The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, March 12, 2007

TMI, Redux

As a follow-up to my last post, let’s assume for a moment that Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenience Truth is scientifically accurate and that every scientist interviewed in in UK Channel 4’s TV documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle. is a shill for big oil and that all the claims in the Channel 4 piece are absolutely incorrect.

Then we are to believe that CO2 is the primary driver of global warming. It isn’t, but we’re assuming …

Now, think back to the late 1970s when the Movie, The China Syndrome was released. Less than two weeks after its release, the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear accident occurred – a perfect storm for environmental activists. As a consequence of these events, the development of Nuclear Power in the United States simply stopped. The Hollywood and media elites celebrated their victory ,and we moved forward into a cleaner, environmentally safer world … but wait.

Today, almost 30 years later, Hollywood and the media celebrate Al Gore and ask why the USA is so callous as to produce tons of CO2 that are “causing” global warming.

Lee Haslup runs a few numbers that are sort of “inconvenient” when we juxtapose the China Syndrome, TMI, and Al Gore’s documentary:
Let's do a little math. Electrical power plants in the US emit something like 500 million tons of carbon into the air as CO2 each year. None of that carbon comes from the 20 percent that is currently nuclear so 500 million tons divided by 80 percent non-nuclear gives us 6.25 million tons of carbon to generate one percent of the power we use in the US. If we assume that we would be generating an additional 30 percent from nuclear power then we would emit 187.5 fewer millions of tons of carbon each year. It has been 28 years since The China Syndrome/Three Mile Island so we can approximate the cumulative effect by multiplying the yearly emission difference by 28 and then dividing by two. That way we assign one twenty-eighth of the yearly emissions in the first year, two twenty-eighths in the second year, and so forth. So let's see... 187.5 million tons times 28 years is 5.25 billion tons divided by two to allow for our approximation of linear growth gives us 2.625 billion tons of carbon. Assuming each ton is 2000 pounds and bearing in mind that each pound of carbon combines with 2.7 pounds of oxygen to form CO2, we get, lets see... 2.625 billion tons of carbon is 5.25 trillion pounds of carbon -- which is enough to make 19.425 trillion pounds of CO2. Since we are approximating here lets round that to twenty trillion pounds. That's 20,000,000,000,000 lbs of CO2.

So what was the damage done by the accident at Three Mile Island? The number two reactor was damaged beyond repair. Enough radioactivity was released to equal a chest X-ray or two for the operators of the plant. And, thanks to the tireless efforts of Jane Fonda [the star of The China Syndrome], twenty trillion pounds of extra CO2 were released into the atmosphere over the next twenty eight years.

Now, legitimate science indicates that CO2 is not the problem when global warming is concerned, but it is interesting to see how thoughtless environmental activism, backed by shaky science and political spin can result in unintended consequences.

Update (3/12/07):

I apologize, but this is hard to resist. The AP reports the following:
MINNEAPOLIS - A North Pole expedition meant to bring attention to global warming was called off after one of the explorers got frostbite. The explorers, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, on Saturday called off what was intended to be a 530-mile trek across the Arctic Ocean after Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold temperatures drained the batteries in some of their electronic equipment …

"They were experiencing temperatures that weren't expected with global warming," Atwood said. "But one of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability."

Of course, local climate events can be aberrant and the reported event proves little about global warming. Then again, most climate change activists continually argue that hurricanes, droughts, floods, occurrences of hot weather (local climate events, all) are harbingers of catastrophic climate change and that we're the cause of it. Can’t have it both ways.