Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dirty air notwithstanding...

Have you noticed those clean air vehicle only parking stalls showing up around many of your local retail outlets? If you have, and if you haven't yet bought the Leaf, or the Model X, you're either a little perturbed, or you appreciate the effort of retailers to relieve your lungs. Well, if you're the latter, I'll here attempt to cause you a little perturbation the next time you have to park outside those empty spaces reserved for the environmentally unenlightened.

What if I told you that a more apt label for those reserved parking spots (forgetting hybrids for the sake of this essay [I assume they'd qualify for a spot]) would be "coal burning vehicle"? That's right, those (all electric) cars run on a byproduct of the dirtiest of all fossil fuels---roughly 40% of our nation's electricity is generated by coal. So then, the next time you're tailing one of those tailpipeless cars, picture a giant smokestack billowing black residue into the atmosphere---yes, that's what it takes to fuel that little killer in front of you. Imagine the environmental horror, if, tomorrow, Washington were to outlaw the gasoline engine on all new automobiles?

Ah, but we have a solution, capitalism. Specifically, capitalism practiced by the industry environmentalists love to hate in the worst way, the oil industry. That's right, it's the oil industry that is working overtime extracting, and hoping to distribute, worldwide, the cleanest of all fossil fuels, natural gas. Now you'd think that environmentalists---wanting only a cleaner environment---would work alongside big oil to help them make certain that they can extract that wonderful humanity-saving substance as environmentally friendly as possible.

But, please---dirty air notwithstanding---don't hold your breath. The odds of the environmental movement embracing the oil industry and abandoning their zero-emission facade are, well, zero. Here's Al Gore, advising folks to avoid oil company stocks:
The valuation of those companies and their assets is now based on the assumption that all of those carbon assets will be sold and burned. They are not going to be burned. They cannot be burned and will not be burned. No more than one-third can ever possibly be burned without destroying the future.

Yes, I know, if we can get busier harnessing the wind and the sun we can dramatically reduce the need for coal. Okay, but until we (it'll have to be profit-seeking capitalists) can pull that off in a cost-effective manner, let's get cleaner on that cheap and abundant resource that oil companies are more than happy to provide. Oh, but we'd have to somehow get government out of the way... Dang :(...

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