Climate change

President Obama and 150+ other world leaders met in Paris to initiate talks on climate change. Why? Because the world’s leaders are paying attention to the scientific community – and doing what leaders do, which is to ensure the safety of their citizens. The Republicans presidential candidates are cut from a different cloth. They find the nearest Fox camera to snigger, like grade school kids, at the President’s warning that climate change is a bigger threat to American security than terrorism.

climateXi Jinping and Vladimir Putin came to Paris to put their imprimatur on the talks. China has for years been reckless with its environment. And Russia has no reputation for ecological stewardship. But both realise that a warming planet is disastrous. And that there is a significant silver lining – there is gold in them thar hills. Billions in profits await those who dare to adopt new energy technology.

Where would a young Warren Buffet invest in the energy sector? Natural gas is pricing coal out of the market. Petroleum is increasingly more expensive to extract. Renewables are more expensive than fossil fuels. But the long-game player knows that the big bucks will be made in renewables. Technology history shows that the cost of alternative energy will decline – precipitously.

tvTake TVs, cell phones, and personal computers. In 1950, television state-of-the-art was the Philco model 1403. This little beauty came with a 12-inch screen and cost $1,964 in today’s dollars.

The first commercially available cell phone, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X (aka the ‘brick’) cost $3,995 in 1983. By 1996, the flip phone had been introduced with the Motorola StarTAC at $1,000.

The first personal computer designed for the home user, the Apple II. launched in 1977 for $1,298 (with 4 kB of RAM) – $5,094 in 2015 dollars. For 48kB of RAM, you had to shell out $2,638 (2015 $10,353).

Unsurprisingly the cost of solar-generated electricity has declined just as precipitously. And wind power is yet cheaper.

Conservatives by their nature are unadventurous. They cling to the old ways. They have little imagination. America was built by people who did what hadn’t been done before. And it was also built by visionary politicians in public/private partnerships. In 1817, NY Governor DeWitt Clinton secured $7 million in state financing to build the Erie Canal – which cut freight rates by 95%, opened the Midwest to the Atlantic and fostered the development of Western NY.

Five Pacific Railroad Acts (1862-66) mandated the purchase of land for a transcontinental railroad and issued bonds for its financing.

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 allotted $25 billion ($219 billion – 2015) to build 41,000 miles of intrastate highway.

Public money has also inspired private innovation. The Space Program spun off a plethora of consumer products. And the military/academic complex gave us the internet.

Conservative sneered at Obama’s plans to develop alternate energy, However, the government has long supported energy. The Manhattan Project created the nuclear industry. The TVA wired much of America. The Hoover Dam brought electricity to 1.3 million people in the West. Even today, fossil fuel subsidies distort the energy market.

The debate between climate change believers and skeptics is less no over whether it exists but over how dire it is – or even if it will have any adverse effects at all. What the ‘do nothing’ crowd should realise is that crisis or not there are profits to be made. Do we want to let China, Germany and others benefit while we leave money on the table?




Really? 8.4.15 – Trump’s fantasies; Cruz silliness; Ice on the rocks; Superbugs & Legionnaire’s Disease

August 3, 2015

“I had noticed that both in the very poor and very rich extremes of society the mad were often allowed to mingle freely” ― Charles Bukowski Donald Trump creates his own reality. Trump announced his campaign in a 45-minute extemporaneous harangue – most memorable for his ‘Mexicans are rapists’ line. Unsurprisingly, polls show that 75% […]

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Really? – This and That From the Week That Was. A Train Crash; The Death Penalty; Buying Science; Mrs Betty Bowers; Foresight is Blind.

May 17, 2015

“Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions” ― Edward R. Murrow The Amtrak crash this week underscored in what disrepair our infrastructure is. Instead of agreeing that we have a problem some politicians accused other politicians of ‘politicizing’ the problem – so that they don’t have to deal with it. America owns […]

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The Liberian Ebola Conspiracy Theorists are Rank Amateurs Compared to Our Loonies

August 18, 2014

“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”  ― Marcus Aurelius,  ‘Meditations’. There is wild speculation is West Africa over the causes of the Ebola outbreak and the role played by the Liberian government in the epidemic. Speculation so wacky it […]

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Really? 7.23.14 – Texas hates on women; Politicians with ADHD; Ignoring evidence; Cruel, but not so unusual; ACA games.

July 23, 2014

“And what sort of lives do these people, who pose as being moral, lead themselves? My dear fellow, you forget that we are in the native land of the hypocrite.” – Oscar Wilde Texas wants them barefoot and pregnant. Texas promotes abstinence-only sex ed. It has slashed funding for family planning services. It has so regulated […]

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Really? – 7.12.14. – Christians Taking Care of the Environment; Sexaholic; Enzymes in the Anus; Fencing Out the Kids; America’s Dumbest Congressman?

July 12, 2014

Christians taking biblical care of the environment.  Some “Christians” have strayed so far from Jesus’s philosophy that it is chutzpah for them to call themselves Christian. But there are many who still do the Christian thing. The World Council of Churches (WCC) has announced it will divest itself of all investments in fossil fuel companies, […]

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Really? – 2.2.14 – A mixed week for the religious; A GOPer sneers at science; and the Supreme Court takes a beating.

July 2, 2014

It’s been a mixed week for the religious. Obviously the Hobby Lobby is great news for those who think arbitrary religious beliefs take precedence over national law. On the other hand, there were events less favorable to those who think that religion has some higher claim to moral or legal authority. More hypocrisy in the […]

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Really? – 5.11.14 – Paul irks bigots; Science explained by journalists; Revisionist civil war; Limp guns; Science according to God.

May 11, 2014

Rand Paul riles the vote suppressors. Rand Paul is upsetting conservatives by criticizing the vote suppressors – and saying out loud what everyone knows in their heart. That voter ID laws are racist. He is even lobbying to restore voting rights to felons who have served their time. The right-wing reaction is summed up by […]

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Really? 3/24/14 – Sleaze in the Vatican; An angry God in Illinois; Nugent paid to stay away; Ryan the unconscious racist; The Bible as a science text?

March 24, 2014

Cardinal George Pell. Pell is the new number 3 at the Vatican. And, in a breathe of delightful candor, he identified the mind-set of the cover-up minded Catholic authorities in the 1990s with this bombshell; “The attitude of some people in the Vatican was that if accusations were being made against priests, they were made […]

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