Sunday, September 17, 2006

Freedom Should Not Mean Corporate Anarchy 3

Part 3 of 9

There's a reason these companies want to put their power plants as far away from their own communities as possible.

This is burning coal. Where there's fire, there's smoke. Face the obvious fact, burning coal can never really be clean. Air pollution from dirty power plants cause nearly 30,000 early deaths in the U.S. each year. And, guess what? They'll be burning cheap, dirty coal – in the biggest power plant in the state's history. Rural Nevada can expect filthy skies from methane, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, ammonia, sulfur dioxide (which leads to acid rain), and of course, carbon dioxide (which leads to global warming). We're not talking just a little carbon dioxide here. Coal fired power plants accounted for one third of the U.S. total carbon dioxide emissions. Coal emits 29% more carbon per unit of energy than oil, and 80% more than natural gas. Just a typical, average sized coal fired power plant emits, in a year, as much carbon dioxide as burning 160 million trees.

That's right, we're not just talking about ruining the environment of Rural Nevada (which we might already be beginning to see with the infestation of the pine beetle, no longer kept in check by our cold winters of the past). No, we're now talking about our American Government ignoring the Kyoto Treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions, which the rest of the world has agreed to. We've submissively allowed our big businesses to go full speed ahead at cranking up the world's thermostat. We've already seen:

more destructive hurricanes

polar ice caps and permafrost that are the smallest on record

simultaneous forest fires and wild fires worldwide

numerous species being driven closer to extinction,

including extensive damage to the world's coral reefs (of which only 30% are still considered healthy)

an increase in the size of ocean "dead zones"

and oceans that are becoming more acidic and rising 50% faster than in previous decades.

This all sounds worse than the scenario from any disaster movie. But there's more. Of the 928 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles about global warming published between 1993 and 2003, none ... none of them cast doubt on human caused global warming. Yet, of the 3,543 “hard news” stories between approximately the same time period, 53% of them cast doubt. We've been systematically lied to about how bad things really are.

And yes, disaster fans, there's even more. After NASA released data that 2005 was essentially the hottest year on the planet, ever on human record; “The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.” Think about this. You should be enraged! Money and power should never be more important than the future of life on this planet! We have to let the neo-conservatives know that winning a scorched Earth isn't really winning.

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