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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Where’s the Common Sense?

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Published on jan. 25, 2020

I’ve written numerous columns about climate change in the past, probably too many. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the cause and the solution to save our planet.

            Different industries blame each other, and those who are emotional on the issue blame all. Some alarmists and their apocalyptic predictions, predict an end to the earth as we know it. 

            As I’ve said many times, I believe we’ve had climate change forever. It’s not to say we’re not going to look like Mars or our moon someday, but as a whole, that is most likely up to all countries of the world. 

            America seems to take most of the “heat” from around the world for what we do, but there is also plenty of blame to go around from the rest of the countries of the world.

            In America, most citizens recognize climate change and how it works. As a society, we need to recognize what parts we can control and what parts we can’t. 

            Do some parts just come naturally? I think some do, as the sun is always changing. I do think that peddling snake oil and pointing fingers to expand a political, cultural or personal beliefs is wrong.

            Producing certain types of energy may accelerate climate change, but America is hoping to find ways to curb the carbon output. America uses around 15 percent of the world’s energy. That leaves 85 percent for the rest of the world and how does one control that large amount? We can’t buy off the rest of the world. 

            Everyone is down on coal these days, but coal accounts for close to 38 percent of fuels used worldwide, led by India and China. 

            Currently, there are eight countries constructing almost 1,900 new coal-fired electricity plants, including coal plants in the developing world, these new plants will bring the total outside the U.S. to more than 5,000.

The U.S. has only 241 coal units in operation and that number is dropping. Shutting them all down wouldn’t have much effect on the world.

In the last two decades, the total world use of energy has increased by 50 percent and it shows no sign of slowing down.  Especially in developing and poorer countries, the main focus for people is finding enough to eat, not stopping climate change.

We all want our own worlds to be more efficient and easier. We look for more comfort in our lives and are willing to pay for it, not thinking of any global impacts.

The current forms of renewable, non-carbon-emitting energy come in two basic types – constant and intermittent. The constant includes hydropower, geothermal, nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. The main intermittent sources today are solar and wind powered systems.

Those are controversial because of impacts to wildlife and others. Despite the constant hype from environmental activist groups, both need a high level of scrutiny for lack of effectiveness. 

For either solar or wind, we need to learn to store energy in a cost effective way or use carbon generation to supplement them. 

A number of us in the West and in states where rivers start their journey to the oceans like building more dams for hydropower. 

As one reads, the main thing we need is research and spending in three areas: Constant power sources, moderation of demand through improved energy efficiency and approaches to mitigating the effects and cost of slowing down climate change, not more regulations.

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