Monday, July 30, 2007

Water Vapor: Not a form of pollution

Water vapor is usually not thought of a form of pollution. In fact, it is a necessary part of the water cycle. When water vapor condenses into a suspension of water droplets, the puffy result is an often beautiful part of nature. However, conventional wisdom is less and less conventional. Don Surber reports:

The tax-exempt Environmental Integrity Project in Washington, D.C., issued its annual list of the 50 dirtiest power plants in America. This is illustrated by a photo showing steam — water vapor — escaping from a cooling tower. Sigh.

Sigh indeed. However, not satisfied with simple error, the EIP decided go head over heels into error.

Bill Hobbs unloads on the rest of the report. It proves to be alarmist distortion and dedicated pessimism. He states the following about the water tower:

As for the water vapor image, that’s not surprising. Some years ago when the environmentalist groups in Nashville decided to target the city’s innovative trash-to-steam plant, which provided steam for heating and cooling about three dozen downtown buildings and also helped the city process its garbage, the local alt-weekly illustrated its attack stories on the project with ominous-looking pictures that also really just showed steam rising from the plant’s cooling tower even though they knew that’s what they were doing.

This is a bit like a certain liberal journalist inferring that milbloggers are afraid to serve their country, despite having interviewed one of them. (See Blackfive for more details. ) It's just completely and deliberately wrong.

The environmental movement has developed a strong streak of alarmism, which is great for fund raising, but not so great for actually discussing an issue. It's a bad idea to exaggerate or portray something deceptively. What is missing in all of this worry over a declining rate of emissions is the increasing energy demand and the requirement for a usable method of meeting said demand. As Mr. Hobbs says:

I’ll be impressed with the Environmental Integrity Project when they have the integrity to either endorse expanded nuclear power, or admit that they don’t have a viable replacement for all the coal-generated power they want to shut down.

Same here. What has made the environmental movement decide to limit it's alternatives to energy sources hat are laughably inefficient in terms of money, unable to be applied to much of the Earth, and are about as reliable as a stopped clock. I call them complementary energy sources, for like complementary medicine, they cannot replace actual base load power sources. You want a real alternative? Try splitting atoms.

Hat tip: Pajamas Media

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