Re: [asa] Energy resources for the poor (was: Disclosure)

From: John Walley <john_walley@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat Dec 19 2009 - 08:09:32 EST

Christine, I agree our perspectives are very different and the Mars/Venus analogy may be apt, and I think this is symptomatic of many on this list on the various sides. I will make this final attempt to bridge this theological/philosophical divide and then I guess we will have to leave it there since it doesn't appear we are going to resolve it any further. How the legislation of carbon is different than nuclear arms treaties is that there is no individual deprivation associated with a nation not having nuclear arms. It doesn't take away anyone's right to freely breathe the air, as does AGW literally. But since you support UN led formal international treaties, then that should take away your objection to energy dependence on other nations. If the US pledges $100B/yr to the UN to develop energy in the third world like Bangladesh then the design decision should be based on efficiency. Possibly a coal producing grid is a better decision than solar panels. I will accept your decentralized cell phone argument but currently the solar/fuel cell technologies don't appear to be adequate or cost effective. Regardless, if someone else is paying for it and the UN is brokering it across international borders, then energy dependence is not a valid objection. That would be the same argument as NY and MA having to rely only on solar for their electricity because their oil and coal produced power comes from PA and WV. And it is not keeping them on the plantation if we are paying for it and giving it to them. I think Morano's point was valid that Pachauri's solution was deprivation for the third world. Energy for me but not for thee. That is the colonialism. And that betrays the supposed concern for the poor. You said we are not telling them no, but it sounds like Pachauri is telling India no and that is what Marano was objecting to. The reason we disconnect on my "apocalyptic" argument is that you are convinced of the problem and therefore whatever it takes is justified and even moral including global governance, one child policies, personal sacrifice, etc. And if history repeated itself and political regimes decided we need to purge humanity as well because of our excessive carbon footprint, then I guess that would be justified and even moral as well. Where I think most of the skeptics disagree with this is by working backwards from these possible future outcomes and seeing the current events just being a setup to this end, including the questionable science and scientists. And I appreciate your advice to "participate in the process of policy-making by making constructive suggestions about how we can address AGW while incorporating safeguards which prevent abuse." I feel that is what I am doing by debating this issue with you and the others on this list. I think the church needs to wake up and challenge the science that is being used to justify these policy decisions. I fear that by accepting this "data homogenization" that some so trustingly do, it is the equivalent of the frog being boiled in the pot. Thanks John   ________________________________ From: Christine Smith <christine_mb_smith@yahoo.com> To: asa@calvin.edu Sent: Fri, December 18, 2009 11:27:29 AM Subject: Re: [asa] Energy resources for the poor (was: Disclosure) Hi John, I continue to be amazed and completely mystified by your perspective on AGW. Perhaps the new book title should be "Skeptics are from Mars and Proponents are from Venus"? Hehehehe.... You write: "I contend the blind spot remains. I think what you have arrived at from your observations is a justification for global neo-colonialism. In today's world where talk of global governance is commonplace in the AGW community..." I don't understand where your objections are coming from. We have had the U.N. for well over 50 years, and no one has surrendered their national sovereignty yet. The only suggestions I am hearing are to work together at an international level on a problem that affects all countries, and the development of formal treaties to help accomplish this cooperation. How is this any different than standard diplomatic efforts on other global problems, such as the control of nuclear arms? You write: , can we really say that the best we can do for the third world is a flashlight bulb for a few hours at night at 8x the normal cost of grid energy? Wouldn't a public works program that built a national power grid help develop their economies and help educate their people and bring them into the 21st century be a good thing?  Isn't that an ideal that global governance proponents should support if we claim to care about the them?  Otherwise it seems to me we are just keeping them on the plantation. As I said, I don't advocate keeping people in the dark ages. If the Guatemalan govt. came to ours and requested aid for such a public works effort, I would not be opposed to it. All I'm saying is that there are pros and cons both ways that need to be considered, and that the solutions which have worked best for us will not necessarily be the best solutions for them because their cost-benefit analysis will look different. For example, what you write here does not at all address my point regarding the distribution of natural resources; if a country is forced to become dependent on foreign fossil fuel sources in order to accomplish such a large-scale effort, is that something we should really be encouraging? Wouldn't that be just another way of "keeping them on the plantation" by tethering their economic and national security to some other country?? You write: And what about letting them decide their own fate? What about countries like China and others who do have coal and want to bring on coal fired power plants for all the benefits that you want to give them solar technology to produce?  What is the justification to tell them no? We're not telling them no. What we're telling them is that is they choose that course of action, to please clean up the emissions they produce because those emissions don't just affect them, they affect us as well. Not to make this argument would in essence be surrending the very sovereignty you want to protect because otherwise we would not be looking out for our own interests. You write: Ultimately the AGW agenda pits man against man and sacrifices both to save the earth. How is this not a fulfillment of the scripture that in the last days people would worship the creation instead of the creator?  You are really losing me in this apocolyptic argument you keep making. All I see is an environmental problem that has been identified by scientists, which societies as a whole are now trying to figure out the best way to address policy-wise. Unless you term a political disagreement "pitting man against man", I really don't understand what you're referring to, or how that is different than any other political disagreement that citizens routinely have. Further, even if we had to make sacrafices for the benefit of our environment, is that so terrible? If the cost of your electricity went up 10 cents/kw-hr because the company producing it had to get a permit to control the soot and mercury coming out of their smokestacks, would you really oppose this on the grounds that this implies you are worshipping creation? Doesn't it make more sense to say that you just want clean air to breathe?? Likewise, isn't Christ's model for us a sacrificial one? Think of it
 this way: God is so beyond us in His greatness, power, and majesty, that I would argue that the "gap" between us and God is much vaster than the "gap" between us and the rest of creation; we're not even ants to Him so much as we are a clay pot. Yet God actually *became one of us* and not only sacrificed for us but *died* for us so that we could become His children. If God is willing to humble Himself and sacrifice Himself to such an extent as that in the course of exercising His "dominion", what does this say for us as we exercise "dominion"?.....now even as I draw this comparison, I want to qualify it....Does this mean that I am suggesting we go out and kill ourselves for the sake of polar bears? No. I'm not. What I am suggesting however, is that people very often scorn the idea that humans should do anything for the sake of animals, plants, air, water, soil, etc. that doesn't explicitly also benefit mankind, and I think this is a very arrogant
 attitude to take which is not in keeping with the model of dominion that Christ has demonstrated to us. Just because "we are more than they" does not mean that they should get no consideration. Such consideration, when done appropriately, does *NOT* equate to worshipping creation. You write: And all the logistical problems you cite that make a power grid infeasible apply to solar as well, starting with who pays for them and who makes them and who installs and maintains them? In just a single country like Bangladesh with 160M people that is a lot of solar panels.  Wouldn't it just be more efficient and productive to build a grid? If we are going to redistribute the world's wealth anyway, we might as well do it efficiently. I would sign up for a program to redistribute wealth to develop the third world if I trusted that the agenda really was concern for the poor and not just a vehicle to usher in a new political control structure. You're bringing up Bangladesh will actually serve as a very useful analogy. It is my understanding that in that country, long-distance communications were always very difficult because they lacked the infrastructure for a telephone network. This in turn made it harder for farmers and other laborers to bring their products to market and/or adjust their business strategies to changing market conditions, which in turn helped to perpetuate their poverty. Now along come cell phones. Once introduced into this environment, cell phone usage took off because it was a completely decentralized communications system that did not require a lot of infrastructure development; the technology could be deployed rapidly and without a lot of education. Moreoever, because cell phones helped to improve their communication system, producers were able to improve the efficiency of their businesses and products and therefore began to make more money, which in turn helped
 improve the financial stability of their families. The basic point being is that they have completely skipped over the landline infrastructure and jumped straight to the mobile phone system, and this proved just as beneficial if not more beneficial for them because they didn't waste time on infrastructure that would not have served their best long-term interests (and I'm saying this as someone who doesn't own a cell phone nor particularly likes them). I think in some, if not many cases, the same case could be made for the deployment of decentralized forms of clean, renewable energy systems. You write:  I trust you Christine and believe you have honest intentions and motives but I also think it is naive to think that everyone or even most in the AGW community do. Did you read that Copenhagen errupted in thunderous applause when Chavez spoke about the ghost of capitalism? Here is an excerpt:  "There's a ghost lurking. And Karl Marx said -- a ghost running through the streets of Copenhagen. And I think that ghost is silent somewhere in this room amongst us coming through the corridors underneath. And that ghost is a terrible ghost. Nobody wants to name him or her. It's capitalism. Capitalism is that ghost. Nobody I don't think wants to name it. Capitalism."   Thank you for the vote of confidence John :) I have no doubt that there are some in the AGW camp that would like to tie this issue to other political agendas; I mean really, did you expect someone like Chavez to say something different?? But the same could be said for *any* other issue. For example, I could make the argument that Christianity should encourage communism because in Acts they had all of their possessions in common. I'm not of course making this case, but that's only to say that anyone can link any two issues together to try and promote their particular agenda (another example of this would the hijacking of evolution by Atheists to promote their agenda); that doesn't necessarily speak to the validity of the issues in question. I concur with you that one should always be cautious of the declared motives of others, particularly when there's a controversial potlicial issue in question, but I also think it's counter-productive and unhealthy
 to automatically assume the worst intentions. You write: So back to the blind spot, my question to you Christine, is capitalism the ghost that is causing all man's suffering? Is eradicating it going to usher in utopia and free clean energy for all? Is AGW not a trojan horse to enslave the world in a one world socialist government?  If not, how so? Because it really looks that way to me. Fundamentally, every economic system is designed to balance the need for efficiency and equity in human transactions and societies, because material and financial resources never have been, nor will they ever be, distributed to every one who needs them in the exact right amounts in the exact right timeframes. No economic system is perfect; every economic system has its pros and cons. Personally, I believe that capitalism, with the appropriate safety nets and regulatory frameworks is the best way to go because it harnesses the creative potential of all the participants and maximizes political, economic, and social freedoms. But that's beside the point. The point is that even as some may attempt to hijack AGW for their own political agendas, AGW on its terms can and should still be addressed in the policy arena. If you're concerned about abuses of this, then I would suggest that instead of rejecting any action at all, you participate in the process of
 policy-making by making constructive suggestions about how we can address AGW while incorporating safeguards which prevent abuse. In Christ, Christine  "For we walk by faith, not by sight" ~II Corinthians 5:7 Help save the life of a homeless animal--visit www.azrescue.org to find out how. Recycling a single aluminum can conserves enough energy to power your TV for 3 hours--Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Learn more at www.cleanup.org --- On Fri, 12/18/09, John Walley <john_walley@yahoo.com> wrote: >From: John Walley <john_walley@yahoo.com> >Subject: Re: [asa] Energy resources for the poor (was: Disclosure) >To: "Christine Smith" <christine_mb_smith@yahoo.com>, asa@calvin.edu >Date: Friday, December 18, 2009, 6:29 AM > > >Christine, > >I contend the blind spot remains. I think what you have arrived at from your observations is a justification for global neo-colonialism. In today's world where talk of global governance is commonplace in the AGW community, can we really say that the best we can do for the third world is a flashlight bulb for a few hours at night at 8x the normal cost of grid energy? Wouldn't a public works program that built a national power grid help develop their economies and help educate their people and bring them into the 21st century be a good thing?  Isn't that an ideal that global governance proponents should support if we claim to care about the them?  Otherwise it seems to me we are just keeping them on the plantation. > >And what about letting them decide their own fate? What about countries like China and others who do have coal and want to bring on coal fired power plants for all the benefits that you want to give them solar technology to produce?  What is the justification to tell them no? Ultimately the AGW agenda pits man against man and sacrifices both to save the earth. How is this not a fulfillment of the scripture that in the last days people would worship the creation instead of the creator?  > >And all the logistical problems you cite that make a power grid infeasible apply to solar as well, starting with who pays for them and who makes them and who installs and maintains them? In just a single country like Bangladesh with 160M people that is a lot of solar panels.  Wouldn't it just be more efficient and productive to build a grid? If we are going to redistribute the world's wealth anyway, we might as well do it efficiently. I would sign up for a program to redistribute wealth to develop the third world if I trusted that the agenda really was concern for the poor and not just a vehicle to usher in a new political control structure. > >I trust you Christine and believe you have honest intentions and motives but I also think it is naive to think that everyone or even most in the AGW community do. Did you read that Copenhagen errupted in thunderous applause when Chavez spoke about the ghost of capitalism? Here is an excerpt:  > >"There's a ghost lurking. And Karl Marx said -- a ghost running through the streets of Copenhagen. And I think that ghost is silent somewhere in this room amongst us coming through the corridors underneath. And that ghost is a terrible ghost. Nobody wants to name him or her. It's capitalism. Capitalism is that ghost. Nobody I don't think wants to name it. Capitalism." >  >So back to the blind spot, my question to you Christine, is capitalism the ghost that is causing all man's suffering? Is eradicating it going to usher in utopia and free clean energy for all? Is AGW not a trojan horse to enslave the world in a one world socialist government?  If not, how so? Because it really looks that way to me. > >Thanks > >John > > ________________________________ From: Christine Smith <christine_mb_smith@yahoo.com> >To: asa@calvin.edu >Sent: Fri, December 18, 2009 1:09:09 AM >Subject: Re: [asa] Energy resources for the poor (was: Disclosure) > > >Hi John, > >It is unclear to me from the article you reference whether "poor Indians" refers to Native Americans in the U.S., other tribes within the western hemisphere outside of the U.S., or people who are citizens of the country of India. Without that additional information, it's a little hard to address the specific question raised, so let me just speak in more general terms. > >For many developing countries, you can't simply assume that the type of fossil-fuel based "grid system" that we would think of using is a viable option. To start, you have to consider the distribution of natural resources. Many countries do not have an abundance of coal deposits that we are blessed with, and most also do not have large-scale crude oil fields that would be economically viable to develop. The same would apply to the question of nuclear power as well - many countries do not have readily available deposits of uranium ore. Therefore, to build the kind of large-scale system being suggested, you would essentially be arguing that that nation should become energy dependent on whatever nation(s) had the needed energy resources. As we have become so acutely aware of in this country, becoming dependent on foreign energy sources poses a serious national security risk. This may or may not be something that a country would want to choose, even for the
 sake of fighting poverty. > >But let's say that the natural resources were available to the country. Then you get down to the operational/logistical level. To consider some of the challenges here, I think it's instructive to listen to the presentation given at the last ASA conference entitled ""Microhydro-Generation of Electricity: Providing Physical and Spiritual Light in Honduras", which I attended. Although it's been a few months, I recall a number of challenges which would need to be considered. One challenge is the security of the electrical grid. In poorer areas, it is apparently not uncommon for unscrupulous individuals to tap into electrical power lines to steal the energy that was intended for distribution. This means that in order to have a large-scale distribution network, you have to actually have people routinely patrolling/guarding the power lines. This is also needed for maintenance purposes, because in poorer nations which lack other types of infrastructure (such as
 good roads) it is difficult to fix (in a reasonable amount of time) power lines when they are damaged due to storms or other problems.In many poorer nations, you're also lacking the government oversight and framework to effectively control pollution coming from fossil-fueled power plants through permitting or other means (and I'm speaking here of traditional air and water pollution, not greenhouse gases), which has the real potential of causing acute environmental problems that can not only hurt those populations in the long-term, but in the short-term as well (see here for a history of serious air pollution events resulting from a variety of sources including fossil-fuel plants:http://www.mothersforcleanair.org/aqinfo/basics/history.htm). > >Drilling down further, you also have to consider and address the education of the general population you are trying to serve. In the presentation I referenced above, not only did they have to teach the people how to develop basic business models and skills (and actually enforce the market system by shutting off power to those who didn't pay for it!), they had to go even further and teach them what an electrical outlet was in the first place, as some had never had any access to electricity before and didn't know how to use it. Having been to Guatemala on a mission trip and staying in the homes of people with mud floors, wooden benches as beds, and not much else, I can tell you personally that these people would be among those who have never seen an electrical outlet in their lives (indeed, if this gives you any idea, one of the goals the pastor had while we were there was to teach basic hygeine, such as how to wash a baby). > >All of this isn't to say to that we should advocate leaving these people in the dark ages (no pun intended). However, the arguments presented in the article you posted seem very simplistic to me when viewed in the light of my mission trip experiences and the other issues that these countries face. I would even go so far to say that encouraging them to change too much too quickly would be just as irresponsible as doing nothing at all. It would be a complete and total culture shock which would almost certainly cause very difficult economic and social upheavals. Ultimately, I think it goes back to the basic idea that if technology runs too far ahead of the wisdom and knowledge needed to responsibly handle it, serious problems are bound to occur. > >It seems to me that this model of developing a clean, decentralized infrastructure using energy resources which are readily available at the local level (which sounds like what they were doing with the solar lanterns) is in many cases, the best, first step to be taken toward the ultimate goal of uplifting people from poverty. In any case, I hope this will cause you to reevaluate your statement that this case somehow "reveals an obvious blind spot in the eyes of AGW proponents" regarding poverty relief. > >In Christ, >Christine > > > >"For we walk by faith, not by sight" ~II Corinthians 5:7 > >Help save the life of a homeless animal--visit www.azrescue.org to find out how. > >Recycling a single aluminum can conserves enough energy to power your TV for 3 hours--Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Learn more at www.cleanup.org > >--- On Thu, 12/17/09, John Walley <john_walley@yahoo.com> wrote: > > >>From: John Walley <john_walley@yahoo.com> >>Subject: Re: [asa] Disclosure >>To: "Dave Wallace" <wmdavid.wallace@gmail.com>, "ASA" <asa@calvin.edu> >>Date: Thursday, December 17, 2009, 9:51 PM >> >> >> >> >> >>"IMO remedial action that is taken by our governments is likely to have adverse effects on lots of people if we assume AGW is true and it turns out not to be and the inverse. " >> >>I think this is absolutely key and a sober responsibility on all of us and not something to be taken lightly. Burgy has commented that he is not convinced the DDT issue had negative consequences but concedes that it may have had. When we are playing God with other people's lives we need to get it right. >> >>And the below is one of the principles each ASA member has to affirm to join: >> >>    "We recognize our responsibility, as stewards of God's creation, to use science and technology for the good of humanity and the whole world." >> >>In order to affirm this principle, we have to be able to determine whether we are helping or hurting.  The 1% precautionary principle applies here as well. >> >>As a case in point, consider this question raised to Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, after his keynote speech the other day in Copenhagen, which I think  The question was asked by Marc Morano and reported by Calivin Beisner but that should have no bearing on the logic of the argument presented. >> >> >>http://www.cornwallalliance.org/blog/item/copenhagen-update-the-emperor-has-no-clothes-or-critics-2-ipcc-0/ >> >><<<< >>At the end of the lecture, Pachauri took a few questions. >> >>The first was Marc Morano, of www.climatedepot.com. His question related to a video Pachauri had shown at the end of his lecture, the thrust of which was that it was wonderful to provide solar lanterns to poor Indians who lacked electricity for their homes so that they could have light at night by which to study, cook, and do other such things. The lanterns had been pretty obviously poor light sources, but better, surely, than nothing, or than candles and kerosene lamps--and cleaner. >> >>Morano, though, nailed Pachauri with a question about why Pachauri would rather have Indians stuck with the solar lanterns when inexpensive electricity from fossil fuel or nuclear generating plants could give them far more electricity at far lower prices, and electricity not just for a little bit of light but for lots of light plus refrigeration, air conditioning, water heating, clothes washing and drying, etc. >> >>Pachauri’s answer was a classic case of the logical fallacy of false choice. He accused Morano of preferring that these poor people stick with their candles or kerosene lamps. Why shouldn’t they have the solar lanterns instead? >> >>Of course, that hadn’t been Morano’s point at all. The choices aren’t limited to candles and kerosene lamps or solar lanterns. There’s another option: electricity from a grid, generated by a cheaper means. >> >>Morano’s point had been that the cost per lumen for the solar lamps is much, much higher than the cost for the same lumens from standard light bulbs using electricity from a grid. That meant that pushing the solar lanterns on these people would use up more of their money in exchange for less light and leave them still without all the other services electricity could provide. And because it would use my more of their money, it would postpone even longer the time when they could afford the electricity and its other uses. I.e., Pachauri’s recipe is for deprivation, not solution. >> >>As Dr. Cornelis van Kooten points out in A Renewed Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor (in the chapter on economics), the cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by solar photovoltaic technology is about six to eight times that of electricity generated by nuclear or fossil fuels. Forcing the poor to use “cleaner” solar power instead of “dirtier” fossil-fuel generated power means in practice forcing them to stick with much dirtier fuels like wood and dung for more years until they’re able to afford the much more expensive solar. >> >>>>>>> >> >> >> ________________________________ From: Dave Wallace <wmdavid.wallace@gmail.com> >>To: ASA <asa@calvin.edu> >>Sent: Thu, December 17, 2009 6:36:20 PM >>Subject: [asa] Disclosure >> >>Glenn wrote: >> >> I don't give a rats rear end about anything but finding the truth. I invest as I believe, not as I want it to be. In fact, everything I do and say is exactly as I believe it to be. I might be wrong--the data will tell me if I am wrong, but I don't do anything for a personal agenda. >>> >>This is also my fourth post for today so I will shut up after this.  >> >>My main interest in this discussion is not "winning" but figuring out what the truth is.  Sure in the heat of the moment one wants to win but on a long term basis that is not a rational goal.  I assume the pro AGW side has the same goals? >> >>IMO remedial action that is taken by our governments is likely to have adverse effects on lots of people if we assume AGW is true and it turns out not to be and the inverse.  The only remedial actions that I am comfortable with at this point in time are ones that also help us address the coming shortage of energy and either move us towards use of renewable energy or in some fashion reduce our use of energy through efficiency etc.  In many areas my take is let a thousand flowers bloom ie different approaches and then pick the best ones as trying to guess before hand is close to impossible.  >> >>Like Glenn I have very little invested in the oil and gas industry, my financial adviser places our funds with yearly review with a goal of capital preservation and income.  I have never worked for either the oil or gas industry, oh yes one summer I pumped gas and washed cars.  Of course I worked for IBM and the oil and gas industry buy lots of computing power. >> >>It has been suggested that anti AGW people are all very far right wing.  I happen to find that suggestion very obnoxious.  I don't want to fall afoul of the no politics rule but the party I happen to support would be about the same as if one took the left quarter of the publicans and the right quarter of the crats.  Thus I am hardly extreme right wing. >> >>=============== >>I happened to notice a study of how people are reacting to some things depending upon their opinion about AGW: >>http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/05/6americas.html >> >>I thought it was interesting that the doubtful and dismissive are trying to do almost as much to reduce their home energy use as the alarmed.  The bubble size is proportionate to the numbers in the various groups.   I assume Rich and Randy would place themselves in the Alarmed category, while I would see my self in the doubtful category and probably Glenn would be there as well although he could be dismissive. >> >>Dave W >> >> >

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