Green Arnold?

From reader Anne Garrison in the comments to our previous post.

Governor Schwarzenegger looked at the polls that said two-thirds of California wanted that legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, passed and knew he had to sign or lose the next election, assuming it’s an honest election. He did not want to sign and the money in back of Schwarzenegger is all about not signing, but both he and the money saw that he had no choice but to sign.

On August 2nd, Schwarzenegger and Tony Blair got together for some photo ops and blathered about how they’d have to take the lead on global warming because Bush was refusing to act.

Schwarzenegger’s solution was clean coal, as in Peabody Coal, which is owned by Lehman Brothers, whose execs and ex-execs surround Schwarzenegger. Clean coal power piped from the Southwestern reservations to California, just like all the dirty coal power piped from the Mojave Desert (coal-fired power) Generation Plant for 40 years.

Tony Blair’s solution was nuclear power.

Ten days later, on August 12th, George Bush handed Peabody Coal a gift of $19.7 million for the technological innovation at the Mustang “clean coal” power plant in New Mexico. These two Republicans really didn’t seem so far apart.

But then polls of California voters made it clear that Schwarzenegger had to sign or go back to Hollywood. It had to be clear he had to sign, even to his own party and to Lehman Brothers (which owns Peabody Coal) execs. So he signed. And now the whole world outside Callifornia seems to think he’s the Jolly Green Giant.

But they might not be that far off. General Mills, creator of the original Jolly Green Giant, managed to create a federal Superfund site in Minneapolis, where they began researching food, but then, in 1947, began researching chemicals instead.

  • California uses a lot of energy and produces a lot of greenhouse gases. Currently there is only one available technology to generate large amounts of electricity without producing a corresponding pile of CO2 — that is nuclear power. (That doesn’t mean this is good or bad, it just is.) Other technologies such as CO2 sequestration from coal,or windpower, or solar panels, haven’t yet shown the ability to produce vast amounts of power 24/7 in a reliable manner. Perhaps California will be able to find innovative ways to meet their goals (conservation should be priorities #1, #2 and #3), but its important to note that good engineers and technicians have already spent years working on the alternative sources without making the huge gains that would likely be necessary to avoid sizeable price hikes. So… best of luck and I hope new ways of dealing with this are discovered.

    If you wish to read a lay person’s guide to the good and the bad of nuclear power (there’s plenty of both) see my site

  • Bob

    The ugly secret about Los Angeles is that that over 50% of its power comes from coal plants in other states. And I believe that coal arrives by railroad from Appalachia.

  • Ann Garrison

    Nuclear power produces little CO2 once the power plant is switched on. However, enormous amounts of fossil fuels are used mining and milling uranium building and operating uranium enrichment plants, transporting milled and enriched uranium, and building nuclear power plants, which are an enormous and expensive security risk, not to mention a risk of another Chernobyl. Uranium mining causes damages health and causes soil and water contamination like that on the forever contaminated Rio Puerco, on the Navajo Reservation, where, on July 16, 1979, 1100 tons of uranium mining tailings and 98 million gallons of radioactive water burst through U.S. Nuclear’s earthen dam. Fifty miles and three hours later, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission measured the radioactivity of the Rio Puerco at 8,000 times that considered acceptable at the time. This was the worst but barely known nuclear accident in American history. U.S. Nuclear left without cleaning up and taxpayers were left, as usual, to provide what little compensation was provided to the natives in the Church Rock area.

    Now, to give Peabody Coal easier access to the $2 billion of coal on Big Mountain/Black Mesa in the Four Corners, the northwestern part of the Navajo Rez, Sentator John McCain, head of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, wants to relocate the Navajo on Big Mountain/Black Mesa to the banks of the same radioactive Rio Puerco, near Church Rock, where Uranium International (in New Mexico), aka Hydro Resources International (in Texas), and Canadian Strathmore Corporation are now boring holes into the aquifer just over the eastern edge of the Navajo Reservation, in hopes of sinking an in-situ uranium leach mine.

    This would waste and contaminate even more water and the whole process, plus transport of the uranium wouild no doubt involve more use of fossil fuel.

    Lawsuits and medical costs follow every step of the way and, like most things at this point, these have to use more fossil fuel.

    The price of milled uranium yellow cake has increased from $7 to $62.25/lb., about 835%, in a little over five years, since 09/11/2001. I do not believe that this is because nuclear power is an efficient form of electricity, but because of the phony salami “war on terror” and the consequent global nuclear arms race.

    In fact, nuclear power is the most expensive, dangerous, and toxic form of electricity the world has ever created and its only real purpose is the creation of nuclear weapons infrastructure. -Ann Garrison

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