Blogs > Matt Power > February 2010

Climate Deniers, It's Time to Come Clean.

Climate change deniers feign outrage. But it’s all about the money.
Any politician can tell you, facts rarely get in the way of well funded fiction. Consider the case of the House Natural Resources Committee of the Utah legislature. They just approved a resolution declaring that “climate alarmists” are pursuing some sort of population control conspiracy. Huh? The push was urged on by the Utah Farm Bureau, a deceptively folksy sounding organization that includes massively subsidized, polluting factory farms in its membership.

Similar nonsense is happening in Texas. Remember, they threatened to secede from the U.S. over new EPA rules that might force them to clean up their belching oil refineries? 

In fairness, we should all pay for the conversion to cleaner energy. We all use the oil and gas from the region. But the point is that their reason for “outrage” isn’t because the science of global warming is bad. It’s because the wealthy elites who own the oil industry like the fistfuls of money they make from dirty industries—without having to pay for the collateral damage. In fact, a new study suggests that if oil industries actually had to pay the environmental costs for the damage they do, they’d be operating at a loss.

The fact that mankind is changing earth’s climate is no longer up for debate. To say otherwise is equivalent to arguing that there’s “not enough evidence” to connect cigarette smoking to cancer. Flash to picture of blackened lungs.

Part of the confusion stems from the corporate media’s simplistic concepts of “objectivity.” Put 1,001 climate scientists in a room. It’s likely that a thousand of them concur that climate change is a huge and growing crisis. One clown at the punch bowl says the whole theory is bunk. Reporters swarm around him. The CNN headline reads “Debate over Climate Change Still Open.”

You can see the absurdity. Another new study just released today shows that all the hoopla over what the flat-earthers call “a giant conspiracy” is ill placed. If anything, the real numbers are actually more dramatic—and global warming is happening faster than expected.

Let’s assume we take the low road for a minute. Let’s chant what big oil wants us to chant: Climate change is some kind of conspiracy…Climate Change is a leftist hoax…

What have we accomplished? Instead of reinvigorating the U.S. economy with innovation and a new kind of purpose, we’ve helped people in a few dirty industries keep their jobs. We’ve killed the potential for creating new green jobs. We’ve crippled any hopes for putting America back to work as a net producer of innovative technologies and goods. And we’ve screwed our kids.

Once we've blown it--the way Obama has blown any chance of real reform in health care, military policy, or the rule of law, we might well join the conspiracy nuts and "frightened dullards," as Hunter S. Thompson called the unimaginative American public. If we all become teabaggers, wave the flag, pray more, and ask Sarah Palin to save us, we'll be playing exactly the tune that Wall Street has taught us to hum.

Posted: 2/19/2010 7:57:12 AM by Matt Power | with 0 comments

Where Should the Last Oil Go?

Interesting article from Treehugger this morning. As acceptance that oil supplies are finite begins to sink in, the debate could soon become HOW to use the remaining reserves of relatively affordable fossil fuels.--M. Power

Oil Is Too Important To Burn In Cars

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 01.22.10 (from

If there is one lesson to be learned from the designers, thinkers and curators presenting at Conversations in Design: A World Without Oil, it is the fact that we need the stuff for a lot of uses far more important than pushing boxes of steel around on roads.

When one realizes that we are using a cubic mile of the stuff every year (that is the Eiffel Tower on the right for scale), it becomes pretty obvious that this isn't going to continue forever, and we have to begin to think about what we are going to use it for.

The amount of oil consumed each year is shown in the center. There's only so much to go around. Should we be using it to move individuals around in cars made with thousands of pounds of materials?

When you realize what we would have to build to replace the energy from all that oil, like building four dams the size of the Three Gorges Dam, 52 nuclear power plants or 104 coal fired power plants every year it becomes obvious that switching to Tesla Roadsters and plug-in hybrids is not going to make very much of a difference.


Posted: 2/1/2010 8:52:11 AM by Matt Power | with 0 comments

About Me

As a veteran reporter, Matt Power has covered virtually every aspect of design and construction. His award-winning articles often tackle tough environmental challenges in a way that makes them relevant to both professionals and end users. An expert on both building science and green building, he has a long history of asking hard questions--and adding depth and context as he unfolds complex issues.




Social Media