One of the biggest myths being promulgated by opportunistic scientists, politicians and the drive-by media is the idea that alternative energy will somehow reduce the amount of greenhouse material emitted by “evil humans”–or, at the very least, these energy sources are carbon neutral.
Let’s take a closer look at one alternative fuel: methane, commonly known as natural gas. Supposedly if we burn more methane and less oil and coal, we will have cleaner air and we will have no more carbon in the air than we started with. But carbon neutrality doesn’t necessarily mean greenhouse neutrality. Below is the chemical reaction from burning methane:
CH4(methane) + 2O2(oxygen) + fire–> CO2(carbon dioxide) + 2H2O(water vapor).
C is the symbol for carbon. You can plainly see that we start out with one carbon atom in the methane(CH4) and after we burn the methane, we end up with one carbon atom in the carbon dioxide (CO2). And methane burns a lot cleaner than coal or oil, so what’s the problem?
Well, notice that you start out with one greenhouse molecule (methane) and you end up with three greenhouse molecules (one carbon dioxide and two water vapor molecules).
Organic chemistry doesn’t lie. When you burn a molecule of methane, you are trading one greenhouse molecule for three greenhouse molecules. Thus you are increasing the so-called greenhouse problem. Water, in particular, is the most powerful greenhouse substance. It traps heat whether it’s in a gas or liquid state. And of course the alleged evils of carbon dioxide are legendary. So trading one molecule of methane for two molecules of water and one molecule of carbon dioxide is a very bad idea if the greenhouse effect is really a problem.
What is even more insidious is that methane burns clean. Clean air seems like a good idea. After all, who doesn’t want clean air? But clean air allows more sunlight to reach the Earth’s surface. That sunlight then leaves the surface as infrared radiation and, according to the greenhouse theory, is trapped by greenhouse gases. Additionally much of the heat is allegedly absorbed by the water in the oceans.
In any case, burning clean energy like methane is not a good idea if the greenhouse effect will in fact create a global climate disruption. Ironically burning dirty energy like coal would prevent sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface; less sunlight would be converted to infrared radiation and so forth. Dirty air would actually reduce the greenhouse effect.
If the climate alarmists are right, then it is best to put up with smog and save the planet from the infinite perils of climate disruption. Unfortunately no alternative fuel is greenhouse neutral or causes a reduction in greenhouse material. Let’s look at another popular alternative, hydrogen. If we burn hydrogen, we get the following reaction:
2H2(hydrogen) + O2(oxygen) + fire–> 2H2O(water vapor).
Uh oh! Here start with no greenhouse molecules (hydrogen) then we end up with two greenhouse molecules (water vapor). You see? You just can’t win if you are a climate alarmist. However, there is another side to hydrogen that should be examined–the production side.
If hydrogen is produced by electrolysis, then it ought to be greenhouse neutral, since it is produced from water molecules and electricity. The reaction is described below:
2H2O(water) + electricity –> 2H2(hydrogen) + O2(oxygen).
Now let’s combine the production of hydrogen with the burning of hydrogen:
2H2O(water) + electricity –> 2H2(hydrogen) + O2(oxygen) + fire –> 2H2O(water vapor).
Cool! We obviously end up with the same amount of water we started with, so we can sigh with relief–NOT!
Now I want you to put on your thinking cap and ponder the following question: How is the electricity produced for the production of hydrogen?
Well obviously we can’t use methane, coal or oil if we want clean air and fear climate disruption. We can’t use hydrogen because we haven’t produced it yet. We could use nuclear energy but that has its own set of problems including nuclear waste and the use of steam (a greenhouse gas) to power turbines. That leaves us with solar energy and wind turbines.
Wind turbines hack up the poor birdies when they try to migrate, so that leaves solar panels which requires dangerous chemicals which end up in lakes and streams…ad nausea. So producing electricity does not come without risks no matter which of these methods we use. (Even the much touted cold fusion [which has yet to be mastered] puts helium in the atmosphere. Imagine a world where everyone talks like Donald Duck.)
Another interesting paradox is that alternative energy often comes from oil. Methane is produced from crude oil by a process known as fractional distillation. Plastics and many of the materials that are used to manufacture wind turbines, electric cars and other green technology also come from crude oil. Apparently, oil companies stand to profit no matter which energy policy the world decides on, so the whole “greens vs. big oil” thing is just another myth.
If scandals like climategate and the hockey-stick have taught us anything, they have taught us that climate-alarmist data is unreliable–so then it makes perfect sense to take a closer look at the proposed solutions to their mythological problem. Upon closer scrutiny we find that their “solutions” are myths as well.