Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as the new Speaker of the House. She laid out her legislative agenda stating, “We must face the existential threat of our time: Climate Change.” She pledged to establish a House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis to focus on energy independence and global warming. The House Energy and Commerce Committee announced that climate change will be the first issue it addresses this term.
When I started work at Alabama Electric Cooperative in 1989, all of our generation resources were coal-fired. We had the McWilliams Plant, a small plant built in the 1950s. We also had the Lowman Plant on the Tombigbee River, which consisted of three units. Unit #1 was completed in 1969, and Units #2 and #3 were completed in 1979 and 1980, respectively. The McWilliams Plant was converted to natural gas in the early 1990s, but the Lowman Plant is still prominent in our generation portfolio today.
I have missed writing articles for the last couple of months. I have had some personal commitments that required a lot of time, and we have had a number of challenges at PowerSouth, one of which I will write about next month.
At the first of October, a disturbance popped up near the Yucatan peninsula. It was predicted to be a rain event for the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. It intensified until it was a tropical depression and then a tropical storm that took the name Michael. Within a few days, Michael was predicted to be a Category 1 hurricane when it made landfall on the northern Gulf. By October 8, it was projected to be a Category 2 and then a Category 4. It came on shore October 10 and was measured as a Category 4. It will likely be re-evaluated as a Category 5 once all the final wind measurements are concluded.
As I write this column, Hurricane Michael has devastated parts of the Gulf Coast. Michael is one of many hurricanes that have challenged us with unexpected changes and devastation. There will likely be more in the future. When a hurricane is being tracked, we hear about the eye of the storm, typically a calm center around which the stormy bands circulate.
Do you remember going with your parents or grandparents to pay the “light bill”? When electric cooperatives first formed more than 80 years ago, most farms only used electricity to power a single light bulb over the kitchen table. How times have changed! Today’s monthly energy bill covers so much more than just the lights.
Last December, my article was titled, Big Mike’s Bean House. It was inspired by an article my friend, Covington County Circuit Judge Ben Bowden, sent me, “If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef.” The Judge is apparently obsessed with protein because last month he sent me another article from the New York Times titled “Memo From the Boss: You’re a Vegetarian Now.”
Alabama has historically been successful in economic development and attracting new industry. That success was better than other states in the region two decades ago when Alabama’s tax incentives and advantages for creating new jobs were superior to those available in surrounding states.
Which of the following statements would you choose as most correct?
- The world is getting better.
- The world is getting worse.
- The world is neither getting better nor worse.
“Beggar Thy Neighbour” is a classic economic policy through which one country attempts to remedy its economic problems by means that tend to worsen the economic problems of other countries. In 1776, Adam Smith wrote about “Beggaring Thy Neighbour” in The Wealth of Nations, the foundation for modern economic theory. Smith’s theory was developed from an earlier economics concept termed, “Tragedy of The Commons,” which appears in the works of Plato and Aristotle. Helping oneself at the expense of one’s neighbors has been around a while. It doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.
Last December, in my article Big Mike’s Bean House, I attempted to demonstrate how misguided studies and impractical solutions impair the serious discussion of climate change. In particular, eliminating beef from our food sources is not a credible solution to mitigating climate change. It just will not happen.