Global Warming Deniers Hate You!

Global warming deniers piss me off.  Not because they are wrong, that’s expected.  They are no worse than creationists in that regard.  They may be stupid, or deluded, or in it for the money, or just innocent rubes with no critical thinking skills.  But they piss me off because of their arguments and how close to home (literally) it hits me.

Now, I’m not going to go into the arguments for global warming.  This is a really good place to start: Realclimate.org Those of you actually interested in the science can go there and learn a lot.  This post is about what I like to do… ask hard questions and watch the deniers struggle to answer

So, let’s take a little trip shall we.  Let’s explore what global warming deniers really want… and why they hate everyone and everything on this planet.

I mentioned that this hits close to home.  I grew up and lived in a refinery town for over 30 years.  My family members all worked for refineries.  I grew up, literally next door to a refinery.  The waste gas flares would shake the windows at night.

My high school was across the street from one of the top ten polluting refineries in the US.  My best friend had asthma all through school, he couldn’t participate in any sports because of of it.  He moved away from SE Texas 16 years ago and hasn’t had an attack since.

My father has a variety of cancers in his face due to refinery work.  You see, the full body suits do not cover the face.  He has had 50% of his tongue removed due to an unknown cancer.  Considering he doesn’t smoke or even drink that much, this is surprising.

So let’s see what global deniers want and why they hate us.

Not in My Backyard

First of all, my favorite argument, which basically boils down ‘not in my backyard’.  This is the denier saying how ugly wind turbines are and how solar panels degrade the looks of buildings and the ground.  This is what they don’t like:

Wind-Turbine-Generators--Palm-Springs--California

Now, I’ll free admit that this isn’t pretty.  Besides, the turbines are way too close together and not nearly high enough off the ground (though the scale is hard to judge).

This, on the other hand is what the deniers want.

sunoco-eagle_point_refinery

Yeah, that’s soooooo much better.  And let’s save the pollution talk for later on (hint: I wouldn’t put my body in any water within 10 miles of this place).

So remember, you guys who live in the mountains and deny global warming cause you got record snows this year… that refinery is what you want.  And by doing so, you are saying that you don’t care anything for the people who work in or live near these hell-holes.

Oh, here’s another picture, just to keep you warm at night.  And this something that will never happen with wind turbines or solar panels.

big_springs_refinery_fire

Whoops… looks like someone had a little boo boo.  But that’s what global warming deniers want.  They want the people near these refineries to die slow horrible deaths… or quick ones.

What About Deaths!?!?!?

People die in refineries.  There have been 46 deaths in refineries from 1988 – 2004 (according to that one source).  Now this only includes direct causes (explosions and fires).  It does not include the 15 dead at the Texas City BP explosion.  It does not include incidents with fewer than 3 people killed.  It does not include injuries (over 100 at Texas City in 2005).  It is not international.  It does not include deaths related to cancer, asbestosis, or any of a hundred other diseases that refinery employees regularly get.  Note that many of these diseases can be applied to the area around refineries as well.

According to this: http://www.wind-works.org/articles/BreathLife.html (and I freely admit that this is a ‘nebulous’ source, but this data is difficult to find.  There have been 12 deaths in the US directly attributable to wind turbines.  All of them workers in the industry.

What are Waste Gas Flares

I mentioned waste gas flares earlier.  Those of you not familiar with the refinery industry don’t know what these are.  Here are two pictures.

This is the burning of excess hydrocarbons (and rarely chemicals).  Wait, burning excess hydrocarbons?  Why would anyone burn this stuff?  We need it don’t we?

Yes, we do.  However, flares are exceedingly important to the life of a refinery.  You see, excess build up beyond the ability of the refinery infrastructure (pipes and pumps) to handle.  The excess pressure is dumped into the flare.

If the pressure isn’t relieved through what is basically a giant Bunsen burner, the refinery could explode.  Yeah, I’ll take the flare over an explosion, especially since I lived next to a refinery.

Basically, fuel is wasted.  The energy of that fuel is wasted.  Pollution is generated.  Etc.

Some Hard Questions for Global Warming Deniers

How about the toxic fumes that literally stripped the pantyhose of women’s legs as they walked to class (Lamar University)?

How about the river that is so polluted by oil dumping that ships would travel up to kill all the barnacles on their hulls?

Do you want your kids to go to high school across the street from one of the top five polluting refineries in the US (top 10 in the world)?

Have you ever been confined to your house for two days because of an explosion or fire at a nearby refinery?

You want to come with me to my mom’s house and read a newspaper at midnight by the light of the waste-gas flares?  How about listening to the windows rattle because of it?

Have you ever seen a car that has parked in a refinery lot for a few years, with all the paint stripped off the hood, top, and trunk?

How about the direct deaths caused by explosions and toxic leaks in refineries?

How about the indirect deaths from cancer, asbestosis and dozens of other diseases?

You want to talk about the billions of dollars wasted when oil tankers ran aground or oil rigs failed and all the wildlife deaths caused by it and the shrimpers and crabbers who couldn’t work because of it?

None of that would happen with wind and solar power.  None of it.  Everything on that list is preventable.

Oil is disgusting.  If you don’t believe me, come stay with my mom for a few days and let’s go on a tour of SE Texas.

 

It’s not just about global warming.  It’s about pollution.  It’s about quality of life.  It’s about sustainable living.

Getting rid of refineries won’t only stop global warming.  It will stop a lot of the crap I grew up with.  I wish I could afford a wind turbine.  I wish I could afford a pure electic vehicle that could use it.

This entry was posted in Culture, Environment, Government, renewable energy, Science, Skepticism, Society, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Global Warming Deniers Hate You!

  1. FireDancer says:

    Why not mention nuclear power as a viable alternative? 19% of the power in the US is already generated by nuclear power, and it is relatively safe. The only issues have arisen from human error. The waste is a problem, but is significantly less of an issue than oil refinery by-products in terms of environmental and health costs. Wind and solar power are needed to meet some of our needs, but nuclear power could certainly pick up the slack and lessen the dependence on oil.

  2. ogremkv says:

    I agree totally, however, it’s not a technical reason that nuclear power isn’t really viable, but a political one.

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing process is so convoluted and so subject to change that no one has successfully navigated it to build a new reactor in something like 25 years.

    I think nuclear plants would be a great system for base load. I don’t think the US has the political will to develop them further.

  3. Pingback: Global Warming Deniers Hate You – Part 2: Pollution | Cassandra's Tears

  4. stevenz says:

    You could write the same post about coal. Think of all the miners around the world who die for the deniers.

    But, no, nuclear is a devil’s bargain. We don’t need it, and I for one, don’t want it. The waste is “a problem,” yes. A whopper of a problem. But building large-scale nucular plants just perpetuates the centralized, big-business approach to power generation that we have today and that has created a special-interest monster. Better to develop clean technologies (nuclear is the dirtiest of them all) and distribute generation to make it less susceptible to widespread outages and sabotage. If we put the money that nuclear would cost into solar, wind and bio research, we wouldn’t need nuclear OR coal.

  5. Michael says:

    While I would like to argue wind turbines are an unreliable and inefficient source of base load power I will ask you to respond to this fact re the effect of taxing CO2 in Australia which I believe could be translated to other parts of the world with similar results.

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2011/01/bob-carter

    Quote:

    “Environmental effectiveness. The reality is that cutting Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions, even altogether, will confer no measurable environmental benefit. Computer models suggest that a cut in emissions of, say, 20% by 2050 will (hypothetically) prevent warming by less than one-thousandth of a degree. By definition, then, a carbon dioxide tax is ineffective.”

    One-thousandth of a degree change !!!

    PS: I don’t hate alarmists but your cause really has become a religion based on faith with blinkered derision of anyone who does not share your jihad.

  6. ogremkv says:

    Mike, do you know why cutting Australia’s CO2 emissions would have almost no measurable impact?

    Hint: It’s because Australia isn’t the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. It isn’t even in the top ten. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

    The other point is that, even if we cut our carbon dioxide emissions right now to zero. We are still committed to a several degree rise in global temperature because of what we have already dumped into the atmosphere.

    Finally, I would invite you to address the points made in this post and the next one in this series: https://ogremk5.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/global-warming-deniers-hate-you-part-2-pollution/

    Even if you remove carbon dioxide from the equation entirely, getting rid of fossil fuels is still a good thing. Every thing from acid rain, the multiple coal mining accidents in the last few years, the oil spills that destroy wildlife (and peoples livelihoods), and the danger from fires and explosions still make wind and solar power better sources of energy than fossil fuels.

    Again, if you are ever in Texas, please let me know and I’ll take you to where I grew up. You can see for yourself what living around this stuff can do.

  7. Pingback: Questions for Intelligent Designers | Cassandra's Tears

  8. Roy Sites says:

    Renewable sources of energy may actually be viable some time in the distant future but for the near future we will have to use nuclear or be stuck with coal and natural gas. This has nothing to do with GW, AGW, CAGW, GCC, AGCC or CAGCC or whatever the stupid expression of the day is, it has to do with producing electric energy. And RealClimate has about as much science as the witch doctors in Africa do.

  9. ogremkv says:

    Ah Roy, perhaps you should actually read what I have written and what other have written. Then you will understand how to develop an actual argument.

    You saying ‘Renewable sources of energy may actually be viable some time in the distant future’ doesn’t make it true. Renewable sources are viable now. If you remove the subsidies for fossil fuels, renewables actually become even more attractive than fossil fuels.

    Perhaps you should read this article (https://ogremk5.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/global-warming-deniers-hate-you-part-2-pollution/) in which I state that even if Global Warming wasn’t an issue, renewables would STILL be better than nuclear or fossil fuels.

    Or perhaps you should read this article: (https://ogremk5.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/why-i-prefer-wind-to-nuclear/) in which I explore the purely economic benefits of wind power.

    Perhaps you should take a crack at answering those questions for denialists I posted above.

    Finally, if you are going to claim something, like in your last sentence, you should back it up. Evidence please. I submit that Realclimate and other research organizations have done significantly more science than anyone else on the subject of climate change. How shall we count this? Number of peer-reviewed papers? How about confirmed predictions? Anything else?

    Back up your statements or admit that they are wrong.

  10. Pingback: Global Warming – A Primer part 2 | Cassandra's Tears

  11. Jim C. says:

    Good article, with the serious exception of your wind-turbine comparison. Those photos lack fair context. Standing at ground level, looking at the local horizon for 360 degrees is the best comparison. The total spread of wind turbines can be staggering. It’s not just about the concrete pads they stand on.

    Many wind turbines are 400-feet high and are placed in formerly natural landscapes. Oil refineries at least tend to be concentrated in specific areas (long-standing) without the constant threat of spreading all over wilderness and farmland. I bet you’re against drilling in ANWR (as am I) but those wells would be spread out over vast wilderness acreage, just like wind turbines. Oil wells themselves have a much smaller stature than turbines, and are designed to be removed when the drilling plays out, vs. turbines sitting there indefinitely. That’s no trivial point.

    The desecration of Mars Hill in Maine is a good example, as is the Maple Ridge Wind Farm in New York. Just two cases off the top of my head, out of hundreds or thousands. They often place wind turbines on ridge-tops to maximize effectiveness, and any semblance of unspoiled nature is shot. Photos of these installations are easy to find.

    A 2009 Stanford study cited the need for 3.8 MILLION large wind turbines as part of a total renewable energy package. Imagine the global landscape if that came to pass. There are many NIMBY disputes already, but it’s legitimate NIMBY when the blight of these towers would affect countless locales.

    Also, landscape intrusions from wind turbines are IN ADDITION TO the land already scarred by oil facilities, not in place of it. My problem is with total net human impact, not just one factor vs. another. Wind power advocates seem blind to all the acreage they plan to industrialize in the name of “green” (short term money green in many cases). A lot of people who actually install them have a poor environmental ethic. I’m sure many have worked on oil rigs. It’s all industrial intrusion to varying degrees.

  12. Patty O'Heater says:

    Well, wasn’t that an ill-informed rant. If you can’t do better than that you shouldn’t have bothered. There are many better arguments out there from the global warming eco-mentalist cults supporting your position and without the spelling and grammar mistakes.

  13. OgreMkV says:

    Patty, perhaps you didn’t read my post. Not surprising, since you didn’t bother answer or deal with any of the points or questions I make.

    But no, you didn’t read it because the first sentence of the second paragraph says: “Now, I’m not going to go into the arguments for global warming.”

    As far as spelling and grammar, well, maybe if you pointed them out, I could fix them. Maybe if you actually wanted to engage in a discussion, you could.

    However, since all you do is rant and actually point out where I’m misinformed (I’m not), then I’m pretty free to ignore your ignorance.

    But thanks for playing.

  14. Christina says:

    Excellent blog post. I certainly love this site.
    Keep writing!

  15. OgreMkV says:

    Thanks. I’m still doing a bit. I’m trying to get on an Skeptic Blogging network, but just haven’t had time to write recently.

  16. Julia says:

    I really really do believe that global warming is happening and that oil and coal are horrible industries and people who support them just because it’s profitable (by the way, horrible way of thinking). But the one really big thing I didn’t like about this article was that it felt like it was practically attacking me and how I was a horrible person even though I know this was directed towards deniers.

    It may be true that deniers are ignorant but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are truly horrible people which is what I felt this article projected. Just because they think that wind mills are ugly doesn’t mean that that they want thousands of people to die of disease.

    I think this is a very evocative piece and it is quite well written with personal experiences and pictures as examples. It would make for a very controversial debate and I hope you expand even more on your writing skills.

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