flight of industry from Ontario, even if you ignore concerns of local citizens threatened with the industrialization of their regions, this is your chance to get in the game and, probably, be part of the losing team.

Gilead, MOE and CanWEA are desperate to kill/harm/harass PECFN’s Ostrander Point win
...small group of intrepid fighters now needs tens of thousands dollars more to defend its win at the upcoming Divisional Court appeal, scheduled to be heard in Toronto on Jan 21-24, 2014.
We are nearing Christmas. Will you consider adding PECFN to your gift list? Are you able to donate a single amount of $52, equivalent to $1 per week for a year? Or maybe even $104? But any amount will be greatly appreciated.
You can send your Christmas gift to PECFN by clicking ... or by mailing a cheque to Ostrander Point Appeal Fund, 59 King Street, Unit 2, Picton, ON K0K 2T0.
In my time writing and collecting for the Wind Concerns Ontario blog I found a big source of communication disconnect was how people react to the term, "annoyance"
The combined video, audio, poetry and production of The 134ever Lament communicated to me the 'annoyance' many have tried to express.

1 comment:

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