EXAMINER PUBLICATIONS – MARCH 12, 2008
By Larry Trzupek
If you’re familiar with the periodic table of the elements (now there’s a fond high school memory), you probably know that through most of history the table underwent a slow but steady expansion.
Over the 18th and 19th century, intrepid scientists discovered new elements that were dutifully added to the table, and by the twentieth century, with no new ones to be found, the successors of those scientists responded by making new ones. Nuclear reactors and particle accelerators worked overtime as weird elements were formed that could be tacked on to the end of the table.
But now in the 21st century, a strange new movement has begun – a movement to shrink the periodic table. And yes, it’s our old pals the enviro whacko’s who are out there trying to dial back several centuries of scientific achievement.
First the greenies decided they had to get rid of chlorine. Rachel Carson’s screed on DDT is largely recognized as the impetus for the modern environmental movement – and DDT is a chlorinated pesticide. Not satisfied with a near-total ban on DDT (and tens of millions of Third World deaths as a result), the enviro’s soon agitated for bans on almost all chlorinated pesticides, and then just about everything else chlorinated as well.
Most readers of this space probably don’t realize that the usual proprietor of “Cheap Seats” got his start slapping down in print some green activist who wrote a column in the local paper in our South Side neighborhood, a column essentially castigating the local grandmothers for using chlorine bleach.
Not satisfied with trying to bump chlorine from the periodic table, environmentalists next set their sights on phosphorus. And yes, excess phosphates can lead to significant declines in water quality, in some cases causing major “blooms” of algae.
So, yeah, there are cases when it makes sense to control the release of phosphates – but that’s not good enough for the environmental fringe – they’ve got to ban phosphorus.
You think I’m kidding? Google “phosphorus” and “Antioch Illinois” and you’ll find out that the state Sierra Club has mau-mau’d that local village board into banning phosphorus-containing fertilizers. Never mind that the amount of phosphorus in lawn fertilizer is unlikely to have any noticeable effect on the local lakes, or that goose droppings are full of the stuff. God forbid we should actually approach the issue with any rationality.
Now the latest element to arouse the ire of the environmentalists is carbon. Dealing with this one is a bit trickier, given that we’re carbon-based life forms (although I doubt that would give much pause to the “Voluntary Human Extinction Movement”, an actual organization which has taken radical environmentalism to its logical conclusion).
But now that the Supreme Court (with all of its scientific expertise) has declared carbon dioxide – a fundamental requirement for terrestrial life – a “pollutant”, the big green guns are out for carbon.
Banning carbon might – I emphasize might – be too hard to pull off even for the Sierra Club and its ilk, but there are plenty of ways to skin this cat. And the one you can all look forward to is “cap and trade” regulation, which essentially will save us from an increase in another 100 parts-per-million of CO2 by strictly limiting (by increasing costs) the amount of carbon fuels that are burned.
In other words, if you’re upset at paying $3.50 for a gallon of regular now, wait until you see what it goes to when cap-and-trade comes into play. If you, and the growing population, and the growing economy needs more gasoline, that puts pressure on the carbon “cap” – which leads to an increase in value for any “trade” – which ultimately will work its way back to the pump as – you guessed it – more bucks per gallon!
One can hardly imagine how much this scam has to excite its instigators in the Democrat Party.
First off, they reward their environmentalist special interests, whose gratitude is sure to be reflected in campaign contributions.
And, in effect, they institute in this manner a tax on carbon fuels, but one that is almost completely hidden, so it really gets hard to pin it on them.
But best of all, when everything starts to go to pieces as energy prices steadily creep up, they get to blame it all on President John McCain, the Republican idiot who was naïve enough to co-sponsor a bill to institute that system, and is even now campaigning on it!
Okay, maybe Barack or Hillary will win, but realize, then soaring energy prices will be the fault of Exxon or Ken Starr or something. In any case, we can be pretty sure that the national media will keep the donkey’s hands clean on this one.
Now I’m not sure which element gets targeted after carbon, but chances are it won’t matter too much – if you screw with carbon fuels enough, it won’t be long before the economic devolution will make that question moot.