As Trump & Pruitt unleash Climate Demons, Scientists dream of Atlantic Wind Farm

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The debate over whether Donald Trump or Rex Tillerson has the higher IQ, provoked by a Trump tweet that he now says was a joke, actually raises a serious question.

Why would someone deliberately sabotage our air, water and climate? The science needed for understanding that some gases are heat-trapping isn’t very complicated and I’m confident that schoolchildren can grasp it easily and even do some basic confirmatory experiments. So if Trump and EPA head Scott Pruitt are unable to understand the evil they are doing, is it because they lack basic intelligence? Or is the problem moral? Or is it just groupthink?

I mean, this is the year when hurricanes wrecked the Caribbean because of increased water temperature.

Even as Pruitt moved to abolish Obama-era regulations on coal plants–the most polluting of all energy sources– and argued for an end to tax breaks for wind and solar installations, scientists were reporting that putting floating wind farms in the north Atlantic could power the entire earth.

The authors of the new paper point out that on land, if you put a lot of wind turbines in one place, they begin interfering with one another and limiting the amount energy that can be extracted.

But they found that if you made floating wind farms in the north Atlantic, the winds are so high and constant that you would not run into the problem.

As Informed Comment pointed out last year, Scotland has set up several floating wind turbines some 25 miles offshore. Putting them out in the middle of the north Atlantic would be far more difficult, of course.

Here is a BBC update on the Scotland project:

World’s first floating offshore wind farm in Scotland.- BBC News

Every day there are technical breakthroughs in wind and solar power at the level of basic science. It will take some years to turn them into practical technology. In the meantime the terra-sabotage of Trump and his oil-drenched cronies will worsen the quality of life for millions of human beings, perhaps billions if we project out.

Me, I don’t think it has anything to do with IQ, which is a suspicious measure to begin with (there are lots of kinds of intelligence and individuals don’t typically excel in more than one or two.

I think it is just greed, pure and simple.

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14 Responses

  1. I am sure world leaders understand the ramifications of global warming well enough and I am surprised you even think they might not. Presidents views on this matter or anything else are tempered by the views and needs of the corporate state and energy production by renewable sources is absolutely not in their interests. They don’t want to hear about it or entertain any discussion about an energy source that will put them out of business. As you say, Prof, Atlantic wind and wave farms could produce huge amounts of clean energy and that’s to say nothing of the pacific or other vast oceanic and sea areas. I believe China is one of the biggest users of coal and fossil fuels, but they have suddenly become one of the biggest investors in renewable energy sources as well. Perhaps the Chinese government has seen the light and not being chained by any corporations they will be world leaders in this vital technology. They don’t need to burn coal for profit they just need the energy and if there is an alternative source (and there really is) they will go for it.

  2. Wish I could take credit for this thinking, but Trump’s behavior is absolutely consistent and predictable, based simply on respudiating everything Obama thought, said or did:

    link to nationalinterest.org

    Drawing on this hypothesis your question is answered. It is true that Obama was a (relatively) progressive public servant rather than a self-serving corporate tool, so there will naturally be a conflict of perspective on many issues. But in terms of understanding what actually animates Trump, making it easy for his to tend to his constituency, this seems to explain things nicely.

  3. Of all of the dumb and cruel things Government is capable of I find it incredibly ignorant that tax breaks and incentives for wind and solar energy are being discouraged and denied.

    Our building in Florida where our condo is located is a perfect candidate for solar power, but if you go look up all of the deliberate obstacles that the Florida legislature has put in place to discourage these renewables, it will leave you dumbfounded for the ignorance that is displayed. Only could you imagine for a moment if Florida went the other way with their attitude towards renewables? Wow, the energy savings would be enormous, not to mention how fixed income retirees would save a boat load in the process. It’s a terribly fixed system, and a selfish and stupid one at that, when looked through the eyes of the next future generations. I guess people hate their great grandchildren. I mean what else can be taken away from all of this planet destruction?

    • It is not ignorance. The Koch brothers suborned the democratically elected representatives on the GOP side in Florida to make sure they can keep farting out billions of tons of heat trapping gases and get paid to do it.

    • Florida is already doomed by CO2. The ocean will rise, the porous rock under Florida will let salt contaminate the fresh water supply, the Everglades will die off, and the value of real estate will collapse as the cost of water and insurance rises.

      The folks in charge there are just trying to make as much money as possible before they flee to a new host body. They really don’t care if it looks like Puerto Rico when they split.

      • You make my wife and I feel that our decision to sell our Florida condo isn’t such a bad idea after all. Our apartment is wonderful, but after ten years we found all of Florida’s flaws. I mean every square inch is filled in something, that replaced something of nature. The beaches are all lined with apartment and hotel high rises. Asphalt and concrete hide the once beautiful landscape that made Florida the beautiful place it once was, where ecology could thrive. As the song goes ‘the thrill is gone’, so it’s time to end our Florida dream escape. Thanks Professor Cole and super390 for your comments.

  4. Donald J. Trump desperately NEEDS fame, constant adulation and attention. Trump wants to be more famous and historical than Jesus or Hitler.

    Trump is living proof that to be a “knowing madman” knowing a lot is optional.

    Rex Tillerson was on his way out at EXXON when he grabbed the brass ring offered by Trump. His actual job as Secretary of Trump is to maintain and expand control over fossil-fuel sources and distribution systems OUTSIDE of the U.S.

    The Trump/Tillerson tiff is merely Punch and Judy for the media 2017. Trump is Judy with his dainty hands and thin skin. Tillerson is Mr. Punch and Jeff Sessions is The Baby.

  5. “Or is it just groupthink?”
    Yes, The groupies own the building, have improved their Nukes with bump stocks, looking down at the world and the future with contempt.

  6. Unless the problem of stranded assets is dealt with fairly, we will continue to encounter resistance to replacing fósil fuels with renewables. A coal mine, in a world of renewable energy sourced, can no longer market it’s coal. What happens then o the investors in coal? One might say tough luck investors. We need a better answer than that.

    • Well, you might recall how we ended up dealing with the owners of slaves. Investors will commit monstrous crimes to force society to do their bidding, and they might reap the whirlwind.

  7. I side with Ti Charles on this. Horse breeding farms were not public entities for trade on the stock market in the early 1900’s. Our current market system is a tool for innovation and stagnation. The stagnation comes when shareholders will not allow a company to change its business plan or experiment with new technology for fear of losing stock value. The downside of being publically traded is that your actual enterprise (the research you want to do or products you want to make) are not the first priority. The first priority is return on investment (ROI).

    Exxon shareholders voted to jettison the company’s solar division in 1984 after it was projected that solar would not be viable until at least 2012 and not ROI for some years after.

    CEOs of public companies must please shareholders or they will be fired. On the market, the mere whisper of an unexpected business plan change may spook investors and cause share value to plummet. Exxon cannot admit or act as if oil is no longer viable; it’s risky for it to even open divisions in renewables because analysts might spook. The need to please the market and to maintain corporate worth is the elephant in the room.

    A CEO will not risk collapsing the company and can only make stealthy moves to transition. We saw this when oil companies became energy companies.

    Our government should be helping energy companies make responsible transitions and private forums should address this crucial issue.

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