Democrats & Liberals Archives

We Don't Need Energy Independence

Both Democrats and Republicans are touting energy independence. Let’s be free of domination by Saudi Arabia and other autocratic countries that we get our oil from, they say. I say we definitely should not seek energy independence.

I have three reasons for saying this. The first is that energy independence is impossible. Oil is an integral part of the market for all sources of energy. Even if we import no oil from Saudi Arabia, what Saudi Arabia does with its oil will affect the worldwide energy market. If they decrease the supply of oil, it will raise prices for non-renewable fuels such as ethanol. Similarly, if we increase the supply of renewables it will decrease the price of oil.

The second reason is that seeking energy independence distracts us from the real goal of avoiding cataclysmic climate change. You hear people advocating the use of coal, the dirtiest and most CO2-emitting fuel around, because it will give us energy independence. But it will also hasten rather than prevent climate change. Let's not take our eye off the ball: Preventing the horrors of climate change is more important than achieving energy independence.

The third reason is that working for energy independence will hinder us from achieving our climate change goals. Climate change is not an American problem. It is a worldwide problem. To solve it we must enlist the help of all nations - or at least most nations. We can't do this with the politics of conflict we have been pursuing among nations.

One expression of the politics of conflict is energy independence. We are saying to the Saudi's,

We don't like that you are taking advantage of us. We'll develop our own sources of energy.

When we are trying to get all nations to work together we must adopt the politics of support, effectively telling the Saudi's (and other nations),

Climate change is a worldwide threat. How can we work cooperatively to solve this overriding problem?"

We do not need energy independence. We need cooperation among all nations to combat the greatest threat to confront the world - climate change.

Posted by Paul Siegel at March 12, 2008 3:24 PM
Comments
Comment #247770

“cataclysmic climate change” “the horrors of climate change” “the greatest threat to confront the world - climate change.”

I thought fear mongering was supposed to be a pasttime of the Republicans.

Posted by: Duane-o at March 12, 2008 3:49 PM
Comment #247773

On oil production problems in the near future. I’m too busy to look at the original source material, but others also claimed that the Saudis have passed Hubbert’s Peak:

“A dissenting opinion regarding Saudi oil reserves came from Matthew Simmons who claimed in his 2005 book “Twilight in the Desert” that Saudi Arabia’s oil production is declining, and that it will not be able to produce more than current levels — about 4 gigabarrels per year. In addition to his belief that the Saudi fields have hit their peak, Simmons also argues that the Saudis may have irretrievably damaged their large oil fields by overpumping salt water into the fields in an effort to maintain the fields’ pressure and thus make the oil easier to extract. Simmons interpretation of normal oilfield practice into a future crisis has been rejected by reservoir engineers at CERI.

Since 1982 the Saudis have withheld their well data and any detailed data on their reserves, giving outside experts no way to verify the overall size of Saudi reserves and output. Despite high oil prices, Saudi crude oil production declined to 8.60 million barrels per day (bpd) in February 2007 (from an average of 9.55 bpd in 2005 and 9.15 bpd in 2006) and remained at that level before rising to 8.80 bpd in September. After US President Bush asked the Saudis to raise production on a visit to Saudi Arabia in January 2008, and they declined, Bush questioned whether they had the ability to raise production any more.
from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves

Posted by: ohrealy at March 12, 2008 4:14 PM
Comment #247774

Paul,
There is no indication that you ever read posts responding to your articles. If you did, I would say that your second two reasons are the same and your first reason is really not a reason at all.

Duan-O,
All fear is not equal. It either has a reasonable basis or it doesn’t.

Posted by: Schwamp at March 12, 2008 4:18 PM
Comment #247778

This is kind of like saying we shouldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time because a).doing that is impossible, and b). doing one of those things prevents the other.

There’s nothing about energy independence that would keep us from also using cleaner renewable sources. In fact, they could very well go hand in hand.

Posted by: Liam at March 12, 2008 4:29 PM
Comment #247782

Duan-O,
All fear is not equal. It either has a reasonable basis or it doesn’t.

9/11 happened. People died. Those responsible vowed to repeat such attacks. Manmade climate change may or may not be happening. We’ve never seen the “horror” or the “crisis” or whatever, all we have is guesswork, what we think may happen. Mother nature is not releasing a video vowing death to the polluting infidels. Climate change has yet to commence an all out attack on the American Homeland. Which is more reasonable to fear?

Posted by: Duane-o at March 12, 2008 4:44 PM
Comment #247796

weather climate change is real or not is irrelevant considering that we humans of all nations creeds and colors are destroying our planet through pollution, overmining, deforestation, etc.and action is what is needed.
IMO if we as a nation persue more “green” sources of energy then energy independance will come on its own, but government needs to step up both republicans, democrats, and all the other smaller parties. The government stepped up in the 70’s and required the auto manufacturers to increase fuel economy and emissions. Our government is at least doing one thing right in mimicing those policies. sadly though it seems that the POTUS isn’t really concerned.

Posted by: napajohn at March 12, 2008 7:11 PM
Comment #247798

“We do not need energy independence. We need cooperation among all nations to combat the greatest threat to confront the world - climate change.”
Posted by Paul Siegel at March 12, 2008 03:24 PM

Paul, that was the biggest load of “whootah”, commonly known as BS, I have seen in a very long time. There is a growing concern by legitimate climatologist that we will face “natural” global cooling in the next decades rather than the theorized “man-made” global warming nonsense being promoted by greedy Algore types.

I can think of many global threats to humanity and none of them will be caused by natural changes in climate. Your use of the word “fear” is interesting as it seems to only apply to what you fear as opposed to what others fear.

If I could choose between natural global warming or cooling I’ll choose warming any day. It would be much more beneficial to mankind. Agreed upon evidence proves that the world experienced much more diversity in both plant and animal life during periods of warmth than during periods of cold.

Posted by: Jim M at March 12, 2008 7:33 PM
Comment #247800

Keep raising the price of oil and there will be energy independence.

It may come at great pains, but it will come.

It may involve global war, it may involve serious economic upheaval and catastrophic social unrest.

People will not tolerate having there money stolen from them forever. When pressed to the wall they will find options. Some may be violent, some may be creative and divert the issue for others.

Markets work. But sometimes they can be very nasty.

Posted by: googlumpugus at March 12, 2008 8:21 PM
Comment #247807
The third reason is that working for energy independence will hinder us from achieving our climate change goals. Climate change is not an American problem. It is a worldwide problem. To solve it we must enlist the help of all nations - or at least most nations. We can’t do this with the politics of conflict we have been pursuing among nations.

The problem is that as long as we don’t have energy dependence, we’re forced to be involved in international conflicts that otherwise wouldn’t be our problem. If it wasn’t for our dependence on foreign oil, we wouldn’t have to cozy up to the Saudis as much as we do or worry so much about the situations in places like Iran or Iraq.

Some are in the habit of saying that these conflicts and are involvement in them are only a matter of Republican policies and actions, but all of us are part of and depend on the American economy. For now, like it or not, the American economy depends on the flow of foreign oil. You can’t just wish that away. With energy independence, we’d have a much freer hand in our dealings with foreign countries.

Not only that, the internal political situations of many foreign nations would sort themselves better than they do now if the ruling classes weren’t being propped up by oil wealth and holding hostage their own populations, as well as the rest of the countries of the world.

Posted by: Liam at March 12, 2008 9:40 PM
Comment #247838


The world is going to need oil into the forseeable future. This is why we must stop using oil the way we are using it and preserve it for what we will really need it for. For instance, plastics, lubricants and jet fuel until the jets are obsolete and we can replace them with ones that use a different fuel.

Two weeks ago, the oil industry said that by 2015, demand will exceed supply. This means we face the possibility of a world war for control of the oil that is remaining in the very near future. There is a very good argument that the war has already started with our invasion of Iraq.

The Bush Administration has been preparing for the war for seven years now. They have already trashed MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction, which has kept us from destroying the world in a nuclear holocaust for sixty years) in favor of a first strike capability. Cheney and the boys think that they will soon be able to destroy many of the Russian ICBM’s in the boost phase and just a week or so ago, they demonstrated that they can knock out a satelite(missile) during reentry. If we can knock out 99% of the Russian missiles, perhaps only 100 or 200 warheads will hit the U.S. They are replacing MAD with CRAZY.

It is imparative that we reduce our dependence on oil, both foreign and domestic, ASAP. Does this mean that we will have to rely on more coal for electric generation until we have enough solar, wind and other renewable energy sources to replace the coal? It most certainly does but, that is a hell of a better alternative than a possible world war for oil.

We can change to alternative energy sources and we can do it faster than we think we can if we are determined as a nation to do it. Just last night, I heard that nearly every home and building in the cities of Australia have solar panels on their roofs. If we continue to depend on the market and it’s double digit profit margin requirements, we can probably achieve what Australia has done in 20 or 30 years.

Posted by: jlw at March 13, 2008 10:05 AM
Comment #247841

Here is some informative reading on the subject of climate change, whether you believe it to be the result of human action or not:

http://www.spaceandscience.net/id16.html

And a more compelling, yet not completely understood, theory is seen here:

http://www.crystalinks.com/sun.html

The latter is more informative while the former has inconclusive proof and numerous scientific evidence to support their findings. And yet the latter was reached at a far earlier date, 1978 I believe.

Posted by: dobropet at March 13, 2008 10:42 AM
Comment #247861
The Bush Administration has been preparing for the war for seven years now. They have already trashed MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction, which has kept us from destroying the world in a nuclear holocaust for sixty years) in favor of a first strike capability.

Mutually Assured Destruction is not and never has been our defense policy. It’s a concept, an idea, not a program that can be trashed. All MAD does is describe what would likely happen in a nuclear war. The US has ALWAYS tried to have a first strike capability. What would it mean to be incapable of doing so? Is that a sane policy? Incapacity?

The military has been preparing for war? God forbid that a military should do any such thing! Is that what you want?

As the ancients said, “Si vis pacem, para bellum.”

If you want peace, prepare for war.

Posted by: Liam at March 13, 2008 12:59 PM
Comment #247884

Carbon tax can be implemented by any country individually or by a group of them cooperatively. It gets at the demand side of carbon based fuels. In the energy consumption reality, only prices have led to real reductions.

In 2006, U.S. CO2 consumption actually declined. This is the first time this ever happened during a time of robust economic growth. What did GW Bush do that Bill Clinton or the EU could not? Nothing. Prices did it. This past year gasoline consumption declined. Only a little, but why? Prices.

Carbon tax is the most elegant and efficient way to use existing market mechanisms to address the problem.

BTW - we will never achieve energy independence. We have not achieved independence in anything else we consume, why energy?

Posted by: Jack at March 13, 2008 6:07 PM
Comment #247886


I happen to think that there is a major distinction between being prepared for war and preparing for war, especially when one considers the philosophy of Dick Cheney and his supposedly now defunct organization known as PNAC.

When the Bush administration was preparing for war with Iraq, they took council with the generals to find out what would be nesessary to prepare our military for that war. The Administration rejected the advice of the generals and went to war without being prepared for the war.

Posted by: jlw at March 13, 2008 6:21 PM
Comment #247888

Jack,
I really can’t see, from my perspective, the value of a carbon tax on gasoline.
I need my automobile to get to work. An increase in fuel costs will do nothing to reduce my consumption. Furthermore, what would that tax money be used for? Will it be used the same way our social security taxes are used?
I see a carbon tax as money being dumped into the government hole without any benefit coming from it.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 13, 2008 7:01 PM
Comment #247901

Jlw, do you have any evidence for your claim that the administration rejected the advice of “the generals” before going to war? Or that the military was unprepared? I would say that the administration itself was unprepared, and the mistakes and challenges we’ve seen in Iraq have had more to do with the administration’s political decision-making than the unpreparedness of the military.

This is because, ultimately, there is no purely military solution to the problems in Iraq. The administration acknowledges this. Its critics definitely say it too. There is no clear-cut military solution here—if there was, the military would be more than able and willing to implement it.

Your claim would make sense if the military had been defeated in Iraq, but they haven’t been. By any historical military standard, the military part of the equation has been quite successful. This doesn’t mean that the military hasn’t had to make adjustments on the micro-level and that some efforts have failed while others have succeeded. But this kind of learning curve is basically unavoidable when it comes to war.

Like you, I lay the blame for many of the problems on the administration. But these are not problems based primarily or even to any great extent on the preparedness and ability of the military.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 13, 2008 10:42 PM
Comment #247904

LO,

Well, technically, a nuclear blast or two would solve it militarily. Not a very tasteful solution, though.

Jack,

You said:

BTW - we will never achieve energy independence. We have not achieved independence in anything else we consume, why energy?

We had energy indepedence pre WWII. Any product of which we are a net exporter, is independant. Food comes to mind.

That isn’t to say we are or should ever be isolationist.

Posted by: googlumpugus at March 13, 2008 11:17 PM
Comment #247906

Googlumpugus, the object of the war in Iraq has never been one of applying overwhelming military force. The goals are political, not military, so tactical nukes would totally defeat the purpose of the mission. It would be FAR easier to kill every man, woman, and child in Iraq than to apply military force with half-measures in such a way to revolutionize their society, which is what we’ve taken on. And for the record, I don’t (and didn’t in the first place) agree with taking on such a mission, even though I’ve come to see that it’s achievable and that it needs (at this stage) to be carried through instead of abandoned, considering the consequences of stopping what’s been started.

Energy independence is very unlikely to be achieved in the United States considering the massive not-in-my-backyard mentality of Americans which will ultimately defeat ANY energy solutions, including ones which could be “carbon neutral” such as nuclear power, windmills, geothermal plants, or anything else.

Energy-production n any form is ugly, and never looks nice next to a Starbucks or a mega-church. We don’t like to produce things in America anymore, including energy. We like other people to do it for us and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 14, 2008 12:11 AM
Comment #247907

Google

Being a net exporter of a general commodity doesn’t make you independent in that category. Countries such as Iraq & Iran, that produce a lot of oil, must import gasoline and other forms of energy.

If you say that the U.S. should be a net energy exporter, I would say that is possible but not necessarily desirable. We could be a net exporter of energy in a short time if we switched over to using coal (which we have amazing reserves) and exploited oil shales, or even use the oil under places like ANWAR or the continental shelves. We choose not to do those things for non-economical reasons, but we COULD if being a net exporter of energy what that important to us. In other words, becomming a net exporter of energy is possible, but not worth the cost. But energy independence is not possible.

Weary

You have places where you could cut your consumption in the short run and in the longer run the price of energy affects various decisions you make. Maybe you would choose to live closer to where you work, drive a more efficient car, car pool, telecommute etc. You would find a way. And people who could make changes most easily would do it quicker.

But the carbon tax is NOT only about conservation. It drive up the cost of carbon relative to other forms of energy or put the other way it lowers the costs of alternatives relative to carbon. It makes things like wind or solar more competitive with coal or oil and will change the energy mix.

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2008 1:44 AM
Comment #247912

Jack

I am curious if you are aware of carbon credit scamming. Investigation Uncovers Carbon Credits Smokescreen I first heard of this a month or so ago on NPR. I am not sure what to make of it other than perhaps some are rushing into this thing before it can be properly scrutinizes and regulated. If the link does not work I apologize. This is my first attempt at linking here and I am not sure of the process.

With respect to the rapidly accelerating economic issues and associated energy concerns I think we will be finding out soon just what direction we will be taking as a nation.

Posted by: RickIL at March 14, 2008 9:57 AM
Comment #247913

I see the link did not work. Perhaps someone can give me a quick how to. Here is the link with a simple copy and paste.

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/04/26/776/

Posted by: RickIL at March 14, 2008 10:03 AM
Comment #247919

RickIL,

Simply copy and paste the formatting tip (just above the comment area and to the right of the “name” and “email address” area) that looks like this:

.link text

without the period in front of the formatting. I did that so it would show up on the blog.

You will want to copy and paste the URL into this formatting between the quote marks (” “). To be sure, just highlight what’s already there (the http://etc.) and paste over it. Make sure your URL is between those quotes and make sure that what is already there is gone.

Then highlight the words “link text” and type in whatever you want in there for people to click on.

So what you finally end up with will look something like this:

.Click here for Yahoo!

Have fun…

Posted by: Jim T at March 14, 2008 12:23 PM
Comment #247921

Wow! That sucked! I checked that post in Preview and everything looked good.

RickIL,

Just ignore the links and do what the rest of the text says to do. You’ll be OK.

Posted by: Jim T at March 14, 2008 12:26 PM
Comment #247933

RickIl, you can just post your link to the site by copying and pasting to the comment box, just make sure you leave a space before and after. You only need to use the html format if you want to give the site a different name. The site will creat the link for you.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 14, 2008 2:49 PM
Comment #247974

JimT, Oreahly

Thanks for your help. It took me a few times but only because I tend to jump ahead of the directions. Just one of those male things I guess. You know like trying to assemble something without reading all the directions and finding out at the end that you put the first piece in backwards. :)

Posted by: RickIL at March 14, 2008 9:17 PM
Comment #247978

http://www.energybulletin.net/7707.html

Jack, would you still insist on a carbon tax if the euro was used as the standard currency for the purchase of oil instead of the dollar?

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 14, 2008 9:55 PM
Comment #247992

I don’t know if Paul ever reads comments on his articles but this one is nuts.

Should we be “independent” by just digging up more of the carbon nature stashed away 350 million years ago? No. That’s absurd. When the sun was four percent cooler than it is today all that CO2 kept the planet warmer than it is now.

Should we become more independendent by taking advantage of our abundant solar and wind power? Hell yes!

Today we are spending 1.5 billion dollars every day to buy fuel from people who, as often as not, either are or finance our enemies. That expenditure erodes the value of our currency even as it ships jobs overseas. If we use solar energy gathered at home our energy costs will probably rise but the jobs created by those costs will be at home. Delivery efficiency will also rise because the energy cost of delivering fossil fuels can be as high as 10% while electrical delivery losses are typically less than 4%. Conversion of electricity to usable energy is also more efficient than combustion fuels- more than 70% in elecrical automobiles versus less than 30% for gas, and a whopping 100% in elecrical heating (waste heat is, after all, heat) versus less than 80% with combustion heating.

All that and no greenhouse gasses. What a deal!I’m ready for Jack’s carbon tax, as long as it goes directly to this sort of thing (and not bloody stupid corn ethanol).

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 15, 2008 12:04 AM
Comment #248018

For any of you who may be interested “Science Friday” on NPR yesterday focused on solar energy. It is mentioned on the show that a massive solar plant 100 miles on each side would be large enough to provide electricity for the entire United States. They claim it is feasible and that plans are in the works. I am providing a link. If you go to the page look in the left upper corner and use the player to hear the story. It is very revealing and lends a great deal of practical hope towards solving energy independence. Solar Plant

Posted by: RickIL at March 15, 2008 9:44 AM
Comment #248027

Unless there has been some change in the way power moves from the plant to the consumer, solar always takes up too much land to be a viable source of energy for large metropolitan areas. Also, the last I heard, the estimate was 300 miles on each side, but we don’t produce enough solar collectors to even build something anywhere near one thousandth this size.

What look like “barren desert lands” to some are the natural environment to others. Might as well just drill more oil wells in Alaska.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 15, 2008 12:03 PM
Comment #248029

History of Ethanol


Congress responded to the petroleum shortage by passing the Energy Tax Act of 1978, which provided an exemption to the 4 cents/gallon federal fuel excise tax on gasoline for fuel blended with at least 10 percent ethanol. In 1980, Congress followed that up by passing two additional bills, the Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Act of 1980 and the Energy Security Act of 1980. Both measures promoted energy conservation and domestic fuel development.

In 1982, the Surface Transportation Assistance Act raised the gasoline excise tax from 4 cents/gallon to 9 cents/gallon and increased the exemption for 10-percent ethanol blended gas to 5 cents/gallon. In 1984, the Tax Reform Act increased the exemption again, to 6 cents/gallon. The Alternative Motor Fuels Act of 1988 created research, development and demonstration programs for both vehicles and fuels and provided fuel economy credits for automakers. In 1990, through the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, Congress extended the ethanol tax incentive from 1992 to 2000 but decreased the incentive from 6 cents/gallon to 5.4 cents/gallon.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 15, 2008 12:18 PM
Comment #248038

Quit picking on the senior citizens who write articles here. It’s a good topic, here is a good link about a “carbon neutral development” in London:

http://www.peabody.org.uk/pages/GetPage.aspx?id=179

RickIl, the Daily Herald is reporting that the RNC does not want to provide Oberweis with any more funding for November, so Foster might have more of a chance at keeping that seat.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 15, 2008 1:18 PM
Comment #248039

Some of the nastier aspects of the coal industry:

http://www.coopamerica.org/programs/rs/profile.cfm?id=275

and from the biggest coal company of them all:

http://www.peabodyenergy.com/

Prairie State is a 1,600 megawatt supercritical coal-fueled power plant being built in Washington County, Ill., that would be among the cleanest U.S. plants with emission rates that are approximately 80 percent lower than existing U.S. power plants. Even its carbon dioxide emission rate will be approximately 15 percent lower than the typical U.S. coal plant.
“Prairie State is leading the largest new build-out of clean coal-based generation in three decades and is important for delivering reliable baseload electricity at a time when demand is growing significantly faster than capacity,”

Posted by: ohrealy at March 15, 2008 1:32 PM
Comment #248040

Ethanol Demand Threatens Food Prices


The recent rise in corn prices—almost 70 percent in the past six months—caused by the increased demand for ethanol biofuel has come much sooner than many agriculture economists had expected.

food or fuel
Do we have to choose?

By Seth Teter

a recent study by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University estimated a 30 percent increase in corn prices would only result in an average food price increase of 1.1 percent.

So if corn is not the culprit, what is?

“As energy costs have increased, it has become more expensive to process, package and transport food items for retail sale,” said Jim Sartwell, an economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation. “In addition, soaring demand overseas for U.S. dairy and meat products has reduced quantities available at home, resulting in retail price increases at the grocery store.”

_http://www.fox28.com/News/index.php?ID=28196
_http://nwitimes.com/articles/2008/01/10/business/business/doc9cc285f905598966862573cb006a2aa6.txt
_http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=75689


_http://www.cnbc.com/id/19094147/
CNBC’s Yergin: What the U.S. Can Learn From Brazil About Ethanol

Ethanol based on sugar cane is easier to produce. You’re starting with sugar. Corn needs to be turned into sugar. Another reason became very evident when, on a rainy, muddy Saturday — and an hour’s flight from Sao Paulo, and another 40 minutes by car into the countryside — I tramped around a mill and went out into the fields to watch sugar being harvested by state-of-the art harvesting machinery. These are highly integrated operations. One of the key reasons for their low cost is that the mills are self-sufficient in terms of energy; they make their own electricity out of baggasse, the ground-up waste product from the sugar cane plant.


_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_Brazil#Comparison_with_the_United_States

Unfortunately, despite this cost differential in production, in contrast to Japan and Sweden, the U.S. does not import Brazilian ethanol because of strict U.S. trade barriers (tariffs) corresponding to a levy of a 54-cent per gallon – a levy designed to offset the 51-cent per gallon blender’s federal tax credit that is applied to ethanol no matter its country of origin.[8] These are promoted by the powerful American sugar lobby, which does not want a competitor to high-fructose corn syrup, and domestic sugar interests

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 15, 2008 1:56 PM
Comment #248041

_http://www.cnbc.com/id/19094147/
CNBC’s Yergin: What the U.S. Can Learn From Brazil About Ethanol

Ethanol based on sugar cane is easier to produce. You’re starting with sugar. Corn needs to be turned into sugar. Another reason became very evident when, on a rainy, muddy Saturday — and an hour’s flight from Sao Paulo, and another 40 minutes by car into the countryside — I tramped around a mill and went out into the fields to watch sugar being harvested by state-of-the art harvesting machinery. These are highly integrated operations. One of the key reasons for their low cost is that the mills are self-sufficient in terms of energy; they make their own electricity out of baggasse, the ground-up waste product from the sugar cane plant.


_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_Brazil#Comparison_with_the_United_States

Unfortunately, despite this cost differential in production, in contrast to Japan and Sweden, the U.S. does not import Brazilian ethanol because of strict U.S. trade barriers (tariffs) corresponding to a levy of a 54-cent per gallon – a levy designed to offset the 51-cent per gallon blender’s federal tax credit that is applied to ethanol no matter its country of origin.[8] These are promoted by the powerful American sugar lobby, which does not want a competitor to high-fructose corn syrup, and domestic sugar interests

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 15, 2008 1:57 PM
Comment #248044

Oreahly

I suggest if you have the time that you listen to the NPR discussion I linked to. The technology is changing. They are talking about the use of freznel mirrors, not solar panels per say, to gather and reflect the light to pipes which heat the water and create steam to power turbines. A hundred miles on a side is the correct estimate. Congress will be deliberating the subject of the creation of these plants this coming Monday. The talk is of creating not one huge plant but a number of plants scattered across the southwest where solar heat is the most intense. The main obstacle at this point in time is the transmission of the energy from the plants to consumers. They claim that cost wise it is now on par with current rates around the nation.

It seems to me that if the technology is there and doable why should we not seriously look into it. Personally I would much rather see my tax money invested in the necessary transmission lines than subsidies for the oil, gas and coal industry. The real obstacle of course will be in overcoming the influences of fossil fuel industry lobbyists.

Posted by: RickIL at March 15, 2008 2:24 PM
Comment #248047

Ohrealy

After hearing on the news a few days ago of the RNC’s money woes I was wondering if they would continue to put there money on a four time loser. Maybe this is their way of politely saying we want a new candidate.

Re- Bedzed: Could you imagine anything that progressive on such a large scale here in the US? I am thinking that what seems like an exponential awareness of current realities may just serve to slingshot us into an alternative energy world.

Posted by: RickIL at March 15, 2008 2:40 PM
Comment #248076

RickIl, oddly enough, I found that BedZed link when I was looking up info on Peabody Energy, but it fit the topic pretty well. After Bush, there has to be some kind of breakthrough no matter who comes next. How long can you dumb everything down with BS from Coors and Scaife funded “think tanks”, before people realise that they have been duped.

We are at 42 degrees north latitude in Chicago, and London is about 51 degrees 30 minutes north, and they are trying to get some solar. In Florida, I lived at about 28 degrees 30 minutes north latitude. Some people there had solar hot water heaters, but I always thought it was a waste of money, since the water isn’t really cold and doesn’t need to be heated that much. It seemed like an icebox/Eskimo type situation.

People in more modern devleopments like many in Florida are surprisingly more ecology minded than here. There was a school which was built covered with a mound of earth on two sides to preserve energy, they have more recycling there than here, limitations on the amount of garbage you are allowed to throw out without being charged additional money, and strict controls on runoff into lakes and streams, all in areas that would be described as politically “conservative”.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 15, 2008 7:27 PM
Comment #248092

I live in northern Indiana and I put 4” insulation in my windows and protected it from the elements with black plastic. I did this to insulate the most vunerable areas of my house, the windows.

My neighbors said my house looked like a crack house and the cops would soon want to inspect my house to verify it’s ligitamacy.

I laughed and saved large amounts of energy and am benefiting from this savings because I am on a budget plan provided me by N.I.P.S.C.O, my energy provider. I saved 4$ a month for the next year.

The cops didn’t show up for at least another year!

Just goes to show, you can’t trust popular opinion.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 15, 2008 10:38 PM
Comment #248101

Jack has mentioned “car pooling”.
I have considered this option, and find it to be the most viable alternative to my situation, to date.

School busses can solve my problem if schools were able to think outside the box. I would ask Ron Brown to consolidate the transportation of students AND the transportation of employees. Coordinate the delivery of children to school while delivering parents to work!
Think about it, Ron! Make those busses work for the community, not just for the school “corporation”.


Posted by: Weary Willie at March 15, 2008 11:30 PM
Comment #248134

Rick Il

I don’t support carbon credit schemes. I like the carbon tax precisely because it is elegant and simple. You pay a tax on carbon. Period. You don’t trade it or get a special exception. If you use less carbon based fuel, you pay less. Nobody has to verify that.

Carbon trading is a form of carbon tax. It is less effective, but probably more politically saleable It is not my preferred situation for reasons above, but I might accept the half of loaf. I don’t think that politicians will accept a pure carbon tax. It doesn’t allow them to appear to be heroes.

Willie

Re Euro, it makes no difference. Taxes in the U.S. would be in U.S. dollars. Currencies are just notations.

Posted by: Jack at March 16, 2008 3:13 AM
Comment #248159

Jack,
There is no problem on the carbon tax as long as it differentiates between fossil carbon and renewable carbon. If we dig carbon up from the ground and then put it in the air that’s different from using plants to pull the carbon out of the air then burning the material produced by the plants.

Having such a notion then produces a logical foundation for real “carbon credits”. A city that uses a landfill to permanently bury carbon-based trash effectively sequesters that carbon in much the same way as a swamp. Figure out how to accurately quantify the sequestration and it is possible, then, to assign the municipality a ‘credit’ it can then spend or assign to industry. The same logic could be applied to verifiable sequestration in wetlands and forests as an economic spur to the development or preservation of true wetlands and other carbon sinks worldwide.

The problem with corn ethanol, of course, is that it is so carbon-inefficient. It takes fossil fuel to grow and fossil fuel to distill and fossil fuel to deliver, since it can’t be shipped in pipelines used for peroleum products. So this fuel that literally takes food off people’s tables winds up not even substantially reducing the amount of carbon we put in the air! And the farm lobbyists would probably talk their way out of any carbon taxes on that fool’s errand…

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 16, 2008 5:24 PM
Comment #248174

from a friend of mine;;;


TIPS ON PUMPING GAS
I don’t know what you guys are paying for gasoline…. but here in California we are also paying higher, up to $3.50 per gallon. But my line of work is in petroleum for about 31 years now, so here are some tricks to get more of your money’s worth for every gallon.. Here at the Kinder Morgan Pipeline where I work in San Jose, CA we deliver about 4 million gallons in a 24-hour period thru the pipeline. One day is diesel the next day is jet fuel, and gasoline, regular and premium grades. We have 34-storage tanks here with a total capacity of 16,800,000 gallons. Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening….your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role. A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps. When you’re filling up, do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3)stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some other liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you’re getting less worth for your money. One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL or HALF EMPTY. The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation. Unlike service stations, here where I work, every truck that we load is temperature compensated so that every gallon is actually the exact amount. Another reminder, if there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up—most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom. Hope this will help you get the most value for your money. DO SHARE THESE TIPS WITH OTHERS! WHERE TO BUY USA GAS, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW. READ ON Gas rationing in the 80’s worked even though we grumbled about it. It might even be good for us!
The Saudis are boycotting American goods. We should return the favor. An interesting thought is to boycott their GAS. Every time you fill up the car, you can avoid putting more money into the coffers of Saudi Arabia. Just buy from gas companies that don’t import their oil from the Saudis. Nothing is more frustrating than the feeling that every time I fill-up the tank, I am sending my money to people who are trying to kill me, my family, and my friends. I thought it might be interesting for you to know which oil companies are the best to buy gas from and which major companies import Middle Eastern oil.
These companies import Middle Eastern oil:
Shell……………………..205,742,000 barrels
Chevron/Texaco……… 144,332,000 barrels
Exxon/Mobil…………… 130,082,000 barrels
Marathon/Speedway… 117,740,000 barrels
Amoco……………………62,231,000 barrels
Citgo gas is from South America, from a Dictator who hates Americans.
If you do the math at $30/barrel, these imports amount to over $18 BILLION!
(oil is now $90 - $100 a barrel
Here are some large companies that do not import Middle Eastern oil:
Sunoco………………0 barrels
Conoco………………0 barrels
Sinclair………………0 barrels
BP/Phillips…………..0 barrels
Hess…………………0 barrels
ARC0…………………0 barrels
If you go to Sunoco.com, you will get a list of the station locations near you. All of this information is available from the Department of Energy and each is required to state where they get their oil and how much they are importing.

Posted by: napajohn at March 16, 2008 7:42 PM
Comment #248202

RickIl, photovoltaics sound very promising, but it looks like something that can only be used by individuals. I don’t see it producing electrical power for the grid.

“Fresnel” mirrors or lenses sound like another expensive science experiment, but obviously mass production would bring down the price:
http://www.gezen.nl/www.gezen.nl/index5eec.html

There was a guy on GMA this morning hwo has a high end electric car that goes up to 170 miles per hour, but how is the electricity he uses generated? In America, it is probably a good idea to make solar sexier.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 17, 2008 9:13 AM
Comment #248307

Global Climate issues DO NOT NEGATE the need to cut ourselves off from the need for energy from our enemies. Yes, we have REAL enemies and they SHOULD be our enemies! We need to stop giving radical Islam billions of dollars. We need to stop funding nutso communist dictators in south America (who threaten us with oil embargo’s)with our energy dollars.


Another way to say that, Global Climate change does NOTE negate security issues for the nation. And security issues should not be a left vs right thing with one side for security and the other opposed.


In fact, the need for energy independence dove-tails very well with the desire to cut pollution. Most Americans are probably willing to pay a little extra for energy independence.


Have you noticed that more and more scientists are coming out against the “man made disaster” line? And how Al Gore and his end of the world movement is fading from view?


It’s time to build up our nuclear industry and put those rechargeable cars in our driveways. And yes, to build more wind, and solar too. And please dear god, lets make it ILLEGAL to use crops for fuel. No sugar cane, no corn, no crop land for fuel….it’s bad for everyone in so many ways.

Posted by: Stephen at March 17, 2008 9:19 PM
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