IS GREEN ENERGY REALLY GREEN?Author: Ron Stamets
On occasion I find myself gently shaking my head at someone who, after finding out that I run the Natural Gas Forum For Landowners, find it imperative to verse me about green or sustainable energy, and how, by supporting the responsible use of natural gas, I should be ashamed of myself for promoting the destruction of the Earth. If you happened to stumble across this op ed piece, and are inclined to re-affirm that opinion of my back-country ignorance, spare yourself the effort. In my non-humble opinion, you are a prime prospect for "Dr. Feelgoods Magic Elixer".
GREEN ENERGY IS NEITHER EARTH FRIENDLY OR SUSTAINABLE.
What is being foisted as green, sustainable energy, on the American public, is no less disingenuous than the 1800's huckster peddling Dr. Feelgoods Magic Elixer. There isn't a single large scale energy system that is not totally dependent on raw materials, either in the form of minerals and ores, or hydrocarbon fuels. All are non-renewable. Frankly, I would submit for your consideration that these so-called green alternatives produce as much, if not more, damage to the World's environment and people than directly using the energy produced from readily available fossil fuel sources.
Recently, I had a phone conversation with a man, who came from China, and who has family and friends living there. We were talking about the current state of development of solar panels and wind turbine components, and how China appears to have really taken the lead in developing these alternative "green" energy systems.
It is obvious that China has taken a quantum industrial jump, simply because they have ignored measures to protect their people, or the environment. Sections of the country, where the Rare Earth is processed and where solar panel chemicals and components are manufactured and disposed are now referred to as "Cancer Villages". An April 1, 2013 article in the NY Times reported that Air Pollution Alone has been linked to 1.2 Million Premature Deaths in China. According to the study cited in the NY Times, pollution is the sixth most common killer in South Asia.
The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition estimates that 1.5 billion pounds of solar panel waste containing 2 million pounds of lead and 600,000 pounds of cadmium will be disposed of in California alone. Many solar panels are being trashed, well ahead of their 20-year expected lifespans as cheaper, more efficient versions hit the market. Take note that this is for CALIFORNIA ALONE. The bulk of these "cheaper" solar products are coming from South Asia, where costs can be contained with rock bottom wages and a nearly non-existent set of standards to protect the environment and human life. Anyone can Google "China Solar Panel" or "China Rare Earth" and come up with copious amounts of documented evidence of an environmental disaster in progress.
With all of the evidence of the fully documented environmental and human damage caused by the production and disposal of the toxic materials used to manufacture these "green alternatives", I find it hard to believe that any genuine environmentalist would promote that activity over the exploration and production of natural gas. Especially when the very thing these charlatans are purporting HAS NEVER MATERIALIZED AFTER TENS OF THOUSANDS OF HORIZONTAL FRACS HAVE BEEN DONE! (See Senate Hearing).
Look at some common sense facts
Think about this. With all of the concern over CO2 emissions, people with above average incomes buy very expensive electric vehicles. Seems to make sense, right? Not so fast there Slick. You might not be producing the CO2 emissions at your plug, but something has to be generating that electricity, and if it is night time, or if there is no wind, you can be assured that some form of fossil fuel is likely being burned. Unless your power comes from Hoover or Niagara Falls, you are demanding power from the grid provided by your friendly fossil fueled, or nuclear power plant. So you may be ignorant enough to believe that your car is clean and green, it isn't. It is just moving the CO2 from your exhaust pipe, to a smoke stack in someone else's back yard.
Oh... one other thing. Those nifty Li Ion batteries? According to the U.S. government, lithium ion batteries aren't an environmental hazard. "Lithium Ion batteries are classified by the federal government as non-hazardous waste because the Lithium is in an ionic form and not considered a metal. So, for the moment they just get dumped into any landfill. I would suspect that most people would recycle their vehicle batteries, but at the point where a battery is no longer a candidate to recycle, economics will dictate that dumping is the cheapest way to get them out of sight and out of mind. If you think that some water with sand, and guar gum at 6 or 7,000 feet below is scary, think about a couple of million Li Ion batteries seeping their contents into the aquifer from above.
But... I forgot. the upper crust do not live near landfills. So it should all be perfectly acceptable.LIGHT BULBS
Yeah.... I have those squiggly new "green" light bulbs. I actually like them for outside lights better than the Walmart incandescent bulbs. But I used to be able to put the old bulbs in the trash. Now, my refuse pickup company wants me to buy special mailers to send my burned out, new fangled "green" bulbs to them so they can be safely disposed of. Why? because if I just throw my bulbs into the garbage, they will pollute the environment with things like mercury, and God knows what else.
So... The new bulbs apparently require more energy to manufacture, they contain dangerous, toxic materials, they are supposed to be special shipped somewhere (more energy consumed) to be disposed of in someone else's back yard.... Sounds really green and earth friendly, doesn't it?
Using a food source as a bio fuel is about as close to stupid as one can get, without being committed to an institution. It requires MORE energy to make, than it produces. It has been and still is a complete lose-lose proposition, and can hardly be considered green at all. Unless you are referring to the greenbacks that are flowing into corporate profits in the form of subsidies, compliments from you, the taxpayer.
It puts the world's food and feed stock supply in direct competition with a high demand energy use, which increases prices and decreases availability for food. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that this puts greater pressure on food producers and exacerbates the world hunger problem.
When added to gasoline, it dissolves or degrades hoses and parts not originally designed to handle ethanol. Notice gas leaking from your lawn mower or older car lately? The distilling process requires fuel being burned to produce the Ethanol..... And then it's mixed with your gas.
Frankly, the entire scam would be funny, if it were only for the fact that billions of taxpayer dollars are being redistributed into the pockets of politicians and benefactors, who gain to rake in $billions. The damage isn't seen here.... It's all kept a safe distance away.... In someone else's back yard. That makes it much easier to run a fear and mis-information campaign against any competitive form of inexpensive, clean energy product, such as domestically produced natural gas.... Which I have to admit has been quite effective thus far.