By Jay Feinstein

Do you have a point you’d like to make or an issue you feel strongly about? Submit a letter to the editor or a guest column.

It has been only about 14 years since Al Gore frightened the world’s kids with the specter of dying polar bears, melting ice caps and the end of civilization. What followed was the rapid accumulation of wealth by Al Gore while civilization essentially maintained the status quo.

The new efforts of using high school kids to promote global warming to the top concern of the general public as the existential threat to our survival seems to be making inroads primarily in the youths of the developed world. What one would not expect to see in rational “educated” adults are claims that our way-of-life will end in mere decades or less if we do not quickly stop using combustible fuels. Now, some (not so rational) proponents are proposing banning all fuel (gas, diesel) powered transportation in favor of solar and wind. (Solar panel power generation has no real downside. Still, problems of scale, grid connection and storage still need work. Wind turbines have the advantage of instant connection to the power grid, but some serious downsides). What is missing from these goals are some truly intractable complications:

• Aircraft operations, which require enormous amounts of power, are probably forever out of the realm of possibility for solar power.

• Freight rail operations, which require storable energy to move multiple engines and often 100+ fright cars.

• Commercial and industrial fishing and shipping, which require long periods of uninterrupted operation on the “open seas.”

• Long-haul trucking operations, which also require long periods of operation as well as significant power impossible to supply by solar based on the weight of the batteries required for such a job.

• Military operations (including all of the above).

• Long-distance personal auto travel hauling trailers, and probably many more that exist.

Since there has not yet been a realistic scientific analysis of exactly what percentage human activity does contribute to the modest increase in CO2 and how much the CO2 increase actually contributes to atmospheric heating, something else must be behind the efforts to destabilize the world’s economy and upset the natural order of things.

If one looks at what national policies and countries are in the forefront of these efforts, what becomes evident is that the socialists-government’s aim to control as much as possible of productive activity is what this is all about. Since modern life as we know it cannot survive without the energy required to sustain almost everything we do, it’s obvious that almost all of the activities that currently utilize fossil fuels will still be done, then only with restrictions, preferential permits and, of course, fees.

Now some countries in the northern regions where the available sunshine is lacking the solar exposure necessary to efficiently adapt solar cell technology have turned to nuclear power and are quite capable of decreasing their use of fixed combustion power generating facilities. However, almost every other issue described above still needs the same facilities.

The U.S. has about given up on the one source of truly clean power available using modern nuclear reactors. Yes, there have been accidents as well as faulty designs which have frightened the public (with the aid of politicians and media) to the point that the U.S., one of the earliest to develop nuclear power is now one of the last major countries to utilize it. Also, here at home we have built dams to provide major sources of hydroelectric power as well as provide irrigation and flood control. Now the environmental activists want to tear down dams in order to get back to “nature.” The public needs to get educated by actual functional experts (not anti-science environmentalist professors) to what really needs to get accomplished to maintain and improve our lives. We need to do our best to ignore the nonsense being promoted by such absurd concepts as “The Green New Deal.”

— Jay Feinstein lives in Bend.