Monday, February 11, 2008

Are we our own worst enemies?

Gasoline costs $3.00 or more a gallon, we are being required to replace incandescent light bulbs with those expensive curly things, environmentalists have made us shut down any program that would increase our oil supplies and decrease dependence on foreign countries that want us dead or worse; and what does our government want to do now, increase our federal gasoline tax and put polar bears on the endangered list?

Why are our leaders doing this to us, because of global warming of course? And guess what; all the remaining candidates for their Party’s nomination today are caught in the global warming trap, hook, line and sinker (to coin a phrase) so we don’t stand a chance to avoid what is in store for us.

Even though the number of polar bears has increased substantially from an estimated 9,000 in the 1960s to 22,500 today, the Department of the Interior speculates that global warming may someday reduce the amount of summer ice in the Arctic, thereby threatening the bears’ existence. Note: the operative word is “someday”, not today or even in the foreseeable future, but “someday”.

The Endangered Species Act has been used to deprive property owners of their rights and has hampered economic activities of developers, farmers, ranchers, and loggers in the rural West and elsewhere but it has done little to actually protect species. In its decades-long existence, only a small percentage of the listed species has actually been threatened or, if threatened, has actually recovered or even shown any increase in numbers. The only impact adding polar bears to the list will be to hinder energy development in Alaska.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is estimated to contain 10 billion barrels of oil or nearly 15 years worth of current imports from Saudi Arabia. Listing bears as threatened would prematurely remove any chance of developing potential oil and gas resources in that region which will cause an increase in energy prices and make us continue to be reliant on foreign oil.

Those that do not want us to disturb the increasing number of polar bears propose that we use ‘biofuels’ to lessen our foreign oil dependence. However, environmentalists now have a proverbial ‘catch 22’ because reports are that biofuels actually will cause an increase in ‘greenhouse gasses’ and, thus, we are back to square one.

Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these "green" fuels are taken into account according to two recent studies. The studies were published in the journal Science and report a detailed, comprehensive look at the emissions effects on land being converted to biofuel cropland globally to support biofuels development. Destruction of rain forest in the tropics or grasslands in South America not only releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when they are burned and plowed for land clearing, but also depletes available plant life which provide natural absorption of carbon emissions. Cropland absorbs far less carbon than the rain forests or even scrubland that it replaces.

The conclusion reached in the report is that greenhouse gas contribution is significant and, taken globally, the production of almost all biofuels results, directly or indirectly, intentionally or not, in additional land being cleared which was previously used either for food or carbon absorption. Timothy Searchinger, one of the researchers in environment and economics at Princeton University, and authors of the reports, said "When you take this into account, most of the biofuel that people are using or planning to use would probably increase greenhouse gasses substantially. Previously there's been an accounting error: land use change has been left out of prior analyses."

Believe it or not, a group of 10 of the United States' most eminent ecologists and environmental biologists (by at least by their own estimate) sent a letter to President Bush and the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, urging a reform of biofuels policies – the letter said "We write to call your attention to recent research indicating that many anticipated biofuels will actually exacerbate global warming”.

Of course, facts do not hamper national and world bureaucrats from their desire to change the western world into the third world. For example, Nicholas Nuttall, spokesman for the United Nations Environment Program, said the United Nations had recently created a new panel to study the evidence, "We fully believe that if biofuels are to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, there urgently needs to be better sustainability criterion." (Do you know what that means, I don’t.) The European Union has set a target that countries use 5.75% biofuel for transportation by the end of 2008 and the United States’ energy package requires that 15% of all transportation fuel be made from biofuel by 2022.

Isn’t it amazing; when man tries to outsmart ‘Mother Nature’ all he does is make matters worse.

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