Gullible

Now there is a word I have not seen lately.  And, it struck me as refreshing, but a bit odd that the wind industry would be the one to point out that Iowans are gullible if they swallow the idea that wind creates jobs.  As we have all learned, there is almost always more the to the story.  It was especially remarkable that the article uses the famous movie The Music Man to illustrate the gullibility.

Read what National Wind Watch has to say. 

The word gullible is used to describe people who are easily duped or cheated.  I couldn’t agree more, but why stop with Iowans … why not simply tell everyone in the US and around the world for that matter that the emperor is nude.

But, there is more to this than that.  The underlying reason we become gullible is more sinister.  We fall prey to this when we lose our curiosity for the rest of the story and we accept superficially appealing notions to capture the argument.

Our national lack of dialogue around energy issues rests on our gullibility.  What is worse, those in leadership positions will not “disturb sleeping dogs” when they think the gullibility is in their favor on an argument.

We live in a democracy where we need an informed electorate.  Gullibility is a formidable enemy to its success.

 

Better than Bovine Flatulence

Most of us are fully aware of the concerns about methane released into our environment.  It has over 30 times the influence on trapping heat in our atmosphere.  So, it was without surprise that the cattle industry came under scrutiny and criticisms for methane release, which is called “bovine flatulence.”  Money was being spent studying this, which included research on reformulating the grasses as feedstock to see if these natural emissions could be reduced.

A much less obvious but extremely large methane release comes from mining coal.  This article is an excellent review of the size and possible remediation methods associated with coal mine methane releases:

Read the article in Climate Change News.

But almost nothing is said or done about these sources.  Unlike bovine flatulence, mine methane can be tapped and used as a fuel source.  It just isn’t sexy.  Plus, it is technically challenging to do because it requires a huge investment in projects to remediate the problem.  However, it might just make a bigger difference in the outcome while we are all trying to mitigate with our solar and wind energy advocacy.

Holistic least-cost planning seems to have fallen out of favor.  Planning itself seems to have been left to the invisible hand of the market forces.  The recent warning out of California about trusting this hand should be a wake-up call.

Read what Daily Energy Insider has to say.

“Fewer and fewer customers are getting power from the traditional large regional utilities and the central decision making that we use for keeping the grid reliable, safe, and affordable is splintering, becoming the task of dozens of decision-makers,” CPUC President Michael Picker wrote in the cover letter to the report.  “In the last deregulation, we had a plan, however flawed. Now, we are deregulating electric markets through dozens of different decisions and legislative actions, but we do not have a plan. If we are not careful, we can drift into another crisis,” Picker wrote.

Plans are good.  Better than just hoping that invisible hand does the right thing.