Apologies for the length of this post but I just went into dump mode.
When I was a kid way back in the 60’s the Cuyahoga River caught fire. Lake Erie was proclaimed a dead lake. From my childhood home up on a hill you couldn’t see across the mill creek valley to any of the other hills around Cincinnati because of the haze; and that was for most of the year. You had your choice at the gas pump of regular (AKA ethyl) which was for tetraethyl lead in the gasoline or high octane more benzene. And all detergents had phosphates for extra cleaning popwer.
Now you can see across the valley most days out of the year, there is no such thing as ethyl and parts of the Cuyahoga river basin outside Cleveland have been turned into park land for a wild and scenic river. And there is plenty of fish to be had in Lake Erie. I caught a dozen walleye last summer. You can not lie to me and tell me the environment is the worse it has ever been.
The change was not brought about by the good intentions of local industry but purely by government regulations and the cost they spawned. And the effect was catastrophic for many workers. As an example, it became too expensive for P&G to burn fossil fuel to heat their Tide spray drier. It’s gone along with most of P&G manufacturing in this area. The company I am currently working for is installing a large gas fired steam plant because we can not or will not fund the necessary environmental control equipment to burn coal and meet regulations. The company I did work for recently shutdown operations and is now importing from China the very specialty chemicals we used to make. All for the same reason cost of complying with regulations. A lot of industry is gone those that haven’t left have installed or are in the process of installing cleaner burning equipment. And we can speculate the only reason they are still here is because it would cost too much to move somewhere else or they would be gone also.
We won’t have to worry about dropping dead choking on bad air in our air conditioned houses; we won’t be able to afford the electricity. What everyone seems to forget is that when you roll up to the pump to top off that gas tank with your custom blended anti smog formulated gasoline your not really buying gas you’re buying BTUs. For those who may not be aware a BTU is the acronym for British Thermal Unit. A BTU is a measure of energy. Like a calorie for those who like the SI system. It is the energy required to raise a pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit. And it is energy you really want in that tank for your ride; not gasoline but energy. Something easily converted from chemical or electromagnetic into motion. And at the same time get a couple hundred miles between refills or recharges that only take a couple minutes of interruption of a trip.
It is the energy released when you burn fuel in your furnace, the car, the fireplace the stove et cetera that the debates are about. And the coal companies and the natural gas companies as well as the oil companies and the electric companies all know the current price of a BTU. And nobody is going to cut anybody a break. It is working strictly a supply and demand game. There are only so many BTUs available from hydroelectricity, geothermal, windmill, nuclear, the rest has to come from fossil fuels. It will not make any difference how hard anyone whines about it there is only a fixed amount of energy generated everyday. If demand outstrips supply something is going to give and that is price or rationing like brownouts.
Restrictions in burning coal have made it untenable for many power plants and so the switch to natural gas and fuel oil. Nuclear has been dead since the 70’s with Three Mile Island then the scare movie the China Syndrome to be topped off with Chernobyl. No one wants a wild and scenic river dammed for hydroelectricity. And geothermal and wind turbines are limited in locations and applications. The refiners can only split a barrel of crude so many ways and it is either going to be gasoline or fuel oil or some other kind of petrochemical. The alternate energy crowd have been licking there chops waiting for the day the big spike in energy prices so their private scheme for saving the planet will become economically viable. Which explains why they have been stumbling blocks for development. It isn’t the oil executives only wishing for higher priced BTUs The zero growth crowd which is morphed into a save the earth type global warming nut case has smothered the political debate with the mantra of save the children save the planet for so long stifling development we are stuck.
In most cases I think countries deserve the future they make for themselves. We have forgotten what hard work and sacrifice mean. We lost faith in the collective decisions of 200,000,000 consumers making the best choices for themselves. Everyone is afraid of any risk, so nothing gets done. Those operations that could invest in development want governmentsto pony up the money so thay are assured a profit. Hence, all the rebates to ADM and their cohorts for their ethyl alcohol blends and for biofuels.In an effort to not upset anybodies personal agenda (i.e. environmental or the corporate lobbyist) the politicians have settled on a plan to not make any decision and in a way that is a decision to damn everything except the capital markets where investments move around the globe with the click of mouse. One party proposes the other blocks and then vice versa. In the mean time no energy development; and manufacturing which is energy intensive will go where the getting is better.
So, when there is a voltage reduction or you get a migraine looking at your new electric bill or pained by the high gas prices :eek: don’t come complaining. If you didn’t see it coming you are blind.