Does Rooting for Human Misery Make You a Bad Guy? — Frank Soto

 

So asks Thomas Friedman in a recent column.

Vladimir Putin has threatened to turn off gas supplies to Ukraine if Kiev doesn’t pay its overdue bill. The Ukrainian pipelines supply 15% of the gas to Europe.

If I’m actually rooting for Putin to go ahead and shut off the gas, does that make me a bad guy?

This is almost too easy. I’ll give the man a paragraph or two before I pounce.

Because such an oil shock, though disruptive in the short run, could have the same long-term impact as the 1973 Arab oil embargo — only more so. That 1973 embargo led to the first auto mileage standards in America and propelled the solar, wind and energy efficiency industries.

So transformative was that embargo that, 40 years hence, a whopping 3% of our electricity is generated by wind farms, and an almost unfathomable 9% is generated from solar. That remaining 88% is surely right around the corner.

A gas embargo by Putin would also reinforce the message of the United Nations’ latest climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which warned with greater confidence than ever that human-created carbon emissions are steadily melting more ice, creating more dangerous sea level rise, stressing ecosystems around the globe and creating more ocean acidification, from oceans absorbing more C02, posing “a fundamental challenge to marine organisms and ecosystems.

Run-on sentences aside, most observers who have reviewed the IPCC’s latest report, have described it as backtracking on a number of its outlandish claims. But that’s no reason for Thomas “The Tank Engine” Friedman to stop chugging along and evangelizing for alternative energy.

Sunday, at 10 p.m. Eastern time, Showtime will begin airing a compelling nine-part series, called “Years of Living Dangerously,” about how environmental and climate stresses affect real people. The first episode features Harrison Ford confronting Indonesian officials about the runaway deforestation in one of their national parks, Don Cheadle following evangelicals in Texas wrestling with the tension between their faith and what is happening to their environment, and this columnist exploring how the prolonged drought in Syria contributed to the uprising there. The ninth episode is an in-depth interview with President Obama on environment and climate issues.

I suspect that Friedman and I define compelling somewhat differently.

I asked Harrison Ford, a longtime board member of Conservation International, whether working on the documentary left him feeling it was all too late. “It isn’t too late; it can’t be too late,” he said.

If Han Solo thinks there is still time to save a planet, then who am I to argue? I mean the man is batting .500 when it comes to preventing the destruction of planets.* If only the Falcon did .6 past light speed.

To return to Friedman’s original question,  if you need to ask whether or not something makes you a bad person — as a rule — it probably does.

goklany_winter_deaths_table1

In England alone, about 40,000 excess deaths per year occur during the winter months. In France it is nearly 25,000. Aside from the risks of hypothermia when people cannot afford to heat their homes, the chances of heart attacks and strokes increase as the temperatures fall. The flu becomes more resistant, and the human body less able to fight off viruses.

Al Gore’s really inconvenient truth is that global warming would save lives. Extreme cold takes more lives each year than extreme heat. By one study, a net 1.4 million people will be saved by mid-century if global warming estimates on temperature increases hold up.

Rooting for reduced access to heat is quite literally rooting for increased human death and misery. But it will net us marginal increases in the usage of more expensive and less reliable sources of energy.

So tell us Thomas, do you think that makes you a bad person?

* Destroyed: Alderaan. Saved: 4th moon of Yavin. Though technically a moon, I score this one as a save by the dashing rogue, since it is was planet-sized.

There are 36 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Frank Soto: Extreme cold takes more lives each year than extreme heat. By one study, a net 1.4 million people will be saved by mid century if global warming estimates on temperature increases hold up.

    Couldn’t that sorta answer any question one might have about why neo-Malthusians WANT to reduce the global temperature?

    • #1
  2. user_240173 Contributor
    user_240173
    @FrankSoto

    Don’t know why the top of my chart got cut off, but I’m afraid to go back and edit the post.

    [Update] Troy has fixed the chart.

    • #2
  3. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Frank,

    Thomas L. Friedman is a bad guy (amongst other more nasty descriptions).  This only confirms it.

    Good post.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #3
  4. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Frank Soto:

    Don’t know why the top of my chart got cut off, but I’m afraid to go back and edit the post.

     You could repost the full image in a comment.

    • #4
  5. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    ok, I’ll agree that Thomas Friedman is a bad person – and an idiot.  But I’m not sure that this makes him a bad person.  Let me put it another way.  Since I’m on a conservative site where people know me, I’ll risk the hyperbole:  let’s say a serial killer realizes that his victim has children.  “does that make me a bad person?”  Well, that’s not exactly what makes you a bad person, but yes, it makes you an even worse person.  Thomas Friedman doesn’t have to go fishing for things that make him a bad person.

    • #5
  6. user_240173 Contributor
    user_240173
    @FrankSoto

    Ryan,

    If Friedman is going to hang curveballs over the plate, I’m swinging away.

    • #6
  7. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Dear Thomas Friedman, 1970s Texas/Alberta called. They want their slogan back.

    • #7
  8. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Al Gore’s really inconvenient truth is that global warming would save lives. Extreme cold takes more lives each year than extreme heat.

    Not to mention the increases in agricultural yields. I wish the left would just admit that global warming has nothing to do with science and that it is simply a narrative that meets their Machiavellian ends.

    As an aside, can someone explain to me how to post a picture? I see no icon and have wanted to post several since 2.0 started.

    • #8
  9. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Mike H: As an aside, can someone explain to me how to post a picture?

    1. Use the <img> html tag.
    2. Post your comment.
    3. Click “edit”.
    4. Post the comment again.

    When posting the comment the first time, the comment software thinks the html code is plain text, but when you edit the comment the software recognizes it as code.

    • #9
  10. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Does rooting for something bad to happen Friedman make me a bad person?

    • #10
  11. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Does rooting for something bad to happen Friedman make me a bad person?

    Depends how bad.

    • #11
  12. user_1029039 Member
    user_1029039
    @JasonRudert

    Friedman’s right. Nuclear power renaissance.

    • #12
  13. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Jason Rudert: Nuclear power renaissance.

    Just as long as it’s thorium.

    • #13
  14. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Does rooting for something bad to happen Friedman make me a bad person?

     Bryan,

    Your reaction is healthy and normal.  Any other reaction would require a saliva test.
    Ask Doc J he can give you a professional assessment.  Even a small dose of Friedman is enough cause nausea and vomiting.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #14
  15. user_407430 Contributor
    user_407430
    @RachelLu

    I guess it’s always nice to see a liberal admit they’re rooting for misery?

    • #15
  16. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    You know, if they just nuked the whole place then the Ukraine wouldn’t need any energy at all. And the nuclear winter could help fight off global warming. I am sure Mr. Friedman would agree, it’s for the greater good.

    • #16
  17. Fredösphere Member
    Fredösphere
    @Fredosphere

    I’m seeing this claim getting made–that wind power is now cheaper than coal or gas in Australia–and I’ve seen the claim for other places besides Australia. Color me deeply skeptical, however. If it’s true, then explain to me why the giant corporation I work for, which loudly trumpets its green bona fides, has just last year wrote off its major investment in wind power and got out of the business?

    • #17
  18. user_240173 Contributor
    user_240173
    @FrankSoto

    Fredösphere:

    I’m seeing this claim getting made–that wind power is now cheaper than coal or gas in Australia–and I’ve seen the claim for other places besides Australia. Color me deeply skeptical, however. If it’s true, then explain to me why the giant corporation I work for, which loudly trumpets its green bona fides, has just last year wrote off its major investment in wind power and got out of the business?

     The dirty secret of wind energy is that in many places, the wind is largely stagnant during peak hours.  So in many of these calculations, the total output of the wind farm sounds significant, but only helps the grid when it isn’t busy.

    • #18
  19. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Does Rooting for Human Misery Make You a Bad Guy?

    Why, yes. Yes, it does. Being pro-wind, pro-solar, and pro-“energy efficient industry” at the expense of human beings makes you bad, bad guy.

    I think one of the most effective questions to ask progressives in front of persuadables, is “what are the trade-offs?” The trade offs for wind energy are a massive footprint (especially compared to nuclear),comparatively low energy density, less reliability, transmission losses (due to no one wanting wind farms in their back yard, thus remote locations), wildlife die-off (as wind farms tend to be located largely in migratory routes), and noise pollution.

    The trade offs for solar are a massive footprint, comparatively low energy density, less reliability, water consumption where water is scarce (as most solar arrays are located in deserts, and all of them need continuous upkeep/cleaning), and reflections that can blind pilots.

    Meanwhile, carbon fueled power (which, btw, is the prime source of energy for electric car charging), is pumping out that wonderful plant fertilizer known as CO2. Burn baby burn.

    As Ann McElhinney says, energy is life.

    • #19
  20. Whiskey Sam Member
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    And yet we’re the ones without compassion for the downtrodden.

    Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.

    • #20
  21. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Frank Soto:

    Fredösphere:

    I’m seeing this claim getting made–that wind power is now cheaper than coal or gas in Australia–and I’ve seen the claim for other places besides Australia. Color me deeply skeptical, however. If it’s true, then explain to me why the giant corporation I work for, which loudly trumpets its green bona fides, has just last year wrote off its major investment in wind power and got out of the business?

    The dirty secret of wind energy is that in many places, the wind is largely stagnant during peak hours. So in many of these calculations, the total output of the wind farm sounds significant, but only helps the grid when it isn’t busy.

     What the clean energy crowd don’t want to admit is that wind and solar because of their intermittent nature require 100% back up by some other form of on demand power.  This means that 10 kW of windmill power also requires building 10 kW of traditional power capacity.  Yes, you don’t have to pay for fuel but your true capital costs will always be significantly more than just building the traditional power.

    • #21
  22. DocJay Member
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    The man is passionately wrong.   Not a bad person based on this,  but an ideologue.    A dangerous thought process and an important one to understand.

    • #22
  23. user_2967 Member
    user_2967
    @MatthewGilley

    Wow – Rube Goldberg meets geopolitics. I think we can only draw one conclusion here: Tom Friedman’s world is not flat after all. It is a small room with rubber on the floor, ceiling, and walls. 

    • #23
  24. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    Frank Soto:

    So transformative was that embargo that, 40 years hence, a whopping 3% of our electricity is generated by wind farms, and an almost unfathomable 9% is generated from solar. That remaining 88% is surely right around the corner.

    This cannot be right.  There is no way we’re getting 9% from solar.  I’m pretty sure it’s less than 1%. 

    But here’s my question for Freidman:  If a country is so broke it cannot afford to pay for it’s natural gas, how in blazes is it going to afford paying for building enough wind and solar farms to replace the natural gas powerplants?  That’s like saying that it would be great if my butcher cut me off for not paying for my beef and chicken, because then it would force me to eat more lobster.

    • #24
  25. user_240173 Contributor
    user_240173
    @FrankSoto

    Randy Weivoda:

    Frank Soto:

    So transformative was that embargo that, 40 years hence, a whopping 3% of our electricity is generated by wind farms, and an almost unfathomable 9% is generated from solar. That remaining 88% is surely right around the corner.

    This cannot be right. There is no way we’re getting 9% from solar. I’m pretty sure it’s less than 1%.

    But here’s my question for Freidman: If a country is so broke it cannot afford to pay for it’s natural gas, how in blazes is it going to afford paying for building enough wind and solar farms to replace the natural gas powerplants? That’s like saying that it would be great if my butcher cut me off for not paying for my beef and chicken, because then it would force me to eat more lobster.

     It’s not the Ukraine who he is eager to see without natural gas, it’s Europe.  The Ukrainian pipelines provide 15% of Europe’s gas.

    • #25
  26. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    Fredösphere:

    I’m seeing this claim getting made–that wind power is now cheaper than coal or gas in Australia–and I’ve seen the claim for other places besides Australia. Color me deeply skeptical, however.

    Simple.  Just raise taxes (or restrict production) on traditional energy sources until they are more costly than alternatives.  It helps if you use the revenue from those taxes to subsidize the alternative energy.  Then you can claim that the alternatives are now cheaper. 

    • #26
  27. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Frank Soto: It’s not the Ukraine who he is eager to see without natural gas, it’s Europe.

    Thomas Friedman seems to support imposing the same sanctions against Europe that the US imposed on Japan prior to Pearl Harbour.

    • #27
  28. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    I’m seeing world percentages for renewable primal energy sources at 9-10%, which would be the 3% wind and 9% solar and umm…that math isn’t working.  And that doesn’t even include hydro or geothermal.  Okay, those numbers are either inflated or restricted to the US or somewhere else.

    • #28
  29. No Caesar Thatcher
    No Caesar
    @NoCaesar

    Misthiocracy:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Does rooting for something bad to happen Friedman make me a bad person?

    Depends how bad.

     mmmm… No.

    • #29
  30. user_240173 Contributor
    user_240173
    @FrankSoto

    Arahant:

    I’m seeing world percentages for renewable primal energy sources at 9-10%, which would be the 3% wind and 9% solar and umm…that math isn’t working. And that doesn’t even include hydro or geothermal. Okay, those numbers are either inflated or restricted to the US or somewhere else.

     My 3% and 9% numbers were pulled from the US, specifically because Friedman was talking about the effects the 73 embargo had on the US. 

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.