Following in the footsteps of Steve’s great post, I thought I ought to mention (if you hadn’t already heard) there is a student- advocacy organization at UNH called the Student Environmental Action Coalition pressing the university to divest itself from ‘oil and other fossil fuel’ companies. Mimicking other non-reality-based schools, these little darlings seem to want the world to be run on nothing but clean, green, renewable energy, thus saving the world if not for their progeny (what with free contraception and all that), at least for the polar bears and unicorns. Just how much of UNH’s (2011[i]) $227 million endowment is invested in one form or another of nasty fossil fuels, I do not know. But I’m pretty sure that none of the university’s or the town of Durham’s utilities or municipal services are currently fueled by solar, wind or fairy dust.
On the contrary, it appears as though electricity is supplied by PSNH and the NH Electric Coop; natural gas is supplied by Northern Utilities; the university has its own water system but the town runs the wastewater treatment plant and trash pickup.
Now, none of these runs without electricity, natural gas, gasoline or diesel. Even the school’s ever-so-green garbage-to-methane gas pipeline needs electricity to runs its pumps.
Anthony Watts over at Watts Up With That muses, what would life in a typical town – like Durham and its environs - look like if all of sudden, fossil fuels just up and disappeared? Perhaps this is not what the littlies at Durham are thinking but they might want to ponder some of these charming side effects as they steep in their self-righteousness. Watts posits :
- After elevated tanks of municipal water systems were depleted of drinking water in a few days, there would be no more water supply. This would force people to start looking for alternate sources, and we’d be back to a time when water treatment was unknown. Disease and death would follow for many as tainted water spreads disease. People with water wells would have to tear out electric pumps and install hand pumps or windmills to get water.
- Related to the first point, toilets would be useless without water to flush them. Fecal matter disposal becomes an issue as gravity fed sewage systems eventually clog, and eventually fecal matter will end up in streams and rivers contributing to the spread of diseases much like the Great Stink in old London.
- Garbage collection becomes a thing of the past. Garbage will be piled high in the streets.
- People that have grid tied solar power systems would be no better off than their neighbors, because the DC to AC inverters require an AC power grid presence signal. Otherwise they shut off for safety. Some people with electrical skills might be able to rewire them, but then they’d only have electricity during daytime.
- People who may have working solar energy might be targeted by the have-nots. They might wish they had paid attention to the Second Amendment to protect their home based energy source. People who still have gasoline in their cars trying to escape cities might find themselves victims of mob attacks as the have-nots look for the last remaining bits of energy. Mad-Max world ensues.
- Windmill farms (that also need grid presence to operate) will stand as icons of folly, unusable, and cursed by the populace since they can’t make use of them. Eventually they’ll all look like these wind farms or fall down.
- Radical climatologists like Mike Mann and James Hansen will no longer be able to communicate their apocalyptic visions of the future to us, since there will be no Internet or radio/TV networks or newspapers printed to disseminate their views.
- Along the same lines, thankfully, we’d never see another episode of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo.
- Climate modelers like Kevin Trenberth would never be able to run another computer model telling us how hot our future apocalypse might be, since his NCAR computer is run by Wyoming coal. Likewise, NOAA’s Gaea supercomputer will be DOA since it can’t run on recycled vegetable oil.
- Al Gore will no longer be able to jet around the world to tell us how the world will end soon if we don’t pay attention to his new book about The Future. He’ll be reduced to holing up in one of his many properties and hoping the Mad-Maxers don’t come for his solar panels.
- Congress would be reduced to debating in hot, sweaty, non air-conditioned rooms, just like the founders of our country did at the first Continental Congress and as they did in the summer of 1988, when Dr. James Hansen and his sponsor, Senator Tim Wirth, turned off the A/C in the hearing room for effect while they sold the idea of global warming to the Senators.
- Without air conditioning, city dwellers would truly experience the Urban Heat Island effect in the summer, that is when they weren’t scrounging for food and water, and fighting off the Mad-Maxer gangs who would take anything they could from them, including their life.
- Wood burning to stay warm during the winter becomes all the rage again. Smoke pollution returns to cities, especially in winter.
- Real climate refugees start streaming south from high latitude countries as people run out of fuel. Many towns in Alaska and Siberia that survive only because of regular supplies of heating oil and gasoline would be abandoned.
- Global warming, environmentalism, politics; all would be a thing of the past, since survival trumps everything.
- Paul Ehrlich wanders the streets near Stanford, dressed in rags shouting at people “I was right! I was right!“
As Anthony says, it’s not a pretty picture but you get a little bit of the idea…..