Natural Resources

Obama and the Alternative Energy Fiasco

The president is wrong to block oil and gas production.

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It's only a matter of time before President Barack Obama's vast popularity runs aground on his energy policies. In the name of saving the planet from global warming, he has delayed new oil drilling, an action that will have major political repercussions once the world economy recovers. Instead of using some the stimulus billions to produce more gas and oil, Obama's wild-eyed supporters dream of "renewable" energy derived from corn, wind, sunshine, and even grass.

With the appointment of extremists like climate czar Carol Browner and science adviser John Holdren, Obama has placed his administration's environmental policy in the hands of radicals. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar proposes replacing oil and coal with windmills. Yet Barron's recently reported that America would need to build 500,000 giant offshore windmills and transmission lines to produce Salazar's specified 1,900 gigawatts of electricity. In contrast, oil and gas drilling could provide hundreds of thousands of solid, well-paying blue-collar jobs. Washington Post economics columnist Robert Samuelson explains this in "The Bias Against Oil & Gas," describing how alternative energy job creation is miniscule compared to what an expansion of oil production would create. Meanwhile, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) have proposed legislation giving legal standing to allow Americans to sue any company that produces "greenhouse" gasses.

All of these things are happening at a time when natural gas is abundant and cheap. The new technology of horizontal fraccing has made it economically feasible to drill into vast shale deposits in many states, even famously difficult ones like Michigan and New York. Many cars could run on natural gas, much like many buses do already. On a recent trip to Peru, I learned that most taxicabs have been converted to natural gas for a cost of about $1,000 each. New technologies continually revive old oil and gas fields and make new ones economically viable. So it's little more than socialist Malthusianism to argue that the world is running out of cheap energy. Science will always find and harness new sources. Even the liberal New Republic recently admitted that, "Utopian environmentalism has, to some extent, always promised to heal the alienation wrought by modernity… it is a form of escapism and disengagement from reality." The extremists scoff at science and would apparently prefer scarcity so that bureaucratic rationing will enforce a change in American lifestyles.

Instead of producing more of the cheap, abundant energy that fueled America's dynamic growth, the extremists who support and surround Obama dream of drastically cutting American consumption. Many of them would like to see the government force General Motors to make flimsy little cars that run on electricity (or alternative energy) at the cost of billions. Meanwhile, the Sierra Club magazine recently boasted of helping to block construction of 96 coal-fired power plants and helping to impose a de facto moratorium on all new plants.

Currently, half of the drilling rigs in America are shutdown because of low oil and gas prices. Most smaller oil companies have suffered severe damage or even gone bankrupt by their inability to renew loans or gain credit. Likewise, the majors have few safe options in foreign countries but would invest heavily in offshore American exploration, if it were permitted.

So what about the so-called green alternatives? Forbes recently detailed the problems with windmills. First, they depend upon a two-cent-per-kilowatt taxpayer subsidy to remain competitive. They also require backup gas generators (in case the wind isn't blowing when needed) and new transmission lines running from windy places to population centers. And while new technologies to store wind-generated electricity are in the works, they have so far proven uneconomical. Nor does this even begin to consider the years of legal delays that would likely result from litigious neighbors opposed to new transmission towers. Solar power is even more expensive and would also require additional billions for backup generators and new transmission lines. Compare those unseen costs to the clear benefits of coal and gas plants where transmission lines are already built.

New oil and gas technologies could also help the U.S. from importing so much oil. But the Obama administration is stalling and trying to stop the offshore drilling approved by the previous Congress. The White House has also shut down previously permitted onshore drilling and burdened drillers with costly new restrictions. Meanwhile, $80 billion in stimulus spending has been earmarked for "renewable" energy. The plan is to give a 30 percent tax credit for the associated costs.

Americans will soon again feel the sting of gasoline costing $3.00 or $4.00 per gallon and then come to recognize how we've wasted years of opportunity to produce more energy domestically. For instance, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there are 85 billion barrels of offshore oil. (And that is an old number. It is almost certain to increase once new exploration and testing are permitted.) New supplies in continental America, not to mention the billions of barrels now accessible in Alaska, could transform our trade deficit by cutting hundreds of billions of dollars in imports. This would help rescue the value of the dollar, alleviate the cost of maintaining armies and navies in the Middle East, and help save free trade from the latest round of restrictions.

It's also essential to remember that so-called renewable energy cannot replace oil and natural gas in any significant way. For example, corn-based ethanol production "costs" nearly as much to produce as it saves in oil and can only exist with the help of costly and unending subsidies. Government, in other words, gets what it pays for. If it offers subsidies to alleviate global warming or make gasoline from grass, it will find promoters who will gladly accept that money and deliver scant results.

With the Republicans no longer handicapped by leaders like George W. Bush and John McCain, both of who caved before environmental extremists, Obama's energy policies might be a strong issue for conservatives and libertarians to rally around, and perhaps change their political fortunes. Remember that McCain famously opposed drilling in ANWR, while Bush promised the country that a gasoline substitute could be produced from switch grass.

One day the alternative energy fiasco will be studied as a vast example of waste and fraud that contributed to the collapse of the dollar and to lower living standards for most Americans. Let's hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative. He is a former insurance executive with AIG and a former South American correspondent for Knight Ridder.

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172 responses to “Obama and the Alternative Energy Fiasco

  1. It’s only a war on science when a Republican president does it.

  2. Any time I see Obama in front of a Gotham-fonted podium about the GLORIUS WORLD OF THE FUTRUE, I see the photoshop someone did where his podium just says BULLSHIT. It’s like having Roddy Piper’s sunglasses.

  3. err FUTURE

  4. Sorry for the thread jack but this has to be seen to be believed. The guy in this picture is the head of AIG Financial Products. As much as anyone the guy responsible for credit default swaps and the whole mortgage sewer. Check out the shirt he is wearing in the picture. It has to be seen to be believed.

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/05/are_aig_fp_employees_using_bailout_cash_to_get_job.php#more

  5. Fascitis Necrotizante gets massive cool points for the “They Live” reference.

  6. The decision that is going to haunt him the most is the decision to cancel Yucca Mountain and not push nuclear power.

    We’ll have a wasteland of decrpit, inefficient windmills and broken solar panels, and STILL have global warming, AND high energy prices and shortages.

    And then people will wonder where the fuck he was on nuclear power.

  7. Let’s put him in a giant hamster wheel, and hook it up to a generator.

  8. Where’s Lloyd Gallagher when you need him?

  9. Utley is somewhat right on one point – we should be using our own oil and natural gas to the extent that we can…but under the following conditions.

    1: A moratorium on all new coal, shale oil, and tar sand projects. These, not natural gas and oil, are what could spiral the climate out of control.

    2: A robust cap-and-trade with everything auctioned, or an equivalent carbon tax

    3: Much higher royalties will be charged for the priviledge of extracting OUR oil and natural gas, with 100% of the proceeds used to fund renewable energy and public transportation. No more “10 bucks for America, $130 for Exxon”. We charge some of the lowest (and most loop-hole ridden) royalties on earth.

    See, isn’t compromise fun?

  10. First let me state that I think oil and natural gas will be part of our energy supply for a while still. Further, I think producing more domestically, and helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil (and the trade deficit) is a good thing. So as far as those things go, I agree with the article.

    However, there are so many other distortions in there it’s hard to no where to start.

    1. Studies show that renewable energy projects such as wind and solar generate more jobs than fossil fuels. Mainly because they are more labor intensive. So while it is true that renewables are still usually more expensive than fossil fuels (although wind can be cheaper depending on the current costs of oil and NG), renewables to generate more jobs.

    2. As renewables continue to get cheaper, and fossil fuels more expensive (supply and demand) renewables will eventually become the cost leader. Wind probably by 2015 or so, solar maybe 2025.

    3. The US does have more NG supplies than oil, and it would make sense to utilize these more. The Pickens plan of getting more trucks etc to use NG was a good idea IMO.

    4. Even though oil prices are down now because of the slowing economy, they are going to shoot back up. Whether we’ve already hit peak oil, or whether it will be later we’ve already passed the peak of cheap oil. As China and India put millions of cars and the road and thus stimulate massive amounts of demand supply just won’t be able to keep up. It’s foolish to not plan for this now.

    5. Yes science will find and harness new forms of energy, they are called renewables, lol.

    6. Yes we are going to have to modernize our electric grid, but we were going to have to do that anyway whether we switched to renewables or not. It’s old and decaying, and can’t handle our power needs.

    7. Yes to many lawsuits are a problem. Any energy bill needs to speed construction of projects. NIMBYism it causing a lot of problems (Senator Kennedy we’re looking at you).

    8. Yes Americans will feel the sting of $4 gas, and probably much higher, and we’ve can’t drill our way out of it (not that we shouldn’t drill anyway to reduce the trade deficit) so we’d better have a plan now to help us get off oil as quickly as possible. A net zero gas tax would be a good way to start.

    9. It’s essential to remember than renewables WILL replace oil and natural gas. Whether it’s in 10 years or 50. Finite resources will run out. What part of finite don’t you understand?

  11. “3: Much higher royalties will be charged for the priviledge of extracting OUR oil and natural gas, with 100% of the proceeds used to fund renewable energy and public transportation. No more “10 bucks for America, $130 for Exxon”. We charge some of the lowest (and most loop-hole ridden) royalties on earth.”

    We are charging money to ourselves you fuckhead. If you charge a higher royalty, those costs will just get passed onto the consumer. Further, higher energy costs will obliterate the poor. Why do liberals hate poor people so much? Why do they want them not to be able to afford to heat their homes or drive to work?

  12. I think producing more domestically, and helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil (and the trade deficit) is a good thing.

    I say, “Let’s burn theirs first.”

  13. @Kroneborge: “9. It’s essential to remember than renewables WILL replace oil and natural gas. Whether it’s in 10 years or 50. Finite resources will run out. What part of finite don’t you understand?”

    With nuclear, the fuel will eventually come out of the ocean, where it is deposited by rivers washing down mountains. This will take a LOOOOOOOONG time to run out, even if none of it is recycled, and if the people on this planet haven’t figured out how to make fusion work by then, then they deserve to live in caves.

    A society that runs on “renewable energy” is doomed to be a hunter-gatherer society, because it cannot concentrate enough energy to make metals and all of the wonderful “stuff” that makes technology possible. You need LOTS of people to provide the brains, and LOTS of energy to feed and clothe and house and transport those people. They can’t do it while worshiping trees and grass and rocks.

  14. “1. Studies show that renewable energy projects such as wind and solar generate more jobs than fossil fuels. Mainly because they are more labor intensive. So while it is true that renewables are still usually more expensive than fossil fuels (although wind can be cheaper depending on the current costs of oil and NG), renewables to generate more jobs.”

    What studies? done by whom? That is completely counter factual. If renewables were cheaper, people would be using them. To the extent they cost more than coal or oil, they cause higher energy prices and make us poorer. There is no way around that.

    “2. As renewables continue to get cheaper, and fossil fuels more expensive (supply and demand) renewables will eventually become the cost leader. Wind probably by 2015 or so, solar maybe 2025.”

    If that is true, the market will make it happen and there is no reason to subsidize what will be a profitable industry. Of course it is complete nonsense, which is why those involved in renewables are trying to loot the government to stay in business.

    “3. The US does have more NG supplies than oil, and it would make sense to utilize these more. The Pickens plan of getting more trucks etc to use NG was a good idea IMO.”

    Although we have a lot of gas, we have a lot less of it than coal and there is a lot less of it world wide than oil or coal. Gas is more expensive than oil and so when you use it for trucks or cars you are poorer than you were.

    “4. Even though oil prices are down now because of the slowing economy, they are going to shoot back up. Whether we’ve already hit peak oil, or whether it will be later we’ve already passed the peak of cheap oil. As China and India put millions of cars and the road and thus stimulate massive amounts of demand supply just won’t be able to keep up. It’s foolish to not plan for this now.”

    Maybe maybe not. People have been selling the peak oil horsehit for 30 years just they have been selling the peak food horseshit. It doesn’t change the fact that the world is awash in oil and probably will be for the forseable future, wishful thinking aside.

    “5. Yes science will find and harness new forms of energy, they are called renewables, lol.”

    Then let science do it and let the people who do so get rich. Stop robbing me to support losing proposition. If there really is a cheap wonder energy out there, it won’t need government help to get started or stay in business.

    “6. Yes we are going to have to modernize our electric grid, but we were going to have to do that anyway whether we switched to renewables or not. It’s old and decaying, and can’t handle our power needs.”

    Give a link for that. The grid seems to work okay. The problem seems to be we don’t have enough excess capacity because jackasses like you won’t let anyone build a power plant. Beyond that, who cares. If the electric companies want to stay in business they will fix the grid themselves.

    “7. Yes to many lawsuits are a problem. Any energy bill needs to speed construction of projects. NIMBYism it causing a lot of problems (Senator Kennedy we’re looking at you).”

    Yeah, so what. But, in some ways senator Kennedy has a point. Why destroy the view at Martha’s vinyard to build 19th Century technology when you could get 10 times the power by building one coal or nuclear plant back in the woods of New Hampshire? Wind plants are a blight on the land and an incredibly ineffecient land use to produce power.

    “8. Yes Americans will feel the sting of $4 gas, and probably much higher, and we’ve can’t drill our way out of it (not that we shouldn’t drill anyway to reduce the trade deficit) so we’d better have a plan now to help us get off oil as quickly as possible. A net zero gas tax would be a good way to start.”

    Easy for you to say, you are not poor. Again why do liberals and environmentalists hate the poor so much? Cheap gas and cheap energy makes us rich. Any plan to make energy more expensive is just a plan to make us poor.

    “9. It’s essential to remember than renewables WILL replace oil and natural gas. Whether it’s in 10 years or 50. Finite resources will run out. What part of finite don’t you understand?”

    No it is not because it is horsehit. Renewables won’t replace anything. A hundred years from now we will be relying on fusion and advanced nuclear power and laughing at how the world went crazy in the early 21st Century and thought renewables were the future.

  15. 1. errr GLORIOUS also. dunno what’s wrong with me today.

    2. re: They Live. In spite of its usefulness for references, that movie can suck it big time. Painfully slow and too little delivery on an excellent premise.

    3. Krone – The more jobs created by renewable energy production should be considered part of the cost, not the benefit. They’re the result of the inefficiency of those systems.

    And the economy will transition to alternative energy systems only when it has to (ie when nonrenewables become prohibitively expensive). I’m not persuaded that we should expedite this process, artificially raising the cost of nonrenewables until they meet the high cost floor of wind, solar, etc… But then I discount concerns about CO2 emissions as unreasonable.

  16. A society that runs on “renewable energy” is doomed to be a hunter-gatherer society, because it cannot concentrate enough energy to make metals and all of the wonderful “stuff” that makes technology possible.

    Wait- you can’t run an aluminum smelter with windmills and solar panels?

    What about unicorn farts?

  17. The extended fight scene in They Live is obviously an exception to that negative review.

  18. P Brooks,

    You can only run a smelter on unicorn farts if Obama is riding the unicorn naked at the time. It is a great source of energy but only if during the two or three times a day Obama choses to ride naked on his unicorn around the whitehouse lawn.

  19. It’s true that renewables normally aren’t as concentrated (with the possible exception of geothermal). But that doesn’t mean it won’t work.

    DOE says we can get 20% of our energy from wind.
    I think that combined with something like the Grand Solar Plan
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan

    and geothermal would probably solve our problems.

    It won’t happen overnight, but I expect it will happen.

    Especially when you look at some of the coming breakthroughs in solar efficency, and cost effectivness.

  20. The only thing that SHOULD be done is for the government to forget the whole nonsense and let the marketplace determine fuel sources and usage.

    The eco-socialist wackos cannot actually prove the existence of man-made global warming. And the CERTAINLY cannot prove or quantify ANY benefit that would be obtained by carbon cap and trade or alternative energy subsidies and mandates to offset the very real costs of them.

    Ultimately it is only improvements in productivity that make any nation richer and better off. Artificially mandating a substitution of more expensive fuel sources for less expensive ones is exactly contrary to that.

    I have no doubt that when oil and gas prices shoot up again, the blowhard politicians whose policies prevented us from getting at our own fossil fuel resources will once again do nothing more than haul the oil company executives in for Stalinist show-trial Congressional hearings to divert attention away from their own culpability.

  21. “Especially when you look at some of the coming breakthroughs in solar efficency, and cost effectivness.”

    I keep hearing that and I hope it is true. But if is true, the guy who comes up with it, is going to be able to buy and sell Bill Gates with petty cash. Given that, why the hell is the government spending money on something that is going to happen anyway?

  22. Kroneborge | May 13, 2009, 12:45pm | #

    1. Studies show that renewable energy projects such as wind and solar generate more jobs than fossil fuels. Mainly because they are more labor intensive.

    This is an important point. Not only does the data back this up, but it is actually quite obvious. The very reason that renewables tend to cost more than fossil fuels is precisely because renewables require more labor. It is pretty hard to argue that “renewables are more expensive” and “renewables create few jobs” at the same time.

    When you dig through the data, you find that nuclear actually creates the most construction and permanant jobs, per gigawatt of capacity. Coal competes with geothermal for last place. Renewables tend to have less than average construction jobs but more permanant ones. Overall, though, the differences aren’t that big, nor is it obvious that more jobs is better in the first place. Shouldn’t we be trying to do things with LESS labor?

  23. Kronenborge,

    Are you an industry insider? Or is it more likely you’re just making shit up? By the way, as for this “Drill domestically for our oil needs” you gotta take two things into account. One is transportation costs. That’s why most of the Alaskan oil goes to Japan not the Continental US. Two is ownership. It’s not “our” oil, dipshit. I don’t own any oil that Shell, Exxon, etc are pumping and neither do you unless you own shares in said companies, you fucktard. That is all. Carry on.

  24. It’s true that renewables normally aren’t as concentrated (with the possible exception of geothermal).

    You know what else works really great?

    Hydroelectric generation; can we expect you to come out in favor of a series of new large scale dam projects? Because it’s renewable, and will wean us off foreign energy, and stuff.

  25. Gilbert Martin | May 13, 2009, 1:12pm | #

    The only thing that SHOULD be done is for the government to forget the whole nonsense and let the marketplace determine fuel sources and usage.

    Deal. Let’s go at it, no subsidies. That includes the removal of any subsidy related to dumping your garbage into public property and creating permanent damage to the landscape or biodiversity. Say good-bye to coal if that ever happens.

    The eco-socialist wackos cannot actually prove the existence of man-made global warming. And the CERTAINLY cannot prove or quantify ANY benefit that would be obtained by carbon cap and trade or alternative energy subsidies and mandates to offset the very real costs of them.

    We don’t need to “prove” it. Indeed, it is impossible to prove. We only need to show that is possible, as the government as well as individuals, act based on probabilities all the time. The current level of probability is “very likely”, which implies >90%. That’s well beyond the threshold for action.

  26. Fascitis Necrotizante,

    No. They Live is B-movie greatness.

    We’re moving along towards new energy sources. The only issue is whether the government should try to intervene to “speed up” the process. Given that the government rarely does anything very efficiently, why not leave it to the market? Oil has shown a volatility that consumers don’t much care for, we’re all tired of relying on foreign oil, burning oil creates plenty of pollution (and may or may not contribute to global warming), and internal combustion lacks that 21st century feeling.

    Obama and the government could do absolutely nothing, and we’d still end up with new energy options and even probably a substantial number of electric cars by 2020. It’s only the current zeal for making everything into a crisis that makes government intervention even part of the conversation. The risk, of course, is that the government will push options based on politics (e.g., ethanol) and will make wrong decisions about which technology to back on top of that. And, of course, the government is inefficient when it comes to investment in R&D.

    If AGW advocates were serious, we’d be on a crash course towards nuclear, with significant research dollars going into fusion research.

  27. “With nuclear, the fuel will eventually come out of the ocean, where it is deposited by rivers washing down mountains. This will take a LOOOOOOOONG time to run out, even if none of it is recycled, and if the people on this planet haven’t figured out how to make fusion work by then, then they deserve to live in caves.”

    True enough – but the fuel CAN be recycled and therefore it will last an even LOOOOOOOOONNNNNGGGGEEEERRRR time.

    That’s the way the French do it – reprocess the spent fuel and re-use it.

  28. Okay. Reinmoose is that you? J’accuse!

  29. “See, isn’t compromise fun?”

    I work in the energy industry; you are an idiot.

    “The very reason that renewables tend to cost more than fossil fuels is precisely because renewables require more labor.”

    Yup, an idiot.

  30. “Deal. Let’s go at it, no subsidies. That includes the removal of any subsidy related to dumping your garbage into public property and creating permanent damage to the landscape or biodiversity. Say good-bye to coal if that ever happens.”

    Sorry, YOU don’t get to define what constitutes a “subsidy”.

  31. Two is ownership. It’s not “our” oil, dipshit.

    The oil and gas on public property (which is what most of the political debate is about) is indeed the property of all Americans until we sell the drilling rights. We have been selling at a stupidly low price and then even undercutting that with loopholes. This needs to stop. We should be selling at the highest price we can fetch. Even a libertarian should agree with that.

  32. We don’t need to “prove” it. Indeed, it is impossible to prove. We only need to show that is possible, as the government as well as individuals, act based on probabilities all the time. The current level of probability is “very likely”, which implies >90%. That’s well beyond the threshold for action.”

    That’s just more bullshit. You can’t prove any “probability level” any more than you can prove anything else about it.

  33. What’s the “fair” price then?

  34. Hmmm…

    I’m pretty sure there was someone once who figured out a way to broadcast electricity wirelessly across the planet so that everyone and anyone could tap into free power at any time…

    Who could that have been?

  35. We should be selling at the highest price we can fetch

    You mean like when we auctioned off those drilling rights?

  36. I know how to solve this. We will form all high school graduates into a mandatory volunteer army that will ride stationary bikes to turn generators. We’ll pay them $50 an hour and give them free medical care.

    What do you think, Kroneborge? We’ll solve the energy crisis, the obesity crisis, the unemployment crisis, the volunteerism crisis, and the health crisis all at once! Now get to DC and start lobbying. I don’t care how many floppy congressional dicks you have to suck, you get sucking. It’s for the good of the nation.

  37. Sorry, YOU don’t get to define what constitutes a “subsidy”.

    There is no difference between giving someone cash, a tax break, or free services of the same value. They are all subsidies.

  38. I wouldn’t say I’m an industry insider, but I am investor that spends a considerable amount of time researching stuff like this. From an investor standpoint, I’m long oil and gas, prices are going up pretty much anything over a 5 year time span, and quite possible much shorter. For example Mexico (one of our largest suppliers of oil) will quite probably turn from an oil exporter to an oil importer in 2012 or so.

    However, from a consumer standpoint I’m trying to promote renewables NOW, so that when oil hits $200 a barrel (almost certainly within 10 years) that we have other stuff in the works to replace it.

    Finally to Gill’s point, I think the market has a tendency to be a bit short sighted some times, especially when it comes to long term investing from a societies stand point. This has a lot to do with net present value and capital budgeting.

    My favorite example is things like electricty generation from a dam. From a capital budgeting persepective the power getting generated from the plants built 50+ years ago is practically worhtless because anything past 30 years or so is so discounted by NPV. But from a society standpoint doesn’t that power still have value?

    I think the market is marvelously efficient at allocating many things, but it’s not perfect. It usuaully can’t deal with externalities, and it isn’t always real great either with super long term planning.

  39. someone once who figured out a way to broadcast electricity wirelessly

    Will everybody’s hair be standing on end all the time? because that would be kind of cool.

  40. “Deal. Let’s go at it, no subsidies.”

    The wind industry would immediatly collapse. AWEA (www.awea.org) (full disclosure, I’m a member) lobbied congress extremely hard to ensure tax credits wern’t allowed to sunset for wind derived energy.

    You guys are just making things up.

  41. Why do you guys keep allowing “Chad” to troll you? He’s so obviously saying the exact right stuff to rile you up that he can’t be real.

    By the way, “Chad”, pretty good sockpuppet, but you’re hitting the exact right notes too regularly. You need to be a little more erratic to seem real.

    And Warty, nobody wants to know about your sweaty spin class fantasies.


  42. You mean like when we auctioned off those drilling rights?

    The problem lies in the royalty system, where we charge little in principle and less in practice. Corruption is rampant, and unlike most nations, we have locked ourselves out of most of the upside.

  43. Mexico (one of our largest suppliers of oil) will quite probably turn from an oil exporter to an oil importer in 2012 or so.

    Doesn’t that have more to do with deteriorating (government owned) infrastructure than with supply?

  44. Warty,

    Bikes? That requires manufacturing, which involves pollution. I say just make people push a human-powered turbine, around and around and around, ? la Conan the Barbarian.

    The beauty of this plan is that all of the (surviving) draftees will be in great shape once they have done their duty to America and will be able to compete for bodybuilding championships and join barbarian hordes.

    P Brooks,

    Didn’t Tesla try that? I’ve heard some talk about MIT research on beaming energy in the home, but I’m not sure how that works or how well it works. I’ve also read about beaming energy from solar collectors in space via microwaves–not sure about the specs of that, either.

  45. “The current level of probability is “very likely”, which implies >90%. That’s well beyond the threshold for action.” [citation needed]

  46. Actually, think of the superhero opportunities inherent in Warty’s plan.

  47. Enough About Palin | May 13, 2009, 1:36pm |

    The wind industry would immediatly collapse. AWEA (www.awea.org) (full disclosure, I’m a member) lobbied congress extremely hard to ensure tax credits wern’t allowed to sunset for wind derived energy.

    Until you realize that coal power would now cost north of 10c/kwh because of the price they would have to pay in order to keeping spewing crap out of their smokestacks, and the jump in coal prices as that mining too would have to pay to clean up. It is hard to find any estimate of the externalities of coal that is less than 4c/kwh. Most are much higher.

    Wind will do just fine against coal when coal loses ITS subsidies, too.

  48. Kronenborge,

    YOU ARE PART OF THE MARKET YOU IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As for the long term planning . . . the world is dynamic not static. You can’t plan for shit beyond a reasonable time frame. Ten years from now in an extremely volatile industry(that would be energy) you have NO idea what will happen. Ever heard of oil shell and tar sands? Canada’s loaded with it. It’s only worth the investment to exploit the fields around a $100 dollars a barrel or so. Eventually prices will come back down. It’s cyclical, douchebag.

  49. If you want to talk about a real problem with the grid, think about transformers. Thanks to the ban on PCBs, you can’t make them here anymore. It takes a year to get one from overseas. You want to shut down the country’s electrical grid? Get yourself a high powered rifle and drive around shooting holes in transformers. After you shot four or five hundred of them, the supply of replacements would run out and the grid would start to shut down as you shot more and more of them.

  50. Enough About Palin | May 13, 2009, 1:40pm | #

    “The current level of probability is “very likely”, which implies >90%. That’s well beyond the threshold for action.” [citation needed]

    Apparently someone didn’t even bother to read the IPCC report. Talk about deliberately attempting to be a know-nothing…sigh.

  51. Ever heard of oil shell and tar sands? Canada’s loaded with it. It’s only worth the investment to exploit the fields around a $100 dollars a barrel or so. Eventually prices will come back down. It’s cyclical, douchebag

    Tar sands have about double the CO2 emissions as regular oil AND deface enormous patches of land. Good luck making THAT economic without a free garbage dump subsidy.

  52. “Apparently someone didn’t even bother to read the IPCC report. Talk about deliberately attempting to be a know-nothing…sigh.”

    That would be you. The actual report, not the political summary with all of the scare tactics is very circumspect about the state of knowledge regarding global warming.

  53. Mexico’s problems involve both a decreasing supply, and governmental interference preventing foreigners to help get the remaining supply.

    Perhaps that will change, but given the long lead times involved, I doubt it will be in time to halt their decreasing production.

  54. By the way, did you know that the Secretary of Energy has proposed a FY 2010 budget that essentially zeroes out DOE’s hydrogen program budget. Only stationary fuel cell research would continue to be funded. How does this advance our renewable energy goals?

  55. C’mon, “Chad” how about it?
    DAMS! Dams with water turbine generators, humming along day and night, to recharge your plug-in dream car!

    Dam, baby, dam!

  56. One does not *produce* gas and oil, any more than one *produces* water or gold. One extracts them, and when they are gone, there is no more to be had in that particular bed. Therefore we should treat these resources as we do our capital, not as our income. I notice that those who call for increased oil and gas production seem to ignore that part of it, quite as if they thought these resources were income, something to be produced.

    I’m afraid I will have to disagree, then, and call for research into energy sources that are, indeed, income to us and not capital.

  57. Studies show that renewable energy projects such as wind and solar generate more jobs than fossil fuels.

    Unlike the proponents of this claim, who are averse to providing support for their view, I will provide a link:

    Spain tried this approach, and they have learned that it costs jobs.

  58. We could use Naga’s anger and its resulting force lightning to meet America’s power needs.

    Chad’s yet another fake, Naga. I’m starting to wonder if loony liberalism is just a big goof on America.

  59. “I notice that those who call for increased oil and gas production seem to ignore that part of it, quite as if they thought these resources were income, something to be produced.”

    So what. There are billions of tons of oil, gas and coal that we are not extracting right now that we could be.

  60. Pro Lib, you’re on to something. The Wheel of Pain industry is in a decades-long slump and needs our help as a nation. Did you know that for every job we create or save in a Wheel of Pain mill, 6 additional service jobs are created?

  61. Pro Lib,

    Yeah. I am a bit worked up. Bad night last night.

  62. “Until you realize that coal power would now cost north of 10c/kwh because of the price they would have to pay in order to keeping spewing crap out of their smokestacks, and the jump in coal prices as that mining too would have to pay to clean up. It is hard to find any estimate of the externalities of coal that is less than 4c/kwh. Most are much higher.

    Wind will do just fine against coal when coal loses ITS subsidies, too.”

    [citations needed]

  63. Energy should not be an issue. It is a gift from our creator just like air and fire.

    And it exists so abundantly in nature, that it’s hard to imagine people complaining that we do not have enough of it.

    See, I’m sort of an expert on this.

    Can you imagine someone charging you for air? And then hordes of people debating the costs and the need to produce more? Sounds kinda silly eh?

  64. “If you want to talk about a real problem with the grid, think about transformers. Thanks to the ban on PCBs, you can’t make them here anymore. It takes a year to get one from overseas..”

    Yup. And if they are made by Siemens, odds are they won’t work.

  65. Citactions about jobs for renewables
    http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/node/2618

    There’s also another more detailed study I’ve read, but I can’t find it atm, and frankly don’t have time.

  66. Also, most transformers nowadays are PCB-free.

  67. Pat, what’s this “our” capital and “our” income thing?

    Minerals belong to the landowner (or whoever he sold the rights to) not to “us.”

  68. ” Good luck making THAT economic without a free garbage dump subsidy.”

    Like I said earlier, YOU don’t get to define what constitutes a “subsidy”.

    It isn’t a fact that such things are a “subsidy” – merely YOUR opinion that they are.

  69. “Perhaps that will change, but given the long lead times involved, I doubt it will be in time to halt their decreasing production.”

    That’s okay. We will soon be able to buy oil pumped ot of Cuba’s recently discovered vast oil deposits.

  70. I demand that many people spoof me for the rest of the day.

  71. “Spain tried this approach, and they have learned that it costs jobs.”

    Thank you, Mr. Dean.

  72. “Also, most transformers nowadays are PCB-free.”

    Yup.

  73. I demand that many people spoof me for the rest of the day.

    I demand that many people spoof you but use the moniker “Gnad” instead of “Chad”.

  74. That seems like a tall order, Epi. What about my carpal tunnel?

  75. Al Gore made it clear that Americans are going to be directly responsible for killing millions of poor brown people on the other side of the world when the seas flood their homes. We should be willing to pay whatever price is necessary to prevent this from happening.

  76. Kroneborge your NPV calculator is broken.

  77. didnt sop ur mom from geving me all handjobs!!

  78. “Al Gore made it clear that Americans are going to be directly responsible for killing millions of poor brown people on the other side of the world when the seas flood their homes. We should be willing to pay whatever price is necessary to prevent this from happening.”

    Al Gor made it clear that he is willing to lie in order to advance his religion. And you fell for it. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  79. “Americans are going to be directly responsible for killing millions of poor brown people on the other side of the world when the seas flood their homes”

    Americans have been killing poor brown people on the other side of the world for centuries. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  80. I demand spoofing!

  81. “Al Gore made it clear that Americans are going to be directly responsible for killing millions of poor brown people on the other side of the world when the seas flood their homes. We should be willing to pay whatever price is necessary to prevent this from happening.”

    Ok you are citing Al Gore as scientific authority. You are performance art. Of course the only way to save those brown people is by condeming to poverty and denying them access to cheap energy. Sort of a 21st Century version of we destroyed the village in order to save it.

  82. Al Gore was right about ManBearPig, so all you libertards can suck it. Dry.

  83. Unlike the proponents of this claim, who are averse to providing support for their view, I will provide a link:

    Spain tried this approach, and they have learned that it costs jobs.

    Obama will “create or save” 3 million jobs. So what this means is that if the renewable energy program creates one job, but fails to save or kills two other jobs, he still wins. It’s an ‘OR’ statement, not an ‘AND’ statement. Conversely, if the Obama initiative saves some government makework job in a department that should have been cut altogether, he ‘saved’ the job. So the right side of the ‘OR’ statement executes true.

  84. What about my carpal tunnel?

    You can get that from excessive jerking off?

  85. Al Gore made it clear that Americans are going to be directly responsible for killing millions of poor brown people on the other side of the world when the seas flood their homes.

    I uhh, hmm. Did Al Gore say that the seas would flood instantly, sort of like a tidal wave, or like that crazy movie “The Day After Tomorrow”?

  86. Why do tidal waves only kill brown people?

  87. You can get that from excessive jerking off?

    You bet your ass. Err, that’s what I read somewhere, anyway.

  88. You can get that from excessive jerking off?

    That’s why you’ve got to vary your technique.

  89. “Why do tidal waves only kill brown people?”

    Because tidal waves are Democrats.

  90. “That’s why you’ve got to vary your technique.”

    No, just get a dog and a jar of peanut butter and go hands free.

  91. Why do tidal waves only kill brown people?

    They don’t swim to well

    never watched the Olympics?

  92. I’m more partial to “stranger” EAP. The dog could start biting instead of simply licking. Errrr. . . that’s what I’ve heard anyway.

  93. “Al Gore made it clear that Americans are going to be directly responsible for killing millions of poor brown people on the other side of the world when the seas flood their homes. We should be willing to pay whatever price is necessary to prevent this from happening.”

    Al Gore is way off on his estimate of sea level rise. He is predicting that sea level will rise by 20 feet by the end of this century. The IPCC estimates it at around 1 foot.

  94. How do you figure my NPV calculator is broken?

    Let’s say project X generates 100m a year in income. Then say a 10% return on the project, and at 30 years, that 100 is worth around 6 NPV, at 50 years, it’s .8

    Of course we can start lowering the required rate of return it will get slightly more valuable the further out it gets, but the point remains.

  95. “Because tidal waves are Democrats.”

    Absolutely.

    Most of them are caused by Ted Kennedy running his car into the drink.

  96. “Most of them are caused by Ted Kennedy running his car into the drink.”

    As council for Mr. Kennedy we write to inform you…

  97. Al Gore is way off on his estimate of sea level rise.

    Al Gore has a Nobel. Do you?

  98. “Al Gore has a Nobel. Do you?”

    I do! I do!

  99. Hmmm…

    I’m pretty sure there was someone once who figured out a way to broadcast electricity wirelessly across the planet so that everyone and anyone could tap into free power at any time…

    Who could that have been?

    Some crazy Croatian, I think.

  100. Chad,

    Ah, now that was funny. Although I eschew the genre, liberal troll performance art is tough, I’ll grant.

    Gore isn’t wrong about the 20-foot rise. The extra 19 feet will come when he does a cannon ball into the Atlantic. [rim shot]

  101. Meanwhile, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) have proposed legislation giving legal standing to allow Americans to sue any company that produces “greenhouse” gasses.

    Oh no!!! I farted. Hey, is the secretary breathing over there. Don’t sue me dude!!!

  102. “Americans will soon again feel the sting of gasoline costing $3.00 or $4.00 per gallon and then come to recognize how we’ve wasted years of opportunity to produce more energy domestically.”

    Hogwash. Americans will not come to recognize anything. The huge majority of people are pig ignorant about the production and distribution of energy in any form and are happy to remain stupid. The demagogues will assure them that the manipulations of the Oil Oligarchs (but only the American ones) ran up the prices and our guardians and benefactors in the government will rectify the situation by slapping on an “excess profits” tax.

    Just watch.

  103. The extremists scoff at science and would apparently prefer scarcity so that bureaucratic rationing will enforce a change in American lifestyles.

    Where do you guys get this notion? Anyone concerned with the harmful effects of greenhouse gas pumping industries on our environment is a radical utopian who wants to force scarcity on the world. Scarcity is just what most of the world will see a lot more of if we continue to burn fossil fuels. The only people seriously interested in maintaining something resembling our current standard of living are the environmentalists. The rest are just in denial or work for interested industries.

    It’s really too late for harebrained domestic drilling schemes (all peddled to Congress in the service of attracting more subsidies, no doubt). We should be focusing on ending fossil fuel energy production first and foremost.

  104. “We should be focusing on ending fossil fuel energy production first and foremost.”

    To do so would bring about a much lower standard of living. Solar and wind just can’t provide enough of our energy needs at this point. More nuclear energy is a good solution for electricity generation, but there is no substitute for oil for transportation. Ethanol is a boondoggle. More CO2 is released to the atmosphere in the production of and burning of ethanol than in the production and burning of gasoline.

  105. We should be focusing on ending fossil fuel energy production first and foremost.

    Gasoline is only a small fraction of the output products from the refinement of oil. Many of the other products that come out of a barrel of oil have no useful alternative.

    Even if we stop burning gasoline, we will still need to extract and refine oil.

    What do yo plan to do with the parts of a barrel of oil that go into gasoline? Dump it on the ground?

  106. “Al Gore has a Nobel. Do you?”

    When Hayek and Friedman received Nobel Prizes, I had respect for the Nobel Prize committee. I don’t have that much respect for them anymore now that morons like Gore and Krugman can get Nobel Prizes.

  107. “It’s really too late for harebrained domestic drilling schemes” [citation needed]

  108. When Hayek and Friedman received Nobel Prizes, . . .

    What do those guys have to do with Climate Change?

  109. Forget fusion, fusion’s been “10 to 20 years away” for the past 40 years. Nanotechnology’s the miracle cure!

  110. ” What do those guys have to do with Climate Change?”

    A comparison of their carbon footprints would show that they have a lot less to do with climate change than al gore does.

    Fuck off, by the way.

  111. Fusion’s going to take more time, but boy, will it be great when it comes. I mean, comes under our control.

  112. This was not a very good article. Excessively tendentious assertions and fast & loose with a few facts. (the one that sticks out is the $1000 for Peruvian nat gas conversion – when you’re paying Peruvian wages, you can probably get it for this; when I looked it up last time this came up, I remember the US conversion price was typically at least $10-20K).

  113. You can get that from excessive jerking off?

    That’s why you’ve got to vary your technique.

    Thank God, I am ambidextrous (no that is not a synonym for bisexual, so back off, buddy).

  114. Studies show that renewable energy projects such as wind and solar generate more jobs than fossil fuels. Mainly because they are more labor intensive. So while it is true that renewables are still usually more expensive than fossil fuels (although wind can be cheaper depending on the current costs of oil and NG), renewables to generate more jobs.

    Similarly, agriculture performed with oxen and plows and without pesticides employs more people than agriculture performed with combines and pesticides. You can always “create jobs” in an industry by decreasing productivity.

  115. “Utopian environmentalism has, to some extent, always promised to heal the alienation wrought by modernity… it is a form of escapism and disengagement from reality.”

    We are NOT excapist, we are realist! We are not disengaged from reality, but are the ones who see the truth which you libertarians hide your heads in the sand from.

    You will see, and you will pay the day Gaea takes her swift and just revenge on all of you!

  116. One way to kill fire ants: Turn them into headless zombies:

    Some researchers in Texas are trying an unusual approach to combat fire ants – parasitic flies that turn the pesky insects into zombies whose heads fall off.

    “It’s a tool. They’re not going to completely wipe out the fire ant, but it’s a way to control their population,” said Scott Ludwig, an integrated pest management specialist with Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension Service in Overton, in East Texas.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/hotstories/6420449.html

  117. Similarly, agriculture performed with oxen and plows and without pesticides employs more people than agriculture performed with combines and pesticides. You can always “create jobs” in an industry by decreasing productivity.

    Agreed. You seem to be one of the few people that grasp that jobs are a bad thing, not a good thing. They just happen to correlate very well with something we DO enjoy (the ability to consume), and as well all know, most people do not understand the difference.

    That being said, renewables require more labor, less raw material input, and have far fewer externalities. Ignoring the externalities, they are more “expensive” due to the higher labor requirements, but including the externalities, wind, gas, and nuclear all trump coal, and solar will soon as well.

  118. “and as well all know, most people do not understand the difference.”

    Where do you come up with this crap?

    “externalities”

    The externalities are BS issue was resolve here a week or two ago.

  119. We can, of course, mitigate the increased labor costs of rewnables by offshoring the jobs to those poor brown people that we are planning to save from rising sealevels by using renewable energy.

  120. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) have proposed legislation giving legal standing to allow Americans to sue any company that produces “greenhouse” gasses.

    Provided we do away with the EPA this is a great idea. If people could sue polluters who proximately cause deterioration of their health and property values we’d have a market-driven solution for pollution, vastly decreased costs for new businesses (no environmental impact reports and other EPA bullshit), and lower taxes for not having to support the bloated and ineffective entity that is the EPA. If it hadn’t been decided at the dawn of the industrial revolution to insulate polluters from liability we likely would not be in the environmental and health crisis we’re in today.

  121. Seamus,

    I’m not arguing that simply because renewables employ more people they are better than fossils. I’m merely refuting the authors bogus comment that fossil generates more jobs.

    That being said, I do have a preference for where the jobs are generated. IE, other things being equal, I would prefer to generate a job servicing a wind farm in Kansas, than a job drilling an oil well in Saudi Arabia.

  122. @Chad: creating jobs is not a bad thing, but creating jobs by breaking windows is. I think (hope) that’s what you meant.

  123. 1. Studies show that renewable energy projects such as wind and solar generate more jobs than fossil fuels. Mainly because they are more labor intensive. So while it is true that renewables are still usually more expensive than fossil fuels (although wind can be cheaper depending on the current costs of oil and NG), renewables to generate more jobs.

    You know what is even more labor intensive than windmills?

    Hand drawn carts.

    Lets do everything as inefficiently as possible, so as to maximize the amount of labor expended doing it.

    Sounds like a formula for success to me!

  124. “You know what is even more labor intensive than windmills?

    Hand drawn carts.

    Lets do everything as inefficiently as possible, so as to maximize the amount of labor expended doing it.

    Sounds like a formula for success to me!”

    Hamster wheels Hazel, Hamster Wheels. It solves our energy and our obesity problems with one program.

  125. @Chad: creating jobs is not a bad thing, but creating jobs by breaking windows is. I think (hope) that’s what you meant.

    I assume that is the Chad spoofer, if not, the guy’s got big problems.

  126. Chad:
    1. Studies show that renewable energy projects such as wind and solar generate more jobs than fossil fuels. Mainly because they are more labor intensive.

    This is an important point. Not only does the data back this up, but it is actually quite obvious. The very reason that renewables tend to cost more than fossil fuels is precisely because renewables require more labor. It is pretty hard to argue that “renewables are more expensive” and “renewables create few jobs” at the same time.

    The fact that “progressives” can’t seem to grasp the fact that labor intensiveness is a detriment and not a benefit shows just how dangerously retarded they are when it comes to managing the economy.

    Believe me, I’ve worked in the space industry. I’ve seen what kind of garbage the philosophy of maximizing the “production of jobs” leads to.
    It leads to unreliable, expensive, inefficient technology that cannot possibly compete in the private sector, because it was deliberately designed to be maximally labor intensive. It leads to a technological albatross tied around the industries neck.

    And that is EXCACTLY what we are going to get from the “Green Energy” program. Mark my words.

  127. We can, of course, mitigate the increased labor costs of rewnables by offshoring the jobs to those poor brown people that we are planning to save from rising sealevels by using renewable energy.

    Wrong. The little brown people are more likely to out compete us, because they aren’t stupid enough to think that doing theything with manual labor is an improvement.

    Some Japanese company will automate it’s factory and sell uber-cheap reliable solar panels produced almost entirely by robots. And our uber-expensive ‘labor intensive’ ones will never get a foothold in the world market. And the retarded labor union that I’m sure will be running the plant will get the government to impose tariffs to make sure that Americans can’t buy the cheaper foreign solar panels.

    Sound familiar anyone?

  128. Yes doing things inefficently is bad. But basing our society on a rapidly decreasing resource (with rapidly growing competition for that resource) also has problems.

    That’s why I stated at the start that oil and gas would be a part of our energy supply for a while, BUT that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be activly pursing other sources.

  129. The market will autonomously switch to “alternative” energy sources when it becomes more cost-effective than oil and gas – i.e. when the supply of oil and gas dries up to the point that the price rises above the cost of alternatives.

    At that point, the market will seek efficiencies in the production of alternative energy that will drive their cost down. As opposed to a government program that would deliberately make them more inneficient and expensive because it is attempting to use them as a “jobs” program.

    Seriously, if “progressives” had half a clue about economics, they would not want to let the government anywhere near green technology.

  130. Hazel Meade | May 13, 2009, 5:35pm | #

    The fact that “progressives” can’t seem to grasp the fact that labor intensiveness is a detriment and not a benefit shows just how dangerously retarded they are when it comes to managing the economy.

    Hazel, I have made that point several times. Renewables require more labor, which will create more jobs but increases their expense. However, they tend to require less capital and cause far less pollution and other externalities, making their price lower overall.

    Let’s put it this way. Renewables require more engineers and technicians. Coal requires more doctors.

  131. Hazel Meade | May 13, 2009, 6:00pm | #

    Some Japanese company will automate it’s factory and sell uber-cheap reliable solar panels produced almost entirely by robots.

    Actually, the biggest raw material supplier to the solar industry is based in Michigan, and the biggest production equipment supplier based in California. But if we don’t push these industries forward, these companies will lose out to Chinese, Japanese, and German competitors.

  132. The market will autonomously switch to “alternative” energy sources when it becomes more cost-effective than oil and gas

    Wrong. We will switch when they are most cost-effective after subsidies and ignoring externalities.

    Therein lies the problem. The subsidies and externalities are about as large as the actual prices we are dealing with.

  133. However, they tend to require less capital and cause far less pollution and other externalities, making their price lower overall.

    This is not actually true. The price of solar reflects not just the increased cost of labor, but also the energy used in producing solar panels. Energy which comes from coal and gas power plants. Not to mention often hazardous chemicals involved. What if it turns out that solar panel production on a large scale is actually much more chemically hazardous than burning coal?

    Also, Obama has been pushing the “job production” aspect of “Clean coal” when he shills in West Virginia, so you can easily make the same argument that cleaning up pollution is just as “job producing” an activity as using more labor-intensive less-polluting technology. The money all goes somewhere.

    But, if I were you, I would be more worried about the danger of having politicians using “renewables” as pork-barrel projects. By emphasizing job “production” (as if jobs we’re some kind of producable good), you are explicitly saying “Please make this industry less efficient”. It’s an invitation to deliberate manipulation of the technology for political ends.

    Actually, the biggest raw material supplier to the solar industry is based in Michigan, and the biggest production equipment supplier based in California. But if we don’t push these industries forward, these companies will lose out to Chinese, Japanese, and German competitors.

    Nonsense. They definitely will lose out if they go down the state-subsidized industry route. Which is littered with the corpses of economic basket-case industries. One of the great lessons of the 20th century is that subsidized industries are LESS competitive in the world market, for reasons I’ve already explained. The company never learns to improve efficiency, because that would mean “cutting jobs”, and hence it loses to foreign competition. Witness the US auto industry. Subsidies made them worse, not better.

    But if you want to make every “green job” an albatross around the industry’s neck, that it can never get rid of; if you want to turn the solar industry into a giant make-work project, be my guest. Just do it with someone else’s money.

    Wrong. We will switch when they are most cost-effective after subsidies and ignoring externalities.

    Therein lies the problem. The subsidies and externalities are about as large as the actual prices we are dealing with.

    You mean the subsidies to the “green energy” industries?

    I would like to see evidence that, after a carbon tax that efficiently prices for CO2, renewables would be cheaper, absent subsidies. I have yet to see any evidence to the effect, but if you have some, I invite you to present it.

    If it did, the onyl thing necessary to make the switch would be the carbon tax. Nothing else would be necessary. Certainly not billions of dollars of “job production” bullshit jobs.

  134. The RNC are voting to rename the Democrats as the Democratic Socialists, but in reality they should be known as the Regressives.

    They want the most prosperous nation in the world to regress to the repeatedly failed 19th century marxist policies which wreaked such havoc last century from Russia, to China and Southeast Asia, and now they want the world to return to 17th century energy models of wind and water which our ancestors toiled so laboriously to escape???

    What’s next horse-drawn carts and eliminating the wheel?

  135. “I have yet to see any evidence to the effect”

    Dirty little secret is that “Obama’s plan” was already implemented in Spain and they recently revealed the results which surprise, surprise found that every green “job” cost two real jobs. In addition, the new “jobs” were temporary and highly expensive.

    Obama-bots actually think that Obama has some strange “NEW” ideas, but in reality his entire administration is a rehash of every pie-in-sky leftist policy which has been rejected since the 60’s.

    It’s like we elected a man who came out of his bunker from the 60’s\70’s who has no idea that all those glorious communist ideas from that era have been shown to be certain disasters. He is the Austin Powers President.

    Obama is stuck in 1968, hell last night he had a “beatnik” party at the White House.

  136. Hazel Meade | May 13, 2009, 8:42pm | #

    This is not actually true. The price of solar reflects not just the increased cost of labor, but also the energy used in producing solar panels.

    It takes energy to produce a coal plant as well, does it not. A typical solar panel pays back the energy used in its production in under two years. Same for a wind generator.

    Energy which comes from coal and gas power plants.

    That all depends on where they are made. There is no reason we can’t make solar panels from solar or wind or any combination you want.

    Not to mention often hazardous chemicals involved.

    Virtually completely recycled in a closed loop. Trust me, I know this particular process every which way to Sunday. The chemicals used ARE hazardous, but also quickly degrade in the environment, so would only be a problem temporarily and locally if released in a major accident (they quickly break down into hydrochloric acid, which will quickly dilute to the point of being irrelevant).

    What if it turns out that solar panel production on a large scale is actually much more chemically hazardous than burning coal?

    This is simply not true. Emissions are reduced drastically, well over 90%. This has been studied to death.

    You mean the subsidies to the “green energy” industries?

    I would like to see evidence that, after a carbon tax that efficiently prices for CO2, renewables would be cheaper, absent subsidies. I have yet to see any evidence to the effect, but if you have some, I invite you to present it.

    It isn’t just CO2. It is particulates, mercury, SOx, NOx, ozone, radioactive materials, leachates from mining, etc. I invite you to actually type “coal externalities” into google and find more data than you can possibly swallow. A European-like price on carbon would add 1-2c kwh to coal’s price, and there is likely at least 4c/kwr in general environmental and health damage.

    If it did, the onyl thing necessary to make the switch would be the carbon tax. Nothing else would be necessary.

    We should tax EVERY externality of coal mining and burning. We don’t even come close.

  137. Chad,
    I notice you have carefully avoided reference to the central point – that it is completely idiotic to talk of “job production” and “labor intensivness” as a benefit of a particular technology.

    All that means is that the technology is inefficient. Which means it is more expensive, which means it’s going to cost the economy in general in other ways. What you WANT is for alternative energy to become LESS labor intensive, so that it can beat coal out of the market. You DON’T want to be funding jobs that aren’t needed just for the sake of providing make-work.

    I would be perfectly happy for the market to switch to alternative energy. But if it is really more efficient, then the true test of that is market acceptance. If you feel that coal externalities are market distortion, then push for proper property rights, or, since that isn’t possible for CO2, a carbon tax. Everything else can be dealt with through civil liability.

    But the stupidest argument you can make is that we should subsidize renewables because they are more “labor intensive”.

    Feel free to keep using it though, cause it makes you progressives such easy targets.

  138. With Obama is there anything that hasn’t been a fiasco so far? I have fiasco fatigue and I know he’s just getting started. It’s going to take a long, arduous effort to correct the damage to the country after the Democrats are deposed. I’m not sure we will be able to in the end. I feel so sorry for all the young children who are never going to know the glory America was Before-Obama (B.O.)

  139. Howz about Aggressives? With aggressive programs designed to aggress you. No longer progressive, certainly not regressive. Just fuckin’ bad-ass aggressive.

    So you suffer from Aggression Deficit? Then become an aggressive force of Aggression today!

  140. @Kroneborge: “My favorite example is things like electricty generation from a dam. From a capital budgeting persepective the power getting generated from the plants built 50+ years ago is practically worhtless because anything past 30 years or so is so discounted by NPV. But from a society standpoint doesn’t that power still have value?”

    You say that you are an investor, but I think you must be a financial person – you probably made a killing selling CDS to insurance companies based on your calculations – to make a statement that the product of a factory is worthless because the facility is completely depreciated. This is so wacky as to be unimaginable. But it sounds real good because you threw in some acronyms and some math terms.

  141. Well,this confirms it….the boy is the stupidest bitch nigger in the history of donkeyshhit socialism.

  142. Also sprach Chad: “However, they [renewables] tend to require less capital and cause far less pollution and other externalities, making their price lower overall.”

    I certainly hope they use less capital, because there will be one hellacious capital shortage when our homes and industries are waiting for the sun to shine or the wind to blow before getting any electricity.

  143. Chad,

    If you feel that coal externalities are market distortion

    It’s not a matter of me “feeling” that these are externalitiest. The obviously are externalities. Anything harmful that anyone places into public property or onto the properties of others is an externality. There can be no debate about that.

    then push for proper property rights, or, since that isn’t possible for CO2, a carbon tax. Everything else can be dealt with through civil liability.

    Very few of these matters can be handled by civil liability, and even if they could, the cost would be so high that it would be simpler and cheaper to regulate anyway. And again, it is just CO2 but a whole host of issues. Renewables themselves have a few (but much smaller) externalities. In the end, trying to add all these things up accurately, as would be necessary for the market to get the correct answer, is all but impossible. Like in so many other situations, the market is nice in theory and absolutely flops when it comes to actually solving the problem. Instead, the market does what it loves to do – maximize profits by off-loading as much cost onto third parties as possible, and rent-seeking wherever it can.

  144. But the stupidest argument you can make is that we should subsidize renewables because they are more “labor intensive”

    I have not made this argument, Hazel. We should subsidize renewables because we subsidize the competition. Even if we were to drop all the subsidies for fossil fuels, we should STILL continue to subsidize renewables, because all the past subsidies of fossil fuels have given them a huge head start.

  145. “This is not actually true. The price of solar reflects not just the increased cost of labor, but also the energy used in producing solar panels”

    And the price will also reflect the cost of all the new transmission lines that will be needed to get the power from where the sun shines the most to where the power is needed to be used. Ditto for wind power.

    And of course because the sun doesn’t shine equally all the time and the wind doesn’t blow that way either, there will stil need to be conventional electricty generation sources to pick up that slack. More expense.


  146. And of course because the sun doesn’t shine equally all the time and the wind doesn’t blow that way either, there will stil need to be conventional electricty generation sources to pick up that slack. More expense.

    Geothermal. Biomass. Nuclear. Pumped storage. Thermal storage.

    No, we do not need fossil fuels.

    And in any case, the sun shines quite realiably if averaged over large areas, and happens to shine in close relationship with peak demand, which is what really matters. Wind tends to complement solar well as they often oppose one another.

    Storage isn’t much of an issue at the moment as the amount of renewable energy is very small compared with the whole. When it is ten times as big, then we will have to start implementing serious solutions, but we know what these are.

    It’s still cheaper than coal, which creates all sorts of problems to which there are no solution.

  147. “It’s still cheaper than coal, which creates all sorts of problems to which there are no solution.”

    No, it’s not actually cheaper than coal.
    That’s why you have to make up a bunch of stuff about “externalites” to claim that it is.

    As for all the “problems” with coal, the U.S. has been using coal to generate a substantial amount of electricity for all of my life.
    It hasn’t caused me personally any problem at all.

    And as far as I’m concerned, if something doesn’t cause a problem for me personally, then that means there IS no problem.

  148. @rcx

    You misunderstand me. First, my point is that there IS a problem with how we use NPV to value long term investments (at least from a society persepctive) because it does tend to treat benefits far out in the future as practically worthless.

    Second deprecation and NPV are two very different things. Deprecation is used for matching expenes with revenue. NPV is a way value future revenues and expenses in todays dollars.

    Basically all other things being the same, people value a dollar today more than a dollar next year, that’s why we have interest (the cost to give up a dollar today to get back a dollar next year).

    This works great from an indivudual perpective, but not so good from a society perpective. After all, most of us do care what happens in 30-50 years, and if we have kids/grand kids probably even more so. The goal not being just to maximize profit today, but actually to leave more for them.

  149. Gilbert Martin | May 14, 2009, 10:39am | #

    No, it’s not actually cheaper than coal.
    That’s why you have to make up a bunch of stuff about “externalites” to claim that it is.

    I am not “making up” SOx, NOx, particulates, etc. They are real. They harm people and wildlife. This is a simple fact.

    It hasn’t caused me personally any problem at all.

    How would you know? In most cases, you can’t distinguish between the illnesses that were caused by pollution and those that were not. And if you don’t understand how fossil fuel pollution impacts the environment, and how that impacts you, well, you are just being willfully ignorant.

    And as far as I’m concerned, if something doesn’t cause a problem for me personally, then that means there IS no problem.

    What a fine display of pure greed. I am not sure I have ever seen anyone be that honest about it. Congratulations.

    “Screw the world! Screw everyone else! Screw all future generations for all time! I got mine!”.

  150. Kroneborge | May 14, 2009, 11:02am | #

    This works great from an indivudual perpective, but not so good from a society perpective. After all, most of us do care what happens in 30-50 years, and if we have kids/grand kids probably even more so. The goal not being just to maximize profit today, but actually to leave more for them.

    You make an excellent point. The idea of “discounting” the future works well when talking about reasonably short time frames and when talking about individual people or firms. It starts to fall apart when you try to look at inter-generational situations, which is why cost-benefit analysis tend to be nothing more than bunk when applied to long-term issues like climate change.

  151. Chad: Very few of these matters can be handled by civil liability, and even if they could, the cost would be so high that it would be simpler and cheaper to regulate anyway.

    You need to read about Coasian bargaining. Much of the effects of pollution CAN be handled through property rights and civil liability.

    Now, it may become simpler and cheaper to regulate, but that should only happen AFTER the court system has established a precedent and determined an appropriate price for pollution.

    Otherwise, what you get (what we ARE GETTING) is regulation that is mainly designed to punish the politically unpopular or bias the market in favor of the politically connected.

    In the end, trying to add all these things up accurately, as would be necessary for the market to get the correct answer, is all but impossible.

    Are you freaking kidding me? The ONLY mechanism known to be able to perform these calculations is the market. That’s because it integrates distributed information without needing a central bureaucracy to add it up. At every step in the supply chain, someone is asking “What is going to be more cost effective?” That individual does NOT need to know all the peices of the puzzle. All he needs to do is optimize his little part of the equation. Overall, the system seeks global optima very effectively, far more effectively than a centralize bureaucracy possibly could.

    Like in so many other situations, the market is nice in theory and absolutely flops when it comes to actually solving the problem. Instead, the market does what it loves to do – maximize profits by off-loading as much cost onto third parties as possible, and rent-seeking wherever it can.

    Ugh. “We need regulation to prevent rent-seeking”. I have rarely heard a more idiotic ass-backwards comment. Yet more proof that progressives should be kept FAR, FAR, away from getting their hands on the economy.

    Chad, you silly fool, regulations and subsidieds ARE rent-seeking. They are explicitly what corporations USE to bias the market in their favor. You are just blind to the rent seeking of “green” technology companies.

    Your view of economics is simplistic at best. You display no understanding of the self-organizing natural of the system. Your thinking incorporates primitive moral value judgements that treat profit-making as a sin. You can’t understand coasian bargaining, or how the market seeks a pareto optima. I down you even know what a pareto optima or coasian bargaining is.

  152. “I am not “making up” SOx, NOx, particulates, etc. They are real. They harm people and wildlife. This is a simple fact.”

    Nothing is a fact on your say so.

    “What a fine display of pure greed. I am not sure I have ever seen anyone be that honest about it. Congratulations.”

    Another case of liberals always being guilty of that which they accuse their opponents. You are the one who wants to control industries, busineses and lives of everyone in the country and force them all to bend to your personal preferences.

    You’re just another little punk with a big mouth.

  153. Hazel you make some good points about private property rights dealing with externalities. However, I don’t think the court system is always the best place to decide that. Why can’t stake holders come together and decide something through regulation/legililation? Often times companies might actually prefer this to prevent the race to the bottom.

    For example, say you are producing widgets, cost to produce without polluting $1, cost to produce when polluting 90c.

    Unless the firms pollute they would be priced out of the market, and all the market share go to the polluting firms. Therefore, either all firms will pollute, or they would get together and come up with some type of mechanism to keep all of them from polluting.

    Whether this is a good idea or not would of course depend on the actual costs of the externalities (which can be hard to figure out). If the externalites are more than 10c per widget then it makes sense to stop the pollution, if less then it’s more efficient to have all the firms pollute. Of course the people that bear the costs of the pollution might be bearing an unfair share, but that’s a whole nother issue.

  154. hazel Meade | May 14, 2009, 1:26pm | #

    You need to read about Coasian bargaining. Much of the effects of pollution CAN be handled through property rights and civil liability.

    I am quite aware of Coasian bargaining. I am also quite aware of its flaw. There are over six billion people on the planet. How are we all going to negotiate every externality we inflict on each other. You and I would have to negotiate dozens of things just between the two of us. Then each of us would have to negotiate all those things with billions of others, who would also have to negotiate between each other as well. And don’t forget all the groups, organizations, and governments who would need to negotiate. How many pair-wise interactions is that? Let’s just say there isn’t enough paper in the universe to cover all the necessary contracts. And oh wait, wouldn’t we have to include every future person in the negoations too? After all, they are affected by these decisions too.

    Like many other market-oriented processes, Coasian processes have limited use in limited context but fail in many others. In any case, Coasian processes find an efficient answer, but not necessarily the fair one. That’s a pretty big flaw.

  155. Gilbert Martin | May 14, 2009, 1:42pm | #

    “I am not “making up” SOx, NOx, particulates, etc. They are real. They harm people and wildlife. This is a simple fact.”

    Nothing is a fact on your say so.

    Uh huh. Because there is no scientific evidence that these materials are harmful, right? How dishonest can you be?

  156. I don’t think the court system is always the best place to decide that. Why can’t stake holders come together and decide something through regulation/legililation?

    Stake holders coming together is generally what occurs in a courtroom. With a judge presiding, and lawyers arguing facts. And most importantly, witnesses testifying under oath. So that someone’s political agenda can’t pollute the process. A lot can be decided via arbitration.


    For example, say you are producing widgets, cost to produce without polluting $1, cost to produce when polluting 90c.

    Unless the firms pollute they would be priced out of the market, and all the market share go to the polluting firms. Therefore, either all firms will pollute, or they would get together and come up with some type of mechanism to keep all of them from polluting.

    This is what would occur IF the firms don’t have to worry about paying damages to the people whose property they pollute. This is precisely why civil liability CAN handle most of it, IF property rights are properly defined.

    Most likely paying damages for pollution would make it much cheaper not to pollute in the first place. And it doesn’t necessarily take a court case. The mere possibility of litigation is often enough to get people to behave more carefully.

    Whether this is a good idea or not would of course depend on the actual costs of the externalities (which can be hard to figure out).

    Which court systems can figure out. Actual propety values. Actual costs to clean up. Numbers, baby. REAL numbers are admissable in court.

    If the externalites are more than 10c per widget then it makes sense to stop the pollution, if less then it’s more efficient to have all the firms pollute.

    Which is why markets would eliminate pollution very efficiently if the costs are priced into it.

    Moveover, and this is a very key point, by allowing this to be determined by the courts, you make sure that the regulations are uniform for all industries. Regulatory standards are set by some bureucrat who is politically influenced. Maybe some company provides lots of jobs in his state, maybe it makes a lot of campaign contributions. Maybe it’s the target of a pressure group that makes a lot of donations. Politicians will lean on the regulatory agencies to tweak the regulations to favor or disfavor individual industries and companies.

    If you do this through civil liability and coasian bargaining, however, the ultimate determinant is strictly the costs of pollution, which are estimated by testimony under oath, not some group’s political propaganda. A dollar’s worth of damage to property values and/or cleanup costs is directly reflected in costs in the supply chain. So the “optimization” that the market performs has something to work with directly, instead of a bunch of arbitrary rules and limits that bear no direct relationship to actual pollution costs.

  157. Hazel, the litigation process (which should include Coasian concepts) makes sense when you have just a few people or groups involved. How can it work when you have billions, many of whom haven’t even been born yet? In that case, your idea is nonsense.

    You also seem to believe it should boil down to the “costs of pollution”. Yet when the costs are diffuse and long-term, it is almost impossible to quantify them.

    You keep citing abstract theory that simply does not work in practice in far too many situations. The uncertainity in the required measurements and assumptions often turns the whole process into an exercise of garbage in, garbage out. There are no “real” numbers in this matter, as any numbers you cite are heavily dependant on the assumptions you make about what to count and how to count it.

  158. Hazel, the litigation process (which should include Coasian concepts) makes sense when you have just a few people or groups involved. How can it work when you have billions, many of whom haven’t even been born yet? In that case, your idea is nonsense.

    You also seem to believe it should boil down to the “costs of pollution”. Yet when the costs are diffuse and long-term, it is almost impossible to quantify them.

    It works all the time in cases where millions of people involved. they are called “class-action” lawsuits.

    When it comes to future generations, long-term costs degrade present property values, because the market value of a piece of land is going to be lower if there is long-term contaminant in the ground water or soil. Again, it’s property damage and can be handled easily by the courts.

    This isn’t that complicated. You want to make it sound complicated because, for some irrational reason, you hate markets. Because you’ve been brainwashed since childhood to believe that money is the root of all evil, which makes all economic transactions morally tainted. You’ve also been trained since childhood to believe that “democracy” is a magical system that can solve problems just by people voting and being nice. Your belief in the government is every bit as mystical as you think that libertarians belief in the market system.

    But in reality, the market relies on REALISTIC assumptions about human nature. That we are inherently self-interested. Your belief in the state relies on the unrealistic belief that politicians and voters are going to do what is in the interests of the “common good” if we just for for the “right people”.

  159. It works all the time in cases where millions of people involved. they are called “class-action” lawsuits

    And when we are all both the plaintiffs and the defendants? Have fun.

    When it comes to future generations, long-term costs degrade present property values, because the market value of a piece of land is going to be lower if there is long-term contaminant in the ground water or soil. Again, it’s property damage and can be handled easily by the courts.

    Land. What about water, air, and wildlife? And it should be obvious anyway that your reasoning is wrong. People do not care about the long-term value hundreds of years hence because they will be dead. Under your logic, and to a large degree what happens in the real world, what actually happens is that we suck the aquifers dry, mine the soil, consume all the resources, wipe out the fisheries, and try to justify it by believing that our grandkids will be super stinking rich and will somehow be able to figure it out.

    This isn’t that complicated. You want to make it sound complicated because, for some irrational reason, you hate markets.

    I simply acknowledge that they fail, unlike you. When controlled and limited, they can be useful tools. Without constraints, they can be highly destructive.

    The market makes very unrealistic assumptions about human behavior. I read an interesting article in the New Yorker the other day about four-year-olds. They were put in a room with a tasty treat, and told if they didnt’t eat it before the researcher returned after 15 minutes, they could have TWO treats. They then video-taped the kids as they sat there tortured by the tasty treat. Few kids lasted even a minute, and only a handful to the end. Those that did hold out for a long time, not surprisingly, turned out to be more successful as adults.

    It is obvious that we have powerful instincts which over-ride reason. These children were giving up an incredible rate of return simply because the prize was directly in front of them. Adults fair better, of course, but not that much. Instincts drive all sorts of short-term behavior.

    And of course, you are still not seeming to understand that future generations cannot participate in today’s market, bidding up prices and forcing us to conserve. Instead, we just wipe everything out, as we always have. The resulting wasteland will be someone else’s problem.

  160. Chad I think people do care about what happens in the future otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Although, some people do care more than others.

    Anyway, I think the lawsuits probably work pretty good when the pollution is concentrated in something like a stream, but less so when it’s something like mecurary from a coal plant. Could litigation work sure, but I think totally discounting regulation, or legislation is not right though. Yes there will be political influence, but then again the judiciary is not above that either.

    In fact isn’t there a case going to the Supreme courty about that right now? Some judge in West VA or something that recieved 2m from the plantiffs.

    Also, what happens when the plantiffs are in another country? They might not even have standing to sue.

  161. The problem with so-called “green” energy is that this whole global warming frenzy is based on fraudulent science.

    All plant life is dependant upon CO2 as a food source. Global warming fanatics
    are unable to explain how plants discern the difference between “good”, naturally
    occurring CO2 and the evil manmade CO2 “pollution”. It’s simple: more CO2, more
    plants, more biodiversity! Less CO2, less plants, less biodiversity.

    If CO2 is truly a “pollutant” then it is incumbent upon us as caretakers of the
    environment to scrub ALL CO2 from the atmosphere; not just a small portion of
    it. If a little bit of manmade CO2 is pollution, then ALL CO2 is pollution!

    Is now the time for a government sponsored CO2 SUPERFUND to eliminate the scourge that is CO2 from our environment??

    STARVE THE SEQUOIA – ELIMINATE CO2!!!

  162. Ok, so it appears that I came into this discussion late.

    Kroneborge, I agree with most of your May 13, 2009, 12:45pm post. I’m not going to bash Ted Kennedy for not wanting to obstruct the view at Martha’s Vineyard, I think that windmills/turbines of the necessary size and number would be an eyesore. Besides there are plenty of other reasons why I don’t like Ted Kennedy.

    However, geothermal is not going to solve all of our energy problems, nor wind, nor solar. You didn’t say any single one of them would, I understand. Geothermal should be used where it is efficient, but that isn’t many places in the United States. Wind turbines should be used mostly in those places where there is a constant or near constant wind of 15-20 mph for greatest efficiency, again not too many places. Solar is good technology, but not as efficient as what it needs to be. That can be solved by competitive research, which already happens not only in companies, but in American colleges and universities. I don’t disagree with you substantially. I would like to see these methods developed, but without the penalties and name calling that liberals have been using against companies that use coal and other fossil fuels. We need to use these resources, efficiently, until we don’t need them anymore.

    John, addressing an earlier point, you acknowledged the abundance of natural gas, but argued against its use because it is more expensive.

    First, the price of gasoline is now cheaper than it was when it was suggested that natural gas be used to fuel cars. I agree with several other people that the price will probably rise again. By the way, we’re still paying 50-100% more than we were in the early and late 90s, it just seems like a relief now that we’ve experienced $4 a gallon in some places. The price will probably rise again in increments over the next year or two.

    Second, you are arguing against renewables because they are expensive, but you are advocating nuclear power. Hmmm…did you really think that one through? Nuclear power stations should be maintained and we should reuse the fuel as the French are doing. But remember that Mt. Yucca (I don’t think that we should shut it down) is only so big and fusion is currently still useless as an electricity generating process here on Earth. It currently requires more electricity to start a fusion reaction than the reaction has been able to produce. So, if you’re dreaming of seawater powering the world, dream on and I hope we get there, but I’m not betting on it. By the way, the waste that comes from nuclear plants is transported to disposal FACILITIES (plural) over the nations highways and some perhaps by rail. Check yourself, your state may have one of the alternate sites. All it takes is one traffic accident to contaminate a populated area (small town or large city) and the cost of nuclear power will take on a whole new meaning. That said, I am glad that I live in the U.S. and not Russia, where the DOE has enforced better building and safety procedures (not to mention the better plant workers) and decommisioning standards. No single energy source is going to be our saving grace.

    Third, again about the cost, don’t try and talk about how much off shore drilling will reduce our energy costs without mentioning the fact that you are talking about transportation. I think that we need to drill offshore, but as a means of relief/continuance while we research renewable energy sources to be ready as the supplies are drunk dry, and it will happen. You say “for the foreseeable future,” but all I see is you saying “not my problem.” That’s almost as bad as the Democrats saying that we need to have a carbon credit system and that we should sue people. My problem with both is that they are irresponsible and wrong-headed. Isolationism has its roots in situations where people either don’t see or ignore the effects that something has on them. Al Gore and his followers who say to people, “Shame on you for emitting greenhouse gases,” while they continue to create an abundance of such gases and claim that it’s ok because they are paying for someone else’s carbon credit are deluding themselves and others that they are helping the environment. That whole system has nothing to do with preventing/reversing global warming and everything to do with giving Gore popularity and money. Every human being breathes out CO2, which means that at some point we are all emitting greenhouse gases. John, I share your concern about liberals cutting coal and nuclear, but I don’t agree with you and RXC that nuclear is the answer to all our problems.

    Which brings me to RXC. We’re not mostly hunter gatherers anymore and we can put you in a cave that is called an insane asylum if you propose that the rest of us be put in caves. You might even like all the padding on the walls and begin to ignore your straight-jacket. I’m not going to say that it is the responsibility of some nameless generation yet unborn, just as I would not have them paying for the interest and debts accrued under an Obama health care plan. The way to make solutions is to keep the systems that sustain us online until we have something to replace them. That should be renewable energy sources of several kinds. In the meantime we need to keep our coal, nuclear, and other powerplants up and drill for oil and natural gas.

  163. Albert,
    You’re absolutely right. And wait, human beings breathe out CO2. So by their own standards, each human being, apart from his or her energy consumption, naturally produces CO2. They should be focused on planting trees, but no, telling people that they can’t cut any firelanes and then lamenting California wildfires is so much better for the environment. “Leave nature alone!” They say. I might do that, if I went into a cave to starve to death instead of living in a city (which I do, as most of them do) which is an artificial environment and upon occasion had adverse effects on the surrounding natural landscape. Conservation over preservation, it’s best management practices, not NO MANAGEMENT practices.

  164. Walker, unless you eat coal and drink oil, your breath is renewable CO2 and therefore is not a problem.

    I agree with you, though, that the NO MANAGEMENT strain of environmentalism is a serious problem. We do need to manage our public lands and waters, which in some cases requires quite active management while in others results in pure wilderness. We need some of both, depending on the situation. Whatever amount of management we use, it should always be focused on sustainability, so that it will be there for every generation of humans to enjoy and use. Far too often, we are still managing based on extraction for present consumption, at the expense of our grandchildren.

  165. Walker,

    Agreed, it’s probably going to be a combination of sources that solve our energy problems. Just like we get energy from a combination of places now.

  166. (unless you eat coal and drink oil, your breath is renewable CO2 and therefore is not a problem.)

    I thought that CO2 was comprised of 1 Carbon atom and 2 Oxygen atoms. Is there something that I’m missing as far as renewable and non-renewable CO2, and if there is such a thing as non-renewable CO2 should it really be called CO2. What is different between a coal fired plant releasing CO2 and a person breathing. It’s both CO2. Why should one be called renewable when the other is not?

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