Climate crisis? Horse manure
Ever since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his gigantic delegation of Canadian politicians returned from the Paris climate conference they’ve been throwing around the idea of “decarbonizing” the Canadian and global economies.
It’s clear from the statements they’re making they don’t understand what they’re talking about.
Wind and solar power are simply not ready to replace the use of coal, oil and natural gas to produce energy.
They aren’t reliable or efficient enough to deliver the power required to fuel modern industrialized countries like our own, or developing nations that want to become part of the first world, like China and India.
But there’s another reason all those poobahs who were running around like chickens with their heads cut off in Paris, screaming that the seas will swallow us and the Arctic will melt if we don’t decarbonize immediately were so absurd.
That is, their fear-mongering is based on the assumption that 100 years from now, we will be producing energy in the same way we do today.
To understand the absurdity of this, think of someone in 1900 trying to imagine the world in 2000.
Think of all the things they would know nothing about.
The first example of powered flight by the Wright brothers was still three years away, and space flight, to say nothing of nuclear power, was the stuff of science fiction.
In that context, the Chicken Littles at the Paris conference should remind us of another gathering of similar worthies at the world’s first urban planning conference held in New York in 1898.
Back then, the delegates weren’t obsessed with fossil fuels but with horse manure. Literally.
In New York in 1898, 200,000 working horses each produced an average of 24 pounds of horse manure daily, meaning almost five million pounds of manure were being dumped on city streets every 24 hours.
As Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner recount in their best-seller, Superfreakonomics:
"In vacant lots, horse manure was piled as high as sixty feet. It lined city streets like banks of snow. In the summer time, it stank to the heavens; when the rains came, a soupy stream of horse manure flooded the crosswalks and seeped into people’s basements ... All of this dung was terrifically unhealthy. It was a breeding ground for billions of flies that spread a host of deadly diseases. Rats and other vermin swarmed the mountains of manure to pick out undigested oats and other horse feed ... cities around the world were experiencing the same crisis.”
Delegates to the conference concluded that given population growth, global cities would soon become uninhabitable, creating a massive refugee crisis as millions fled for their lives.
Except they failed to account for the rise of the electric streetcar and the mass use of the automobile which, ironically, was originally hailed as the environmental saviour of cities.
Just as we will survive the latest climate “crisis”, not because of political scientists who call themselves environmentalists, but because of real scientists and engineers who are already hard at work inventing an energy future for us that we cannot possibly imagine today.
Climate crisis? http://www.torontosun.com/2015/12/23/climate-crisis-horse-manure