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The Battle for the Environment- Is Time on Our Side?

Frederick E. Simms Ph.D.

The battle in Ukraine will be long and hard but the battle over the environment will be longer and more difficult. The present heat dome in Texas is causing a lot of suffering and a county in Oregon is sueing oil companies over suffering and costs from last year's heat dome. Young people in places like Montana are going after the state government to reduce their part of the degradation of the environment. Meanwhile, Michigan and other states are still using 40 to over 50% coal to generate power and there has been a recent significant drop of companies in mentioning the environment, sustainability, and governance (ESG) in their financial reporting. Yet there are projections that ESG investing is going to grow significantly in the coming years.

On another front in this country, residences in low lying areas of the country are overvalued by 40 to 500 billion dollars related to flooding problems according to evaluations. Indirectly this is due in part to the world production (for example) of one billion watts of energy and more to run our economies and the way we do it adds eighteen billion and more watts of energy to the atmosphere b heating from greenhouse gasses. Scientific studies indicate that these facts are probably strongly related. Then there are the costs related to the release of all this energy. It is estimated tht the cost of hurricanes in the U.S. has been over a trillion dollars in the last four decades.

Greenwashing or maybe search and development is out there also. The oil companies and others have their e-cigarette like tactics, The upcoming climate summit in Dubai will include the oil company's involvement. I suspect they will discuss, among other topics, the several (at least 7) methods for the production of hydrogen fuel. In the U.S. 95% of the present hydrogen production is by the method that overall creates nine times as much CO2 (one kilo for nine kilos). But the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides tax credits for research and production of hydrogen. There are pros and cons concerning the storage and transportation of hydrogen and I am reminded of the not insignificant number of heating gas pipelines explosions that have occurred over the years- hydrogen is a very explosive gas but some say it dissapates easily in a open space.

The clock is ticking with regards to human migrations that affect our borders, melting of glaciers, deserification, sea level rises, etc. We have to convince those around us that we must pick up the pace in reducing the huge amounts of CO2 that we are adding to our fragile protective atmosphere or face even more disastrous consequences than what we are presently experiencing.

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