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Rethink renewables 

Is relying entirely on renewable energy a good idea?

Renewable energy has been the poster child for politicians and celebrity personages for the last few years to replace fossil fuel energy sources. In their quest to rid the Earth of the well-paying, job-producing, general-fund pot-of-gold fossil fuel industry, they think that solar/wind power is the answer.

The primary justification for their concern is that temperatures have been creeping up, and when this data is used to feed computer models, they conclude that drastic measures are needed to save the Earth. The current administration in Washington, D.C., wants to commit trillions of tax dollars to the Green New Deal as a means to "solve the problem."

Their proposed remedies fail to recognize that there were dramatic changes in the climate thousands of years before the union of Adam and Eve evolved into 7.8 billion humans crawling the Earth and creating their resultant pollution. The melting of the ice cap that covered Canada and the northern tier of the United States thousands of years ago is a perfect example; the result was likely the creation of the Grand Canyon.

When people first began collecting weather data, they used instrumentation that was developed centuries ago. All this data was dutifully recorded, and eventually the National Weather Service was created in 1870 to collect and analyze the information. The National Weather Service would then try to predict the weather with simple instruments and reliance on human interpretation of the data to guess what tomorrow's weather would look like.

But these measurements are relatively new when compared to the meteorological life of the Earth. As public awareness evolves, many people find that it is becoming more and more obvious that predictions of doom and gloom by environmental activists is probably a false alarm based on tainted and frequently inaccurate analysis, faulty computer models, or purposely misrepresented information.

The use of core samples taken from either the Earth or glacial fields is the most reliable way to determine how the Earth's climate has evolved since it was created. The Earth is still evolving; witness the earthquakes that are recorded daily, volcanic eruptions, and "historic" weather heat/cold/rain/snow events that are recorded annually.

But is their dream really very evolved if it's to be independent from a form of energy production that has existed since people lived in caves? Even cave dwellers realized that a warm fire powered by fossil fuels (coal) or wood was an effective and reliable way to heat their homes and warm their food.

Many of the supporters of solar/wind power travel from place to place in private jets, own large estates that are energy hogs, and drive or are driven in large luxury vehicles. In other words, they are large consumers of fossil fuel energy. Their estates have fuel-powered generators that are activated when the lights go out.

They use cellphones, watch videos, cook with microwaves, and own clothing that's currently made from petroleum-based materials; are they willing to do without these conveniences? The batteries used to power the vehicle of their dreams also require a considerable amount of energy and precious metals to produce.

For the last couple of years, California has experienced power brown/blackouts several times a year. Last year, both PG&E and Southern California Edison implemented precautionary power shutdowns because their poorly maintained power lines were the cause of several large and very destructive wildfires throughout the state.

This year, wind turbines shut down in Texas because blades were covered with ice, and the motors stopped spinning for the same reason. Millions who had converted to all-electric homes were left without a heat and light source during blizzard conditions for days.

All-electric homes were touted as the "thing of the future" in the late 1950s and many housing tracts, some here in my hometown of Lompoc, were constructed without natural gas service. The people who live in these homes will tell you that their electric bills are many times higher than those of their neighbors who have natural gas appliances.

Now California and nearby Santa Barbara want to require all-electric homes for all new construction; they also want to eliminate the use of fossil fuel energy. On a national level, the Biden administration is willing to try and spend trillions of dollars to support green energy, a path riddled with failures during the Obama administration.

Renewable energy makes sense only as an augmentation source for fossil fuel energy, which has been proven as a reliable source for more than 100 years. The arguments in favor of relying totally on renewable energy are hollow and when put under a microscope fall apart easily. Δ

Ron Fink is filling in this week for our regular Rhetoric and Reason writer. He writes to New Times from Lompoc. Send your thoughts, comments, and opinionated letters to letters@newtimesslo.com.

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