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Michele Bachmann and Energy

Posted by on Aug 31, 2011 in Ecology | 18 comments

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The first two third’s of the year 2011 are over. The year is sliding slowly to the end. Adieu 2011, welcome 2012!

Despite all the doomsday scenarios, based on the Mayan calender (1) and what not, we all can rest assured that life will go on like always. Well, more or less, for someone it will better, for another it will be worse. Still the year 2012 will be fateful one, globally speaking. At the end of the coming year the president of the USA will be elected. I am not from the USA and I don’t claim to understand the internal politics and I do not have any preferences. Still I feel compelled to comment on something one of the Republican runners for candidate, Michele Bachmann (2), said, as shown on Youtube (clip 1). From an ecological point of view her speech was a terrifying experience.

It is fascinating to watch Ms. Bachmann as she delivered her speech very matter of factly. But she concentrated on only one aspect of a highly complex process, global climate. It seems that this is her basics for her energy policy. The sole topic of the speech was only the CO2 in the atmosphere of this planet. Ms. Bachmann implies, that this concentration is static, it does not change and therefore the Climate does not change. The conclusion, she draws from it, is that as America is richer than Saudi Arabia (clip 2) in oil, gas and coal. Therefore you can Drill, Baby, Drill away, as though there is no tomorrow. Drill here, Drill now! Without even considering possible damages as a result of such a policy. In order to make her point, She omitted every other factor which could have a influence on the Climate Change. Ms. Bachmann simply ignores even the possibility of a Climate Change. Such a stance is either pure ignorance or plain stupid. And I don’t know, what is worse, but it can’t be the basics for a policy from the past, where energy was cheap and could be wasted. Today, with a growing world population, energy is quickly becoming a precious commodity. This should be the basic understanding for a modern society.

After this little rant, I would like to debunk some points Ms. Bachmann makes on the first clip.

Energy and Economy.

Ms. Bachmann believes, that with more oil and gas available the energy prices will drop drastically and this would be the fuel, to kick-start the American economy and thus jobs would be created. She ignores the fact, that the transition from one energy form to another will also create jobs. Ms. Bachmann is old enough to remember, that some job of today did not exist in her youth. Now is the time to think about jobs for the future which do not exist yet. To rely on fossil fuel and not to change from fossil energy to the more Eco-friendly alternative energy might be considered irresponsible by future generations. The job of politics is to master the Now and to get prepared for Later. A looking back in Longing to cheap energy prices is not politics, Ms. Bachmann!

Carbon Dioxide Man Made or not?

She is right, 3% (3) of the earth’s atmosphere is Carbon Dioxide. Ms. Bachmann asks rhetorically, how man can produce CO2, if CO2 in the atmosphere is a constant 3%? Again you are right, man does not produce CO2. Man only burns fossil fuel and releases the inherent CO2. Although Ms. Bachmann only talks about the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere it should be clear, that this CO2 is not the only Carbon Dioxide on the planet. The oceans keep a certain amount of Carbon Dioxide bound, the plants and the soil as well. Ms. Bachmann mentions it in the clip. Coal, oil and gas were actually plants, which, for some reasons, got from the surface of the earth underneath it. Those plants have sequestered the CO2 of the atmosphere of hundreds of millions of years ago. And now this CO2 is released again into the atmosphere. All the while the two main sources for the Photosynthesis on earth are getting badly damaged, the Forest and the Phytoplankton (5) and this might reduce the photosynthesis. This should answer the question of Ms. Bachmann, how man can produce CO2. We don’t produce it, we simply release, presently bound, CO2 again by burning fossil fuel. An addition of CO2 or any other of the Greenhouse gases into the atmosphere might just tip the balance.

CO2 and other Greenhouse Gases.

Ms. Bachmann concentrates on CO2 and forgets that other gases are just as bad for the climate as Carbon Dioxyde. For instance Methane (6), and Soot (7) among other factors.This at least we can say with a great certainty, that Methane is produced by man. Livestock is a major producer of Methane. If man would eat less meat a lot of Methane wouldn’t be produced. This is an indisputable fact Ms. Bachmann! In nature such a mass of livestock wouldn’t be able to survive, nature would take care to keep a balance. And by burning fossil fuel soot is also produced, Ms. Bachmann!

Climate Change and Science

Ms. Bachmann claims, that there is no study to prove the role of Carbon Dioxide in a possible Climate Change. Alas! There is also no study to prove the opposite. After all, it is only a matter of believe. This is not a stance fit for any politician. Can the president of the USA base his/her politics on such assumptions? Alone the slim possibility that Climate Change is happening should

warrant a different stance. A more careful assessment of all possibilities should determine future politics. Since a Climate Change can’t be ruled out, it can’t be ignored, Ms. Bachmann!

Economy and Energy.

Just because the USA has such vast and untapped oil and gas reserves, the rest of the world is still confronted with a energy shortage, with accordingly high prices. Therefore the energy politics of Ms. Bachmann is no example for the rest of the world. An economical problem will arise. If the energy is cheaper in the USA compared to the rest of the world, the American products will be accordingly cheaper. Does Ms. Bachmann really believe, that the rest of the world will agree to such unfair competition? This might leave the USA in a isolation in a globalized world. America as an island will inevitably lose importance in the world. Is this what Ms. Bachmann really wants?

Ms Bachmann and God.

Ms. Bachmann claims, that God tells her what to do. I believe Ms. Bachmann talks to a different God than me, because my god tells me to take care of the Creation and to try to save it! This is enough said about religious differences!

Anyway, as already stated, I’m not an American citizen it is up to the people of the USA to decide, who will be the next president of the USA. I wish Ms. Bachmann good luck in the race.

*Remark on the second clip. In it Congress woman Bachmann mentions alternative energy as a supplement to fossil fuel. And not the other way round, as it should be from an ecological point of view.

Ms. Bachmann on Youtube – 1.

Ms. Bachmann on Youtube – 2.


*01.09.2011 Supplement. In clip 2 Ms. Bachmann mentiones, that alternative energy should complement fossil fuel. The question is, whether alternative energy could compete with the cheap fossil energy?  That’s the whole point of Ms. Bachmann, if we drill for oil and gas to keep the price of energy cheap, than there is no need for alternative energy. But Ms. Bachmann keeps the backdoor open, at least she mentions alternative energy. 


For further reading:

1. Mayan Calendar

2. Michele Bachmann

3. CO2 Content of Atmosphere

4. Acidic Oceans

5. Phytoplankton

6. Methane

7. Soot in Atmosphere

Picture of Michele Bachmann courtesy to Michele Bachmann for president in It is used under the Fair Use provisions.

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