Daily Archives: December 9, 2018

Bits and Pieces – 20181209, Sunday


It’s 3:20 AM Monday morning and I can’t sleep. Apart from the fact that my ancient thermostat settings have not dropped the daytime high of 65 degrees (it predates metric conversion) to 62 degrees where I would like it, the Liberal carbon tax is bothering me. And it should also be bothering you very much.

Two weeks ago (Bits and Pieces – 20181125, Sunday) I opened with a discouce on energy and the universal requirement of it in some form by all organism both living and inanimate such as cities. What I didn’t do was to reduce all forms of energy to a common unit of measurement which is popularly, the joule. We measure the energy content of food in calories which are easily converted to joules. Electricity we measure in watts which also convert easily. Heat energy from burning fossil fuels is directly measured in joules.

What I will now argue is that you have a minimal energy footprint which if not met for a period of time will result in your death. There is a daily calorie requirement below which you will certainly starve to death. How far below this limit determines how fast death comes. The production of those calories requires a certain amount of fossil fuel to grow them. A farmer has to drive a tractor over a field multiple times to till and prepare a seedbed, plant the seeds, apply fertilizers and agricultural chemicals (to kill everything but the crop) and to harvest the crop. That’s a lot of diesel. Add in the energy required to get the food to your table. So just in terms of food, there is a significant amount of fossil fuel expenditure necessary to keep yoy from starving.

Likewise, in Northern latitudes, there is a minimum temperature at which you can maintain your environment before you freeze to death or die of hypothermia (read: Britain’s Excess Winter Deaths Soar To Highest In Over 40 Years).

A more complex argument in details is the need for fossil fuels to support your daily life including getting to and from work so you can pay for the joules you need to survive. Renewables aren’t the answer because they are not a reliable source of energy when you need it and will never be for certain applications like farming. This is another discussion but it involves something called capacity factor which the Ontario government now hides. Or in other words, behind every wind mill lurks a gas-fired thermal plant.

The point is that you have a minimum carbon footprint below which you die. Cities have a minimum carbon footprint below which the city dies.

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