Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kalk feels victimized

I am not sure exactly what the job description is for Public Service Commisioner in North Dakota, but in the case of Brian Kalk it seems to be to make sure enormous amounts of CO2 from fossil fuel use continue to be dumped into the environment, regardless of the consequences.

As previously noted, this past Sunday the Grand Forks Herald published one column from Bismarck teacher Jim Kambeitz advocating more push toward a clean energy economy and another column with economic fearmongering advocating sticking our heads in the ground so we do not have to face the problem of carbon pollution. In today's Herald Commissioner Kalk has a letter to the editor criticizing the former. It is a safe assumption that Kalk did not also have a letter critical of the latter column that just did not get published.

Kambeitz's letter cited the Czech Republic and Denmark as having examples of efforts to shift toward clean energy, and Kalk misses the point of the letter in favor of simply tattling on those countries for not magically having eliminated carbon emissions from energy use. But mom, Denmark exports 100k barrels of oil per day! (which is what the US imports every 10 minutes or so) The only time it seems Kalk considers carbon emissions bad is when saying someone else has set the bar low and that us doing no better can supposedly be justified by that.

Denmark has indeed not completely left behind carbon-based energy. But they have been for years making a concerted effort to become more efficient and decrease reliance on fossil fuels. Even with government-led initiatives, incentive programs, and regulations Denmark is the 2-time defending Forbes #1 Best Country for Business. Are Americans not also innovative or smart enough to handle using energy more efficiently and decreasing carbon intensity without crippling the economy? Many people like Kalk seem to think so.

Why exactly does Kalk call it "noteworthy" that the Czech president Vaclav Klaus is a most prominent crank who thinks anthropogenic climate change is a myth and poses the same false choice of economy and freedom versus protecting the environment? Does Kalk think the same thing? In spite of such obtuseness at the top of the government, the country is still in the EU emissions trading program. Kambeitz did not call it a "model for green energy", but noted a business willing to build a solar farm there, likely much more thanks to cap-and-trade mechanisms rather than in spite of them.

Kalk cites a supposedly "balanced" approach to energy development in North Dakota. Balanced? We are not talking about a diet. It is not like we need vitamin C from coal, vitamin A from from oil, and potassium from wind. What we need is to shift away from polluting sources. Pandering winks toward various groups does not accomplish that. A portfolio with voluntary 10% renewable energy by 2015 is not exactly ambitious. Is '10% clean energy, unless you do not want to do that much' what Kalk considers balanced? Perhaps he thinks any clean energy is enough because I have not seen any indication Kalk even takes carbon pollution seriously.

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