Powering Down: “Earth Hour”

American Digest:

Once upon a time we knew enough to curse the darkness. In the aeons long climb from the muck, we have only had the ability to hold back the dark for a bit over a century. Now millions yearn to embrace it and, should they yearn long enough and hard enough, the darkness will embrace them and hold them for much longer than a brief hour of preening and self-regard.

The Big Picture at the Boston Globe site routinely publishes stunning photographs of what is taking place in the world. But at editor Alan Taylor’s whim after last year’s “Earth Hour”, it went a step further in “celebrating” the rise of mass insanity in our age. “Earth Hour 2009”presents a round-the-world tour of cities with each picture designed to fade from light into darkness at the click of a mouse. Proud of his clever variation on a theme, the editor’s instructions were — without a hint of irony:

“[click image to see it fade]”

Of course with a second mouse click the lights came back on. It never seems to occur to the people with the Green Disease, that is perfectly possible to

[click civilization to see it fade]

and get no second click.


I’ve done four posts with the “Powering Down” heading, all relating to the stream of political and social attacks which are being conducted against the West’s energy sources and industrial base. These attacks are usually justified by “environmentalism” raised to the status of a religion; often, they are also motivated by individual and/or group desires to align themselves with technologies and trends that are considered “cool” and to avoid any connection with technologies and trends that are considered “uncool.”

Powering Down #1: Here’s the great French scientist Sadi Carnot, writing in 1824:

To take away England’s steam engines to-day would amount to robbing her of her iron and coal, to drying up her sources of wealth, to ruining her means of prosperity and destroying her great power. The destruction of her shipping, commonly regarded as her source of strength, would perhaps be less disastrous for her.

For England in 1824, substitute the United States in 2009. And for “steam engines,” substitute those power sources which use carbon-based fuels: whether generating stations burning natural gas, blast furnaces burning coke, or trucks/trains/planes/automobiles using oil derivatives. With these substitutions, Carnot’s paragraph describes the prospective impact of this administration’s energy policies: conducting a war on fossil fuels, without leveling with people about the true limitations of “alternative” energy technologies and without seriously pursuing civilian nuclear power.


Powering Down #2: Patrick Richardson: Kansas is ranked second in the nation behind Montana for wind energy potential, a fact which should have environmentalists jumping for joy. Instead, they’re trying to block the construction of transmission lines to wind farms in south central Kansas and north central Oklahoma.

Why? Well it all has to do with the lesser prairie chicken. According to a story by the Hutchinson News in February of this year, ranchers and wildlife officials in the area are teaming up with groups like the Sierra Club to block the construction of the lines, which would apparently run through prime breeding territory for the bird.


Powering Down #3: The California Water Resources Board has ruled that 19 natural gas power plants, located in coastal areas, are in violation of the Clean Water Act for using a technique called “once-through cooling.” According to this article, it appears that this ruling will result in the shutdown of most of these plants. continued

Powering Down #4:  George Will writes about the the attack that Obama’s EPA is conducting against the Navajo Generating Station, which together with the coal mine that feeds it represents an important factor in Arizona’s economy and an important source of employment for members of the Navajo tribe.

Will notes that the NGS provides 95 percent of the power for the pumps of the Central Arizona Project, which routes water from the Colorado River and which made Phoenix and most of modern Arizona possible. A study sponsored by the Interior Department estimates that the EPA’s mandate might increase the cost of water by as much as 32 percent, hitting agriculture users especially hard.

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18 thoughts on “Powering Down: “Earth Hour””

  1. “hitting agriculture users especially hard.” They would surely be the right people to hit, if they are getting fat off the usual panoply of agricultural subsidies.

  2. One thing about coastal southern and central California, they don’t need a lot energy for heating and cooling, and they don’t manufacture much of anything there anymore, so they can probably get away with a lot less energy producing capacity than most places.

  3. “they can probably get away with a lot less energy producing capacity than most places.”

    When Los Angeles got on a boycott Arizona campaign a few years ago after Arizona passed a law about illegals, the Department of Water and Power had to explain to city council members that 25% of Los Angeles electricity comes from Arizona and the Navajo generating plant that EPA wants to shut down.

    Ignorance is virtue in California.

  4. Is it possible the ‘greens’ in CA don’t know what the ‘greens’ in AZ are doing and vice versa? CA greens will shut down the NGS, and AZ greens will shut down the wind power at Altamont, and Palm Springs… Each slitting the others’ throat for electric power.
    Add in the desire of some other sect[used purposefully] to tear down the Hetch Hetchy dam & power generation, and the Hoover dam & power generation, and CA will have the perfect storm of rolling blackouts.
    But it is all OK because it is ‘green’.

    These twits are so ignorant of the past beyond what they think is relevant[last few centuries?]. Humans have not been around long enough to know what mother nature has yet in store, and they think keeping things ‘as they were’ will last.
    The ‘old growth’ redwoods are mere matchsticks in the big picture, yet they are touted as ‘history’. Only in self-centered CA could things like this sell.

  5. Water pumping is very energy-intensive: I would guess that irrigation-requiring agriculture, even when not subsidized, uses more energy per unit revenue than does most manufacturing (excluding steel mills, etc)

  6. “Is it possible the ‘greens’ in CA don’t know what the ‘greens’ in AZ are doing and vice versa? ”

    The Greens are based on the premise that it is unnecessary to know anything other than what you told to think. There is no need for internal consistency.

    Remember the Hollywood communist writers when Stalin and Hitler signed the “non-aggression pact ?”

    Then, when Hitler invaded the USSR ?

    It was a 180 degree switch in one day. Lillian Hellman changed her play, “Watch on the Rhine.” In one day !

    “The Hollywood Communist contingent, including Trumbo, quickly turned against Hitler after the Fuehrer betrayed Stalin in June of 1941, launching a massive invasion of the Soviet Union. Then, and only then, did the radical screenwriters switch sides again, now demanding America give massive assistance to the Soviet Union to combat fascism and help it survive the Nazi onslaught.

    Before that event, the Hollywood crowd was holding rallies that “The Yanks are not coming.”

    The greens are the same crowd with a new cause.

  7. The state of California now wants to shutdown all the plants that use natural cooling water – the Pacific Ocean – and not cooling towers. Very few have the land to build replacement cooling towers to become air-cooled.

    When it comes to electricity, cold sea water is a great natural resource. It adds a couple of percent efficiency to the performance and lowers net capital costs (more output for similar capital costs).

    I have to assume that environmentalists aren’t that stupid so take them at their word – they hate people and think cutting off their energy is a great path to deindustrializaion and population control.

  8. Whitehall…yes, I think many of them *are* stupid, or at least quite ignorant when it comes to even the most basic things about energy and energy technologies. Interestingly, many of the ignorant ones are in the “tech” fields….they may have a pretty decent understanding of software, but do not understand the difference between a volt and an amp.

  9. “do not understand the difference between a volt and an amp”!
    I live in the Seattle area. During a power outage a few years ago, a neighbor set up a generator in his driveway, started it, and went back in to watch TV. A neighbor of his knocked on his door an hour or so later.
    “How come you have lights? Who do you know in the power company? Who do I call to get MY power back?”
    My neighbor asked his visitor if he had walked past that noisy thing in his driveway; his visitor, a local software type, had no idea what it was.

  10. “How come you have lights? Who do you know in the power company? Who do I call to get MY power back?”

    As everyone knows, there are little switches at the power company with addresses on them. They just flip one of those switches and the power comes back on there. Don’t know why everyone makes a big deal out of electrical power. Pretty simple really.

  11. >Water pumping is very energy-intensive: I would guess that irrigation-requiring agriculture, even when not subsidized<

    i maybe wrong but, are not ca's dams are located at a higher elevation than the final use in the valley. so gravity is the pump?

  12. Mr. Morehouse,

    Had a somewhat similar event in my former neighborhood in San Jose. A heat wave had caused many pole-mounted transformers in the distrubution system to fail. One of them was along the back fence of my across-the-street neighbor, the ones belonging to an Eastern religous cult.

    A PG&E work crew came out at 3 am to replace the transformer so that the power for the block would be restored.

    What did my neighbor lady say about that? “They were so noisy! They woke us up and didn’t bother to apologize.”

    Ungrateful little snob! Men work through the night to restore power to her home by climbing a pole while working around 12,000 volt power lines, and she complains about the noise.

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