July 21, 2008

One small step for Al Gore, one giant leap for stupidity [Karl]

In speeches at Constitution Hall and Netroots Nation (formerly Yearly Kos), former Vice President Al Gore challenged the US to shift its entire electricity sector to carbon-free wind, solar and geothermal power within 10 years.  The speech was quasi-fisked by Andrew Revkin at the New York Times, of all places.  But Revkin avoided the depths of Gore’s detachment from reality in this passage:

Ten years is about the maximum time that we as a nation can hold a steady aim and hit our target. When President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely in 10 years, many people doubted we could accomplish that goal. But 8 years and 2 months later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface of the moon.

Rand Simberg points out that putting a man on the moon — like the Manhattan Project — was a straightforward well-defined engineering challenge, whereas ending the use of fossil fuels is not.  Steven Den Beste made the same points in great detail in 2004.  And even if it was feasible, James Pethokoukis notes it would conservatively cost $5 trillion.  I am reminded of a monologue from Jerry Seinfeld:

It is my opinion that we never should have landed a man on the moon. It’s a mistake. Now everything is compared to that one accomplishment. Now everybody goes “I can’t believe they could land a man on the moon… and taste my coffee!” I think we all would have been a lot happier if we hadn’t landed a man on the moon. Then we’d go, They can’t make a prescription bottle top that’s easy to open? I’m not surprised they couldn’t land a man on the moon. Things make perfect sense to me now. Neil Armstrong should have said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for every whining, complaining, SOB on the face of the earth.”

Armstrong did not say that, but someone should say it to Al Gore.

Posted by Karl @ 8:20am

Comments (33)

  1. To hell with alternative fuels.. I say we drive our SUVs and Caddies.. Burn our BBQ briquets.. Run our air conditioning full on.. flush our old high flow toilets 2 or 3 times a sitting..Keep every room in our house lit 24/7..Heat our bath water to 200 degrees.. Light up our fireplaces and hotstoves, even in the summer.. and generally do everything all the time until the oil runs out and the ice caps melt.. Then we drown or freeze or whatever.. like men.

  2. I’m going to make a pledge right here and now. I promise to use only HALF as much fossil fuel as ALGore. I prolly can take that down to a tenth as still have a healthy margin of error.

    Who’s with me?

  3. to ouroboros,
    there’s nothing wrong with alt fuels, just as there is nothing wrong with driving a suv
    is that too hard to understand?

  4. Dr. David Evans at one time supported Al’s blame-CO2-and-humans movement, now he’s questioning that.

    The evidence was not conclusive, but why wait until we were certain when it appeared we needed to act quickly? Soon government and the scientific community were working together and lots of science research jobs were created. We scientists had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great. We were working to save the planet.

    But since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming.

    That’s dated 7-18; he’ll be ostracized by those who still ‘want to believe’ in 3,2,1 (if that hasn’t happened already, of course).

  5. Serr8d, it’s settled science. Why are you resisting the consensus?

  6. Defining the “problem” as regards energy production is The Problem. The majority of the media seems to have decided to let Al Gore define the problem. Much of the public seems to follow herd fashion, and with the public, the politicians (like John McCain, for instance). Gore wants to claim anthropogenically driven Global Warming or Climate Change is The Thing of central concern. And that’s final. Nothing more to be said about it. Argument over. Period. Whatever nonsense follows, like all electrical power from wind, solar, geo-thermal just HAS to be done, because, like, we simply cannot burn any more coal. Or oil. Of any sort. Ever.

    Serious thinkers on the subject aren’t so sure Gore’s proposed “problem” is in fact the case. So much the worse for them.

  7. there’s nothing wrong with alt fuels.

  8. Does anyone get the feeling that if Obama is elected it’s going to be “Who is John Galt” time?

  9. The more I think on it, the more I persuade myself that Al Gore is a modern day Boffer Bings.

  10. Poor Al Gore. Even he of the perpetually fevered planet may be just beginning to see the AGW boondoggle wall tumbling, brick by carbon stored brick. Chip. Chip.

    Maybe it started with the world wide poll that showed, despite an almost constant drumbeat of green messages in every conceivable media, most of the world still ain’t drinkin’ the AGW kool-aide.

    Then “Climate Audit” began to find Abrams wide holes in Hanson’s and others’ “hockey stick” math. Then a UK court found that the Goracle’s movie contained so many outlandish exaggerations and simple factual errors that using it as a school educational science film would be “unwise.”

    He’s been battered by the over 31,000 scinetists signing a petition challenging the “consensus” on AGW. Follow that with word out of Australia that temperatures have “plateaued” over the last ten years and that the warmest temperatures seen on the planet were in the 1930’s and during the medieval warming period (Greenland!!) Now four of the top climatologists in the world feel confident in predicting that within 5-10 years we will see a gradual cooling period. Right on top of that was the American Physical Society changing their official mind about AGW “consensus” due to the fact that a large number of their memebers disagree with that conclusion.

    That was just after Lord Moncton presented a paper to the Society showing that many planets and moons in the solar system have measurable proportional warming trends. The latest brick is one of the Australian scientists who helped write the Kyoto protocols now saying he was “wrong” about carbon forcing based on the latest evidence.

    The killer is the reaction to exactly what was inevitable under the Gore plan. Substantially. Higher. Energy. Prices.

    We don’t need no – carbon forcing
    ba da-da ba-dup ba-dup ba da-da ba-dup ba-dup

  11. The current list of ‘alt fuels’ fails some basic physics reqs

    In order for “alternate energy” to become feasible, it has to satisfy all of the following criteria:

    1. It has to be huge (in terms of both energy and power)
    2. It has to be reliable (not intermittent or unschedulable)
    3. It has to be concentrated (not diffuse)
    4. It has to be possible to utilize it efficiently
    5. The capital investment and operating cost to utilize it has to be comparable to existing energy sources (per gigawatt, and per terajoule).

    If it fails to satisfy any of those, then it can’t scale enough to make any difference. Solar power fails #3, and currently it also fails #5. (It also partially fails #2, but there are ways to work around that.)

    The only sources of energy available to us now that satisfy all five are petroleum, coal, hydro, and nuclear.

    We, the USA, should have embarked on a nuclear energy program in ’73, following the lead of…the French. France now supplies some 85% of their grid requirements from nuclear reactors.

  12. I try to put myself in the shoes of a person who believes that the planet is facing imminent doom from AGW. It seems to me that I would be trying to convince China and India to adopt cleaner technologies, since those two countries will be the biggest sources of the problem in the coming decades. Ignoring China and India while pushing the US to power our economy with windmills and pixie dust just seems so silly that I have to suspect there is another agenda at work.

  13. Aldo: You are forgetting that the US has to take the lead and present a positive example to India and China who are, despite their growing wealth, still developing.

    I know, it doesn’t make any sense to me either.

  14. Tex,

    Here is an interesting discussion of AGW.

  15. BJ, it makes perfect sense if you remember where the leftoids are coming from.

    They claim “multiculturalism”. They lie. What they are is cultural chauvinists to a degree that would embarrass the Hell out of my cracker ancestors. They literally do not believe that there is anyone on the planet who does not share their basic cultural precepts. Anyone who does not exhibit behavior that comports with that postulate either is a villain, deliberately violating the precepts of the One True Way for fun and profit, or is oppressed or bamboozled (by the villains) into doing things against their true conscience. Muslims, for instance, don’t really believe all that murder-and-Mohammed nonsense. They are merely “acting out” in ways that will outrage their Western oppressors, who know the One True Way but violate it on purpose.

    It therefore follows that if the Oppressors will return to the One True Way, it will relieve the pressure, and the Others will sigh in relief and revert to behavior based on their true beliefs, which are identical to those of (e.g.) an associate professor of fuzzy studies at an Eastern Kentucky cow-college. In this instance, if the villainous industrialists and profiteers will go back to the simple pastoral lifestyle they know in their hearts is Good and True but are deliberately violating out of evil motives, the Indians and Chinese will no longer need to react to vile behavior and will also settle down and live right. Problem solved.


  16. I’m going to make a pledge right here and now. I promise to use only HALF as much fossil fuel as ALGore. I prolly can take that down to a tenth as still have a healthy margin of error.

    Great, I will have to use more fuel just to get to the 10% mark. Do I have to pledge?

  17. It has recently been theorized by the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? that the EV1 program was eliminated because it threatened the oil industry and because it required virtually no maintenance and therefore threatened GM’s profitability by undermining the replacement parts aftermarket as well as the company’s strategy of planned obsolescence.

    Hmmm. Gas at $4.35…. Maybe time to rethink the EV1 concept..

  18. Sorry, but that’s just crap on it’s face.

  19. If it says so in Wiki it must be true.. They wouldnt let them print it if it wasnt..

  20. ric: Yer shure due rite purty.

    I’m reminded of the participant in the recent green sprouts climate conference (in Bali?) where on of the young ladies participating was bio’ed as a lawyer specializing in “Climate Justice.” I’m thinking she may have gotten her advanced degree here.

    What happens to this poor women and all of the other conscious raising hoo hah’s when AGW becomes “gradual cooling” and carbon forcing is found to be no more significant to global climate than it’s tiny little footprint in the atmopheric elemental soup? How will they afford the patchouli? How will they dispose of their mercury afflicated light bulbs. WHAT ABOUT THEIR ORGANIC, COMPOSTING CHILDREN???

    I’m getting all weepy just thinkin’ about it.

  21. I didn’t click through to read the link site, but did read the link location…isn’t that the place ole Angela D. is working now, BJTex?

  22. Sdferr, “Davis is currently a graduate studies Professor of History of Consciousness at the University of California and Presidential Chair at the University of California, Santa Cruz.”

    Per Wikipedia. Is History of Consciousness one of them there Title IX science courses funded by tax dollars because they’re crap?

  23. the US has to take the lead and present a positive example to India and China

    Does that seem kinda racist/Amerocentric to anyone else? ZOMG, teh hegemony!1!

  24. BJTexs link includes this phrase, CA School of Consciousness and Transformation, so sorta sounds the same to me.

  25. link includes this phrase, CA School of Consciousness and Transformation, so sorta sounds the same to me.

    Here in Califonia we have lots and lots of schools with names like that. I think every other cab driver must have a degree in Consciousness Transformation Studies.

  26. From the same mold as those Jerry Seinfeld comments comes ..

    This is the Greatest Nation on Earth

    … this is usually followed by some sort of attempt at a wallet-ectomy.

  27. If I were to transform from a state of consciousness to, say, unconsciousness, would that be considered a Consciousness Transformation? Cuz I do that at least once a day.

  28. As geezer points out, Angela Davis does not work for the linked school which is in San Francisco. (SHOCKA!!!) However, Dr. Shakti Butler got her Phd. there She is most infamopus for the diversity indoctrination that happened at the U. of Delaware last year.

    It just seemed appropriate for the “climate justice” lawyer.

  29. I’ve pretty much had it with politicians trying to figure out ‘plans’: they are no good at it. Instead of trying to nominate some sure-fire deal based on today’s technology, why don’t we set an energy policy rewarding inventiveness by using some of the problems we have *now* to solve the longer term problems of tomorrow?

    As for global warming – the data has evaporated out from under it, thus the theory goes with it.

  30. #18

    OMG!!!!I think you just solved the whole problem! Electric Cars! All we have to do is plug them into that thing in the wall! Free Energy!!!!!

    You would not believe the number of people who think that’s how it works.

  31. #9
    Comment by N. O’Brain on 7/21 @ 9:16 am #

    Does anyone get the feeling that if Obama is elected it’s going to be “Who is John Galt” time?

    Yeah. I do. It should keep reasonable people up at night.

  32. …therefore threatened GM’s profitability by undermining the replacement parts aftermarket as well as the company’s strategy of planned obsolescence…

    That reminds me, when does the patent on that 350 mpg carburetor they been sitting on run out, you think?