Use Less Oil vs. Find More Oil (Part III)

For advocates of finding more oil, like Debater Jon M, the obvious answer to foreign oil dependence is domestic drilling. There should indeed be more oil production here at home, agrees Debater Mike Deal, explaning why he's not surprised at the shortcoming.

Among proponents of using less oil, domestic drilling could be a viable option for anyone solely worried about inadvertently funding terrorism. But those concerned with damage to vulnerable ecosystems have two complementary goals: developing alternative energy sources and conserving oil.

Debater Chris Ford doesn't think conservation is terribly helpful. He says, "America can influence price a little by reducing our demand, but any conservation moves limited to America will eventually be supplanted" by demand from rapidly developing nations, such as China.

But even from an economic perspective, the primary purpose of conservation is not to spend less by deflating prices; it's to spend less by using less. (Biking to destinations within five miles of home guarantees lower fuel costs than driving an SUV everywhere -- no matter what the price of a gallon of gas.) Even simply increasing efficiency doesn't necessarily translate into a decrease in price or overall usage.

Of course, none of the above rules out the development of alternative energy sources. Debater Jazzman believes progress in this area is up to us: "We can call for and support with tax dollars independent research or we can wait for the energy industry to give us the new options."

The former would require influencing the people who decide where our tax dollars go. Indeed, Debater Robert writes, "Congress needs to develop a spine and make energy independence a national priority. They need to do it by conserving first and drilling later."

However, it appears members of Congress are not so much into the whole conservation thing. Why else would they take a procession of SUVs to decry prices at a gas station one block from the Capitol building?

And so the debate rages on.

By Emily Messner |  April 30, 2006; 2:24 PM ET  | Category:  Misc.
Previous: Use Less Oil vs. Find More Oil (Part II) | Next: This Week's Debate: Money and Politics

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Emily wrote:
"However, it appears members of Congress are not so much into the whole conservation thing. Why else would they take a procession of SUVs to decry prices at a gas station one block from the Capitol building?"

I'm sure the congressmen would say they did it for security but it was a bad picture. They know the heat is on and its an election year so they feel they have to do something, but the truth is they are more worried about conserving earmarks than gasoline.

But the problem is not just with Congress. Here is a list of the top fuel efficient cars in 2006 from http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/list/top10/108467/article.html:

Honda Insight -- 60/66
Toyota Prius -- 60/51
Honda Civic Hybrid -- 49/51
Volkswagen Golf TDI -- 37/44
Volkswagen New Beetle TDI -- 37/44
Volkswagen Jetta TDI -- 36/41
Toyota Corolla -- 32/41
Scion xA -- 32/37
Hyundai Accent -- 32/35
Kia Rio -- 32/35
Honda Civic -- 30/40
Pontiac Vibe -- 30/36
Toyota Matrix -- 30/36

Only one American car is in the list and its at the bottom. Here's a short article discussing this problem http://www.edmunds.com/ownership/driving/articles/109791/article.html:
"... Detroit just doesn't have any interest in making small cars and instead keeps believing that gas prices don't matter. "After the first oil shortages in the '70s, they tried to make small cars. They put out the Vega and the Pinto. The cars were crap and they weren't even fuel-efficient. Now we're in the same position again. Detroit just doesn't get it."

Posted by: Sully | May 1, 2006 09:20 AM

I am no expert on energy matters. Like most of you , I only know what I read in the papers and what I hear from the newsmen and pundits.

Yesterday, I heard Fareed Zakaria on THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS dismiss the notion that China and India's demand is what is driving the upward spiral in the cost of oil. According to Zakaria, both only account for 3% of present demand on world supplies, which would seem to fly in the face of what Chris Ford says about the impact of China and India. The main culprit--according to Zakaria--is the American fascination with these enormous, gas guzzling tanks they drive about in because they are so easily manipulated by the advertising consultants in the oil industry who sell these vehicles by pandering to deep seated American male hangups about being "tough" and "macho" enough or female hangups about being "nurturing" and "caring" enough to drive about in a vehicle that probably has more armour than the lightly amoured SUVs our troops are driving around in Iraq.

Te problem with Chris' analysis is that we have history on conservation that blows a hole in his case. Conservation does work. But, he does have a point. It does little good for Americans to do all of the conserving if the end result is that it stimulates the rest of the world to increase their own consumption.

Again, we find ourselves confronted with the conundrum that we are a trying to apply self-serving national solutions to a global problem. And again, we are faced with the undeniable truth that there is no longer any such thing as a "superpower". We are all linked together on this tiny little blue ball in space, and we had better wake up to that fact and stop looking at ourselves as just "Americans". We are earthlings first, whether we like it or not.

Posted by: Jaxas | May 1, 2006 10:07 AM

Ny apologies to the oil industry on my madison avenue comment. I meant to say the "automobile industry" putting out cynical adverising appealing to male and female gender vanities.

Posted by: Jaxas | May 1, 2006 10:12 AM

Jaxas-

"is the American fascination with these enormous, gas guzzling tanks they drive about in because they are so easily manipulated by the advertising consultants in the oil industry who sell these vehicles by pandering to deep seated American male hangups about being "tough" and "macho" enough or female hangups about being "nurturing" and "caring" enough to drive about in a vehicle that probably has more armour than the lightly amoured SUVs our troops are driving around in Iraq."

This is probably more a response to Zakaria, but isn't it possible that the "cultural" differences that place Americans in large vehicles and Europeans in smaller ones is just the fact that Americans can afford to do so whereas Europeans cannot? Isn't ths "fascination" nothing more than the reasonable consumer decision to drive a larger, more luxurious vehicle because it is economically viable to do so because gasoline prices have been historically lower than elsewhere?

Frankly I couldn't care less if it were a "cultural" distinction or not. What bugs me is the inability to recognize that this "problem" of Americans driving big cars is directly linked to low gasoline prices. Consumer behavior is not going to change unless prices change.

If you are serious about changing what Americans drive, asking them to conserve on a message board or condescending to them as merely being "Macho" isn't going to do a whole lot. While there is widespread agreement here that American oil consumption is ridiculous, there is equal consensus that the Government should "do" something about gasoline prices; namely find a way to lower them for you. And lower gasoline prices encourage/allows Americans to drive inefficient vehicles.

To Emily, Jazzman, and Robert-

I'm curious how any of you would propose funding "independent research", or making "energy independence a national priority"? These sound expensive and, last I checked, we're broke?

Posted by: Will | May 1, 2006 10:50 AM

Good analysis Jaxas,

Conservation is important for two reasons, it not only reduces our dependence on foreign oil, and it reduces our dependence on all oil!

To take Chris Fords approach is continued neo-con-weenie suicide. Oil wars are now proven to have the opposite effect; they drive the price of oil up. To guard pipe lines, wells, and refineries is costly in dollars and lives with a negative result. Oil is very vulnerable to terrorism. From an ECONOMIC stand point in the very near future, 40 to 100 years, the oil is gone. It took Brazil 30 years to become energy independent with a worldwide plentiful oil supply. If we plan to make ourselves energy independent we had better start conserving now and finding alternative sources now! Or learn to live like the Amish.

We are extremely wasteful of oil. CAFÉ standards need to be increased and speed limits reduced. With the exception of police, fire, and rescue, all vehicles need governors factory installed to prevent speeding and reduce oil consumption. For personal use 8 cylinders need to be outlawed. We are the laughing stock of the world when it comes to reasonable use of oil and the rest of the world is correct.

As for our politicians, we elect what we want to hear, right or wrong. Case in point is GWB. He promised (lied) our standard of living would not be compromised, especially our driving habits, because that's what most Americans wanted to hear.

Posted by: Jamal | May 1, 2006 11:05 AM

Not to overanalyze on this point Will but, one has to ask the question why the advertising budgets of these big companies are so huge if not for the fact that they reconize the value of such manipulation of consumers subconscious desires?

I have no disagreement with you on the issue of cheap gass motivating people to drive the larger vehicles but it is only one part of the eqyation. Obviously, the other factors I mentioned must be playing a significant role, elese why are the sales of these tank like vehicles still maintaining such vigor?

Posted by: Jaxas | May 1, 2006 11:13 AM

Will wrote,

"Frankly I couldn't care less if it were a "cultural" distinction or not. What bugs me is the inability to recognize that this "problem" of Americans driving big cars is directly linked to low gasoline prices. Consumer behavior is not going to change unless prices change."

Low prices or not, in the event of an interruption of supply we are extremely vulnerable to an economic crash in this country. I debate low prices or not, we need to conserve, because in the very near future there is no choice. You and Chris Ford seem to take the stance oil production is going to be maintained indefinitely and there is no need to conserve. And for your comment to me to "take a hike", in our life time we all might be hiking.

Posted by: Jamal | May 1, 2006 11:17 AM

At least my US Senator walked back from the photo op, while they had film footage of Speaker Hastert getting out of his hybrid car and transferring to his gas-guzzler SUV to make the arduous two-block trek back to the Capitol buildings.

Hint: I frequently walk two miles to get to work, when it's nice out.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | May 1, 2006 11:27 AM

Jaxas-

I'm not going to disagree. Do I think it's possible that there *is* a cultural element? Sure. We might then have a chicken-egg discussion about why Americans have a "macho" car attitude and Europeans do not. I'd say that attitude is likely the result of gasoline prices more than a complement of it. Regardless, that discussion is less important than the matter at hand which is: how do we get Americans in reasonably sized vehicles?

There are a number of solutions. Many of them, like subsidization of alternatives, or tax credits for hybrids, or "encouraging" (ie: spending) a national energy independence priority are non-issues. We've spent our way out of any serious costly initiative because countries that are 500 billion in debt annually cannot buy their way out of problems.

The remaining solutions, at least the only ones I've seen proposed, are either artificially raising the price of gasoline through a gasoline tax (or we could wait for hurricane season) or regulatory pressures.

I favor the former because it generates revenue.

The regulatory approach would be some variation of the Government forcing Detroit et all to abide by higher gasoline efficiency standards. Here are some problems I have with that approach:

1) There will be a cost on consumers. This is not a problem, per se, but an issue that is often ignored by the regulatory crowd. I think it deserves mention.
2) It doesn't necessarily address gasoline usage. While it would "force" someone to spend less to travel from point A to point B there is no guarantee that they won't increase the distance. In fact, by forcing them to drive more efficient vehicles there is almost an incentive to drive longer distances. A person who owns a Prius is far more likely to accept that commuter job an hour away than a person who drives a Ford Explorer. There is no guarantee that it will decrease gasoline consumption at all. Wouldn't hold distance as constant since that seems to be a function of how much one pays for gasoline, which would decrease with more efficient vehicles.

I am all for regulatory pressures, however. That is a better solution than no solution. I just prefer the gasoline tax because it generates revenues and would more effectively change consumer behavior.

Posted by: Will | May 1, 2006 11:31 AM

Jamal-

"Low prices or not, in the event of an interruption of supply we are extremely vulnerable to an economic crash in this country. I debate low prices or not, we need to conserve, because in the very near future there is no choice. You and Chris Ford seem to take the stance oil production is going to be maintained indefinitely and there is no need to conserve. And for your comment to me to "take a hike", in our life time we all might be hiking."

I have never said there is no need to conserve, nor have I implied that oil will last indefinitely. I have repeatedly stated that Gasoline will price itself out of the market eventually regardless of what we do because, as you said, oil is non-renewable.

We need to establish effective measures to ensure that a non-oil infrastructure is in place before oil prices itself out of the market. We do not have any money to spend our way out of this problem so more innovative solutions are required then merely blaming people in large vehicles or subsidizing cool new hybrids.

I don't have a problem with conservation, my problem is with the naive hope that asking someone to conserve is enough to make them do so. We need to put in place measures that make traveling large distances in inefficient vehicles economically unviable. Fuel alternatives cannot enter the market until they become economically competetive with gasoline.

Posted by: Will | May 1, 2006 11:35 AM

Jaxas I don't know if his assurtion is totally correct about the 3% figure as I think it might be just a tad low, but by in far Americans are the major consumers of the oil produced. There were a few on previous posts who tried to compare The United States to european countries, which is like comparing apples to oranges. America's population is spread out over the entire country and this country is extremely large as far as land mass goes. Most european countries are about the size of one of our states therefore mass transportation fits in well to their scheme of things. We as a country do express an attitude about ourselves as we deserve to have the best of everything, and the bigger the better.

You are right in the fact that we are all members of this planet. We as a civilazation, if we are to survive and not go the way of the Romans, Greeks, etc, need to realize that natural resources are finite. Even renewable resources are somewhat finite as our population keeps expanding we use up land mass to grow crops or plant trees. We use Fresh water faster than it can be cleaned and replenished by nature. We use our oceans, lakes and streams as a dumping ground for everything from sewage to toxic chemicals. We continuely over fish our oceans and lakes not letting the fish populations rebound. This Administration and the Republican controlled congress has no concept of what greenhouse gases are doing to our environment! They would prefer to stick their heads in the sand and like the company I work for they would rather rush in and put out a fire than plan for the future. They have the mentallity and the ego's to behave this way. They like to play bigshot, "look at me, see what I did to save the day".

We as a nation should try to take the lead in conservation of all our resources. I can't tell you the number of Hummers I see people driving around in or 4x4 trucks and SUV's. In Florida we don't have to worry about snow to plow. I can see if they use their vehicles to go out hunting, but I see the same vehicles day after day their occupent driving with their suits on towards downtown and never towards any wilderness areas where they might be hunting. I can remember the first SUVs the old Ford Bronco's, Chevy Blazers, and of course the Jeep's you bought them because you needed them. They were put on truck frames and they rode like a truck, rough. Now most people buy them because they can and the auto makers have made the interiors like luxury cars and they ride like a car.

Like everything else it's in the way it's marketed. If the auto makers made high gas mileage cars that weren't little boxes that if you are over 5'9" your head hits the roof or you didn't feel like sardines because they are so small, you're squashed in them, they would sell. With the inovations in composite materials that are strong and lightweight and engineering advances in fuel efficiency if the auto makers could make a car that got 70 to 80 mpg and had room enough for 4 or 5 people comfortably with the options that are available on cars today they would make a killing. We need the government to step in and mandate this and a host of other clean energy production/saving mandates or we as a country are going to continue down the path that we are on.

Posted by: Lab Rat | May 1, 2006 11:54 AM

Emily: "But even from an economic perspective, the primary purpose of conservation is not to spend less by deflating prices; it's to spend less by using less. (Biking to destinations within five miles of home guarantees lower fuel costs than driving an SUV everywhere -- no matter what the price of a gallon of gas.) Even simply increasing efficiency doesn't necessarily translate into a decrease in price or overall usage."

Yes Emily, that is correct. Reduction in pollution and saving money for other things should be our main concerns with this issue. Like I've said before, buy a scooter and your gas bill will become insignificant. Spend the savings on fine wine, music, and food, or upgrading your home, for example.

I do not care whether we save gas now for use on a later rainy day. Conserving only delays the inevitable. It is silly to think oil will be avialable to our great grandkids like it is today. Our decendants' way of living will be very different than ours today. This would not necessarily be a bad outcome.

If we don't use it, someone else will. In fact, not pursuing oil at the present course may actually make us vulnerable. So we might as well enjoy and continue reasonable use during the latter part of our golden era (and let the entire world slowly devolve together).

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | May 1, 2006 12:00 PM

LabRat wrote:
"If the auto makers made high gas mileage cars that weren't little boxes that if you are over 5'9" your head hits the roof or you didn't feel like sardines because they are so small, you're squashed in them, they would sell. With the inovations in composite materials that are strong and lightweight and engineering advances in fuel efficiency if the auto makers could make a car that got 70 to 80 mpg and had room enough for 4 or 5 people comfortably with the options that are available on cars today they would make a killing."

The 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid will hit the showrooms this month and get 40MPG city and 38MPG highway. However they will cost $7,000 more than the non-hybrid version. Still there it is, your high milage roomy car.

I expect though that even at $3 gasoline people will not pay the extra $7,000. Here is the economic math assuming I drive 12,000 miles per year:

Hybrid Camry (assume 40mpg):
12,000/40mpg = 300 gallons of gas per year
300 gallons x $3/gallon = $900 per year

Regular Camry (assume 25mpg):
12,000/25mpg = 480 gallons per year
480 gallons x $3/gallon = $1,440

So I will save $540 per year but to recoup the $7000 investment in the hybrid it will take almost 13 years. If I keep the hybrid 13 years I break even. If I keep it longer that 13 years I'm saving over buying the regular Camry.

Now, I know how many people are making this choice because when I was looking for an SUV a year and a half ago I checked out the Ford Escape. It came in a regular and Hybrid model and the breakeven time was about 12 years. I have been looking for an Escape Hybrid on the road since then. I have seen many Escapes but have yet to see an Escape Hybrid.

There are some nice tax incentives out there for buying a hybrid, both federal and state, but they are not well publicized and in the case of the federal there is a limit so you may not know if you will get the incentive. The incentives range from $1000 to $5000 depending on where you live and could offset the price difference enough for people to choose the hybrid. If the governments were serious about people moving to hybrids they would simplify the incentives and publicize them more.

Posted by: Sully | May 1, 2006 12:45 PM

One other thing...
I live 7 miles from work and have a nice bike, but the roads I would take have no bike lanes and some have no shoulders. I would gladly bike to work if my city were like Boulder CO, where bike paths abound. If you want more people to consider alternatives, you need those alternatives to be safe enough to consider.

Posted by: Sully | May 1, 2006 12:51 PM

encourage the shift to conservation and that is the correct way to discuss things...

Portland Oregon, does have bike paths, it also has streetcars, buses, and metro...

it is a city that encourages walking, it has a river that runs through the city that is so clean that salmon still run in it to spawn....

they also have laws against suburban sprawl

Posted by: you're talking about needing multiple things to | May 1, 2006 02:04 PM

Sully,

You also must include the re-sale value into the equation. What I was trying to get at is that it will take mandates from the government, also people are not quite sure of the reliability of the "new technology" of hybreds. Also the government stated mileage on cars can vary considerably from the stated to actual mileage estimates. I myself work 35 miles from my residence. I own a pick-up, a Buick century which I get around 27-28 mpg, and I own a motorcycle. The truck sits most of the time unless we need a truck. My son walks to his bus stop and back for school, my wife who is disabled takes public transportation to and from her appointments. We have a grocery store within 2 miles of our house, our air conditioning is set at 80. We have a family night out on Saturdays' only where we either go to the movies or a ball game, both of which are less than 12 miles from home. I drive the car to work if it's raining otherwise it's the bike, and most weeks I end up working 7 days a week.

Like I said it's going to take government mandates, Every day I see at least 2-3 Hummer H-2 on my way either to or from work and they head towards downtown with the traffic jams etc. I rarely see anyone car pooling. Due to the type of job I do and the hours I work not to mention that there is no one who lives around that works in the building I do, so I can't car pool. My presence is required in the lab every day and I work alone in the lab, so tele-commuting is out of the question.

This government needs to realize what priorities are important, and not worry so much how they can get richer by taking checks and cash from lobbyists and special interest groups while screwing the middle and lower classes while they are at it. I believe in God even though I am a scientist, and I was taught at an early age to "do unto others' as you would like others to do to you." I live by this and I wish others would too. Ethics are important in life. You are only as good as your word and your actions.

Posted by: Lab Rat | May 1, 2006 02:04 PM

single solution,

there would have to some sort of national plan,


like there was during WWII.


Evaluations/solutions shouldn't be politically biased but put forth by engineers...and should already be in existence in other countries that have _requirements_ that the solutions work...


multiple things put into effect simultaneously, with symposiums to discuss the results annually with full public disclosure, for a multiple of tens of years.

Posted by: there is no | May 1, 2006 02:10 PM

LabRat wrote:
"Like I said it's going to take government mandates, Every day I see at least 2-3 Hummer H-2 on my way either to or from work and they head towards downtown with the traffic jams etc. I rarely see anyone car pooling."

I keep hearing these statements, like driving a Hummer to the grocery store is the problem. It is not the problem. If it was we would have seen it years ago. SUVs are not new, but $3 gas prices are very new. So what happened in the last year to make the gas prices jump 50%? Not new SUVs.

What happened is the Iraq war turning ever sour and new threats to and by Iran. Its speculation and if the Iraqi conflict cooled down and Iran stopped making nukes and the west stopped threatening them, the price of oil would drop a lot.

But that's only part of the issue. The other part is refineries. There are large stockpiles of oil right now so its not a lack of oil that keeps the refineries from producing. Maybe its still the effects from Katrina, maybe its oil company greed, I'm not sure, but one thing is for sure, this current high price in gasoline happened fast and that tells me it is temporary, assuming what made it rise fast is fixed.

Posted by: Sully | May 1, 2006 02:23 PM

there is a need to direct the focus at the national level...


cooperation between oil companies, automobile/truck manufacturers, transport systems, infrastructure planners, government regulators...


it doesn't matter ultimately what gas prices are, except how to use them to arrive safely twenty to thirty years in the future with a sustainable economy and happy people/citizens as well as happy coporations....


to this point, the government has been working for happy corporations and a few happy "apparent citizens" there is a need to make those _real_ citizens by having them adhere to the same law enforcement system that you do

.

Posted by: you're mixing metaphors... | May 1, 2006 03:01 PM

Financial Times quotes the economy is growing at 4.8%, rebounding since Katrina. Consumer confidence is at record highs, joblessness at record lows.

Apparently, people can afford the $3 gallon of gas so why chuck the SUV?

Posted by: | May 1, 2006 03:56 PM

Anonymous Post-

Certainly something to consider. I'm in the sooner the better crowd regarding replacing our oil infrastructure with something more permanent. Eventually global annual demand for oil will overtake annual production which will price oil out of the market gradually. As oil increases in price, however, more expensive wells will become economically viable to exploit as will alternatives such as ethanol, biodiesel, electric, hybrid, etc.

It's certainly *possible* that this transition will be smooth and the infrastructure will be gradually, but not catastrophically, replaced. Personally, however, I feel the sooner we address this issue the better because the results are so potentially devastating.

Either way, SUVs --in our lifetime-- will become economically unviable. It's a question of when.

Posted by: Will | May 1, 2006 05:18 PM

the commercials on television that depict a man,

nearly losing his job, but settling for losing his health coverage,

but thank gawd that there's an insurance provider that can cover his needs?


yeah, there's a surging economy, as long as you're corporate and hiring illegals...


and you forgot to mention the twenty (20%) of unemployed computer professionals that have their jobs outsourced to India...


where are the health benefits and retirement benefits...


would they be the same place that a company that ends retirement benefits and reports a massive surge in "money saved" by not including the employees in the golden parachute concept?


here's to your $380 Million dollar retirement benefits....


people that don't have lives need big toys to prove that their not missing anything....

because they're chickens in the cage, laying eggs for corporate Amerika.....


oh yaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssssst.


as below, so above...animals in cages talking about how lucky they are to have food everyday........


brave little nuetered restucklicans....and demobrats...

.

Posted by: are you including the increased poverty rate, | May 1, 2006 05:23 PM

Sully,

I realize exactly what has made the price jump remember I am a petroleum Chemist and have worked in the field since 1974, but I was trying to stay on the debate topic. I know exactly why it jumped and I also stated that we are at near record levels of crude stores. We've got a bunch of crooks running the government, a bunch of speculaters betting King George will nuke the 4th largest producer of oil, and the oil companies not increasing refinery output with their profits but instead giving 1 billion in compensation to their CEO since 1994.

Posted by: Lab Rat | May 1, 2006 05:24 PM

Yawn.

Posted by: Emilo | May 1, 2006 05:25 PM

Emily's framing of this phase of the debate breaks out various influences on the production and price of oil. One was omitted: The long reach of China.

Reported by NYT Christine Hauser today, Bolivia nationalizes its natural gas resources. The past paragraph of the report reads:

"As president-elect, Mr. Morales met with President Hu Jintao of China in Beijing and called China an "ideological ally," a day after he invited it to develop Bolivia's vast gas reserves."

Posted by: On the plantation | May 1, 2006 05:26 PM

I took the bus today, oh boy...

Posted by: Emilio | May 1, 2006 05:27 PM

It sort of kills me that special interest group propaganda has influenced people to the extent that they have no clue of our specific net energy needs, the specific types needed, and have convinced large segments of the population that all "exciting alternate energy solutions" no matter how small their role, or what their environmental impact must be done as "morally superior" for some reason. While, at the same time, all new traditional energy sources must be opposed at all costs to the American public.

We are told that any new nuke plant must be opposed because "it isn't the answer to all our energy problems", coal is BAD and shouldn't be used EVER, LNG is DANGEROUS, and all oil exploration off our Coasts except a small swath in the Western Gulf + Alaska, + Western Lands must be opposed as an article of Secular Environmental High Religion. Oil, it seems, is evil, and discovery of any new oilfield, according to the Environmental cause mindset that has blocked them for 35 years - must be opposed because no new oilfield will "supply us for centuries or renew itself".

And tell us ethanol, paper recycling, glorious solar power, windmills, and "conservation" are the ANSWER.

1. Which ignore that hydrogen is a secondary energy source that must be made from a primary one which of course environmentalists seek to block usage of at all costs.

2. While ignoring we use less oil than in 1970 but use 35% more net energy than in 1970 and more net oil because we have unchecked immigration and are not demographically dying like the Kyoto Euroweenies. Population growth trumps all conservation measures.

3. Solar is a joke. No source of power is more taxpayer-subsidized per megawatt actually produced than solar. Except fusion, which of course has produced no power yet but which has high potential. Solar adds 0.063 Quads to the 107 Quads we use. In 2020, it's share is thought to approach 0.1 Quad, where it will still be less than 1/1000th of the energy used and would be ZERO if the taxpayer subsidies end.

4. Wind is such a boondoggle it requires a separate post to explain it's non-viability as a major energy source and the extent it is a major environmental liability, while discussing how it is becoming a favorite tax shelter for the wealthy.

5. But nothing kills me more than watching liberals worship their new Cult of Ethanol. Massive tax subsidies to Agribiz and future loss of arable land and wildlife for something costing 3X the amount of gas produced from Chavez's massive bituminous deposits not used now, coal, oil shale and sand, existing oil deposits. And the liberals strange new sudden love of permanently destroying thousands of miles of Brazilian Rain Forest, with species extinctions and loss of habitat for the world's most endangered species - So the Brazilian Ethanol Miracle can Expand. Renewable means forever lost Rain Forest.

They have such a hard time explaining why the extinction of hundreds of species as forest becomes thousands of square miles of monoculture sugar cane is preferable to the Greatest Environmental Crime Ever - use of a thousand ACRES of frozen tundra marsh containing some of the worlds most common species identical to those in millions of square miles of unaffected Siberian, US, Canadian, Greenland, and Scandanavian frozen tundra. Somehow on the premise that pristine irreplaceble rain forest is worth destroying on a massive scale as a noble environmental thing - but an area smaller than most California housing projects in Alaska is Unacceptable As An Article of Environmental Faith because the Caribou might not like the site and the 400 Indians that kill them for dog food might have a harder hunt...or worse, find jobs and stop hunting which would allow the Caribou to quadruple in number, as happened at Prudeau Bay.

**********************

It's sad to say, but there are times when Americans have so firmly latched onto special interest group propaganda that they deserve the pain it will take to bring them back to reality.

No, women do not in fact "never lie" about rape...just as we learned in the nursery school witchcraft trials of the 80s that the double negative of children do not in fact have a pure state of "never lying or making up stories" with a feminist manipulating them with rewards and "anatomically correct dolls.

No, America has enemies that seek to kill us. Not "misguided criminals", enemy. Brave, true-believing enemy. Though it appears 9/11 wasn't enough bloodshed for that lesson to really take root, so more Americans must die before we get past the Lefty/ACLU memes pounded into American heads since the 70s.

And yes, I'm afraid that it will take a true energy crisis where Americans suffer and die to get past the 70s propaganda and bogus stats the Left and environmentalist activists fed us. Die??? Yes. In Russia and the Ukraine, 25,000-30,000 people, mostly elderly, died in two harsh winters as the transition to capitalism caused disruptions and left whole towns without power or heat for weeks at a time (10X the mortality number of Chernobyl over 20 years span). It could be just a massive recession, but if supply is truly short....why should Americans from energy producing states lose "their" scarce stocks to liberals and environmentalists in California and on the East Coast that oppose our military trying to stabilize nations where oil and gas stocks exist, oppose all new energy from oil, nat gas, nuclear, and coal? Wouldn't one or two winters like the Russians and Ukrainians went through have a salutory effect on eliminating the 1970s delusions so many people here still have???

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 1, 2006 07:03 PM

LabRat wrote:
"I was trying to stay on the debate topic."

Right.
Use Less Oil.
How? ... Hybrids.
No other real option today.
Raise CAFE standards now, the hybrids will follow. Simple, neat, no problems. In 5 years all the regular cars will be resold to central/south America while we all drive 30mpg plus hybrids.
The cost?
Who cares! Its less than any other option and is a proven technology. You want an option that works, that's pretty much it.
Good night...

Posted by: Sully | May 1, 2006 08:06 PM

Jaxas writes on Fareed Zackaria, an Iranian refugee formerly an "expert" on Islam and "counterterrorism" (mostly wrong on what he said about the need to "take out Iraq" and the "Religion of Peace" - now posing as an "energy expert".

"According to Zakaria, both only account for 3% of present demand on world supplies, which would seem to fly in the face of what Chris Ford says about the impact of China and India."

Indeed it does fly in the face of not only me but OPEC data. Currently, India gets 3% of global oil imports, China 10%, the US 24%. And it could be worse...Rising China is keeping domestic demand lower than China's explosive growth and consumer purchasing power would allow by keeping refinery shortages going to stifle the consumer so that money is spent on acquiring new oil and gas fields instead. (Bolivia's Morales toasted Hu Jintao today and said China is a natural ideological ally of Bolivia while the US is an "historical foe" of the people, and that China would be the Lead nation in developing Bolivia's huge natural gas deposits - not Brazil or the Yanquis...)

The longstanding beliefs of the Jewish Internationalists, Communists, Leftists, and Environmentalists have in some ways seen fruition despite the Soviet Union's fall. All the things that they believed in the 60s and 70s hardened into near-mindless ideological commitment that the US is the only nation that called the global shots - and most of those shots were EVIL. And thus anything that checked "American Oppressors" was good for humanity.

In the years since, of course we have seen "America the Oppressor's" brief untenable post-WWII dominance diminish as it must. But those groups hating America STILL espouse an ideology that America and America alone affects global events. Oil a problem? Only because one nation doesn't recycle enough paper** and drives SUVs.

Unfortunately, as the 1970s mindset became institutionalized in the schools and media in applying 1970 Earth Day goals and Leftist policy objectives - wishing for the triumph of "the oppressed ChiComs and 3rd Worlders" over EVIL AMERIKKKA and EVIL corporate AMERIKKKA - the world has changed a lot since 1970.

***************************

** - A useful example is paper recycling. The confused "save a tree" hippies of 1969 failed to note that paper and forest products industry is the industry with the highest amount of renewable energy and recycling. Or that production of a ton of paper from renewable virgin forest agriculture uses less fossil fuel than recycling a ton of existing paper. But for pedalogical purposes, our children are still taught by Lefties controlling the teachers unions that "recycling saves the planet". And most teachers, which come from the intellectual bottom 20% of college students as a general rule, actually believe that ideological tripe. It is fun when kids wake up to the brainwashing....

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 1, 2006 09:51 PM

do you have trouble following a discussion,


or are you trying to lead to your two favorite topics?

racism and antiliberalism or some form of that...I mean really simple mindedness.

and your point is?

couldn't you just let this post stand for all of your posts and shut up?


solution is not within your capacity, I'd let you pump gas, but that's it.


how about solutions?


you don't seem to understand that some form of recycling as part of a system, is just smart design...so would working with biodegradability with throwaway products...


arable land would be the scarce resource of the future if things continue in the population growth department...

Posted by: I'm sorry and why are you talking about 1969? | May 1, 2006 11:46 PM

whether it involves advertising, education or simply making it a matter of National Security...

creating
cohesive thought processes might actually help the people of the United States to feel involved in their own future....

Posted by: any solution needs to engage the nation as an objective | May 1, 2006 11:49 PM

And most teachers, which come from the intellectual bottom 20% of college students as a general rule, actually believe that ideological tripe. It is fun when kids wake up to the brainwashing....

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 1, 2006 9:51:21 PM | Permalink


And the top 20% have nothing better to do with their life except spending all day pontificating on weblogs!

Posted by: Chrisoroid Fraudoloid | May 2, 2006 08:58 AM

A useful example is paper recycling. The confused "save a tree" hippies of 1969 failed to note that paper and forest products industry is the industry with the highest amount of renewable energy and recycling. Or that production of a ton of paper from renewable virgin forest agriculture uses less fossil fuel than recycling a ton of existing paper. But for pedalogical purposes, our children are still taught by Lefties controlling the teachers unions that "recycling saves the planet".

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 1, 2006 9:51:21 PM | Permalink


In 2000, recycling resulted in an annual energy savings of at least 660 trillion BTUs, which equals the amount of energy used in 6 million households annually. In 2005, recycling is conservatively projected to save 900 trillion BTUs, equal to the annual energy use of 9 million households.

http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/faq.htm

Posted by: Chrisoroid Fraudoloid | May 2, 2006 09:01 AM

How does recycling save energy?

Harvesting, extracting, and processing the raw materials used to manufacture new products is an energy-intensive activity. Reducing or nearly eliminating the need for these processes, therefore, achieves huge savings in energy. Recycling aluminum cans, for example, saves 95 percent of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from its virgin source, bauxite. The amount of energy saved differs by material, but almost all recycling processes achieve significant energy savings compared to production using virgin materials.

http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/faq.htm#5

Posted by: Chrisoroid Fraudoloid | May 2, 2006 09:06 AM

liberals and environmentalists in California and on the East Coast that oppose our military trying to "stabilize" nations where oil and gas stocks exist

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 1, 2006 7:03:18 PM | Permalink


Stabilize? Anymore stabilizing and we'll all be walking to work. Not to mention sending all our money to terrorist supporting oil producing states...

Posted by: Chrisoroid Fraudoloid | May 2, 2006 09:17 AM

5. But nothing kills me more than watching liberals worship their new Cult of Ethanol... And the liberals strange new sudden love of permanently destroying thousands of miles of Brazilian Rain Forest, with species extinctions and loss of habitat for the world's most endangered species - So the Brazilian Ethanol Miracle can Expand. Renewable means forever lost Rain Forest.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 1, 2006 7:03:18 PM | Permalink


How touching! The man is an environmentalist concerned with the loss of tropical rain forest?

At long last have you no...

Posted by: Chrisoroid Fraudoloid | May 2, 2006 09:26 AM

Chris Ford wrote:

" . . . failed to note that paper and forest products industry is the industry with the highest amount of renewable energy and recycling."
_____________

Much of your analyses represents good work at integrating facts and findings, but I believe you are misdirected on the subject of forest products.

Paper manufacture is a pretty messy business, with huge consumption of water and plenty of smelly and toxic byproducts, including dioxin. The essential raw material in wood pulp is cheap in terms of price, but very little about its utilization is low impact beyond that.

One of the big consequences of paper production is replacement of mixed forests with quick-growth single species trees. This leads to easy and rapid-spreading insect infestation, soil and watershed depletion, wildlife reduction, and changes in topography which speed up soil erosion and runoff into streams. To often it operates somewhat akin to the 19th century practice of growing cotton, when the soil has been amortized by extracting minerals and topsoil, it's essentially written off and sold as naked land to some new buyer. About all that is left is "green garbage" brush and sunshine.

Fortunately, in the south, most woodlands are in the stewardship of individual owners who tend to care about the land (an environmentalist you might say), and generally maintain mixed woodlands with very selective harvesting. Different corporate players in the industry have different track records, but, looked at comprehensively, they on average are takers rather than givers to the ecosystem.

Finally, I sense there is a misconception among some on the blog that any plant makes ethanol. Not so by any means. Wood pulp gets you methanol, which has some especially nasty byproducts, is corrosive to machinery, and has much less energy value than ethanol (e.g., from corn, beets, or sugar cane). There is a concerted research effort to us gene engineering to develop enzymes which convert cellulose to ethanol rather than methanol; if it happens, the patent holder would represent one great investment.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 2, 2006 10:13 AM

This is a golden opportunity to cut out the extremists on both sides. The political environment is ripe to both mandate industry regulations to decrease consumption (higher fuel efficency standards) and to increase production (open up ANWAR and loosen environmental regulations that will allow new refinery construction). It has to be done in the same energy package. When they are packaged together, the hypocricy of the extremists of both sides will be more evident and opposed (where does Kennedy get off yelling NIMBY against a wind farm on his precious Cape Cod, and decry ANWAR drilling out of the other side of his mouth?!?)

The moderate middle is more than ready to accept less consumption and more production in order to detox ourselves from this addiction.

Our official policy for war in Iraq to stop a dictator who had killed hundreds of thousands. Yet we didn't do anything of substance to stop the killing of over a million in Rwanda and who knows how many in Darfur, or put any of the other African dictators on the "Axis of Evil" watchlist. Once we can become energy independent, we can then kiss off the Middle East and let them kill each other off without risking another American life. Call me cold-blodded, if you like, but that's called foreign policy.

Posted by: Sean | May 2, 2006 10:21 AM

"..risking another American life. Call me cold-blodded, if you like, but that's called foreign policy"

I'd call you naive, Sean. There's more to the US invasion in the Middle East than the oil.

Posted by: Emilio | May 2, 2006 10:54 AM

Comparing OTP to Chris Ford is like comparing a bar of gold to a big turd, respectively.

Posted by: Emilio | May 2, 2006 11:06 AM

Pot takes wood out of paper.

Is it just posible it could take gas out of tanks?

Same people make it criminal.

Get rid of cars!

Bet it could even make better shoes.

Lot of talk here, no real solutions.

Posted by: Desert rat | May 2, 2006 12:06 PM

I think some solutions have been effectively presented here, but get lost in the noise of name calling. The conservation side solutions win big time here, I think. An extra oil field or two in politically sensitive areas like ANWR and offshore California make little difference numerically to our overall oil supply and demand situation. The big numbers are on the conservation side and the real potential to nearly double our transportation fuel economy and cut imports dramatically. Don't get lost in the solar/wind vs. coal vs. nuclear debates - these relate to our domestic power needs and have almost nothing to do with our oil consumption which is used almost exclusively for transportation needs.

I agree that minor supply and demand side efforts in America will have little impact on gasoline price. But a major push on conservation should indeed have a stabilizing effect on prices. Why? Markets hate uncertainty and most market observers agree that at least 20% of the current price is based on market fear and speculation after the current war began. Regardless of the "real" reasons for the current war, reducing our dependence on Middle East oil will have a stabilizing effect on price.

Conservation also wins out on the environmental front and reduces our contribution to the increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere and the resultant climate change.

Posted by: Steve Messner | May 2, 2006 01:33 PM

Desert rat,

Hemp does make excellent fiber for a variety of uses (paper, clothing, cord; and I vaguely recall it might be good animal feed). It has good root structure to protect the soil, and it doesn't require a great deal of fertilization or water. During WWII, it's cultivation was mandated by the federal government, complete with special tags to protect it from being diverted to private uses. Sometime in the past five years I read a good journalist's analysis of its eco-friendly uses for a variety of ordinary products, which we as a society neglect due to our tyrannical prejudices.

It is suspicious that commercial growth of Hemp is not seriously investigated again. Staying inside the box is exactly the kind of thinking we can no longer afford in our resource-strained society. The idea of commercial cultivation of Hemp is not very different from incenting ethanol; except, there actually are provisions in law to permit people to get licensed to set up homestyle distilleries to produce ethanol (in place of petroleum) for use on their own farms.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 2, 2006 01:42 PM

"It is suspicious that commercial growth of Hemp is not seriously investigated again."

Moreover, the cultivation for personal use is prohibied, isn't it? I think it's overwhelmingly obvious why: those who govern the country are afraid the mass consumption of hemp will make the masses less susceptible to propaganda and thought-control. Have your suspicions been dispelled, OTP?

Posted by: Emilio | May 2, 2006 02:06 PM

Emilio,

Honestly, I doubt they think that deeply or skillfully about it. But my guess is that the probable mentality is to prevent any loss of control over other people, plus not being sure how the government would profit from it. The domestic history of vices (alcohol, gambling, tobacco, pornography) clearly shows that when there are revenues to be made the other counter arguments seem to so away.

BTW, the only Hemp I care to use is in nice Patagonia shirts made in China. I suppose the hemp for the shirts must have been grown there too. So I'm not prepared to be a cultural fighter for hemp cultivation, but would be a passive partisan in the political debate for others to take on for this liberty as well as many other blighted liberties. Anyway, it's insightful that Desert rat would bring Hemp into discussion.

American power elite truly do not want any solutions for major issues at the price of their loss of control of other people; they would rather maintain positions on their little perches. Now, with massive covert surveillance, they want observation decks. We already saw that they were willing to have people agonizingly die of thirst and criminality while stranded on the raised interstate highway during Katrina's flooding; casually neglecting the suffering of ordinary people rather than bend a few degrees in their bureaucratic righteousness to actually provide the necessary services even to save lives. I still think the issue of lack of response to Katrina is going to burn more incumbents in 2006 and 2008 than $3 gas or the Iraq war or illegal immigration. Fortunately the fools seem to align themselves along all the inflammatory issues presenting clearer choices. I just cannot wait to vote in the next couple of ballots.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 2, 2006 02:49 PM

conservation, conservation...

I read there may be not enough conservatories in this country? Also, does one have to be socially conservative to conserve?

Messner.. A relation to the blog hostess, per chance, Steve?

Posted by: Emilio | May 2, 2006 02:57 PM

There are two basic problems:
1. Even if we drilled in all the places that we know, or suspect, oil exists in the USA, including Alaska and offshore around the USA, we would only get about 5% more crude.
2. While we are doing that China, Europe, and Russia are consolidating holds on what is left of the oil from nations such as Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela (as well as many others).

We should be directing our efforts to secure large portions of these stocks so that we can breathe again while smarter folks figure out what to do after we exhaust the non-renewable natural resources of the world.

I know, I know, not your worries at all, but if we don't plan now it will just the same old "American" treatment like everything else, slap a little paint on it and let it go. Pity Congress won't read this.

Posted by: BIll | May 2, 2006 03:31 PM

The debate about how best to continue America's -- or any society's -- dependence upon fossil fuels is like a discussion among heroin addicts about how best to insure a steady supply of dope.

Find a new supplier?
Cut down a little?
Start using another drug on alternate Tuesdays?

Does anyone believe these people are in control of their own fate?

Energy is one of the principal drivers of a society. To become dependent upon a single source is risky. If the source is capital intensive (i.e., requires a lot of money to deliver to users), we invite disaster. Not only is it a bad survival strategy, it ensures power and greed replace common sense.

Anything that is capital intensive puts it in the hands of a small group of people. Their interests rarely include the health of society.

As opposed to free and private enterprise, oligopoly capital wants no competition or freedom to choose. It drives toward control of the market.

I would ask all reasonable readers to consider a world where some entrepreneurs succeed in delivering wind, or solar energy solutions to the market. Some making millions; others not as successful.

A culture built upon energy source choices.

An Oil-based political economy cannot allow for capital-light alternatives. Ownership of the resource and the delivery base equates to immense power. It has nothing to do with American free enterprise. Rather, it is a power play.

We are dealing with another form of organized crime, as it carefully develops dependency upon dope, creating a market for something that has no real value.

Which is why you can be sure Nuclear Energy will be pushed upon us as the "real" alternative for the 21st Century. It is even more capital intensive, ensuring controlled ownership; and a controlling policy, and massive profits into a small number of hands.
DWL

Posted by: Donald Laghezza | May 2, 2006 03:32 PM

Steve Messner supports conservation over production.

Steve loses track that Americans use less oil per capita than in 1973, but 35% more overall. Because our Open Borders have now made us the 3rd largest population in the world. We have more people than the Indian subcontinent had at the turn of the century (285 million by British Census) and are on track by US Census to have 363 million by 2030, 420 million by 2050, and numbers extrapolation shows 910 million - 1 billion by 2100.

Each million new additional immigrants add 0.1333 Quad of oil use to demand, as well as the thumbrule that one acre of land must be destroyed to accomodate each new immigrant or descendent of immigrants with housing, roads, other infastructure. The US will become a net food importer in 2020 in terms of value of trade goods.

That overwhelms the cardigan sweater wearers.

And more people add to sprawl and traffic gridlock, which help negate conservation savings further. 3 "efficient" cars burn more gas than two inefficient cars, then add the longer commute times, the energy lost while stuck in traffic, and the fact that more women are forced to work because wage depression in the middle class and lower forces more car milage...

Unfortunately, Steve is wrong about both oil and energy usage. Transportation isn't all oil usage. Private transport accounts for only 16 of the 40 Quads of oil used now. And not building new coal or nuke plants does impact oil usage, because it affects the #1 alternate in transportation - natural gas. Because we have acceded to environmentalist demands and not built coal or nuclear for 30 years, and gone with natural gas instead - the result is that fleets of trucks and cars that once ran on nat gas have switched to until recently cheaper oil, as power plant contracts bid up nat gas prices. Also liberal hysteria over LNG imports have blocked us getting abundant cheap Algerian, Qatari, and Indonesian nat gas. (Despite the ethanol hype, we had more vehicles on natural gas than we ever will on "wonderful ethanol").

Steve also has the mindset that since any energy source that can be mined is finite based on deposit size - our days of looking for and using coal, oil, or gas should be over. By definition, environmentalists can declare any place on Earth "environmentally sensitive". Even the Saudi oil, which is finite and not worth using on that "environmentalist criteria" is coming from a "delicate desert ecology", then transiting through the 'relatively pristine" Gulf and Red Sea where accidents could "mar coastlines".

Steve - "An extra oil field or two in politically sensitive areas like ANWR and offshore California make little difference numerically to our overall oil supply and demand situation."

But surely Steve realizes that that is the essential nature of any mineral deposit or power plant, including the environmentalist activists beloved windmills and solar facilities. Since no single place where oil, gas, uranium, or coal is found has the quantity to alone provide an "inexhaustable supply" in a place free of environmental concerns...is it rational, even sane - to oppose all production? Already, Lefties are rising in strong opposition to windmills off Old Money Massachussetts, solar projects in "delicate desert ecologies".

Somehow in this, enviro-weenies have gone so far with ethanol as teh thing that "excites them the most" which I think is because it is new and trendy and fits their short attention spans, that they willfully ignore chopping down rain forest to get it.

Brazil's "ethanol miracle" - which produces the energy equivalent of gas at 5.39 a gallon - comes from permanently eradicating Amazonian Rain Forest at 2% a year for ethanol and other crops. Around 10,000 square miles. The World Wildlife Fund and others project Brazil will cause mass species extinctions and permanent habitat loss, vs. ANWAR, the environmentalist's Holy Grail and Highest Cause, endangering no species, producing more energy for 20 years than Brazils whole ethanol project, on land that can be returned to Arctic frozen swamp when they are done, with more Caribou for the "stewards" the Indians - to hunt for dog food than when they start on ANWAR.

***********************

I maintain this stupidity will continue with Open Borders, blockage of meaningful new energy sources, nitwit government regulations mandating "conservation" at great competitive risk to America, and boutique fetish love of miniscule exotic power sources. It will continue until we have a true energy crisis, the global spot market is destroyed, and American and Canadian energy-producing states and provinces keep what they make and stick it to Ottowa, California, and the East Coast. Go out West or down South or to Alberta and the talk for decades has been about "our energy" and how much fun it would be to see Ted Kennedy, Jacques Chretien, or the likes of Ralph Nader gnawing on a frozen turnip. Nothing like 10s of thousands of people dying in a true energy shortage to wake them up to reality. Just ask the Russians and Ukrainians about 1991-1992 when their markets broke down. 20,000 dead.

Or analyze the historical death rates when war or coal strikes left cities freezing. Conservation only goes so far, even when you look at a country not admitting 3 million new immigrants and spawn of immigrants that automatically negate all conservation savings.

What environmentalists really want is a bucolic, organic, pre-industrial fantasy world where people in advanced nations (except them) have sharply reduced standards of living as a matter of "social justice".

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 2, 2006 03:41 PM

Bill writes:

"There are two basic problems:
1. Even if we drilled in all the places that we know, or suspect, oil exists in the USA, including Alaska and offshore around the USA, we would only get about 5% more crude.
2. While we are doing that China, Europe, and Russia are consolidating holds on what is left of the oil from nations such as Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela (as well as many others)."

Bill is correct on the second point - especially with Rising China - which is seeking to "lock up" reserves globally for it's own use.

On his first point though, Bill is wrong. ANWAR alone is projected to give us 5% of our needed oil, replacing 8-9% of our imported oil over a period of 20 years. We simply don't know what we could get from the East, West, half the Gulf Coasts to reduce our oil dependency because the environmentalists and liberals have blocked us from even looking there for the last 35 years. As well as the Great Lakes Region, and most of the Federal Lands out West...

************************
Donald Laghezza --

"Which is why you can be sure Nuclear Energy will be pushed upon us as the "real" alternative for the 21st Century. It is even more capital intensive, ensuring controlled ownership; and a controlling policy, and massive profits into a small number of hands."

Not really Donald. Nuke is just a technology. How it is employed and industrialized depends on the society. And if you think all "high tech capital intensive" technologies inevitably place wealth in the hands of a few, then I guess you also oppose fusion and windmill farms.

Your nuke critique doesn't apply to France, Japan, Sweden where electric gen is over 80, 66% and 55% respectively and "ownership" is in a broad class of shareholders and pension fund accounts. Nor in the US or Canada, where nukes were constructed as public utility projects where ownership costs and profits were spread out over tens of millions of Canadians and Americans who had utility stock.

If you wish to rail on evil pork and rapacious capitalism - the two worst cases are Agribiz's ethanol gravy train and the windmill tax dodge for multimillionaires seeking not just tax abatement, but tax credits equal to 1/3rd the money they sink into a windmill scheme...and laws that force the poor to buy their 5 times more expensive than conventional power generation "wind juice".

The problem for environmentalists and Lefties is that they have always been split into realists and fantasists...and after 35 years of stonewalling energy productions and particularly nukes as the Most Evil Source of All...the realists are waking up to the fact that nukes are a CO2-free, effectively renewable source of energy that is cheap in the long haul, reliable 365/24/7.....and building them does not compromise either capitalist or socialist political systems.

The fantasists still cannot believe that all their "exciting alternate energies" are crapping out as insignificant sources, too erratic and unreliable, and/or too expensive. Most enviro and Lefty fantasists do not have scientific, economist, or engineering backgrounds and JUST HATE IT that the power source it was their High Holy Creed to reject at all costs is now being looked at by the political majorities as essential and unavoidable for 21st Century energy needs and reducing C02 use.

**************************

The other factor that is becoming more and more obvious is that our national security is tied to resolving our energy problems and we must end the 35 years of stonewalling on energy exploration, production, and refineries, and on blocking nuke and coal plants. And have workable conservation measures. And stop adding 3 million foreigners a year to cut additional demand...

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 2, 2006 04:13 PM

So the question is "Use Less Oil vs. Find More Oil". Oil is a finite resource that is going to be economically depleted in the near future. So the answer is use less oil for now and few years from now the mandate will be use no oil.

From a global view it's not an oil shortage problem, it's an over population problem that is plundering non-renewable resources of all kinds (Emily, it would be nice to see over global population vs. global resources as a topic.). As human beings we have achieved high levels of technological development, but psychologically we haven't evolved any since our hunting gathering days in the stone-age. To be able to manage our resources we need to manage our population. To manage our population we need to get religion and cultural traditions updated to the realities of the 21st century.

On a related topic, Bill Frist wants to give us a $100 dollar rebate for gas????????????????? Talk about throw a starving dog a bone. But not increase CAFÉ standards. Or cut the Tax cuts to the oil companies. An oil company can pay someone $400,000,000 dollars, but can't find an alternative to oil?

As for the democrats, they've had to use the rove-republican tactics to survive. Think of it as someone going to a gun fight armed with a knife. After getting shot up, they've started carrying guns (playing politics and not policy). Who's the blame for that the Democrats or the voters? Until a majority of the voters seek to be informed and not led, I don't see any changes, but those forced by the hard knocks of economics.

Posted by: Jamal | May 2, 2006 04:14 PM

Chris Ford Wrote:

"Steve loses track that Americans use less oil per capita than in 1973, but 35% more overall. Because our Open Borders have now made us the 3rd largest population in the world. We have more people than the Indian subcontinent had at the turn of the century (285 million by British Census) and are on track by US Census to have 363 million by 2030, 420 million by 2050, and numbers extrapolation shows 910 million - 1 billion by 2100."

Your right, but very misleading. We are still very wasteful of oil and can make significant cut backs on consumption. We have a long way to go to cut per capita consumption down to where it needs to be, before economics or shortages do it for us.

Posted by: Jamal | May 2, 2006 04:22 PM

Btw, you can drive my stick shift any time, guys.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 2, 2006 04:42 PM

A major issue with respect to oil is not so much gasoline, BUT plastic. More oil is used to make plastics than for oil or gasoline. Plastic is in just about every product we purchase. That, to me, is where the real concern arises from. However, we definitely need to conserve oil. Just drilling for more is silly because there is a finite amount of it; the demand will only increase - so the two lines will never intersect. In short, we cannot drill our way out.

Remember, when President Carter gave that speech where he addressed this very issue? Remember how everyone scoffed at him? Well, we should have listened to him. He was right. Instead of wasting billions of dollars in Iraq, that same money could have been spent to create a "Manhattan: like project for energy independence based on renewable energy sources.

Once again, we hear the cries to open up ANWR to drilling. As someone who lived in Alaska for 15 years, I know all too well the politics of this. But let me state this emphatically. The amount of oil in ANWR would be at most a three year supply, would take ten years minimum to get to market. We could allocate our resources in those ten years to renewables. Let me make another point. I don't know if people are aware, but the oil that currently comes out of Prudhoe Bay is NOT used for American consumption. It is sold to the Asian market. That's right - you heard correctly. Any oil that comes from ANWR would be sold to Asia. The reason - it has a high sulfur content, and can only be refined in Galveston, TX. The oil companies dont want the cost to ship it there. SO, if ANWR were to be opened, it would merely be a boondoggle to the oil companies and would do nothing to help with American needs. All the more reason to oppose ANWR.

So, what's the solution? In a word -renewables. Check out Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute - a think tank that examines this very issue among other issues that deal with environmental problems. You will find it enlightening.

Posted by: jim | May 2, 2006 05:25 PM

Chris Ford wrote:

>

_________

Chris, face it, what environmentalists really want, and what you want, are not likely to be much different. Of course, if this is incorrect, just tell us what it is you want.

There is a solid middle ground, based on fact and science, and on social cooperation. Unfortunately, dysfunctional politics and concentrated media, which should be positive tools, are obstacles to navigating there.
Is it not more on center to say we want to have healthy body, mind, and spirit as the achievable norm for generations to come? Technologies are going to change, and we need the force of education to enable that. Demographics are going to change, and we need to balance that without having humans destroying humans. Things we humans cannot directly alter might be expected to change (the Sun, climate, microbes) and we need to have the discipline and intelligent leadership to face those possibilities.

In our industrial/post-industrial transition in the United States, we have a special sitution. In terms of enlightened western values, we really are the single last best hope of humanity. Protecting and extending this achievement, which is worth fiercely defending, both in words and actions, is visibly one of the most immediate challenges of the decade. Whatever we can do to direct our efforts to better the rising generation to willingly take this responsibility is to our credit as human beings. Whatever we can do with state policy to deny immigration privileges, trade, or outside control, to those who will not share this responsibility for our civilization, is also our responsibility.

Personally, I don't think I'm liberal or conservative, but I would fight along the side of either to conserve fundamental human values and insights it took two thousand years to develop. Call it good versus evil.

Posted by: | May 2, 2006 06:42 PM

The previous post was me, OTP. Something odd happened in attempting the posting. I was quoting Chris as follows:

_________

What environmentalists really want is a bucolic, organic, pre-industrial fantasy world where people in advanced nations (except them) have sharply reduced standards of living as a matter of "social justice".

Posted by: On the plantation | May 2, 2006 06:45 PM

Global warming, Middle Eastern Oil politics, South American Politics, Conservation, etc. There are dozens of buzz phrases being tossed around and guess what, they mean absolutely nothing in the long run. That is in the next twenty years, or so. By the best accounts of non-political oil experts, the world has reached the tipping point on available oil. Everything from here on is going to be very expensive, max expensive. Can't you just hear the Oil Mogols licking their lips at the sound of that money.
Oh, we still have lots of oil out there but it will require deep ocean drilling, or available by drilling and fouling up some pristine wilderness, but then what. At most these are short term solutions. Ten years to get there and then seven years of oil. Conservation is nothing more than a short term solution with the rising population of American and the World and all those greedy people in their million dollars castles. Lets face it, in this modern (and that is a relative term for this era) period, we can't, won't do without the extravagant energy type lifestyle that our present source of oil provides.
If you insist on polluting the Earth, what about coal conversion to gas, we have plenty, or the oil shale in Colorado. I remember it being said in the 80' that there was more oil locked up in oil shale than in all of the Middle East combined. Then it was said that at $25 a barrel, Oil Shale was just too expensive to mine or what ever. Are the Oils companies just sucking up all the money they can from foreign oil before moving on to the domestic stuff?

Damit, we need a new source of energy! We neet another Manhatten Project to develop it. Something that gets us away form the carbon based energy source. Hydrogen, ocean currents, wind currents, and solar are the only answers. Otherwise we will all be living on small islands in the middle of the Oceanus. There is going to be a lot of people dying over this Global warming thing no matter what the Bushy Buddies tell the news people. It is coming, it is really coming.

Posted by: Harry O' | May 3, 2006 12:20 AM

seed, fruit, starchy vegetable...

gets you ethanol...


beer from fermented whatever...is one of the oldest fermented/manufactured foods made...prehistoric ethanol production...


not wood.

.


fibers have been used for paper production since

oh where was paper first made...


paper, paper, papyrus....oh could it be reeds in Egypt?

leaves, plant fibers, flowers are also used in art paper production...fiber, plant fiber, any kind that doesn't have a lot of color in it...wheat straw, corn stalks, blah blah blah


low impact, multiple use, it takes an engineer not a friggin bigot to make sense of opportunity when others ssee an opportunity to beat their favorite dead horse...


oil is dead, bury it, move on, get a thoughtful orgainic approach...


dufmucks need not apply...

computer alogorithms, fractals, genetics, organic thought process...

organic means natural/works with, it's ecologically sound, low impact, non-negative....

.

Posted by: any carbohydrate... | May 3, 2006 12:33 AM

I think it's pretty obvious that the government cares less for you than your corporations....


tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea....

lots a money, they don't want competition...


FDA, needs it's butt kicked too...

we don't want our seniors buying drugs in Mexico _or_ Canada

they might get some cheaper than the United States and we use that money to pay for

retirement for our CEO's....oy yasssssssss


while we reduce your benefits by $30 per month to fund our invasion in Iraq....


Haliburton, Carlyle groups, cheyney dealaid cunning ham abraham-offed....oy yasssssssssss


.


.

Posted by: as far as hemp goes... | May 3, 2006 12:41 AM

watch it fold,

hope it does jail time, comin soon

Posted by: call a spade a spade... | May 3, 2006 12:43 AM

watch it fold,

hope it does jail time, comin soon

Posted by: call a spade a spade... | May 3, 2006 12:44 AM

Petroleum is not a renewable resource. It's a great source of very practical fuel (high energy output, dense, easy to transport) but there is only so much of it on Earth. Petroleum is also the base material for a lot of synthetic molecules of high economic value for whom there is no practical replacement. There are, on the other hand, well-known practical replacements for the use of petroleum-based fuels for transportation. The most logical course of action is to keep as much petroleum in the ground as possible for the future, improve plastic recycling technology, and use every means possible to reduce the dependence of our transportation systems on petroleum-based fuels. I'm sorry if that represents an inconvenience for those who were suckered into buying SUVs, and into voting for representatives who refuse to look after the long term national interest, but that's the way it is.

Posted by: Paralogos | May 3, 2006 02:14 AM


THE FIX 2006!!!!

www.michaelmoore.com

Electronic voting switch threatens mass confusion

Financial Times

The last three election cycles in the US have been marked by controversy not only about candidates, but also about the fairness and accuracy of the voting process. And as voters head to the polls today for primaries in some jurisdictions, the coming cycle promises more of the same.

With about 8,000 separate election authorities managing approximately 175,000 polling places and perhaps as many as 150,000 different ballot forms that include choices for everyone from senator to dogcatcher, American elections are complex even when all goes well. But this cycle sees many states and smaller jurisdictions making last-minute efforts to switch to electronic voting, and early signs of trouble are appearing.

In California, the League of Women Voters has protested against a new, computerised statewide election registry that the group says is improperly rejecting registered voters, while county clerks in several Indiana jurisdictions complained that the electronic ballots programmed by the vendors of their electronic voting machines had been delivered late, were incorrect and poorly proofread.

The clerk for Marion County - the state's most populous - said that, so far, nine rounds of "fixes" had been required; she was unsure whether the primary vote today could be held without problems, according to The Indianapolis Star.

The scramble to convert to electronic voting has spurred disputes with vendors of the new machines. Last month, Oregon filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Election Systems & Software, alleging that the company reneged on a commitment to supply the state with electronic voting machines suitable for handicapped people for its May 16 primary.

In Florida, ground zero for election disasters in 2000, the election supervisor for Leon County allowed anti-electronic voting activists to try breaching security in the county's optical scan voting system, prompting the big three electronic voting systems companies - Diebold, Election Systems & Services, and Sequoia - to refuse to sell the county new machines. The Florida secretary of state has since opened an anti-trust investigation.

After the 2000 presidential election made "hanging chad" a sure laugh line for television comics, Congress passed the "Help America Vote Act", or Hava.

The law promised states funding to replace old voting technology with computerised systems.

The new systems fall into two categories - optical scan systems, in which voters mark paper ballots that are read by computer scanners, and direct recording electronic (DRE) systems in which voters touch computer screens or push buttons to mark their ballots.

But delays in setting standards, insufficient funding for Hava, and lack of technical expertise among the nation's election administrators have election experts predicting the 2006 election will not run smoothly.

Last September, the US Government Accountability Office issued a report with a litany of potential flaws in the reliability and sec-urity of electronic voting and warned that steps needed to ensure voter confidence in the integrity of the vote were unlikely to be in place in time for the 2006 election.

A principal author of the report, analyst David Powner, said in an interview that since last autumn, nothing had happened to change the report's conclusions.

One problem is that many of the new voting machines that will be deployed are arriving from offshore manufacturing sites - mainly China - and are being rushed into service without adequate quality controls, says Kimball Brace, president of Election Data Services, a voting consultancy firm.

In some cases, election officials are "getting equipment three weeks before the election".

"We're all behind the eight ball," says Mr Brace.

"There are going to be enough problem areas that the issue of voting will be front and centre on everybody's plate."

Texans who want to vote early in elections set for May 12 may be voting on paper ballots because Election Systems & Software, one of the big e-voting machine vendors, is late in providing computer coding and electronic ballots for some of the 140 counties that use the company's machines. The company's president went to the state last week to mollify irritated election officials.

Posted by: che | May 3, 2006 03:09 AM

A windfall tax on oil companies should be assessed and the money from that tax should be given in grants to pre-existing alternative energy companies. A bipartisan committee with no big oil representation should determine who gets the grants.

The U.S. only gets about 20% of its oil supply from the volatile Middle East. The majority of our oil comes from Canada and they have an enormous supply. We should negotiate with Canada. If we need more infrastructure to extract or refine, we should require, not suggest, that the oil companies invest in such infrastructure. The Bush tax cuts were supposed to give companies additional money to invest in capital but that simply hasn't happened. Either tax away the tax breaks or force the investment.

Posted by: ann | May 3, 2006 08:55 AM

I believe that humans have come to a point in the evolution of our societies, that the problems facing us overwhelm our capacity for decision-making. For example, energy policies.

Therefore, I propose building a massive supercomputer and programming it with all the information available, and then letting the computer decide what needs to be done.

Posted by: AgentG | May 3, 2006 10:50 AM

Unless everything I learned in Economics and Macro Economics classes in college no longer applies, you slap a 60 mph speed limit on the nation with stiff penalties for violators. Much less gas is consumed especially by the Destroyer Class SUV crowd. This spikes supply due to the tapered consumption. Higher inventories + decreased demand = lower prices. This is the short term picture.

Long term you leave the national speed limit in place and the government mandates 40 mpg fleet averages across the board effective in 3 years time. Secondarily you subsidize ethanol production and fuel research. In this way you directly attack the dependency on oil.

Right now a single mother of two kids - one in daycare and one in school - where these two buildings are in opposite directions of her residence, is getting killed by the increase in gas prices. It's an inconvenience to a rich, upper middle class person (park the Navigator, fire up the Beemer), but it's life threatening to lower income people. I guess as long as the upper middle class people are making the laws, you're not going to see any relief or any serious address of the gas price situation anytime soon.

Posted by: Joe in Helena, MT | May 3, 2006 10:51 AM

I think a point here that is being missed entirely is that energy is only part of the picture when it comes to global oil consumption. What most people do not recognize is that we live in an oil based economy. Plastics, synthetic fibers, many pharmaceuticals, cleaners and countless other items have their genesis in the petrochemical industry. Many others, such as high purity metals and many components in electronics could not be produced without the high purity solvents rendered from crude petroleum. Indeed, much of China's recent increase in demand has been a result of its booming petrochemical industry. Needless to say, the Chinese don't drive many cars. Therefore, simply increasing energy conservation will not solve the problem longterm. If we want to continue to have the technologically advanced society that petroleum has brought us, we must explore for new sources, or develop a whole new line of technology that replaces petroleum in all of these other uses (which would be a neat trick).

Posted by: Matt | May 3, 2006 01:04 PM

Having just found this forum, I was curious to join the ebb and flow on the topic of energy dependence. Perhaps the comparison to heroin addiction was a bit much, but I had hoped it would create some insightful reaction.

Alas, the only person who bothered to respond was someone whose sum total of experience seems to be what he/she heard from O'Limbanety.

Well, for what it's worth:
Nuclear energy is a capital intensive solution: If you don't think so, try to start your own reactor business with a few colleagues.

Japan, France, etc. are capitalist countries. By the way, socialist countries have also bought into the capital/power accumulation approach to growth, so it has nothing to do with left or right. Just ask anyone from Russia or China.

Calling my position names does not change the fact that a capital intensive solution is no real solution to the problem.

Corporate capitalism can only approach the problem from a large front-end investment mind-set. Senior management expects just as large a return on investment. Simply put, they target solutions that cost a lot so they can earn a lot.

Unless there is a high probability that this return will be reached, there will be no investment. Over the last 30 years I have been involved in enough projects to know that this is how capitalism works. It has nothing to do with leftwing or whatever.

Since the only capital intensive alternative to fossil fuels is nuclear energy, it stands to reason that as long as corporations are paying political party bills -- and I hope no one thinks Jesus or love of the flag is driving our leaders -- this will be the solution of choice.

The built-in drive for large, guaranteed returns (and to control a captive market - see my addiction analogy) prohibits what is required.

We need to start fresh with a whole bunch of goofy concepts on energy supply. Think of the hundreds if not thousands of small companies and enterprises working on automobiles or airplanes from 1880 - 1910.

Corporations will never fund this kind of messy entrepreneurialism. And their surrogates in state and federal politics will not easily move against the corporations' interests.

Posted by: Donald Laghezza | May 3, 2006 01:56 PM

1. Harry O' - "Damit, we need a new source of energy! We neet another Manhatten Project to develop it. Something that gets us away form the carbon based energy source."

We already did, in the 1st Manhattan Project. A renewable, reliable carbonless form of energy that works 365/24/7. It's called Nuclear Power. Until or unless fusion, another form of nuclear power is shown to work, that and the traditional fossil fuel power sources are your only choice. "exciting alternate energy" sources 1st enthused over at late 60s pot parties are still as "pie in the sky" as they were then as a supplanting source. Conservation has been negated by population growth and has usually come to mean liberals who are economically set wish other Americans to have a lower standard of living, eventually.

***********************
2. Paralogos - "Petroleum is also the base material for a lot of synthetic molecules of high economic value for whom there is no practical replacement......'SUVs, SUVs, are evil blah-blah-blahhhh' "

Not true. Carbon-hydrogen polymers can be created from any fossil fuel source. Even built from vegetable oils if we care to. The late 70s myth that recycling plastic was imperative has fallen by the practical wayside. Too many radically different types of plastic to separate. Not worth the separation expense, time and transport costs. Just like glass and paper recycling that we tried to brainwash our kids was an "enobling, planet saving thing to do". Best we cut it out and try to get our kids up to the level of European and Asian kids in math and sciences instead. And burn the trash in trash to energy plants. Before the environmental idiots came along, there were robust, economic reasons and businesses to recycle metals and not much else. That is still the case.

****************************
3. Joe in Montana - " Unless everything I learned in Economics and Macro Economics classes in college no longer applies, you slap a 60 mph speed limit on the nation with stiff penalties for violators."

Everything the voters know is once the Safety Nazis imposed 55 it was living hell for states like Montana to try and reverse it once the oil embargo was lifted. Anyone taking college courses should know that if a law is shoved down people's throats for one reason (it made economic sense in 1973) and kept for 25 years for other do-gooder reasons (the children! safety! people other than me should drive slow!) - it makes Voters far less likely to vote for another law restricting their liberty because they fear a repeat of the abuse of Double Nickle.

"Higher inventories + decreased demand = lower prices. This is the short term picture."

No it isn't. Oil is a global commodity. So you have less SUVs in Montana in your dreamworld...it won't affect demand in China.

"Long term you leave the national speed limit in place and the government mandates 40 mpg fleet averages across the board effective in 3 years time."

Besides the fact we lack the engineering and manufacturing capacity to go from 25 CAFE to 40 in 3 years, voters would quickly see through envirofacsist proposals like yours that effectively ban large vehicles, pick-up trucks, vans in favor of far more expensive vehicles of limited utility - while ensuring demand for used pickups and SUVs for 60 million new Pedros, Juans, and Abdullahs arriving here lasts another 25 years.

"Secondarily you subsidize ethanol production and fuel research. In this way you directly attack the dependency on oil."

No you don't. You taxpayer subsidize millionaire Agribiz owners to make 7.50 a gallon ethanol from our limited arable lands instead of food for export, then tax-subsidize the ethanol made so it costs drivers something comparable to gas...which then only shoves the cheaper oil to Rising China and India...which has no effect on global oil price. If the Chinese are smart, they loan the dumb envirofascists the money they need to subsidize the ethanol dreams rather than raising taxes on the non-drivers. That way only the grandkids get stuck with the loan and interest for low-cost ethanol.

"Right now a single mother of two kids - one in daycare and one in school - where these two buildings are in opposite directions of her residence, is getting killed by the increase in gas prices."

That's too bad. Why is she a single mother of two? Did you learn in college that the fastest path to poverty is to have kids out of wedlock or fail HS and get a criminal record? Or all 3 things?

"It's an inconvenience to a rich, upper middle class person (park the Navigator, fire up the Beemer), but it's life threatening to lower income people."

Imagine how worse it would be without a taxpayer subsidy on your ethanol pipe dream. A multi-millionaire Agribiz owner will have no problem fueling his fleet of SUVs, Scaramouche-type power boats, RVs, etc. with 8 dollar a gallon ethanol while China gets 3 dollar a gallon gas.

"I guess as long as the upper middle class people are making the laws, you're not going to see any relief or any serious address of the gas price situation anytime soon."

Only if they have the power to overcome the Ruling Elites on Open Borders and 850 billion trade imbalances - so demand can decrease. The scientifically ignorant enviroweenies have no solutions, just recycled fad ideas from the 70s.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 3, 2006 02:56 PM

Laghezza - "Well, for what it's worth:
Nuclear energy is a capital intensive solution: If you don't think so, try to start your own reactor business with a few colleagues."

Try to build a wind farm with a few of your colleagues at a million a windmill plus 4.5 million basic infastructure access roads, and land lease, or a 200MW gas turbine plant, or a triplepoint 1200 MW coal plant.

You will learn a simple fact of life. All industrial scale electric power energy generation is capital intensive. Finding new energy sources on an industrial scale is also hugely capital intensive.

"We need to start fresh with a whole bunch of goofy concepts on energy supply. Think of the hundreds if not thousands of small companies and enterprises working on automobiles or airplanes from 1880 - 1910."

There are thousands and thousands of energy companies. Some are serious, many have prospects only from wheedling dumb government people to give them grants to develop "exciting alternate" energy sources already tried and rejected by serous scientists and engineers elsewhere in the world.

"Corporations will never fund this kind of messy entrepreneurialism."

Corporations and VC entrepreneurs DO fund all sorts of start-ups.

Funny thing though, they want profitable, practical solutions to meet energy and electricity solutions on a vast scale or at least demo a potential vast source on a small scale.

Eeeeeeeeviiiiill Swedish, French, American, Indian, Japanese, and Chinese corporations are NOT blocking "exciting, super-cool, far-out energy sources". If solar power worked, cold fusion was scientifically validated, or "unlimited oil from turkey guts" made any sense whatsoever past the coven of true-believing 70s relics in the "evironmental cause movement", the Zero Oil in the Bank Japanese would be on it like a seagull on a garbage truck.

But the smart people, the scientists, engineers, bankers - not the "eeeeeviiiill corporations" say 4 sources of vast energy exist to choose from in the short term - coal, gas, nuclear, oil. With billions going to another source of energy and radioactivity - fusion - as a potential long-term solution.

It's not quite what the hippies of the 60s and 70s envisioned...but then we were also supposed to have a cosmic reawakening and have a world full of love and harmony by now too..where most of the planet lived on this sort of eternal college campus where we could smoke dope and play frisbee and hackeysack to our hearts content and subsist on free love and organic food and recreational drugs....

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 3, 2006 03:20 PM

Chris Ford wrote:

". . . where we could smoke dope and play frisbee and hackeysack to our hearts content and subsist on free love and organic food and recreational drugs...."
_________

Perhaps a bit Puritanical of me, but I always thought one saved that stuff for old age.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 3, 2006 07:29 PM

movement,


if YOU are not getting a cut of the action. and those that say YOU need to do it

aren't fighting.


I've noticed over the years that rich kids don't go to war or start occupations


they start 'em.


and then they institute a draft, and your children or the children that are posting thinking that they have a choice if they start drafting everyone up to age 35...


then the patriots turn into, "let's send the blue collar people over there,"


how many congress people have sons and daughters in action?


last I heard none.


we need renewable energy sources, the fact that we're not really there yet has more to do with not seriously searching for solution than lack of feasibility.


look up the word "feasibility"

it means "is it possible?"

plastic didn't exist before WWII, neither did nylon...which is a syntheic plastic made from wood cellulose and hydorchloric acid...


lots of things can happen, when the United States Citizens put their minds to it...


there are those who say WE CAN'T DO IT,


and I would say to them, that there is a lack of faith in you because you have a weakness of character...


we've always been the most innovative and forward thinking of the nations, more inventions and better things have always come from the United States....


part of that has come from investing in Research and Development...

Manhattan Project, laser, television, the transistor, fiber optics, and so on...

WE are the can do nation when the chips are down,


the ones that say we aren't want to sell you a


?war?


that they've invested their money in,


I suggest you let them fight it.

.

Posted by: there's no reason to have a war, that's really an imperialistic | May 3, 2006 07:37 PM

I car pool with wife and she and I each have a Prius. I lived thru 1973 and odd-even lic # days of getting(or not getting!) gas. I learned how to drive smoothly to avoid waste.

Now we get in the commute to work about 49-50-51 mpg so we each are getting the equivalent of 100 mpg when we contrast ourselves with a single driver car.

I drive as smoothly as I can at about 55 to 60 mph up a long hill near my home and see that the Prius is running at 20-24 mpg -and can go to as low as 10 when accelerating. The computer read out is handy - if everyone had it in any car they used - this would have a sobering effect and would tend to change our driving habits to some degree. But in contrast - I see folks charge on by in the big cars - pedal to the metal - 65-70 mph and accelerating up the same hill - getting maybe 3-4 mpg for a SUV/truck for that same stint.

Like Lab Rat - I too have an education and an ethic that allows me to understand the arguments and there are pros and cons with every decision. The cars cost more to make (more copper/metals for batteries) - so this has to be taken into account. I did get a nice car with more features and room than a Corolla.

The list of economical cars posted very early touted only one - the Pontiac Vibe as being American. Even that is really a Toyota Matrix in Pontiac dressing...

My dad bought a Vega in 1973 for mom - it was the high mileage version and it did get good gas mileage - about 40 mpg stock -Truck hard skinny tires/3 speed manual/really low gearing - the car lugged along. He set it up with adjustable timing - he could pull a hand throttle and rotate the distributor dynamically to tune the engine to max efficiency and on the flats get 50 mpg. You suffered - but you got to where you needed to go. But all the Vegas we hd in the family (about 5 at one point) were so poorly engineered you felt glad to see them rust away before your eyes.
The American car manufacturers had disdain for average joes that were trying to stay within a budget and only put a modicum of engineering into their nicer cars. And not even enough of that. They thought they could go on forever shoveling stuff at us that wasn't all that good.
They still haven't gotten the message - My neighbor has a big family and uses his nice monster GM SUV to haul trailers and stuff so it is used as intended... but he has to get out and rattle a battery cablepost connection (a known problem he tells me) to start the car every so often! This is something that could be fixed but the money isn't getting to the engineer - in order to design a part; to manufacture the part; or to deliver the fix - it seems to go to less important things - ads - CEO bonuses etc.
Penny wise and pound foolish.
More investment in really good ideas concerning other energy is absolutely the way to go - but it can't fall victim to political whims - Carter's initial ideas to invest in energy saving and other forms were generally nixed by Ronald Reagan as too much intervention by government - we end up paying for the short term expediency.
We didn't learn how to get fully involve industry motivated to save then and we keep electing people who don't have an agenda to really fix the problems - to save energy or find other ways to generate it - so we deserve who we allow to be elected.

Posted by: John Guy B | May 10, 2006 12:22 PM

There is only one long-term energy solution: intelligent conservation plus siwtching to renewable sources.
By ignoring this self-evident scientifically verifiable fact for over a century, the infallibility-claiming visionless and immoral leadership of this country have done irreparable harm to the planet and each one of our lives.
If we are to reclaim any form of sustainable life-style worth the living in this nation of citizens mostly in denial and collectivist elected officials largely in pursuit of tsaristic powers, that reform effort must begin with election reform, information regulation and labeling reform, and anti-postmodernist education reform (of course); but the very next item on the philosophical table must then be energy reform--vehicular and electrical prudence and ecological sanity. A healthy biosphere and a nation of sane responsible individuals are the irreducible minimum of ANY nation worth maintaining.
And at present, we self-evidently have neither--thanks to anti-secular, anti-rational, anti-categorical definition and anti-ethics forces within the government
And we know exactly who those people are and how much harm they have already done. And what to do about them is equally clear--replace them with responsible selves. Minds fit to live on Earth. Men in love with scientific fact, honesty, full-disclosure, justice, beauty and individual happiness under regulations that recognize individual rights
Not what we have had for far too long.

Posted by: Robert C. | May 19, 2006 10:03 PM

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