Blame for High Gas Prices

President Obama now has experience in Washington. “So what have we got to show for all that experience? Gas that’s approaching $4 a gallon.” reference Gas cost around $1.87 the day President Obama took office. “I’ve been in Washington long enough to know a political stunt when I see one. The good news is the American people won’t be fooled. If the President wants to lower gas prices, he should stop hosting press conferences and start taking action.”

Sorry for the harsh words. Maybe you have guessed by now that the one about gas approaching $4 a gallon is Barack Obama speaking and the second one is Rahm Emmanuel.

Of course, we could feature Nancy Pelosi talking about the failed energy policies that gave us gas that cost more almost $3 a gallon or the various leftists complaining that gas prices were so high because we had oilmen in the WH. Of course, Bush was regularly asked, ""What do you say to people who are losing patience with gas prices at $3 a gallon? And how much of a political price do you think you're paying for that, right now?"

The oilmen are gone, but the prices are higher than ever. What gives? How is that possible? Where Barack Obama and those Democrats all full of it back in 2006-8 when they claimed the high gas prices (generally lower than today's) were the fault of the president?

I understand that some of my liberal friend will never see the irony and they get annoyed when I quote them. So let's get to the real lesson.

Presidents do not control oil prices - not Bush, not Obama. In fact, government cannot manage the economy. It doesn't have the power. All you can expect when you ask government to do what it cannot do is lots of expensive sound and fury - as we have seen with President Obama.

Maybe we should not blame President Obama, but we can say for certain that whatever he did didn't work to make things better and he borrowed and spent a lot of money to do it. What do you say about someone who brags about what he is going to do, spends a lot of money in pursuit of this goals and then produces results worse than if he did nothing?

Posted by Christine & John at March 16, 2012 10:10 PM
Comments
Comment #338633

C&J
Governments always control economies. Stop being silly. When the Fed raises overnight interest rates to cool classical inflation that is government control. When governments initiate large projects or order huge amounts of goods it stimulates the economy etc. The effects are not usually quick but they can be, emergency price controls etc.
As you well know the current rise in gasoline is a speculative bubble. Its being driven by Wall Street. There are provisions in the Dodd-Frank bill that will help address some of the dangerous greed in the commodity markets. A problem is that these reforms do not take effect for another year. If I were BO I would start enforcement now and fight it out in court, both legal and public. That plus serious investigations involving price fixing etc.If taxpayers can afford to spend 70 million to find out if Clinton had an affair we should be able to look into allegations of price fixing by the Koch brothers.

Posted by: bills at March 17, 2012 5:07 AM
Comment #338634

In 1921 the government did nothing and it is never mentioned.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 17, 2012 6:40 AM
Comment #338635

Bills

So President Obama is clearly to blame for the recent run-up of gasoline prices, since governments control the economy and he had been in charge of the government for the last nearly four years?

Let’s get rid President Obama, since he is making us pay all that extra money, or it at least he is unable or willing to use the power of his office to make things better.

Posted by: C&J at March 17, 2012 8:23 AM
Comment #338639

In todays’ headlines, Obama is again trying to

…seeks halt to tax subsidies for oil industry
.

How can you honestly blame one person in our government for all the wrongs within? We DO have a “do-nothing” congress, you know.

Wise up and vote so both the Congress and the President can work together- not apart!

JEEZZZZ

Posted by: Highlandangel1 at March 17, 2012 9:37 AM
Comment #338640

C&J Obama took office as the country was in the throws of a financial meltdown left by the GWB administration. The global financial meltdown was why gas prices were down to the under $2 range. Are you suggesting another financial meltdown as the cure for $4 gas? If so you are right we will need a Romney for that. However most of us can understand why the cure is worse than the disease in this case.

BTW what was the price of gas just prior to the meltdown? $4.12. DO we need to go any farther to realize what a line of crap we are seeing from you on this issue?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 17, 2012 9:44 AM
Comment #338643

j2t2

I am just saying, that if you blamed Bush you have to blame Obama. And if you refuse to blame Obama, you need to go back and apologize for all the thing you said about Bush.

Of course, I am certain that if Bush was in office now, you all would be heaping on the vitriol for his failure to keep unemployment under 8% and his policies that caused gas prices to rise to unprecedented levels.

As I have said many times, I don’t think that government can fine tune the economy. But I am speaking the liberal language now, not the true one.

You guys believe government can do wonders and during the Bush time you attacked on that basis. Now that your man is the screw up, you really cannot expect not to be attacked with - in this case - YOUR own words. My post is just a stringing together of statements by prominent Democrats, including Barack Obama himself.

If those words have a sour taste, recall that they are yours.

Posted by: C&J at March 17, 2012 10:44 AM
Comment #338647

Weary Willie, the reason that the conclusion of the Depression without government intervention in 1921 is rarely mentioned is that eight years later, a huge depression occured (some people call it the “great” depression), and all that “leave it alone, it’ll get better” approach did there was let the economy slide even further into disarray.

C&J-
What can Obama do at this point? Force the energy companies to build more refineries? Break up the more conglomerated oil companies? End the Ethanol policy, and put thousands in the heartland out of work? Create a gasoline tax holiday which will gut the funding for keeping roads and bridges up?

His predecessor handed more power to the financiers, who had nothing but speculative interest in the price, to set the price for oil. Unsurprisingly, they set it high. Some mistakes don’t get undone so easily, especialy when those who made them have no interest in allowing changes in policies to occur.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2012 11:48 AM
Comment #338650

Stephen

As with George Bush, there is nothing effective President Obama can do in the short run. At least nothing reasonable that won’t cause more harm.

That is why this irony is so Delicious. Those are OBAMA’s word that lead my post.

I know that he cannot do anything to help and now you seem to understand what you did not four years ago and probably really don’t fully comprehend even now.

You and I both also know that I will take advantage of this opportunity and I will aid and abet the tying of the President’s policies to short term rises in the price of gas while giving him no credit if they should fall. But I promise that I will use only phrases and even exact words that you all and Obama himself used so dishonestly 2005-8. There is a rich vein of vitriol to mine.

And I know that when Obama is replaced by a Republican president, you will again by on that high horse spouting the same arguments you now claim not to believe.

We know for certain that President Obama is unable or unwilling to improve the situation. I do not believe that any president could do better in this in the short term. Is this what you believe.

Posted by: C&J at March 17, 2012 2:12 PM
Comment #338651

Stephen, JT2t et Al

The other irony is that President Obama is taking credit for new oil and gas production, all of which were build and most of which came on line BEFORE he took office.

Posted by: C&J at March 17, 2012 2:18 PM
Comment #338657

First, I think the case can be made that though the markets and supply took things a certain way, they only could do so after Bush opened the Pandoras box of market manipulation by deregulating certain aspects of commodities trading, and after he allowed oil companies to combine and consolidate, thus removing the price-decreasing pressures of competition, not to mention refinery capacity

But hey, you want to be smug about what Liberals said about Bush? Isn’t that what it’s always about, not policy, not the way that such rules can open the door to certain difficult to control processes in the market?

You can sit around and feel self-righteous about the matter, or you can look and see that decades of not facing this reckoning’s put the economy in a precarious position, and continuing to indulge the oil company’s not going to make things any better. The time has come to make the transition as a country to other kinds of energy, before the market forces the painful changes by creating recessions as a result of high energy prices. The market ought to be something we anticipate, and write policy ahead of, rather than something we’re chasing blindfolding, trusting our faith to it as if it were God himself.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2012 6:08 PM
Comment #338661

Stephen

Maybe you guys are right about government having much more influence on gasoline prices than I thought. If that is true, then Obama screwed up in his four years in power.

Maybe I am right that the president cannot influence gasoline prices in the short term. If that is true, Obama made a serious mistake before he was elected and so did Democrats. This means that he still screwed up.

The bottom line in both scenarios is that Obama screwed up.

Re the high energy prices - Bush was not responsible for higher energy prices. Most of the price of oil is contained in the price of crude. This market is not well competitive because most of the world’s crude is controlled by governments. You might want to do a little more study on this. Competition among energy firms in the U.S. still is sufficient to keep prices down, if they were the ones creating the problem

I bet you didn’t know that government or government controlled firms control 80% of the world’s crude. Exxon, the biggest of the big private oil companies, is a distant #11 in terms of crude it controls. Your analysis of the oil industry is not completely wrong, just completely out of date. Oil firms had the control you talk about back before the 1970s. Perhaps you noticed that prices were lower back then, BTW.

According to the Department of Energy, 71% of the price you pay comes from crude prices and another 15% is taxes. That leaves only 14% for refining, transport, retailing and marketing. Even is all these things cost nothing and all the people who refine and sell gas worked for nothing your $4 gallon of Obama gas would still cost $3.44.

What President Obama could do to lower prices is make it easier to explore for American oil and gas. I don’t think lower energy prices is something President Obama really want (and I can actually understand his point). What he is looking for is a way not to take the heat.

Posted by: C&J at March 17, 2012 7:50 PM
Comment #338665

Question on oil: if drilling for more oil or increasing production won’t lower the price of gas (remember, we can’t drill our way out of this problem), why is Obama cutting a deal with the British PM to release oil fom the SOR in the Summer? Does he expect the increased inlux of oil on the market to drop the price?

Posted by: Billinflorida at March 17, 2012 9:30 PM
Comment #338679

How weird. How strange. Virtually every scientist and scientific institution in the world- in the world- tells us Global Warming is happening, and humanity is causing it, yet we debate how to drill more oil in order to lower gas prices. Absolutely bizarre.

So, how many strings of 80 degree days in Chicago in March will it take? How much earlier will the cherry trees blossom in DC before people notice? If 97% of the scientists say it is a problem today, will it help if 99% say that tomorrow?

How will we ever explain our shortsightedness to posterity?

Posted by: phx8 at March 18, 2012 12:50 PM
Comment #338681

So phx8, are you making the same statement that Obama made a few days ago, that the warm winter in the US is the result of GW? The Weather Channel (a bastian of liberalty) has even declared they do not believe the warm winter is part of GW. In fact this winter was considered the 4th warmest on record:

“Only the winters of 1991-1992, 1998-1999, 1999-2000 were warmer. All of this is based on records dating back to 1890s.”

http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/looking-back-winter-2011-2012_2012-03-07

But then we have the winter of 2007-2008, which was the coolest winter on record dating back to the 1890’s:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080314175834.

So we have the coolest winter in between the warmest winters. No wonder the NOAA people at the WC would not make the claim. And we know that Obama is an idiot and that’s why he blamed it on GW. But what is your excuse phx8?

Posted by: Billinflorida at March 18, 2012 2:01 PM
Comment #338682

phx8

I will explain that natural gas produces only 1/3 the CO2 of the coal it is likely to replace. I advocate exploring for that.

But we should be clear. I have advocated higher prices for gasoline done by means of a tax on gas to be offset by tax reductions in income taxes and other taxes. To the extent that we continue to use fossil fuels, I prefer they be American in origin.

I also have reasonable confidence in our ability to adapt and change. We are developing alternatives, but we still depend on fossil fuels.

Beyond all that, our grandchildren in 2112 will be farther advanced technologically than we are in comparison to our grandparents in 1912.

Re global warming - it also depends on details. The earth is warming. Some is probably attributable to human activity, but there is a lot of uncertainty in climate research. Models have long predicted a natural cooling of climate as we already overdue of an ice age. If human activity prevents mother nature from zapping us with another ice age, I am for that.

I think scientists of 2112 will call us ignorant as we call the scientist of 1912.

Anyway, if President Obama want to raise gasoline prices and keep them high, the best way to do it is not to penalize American producers to the benefit of Iranians, Russians and Saudis.

Posted by: C&J at March 18, 2012 2:12 PM
Comment #338685
So phx8, are you making the same statement that Obama made a few days ago, that the warm winter in the US is the result of GW?

It is very foolish to assume annual climatic variations are indicative of any larger trends. Every year, the climate varies both up & down. There are various oscillations; most are related to ocean circulation. Some oscillations last a few years, others for a decade or more. However, anthropogenic Global Warming continues to work to increase mean temperatures as long as we continue to release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. AGW, will make mild winters like the recent one more frequent, but the existence of mild winters is not sufficient evidence of AGW. The reality of AGW can be proven with a little knowledge of thermodynamics, spectroscopy and physics. The costs of AGW are a little more difficult to calculate, but it has been demonstrated that they exceed to cost it would take to mitigate global warming.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 18, 2012 3:03 PM
Comment #338688

Warped,
While it is true that no single weather event can be directly attributed to an overall change in the climate-

(Example, a rainstorm in the desert is an example of a one-day weather event in an arid climate)

-while that is true, at some point the constant repitition of weather events adds up to a change in the climate.

(Example, if it rains every day for ten years in a desert, the climate is no longer arid)

And so, at some point, the accumulation of weather events adds up to an indication the climate has actually changed. In the current example of remarkably warm days in Chicago, we see the effects of a rare weather pattern called an Arctic Oscillation. Has the increased albedo of the arctic due to melting ice and larger open areas of water caused this pattern? If warm spells in the upper midwest occurred within a larger context of average or cold winters, it would obviously be just a weather event. However, the warm spell that occurred has happened within a long-term context of unusually warm winters.

Posted by: phx8 at March 18, 2012 4:03 PM
Comment #338692

Warped,
To continue…

“The reality of AGW can be proven with a little knowledge of thermodynamics, spectroscopy and physics.”

True. But most Americans do not understand the most basic scientific concepts. You know it. Unfortunately, climatologists and other scientists make pronouncements about Global Warming that are careful and consistent with the overall skeptical scientific approach, and accurate within their cautiously articulated sphere, but are actually harmful to the formulation of public policy.

Policy needs to be made without the benefit of hindsight. It’s about foresight, about taking trends and an overwhelming body of evidence, dismissing the outliers and single digit possibilitites, and acting.

“Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.”

Posted by: phx8 at March 18, 2012 4:36 PM
Comment #338693

C&J,
I’ve always thought the eventual answer to Global Warming will come through a technological fix, perhaps something we only look at as wild science fiction today. However, I don’t think it’s a good idea to count on innovation as an excuse for inaction now. Unfortunately, I’ve also always thought the American public will be unable to face up to Global Warming until a catastrophe- a weather event- makes the larger context undeniable. The problem with waiting is that the forces behind Global Warming, the sheer amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases involved, makes delay more and more dangerous and difficult to counter.

Posted by: phx8 at March 18, 2012 4:45 PM
Comment #338698

phx8


I think we should be reasonably active. It is a potential problem, but one we can adapt to. The world has been warmer than it is today, even during times of human history. As ice in Greenland is retreating, archeologists are finding remains of human habitation under what had been ice. Obviously, it was warmer when they built them. In fact, cold climate is what doomed Viking settlements there. And it has been much colder. 10,000 years ago my home state of Wisconsin was under a mile of ice. Today it is not. Which is the “true” climate. During the Eocene forests grew above the arctic circle. The climate of the mid-20th century is not THE climate and may not be the optimal one.

I think the problem for action is that the “crisis” was oversold. Al Gore et al exaggerated the immediate threat and when it didn’t happen as they threatened people got complacent. I have learned that you need to be very careful when trying to scare people into action. It is also true that people like Gore were poor messengers. It still annoys me that all these international conferences on climate change produce enough CO2 to drive around the world thousands of times.

There is also the nature of the solution. It will not come through international rule making. The Kyoto is a good example of the cluster f*ck that happens when you get involved in that kind of process. It got mixed up with global redistribution and failed to address the future, i.e. BRICS etc. In 2020, China alone will produce more CO2 than the whole world did in 1990. Meanwhile, America’s CO2 emissions are dropping for technical reasons.

Posted by: C&J at March 18, 2012 5:52 PM
Comment #338699
Which is the “true” climate.

There is no true climate. What we are concerned with is the rate of change (which is rather unprecedented outside other catastrophic events in Earth’s history) rather than the change itself.

The damage from global warming will be entirely man-made. We’ve built a great deal of infrastructure around the climate that existed as we industrialized. If we want to adapt that infrastructure to a warmer climate, it will be very expensive. Also, many of the costs will be political. For instance, a warmer climate might mean less agricultural activity in Bangladesh, but more agricultural activity in Siberia. Even though we would theoretically have the capacity to feed those Bengali people, political reasons will prevent us. I’m certain Russia would not want a few million Bengali people settling in Siberia, nor would they be willing to donate the Siberian food to Bangladesh. Our best solution is not to open that can of worms and work towards maintaining a relatively stable climate.

climatologists and other scientists make pronouncements about Global Warming that are careful and consistent with the overall skeptical scientific approach, and accurate within their cautiously articulated sphere, but are actually harmful to the formulation of public policy.
To do otherwise would be even more harmful to the formulation of public policy. The scientific community does not want to become like “the boy who cried wolf”. Exaggerating claims will only bite one in one’s butt later. If the warm winter of ‘11-‘12 is evidence in favor of global warming, then conservatives will surely argue that a cold winter in ‘12-‘13 or ‘13-‘14 is evidence global warming. And you can be assured that there will be another exceptionally cold winter this decade; the climate is too variable and chaotic. Posted by: Warped Reality at March 18, 2012 6:31 PM
Comment #338701

Warped,
Well, you already addressed C&J’s comment about optimal climates, so I will move on.

I did want to mention, the evidence for Global Warming is not limited to climatology, or its sub-branch, paleoclimatology. The eveidence is multidisciplinary, including things like plants blooming earlier, fauna and flora ranges measureably changing, and so on.

At some point, confirmation bias becomes mere confirmation. In the case of Global Warming, one could point out one winter is unusually cold, but if the next nine are warm or exceptionally warm, that one cold one becomes an example of bias. But when the long-term trend confirms, then events become more and more likely to be examples of confirmation. Like I said, the evidence is already overwhelming, and we’re beyond the point of being the boy who cried wolf. Heh. Maybe it’s more like the movie “Grey”… Just kidding. However, the long-term danger of change is very real. It might be optimal if the Canadian provinces became a green belt and the southern United States a dustbowl, but that’s hardly acceptable to large numbers of people.

It’s just amazing that the national conversation seems fixated on how we can drill more oil and produce more gasoline right away.

Posted by: phx8 at March 18, 2012 6:52 PM
Comment #338703

Warped & Phx8

Infrastructure is renewed constantly. We have to make some adjustments now. Often it will be fairly simple, build road beds higher, don’t build on existing flood plains. This is good sense. That is why we had that big discussion about rebuilding New Orleans.

On our farms, we are planting bald cypress and longleaf pine, which have ranges in areas to our south.

We have to expect some migration.It need not be catastrophic. I remember many catastrophes that didn’t happen. I recall that we were supposed to expect millions of refugees from the old Soviet Empire. Didn’t happen. Of course, we had the population bomb, not to mention the atomic bomb.

Population is Russia is expected to decline. They will need immigrants.

You are right that it depends on how fast it happens. It is the change that matters more than the steady state. That is why I we need to understand that if the climate warms in 2100, we will NOT want to return to conditions of the 1990s.

Re opening the can of worms - according to the best climate science that can is open. The die is cast. Nothing we can do will prevent the submergence of much of Bangladesh.

We cannot stop climate change and should get ready to adapt. Adaptions will be mostly local and decentralized. We cannot expect the UN process to plan any better than it has in the past, which is really horrible. The world will adapt as it always has. We will not plan for it, or maybe put a different way, the plans won’t work.

You guys are actually more optimistic than I am about the chances of stopping the change.

Posted by: C&J at March 18, 2012 7:13 PM
Comment #338704

C&J,
I’ve been unable to write articles due to an apparent problem with Movable Type, I cannot put my cursor in the Body or Extended fields, although it can be put in the Subject box. I suspect the problem is with Movable Type, not my browser or anything on my end. Adam Drucker offered to help, but I’m wondering if you know anything about this problem, or any way to fix it. A google search shows this problem has happened with older versions of MT in the past, and that is was caused by an inability to recognize the user due to some kind of discrepancy between MT & javascript, or something. Any suggestions?

Posted by: phx8 at March 18, 2012 7:21 PM
Comment #338707

If we are running out of oil as many liberals predict; doesn’t it stand to reason we will run out before GW reaches critical mass and we all die? I say burn it up and then we won’t have anything to argue about.

Posted by: Steve at March 18, 2012 7:49 PM
Comment #338708
Infrastructure is renewed constantly. We have to make some adjustments now. Often it will be fairly simple, build road beds higher, don’t build on existing flood plains. This is good sense.

It’s more than just that. One of the sectors that will be impacted the greatest will be agriculture. Right now, our food system is built upon certain assumptions. We assume that most of our food will be coming from the world’s great bread baskets such as the Great Plains. Changing climate will mean that the locations of fertile agricultural activity will be different. For instance, let’s go back to my old example, Siberia currently doesn’t have the infrastructure to export food to the rest of the world. Conversely, a lot of people depend on food grown on the Indian subcontinent. Climate change will probably make Indian agriculture less productive (less reliable monsoons, less glacial melt water from the Himalayas). Bangladesh doesn’t have the means to import food from Siberia. So how are 150 million Bengali people going to eat when they can no longer grow their own food?

Also, there is a moral component to this; why should Bengali people pay the price while the industrialized world reaps the benefits of fossil fuel combustion? This externalization of costs could be construed as international theft. Are you sure nations like Bangladesh won’t attempt to exact revenge through military means?

Population is Russia is expected to decline. They will need immigrants.

True, but I doubt the political system in Russia is friendly to a massive increase in immigration. Immigration also poses other questions; should these Bengali immigrants need to assimilate to Russian culture? Why should they, considering the fact that if it weren’t for Russia they probably would still be in Bangladesh? Any time there is this much human migration you are bound to get strife on conflict.

The die is cast. Nothing we can do will prevent the submergence of much of Bangladesh.
I’ve read that reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 80% before 2050 would be sufficient to avoid most of the worst impacts of climate change. Maybe it’s inevitable that the Maldives becomes a bunch of seamounts, but Bangladesh at least has a bit more of a chance.

Also, aren’t you the one who constantly berates liberals for pessimism?

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 18, 2012 7:53 PM
Comment #338709
If we are running out of oil as many liberals predict; doesn’t it stand to reason we will run out before GW reaches critical mass and we all die? I say burn it up and then we won’t have anything to argue about.

Saying we are “running out of oil” isn’t terribly accurate unless we attach a price to that oil. We are already out of oil that costs $5/barrel to extract and that price floor will only continue to rise as we exploit those resources. Most of the North American oil resources championed by conservatives are much more expensive to extract (at least $75/barrel I believe), which means it will be incredibly difficult to achieve Gingrich’s promise of $2.50/gallon prices unless even more taxpayer is spent subsidizing the fossil fuel industry.

Also, it isn’t very accurate to say “GW reaches critical mass and we all die” either. The increases in Earth’s mean temperature due to Anthropogenic global warming are likely to be slow and steady, not large and catastrophic. The problems associated with climate change will increases in a similar way. Although it is impossible to say for certain, it is extremely likely that a warmer climate has a hand in certain events such as droughts and increased intensity of hurricanes. Many people around the world are already paying the price for our decision to utilize fossil fuels to power our economy. I say we should put an end to the market distortions and let free markets take care of things. This would mean levying a tax on CO2 emissions in order to internalize the external costs associated with climate change.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 18, 2012 8:08 PM
Comment #338712

Warped

Re Russia - by 2012 Russia will have a very different system in place. I doubt they will even control most of Siberia by then. A country with a falling population has a dark future.

Climate change will actually increase agricultural production in the U.S., according to most estimates. We will need to change crop mixes, but I figure that GMOs will make adaption much easier. We are headed for a revolution in both food production and materials sciences. We won’t recognize the place.

Re India - we will have MORE glacial melt for the next century. Those figures of the glaciers disappearing made by the UN were famously wrong. This problem is at least 200 years off.

Re pessimism - I try to be realistic. I am not pessimistic. The world will be both warmer and better for humans in 2112 than it is today. Re Bangladesh - think of the analogy of Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake is essentially a drown river bed. It is very shallow and very productive for seafood. We are learning how to make artificial reefs etc to bring increase production. Consider Bangladesh. What a protein factory that will be for seafood. The fish will even have little fish houses to breed it. We have no need to create artificial reefs.

Every challenge is an opportunity and every opportunity is a challenge.

Posted by: C&J at March 18, 2012 8:48 PM
Comment #338716
by 2012 Russia will have a very different system in place. I doubt they will even control most of Siberia by then. A country with a falling population has a dark future.

That’s a pretty bold prediction. Who would control Siberia in Russia’s stead? China seems like the only possibility (much of the Russian Far East is territory conquered from China), but I doubt they would war with Russia like that. The 21st century environment is not very conductive for wars of conquest, especially when the USA is such a hegemon.

More likely, Russian demographic trends reverse themselves and the population of Siberia swells with Russians. I could also see Russia permitting immigration from the former Soviet Bloc, as those countries have experienced a great deal of Russification over the past century. I just don’t see widespread Bengali immigration to Siberia as a real possibility.

Climate change will actually increase agricultural production in the U.S., according to most estimates. We will need to change crop mixes, but I figure that GMOs will make adaption much easier. We are headed for a revolution in both food production and materials sciences. We won’t recognize the place.
Adapting to a new climate will not be trivial. A great deal of agriculture relies on centuries-old habits. I worked on a vegetable farm when I was in HS; most of the big decisions such as when to plant and harvest certain crops was done based upon historical climate. It will be very difficult for farmers to adjust to a changing climate.

I don’t know enough to judge whether or not seafood can replace Bangladesh’s rice crop. However, my intuition leads me to believe that it won’t be enough because it is much less efficient to obtain calories from animals than it is to obtain them from plants.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 18, 2012 10:39 PM
Comment #338717

Warped

I will be long dead by then, so I can make bold predictions.

IMO, the Chinese will gain control over the area by mere infiltration perhaps followed by a brief conflict, sort of like we did with Texas.

Re former Soviet block, some will go in. Most really hate the Russians. Besides, their populations are also flat or declining.

I also don’t see lots of Bengalis moving to Russia. But immigrants may be fungible. As some others go to Russia, there will be places for others.

In any case, IMO, lowlands near the ocean will sleep with the fishes. People will move, not sure where or if it will be peaceful.

Re agriculture - it is high tech these days. Let me give you some recent examples. In 1972, Brazil was a net importer of food. Can you believe that?

Today the Brazilians grow soy in places that twenty-five years ago experts said would never grow anything. And soy is - was - not a tropical crop. They are also growing wine for grapes in the tropics - something said to be impossible only a few decades ago. AND they are getting 2 1/2 harvests a year.

I don’t know if seafood will replace the rice, but it won’t matter. We will have a surplus of grain from the new strains we will produce.

Simply put, human imagination will prevail.

You are a science guy. Think of the promise of nano-tech to revolutionize materials. When carbon nano-tubes replace steel in many functions, how much carbon emitting energy will be avoided both in the production of steel and the weight efficiencies.

I read about a new type of concrete that actually absorbs more CO2 than it releases in the process of making cement. Concrete is the most common man made substance on the planet. Imagine a carbon negative concrete and you begin to see the promise of tomorrow.

The troglodytes so crazy worried about today’s CO2 emissions simply lack the vision to see as far as we are looking. They are worried about how to heat and light their caves, we see beyond the cavern entrance.

Posted by: C&J at March 18, 2012 10:57 PM
Comment #338719
Simply put, human imagination will prevail.

I don’t doubt this, but I still think that if our government acted in the right way, the transition would be made much smoother.

Also, I still believe that externalizing costs like that to be a travesty. It makes much mores sense to simply tax the carbon emissions. Such a tax also has the benefit of taxing consumption rather than income, which might have its advantages.

However, when I here these sort of ideas to geoengineer and/or drastically remake human societies, it reeks of central planning and statism. I don’t think the West has the right to force other countries to change their structure. It just doesn’t seem right for us to coerce Bangladesh to switch from relying on rice to relying on seafood.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 19, 2012 12:00 AM
Comment #338770

There is no choice left for Bangladesh. There is enough CO2 in the air now to make the floods happen, if they are going to happen.

The “West” will not be the big culprit. China is far outstripping us, for example.

The idea of forcing changes in lifestyle is an interesting academic argument, but cuts no ice in reality. Globalization is forcing changes, west, east, north and south. Most of the changes have been beneficial. Life sucked for almost everybody before the age of the “West” or the age of globalization. Today it sucks for fewer and fewer people and even the poorest live at a higher material standard than the average of 200 years ago.

There is an interesting book recently out called 1493. I recommend it. It talks about the first globalization after Columbus. The Spanish got much of the gold and silver but then, like today, the China trade was a big factor. We tend not to see these things because of our Western orientation, which makes us give ourselves too much credit and blame.

BTW – I was not suggesting that Bangladesh will come to rely on seafood. I was suggesting that Bangladesh will BE a producer of seafood because most will be under the sea. The population will presumably have moved by then and the country as we know it today will have ceased to exist.

Posted by: C&J at March 19, 2012 9:13 PM
Comment #338893


C&J, are you saying that there are countries that would be more than willing to accept the 160 million people of Bangladesh? We can give them all a airline ticket to Juarez. The U.S. will take them in.

The West moves much of it’s manufacturing base to China then proclaims the Chinese the big culprit?

Posted by: jlw at March 20, 2012 8:08 AM
Comment #339087

jlw

China has been the biggest producer of CO2 since 2008 and will produce more CO2 in 2020 than the whole world did in 1990. There is no solution w/o China. It might be fun to continue to blame the U.S., but that will become more and more an empty exercise.

Re Bangladesh - I don’t know where they will go. I am simply telling you that according to current science there is enough CO2 in the air NOW to cause that flooding. It is just a matter of lag time.

Beyond that, with China,India and others coming on strong in the CO2 emissions, there is no possible way to reduce emissions to the 1990 levels any time soon. U.S. emissions have been dropping, but even if we dropped to zero emissions, in 2020 the world would still be emitting more CO2 than it did in 1990.

So we can lament the future, but it will happen.

Posted by: C&J at March 20, 2012 4:21 PM
Comment #339269


C&J, you said what I said but with different words. American and European manufactures are producing more CO2 emissions in China that they did in the West after the West started producing anti pollution measures. The other factor is the fact that China has nearly 5 times as many people as the U.S. and more people than all of Europe, the U.S. and Canada combined.

While there is pressure by citizens on the Chinese government to reduce pollution, the citizens of China do not have the democratic power to force the issue as it was done in the West.

If the Chinese were to seriously crack down on CO2 emissions, and can’t keep the workers in line, Africa could become the greatest emitter of CO2.

Some of us will continue to blame the U.S. when blame is appropriate, and blaming the U.S. refusal to lead is appropriate. Blaming the Chinese is an excuse.

By 2020 China will be producing even more CO2 emissions, but they may also be in a position to start reducing those emissions.

Yes, a lot of the CO2 damage has been done as far as global warming is concerned and you seem to be saying that we should just throw our hands in the air and capitulate to the fossil fuel industry and thus make things even worse in the future. I’ll continue to believe, true or not, that the American people are smarter than that.

We have a choice, we can plan the future or we can let the market provide us with the future that best serves it’s needs.

Bangladesh isn’t the only place that will be in jeopardy. Displacement will occur around the globe, including the U.S. and the costs associated with it will dwarf the benefits (profits excluded) of relying on fossil fuels for most of this century. The industry says we can continue to rely almost exclusively on fossil fuels for several centuries.

Posted by: jlw at March 21, 2012 5:40 PM
Comment #339271

C&J,
Why you can point out nothing President Obama has done has prevented the cost of oil from rising. The fact that increased oil production and better energy efficiency standards has not chilled the fears that America may run out of fossil fuel any day is probably one of the biggest factors causing the price at the pumps to return to post Katrina Days. So short of price fixing and rationing what measures should President Obama and Congress take to lower the demand of oil while increasing the world supply of the product?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 21, 2012 6:06 PM
Comment #339277

jlw

Chinese are responsible for Chinese emissions as Americans are for those in America.

American agriculture feeds many people in the world. Does that mean we should “deduct” our emissions related to that production?

I object to what looks like to me attempts to attach blame.

My point is that Americans no longer are in the biggest decision making role. American emissions started to slow around 2000. They dropped in 2006, for the first time this ever happened when an economy was growing robustly. Of course they also dropped when the economy tanked, but are on a downward trend in general anyway.

On the other hand, emissions from China alone will equal or exceed those of the whole world in 1990. I repeat.

Re Bangladesh - please understand, the low lying places in the world are already doomed. If we stopped producing ALL CO2 emissions today, the world would continue to warm for about 90 years. CO2 is persistent and scientist tell us the effects are cumulative.

Re America leading, as I mentioned US emissions are dropping. They will drop even faster as we replace coal with natural gas, which emits only 1/3 as much CO2. Energy intensity in the US (i.e. unit of energy per unit of GDP) has been dropping since the 1970s.

Energy transitions take many years. Governments have tried to speed this up in Germany, Spain and other places w/o significant results. Since 2000, US emission of CO2 have dropped more than those in the EU, which has a much more activist policy toward these things.

Anyway, I would ask how much more you are willing to pay for fuel. You can have “clean” energy today if you are willing to pay.

How many of the people complaining about inaction ride their bikes to work, own a hybrid, or don’t turn on their heat or air conditioning? People always think of reasons why they need to use more energy.

I have a fair amount of contempt for the idea that we somehow can still have cheap AND clean energy if just politicians will pass the proper laws.

BTW - I ride my bike to work most days and walk to the store, carrying my groceries in my backpack. I have not put gas in my car since sometime in late January. I cut my grass with a push mower and where I live now use neither heat nor air conditioning. I don’t think most Americans want to live this way (although it probably would reduce obesity rates). Rising gas prices mean little to me personally, but I know it is not the general sentiment.

Henry

President Obama can do nothing, IMO, to change the trend in prices. But my post uses Obama’s words and those of other Democrats to make the opposite point. Maybe they have learned what I knew all the time. But those that blame others can expect to have their own words used against them when the shoe is on the other foot.

Posted by: C&J at March 21, 2012 7:15 PM
Comment #339280

BTW - Politics make them all come around. What did President Obama really believe?


President Barack Obama will issue a memo in Cushing, Okla., tomorrow telling federal agencies to expedite the section of the Keystone XL pipeline between Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast, the White House announced today.

Posted by: C&J at March 21, 2012 7:29 PM
Comment #339293

C&J,
Why we could debate the words used by our Elected Officials, I do believe holding the Individuals and Political Parties accountable or hat they say and do is part of the “”Game” taught to us by Our Community Elders. For granted there is a certain quacks in both parties argument to raise an eye brow; however, it is those things which drives people like you and me.

Now, as far as the pipeline. Why it maybe needed in order to push more oil to the market faster in the long run I believe it will go the way of other pipeline networks. However, I am glad President Obama is being Pro-Active instead of waiting for Congress to send him a Comprehensive Energy Plan.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 22, 2012 8:43 AM
Comment #339300
I am just saying, that if you blamed Bush you have to blame Obama. And if you refuse to blame Obama, you need to go back and apologize for all the thing you said about Bush.

C&J. The GWB administration went into secret meetings with unknown persons involved in the oil industry to form an energy plan for the country. Obama did not. The GWB administration did not do anything to slow down the speculators, The Obama administration did. To bad it wasn’t a global answer as the price of oil is higher by 15% due to speculation over the past decade. The GWB administration lost much respect when they issued no bid contracts to cronies as well.

If those words have a sour taste, recall that they are yours.

The problem with your story C&J is the fact that we were in a near depression when the gas prices were at the $1.90 level. Trying to blame Obama for the rise in prices back to the level before the global economy tanked just isn’t the same as blaming GWB for not acting on oil speculation and crony capitalism. Only a conservative would lavish praise on GWb for the drop in gas prices to $1.90/gal when the cause was a global drop in demand due to the financial meltdown.

The other irony is that President Obama is taking credit for new oil and gas production, all of which were build and most of which came on line BEFORE he took office.

And yet another irony is the price of oil is going up not down because the previous administration and the conservative mantra of drill baby drill is a falsehood when it comes to lowering prices.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 22, 2012 12:57 PM
Comment #339303

Obama says we can’t drill our way out of this one. The high price of gas is blamed on evil WS speculators. He says the increased production of oil will do nothing to bring down the price of gas.

I just heard a couple of good questions: would the increased production of domestic wheat or corn bring down the price of wheat or corn?

The government used to pay farmers to leave their land dormant, I don’t know if it is still done or not. But the purpose of cutting production of wheat, corn, or soy beans was to drive the price up. So if cutting the production of crops drives the cost up, then would cutting the production of oil drive the price of oil up?

Why would the president ask the Arabs to increase the production of oil, if increased production does not effect the price of oil?

So many questions and so few answers.

Posted by: TomT at March 22, 2012 1:32 PM
Comment #339304

More quesions:

Do you suppose the American people know that Obama’s energy tour is nothing more than an attempt to cover his ass on the high price of gas?

Do you suppose his allowing the OK to TX Keystone section of the pipeline is an attempt to keep his envionmental wacko base happy and at the sae time try to fool Americans into believing he is actually trying to fix the oil problem?

What ever happened to the “blood for oil” mantra from the left under Bush? Did we ever get any oil from Iraq, or was it just another bullshit charge by the left?

Why, after 35 years of liberal environmental standards, why are we worse off now than we were 25 years ago?

Why is Obama lying to the America when he says we only have 2% of the worlds oil and yet we use 20%? Some scientists say we have enough oil to last 200 years; that we have more oil than Saudi Arabia.

Here’s the big question: what was the fuel of America’s industrial revolution and what fuel does America run on today?

Posted by: TomT at March 22, 2012 1:45 PM
Comment #339305

phx8-
You might need to compose in Firefox.

C&J-
You’re going to have to tell me what brilliant scientists you’re talking to, such that you can be so certain about what the climate and future technology will do, because nothing I know about either tells me your certainty is well founded.

On the climate side, it’s frankly because nobody can know that for certain. We certainly have some warming in the pipeline, but nobody knows how much. We do know adding more CO2 to the system, though, is going to make things more difficult.

On the science side, there are plenty of innovations going on in terms of solar power and wind, and their distribution is becoming greater. The real question is whether you’re up to date on that, or whether you’re just getting your information from think-tanks that help fossil fuel companies that want to make alternatives seem unlikely in order to stifle unfavorable shifts in the market away from them.

As for blaming Obama for gas prices? I remember these prices being just this bad in 2008, before the crash. It’s commonly agreed that the great recession, due to multiple factors, including reduced demand and sold off speculative stocks, was the main driver behind that price drop, not Bush energy policy.

Since Obama’s been improving the economy, you’ve being seeing demand driving up prices, and speculators back at it again. Despite record production, supply being higher than ever, prices remain high. Hitting the speculators might provide temporary relief, but at a cost of many new supplies that are not economical until oil prices hit and stay at a certain level. Tar Sands, Oil Shale, and Shale Oil are not cheap to extract. The Keystone XL Pipeline, by the way, is not intended to actually reduce prices for oil. Keystone oil, being Tar Sands Oil, will never be that cheap because all they have to do to extract it. It’s being pumped mainly into the Midwest, flooding the markets there, which has the unfortunate effect (for them) of surpressing the price they can ask.

If they can get that stuff on the world market, they can demand the higher price they want to ask for it.

So, when Republicans push for the Keystone XL pipeline, claiming it will somehow solve the current price problem, they’re full of it. It won’t do a darn thing to help.

So, on the whole, I think you’re misguided here. You accept global warming, but you take an unscientifically certain, not to mention unnecessarily pessimistic view on what we can do. You posit a price problem, but you ignore that the real policies that got oil this expensive are mainly that of the status quo, for which the former Administration bears much responsibility.

Oil’s not getting cheaper. Alternatives are, especially if we pump in more money for R&D. We should let our energy policy pursue future discounts, not drag behind an inevitable upwards rise in prices.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 22, 2012 1:52 PM
Comment #339312

Stephen, How long before we have enough alternative fuels to run this nation? What alternatives are you talking about because I haven’t heard of any besides nuclear that are plentiful. Why is it other oil producing countries have cheap gas?

Posted by: KAP at March 22, 2012 2:36 PM
Comment #339313

Top 10 places that produce oil and sell gas cheap, UAE 1.40per galoon, Egypt, 1.21 a gallon, Bahrain 1.02 gallon, Qatar 0.83 gallon, Kuwait 0.79 gallon, Saudia Arabia 0.45 gallon, Iran 0.42 gallon, Nigeria 0.38 gallon, Turkmenistan 0.30gallon, and last but not least Venezuela 0.19 a gallon. These figures are from this month so someone please explain to me why these countries can sell cheap gas producing oil but we can’t.

Posted by: KAP at March 22, 2012 2:49 PM
Comment #339317


In the state with the motto, There is no such thing as global warming, Oklahoma, a utility company began charging higher rates for peak time use of electricity for 2,500 customers. The customers significantly reduced their consumption of electricity. When people can see their consumption, they see how they can be less wasteful and save money, they do it. Conclusion, if the plan was extended to all customers and with some additional renewable energy, the state could meet the requirements of the Kyoto Accord.

Stephen, when I was arguing that gas prices would fall before an election to help the Bush Administration, Jack told me all about seasonally adjusted prices.

C&J, are you saying there is no correlation between Western corporations moving manufacturing facilities to China and the steep rise in China’s CO2 output? I am not saying that these corporations are responsible for the bulk of the increase, but they are contributors.

You advocate for more CO2 emissions in America while saying that China is the bad guy now?

American agriculture can and will benefit greatly from increased use of renewable energy. Especially those Midwest farmers when the Keystone pipeline is built.

Oh, consumption fell in 2006? What did the price of gas do in 2006?

Europe? It is a tale of two countries, some rather affluent some not so affluent.

Germany is well pleased with the results of it’s endeavors at utilizing renewable energy which is now supplying 20% of the countries energy needs. They are committed to a massive infrastructure rebuilding program with a goal of replacing it’s nuclear energy with renewable energy by 2022.

IMO, the Germans care enough about their future to plan ahead, while many in America care far more about themselves and their convenience than the future. Your objection is noted.

A huge infrastructure rebuilding effort is what we need to take full advantage of renewable energy. This rebuilding will have to be done anyway, highways and bridges, and especially the electrical grid. It just makes sense to build it with renewable energy in mind. The private sector economy owes a lot of it’s success to government building, research and incentive programs.

Just a short while back, I said what are conservatives crying about, you will get your keystone pipeline despite the lies about savings.

The Obama Administration has also changed the $7500 electric car subsidy to a $10,000 subsidy for all alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles, including LNG.

Someone should tell these survivalists that solar panels and wind mills might be a better investment than gas powered generators if society is headed for a fall.

Tom T, water powered the industrial revolution for a long time before electricity and oil.

Did you know that even the investors have said that the Keystone Pipeline will raise prices rather than lower them? Of course you wouldn’t want to take my word on that, you would want to research that out for yourself, right?

Oil from Iraq? No not the American people, but Exxon, BP, and Shell are sucking a lot of Iraq’s oil and expatriated profits. The oil companies and other companies like Halliburton have benefited greatly from having oil men in the Whitehouse who instigated, by telling outright lies, insinuations, false intelligence and fear mongering, a war for control of Iraq’s oil. Why if the Iraqi’s were to re-nationalize their oil and kick the Western corporations out, we might just have to attack them again.

Better to have American taxpayers subsidize bribe money for Iraqi politicians.

Even Obama has learned how hard it is buck Congress and deny these corporations what they want, which is primarily more use of their products, more government subsidies for their operations, reductions or elimination of government subsidies for renewable energy, tax reductions, and all the oil and gas leases now.

Posted by: jlw at March 22, 2012 4:31 PM
Comment #339318


“These figures are from this month…”

Kap, we have discussed this before and you could easily find out the why with a little research. In short, interference with the market pricing or in conservatives terms, socialism.

Did you notice that those countries that supply the U.S. market don’t give us the same break?

Are you advocating that our government should interfere with the market and force the oil companies to supply the product at those prices? Do like some of those countries and nationalize the oil industry? We just freed Iraq’s oil from nationalization and it only cost the taxpayers about $3 trillion. Every dime of which is now part of the national debt because the Republicans don’t like paying their bills. Bush said Iraqi oil would pay for the war so where is our $3 trillion in oil? Oh darn, Exxon sold it to Europe and China and kept the profit.

What do you think Limbaugh and Fox would have to say if Obama proposed that we nationalize the oil industry and supply the American consumers with 15 cents per gal. gas? I know what they would scream, THAT PROVES IT, OBAMA IS A SOCIALIST.

Why isn’t Romney proposing that he will do that if elected?

Posted by: jlw at March 22, 2012 5:08 PM
Comment #339326

jlw

“C&J, are you saying there is no correlation between Western corporations moving manufacturing facilities to China and the steep rise in China’s CO2 output?” They are partly responsible for the rise in Chinese GDP and relative prosperity. If you think China should stay poor and backward, that is a different argument.

Re CO2 emissions in America - I do not advocate that at all. If we transfer significant amounts of electricity production from coal to natural gas, our emissions will continue to drop.

You seem to advocate a kind of starve the beast strategy. If we don’t explore for energy in the U.S., you think that is just fine because it will limit emissions?

Re renewable energy - I like the idea, but we don’t have enough of it yet at prices you want to pay. IF by Midwest farmers benefiting, I suppose you mean bioenergy. Have you thought about greater ethanol production’s influence on environment and society?

“[The Germans]are committed to a massive infrastructure rebuilding program with a goal of replacing it’s nuclear energy with renewable energy by 2022.

Let’s see how that works out for them. They will replace nuclear energy, which emits insignificant amounts of CO2 and is cheap with the plants now in place, for the promise of renewable, which will include bioenergy that requires bi changes in land use.

Have you been to Germany? If so, you may notice that it is not a very sunny place, nor does the wind blow very hard in most places in the country.

The Germans can reach some goals because their population is aging. They will literally have started dying out by 2022.

The Germans do lots of things right. I have spent a lot of time in Germany and I like the place. But they have a different set of needs and priorities. You probably do not want to live as they do.

And their experiment with solar has not worked. They heavily subsidize it, and probably will never been self-sufficient in Germany, since for half the year the sun rarely shines at all.

Posted by: C&J at March 22, 2012 6:30 PM
Comment #339383


C&J, if ending poverty and hunger was the goal it could be accomplished.

Yes the Germans are cutting subsidies, even though many of their solar manufactures are in trouble. They are cutting them because they are producing to much solar to fast, an average of 7,000 MW per year. They want to slow that down to between 3500 and 4500 MW per year so the infrastructure need to utilize it can be built.

Remember Pickens, invested heavily in wind power then cut investment because of a lack of infrastructure to carry the electricity.

That cloudy country is producing nearly as much energy from solar as the rest of the world combined. Of course the amount of solar energy being produced in the world is still quite small, but it is growing rapidly. Soon larger countries like the U.S. and China will take the lead from Germany.

Apparently there is some wind in Germany because they are also building a large off shore wind farm.

Getting 20% of their energy from renewable sources in just a few years is a pretty good accomplishment IMO.

A recent study done in India suggests that countries wind energy potential is at least 20 times and possibly 30 times greater than was previously predicted.

Since neither India or China have oil, it would be in their best interest to concentrate on renewable energy as quickly as possible. We know what the price of oil is going to continue to do.

Posted by: jlw at March 23, 2012 3:01 AM
Comment #339396

I love the way the left always comes to the defense of Obama’s energy policies. He is anti-fossil fuel and anti-American prosperity. If he opens his mouth he is lying. And he seems to be trying to put out fires on a lot of fronts. It don’t look good for thi Chicago thug.

Posted by: TomT at March 23, 2012 10:15 AM
Comment #339401


Tom T., there are a lot of lefties that are displeased with many of the decisions made by the Obama Administration. Some of us would vote for an alternative if we had a choice.

Fifty percent or more of the Republicans don’t want Romney, but what can they do. Santorum says it would be better to vote for Obama than Romney.

In today’s world, the pro fossil fuel people are the ones who are anti-American.

America used to be famous for taking the lead on new technology and introducing it to the world.

Now, the pro fossil fuel people are only interested in new technology that can extract oil and gas from between a rock and a hard place, and the only science they are interested in is oil corporation science.

Some of them are stupid enough to believe that the oil companies are going to extract that hard to get product and sell it for 15 cents a gal. It takes a real simpleton of capitalism or a closet socialist to believe that propaganda and the oil companies believe there are a lot of simpletons who will be voting. The Republican party is counting on the simpleton vote. The party would be nothing without it.

IMO, a true patriot would want to A) drill in America for more oil and B) develop renewable energy sources as quickly as possible. Our countries future is more dependent of the latter.

I prefer leadership to crybabies crying for their bottle of cheap gas.

I never thought I would see the day when conservatives would be crying for more socialism. Were ENTITLED to 15 cent a gal. gas and Obama won’t let us have it.

Posted by: jlw at March 23, 2012 11:50 AM
Comment #339416

Kind of hard to do R&D in America when Obama is driving business out of the country. Obama wants China to create solar panels and batteries.

Posted by: TomT at March 23, 2012 7:24 PM
Comment #339422

From Obama’s address at Solyndra, May 2010:

“So that’s why we’ve placed a big emphasis on clean energy. It’s the right thing to do for our environment, it’s the right thing to do for our national security, but it’s also the right thing to do for our economy.

And we can see the positive impacts right here at Solyndra. Less than a year ago, we were standing on what was an empty lot. But through the Recovery Act, this company received a loan to expand its operations. This new factory is the result of those loans.

Since the project broke ground last fall, more than 3,000 construction workers have been employed building this plant. Across the country, workers — (applause) — across the country, workers in 22 states are manufacturing the supplies for this project. Workers in a dozen states are building the advanced manufacturing equipment that will power this new facility. When it’s completed in a few months, Solyndra expects to hire a thousand workers to manufacture solar panels and sell them across America and around the world. (Applause.)”

Obama on March 2012:

“Obviously, we wish Solyndra hadn’t gone bankrupt,” Obama said. “But understand: This was not our program per se.”

“Congress — Democrats and Republicans — put together a loan guarantee program because they understood historically that when you get new industries, it’s easy to raise money for start-ups, but if you want to take them to scale, oftentimes there’s a lot of risk involved, and what the loan guarantee program was designed to do was to help start up companies get to scale,” he said.”

So once again, Obama (when the program fails) blames someone else. Paid for by the Recovery Act, voted in by straight Democratic vote in the House and with the help of Spector(before he switched parties and then sent packing), Snow and Collins of Main in the Senate(Snow is now quiting). Hardly a bypartisan vote. But that lying SOB Obama now wants to include Republicans in the deal gone bad.

Posted by: Billinflorida at March 23, 2012 9:24 PM
Comment #339424

jlw

You can produce solar energy in a cloudy country if you are willing to subsidize it. But subsidies are not free. If your government subsidizes a form of energy that costs ten times as much, it doesn’t have that money to spend on other things.

It is a dumb choice for Germany. There is a difference between Neuschwanstein and Nevada. A system that doesn’t recognize those things is bound to fail.

Solar cells are becoming cheaper because of subsidies. We can take advantage,since the German taxpayers are absorbing much of the cost. But the costs have not gone away.

The other problem is over building old tech. Solar panels of today are certainly not as good as they will be. It is as if government subsidies encouraged everybody to buy computers back in 2000 and we were now stuck with them.

Posted by: C&J at March 23, 2012 9:52 PM
Comment #339455

Flashback to 2009: Administration Policies Sought to Discourage ‘Overproduction’ of Oil; and bnow he wants to take credit for increased production…

“So, to recap:
■Encouraging more investment (drilling) is a bad thing, because
■More drilling leads to too much production (!), which is
■… detrimental to the nation’s long-term energy security (!!)
■Cheaper hydrocarbon fuel would work against the Administration’s goal of reducing carbon emissions.
■Carbon-based fuels were destined cost more (via taxation) under a cap-and-trade system anyway.
■We can raise the taxes on industry by taking away the deductions (not “credits”) which have historically, and successfully, encouraged drilling, and
■Redirect that money, and then some, to our political friends who are invested in “green” technologies (read: Solyndra, Fisker, et al).
■As was pointed out in my blog at the time, we have a Treasury Secretary who doesn’t know the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit. Given his difficulties with TurboTax, perhaps this should not be surprising.”


http://stevemaley.com/2012/03/17/flashback-to-2009-administration-policies-sought-to-discourage-overproduction-of-oil/

Posted by: TomT at March 24, 2012 1:35 PM
Comment #339459


C&J, built with or without subsidies, those solar panels are generating electrical power.

Another cloudy, rainy country that has subsidized solar and wind power is England.

Care to make a guess on the amount of government/taxpayer incentives that have been and are still being paid out to the oil industry?

Your renewable energy government subsidies argument makes sense to the non thinking and the oil company investors.

National defence alone is a good reason to have as many of your government, businesses and homes have the ability to generate electrical energy. These systems will not produce total independence, but they would serve the country extremely well in case the electrical grid were to go down for an extended period of time, for whatever reason. Of course that could never happen, could it? And our technology is so advanced that another nuclear disaster can’t happen either unless it is an act of God rather than a human failing, could it? Japan’s nuclear disaster was a human failing.

“The other problem is building old tech.”

Do you mean we should have waited till we had the modern automobile rather than to have bought Model T’s, or before we built a highway system to accommodate the modern automobiles of today?

Don’t buy a television till digital technology is developed!

Should we have done the same regarding computers, air planes, etc.? Should people not have traveled by air till the modern jets of today had replaced the Ford Trimotor, the DC 2, and all the planes in between then and now?

I guess men should have waited for the diesel engine and oil before sailing the Oceans and initiating the Industrial Revolution.

Had Reagan initiated a solar energy incentive/subsidy plan in the 1980’s, solar panels could be much more abundant today, as well as technologically more advanced than we are now. Research in rare elements, carbon nanotubes, etc. would probably be more advanced as well.

The people would have listened to Reagan. He could have made a difference. There would have been little argument as to his ranking among presidents. ‘My Administration is dedicated to research and development of renewable energy and electric cars.’ That would have been a revolution. Reagan would have been a true revolutionary rather that a fake one on behalf of wealthy interests.

What conservatives call the Reagan revolution was in fact the equivalent of the British winning the War of 1812, or of wealthy interests being able to prevent the Progressive Era.

In addition, there would be far less talk about high gas prices and drill baby drill.

like your first argument, this one is nonsense, but both have one advantage, they have appeal to many of those who the Republican party is dependent on for political power, those who never learned to think and those who so fear change that they want to wet their pants.

An electric grid highway, powered by wind and solar, would be unbelievably advantageous to the country and very detrimental to the oil and NG market. That explains the current and past endeavors to stymie change. The taxpayer incentives to oil, during the past few decades, would have made renewable energy bloom.

In 1800 and 92 Columbus dieseled the Ocean blue?

Posted by: jlw at March 24, 2012 3:46 PM
Comment #339460

j2t2

All forms of energy, I suppose, get some types of breaks. Government is literally involved in every part of our lives. They tax with one hand and give with the other. I am confident that oil firms pay more in taxes than they receive in subsidizes, while alternative energy does not pay for itself.

Re old tech - in the case of cars and computers, the tech was deployed as it became the “best available”. If government had subsidized it so that everyone could have had a model T or that all could have a 486 computer, it would have tended to freeze innovation.

Government can help a lot with basic research, but the irony is that when it gets involved directly with picking winners it slows innovation.

In fact, you have it just backward. I am for innovation that works. You are for today’s status quo and putting money into what we have rather than what we could do.

Posted by: C&J at March 24, 2012 4:28 PM
Comment #339487
I am confident that oil firms pay more in taxes than they receive in subsidizes

The external costs associated with fossil fuel combustion are completely subsidized and are orders of magnitude greater than what oil firms pay in taxes.

Re old tech - in the case of cars and computers, the tech was deployed as it became the “best available”. If government had subsidized it so that everyone could have had a model T or that all could have a 486 computer, it would have tended to freeze innovation.

Government can help a lot with basic research, but the irony is that when it gets involved directly with picking winners it slows innovation.

In fact, you have it just backward. I am for innovation that works. You are for today’s status quo and putting money into what we have rather than what we could do.

I agree with you about this. Unfortunately, the GOP today is focused on subsidizing fossil fuels (today’s technology). These fossil fuel industry subsidies are inhibiting our ability to transition to tomorrow’s energy economy.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 24, 2012 9:04 PM
Comment #339492

Warped

Oil and gas receive the smallest subsidy per unit of energy of any industry and, as I wrote, it is not a NET subsidy.

All forms of energy - all activities - have external costs. I agree that we should capture those costs, if we can identify them. I also want to transition into alternatives. However, government management will tend to create vested interests that will actually slow changes.

Recall the ethanol debacle. It sounded like a good idea, but once established it was very difficult to remove after circumstance indicated it didn’t work.

We can be thankful that Solyndra went bankrupt. A worse case scenario would have been that government money kept alive a technology that was overtaken by developments.

I am very fond of natural gas. This is much cleaner than the coal it will replace, it is widespread and it is American. It doesn’t seem to need subsidies, since new technologies mean that it is cheaper than every other alternative.

Posted by: C&J at March 24, 2012 9:19 PM
Comment #339495
Oil and gas receive the smallest subsidy per unit of energy of any industry
Does this calculation consider external costs?
All forms of energy - all activities - have external costs. I agree that we should capture those costs, if we can identify them.

I’m not denying alternatives don’t have external costs. However, the government already has programs to internalize some of those activities (fission plants adhere to certain anti-meltdown regulations, hydroelectric plants provide ladders to enable spawning salmon to swim upstream etc).

I am very fond of natural gas…It doesn’t seem to need subsidies.
From my vantage point, natural gas seems to require a great deal of subsides. Although not all the facts are in regarding fracking, it seems that this practice profoundly disrupts local groundwater supplies. Posted by: Warped Reality at March 24, 2012 9:38 PM
Comment #339498

Warped

As more evidence comes it, it is becoming clearer that fracking does not harm ground water, when done properly. Examples of contamination have been exaggerated and those that have been verified can be traced to poor installations, especially early in the process when we were still learning how to do it right. We have a duty to ensure that it is done properly, but also a duty to ensure that this cheap, clean and American product can be brought into the energy in greater quantity.

Whenever we subsidize or tax, we distort incentives and people make poor decision.

Gas receives a subsidy of $0.63 per per megawatt hour (MWh); the figure for solar is not just a few times, not ten times. Solar gets $968.00 per Mwh. You can pay for a lot of externality for that money.

http://www.aei.org/outlook/energy-and-the-environment/alternative-energy/wind-and-solar-power-part-ii-how-persuasive-are-the-rationales

Posted by: C&J at March 24, 2012 10:02 PM
Comment #339532
Gas receives a subsidy of $0.63 per per megawatt hour (MWh); the figure for solar is not just a few times, not ten times. Solar gets $968.00 per Mwh. You can pay for a lot of externality for that money.

That EIA studies has been criticized because it only consider one year’s worth of subsidies. Most fossil fuel infrastructure is already constructed, which means it doesn’t show up in the EIA study. Also, because alternatives are just coming online right now, they are experiencing high fixed costs. This is magnified even further when you look at average subsidy per unit, which is what AEI did. Because solar is such a small part of our economy, the denominator in the quotient is quite small, which blows up the number.
Read here for more info

By the way, a more recent EIA report exists and it steers clear of the dubious per-unit annual subsidy calculation. Instead, it says:

simply dividing the current value of subsidies by current consumption or production does not reflect either the long-run impact of imbedded subsidies and or the future impacts of current subsidies and support that may only be starting to impact energy markets
.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 25, 2012 11:41 AM
Comment #339536

Warped

We should invest in smart transmission lines for the electricity we generate, no matter the source. This is the infrastructure that would also help wind and solar.

Natural gas is beating out nuclear and coal using this same in place infrastructure. BTW - gas is the complement to wind.

Solar is not ready for prime time. We will probably has distributed power when solar becomes functional. Beyond that, the infrastructure solar needs is that same smart distribution network. that will work for others.

I object to the the Obama Administration picking winners and making investments that they do not understand. It is not their role and they cannot do it right. I think that politicians prefer to subsidize firms, rather than invest in infrastructure that will be used by all or basic research, because it allows them to favor followers. It is a form of corruption, crony capitalism.

We should never praise leaders for doing this, no matter what they ostensible goals. It is corruption.

Posted by: C&J at March 25, 2012 12:20 PM
Comment #339562
We should invest in smart transmission lines for the electricity we generate, no matter the source. This is the infrastructure that would also help wind and solar.
I agree with what you are saying here. I believe that if we ended all subsidies for all energy types we’d be much better off.
I think that politicians prefer to subsidize firms, rather than invest in infrastructure that will be used by all or basic research

I think this is a symptom of post-Reagan conservatism. Research projects are often cited as “pork”, whereas giving money to firms is seen as “pro-business”. Democrats have adapted to mimic their Republican counterparts.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 25, 2012 6:30 PM
Comment #339568

Warped

Conservatives have supported research too. It just tends to be more military based, which often produces advances elsewhere.

Conservatives tend NOT to invest in particular firms. And nobody has taken this crony capitalism to the levels the Obama folks have done.

Posted by: C&J at March 25, 2012 7:20 PM
Comment #339572

C&J,

I guess you two were in hibernation when GWB was President. His Presidency is uniquely responsible for the trend towards crony capitalism.

It just tends to be more military based
This is a lousy and inefficient way of doing things and it reeks of crony capitalism for companies in defense industries. Posted by: Warped Reality at March 25, 2012 8:12 PM
Comment #339586

Warped

Bush grew government. It was bad. Obama raised the stakes well beyond that. I have said many times that it would be good to get back to the size of government (adjusted for inflation & growth) we had in 1999 and tax enough to pay fo that, not more or less.

Re defense - the problem is that we need some goal in mind. DARPA gave us internet. It was not their plan to encourage Google and Amazon, but it worked that way.

The US in general is a fantastic supporter of research. I think we should do more. But we should not invest government money in particular private firms. It is usually corrupt and always corrupting.

Posted by: C&J at March 25, 2012 9:16 PM
Comment #339649


Government and cronyism are the same age as nepotism.

Posted by: jlw at March 26, 2012 11:13 PM
Comment #339650
I have said many times that it would be good to get back to the size of government (adjusted for inflation & growth) we had in 1999 and tax enough to pay fo that, not more or less.

Re defense - the problem is that we need some goal in mind. DARPA gave us internet. It was not their plan to encourage Google and Amazon, but it worked that way.

The US in general is a fantastic supporter of research. I think we should do more. But we should not invest government money in particular private firms. It is usually corrupt and always corrupting.

I agree.

However, I think programs such as the NSF are a much wiser choice of taxpayer money than DARPA. DARPA should focus on military technologies, NSF & other programs can take care of civilian things. I understand that there will be crossover between the two, but I wouldn’t rely on DARPA to fund all of our nation’s advances.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 26, 2012 11:18 PM
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