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The Incredible Shrinking Fractivist Mind

PennFuture - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


Anti-gas folks seems to be losing it these days, unable to decipher what they should be for and against; call it the incredible shrinking fractivist mind.

A faithful NaturalGasNOW reader who is pro-gas for, among other reasons, its contributions to reducing carbon emissions, sent me something quite amazing last night. It’s a link to an opinion piece in the Oneonta Daily Star. The article is from someone who’s apparently a disciple of Bob Howarth and Tony Ingraffea, recently caught bemoaning the increased use of gas in the Empire State and begging the Emperor do something about it. The author is worried about some bill entitled the “NYRenews Climate and Community Protection Act” or (CCPA), which he says won’t properly inventory greenhouse gas emissions. Frankly, this is the first I’ve heard about it, but there’s a sentence in this story that reveals something incredible about the fractivist mind — it’s shrinking.

Dennis Higgins, the author of the opinion piece, cites Bob Howarth, Tony Ingraffea and Jannette Barth as the sources of his worries. The first two, of course, produced those widely discredited reports claiming natural gas was worse than coal. Read the comments to the article for background on that. Barth is an “art economist” and fractivist, which is all that need be said on her expertise. All of them are concerned New York isn’t going to count all the greenhouse gas emissions, they say. But, here is the sentence, that gives it all away:

Many sources that emit under 25,000 tons per year would be exempted from reporting at all, so the bill could promote a fleet of gas-fired power plants across the state.

A beautiful mind, or even an ordinary one like mine, that looks at this sentence can only conclude gas plants must not be big greenhouse gas emitters compared to other power plants. Such minds are also driven to the obvious conclusion this has to be a good thing. Indeed, it’s a very good thing, as Win Porter noted here. The typical gas plant produces half the CO2 a coal plant does, according to the Energy Information Administration and evidence from conversions suggests it could be as low as 25% in some cases. Only a mind convinced that such reductions must be sacrificed on the altar of the unattainable perfect could possibly imagine this is not a meaningful contribution to problem solving. Yet, this what Mr. Higgins’ mind tells him.

fractivist mind

Cayuga Power Plant near Ithaca, which fractivists have kept open by fighting conversion to natural gas, proving the existence of the shrinking fractivist mind.

Now, we must admit most modern gas plants, though they vastly reduce CO2, will still produce more than 25,000 tons per year of CO2. But, that makes Higgins’ fear even more puzzling. Why does he suppose the opposite? Does he really mean gas plants? Or, something else? Is he just parroting Howarth and Ingraffea without understanding what they’re talking about? Whatever the case may be, he clearly hasn’t thought this thing through. He’s signed on, but tuned in he’s not. It’s a sign of the incredible shrinking fractivist mind that he’s more worried about the solution to greenhouse gas emissions than the problem.

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3 thoughts on “The Incredible Shrinking Fractivist Mind

  1. http://www.timesunion.com/tuplus-opinion/article/Laying-out-realities-of-pipeline-6443337.php

    Well not only are people’s brains shrinking fast while under the influence of the antifracking pipeline resistance movement, the world is also getting incredibly small as well, like apparently it is the size of a postage stamp.

    Unsurprisingly Dennis Higgins can be found writing interesting letters of resistance about other things, like say the Constitution Pipeline for example.

    Wow! One wonders when the super savvy NY press wakes up to the fascinating story of the antifracking pipeline resistance movement. Is anyone else writing to reporters about this or is it just me?

  2. Here in NY the people talk about secession from NYC. I say we do not need to secede but rather implement the electorial collage here at state level. It seems simple to me that if there are 62 counties, that each county gets one electorial vote. That will ensure the entire state gets representation and not just the city.

  3. That is a terrible idea. Remember that it was your guy that didn’t like the Electoral College when he thought it would work against him:

    Do not assume that the novelist Terry Pratchett quote I used to criticize an anti-gasser a while back doesn’t apply to you: “It can’t be wrong if *we* are doing it; we are the good ones!”

    Instead of alienating the people we need to convince to support natural gas with these anti-democratic (small “d”) wish trips, why not appeal to nominal anti-gassers we can split off the hardcore anti’s. Warm fuzzy renewables don’t look so good on an industrial scale; gas starts looking much better when you relentlessly expose renewables’ shortcomings and the advantages of gas.

    It’s much harder work to do that, but it will erode away Cuomo’s support and make him pay attention. If you continue to chain your unpopular conservative and reactionary ideas to natural gas, you will never expand popular support for gas in NY. You will be politically irrelevant and Cuomo will be free to pursue his agenda.

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