Confronting California's water problems
According to a May 2014 report, the US Bureau of Reclamation released its first outlook of the year and finds insufficient stock is available in California to release irrigation water for farmers. This is the first time in the 54 year history of the State Water Project. “If it’s not there, it’s just not there,” notes a Water Authority director adding that it’s going to be tough to find enough water, but farmers are hit hardest as “they’re all on pins and needles trying to figure out how they’re going to get through this.” Fields will go unplanted (supply lower mean food prices higher), or farmers will pay top dollar for water that’s on the market (and those costs can only be passed on via higher food prices).
It appear that while there are at least a dozen viable plans in effect to relocate and conserve water, the real long term solution to California's increasing 18 year drought is simply dealing effectively with Climate Change.
As a result of climate change, glaciers are melting ten times faster than previously thought, the Rio Grande no longer consistently makes it to the ocean, and species are vanishing. The world's leading science journals report that atmospheric greenhouse gases have reached levels not seen for millions of years.
California's drought has become progressively worse in recent years. If this drought continues at its present pace for eight more years, Lake Mead will be dry, leaving 4,000,000 citizens of the greater San Diego megalopolis without water. Marine life is losing the struggle to survive as the oceans are awash with heavy metals like Mercury, and nuclear by-products such as Cesium and Strontium. It appears we are experiencing an ever increasing succession of extreme weather events, long-term droughts, and rising sea levels. Further catastrophic events and consequences will likely continue to occur if no action is taken.
Climate Change: the problems and solutions
Climate Change isn’t opinion. It’s scientific reality. It affects our well-being and even our potential for survival as a species. The question is whether human activity is chiefly responsible for the enormous impacts of climate change. Studies show that our planet has experienced many such changes of climate, both colder and warmer than today, over its known history.
Another perspective is that Climate Change is a manufactured crisis, created to focus people and motivate divided nations, together in a common cause, in order to benefit new world order politicians and line the pockets of energy corporations.
Do world leaders have the capacity to do such a thing? Yes. Are there many energy companies and alternative energy companies controlled by unethical people who are eager to cheat consumers? Yes, I know a few names.
But my perspective on this issue, is that only one gas combustion engine running inside a garage not only heats up the garage, but can be lethal. Picture then millions of gas combustion engines running at the same time in a megalopolis such as Los Angeles, San Diego or Mexico City. Look at the impact that must have on the temperature, the abilities, and the dumbing down of the people who are trying to function every day within that carbon monoxide environment, let alone the impact upon the earth's atmosphere.
So no matter what the level of human responsibility for Climate Change when compared to other factors such as natural under-sea volcanoes, or greenhouse gases produced by herds of animals, it still remains, aside from overriding economic concerns, that we need to act responsibly and aggressively to phase out toxic man made contaminants in our environment, particularly the filthy by-products of coal and oil.
Most all of the world’s leading science journals report that atmospheric greenhouse gases have reached levels not seen for millions of years, glaciers are melting ten times faster than previously thought, and species are vanishing as a result of climate change. They also report of extreme weather events, long-term droughts, rising sea levels and further catastrophic consequences if no action is taken.
The Rio Grande no longer consistently makes it to the ocean. In California, we are in the midst of a ten year drought that has become progressively worse in recent years. If this drought continues at its present pace for another ten years, Lake Mead will be dry, leaving 4,000,000 citizens of the greater San Diego megalopolis without water.
Several CEOs of large coal and oil corporations maintain that they have changed their minds from a year or two ago. They say they now believe that global warming is a threat. They say they are phasing their corporations to become green. But actions speak louder than advertisements. Those same corporations are aggressively building new plants. They have additional poisonous plants on the drawing board, and very little green alternatives by comparison.
Meanwhile, many politicians and experts who raise doubts about Global Warming are not doing so in good faith. Some of them are just misinformed, but most of them are bought and paid for 100% by the powerful lobbies of the energy companies or the lumber companies who see nothing but profit when they look at our forests. In fact, many of our highest politicians have repeatedly proven themselves to be bought and paid for, when you consider that the last administration in Washington D.C. put representatives from the oil, lumber and pharmaceutical corporations in charge of the federal regulatory agencies that were designed to protect the people and the environment from the greed of those very corporations in the first place.
Sadly, disgracefully, for the sake of money, many of our politicians and bureaucrats, our elected officials who we entrusted to protect the people, and the environment, have been conspiring with corporations for many years to keep America burning the filthiest, most poisonous, most expensive fuels. For the sake of money, they have, and are still conspiring to cut down our forests, pollute the atmosphere, and cover up the pollution and injuries caused, by the production of poisonous drugs like Thimerosal.
These politicians, bureaucrats and hired gun scientists need to be saved from themselves. They are committed to a policy of preserving continuing but dwindling profits for certain multinational corporations that refuse to change, at the expense of the economy, and the health and well being of the people of America and the planet Earth.
SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Construction has begun in Southern California on two solar thermal plants for Pacific Gas and Electric, and Southern California Edison, that will be providing 2.3 gigawats of solar thermal power. By itself, the Southern California Edison deal is the world’s largest solar energy deal.
The plants being built are bigger, but will be more cost effective to build than most other new plants. These kind of solar thermal plants are cheaper to build than coal plants, cheaper than gas plants, and they’re building them a lot faster.
As Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental advocate for the past 25 years, has said, “Once the plants are up and running, the energy is free forever. We won’t have to go to Saudi Arabia and drill holes in the ground, then pump the oil up, and then refine it, and then ship it across the Atlantic with a military escort, and get in periodic wars in Mesopotamia and other places, and then have to distribute the oil across the country.
The electrons are hitting our country for free... coming down from the Sun for free, every day. If we build these plants to pick up the electrons, and the infrastructure to deliver them, we can put them into our lines... And if we are to build this out across the country, we can provide 100% of the energy needs in this country, in conjunction with other clean power sources, for about 750 billion dollars.”
Kennedy makes the point that 750 billion is less than the amount of dollars we export to purchase foreign oil each and every year. "Taxpayers involuntarily gave 700 billion dollars to Wall Street, and everybody believes it will take generations to pay back. But actually, it will only take just one year, without our financial expenditure for foreign oil."
What we need to make this work is a straightforward market place. That’s what Americans demand. We need an open marketplace that does what a market is supposed to do, which is to reward good behavior, which is efficiency, and punish bad behavior, which is inefficiency and waste.
Today we have a market that is rigged to favor the dirtiest, filthiest, most poisonous, most expensive fuels from hell. We need to design a marketplace that rewards the clean, cheap, fuels from heaven. We can do this very quickly. For instance, in 1979 America started a national grid, a national backbone for the internet. In 1980, there were fewer than 500 personal computers in this country and IBM was saying it was a dead end technology. Well now, every American has a PC, because we had a marketplace. Look at the effect that has had on the cost of information. It has plummeted to almost nothing. That same thing will happen with the cost of electrons if we follow through and build a national grid for electricity in this country.
Here’s another example, in 1996, President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act which opened up the telecommunications grid and spawned a national, and worldwide telecommunications revolution. That’s why we have an Ipod. Today there are companies that can provide unlimited long distance and local calling for $18 a year. That’s what is going to happen to the cost of energy, if we build a national marketplace that operates in a straightforward manner.
We need to make sure that the market rules are aligned with our national interests, and with the global interest of saving our planet. We need to make sure that our utility companies can make money by getting their consumers to conserve energy, and that their profits are not dependent upon them selling as much energy as possible. And then we need to open up the grid so that everyone can get on it. If you have a solar panel on your roof, and you’re not home for one part of the day, and your house is generating more energy than it's using, you ought to be able to sell that energy back to the grid and get market rates for it. But there is no state where you can do that today. Thirty six states will buy it back from you, but all of them limit how much, and none of them will give you the market rate.
If we follow through with these fundamentals, we will make every American into an energy entrepreneur, every home into a power plant, and we can power this country from American initiative and entrepreneurship of energy, rather than Saudi oil.