, Salem, MA


December 21, 2013

Letter: Betting the farm on dumb decisions


This cult of CO2 has led to some really dumb decisions with horrendous consequences.

During this latest cold spell the local spot price of gas was approaching $30 per mmbtu while the rest of country is paying $4.20. This difference is driven by demand (gas is “greener” and cheaper) and restricted supply. The pipeline coming in from New York isn’t large enough to satisfy the homeowners (who get first choice) and the power plants. (We make up the difference with LNG tankers from the Caribbean and Yemen.) There is only talk about increasing pipeline capacity. One of the problems is that the proposed convoluted path for the pipeline would be more effective if it were laid out by a drunken cow. (NIMBY strikes again!)

Christopher Grundler, the head of the EPA’s Transportation and Air Quality Office, told Congress that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has threatened to force petroleum refiners to mix a blend of gasoline that cars can’t use. (It would damage engines.) I’m shocked, shocked, shocked that RFS is strongly supported by congressmen and senators from corn-producing states. The increase in cost was first noticed by the Mexicans having to pay more to make their tortillas.

Reality bites. I was working on fuel cells in the early ’60s and we were going to have a fuel cell power car in the 1964 World’s Fair. The reason you don’t remember it is; it didn’t happen. Same problem stills exists — where are you going to get the hydrogen from? Since you can’t drill for hydrogen you have to make it, usually by electrolyzing water. And you have to make the electricity the same old way and it takes more energy to break down the water molecule than you get back from the hydrogen (less than 100 percent efficiency coming and going).

On and on it goes. The cult of AGW generates too many half-baked ideas and fundamental questions that don’t get discussed in the mainstream media and we are expected to bet the farm on it.

George Binns


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