Skip to comments.Ignorance is Strength in Shift to Green Power
Posted on 01/09/2007 12:40:55 AM PST by WayneLusvardi
Ignorance is Strength in Shift to Green Power
"Ignorance is strength" - slogan in novel 1984 by George Orwell
Van Nuys State Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (D) is reported to want to raise the bar on the percentage of green power that California cities and public utilities must purchase from 20% to 33% http://californiachronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=18751 However, it is well-documented that cities are not prepared to make even the lower requirement by 2010 (see here: http://calenergy.blogspot.com/2006/09/california-is-all-talk-on-green-energy_25.html).
Levine wants 33% "renewable" energy by 2020. His Assembly Bill 94 would additionally apply to power supplies for PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric (SEMPRA) (See AB 94 here: http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/acsframeset2text.htm).
One of the pitfalls with legislative tinkering with energy and environmental pollution has been calamitous unintended consequences. Witness the disastrous results our our trying meet Federal air quality mandates which required the mothballing of old, polluting power plants and resulted in the California Energy Crisis of 2001. Witness the pollution of our water basins with the fuel additive MTBE starting in the 1980's to reduce emissions from automobiles. And witness the drop in hydropower generation during the energy crisis of 2001 possibly due to the mandate to destroy dams to restore salmon runs.
We have a tendency to forget that several people died in traffic accidents and other tragedies related to blackouts during the 2001 electricity crisis, let alone the public utilities, water agencies, and college campuses that were financially stressed due to the spike in energy prices. Recently enacted AB 32 and SB 1368 require that cities purchase 20% of their electricity from green power sources (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.). These pieces of legislation will result in an inevitable increase in electricity rates in affected California cities, the prospect of electricity blackouts, and may still require redundant conventional power due to the unreliability of green power (solar, wind). How does such risky "environmental" legislation even pass the environmental impact review process?
We haven't even learned what unanticipated consequences might befall us from this mandated shift, let alone an even greater shift to green power proposed under AB 94. No mention is made in Assemblyman Levine's grandstanding press release as to the impacts this will have on vulnerable populations such as the elderly and low income people, as well as the many disenfranchised immigrants in his own political District.
For those who haven't caught on, AB 32, SB 1368 and the proposed AB 94 are tanatmount to a partial state takeover of city-run utilities and an intrusion on home rule. The message in these pieces of legislation is that higher levels of government with superior knowledge know what is best for lower levels of government. Historically this has been recipe for local policy disasters.
Most political decisions must be made on the basis of inadequate knowledge. To understand this makes one approach public policies that exact high human costs very gingerly. Sociologist Peter L. Berger calls this the "postulate of ignorance." Berger's postulate of ignorance also sensitizes us to what he calls the "calculus of pain."
It additionally sensitizes us to the fact that the lowest levels of government closest to the people they serve are best attuned to make such decisions. Every human being knows their own economic and social world better than any level of government. And lower levels of government know it better than higher levels. But the new Green Power legislation has usurped this governmental principle of delegation.
As Berger has aptly written:
"Policies for social change are typically made by cliques of politicians and intellectuals with claims to superior (environmental) insights. These claims are typically spurious. It is presupposed that policy should seek to avoid the infliction of pain. It is further presupposed that, in those cases where policy does involve either the active infliction of pain or the passive acceptance of pain (such as higher utility rates and the risk of blackouts), this fact requires a justification in terms of moral rather than technical necessity."
Environmentalists are quick to claim the moral high ground with the necessity to reduce global warming. But there is no public policy currently being considered by any level of government in California or elsewhere that would have a measurable impact on carbon dioxide (C02) levels and thus in climate either in the short or long run http://www.johnlocke.org/acrobat/spotlights/spotlight_304-ncclimatechange.pdf. As pointed out by Dr. Roy Cordato and other scientists, the claims by California Senator Barbara Boxer that carbon dioxide (C02) kills 2,000 people per year lacks even the rudimentary understanding of photosynthesis and may be confused with deaths from carbon monoxide http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1751316/posts. And asthma and other respiratory maladies have continued to increase despite a 70% or more decrease in air pollutants in the past few decades http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.25275,filter.all/pub_detail.asp
AB 32, SB 1368 and proposed AB 94 are targeted at cutting off the dependence of the City of Los Angeles and other cities in Southern California on imported "dirty coal" power from the Intermountain Power Plant in Utah. But according to the State of Utah Department of Environmental Quality: "The Intermountain Plant will meet all primary and secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The IPP will also meet Class I increments in the National Parks in southern Utah and Class II PSD increments in the vicinity of the plant" (see: http://www.airquality.utah.gov/Permits/DOCS/IN0327010-04.pdf. The power plant's 710 foot stack removes 99.75 percent of all the particulates that would have gone into the atmosphere in an earlier day (see: http://utahreach.org/Millard/visitor/tour/ipp.htm). Additionally, the Intermountain Plant is one of the five lowest plants in sulfur oxide (S02) emissions in the U.S. according to the First Annual Top Plants Survey conducted by Power magazine in August 2002. The solution to pollution is often dilution. The pollutants from the Intermountain Plant are dissipated over thousands of miles of cubic air space.
The apparent concern about the Intermountain Power Plant is thus not health impacts, but wealth and aesthetic impacts on the tourist economy in Utah due to the haze around Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Zion, Canyonlands and Arches national parks (see here: http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,595073692,00.html).
While the benefits of Green Power are at best speculative the expected human pain and monetary costs are more certain. Lacking technical and medical necessity, where are the moral grounds for such radical and costly measures that will likely impact the most vulnerable in our society and communities? On what grounds, technical or moral, does Assemblyman Levine propose to expand this already risky, unproven, and speculative, but highly populist legislation?
On what grounds, technical or moral, does Assemblyman Levine propose to expand this already risky, unproven, and speculative, but highly populist legislation?
He doesn' have to justify himself under any of these criteria. It's a religious issue and as such beyond debates about feasibility or economic impact.
Maybe they should start burning trees for power, then.
(Note:Extreme sarcasm to illustrate the idiocy of Levine's statement.)
Or we could harness the oil potential in whales and baby seals, or Hillary's arse...
In other news, a bill to make pi exactly equal to three is touted to make math easier for California students.
(This was tried by a school board in Indiana many years ago. IIRC)
these people don't care a wit about the "environment" but certainly do care about the capitalist environment in which they live. they want to slowly strangle it so that it can't survive and want it to falter so that they can be the heroes and save the world with their totalitarian regimes. (acqusition of power)
watch for thier compatriots in the now democrat congress to be as equally
duplicitous as they are. hillary spoke of a vast right wing conspiracy. but she didn't tell anyone about the vast left wing conspiracy of which she is a part.