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Page added on January 31, 2019

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It’s fossil fuels that are keeping Americans warm this week

What the AccuWeather service calls “the coldest weather in years” is gripping the nation, from Wisconsin to Alabama. The temperatures, AccuWeather says, “will put millions of people and animals throughout the Midwestern United States at risk for hypothermia and frostbite to occur in minutes during the final days of January.”

The only real defense against Winter Storm Jayden is fossil fuels—the source of the vast majority of electricity that Americans will need to stay warm. Pie-in-the-sky talk about renewable energy won’t warm hearths and hearts during this storm, because the sun isn’t shining all the time and the wind capacity simply isn’t there.

So, Americans will reply on fossil fuels—the much-demonized source of concentrated energy – to power our economy and saves lives, literally.

Let’s take two states as examples. Illinois is near the geographical center of the polar vortex. As of 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, the temperature was 5 degrees Fahrenheit, with an expected low in the next 24 hours of 23 below zero. Those winds coming off Lake Michigan are dropping the wind chill to as much as 55 below zero through Thursday morning.

But renewable energy is sitting this one out in Illinois. In 2016, wind and solar energy contributed just 6 percent of Illinois’ electricity supply. A respectable 52 percent came from Illinois’ aging nuclear power sources, but those generators are in trouble financially and politically.

That means nearly 40 percent of Illinois’ electricity came from coal, natural gas and oil. And every Illinoisan, from Waukegan to Carbondale, is thankful for that this week.

In New York, Albany isn’t getting hit as hard as Chicago; its low temp on Wednesday was forecast to be only 8 degrees below zero. By Friday, it should be a balmy 20 degrees.

What’s keeping New Yorkers warm this week? Fossil fuels.

Of course, the Empire State generates more hydroelectric power than any state east of the Rockies, supplying about 20 percent of that state’s needs (thanks, Niagara Falls!), but wind and solar make up only 4 percent of New York’s electricity portfolio.

These numbers will change, of course, as solar and wind technology improve. And both Illinois and New York have clear goals for transitioning to more renewable power in the future. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has pledged to achieve 25 percent renewable energy by 2025 and 100 percent by 2050. (Environmental groups say the state is unlikely to reach even that first goal.)

And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says his state hopes to achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040.

Yet the cold, hard facts are difficult to ignore in weather like this.

Governors can’t mandate the advances in storage capacity and wind and solar efficiency we’ll need to reach those goals. What they can do—by imposing strict regimes that lead to the closing of reliable fossil fuel-powered generators is drive up the cost of electricity (New Yorkers pay about 45 percent more per kilowatt hour than the national average, for example.

Which brings us to New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, which would double down on the policies that are making power more expensive—and less reliable—in many parts of the U.S. Because the freshman member of Congress has offered few specifics, we’re left to speculate on what, exactly, the Green New Deal will entail.

It’s likely to be President Obama’s Clean Power Plan Redux, with a little social justice thrown in (she tends to toss in income inequality and higher taxes on the rich).

Yet Harry C. Alford, of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, warns that the Clean Power Plan (even without higher taxes) would have increased poverty among blacks by 23 percent and Hispanics by 26 percent, due to “severe and disproportionate economic burdens.” That’s because lower-income families spend a larger portion of their income on electricity and transportation fuel, not to mention food, clothing and housing, which are also affected by energy pricing).

Winter Storm Jayden should wake us up to some cold truths. Today, fossil fuels stand between us and the icy chill of winter weather. Policies that try to chase them from our energy portfolios prematurely are doomed to fail—and to leave American families, particularly the poorest among us, out in the bitter cold.



16 Comments on "It’s fossil fuels that are keeping Americans warm this week"

  1. Chrome Mags on Thu, 31st Jan 2019 4:14 pm 

    “So, Americans will reply on fossil fuels—the much-demonized source of concentrated energy – to power our economy and saves lives, literally.”

    Yes, demonized or vilified if you prefer because if we burn too much of it the planet heats up too much for life on many parts of the planet for people.

    Something can be good in the present as it is used as energy to stay warm in a temporary cold spat in winter, but not good as the planet continues to warm. Even beyond eventually getting too hot in certain parts of the globe, if we really get crazy and try to burn all the available fossil fuels, the knock on effect will be anoxic oceans with toxins raining down on land. An extinction event which only a small percentage of life will survive.

  2. onlooker on Thu, 31st Jan 2019 4:45 pm 

    Yeah but they won’t forever

  3. Sissyfuss on Thu, 31st Jan 2019 5:55 pm 

    So the fossil fuels we burn today will save hundreds of thousands of lives from a disconnected Jet Stream but will kill millions and perhaps billions in the not so distant future. Short term reptilian thinking at its finest.

  4. Dredd on Thu, 31st Jan 2019 11:19 pm 

    “It’s fossil fuels that are keeping Americans warm this week” –

    Add that to the song “killing me softly with …”

    (Watching The Arctic Die – 5).

    A co-founder of OPEC called it “Oil … is the devil’s Excrement.” OPEC co-founder Juan Pablo Perez Alfonzo

    Warming excrement eh?

  5. Go Speed Racer on Fri, 1st Feb 2019 4:56 am 

    Well, even if ya don’t like the
    facts of the article,
    the facts are still the facts.

    The solar cells and windmills don’t work
    in a freezing cold chilly snowstorm.

    Some of us knew it all along.
    Some of us are just figuring it out,
    since we are now in a coldsnap.
    Some will never figure it out.

    Figure out what? That U can’t get the
    energy from solar cells and windmills
    in harsh conditions.

    But that don’t stop the krazy liberals
    from demanding to “end fossil fuel
    consumption”. Even if its technologically
    impossible.

  6. Davy on Fri, 1st Feb 2019 5:08 am 

    speeder, you forgot to mention gas storage running out.lol. They ran low on gas in Minnesota a few days ago and shut people down and told others to turn off hot water and …go forbid…turn the thermostat down. Maybe so many people should not be living in MN. They should move to Cali where the liberal paradise is.

  7. JuanP on Fri, 1st Feb 2019 7:26 am 

    Last week was a nonevent in Miami Beach. Location, location, location. Having said that, I am happy to have gas to put in my car.

  8. Cloggie on Sat, 2nd Feb 2019 4:48 am 

    Damned!

    Fascinating pictures of a collapsing dam:

    https://www.rt.com/news/450394-video-brazil-dam-collapse/

  9. Cloggie on Sat, 2nd Feb 2019 4:55 am 

    The solar cells and windmills don’t work
    in a freezing cold chilly snowstorm.

    They don’t, that’s where storage comes in, storage of renewable energy.

    If you want to have a 100% renewable energy base, you need to ensure that you have a storage capacity at hand to the tune of 41% of your annual energy consumption.

    If you apply demand management, for instance enabled by the internet-of-things (IoT), where your freezer and washing machine take autonomous decisions about when to switch on the motor/pump, based on information obtained from the internet, by being wifi-enabled, you need even less.

    A normal economy has “strategic reserves” of fossil fuel of perhaps 6 months. These reserves would be replaced by renewable fuels like H2, NaBH4, NH3, CH4, methanol, metal powders, seasonal storage of heat in water or isomers, etc.

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2018/11/12/long-term-storage-of-heat-in-isomer/

    It is just a matter of getting used to a new reality. Laws of nature won’t obstruct.

  10. Davy on Sat, 2nd Feb 2019 5:47 am 

    “The solar cells and windmills don’t work in a freezing cold chilly snowstorm.” “They don’t, that’s where storage comes in, storage of renewable energy.” “If you want to have a 100% renewable energy base, you need to ensure that you have a storage capacity at hand to the tune of 41% of your annual energy consumption.” “If you apply demand management, for instance enabled by the internet-of-things (IoT)…you need even less.”
    While I am optimistic for some of this clogged, I have not seen anything yet that says we have the right stuff as a global economy to make this a reality. Will the economy allow it? Will warfare end it? Is the complicated nature of this undertaking too much? We don’t even have the technology figured out completely and the costs are huge and open ended. We have some good tech and good theory nonetheless but that is no reason to strut and crow like a Banty rooster.

    “A normal economy has “strategic reserves” of fossil fuel of perhaps 6 months. These reserves would be replaced by renewable fuels like H2, NaBH4, NH3, CH4, methanol, metal powders, seasonal storage of heat in water or isomers, etc.”
    I am excited about these technologies but still uncertain as to our ability to scale them up. It is possible some places will. It looks like northern Europe will be going that route along with parts of China and the US. The rest of the world it will be spotty. There is far more wrong with this civilization than energy. Energy and tech are not going to solve these problems alone. Behavior must change and the behavior is changing in the wrong direction.

    “It is just a matter of getting used to a new reality. Laws of nature won’t obstruct.”
    That is a bold face statement if I ever saw one. LOL

  11. JuanP on Sat, 2nd Feb 2019 6:47 am 

    The obvious renewable energy solution for cold weather is burning wood. The problem is that with 8 billion people on the planet that is not easy to do in the long run. And cities with more than a million people in them would have serious local air quality issues, even if we used efficient designs to ensure full combustion and little smoke. We need to reduce populations for any of these solutions to be viable. The problem is not a lack of technology, it is our human nature.

  12. Cloggie on Sat, 2nd Feb 2019 7:18 am 

    “We need to reduce populations for any of these solutions to be viable.”

    Yes, that is the most pressing problem. After empire we’ll have a multipolar world. We need to say to the Chinese that they are a big boy now and being an adult comes with responsibilities.

    PBM and China need to come up with a plan to curb population growth, most of all in Africa and India.

    The deal: Eurasia helps Africa and India with lifting standards (everybody living in stone houses, water and renewable electricity by 2200) in return for a rigorous birth control program like the one China had.

  13. Anonymouse on Sat, 2nd Feb 2019 5:19 pm 

    Go Speed, I am surprised you failed to mention that most renewable heat source of all, sofas.

    No one has to burn toxic fossil fuels when most merikans have a perfectly good source of untapped potential heat energy sitting in their living rooms and basements, Sofas. (duh).

    Its a no-brainer. Turn off that oil powered electric heater, sprinkle a small amount of gasoline on the sofa, then sit back and enjoy all that life-saving warmth flow outwards.

    And sofa fires as you I am sure you are well aware, function in ALL weather scenarios and can be easily dispatched to provide base-load warmth in even the harshest conditions.

  14. makati1 on Sat, 2nd Feb 2019 5:31 pm 

    Not mentioned is that electric car batteries do not recharge in below freezing weather, unless heated, and have a much shorter mile limit. I pointed this out to Cloggie yesterday, but I guess he forgot.

    https://www.theburningplatform.com/2019/01/31/the-mobile-space-heater/#more-191063

    No easy answers. So little time.

  15. Anonymouse on Sat, 2nd Feb 2019 6:26 pm 

    Mak, Cloggedsphincter is never troubled by things like, facts, reality, science, or even basic common sense. When confronted by ‘facts’, he does what he always does. Pretends he doesn’t understand what was just said, or provides a link of some kind that seldom supports the assertion he is trying to defend.

    Like all ‘broadcasters’, his job to throw out much shit as possible, with the idea being, some of it will stick I have asked that dumbass jew on numerous occasions just who he is trying to convert\convince, but, no clarification expected on that one anytime soon, lol.

    Besides, cloggenYID lives in desert-like conditions. He has likely never seen snow, except on TV, or knows what it consists of, much less how things like engines and batteries function in very cold weather. His ‘job’ is to spew endless rapid-fire nonsense to whoever he think is still paying attention. Whether his statements are factual, or even relevant, is of little to no concern to him.

  16. Go Speed Racer on Sun, 3rd Feb 2019 9:31 pm 

    Hi Davy, Hi Animalmouse,

    Well withthe posts I’m seeing, we need to
    immediately send an emergency sofa shipment
    to Minnesota.

    Worst-case, they may have to light their
    own sofa’s, even if they were sitting on
    them, or they were not old sofa’s.

    Then they might have to sit on the rug
    but at least they would stay warm.

    Yeah they got quite a blizzard going
    over there. Trump-O-saurus Donald, he
    thinks it proves there aint no
    global warming, and all them thar
    scientists is dumb.

    HOWEVER actually the changing climate
    is causing the coldest polar air to
    destabilize and slide down too easily
    into the lower latitudes.

    Been doing it at least 5 years now.
    Looks like the whole planet is toast.
    We need to drive over to the East side
    of town, go on into Planets-R-us
    and get ourselves another planet.

    Cause this one is wasted. Barely runs
    anymore. But I hear that they got a
    deal on trading-in your old planet
    for a new one, so long as U go with the
    5 year financing from the dealer.

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