Real Estate Near The Gulf

Fumes.
Right. If you live anywhere near the Gulf the wind is going to be blowing nasty and worst-case toxic fumes in your direction. If you live in Florida it is going to be terrible and possibly even uninhabitable. Yes we are talking refugees in large numbers if this oil leak continues.
I was already concerned with the effect of global warming on real estate prices when it suddenly sinks in that a lot of land is going to be underwater. Seriously, would YOU buy a house anywhere in a coastal area that has an altitude lower than maybe 30 feet? One of these days everyone is going to realize what that means – all at the same time.
But now, an entire region is going to be covered in (best-case) terrible stink.

Yes, Nuclear

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.
I believe that global warming is the most serious threat humanity faces. So we need to use every possible technology we can to replace energy sources that put greenhouse gases into the air. This includes nuclear energy.
One big problem with nuclear is figuring out what to do with the dangerous radioactive waste. But here’s the thing, when we burn coal and oil we’re just putting the dangerous waste product into the air and it is destroying the planet. So we can’t make the perfect the enemy of the good — nuclear waste is not destroying the planet and fossil-fuel waste is. We simply have to replace coal and oil as our energy source.
Climate change is an emergency. We need to do everything we can. This means we need to put up every windmill we can, every solar panel we can, every solar power plant, biofuel and geothermal facility that we can. We need to retrofit every building to be energy efficient, switch to electric cars, stop eating meat that is not grass-fed. We need to do research into finding ways to sequester carbon from coal. And we need to build nuclear power plants. What part of “everything we can” did I miss?
Please, let’s make this a discussion. Please join the discussion and leave a comment with your thoughts on this.
BUT
As we proceed with this, we need to learn some lessons from the past. As we build a new generation of reactors there are some things that need to be clear from the outset.
Make them safe. This means a highly regulated effort, not a free-for-all for profits. Tax dollars are involved, and even if they were not public safety must be the primary focus. Newer reactor designs eliminate Chernobyl-style “meltdown” fears but we need close supervision by government. We need the government “meddling” and “interfering” and “snooping” every step of the way. We, the People need to be sure that every best practice is followed and no corners are cut to make a buck.
Buy American. If we are building nuclear power plants we should regulate that they create American jobs, not offshore in China or anywhere else. There are federal funds guaranteeing loans for these projects and they should specify that we Buy American. Use American –made components, right down to the steel. China’s and other country’s governments are helping their own economies, let’s us help our own economy this time.
There are also safety concerns for Buy American. We need very close inspection of every component and material that is used in these plants. How would we monitor the manufacturing of the components and the quality of the steel if it is done outside the US? Do you remember the faulty welds in the Chinese components that shut down San Francisco’s Bay Bridge last year?
Protect the environment. There is also the environmental impact of making steel in China and then shipping it versus making it here — in our highly productive steel industry. China creates three times the greenhouse emissions when they make steel that our own steel plants create. This is one reason their steel costs less. What is the point of building nuclear to lower greenhouse gas emissions and using greenhouse gas-creating processes?
So I say Yes, Nuclear, and make sure that we use Big Government oversight to keep it safe, create American jobs and mostly to protect the environment.

Al Gore WILL Be Smeared

If Al Gore Is awarded the Nobel Prize he WILL be smeared. There is no question about it.
On May 15, 2007, we wrote a post titled, We Guarantee Al Gore Will Be Attacked Next Week, We Absolutely Guarantee It. We wrote,

Al Gore has a new book coming out next week, titled, The Assault On Reason.
Because he is standing up, telling the truth and because he simply is a Democrat and progressive leader, Al Gore will be smeared mercilessly by the right-wing smear machine. He will be ridiculed, made fun of and mocked. They will tease and make fun of him.
They will rush to say that he is bitter about 2000, crazy, insane, pontificating and out of touch.
They will bring up his utility bills and the boards he is a member of.
They will talk about his kiss with Tipper, her crusade against vulgar rap lyrics.
They will bring up his weight and the beard. And say it’s all about 2008.

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More Bad Global Warming News Coming

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Take this seriously.
Climate change: scientists warn it may be too late to save the ice caps | Climate change,

A critical meltdown of ice sheets and severe sea level rise could be inevitable because of global warming, the world’s scientists are preparing to warn their governments. New studies of Greenland and Antarctica have forced a UN expert panel to conclude there is a 50% chance that widespread ice sheet loss “may no longer be avoided” because of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Such melting would raise sea levels by four to six metres, the scientists say. It would cause “major changes in coastline and inundation of low-lying areas” and require “costly and challenging” efforts to move millions of people and infrastructure from vulnerable areas. The previous official line, issued in 2001, was that the chance of such an event was “not well known, but probably very low”.

Translating for Americans: four to six “metres” is about 13 to 20 feet. This report says the oceans WILL rise. EVERY coastal city in the world WILL be another New Orleans. Take this seriously.
Two weeks ago I was at a meeting of a committee of the City of Menlo Park, where they were discussing whether to join the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement. This is an attempt to bypass the Republican-controlled federal government and start working to reduce carbon emissions. I suggested that if they want to move this idea along, they should distribute maps showing which parts of Menlo Park will be underwater and when. (Menlo Park is on the San Francisco Bay.)
YOU, yes, YOU can help by checking whether YOUR city is part of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement. If they are, ask how you can help. If they are not, start working to get them to join up.