• Arnie Slam Dunks on Climate Change

    This was a post from Arnold Schwarzenegger to his facebook page. Brilliant:

    I don’t give a **** if we agree about climate change.

    I see your questions.

    Each and every time I post on my Facebook page or tweet about my crusade for a clean energy future, I see them.

    There are always a few of you, asking why we should care about the temperature rising, or questioning the science of climate change.

    I want you to know that I hear you. Even those of you who say renewable energy is a conspiracy. Even those who say climate change is a hoax. Even those of you who use four letter words.

    I’ve heard all of your questions, and now I have three questions for you.

    Let’s put climate change aside for a minute. In fact, let’s assume you’re right.

    First – do you believe it is acceptable that 7 million people die every year from pollution? That’s more than murders, suicides, and car accidents – combined.

    Every day, 19,000 people die from pollution from fossil fuels. Do you accept those deaths? Do you accept that children all over the world have to grow up breathing with inhalers?

    Now, my second question: do you believe coal and oil will be the fuels of the future?

    Besides the fact that fossil fuels destroy our lungs, everyone agrees that eventually they will run out. What’s your plan then?

    I, personally, want a plan. I don’t want to be like the last horse and buggy salesman who was holding out as cars took over the roads. I don’t want to be the last investor in Blockbuster as Netflix emerged. That’s exactly what is going to happen to fossil fuels.

    A clean energy future is a wise investment, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either wrong, or lying. Either way, I wouldn’t take their investment advice.

    Renewable energy is great for the economy, and you don’t have to take my word for it. California has some of the most revolutionary environmental laws in the United States, we get 40% of our power from renewables, and we are 40% more energy efficient than the rest of the country. We were an early-adopter of a clean energy future.

    Our economy has not suffered. In fact, our economy in California is growing faster than the U.S. economy. We lead the nation in manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, entertainment, high tech, biotech, and, of course, green tech.

    I have a final question, and it will take some imagination.

    There are two doors. Behind Door Number One is a completely sealed room, with a regular, gasoline-fueled car. Behind Door Number Two is an identical, completely sealed room, with an electric car. Both engines are running full blast.

    I want you to pick a door to open, and enter the room and shut the door behind you. You have to stay in the room you choose for one hour. You cannot turn off the engine. You do not get a gas mask.

    I’m guessing you chose the Door Number Two, with the electric car, right? Door number one is a fatal choice – who would ever want to breathe those fumes?

    This is the choice the world is making right now.

    To use one of the four-letter words all of you commenters love, I don’t give a damn if you believe in climate change. I couldn’t care less if you’re concerned about temperatures rising or melting glaciers. It doesn’t matter to me which of us is right about the science.

    I just hope that you’ll join me in opening Door Number Two, to a smarter, cleaner, healthier, more profitable energy future.

    Category: Climate ChangeEnvironmentFeaturedPoliticsScience

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    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

    • Daydreamer1

      The sentiment is right. There comes a point where you just have to say to some people ‘you’re wrong’ and leave them to it.

      But on the other side of things if you’re going to make claims and it turns out that you’re wrong then if you claim you’re all about the science you had better be willing to accept that you got things wrong. Otherwise you look like a fool.

      Are fossil fuels the future of fuel? Of course not. Is that an excuse for getting information about them wrong, or for ignoring some deep realities about them? I would hope not.

      Say in 40 years time when we no longer use hydrocarbons as a fuel source, or at least don’t do without carbon capture and storage, and at least don’t do except for isolated/minor cases, like some backup in hospitals or for national defence etc. Who knows. Either way, assume that we’ve cut out 99% of fossil fuel use as a fuel. Assume we’ve solved the issues of transport, cooking, heating, and we’ve managed it for billions more people. Assume we’ve also tackled the other GHG emitting sectors, like agriculture. Assume we’ve cracked climate change and successfully controlled the planet to 1.5 degrees.

      That leaves climate change solved and billions more people having access to cheap/affordable green energy and needing access to everything else, a very large chunk of which is produced using… hydrocarbons. Thats great because now we’re not burning them there are plenty left for things like plastics, fertilisers, medicines etc

      I like Arnie’s comment, or at least some bits of it, or at least the sentiment of it. He is right in many ways, but the realworld situation is so much more complex than what he says that his comment misses so much of it to pretty much be a fail. Electric cars are grid powered, which right now often means coal. Building too many electric cars before the green infrastructure is in place would cause more damage than good. The bulk of pollution caused deaths are from renewables, not fossil fuels, in the form of indoor biomass burning. By shifting energy generation to power stations and transmitting energy across the grid in the form of electricity countless lives have been saved. ‘Fossil fuels’ is also too general a term. There is such a large difference between say natural gas and coal that it isn’t helpful to call them the same – especially if we are talking about deaths from air pollution. Gas burns releasing CO2 and water, it releases some 99% less pollutants compared to coal. Even coal is not that simple since coal plants in China and not comparable to the US. In general deaths caused by air pollution are a problem of poverty and investment, not fuel type.

      Arnie likely doesn’t give a **** about all this and perhaps that doesn’t matter. These are realities for today, probably not for 70 years time. They will pass on their own. The remaining constant will likely be that hydrocarbon use will continue post the solving of climate change and that the economic growth resulting from that resolution will increase the amount of hydrocarbons used in those sectors – but again, if climate change has been solved then using ethane to produce plastics shouldn’t be a problem, should it?…

      • Hey there,

        Long time no talk. Good to hear from you. I think you are right. Any decision is always more realistically hues of grey, rather than black and white.

        And, sadly, most decisions are purely economic for a lot of people.

        Personally, population is the largest problem, with food and urban sprawl and density (with crime and social problems), biodiversity and pollution all resulting from this.

        China’s massive smog problem is a very real example of all the above and fossil fuels.

        • Daydreamer1

          Hi Jonathan,

          Indeed. I’m glad your still finding the time and motivation to keep the site and skepticism running.

          No doubt we’d have to look at every single decision individually to judge the rights and wrongs. Economics is obviously pretty important and I’m finding no surprise in people voting to keep their jobs if their families, children etc, are fed through it, mortgages paid by it etc, and especially where they don’t feel job switching to equal pay is easy/possible, i.e. with the recent coal mine closure where some of the guys have been doing that for 30 years. Equally I find no surprise if people vote to increase their own benefits at the expense of the national economy or in full knowledge that the national economy cannot take such a vote – as has been seen in other countries with less resilient economies to ours as well as to a degree our own.

          I completely agree that population is the biggest issue; for me by a long way. There would be no climate change problem, or many of the others, if it were not for our population.

          However, if the 2 degrees target looks infeasible, never mind the 1.5 degree target (which to me looks only like saying it would be nice, wishing it might be possible, and wishing for some magical technology to achieve it – which in itself is a good thing, but currently in the same way as wishing for world peace – worth having on paper, noble, not going to happen for…. well….) then any meaningful reduction in population isn’t either. Policing a global one child policy……

          Fitting advanced filters to the global coal fleet would reduce air pollution by 99-99.5% and cost $30-$100 billion per year.

          At the very least with regard to fossil fuels we should be in the position of only having to talk about CO2, since air pollution is tackle-able.

          I saw a link to this webpage a long time ago and bookmarked it: http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

        • Daydreamer1
    • Shinku

      Let me just tear down your entire post.
      CO2 is not pollution. Climate Change (Global warming redux) is NOT about pollution.
      CO2 is not a pollutant. EVERY SCIENTIST WILL TELL YOU THIS.
      If you “believe” that CO2 is a pollutant. Stop breathing. So while I shit allover your post with science. CO2 is essential to the life cycle and respiration of all life on earth. Thanks.