Tag: environment

EPA to regulate greenhouse gasses

At long last we’re seeing a culmination of the Clean Air and Water Act from the mid 1970’s. How is it that it has taken the better part of 40 years to go from the act, and all the court challenges to this?

It does make me very happy though. As I said to a friend, we both grew up during the environmentalism movement in the 1970’s, so too did President Obama. The baby boomers are dying off, and we that straddle the Baby Boom and Gen-X got a full dose of civil rights and environmental protectionism. It makes me incredibly happy to see this happening in my lifetime.

The gases in question are carbon dioxide (Cars emit both CO and CO2) as well as hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafloride.

Of course the perfluorocarbons and carbon dioxides (CO and CO2) primarily come from burning petroleum products.

But sulfur hexafloride is interesting. It’s used by the utility industry as a dielectric in high voltage switches, breakers etc. But the arcing in those devices breaks it down into very toxic chemicals. So now the electric industry is moving toward vacuum breakers. This after moving from PCB’s to sulfur hexafluoride.

But back to the carbon products – this is going to mean big changes for the auto industry. It always amazed me that even after the gas crunch of the early 1970’s we slowly broke away from economical vehicles. But now I see it as the true crunch time, we need more hybridized vehicles, start with the big rigs then trickle it down to passenger vehicles.

Move toward purely electric vehicles. Tesla makes electric cars, more to the point very NICE electric cars that can both blow the doors off anything with an internal combustion (IC) engine as well as getting ranges near the 250 mile mark. It’s just that the prices are a bit too high.

So with that in mind, I want to see massive government subsidies for both the big rigs and the passenger vehicles. Make it economically feasible to purchase the first one.

First off you’d reduce oil and gas consumption. That’s a big plus because as part of that you’d also reduce emissions of the pollutants being regulated by the EPA.

Naysayers always like to point out that the electric grid couldn’t handle all electric cars. So to allay those fears, massive investment in green energy is necessary. Just where I am I get plenty of sunshine in the spring/summer, and lots of wind in the fall/winter. Solar panels and turbines would pretty much do it here.

It’ll be interesting to see how hard the entrenched energy and auto industries react to this latest move.

Environment and Social Justice Post of the Day

I’ve run across an interesting article on the effects of air pollution in the United States. They’ve got nice maps that can be enlarged. The one about acid rain is interesting. The worst affected area of course is the eastern seaboard area of the U.S.

And what causes the increased mercury, nitrogen and other counts to go up? It’s pollution blowing in from the west. Yes that’s right, from the west. There are still a hell of a lot of coal plants in the midwest and all that soot, mercury and gunk blows along with the jet stream to cause acid rain on the eastern seaboard. So while the Pacific ocean gets filled with garbage, the Atlantic will be so acidified that nothing can live there. Remember the movie Soylent Green? You know why they had to resort to the methods necessary to produce Soylent Green was because the oceans were dead.

We won’t even talk about carbon dioxide. But I will say that we could reduce the mercury and soot from midwest power plants if we forced them to put scrubbers on the smoke stacks. But because they’re owned by big utility companies, they’ll lobby mightily to either obtain a waiver or to make the ratepayers pay the costs of doing what they should have done in the first place.

On the social justice side, Mother Jones Journal is doing a very interesting series called “Slammed: The Coming Prison Melt Down”. Read all the parts since they cover various facets of the issue.

I like the solution that Kansas uses. In essence they realize the problem requires people to give a shit about the released prisoners. Just kicking them to the street and expecting them to clean up their own drug issues, while trying to find a job and housing is just too much.

And consider that in my state, many serving time are in for drug offenses. I don’t want the hard stuff being legalized per se, but lots of those people are serving time for marijuana possession and delivery. At least decriminalize and legalize pot, it’s no worse than alcohol, in fact you can kill yourself if you OD on alcohol but you can never smoke enough pot to overdose.

We lock up far too many people in the United States. We are the leader when it comes to incarceration. It’s because of the stupidity of the drug laws for the most part. But I realize if we decriminalize pot that would mean an attendant reduction in the number of law enforcement officers, corrections officers, and DEA folks. And there is just too much power behind those groups to ever think we’ll see anything legalized, hell we’ll see more things become crimes until the day we’re two classes of people, the guards and the prisoners.