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In Deadly Complication of Obama's Half-Assed Action Against ISIS, Turkey is Now Bombing a Key US Ally, the Only Trustworthy Ground Troops Fighting ISIS | Main | In Japan, a Hotel Entirely Staffed by Robots Has Just Opened
August 03, 2015

Is This a Joke?

I used to think I knew what a joke was.

For example, Andrew Stiles' headline is kind of a joke, and his subhed is a fun, weird, random little anti-joke joke.

But Elizabeth Harrington reports -- I think she reports; is she doing a Stiles-like deadpan schtick? -- that the EPA is spending $1.5 million for...

I can't summarize it. Let the EPA explain to you what they're spending $1.5 million for.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is spending $1.5 million to bring a "stove intervention" to Africa.

The project, conducted by the University of Colorado, is attempting to change how people living in the Sahel of Africa cook and light their homes to be more energy efficient.

Okay, let's review some facts:

Africa is the poorest continent on earth, where starvation is a real and continuing problem.

Energy efficiency is a rich man's luxury.

And cooking makes many inedible, or semi-edible, foods edible. I don't mean it makes them taste better (though it does that). I mean that cooking is a technological necessity for humankind because it begins the process of breaking down chemical bonds in food (or potential food) that the body would either not be able to break down (that is, the food would not be food at all; it would be biologically inert) or make it more biologically efficient to break down (that is, it takes metabolic energy to break down some foodstuffs, and if the body is spending a lot of energy on just breaking the food down to a useful form, it is getting very little net energy from the food.)

Cooking is not just something bored rich Westerners watch on TV. Cooking is absolutely essential to human survival, and the invention of cooking is one of the most important breakthroughs in human development.

But the EPA is going into impoverished Africa, to places where people are literally living at the edge of a desert (not a "food desert" as progs like to say, but a real desert) in order to boss Africans around and tell them they're not getting the Carbon Efficiency out of their wood-burning stoves that they should be getting.

Oh, don't take my word for it. Read the grant:

The EPA grant argues the project is necessary because the population in this region, which lies between the Sahara Desert and the vast Sudanian Savanna, is "projected to continue to grow at alarming rates," meaning more carbon emissions from when Africans cook.

"For this study, we will leverage an existing stove intervention study of 200 households in the region; randomly selected rural households received pairs of improved wood cookstoves," the grant said. "We expand that intervention study to assess stove use behaviors and emissions for an entire year and add urban households and commercial cooking activities."


The researchers will then analyze carbon emissions from "actual cooking events."

"These surveys will be supplemented with direct observations of cooking related behaviors to aide in assessment of time use (e.g., time spent cooking and gathering fuel) as these are not accurately determined through surveys," the grant continued. "Using the next generation of novel, inexpensive air quality monitors, we will continuously monitor concentrations of CO2, CO, NO2, and VOCs in the households throughout the year as well as seasonal subsets of direct emissions measurements from actual cooking events."

The project began last June, and is expected to run until May 2017. The research has cost taxpayers $1.5 million.

The EPA grant said that the goal of the project is to "develop a better understanding of the social, physical, and climatological determinants" of carbon emissions in the region.

There's more at the article, including the EPA's response to Ms. Harrington's report.

There is one humanitarian aspect here: If the stoves cook using less fuel, that reduces the amount of time that someone needs to spend on just gathering firewood.

Also, hey, free stove.

But I think it's pretty clear the major goal of this study is not to help desperately poor Africans; it's to lower the carbon footprint of people whose carbon footprints are already one one-hundredth of the smug Western progressives looking to save the world.

This may be the high-water mark for the wealthy urban progressives' favorite hobby, the collection and display of Luxurious Concerns.

Meanwhile, in America, President Cnut has ordered, by his own personal majesty, a 30% cut in CO2 emissions in America.

Because energy, you see, is some kind of trifle that we can well afford to burden with heaping additional costs.

digg this
posted by Ace at 01:57 PM

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