CLIMATE DISTORTING U.S. ENERGY POLICIES
October 10, 2008
Proponents of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) have largely ignored natural climate influences; yet, the evidence is overwhelming that natural factors control the climate and that the greenhouse effect from rising carbon dioxide, while certainly present, is insignificant and as yet undetectable. Instead of pushing forward the current energy and climate policies floating around Congress, the nation's goal should focus on rational energy policy -- one that accepts that fossil fuels and CO2 present no threat, says S. Fred Singer, an atmospheric physicist and professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia.
We should seek to make energy cheap and secure, continues Singer. Lowering energy costs promotes economic growth and advances societal goals of greater prosperity and a safer and cleaner environment.
- A rational energy policy for the United States must make increased use of domestic coal, which is secure and relatively low cost.
- Today's technologies allow us to burn coal and capture almost all the resulting pollution, making coal a "clean" fuel.
- Additionally, coal plants have become more efficient at converting British Thermal Units (Btus) into electric energy; as we move toward integrated-gasification, combined-cycle technology, the efficiencies can approach 60 percent or higher, particularly when co-generation, which uses the waste heat, is included.
- The high capital costs thrust upon nuclear generation should be lowered considerably by streamlining the licensing process and eliminating the delays that arise from litigation against constructing nuclear reactors.
- Considerable cost savings also can be achieved by standardization and, most importantly, by factory production of major components rather than onsite construction.
Further, there are a wide variety of reactor designs available throughout the world, says Singer, including: pressurized-boiling water reactors; a Canadian design that uses heavy water; high-temperature, gas-cooled reactors; pebble fuel, which was pioneered in South Africa and is finding applications in China; and an ultrasafe reactor of Swedish design known as PIUS.
Source: S. Fred Singer, "Climate Distorting U.S. Energy Policies," American Oil & Gas Reporter, September 2008.
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