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Politicians paint themselves green to attract voters
August 15, 2008

As Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama battle for the ultimate position in government, they apparently don't always have the time or the advisers to check out their statements or maybe they conveniently leave out facts. I mean, why bother with facts, this is a presidential race!

Mr. Obama was quoted to say:

"We should also tap more of our substantial natural gas reserves and work with the Canadian government to finally build the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline, delivering clean natural gas and creating good jobs in the process," he said.

But Obama made it clear that would only be a small part of his solution because, "we simply cannot pretend, as Sen. McCain does, that we can drill our way out of this problem."

According Mr. Obama, one of the solutions he proposes to the energy crisis is to develop the new Alaskan natural gas pipeline through Canada. Yet in other statements, he is opposed to offer more land for exploration. He is either misleading people or just doesn't get it. Unfortunately, it seems the public reports show he is full of natural gas!

According to several reports, the currently proven reserves available supply only about 50% more than one year's demand for gas, just over 35 trillion cubic feet. Estimates say that Alaska may hold up to 1100 trillion cubic feet. About 30 years if demand increases. That isn't much. The cost of developing these fields of natural gas involves not just a lot of money for drilling down, but will also jeopardize the natural habitats of wild animals, that honestly, have no other place to go, as Alaska is our last natural semi-wilderness. There are just a few of these animals, fewer than we think!

I say semi-wilderness because I recently took a cruise down the inside passage on Celebrity cruises. Not a very green way to travel, but I don't like backpacking in the back country and meeting up with unhappy bears who think I am encroaching on the environment and want to get back at me! I don't consider a place a "wilderness' when we regularly send 3000 tourists in a fully equipped floating hotel down the passage! It is also not as vast as I thought. There is are a lot of treeless spots on the mountains where spruce were cut down by the lumber companies that will take years to recoup. Most of the tourists asked what those bare patches were, as the mountains have little natural soil.

The whales are bothered by tourists all the time with the tour boats getting closer and closer so we can take one more snap shot, and worse, they have to compete with fishermen that have big equipment for limited amounts of food. Lots of things are changing with the climate and food supplies are shifting. These wales looked busy and hungry trying to catch a lot of food before their trip to Hawaii, another semi-wilderness. They'll have a lot of competition from man there too.

So, I don't see Alaska being a wilderness. More like a stressed out natural environment for a few animals that we proactively protect. Take Denali National Park. Millions of acres, yet fragile. It can only support 350 bears, 2000 moose, over 2000 goats, and other animals. That's not a lot. No one gave us the counts of hump back whales, or Orca in the water, but they are not a lot either. We had to wait a long time to see a couple of them. They will be stressed and their numbers be reduced if we start poking holes on the sea floor, and sending a lot of ships to pump out the natural gas and oil.

But, whatever, money is money. Why should business care about a few moose, or whales when it comes to powering our cars, stoves, etc and making a profit right? Personally, I think a desert where only rattle snakes reside every few miles, with plenty of water beneath might easily become a field of biomass that can be harvested to make our own oil and bring more rain and some benefits. Some of it can hold solar panels, and in some parts near the coast, windmills can provide energy. Alaska, with all of its oil, pays more for gas and energy than people in the lower 48, and so they are using solar and wind whenever they can, even though their winter is mostly dark.
I was amazed to see this.

There are plenty of bad lands in this country that could become solar, biomass and wind farms. I could justify displacing a few desert animals to some site, but not these irreplaceable species in the sea or land. Maybe I am just prejudiced and prefer mammals to snakes and insects, or I don't value small rodents. It could be argued they are just as important, I am sure. Some animals will have to be stressed or lost to continue growing our civilization, but which ones? And which are so critical that their disappearance could affect our own food supply?

I say Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, you had your drilling. So, the Alaskan Oil Pipeline runs a third full, our tour guides told us. It's not so much oil. So a few animals have to duck to go underneath, and it looks pretty awful, but since 1975 the oil has depleted. It will soon be gone and all that remains in those wells is natural gas, and not enough proven reserves. To get the rest of the gas, the 30 to 35 years worth (even less if we power vehicles with it) we might have to poke a lot of holes in very unholy places, where the humpback and the Orca roam or perhaps their food supply swims. And what for? To postpone the inevitable? Eventually that gas and oil will be run out, sooner than we think, and the pipeline will rust and we still have not developed truly renewable energy sources to their full potential. In 1975 we also ran around like chickens without a head trying to develop nuclear, even fusion when gas prices went over $1.00, but that subsided and as soon as things got easy, we just drilled some more and buried our heads in the sand pretending the oil will never be completely gone. There is always another well?

Of course, people who can't see past the end of their nose and just as far as their election will blow hot air, and mislead people, so someone gets a nice contract, who funded their election. But the truth is, the hydrocarbons, be it gas or oil, that have been deposited in the earth over the millions of years will be gone soon. Maybe they were just a gift from the earth to jump start our civilization, hoping we'll find something else, eventually, but certainly they are finite.

Our current president never ever told us that the largest oil reserves in the world, that for some incredible reason happen to be right under what the Bible says was the Garden of Eden, are less than 100 years of reserves. Not much, just two or three generations, to pay all this money and all that bloodshed? Seems that the 3 trillion dollars focused on development of solar, wind, and new technologies we don't even imagine yet, might have done a lot more good than all the pollution created by the exploding bombs and burning oil fields in the struggle. But then, that is just me. This is why this is an editorial, others might differ with this irrefutable logic and call me a tree hugger or whale or owl lover or unamerican!
Name calling is all they got left, because the ice is melting, you can't deny that. The fish numbers are dropping, and the bare patches on the mountains are larger and larger. Humm

But as I said before, it ain't easy to be green and see the whole picture. You can paint yourself green for the election and then wash the paint off later, just for appearance sakes, but few are truly green through and through. That takes some foresight, some faith in our ability to find technological answers to these problems, and perhaps some love of our environment, and maybe it means we love that whale more than we love our SUV.

Let's hope the politicians actually read these reports on the internet, or at least their followers. As far as green businesses, I say we need the funding to develop our solar and wind technologies, and our new alterntive cars, and our new ideas. Let's not throw good money after bad pursuing soon to be depleted resources and continue to trash the environment in the process. Let's help green businesses, they are the hope for the future. They will bring the innovations and the solutions.


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