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Tuesday, 30 December 2014 06:25

Examples of some big money gone bad

Written by  Dale Ferrel
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Governments waste a lot of our money.

Often in response to  lobby groups. British Columbia’s purchase of 20 hydrogen-powered buses during the 2010 Winter Olympics for $90 million, split between the federal and provincial governments is a perfect apotheosis. Their cost — $4.5 million each — was only the start of the plunge into the wasteful abyss. 
With only about 200,000 kilometres on them— about a tenth of their expected useful life span — they will go to the highest bidder for practically nothing.
Their hydrogen fuel had to be trucked in from Quebec by diesel-powered trucks. Their maintenance costs ranged in at $1.34 per km, versus .65 cents for diesel-powered units. Now 20 new diesel buses must be purchased to replace them. A maniac couldn’t have composed a worst script for poor management and waste.
Canada’s shale gas resources make up about a fifth of the world’s reasonably-recoverable gas, or about 575 trillion cubic feet. “Fracking” to recover the gas has garnered a much exaggerated, ostentatious, black eye from the “Tree Huggers.” The reality is that it will be a good bridge over the next decade, until renewable solutions can compete with fossil supplies. Natural gas emits 45 per cent less carbon dioxide than coal. It also costs much less than solar or wind-generated energy. And yet stupid, forced, wasteful examples like the hydrogen driven buses continue to pop up everywhere.
Another viable option also damned by “The Big Green Machine” is nuclear energy from light water reactors.
Arguments are usually based on the odd melt down, always failing to mention that those came from technology four or five decades old or poor placement of the reactors.
New technology provides passive cooling, stabilizing the reactor core automatically during a shut down. Molten salt reactors are seen as melt down proof. We are close to seeing reactors that don’t burn bomb grade material. Some are being designed to run on spent fuel from other reactors, the disposition of which is another concern.That said, building natural gas plants still trumps nuclear plants at less than 20 per cent of the cost.
Germany’s ill thought panic to switch to wind and solar generation is a disaster. The additional cost threatened to bog down their economic engine. Worse yet the need to burn more coal to prop up intermittent production actually resulted in more greenhouse emissions and will only get worse as the program grinds on until 2035. China, on the other hand is building 28 new nuclear plants, as they choke back the ever increasing aspiration of crud that permeates from coal fired ones which are being increased at about one per week.
I do not in any way want to give credos to intercede not taking reasonable action to involve Canada in the reduction of toxic waste, just because ours is a very minute compared to overall world production. Certainly, less is good when all spin-offs are within reason. However, before we get too carried away we should consider the big picture.
Australian, Ian Rutherford Plimer is a professor emeritus of earth sciences, University of Melbourne and professor of mining geology at University of Adelaide. He is also affiliated with universities at Newcastle, New England, New South Wales and Macquarie. He rounds out his mind-blowing credentials as a director of multiple mining and exploration companies and has published 130 scientific papers, six books and edited the Encyclopedia of Geology.
He articulates the following, which I have no reason to doubt, “The volcanic eruption in Iceland spewed enough volcanic gas and ash in just four days to negate every single effort world wide for the past five years to control CO2 emissions ... To compound the issue, there are around 200 such volcanoes around the world doing about the same daily.
“When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines  in 1991 for a year, it spewed out more green-house gases than the entire human race had emitted during all its time on earth. The bush fire season across western U.S.A. and Australia in 2013 alone negated all our efforts to reduce carbon world wide for two to three years.”
I could quote several more notes from the professor, but I’m sure you are already enjoying the essence of his findings, predestined to quell arguments for our petty, pathetic efforts to save the world from green house gas.
As the professor says, “Give the world a hug and have a nice day.”

Read 786 times Last modified on Tuesday, 23 December 2014 12:30