Recovery from Hurricane Sandy continues to move along. The last time I looked, power was back on in all of Manhattan, the subways were running again, and utility crews were making inroads on the power loss problems in New Jersey. Election coverage has completely pushed everything else off the news for the last two cycles. Still, it looks like gasoline supplies in the Northeast are recovering. Gas lines are down, although that may be more a factor of rationing than expanded supply.
One of the sidebars in the coverage of the storm and the damage it caused has been the climate change motif. This part of the story is that the storm was exacerbated by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. If we want to avoid more super storms in the future, we have to dramatically reduce the amount of greenhouse gas we put out as a society.
This may very well be true. Certainly levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased in the last century. But the people calling for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are not being honest about the implications of their crusade.
Our society is based on the ready availability of energy, both in the form of electrical power, and as liquid fuels for transportation. To make major cuts in greenhouse gases, we are going to have to restrict access to both of those. The idea that we can cut energy usage in half, simply by replacing all of the light bulbs with compact fluorescents is laughable. The concept that the government can simply wave the regulatory wand an cars will get double the current gas milage is equally ludicrous.
To really reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions, half the electrical generating capacity in this country will have to be taken off line. That is about the amount of capacity powered by coal burning power plants. Also, we will all have to cut back to just a couple of gallons of gas per week apiece.
If you're paying attention, you'll realize that the kind of restriction of energy use I'm talking about is what New York and New Jersey have been dealing with for the last week. If tempers were getting short from a temporary loss of power, imagine what will happen to the government that attempts to apply energy rationing to the citizens.
The symptom is the cure.