2006 was hottest US year ever

That’s right, 2006 was the hottest ever. One side effect of this is natural gas prices are tumbling because of decreased need in heating homes. In the coming years we will see all manner of weather shifts and price gyrations from global warming. This will lead to politically instability in some areas.

It’s not just happening in the States either.

Joe Hartley emails

Weather, of course, is statistical. However, you might want to start monitoring weather in South America. Córdoba, inland in Argentina, is flooding, as are cities in Brazil. Lots of rain in what should be pure summer, which is unusual down there.Not that a few variations means much, but they are at least anecdotal evidence.

Reader Suvro comments on our post about China and India facing up to global warming.

India has woken up to the fact that its growing energy hunger will NOT be satisfied by C-based fuels. Indian coal is quite dirty – high sulfur content. Better grade coal is available from Indonesia and other places, but transportation costs add a large penalty. Indigenous coal, while plentiful, is low grade with high ash content also.

Coal is a terrible way to generate power. Not only is it a gross pollutant when burned, the mining of it destroys huge areas forever. We must find and use better, less-polluting and more renewable ways to generate energy before climate change causes irreversible problems.

India’s natural gas and oil reserves are quite small. Neighbors have plenty of natural gas (Bangladesh, Iran, central Asia), but are either inimical politically (Bangladesh) or there are physical barriers to pipelines (Pakistan). Also India has NOT been successful in competing with China for overseas oil and natural gas reserves (Myanmar, Russia and former Soviet States, and western Africa). Thus India is in dire need of alternative sources for energy.

The politics of energy are like the politics of water, they underpin and are a root cause of many conflicts and wars.

As they say – Necessity is the Mother of Invention. Indian wind energy tycoon Tulsi Tanti is now running Suzlon Energy, the world’s largest wind energy manufacturer. On a recent visit to India, I was told of Reliance Retail’s (to compete with Wal-Mart’s entry in India) plans to run most of its new food stores primarily on solar energy panels. Right now the solar energy industry in India is nascent and quite immature, but I expect it to become a significant player in the next 5 years – about the same time frame as here in California!

India (as well as California) has multiple ways to generate power renewably; wind, solar, hydro, wave, tidal, geothermal, and biofuel. Doing so would distribute power generation over large areas, with much less central control, which again will have a political effect.

Some friends of ours live in southern Utah “in the middle of nowhere.” They have solar power now and will probably get wind power too. They aren’t totally off the grid, but getting there, while others around them are off the grid. The political effect if millions started doing that would be considerable indeed. What if towns and cities started doing it too. You’d start to see entirely new political structures form.

So, out of the global warming crisis, we may start to see entirely new forms of politics emerge and grow.

One comment


    In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy sources must change.
    “Energy drives our entire economy.” We must protect it. “Let’s face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy.” The American way of life is not negotiable.
    Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.

    The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects with the use of energy efficient material, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, etc. The source of energy must by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, etc. including utilizing water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption.

    The implementation of mandatory renewable energy could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy.

    In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer), including the promotion of research and production of “renewable energy technology” with various long term incentives and grants. The various foundations in existence should be used to contribute to this cause.

    A mandatory time table should also be established for the automobile industry to gradually produce an automobile powered by renewable energy. The American automobile industry is surely capable of accomplishing this task.

    This is a way to expedite our energy independence and economic growth. (This will also create a substantial amount of new jobs). It will take maximum effort and a relentless pursuit of the private, commercial and industrial government sectors commitment to renewable energy – energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, energy storage (fuel cells, advance batteries), energy infrastructure (management, transmission) and energy efficiency (lighting, sensors, automation, conservation) in order to achieve our energy independence.

    Jay Draiman, Energy Consultant
    Northridge, CA. 91325

    P.S. I have a very deep belief in America’s capabilities. Within the next 10 years we can accomplish our energy independence, if we as a nation truly set our goals to accomplish this.
    I happen to believe that we can do it. In another crisis–the one in 1942–President Franklin D. Roosevelt said this country would build 60,000 [50,000] military aircraft. By 1943, production in that program had reached 125,000 aircraft annually. They did it then. We can do it now.
    The American people resilience and determination to retain the way of life is unconquerable and we as a nation will succeed in this endeavor of Energy Independence.

    Solar energy is the source of all energy on the earth (excepting volcanic geothermal). Wind, wave and fossil fuels all get their energy from the sun. Fossil fuels are only a battery which will eventually run out. The sooner we can exploit all forms of Solar energy (cost effectively or not against dubiously cheap FFs) the better off we will all be. If the battery runs out first, the survivors will all be living like in the 18th century again.

    Every new home built should come with a solar package. A 1.5 kW per bedroom is a good rule of thumb. The formula 1.5 X’s 5 hrs per day X’s 30 days will produce about 225 kWh per bedroom monthly. This peak production period will offset 17 to 24 cents per kWh with a potential of $160 per month or about $60,000 over the 30-year mortgage period for a three-bedroom home. It is economically feasible at the current energy price and the interest portion of the loan is deductible. Why not?

    Title 24 has been mandated forcing developers to build energy efficient homes. Their bull-headedness put them in that position and now they see that Title 24 works with little added cost. Solar should also be mandated and if the developer designs a home that solar is impossible to do then they should pay an equivalent mitigation fee allowing others to put solar on in place of their negligence.

    Installing renewable energy system on your home or business increases the value of the property and provides a marketing advantage.

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