Global Warming – An Alternate Viewpoint

Old Style Thermometer
Old Style Thermometer

So let’s talk about Global Warming. Being me, I want to take things from a Decision Tree point of view…

Either/Or

Consider Global Warming as an Either/Or proposition. Either it is happening, or it isn’t. Let’s assume that Global Warming is not an issue.

If it isn’t an issue, we don’t need to take any action against it. But…

We might want to take action anyway.

That may sound ridiculous, but there’s a certain amount of sense to it. Efficiency is useful. The less energy and/or resources we use, the more energy/resources we have to apply to other things, and the better performance we get from what we have.

Take the new C7 (seventh generation) 2014 Chevrolet Corvette. It is the most efficient Corvette ever. Faster, more fuel efficient, more comfortable, and still relatively inexpensive. For about $65,000.00 US, you get a car that does 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds, and an anticipated top speed of 180 to 190 mph! This is better than most European supercars were capable of ten years ago.

By making the C7 Corvette so efficient, Chevrolet has produced the best cost/performance automobile on the road. Ever.

I loved the C2 Corvette (starting with the 1963 Split Window Coupe), but while it was a nice looking car, and performed well for it’s time, the 2014 Corvette blows it away. In fact it blows away the C6 Corvette as well.

Or take what I really could afford. I had a 1974 Camaro, type LT. Loved that car. But…

My 1974 Camaro with a 5.7L (350 Cubic Inch) V8, four barrel carb, and four speed manual transmission. It was capable of a 14 second Quarter Mile. The 2014 Camaro with a 3.6L V6 can do a 14 second quarter mile. My 1974 was labeled as producing 185 HP. The 2014 V6 is labeled as producing 323HP!

Oh, and the 2014 V6 Camaro gets far better fuel economy. I loved my 1974, but I’d far rather have a 2014 as my daily drive.

How about Solar/Wind power for your house? Assume that you could buy a system where the cost to install was the same as four years of purchased electricity from your power provider, and that would last for ten years. Who wouldn’t want something like that?

Even if you are richer than Croesus, and aren’t worried about the cash, this is a security issue. Just think of the recent Toronto ice storm, or the Montreal ice storm of a few years ago, or the Great Northwest power blackout… Having your own power system, that isn’t reliant on a power provider sounds like a really good idea to me.

Hey, I’m a Libertarian. This is about Freedom. Freedom from a power provider who is trying to maximize its profits, at my expense. Freedom from a power provider who can’t promise 100% uptime, because weather, is well, weather. If some smart company gives me a cost efficient exit strategy from our local power provider, I’ll take it.

Effectively this is a human rights issue. The right to be free of the local power supply monopoly.

Then there’s light bulbs. We use LED bulbs in our house. They last for years, and use a lot less power. We save on power costs, and time spent swapping the damned things out when they blow. The time part is pretty significant, because we have bulbs that can only be replaced using a ladder. A long endurance bulb is damned handy.

How about mobile phones? Ever wonder why Intel processors aren’t used in mobile phones – they aren’t used because they are inefficient. By using more efficient ARM processors, phone manufacturers are able to use less expensive, and smaller battery packs. Less weight, longer time between charges, more convenience for the user. This is a win/win situation for the consumer, even if Intel is a bit put out because they aren’t selling as many microprocessors as they would like.

Efficiency is a huge plus in any form. Apple made huge inroads into the mobile phone market with the iPhone because it was more efficient than competing mobile phones. No, it wasn’t more efficient in power usage, but it was more efficient for the user, making it possible to get more things done in less time.

A lot of the opposition to making things more efficient to combat Global Warming is because of increased costs. The problem is that the costs don’t increase, they drop as efficiency brings paybacks. Take recent legislated automobile fuel efficiency increases in the United States. The cost per vehicle went up slightly, the cost of operation dropped slightly, and the range per refuel increased. Overall, it’s a win.

How about the “Smog” laws? There was a lot of screaming that they would push the cost of automobiles upward. Very few people noticed that the same laws also reduced the amount of maintenance required on the vehicle. I can remember having to tune the engine in my 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass every couple of months. That cost. A lot. Never mind the time you would waste doing it yourself, or waiting while a mechanic did it for you. Post smog law cars require far less maintenance. When was the last time you replaced a distributor cap? Back in the bad old days you had to replace it every six months.

There are limits as to how efficient you can make something, but every time we think we’ve hit the limit on efficiency, some bright engineer comes up with another neat idea, allowing us to go even further.

Anyone opposing efficiency, or opposing your Freedom to do things on your own, isn’t your friend, even if they are right about Global Warming.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Wednesday January 1, 2014

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