Jan 212011

Days before this talk, journalist Naomi Klein was on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico, looking at the catastrophic results of BP’s risky pursuit of oil. Our societies have become addicted to extreme risk in finding new energy, new financial instruments and more … and too often, we’re left to clean up a mess afterward. Klein’s question: What’s the backup plan?


  9 Responses to “Naomi Klein-Addicted to Risk”

  1. Help!!! It is my understanding that Carl Weimer has posted a letter on Facebook. I can’t find it.
    The letter states that Warren Buffet’s railroad is coming up with a deal to put a coal terminal at Cherry Point. There will be 6 train loads a day of coal from Montana through our county to
    This Coal terminal at cherry point to be shipped off to China.
    MY GUESS is that this railroad will take the old i-5 corridor – remember I-5 was to go by
    hwy 9 in the old days. That land is still a right of way and has never been sold.

  2. Wow! Sounds like more jobs in Whatcom County. Great news! I had heard that there was talk of doing this down at the Port of Kalama, but they evidently hate the Chinese, and don’t want the employment dollars flooding into their economy, so they squashed it. Won’t it be great to ship this dirty coal out of the US, and boost the local economy for a few years?

  3. Strip mining sucks.

    A free train doesn’t sound like a bad idea though. You can argue the need for a low environmental impact which includes migratory greenbelt, and wind power assistance like those german kite-assisted cargo ships. Force long term benefits into county planning.

    My vote is that all new rail development includes bicycle paths (ideal slope and nature access), which, with laser safety sensors and unidirectional alarm systems, could even be between the tracks themselves.

    For more investment than coal trains, we could have salt-water tidal power-aqueducts running up the west coast valleys which double as desalination utilities for the southland.

    A double-decker small-guage track might have a greater utility:impact ratio. As Gooseberry Pt. demonstrates, these things are negotiable. It is your county, if not your right-of-way.

    Plan ahead for a far greater population in WA 10-15 years from now. You have good land and water up there. After peak-oil, places like Los Angeles and Phoenix will not be sustainable. Much as you’d like it otherwise, a train can fit into that package. Towards sustainability even in the light of an exodus, consider fostering new zoning which intermingles ultra-high-density multi-use (5-story business/residential long-houses) with ultra-low-density farmland. The sustainability community needs to be involved in county planning, otherwise it will be increased obsolete business-as-usual accelerating collapse.

  4. Their pollution drifts here anyhow. Sending them electricity would be cleaner, using the same diurnal grid sharing we had in mind with the USSR 40 years ago. Today we could be using microwave lasers beamed to heat collectors at steam plants. Superconductor transmission-line tech is almost mature too. We need that just to connect LA & NY with wind/solar for our freeways.

    It seems we should at least negotiate for clean burning methods as a condition of receipt.

  5. Another possibility is that they would repurpose the Alcoa plant to become an arc gas generator to make ethanol there.

    If I had some bargaining power in the ordeal, aside from more environmental train track designs, I’d suggest that a portion of revenues need invested in wind energy along the ocean cargo route, eventually leading up electric cable ships. Eventually such a wind farm between here and China would be worth more than the coal shipments.

    They almost can’t complain, as it’s an asset on their own behalf until they sell it off to the US or Chinese public. Good investment + global support rather than objection of environmentalists – win-win. Christine G. needs sold on the deal next.

  6. A guy can get alot of reading in between waiting for the ferry and parked at Slater waiting for Mr Peabody’s coal train. Forget about amtrack to seattle, you’ll need a library. I’m not betting on that eelgrass at Cherry Pt keeping Warren Buffett from getting his way in this economy.

  7. You might say we are on the Wong side of the twacks…….

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