Syte Reitz

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world…….

Browsing Posts tagged Global Warming

MSNBC, the First Lady, and the Gas Engine

Why Progressives are Regressives and Conservatives Make the Progress

Guess WhatTrying to Get a Balanced Picture of the News

So, in my usual scanning of diverse news sources to get a balanced view of the news, I looked at the MSNBC headlines, and guess what I found?

Two headlines which begged to be linked together:

Why Would the First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) Be Linked to a Gas Engine?

FLOTUS begs linkage to a gas engine because she promotes the school lunch programs in which students are widely known to throw away lunches and try to abandon the lunch programs altogether, while the MSNBC’s Gas Engine article below the FLOTUS headline claims the engine can be fueled by, among other things, discarded school lunches!

Feeding Sandwiches to an EngineSlide1

The scientist and the conservative in me had to kick in, and I had to investigate the possibility and the cost- effectiveness of feeding an engine with school lunches.
Long story short, and sparing you the details and calculations (contact me if you want them), it boils down to this-

Let’s acknowledge that sandwiches and gasoline, being hydrocarbon-derived, do actually have a similar energy density, or energy available per pound of each material.
So, if you could put discarded sandwiches into your gas tank and burned them efficiently, that might provide some energy.
Points for progressive ideas.

But you can’t put a sandwich directly into your gas tank and burn it efficiently.  Conservatives are needed to do the thinking!
Reality must be addressed.

What does it take to burn a sandwich in your gas tank?

In order to use school lunches in the GE engine described in the MSNBC (GE-sponsored) article (and yes, GE ads are now masquerading as top headlines at MSNBC), there are several steps involved:

  • The sandwich has to be industrially fermented by microorganisms to produce methane (a gas with 72 times higher global warming potential than CO2; oops, big progressive no-no! This would beg the question whether sandwich fermentors had to pay a flatulence tax. ).  The factory doing the fermenting also uses power and equipment which requires power to be manufactured and to run.Slide1
  • The methane then has to be burned in a GE engine, an engine that also requires power and natural resources to manufacture.

So, yes, your discarded school lunches could be used to run a gas engine.

What is the Cost of this Discarded Sandwich Fuel?

Initial cost: the average school lunch, about $3 per pound, already costs 7x higher than the cost of gasoline (43 cents per pound).
Next, we need to account for the intermediate costs involved in industrial processing to convert to methane and transport it to the power plant.  A generous estimate might be 10-15% efficient.  So, the use of discarded school lunches to fuel engines will cost at least 70 times more than using gasoline.

How would you like to pay for school lunch gasoline at $280 per gallon?  BTW, we taxpayers also had to pay for the discarded school lunch.

An Alternative Approach


Sage Kokjohn, Rolf Reitz, Reed Hanson, inventors of RCCI

My husband Rolf Reitz  is a scientist and a conservative.
He has spent his entire career, together with other dedicated scientists, developing a process called RCCI, which is causing quite the stir in the automotive industry today.

RCCI increases the efficiency of the internal combustion engine by about 30% while reducing pollutant emissions at the same time.   The reduced emissions reduce the cost of engines dramatically, because expensive exhaust after-treatment is no longer needed.

If implemented in our entire fleet overnight, the RCCI process would eliminate United States need for import of Persian oil.  The United States would practically be self reliant in our energy needs.

Incidentally, the RCCI process is also compatible with numerous alternative fuels, which may be developed in the future.  It can even be compatible with the methane produced from Michelle Obama’s discarded school lunches.

The Difference Between a Progressive and a Conservative

Our progressive First Lady and progressive MSNBC have many good intentions and creative dreams.  Unfortunately, most of them, like this one, are completely unrealistic.  Also unfortunately, the First Lady and MSNBC pressure others to pay for their ideas, and to do the work.

The First Lady’s husband, our President, is about to use his Executive Order privileges to dictate a mandatory 20% reduction in carbon emissions from coal-fired electric plants.   This reduction is deemed totally unnecessary by thousands of scientists, who reject catastrophic global warming claims, believing them not to be supported by science.  This reduction would also represent a regression for the United States economy and for our energy supply.Slide1
Progressives falsely claim that 97% of scientists support global warming theories, when in actual fact alarmists are in the minority,and 60% of meteorologists (weather experts) see no potential threat.

So progressives dream, ignore facts and demand the impossible.  They insist on trying to achieve their goals without supporting, reasoned analysis.
Often their idealistic dreams boomerang, come back as nightmares, and implode their wishful plans.  That’s what’s been happening to President Obama recently.
His initial 2008 success, his popularity, and everything associated with him, including ObamaCare, have been failing and imploding, despite all the hopes, dreams and good intentions he had at the start.

Progressives turn out to be regressives, making no progress and dragging the entire nation with them into tragic regression instead, both economic and moral.

What Would a Conservative Do? 

A conservative also abhors waste, but instead of indulging in fruitless wishful thinking, spends the time analyzing the problem.  That is how sustainable solutions are reached.

This is what can happen when conservatives roll up their sleeves and get to work, rather than looking to the government for solutions.  They provide the government with solutions, rather than asking government for handouts.

The Tables Are Turned

Today, Progressives make no progress.  They cause regression instead, so let’s call them Regressives.
Conservatives should be called Progressive; they make progress by taking charge and by solving problems.

Time for Conservatives to Take Charge!
There are some elections coming! 








Are We There Yet?


Hamburger Pollution


18-Wheeler Pollution

A startling fact from the University of California, Riverside Today:

An 18-wheeler diesel-engine truck would have to drive 143 miles on the freeway to put out the same mass of particles as a single charbroiled hamburger patty.

This factoid struck me as remarkable.  A modern 18-wheeler apparently produces impressively low levels of pollution.  (Alternatively, we are all producing a shockingly large quantity of pollution every time we cook dinner!) In actual fact, during the last two decades, engine researchers (like my husband) have reduced the pollution emitted by on-road vehicles 100-fold.

The Cost of Clean Exhaust

In order to achieve this remarkably low pollution, the after-treatment system on the 18-wheeler now costs as much as the engine itself, and doubles the cost of the engine.  The cost of a $10,000 engine rises to $20,000, with the addition of after-treatment equipment, which eliminates pollutants.

If transcontinental diesel trucks now produce less pollution than cooking a dinner, at what point should the government stop requiring additional expensive emission controls?  Should the rising expense of after-treatment systems motivate us to limit the degree to which we seek to eliminate pollution?  Our entire economy relies on shipping and associated costs, so it’s important to ask this question.  When is the exhaust of a vehicle “clean enough?” and when does it become too expensive to clean exhaust any further?  Are we “there” yet?

What Else Will Be Regulated For Pollution?
Will They Regulate Hamburgers?

We all appreciate the 100-fold reduction in on-road vehicle emissions achieved through research in the last few decades.  Our air in the United States has really been cleaned up. A series of Clean Air Acts have resulted in very significant reductions of pollutants, including the reduction of particulate emissions by about 80%.

But the UC Riverside Today article, after remarking on the low emissions of 18-wheelers, embarked on discussing the regulation of particulates emitted by commercial char broilers in Los Angeles.
This raises quite a few questions; one wouldn’t think that people making dinner could contribute significantly to pollution, could it?
Is such regulation really necessary?
What will people do if cooking emissions come under government regulation?
Will Burger King’s char broiling machinery go up $10,000 in cost?
How much more will the Whopper cost?   Will the cost double?
What else in our daily lives pollutes, and what else may eventually become subject to regulation?
How much regulation is really necessary?

Getting Some Perspective

I did a bit of homework on emissions to put things into perspective, to see how much we might be contributing to particle emissions when we cook hamburgers for dinner, or through other daily life activities.

I collected and summarized United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) particulate emissions data  in the table and pie chart below:

Here are the main sources of particles, which pollute the quality of our air in the United States, and the percentage each contributes to the pollution:

Particulate Emissions in the U.S.
National PM2.5 Emissions Source Total Emissions(Short Tons) % of NationalEmissions
Dust 1,186, 795 34%
Unpaved road 812,512 24%
Construction 220,151 6%
Paved road 154,132 4%
 Fuel Combustion  864,238  25%
  Residential 359,068  10%
 Electric Generation  339,735  10%
 Industrial Boilers  87,573
 Industrial boilers, ICEs  61,702
 Comm/Institutional  16,159
 Mobile  417,354  12%
 Non-Road  184,533
 On-Road  107,384  3%
 Commercial Marine Vessels  95,639
 Locomotives  25,129
 Aircraft  4,668
 Miscellaneous  389, 781  11%
 Waste Disposal  303,934
 Commercial Cooking  82,770
 Misc. Non-Industrial NEC  3,057
 Bulk Gasoline Terminals  15
 Gas Stations 6
 Industrial Processes  315,622  9%
 NEC  114,088
 Pulp and Paper  36,882
 Ferrous Metals  33,808
 Mining  26,570
 Chemical Manufacture  23,670
 Petroleum Refineries  22,805
 Storage and Transfer  19,598
 Non-Ferrous Metals  17,579
 Cement Manufacture  13,628
 Oil and Gas Production  6,993
 Agriculture  145,969  4%
 Crops and Livestock Dut  138,478
 Livestock Waste  7,490
 Fires  130,988  4%
 Prescribed Fires  107,925
 Agricultural Field Burning  23,063
 Solvent  2,798  >0.1%
 TOTAL  NATIONAL  3,453,545



 Which are the Biggest Polluters?

Dust seems to be the biggest culprit, contributing 34% of all particulates in the U.S.

But it seems like dust would be challenging to control; how would we control dust? By controlling the weather? Or by prohibiting vehicle use on roads?
Dust is also the most inert of particles, and is the least harmful to our health.
This might be the reason people rarely talk about controlling dust particulates.

Next comes non-automotive fuel combustion, including furnaces and boilers, which contribute 25% to the nation’s pollution.  Clearly an area where some improvement could be achieved, if improvement is needed.  But at what cost to the homeowner?  And would after-treament systems be affordable by the average American?

The two items we started out discussing, diesel trucks (on-road mobile) and char broiled hamburgers (commercial cooking), seem at this point in time to be the lowest contributors to pollution, contributing only 3% and 2% respectively.

A pie chart makes it easier to visualize:

This picture illustrates that both on-road vehicles and commercial cooking are now minor contributors to pollution in the United States.  If, indeed, we need to continue further air cleanup, you would not think from the above pie chart that on-road vehicles or commercial cooking would be the place to look for more reductions.

Some Questions Raised by these Charts

The initial surprising suggestion by UC Riverside Today was that government may start regulating pollution produced by a hamburger.

First of all, we have to determine whether further air cleanup is necessary.

We’ve already cleaned up 99% of the on-road automotive pollution, and reduced particulates by 80%.

Isn’t that enough cleanup? Can we quit?

In Madison, WI, where I live, the answer might be yes.
The air always looks and smells clean.
People not only cook hamburgers, both inside and barbequing outside, but they use fire pits as well; kind of like an urban campfire, just for fun.  We would be pretty upset if the government tried to tell us that we could no longer broil a hamburger in our backyards.

US Air Quality; Green =low pollution, Red = High pollution

But there are places where smog and air quality problems still do exist, like Los Angeles.  Clearly, air quality there should continue to be of concern.  Based on the pie chart, however, I would wonder whether going after commercial cooking (2% of national pollution) is the right way to go.  Shouldn’t they be looking at furnaces and boilers (25%), industrial processes (9%), agriculture (4%), and so on?

To Regulate or Not To Regulate, That Is the Question

There are trade-offs between a clean environment and the potential economic disaster caused by increasing the price of cars, char broilers, home furnaces and other sources of pollution.   And national politics should not dictate the healthy balance.  This should rather be done locally, through supply and demand, not by government mandates, which are developed for downtown Los Angeles and are then applied indiscriminately to Wisconsin farmlands.

We face the question: At what point do we decide that our air is clean enough, and that parents don’t have to put their children in day-care and get a second job to pay for government-mandated green gadgets on the family car and home furnace?

Requiring an entire nation to buy high-tech solutions regulating every aspect of daily life, including the cooking of hamburgers, which are actually only needed in a few specific locations, is tremendous potential source of waste.

Time to Take It Local?

This is one of the reasons why federal control of our lives is never optimal, and we should seek opportunities to make local choices.  Local control of everything, from medical care, to pollution control, and to choice of sex ed curriculum in schools, benefits the nation.  Customization eliminates the need for supplying costly materials to those who don’t need them, and imposing expensive or otherwise cumbersome regulations on those who do not need them.

Good Time to Back Off Regulation?

2012, with present unemployment levels and the state of our economy, might be a good time to consider whether we have had enough government regulation.  The question should be reexamined before regulatory agencies get carried away and double the price of everything we need to buy.  Cars already have a prohibitive price tag.  Do we add to that doubling the price of furnaces, stoves, lawn mowers, electricity, and food, clothing and shelter, which depend on the transportation of materials across our nation?

Looking at the pie chart at the beginning of this article makes it clear that living pollutes.
Cooking pollutes.
Staying warm pollutes.
Growing crops pollutes.
People pollute.
Existing pollutes.

So, unless we propose forced limitation of population growth (forced contraception and abortion; hello, China!), or unless you propose that we all move into caves (but we’d still be polluting with our campfires), or unless you propose that we forbid travel to reduce road dust, we have to face the fact that humans pollute.  How much of our “pollution” is natural and acceptable, and when is enough regulation enough?

Finally, when should regulation be returned to the local level?

 More Things to Consider

Pollution or particulates are not the sole consideration governing our use of energy and it’s regulation.  Questions of limited supply, foreign dependence, CO2 production and possible global warming, are also considerations.

These will be the subjects of future blog posts; stay tuned.

Are We There Yet?

For now, the answer to the question “Are we there yet?” might just be, that for much of the United States, “Yes, we’re almost there.”  At least regarding pollution.

Without too much of a spoiler, a hint: we’re doing a lot better in the other areas than the media would have us think.












The Wall Street Journal (click for original article)

  • JANUARY 27, 2012

No Need to Panic About Global Warming

There’s no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to ‘decarbonize’ the world’s economy.

Editor’s Note: The following has been signed by the 16 scientists listed at the end of the article:

Syte’s summary:

  • Scientists are split on global warming; there is no agreement on whether it is occurring or not.
  • Skeptics of global warming include an Obama-supporting Nobel prize winning physicist, editors of climate research journals, and numerous very prestigious and acclaimed scientists.
  • There has been no evidence of “global warming” for over 10 years now.
  • CO2 is not a pollutant.
  • Alarmism is of great benefit to many politicians.
  • Many young scientists doubt global-warming, but are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs.

A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about “global warming.” Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.

In September, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever, a supporter of President Obama in the last election, publicly resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) with a letter that begins: “I did not renew [my membership] because I cannot live with the [APS policy] statement: ‘The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.’ In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?”

In spite of a multidecade international campaign to enforce the message that increasing amounts of the “pollutant” carbon dioxide will destroy civilization, large numbers of scientists, many very prominent, share the opinions of Dr. Giaever. And the number of scientific “heretics” is growing with each passing year. The reason is a collection of stubborn scientific facts.

Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 “Climategate” email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2.

The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2.

The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere’s life cycle. Plants do so much better with more CO2 that greenhouse operators often increase the CO2 concentrations by factors of three or four to get better growth. This is no surprise since plants and animals evolved when CO2 concentrations were about 10 times larger than they are today. Better plant varieties, chemical fertilizers and agricultural management contributed to the great increase in agricultural yields of the past century, but part of the increase almost certainly came from additional CO2 in the atmosphere.



Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse. They have good reason to worry… continue reading…

New NASA Data Disproves Global Warming:

The supposed threat of man-made Global Warming is used to justify population control programs. But a new study suggests that the threat is virtually non-existent.
– by Steven W. Mosher, Population Research Institute (source)

More on Global Warming from the Heartland Institute:

Global Warming: Not a Crisis

by Joe Bast
August 10, 2011

“The burning of fossil fuels to generate energy produces carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas which, everything else being equal, could lead to some warming of the global climate. Most scientists believe the Earth experienced a small rise in temperatures during the second half of the twentieth century, but they are unsure how large a role human activities may have played.

The important questions from a public policy perspective are: How much of the warming is natural? How sure are we that it will continue? Would continued warming be beneficial or harmful?

The answers, in brief, are: Probably two-thirds of the warming in the 1990s was due to natural causes; the warming trend already has stopped and forecasts of future warming are unreliable; and the benefits of a moderate warming are likely to outweigh the costs.

Global warming, in other words, is not a crisis….”  cont’d here (click)

More on Global Warming from 2009 UK Guardian:

– possible falsification of data by global warming climatologists:

Climate Change Data Collection

Climate sceptics claim leaked emails are evidence of collusion among scientists
“some of the climatologists colluded in manipulating data to support the widely held view that climate change is real, and is being largely caused by the actions of mankind.”

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