Paul Driessen asks some inconvenient questions

A few questions for President Obama

How exactly does the President plan to create his new Green Jobs Economy?

Guest post by Paul Driessen

America needs decisive leaders who understand what government can (and cannot) do to stop the Gulf gusher, clean up the mess, and get business, jobs and prosperity back on track. Instead, President Obama sounds like an anti-business Community Organizer in Chief – pointing fingers, making baseless claims about ending our “addiction to oil,” and leaving no crisis unexploited to promote job-killing cap-tax-and-trade and renewable energy agendas. His June 15 “vision” raised more questions than it answered.

1) The President said he can no longer support new drilling unless industry can prove it will be “absolutely safe.” This avoidable environmental disaster happened because BP, its contractors and MMS regulators did not follow procedures or respond properly to tests and warning signs, indicating critical trouble was brewing downhole. But if “absolute safety” is to decide activities and technologies, America will come to a standstill in the absence of impossible-to-obtain proof that nothing will ever go wrong, no one will ever screw up, and no technology will ever malfunction.

Oil tankers sometimes run aground, unleashing their black cargo on our shores. Will oil imports now be banned, as well? Over 42,000 Americans died in car accidents last year. Will highways and city streets be closed to vehicles? Airports, trains and subways? Wind turbines kill 3,000 eagles and other raptors every year, plus 100,000 to 300,000 other birds and bats. Will they be shut down until that carnage ends?

2) President Obama demanded that BP “set aside “whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed” by the spill. With thousands of environmental activists, regulators, congressmen and trial lawyers on Team Obama, one can only imagine what creative damages and costs might be concocted, to convert the initial $20-billion BP fund into a bottomless money pit, and what “standards” might guide bird death valuations, for example.

ExxonMobil paid $600,000 when 85 birds died in uncovered waste facilities. PacifiCorp paid was fined $1.4 million after 230 eagles were killed by its power lines over a two-year period. Will those fines set the standard for Gulf oil spill bird deaths? Or will the standard be the zero, zip, nada fines assessed to date on wind turbine operators for their ongoing slaughter? Will BP be required to compensate oil field workers who lose their jobs because Team Obama imposed an arbitrary drilling moratorium, instead of ensuring improved oversight of drilling, blowout prevention and well completion activities?

3) The President said China is creating “clean energy” jobs “that should be right here in America,” while we send “nearly $1 billion of our wealth every day to foreign countries for their oil.” We will “embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny,” he declared, because “the time to embrace a clean energy future is now.”

America is not running out of oil. It is running out of places the government allows us to drill. China is creating renewable energy jobs, because it mines the lanthanides, lithium and other minerals that are essential for wind turbines, solar panels and hybrid cars, while we lock up our prospects; burns coal to generate cheap electricity to run its factories, while the White House, Congress and EPA try to drive US coal-based power to extinction; and pays its factory workers a fraction of what American workers receive.

Companies have been drilling in deep waters, because most onshore and shallow water areas are off limits. Will we now open the ANWR, Alaska National Petroleum Reserve, Rockies and near-shore OCS to drilling – where access and development are easier, and accidents (that we hope, and industry must ensure, never happen again) can be fixed and cleaned up far more easily than in mile-deep waters?

Will President Obama lift his OCS moratorium (which even his independent safety experts opposed), before it further devastates the battered Gulf economy, rigs head overseas, and thousands of experienced workers permanently leave the industry for other lines of work?

To advance the President’s “national mission” and generate 20% or more of our electricity with wind and solar, will our legislators, regulators and litigators continue to ignore the environmental review, endangered species, migratory bird and other laws that govern fossil fuel and nuclear power – so that we can rapidly blanket millions of acres of onshore and offshore America with wind turbines and solar panels, to replace coal-fired power plants, regardless of the environmental costs?

Rather than dozens of “ugly” offshore oil and gas platforms, often dozens of miles from our coasts – will America now enjoy seeing thousands of “beautiful” offshore wind turbines, towering above our beaches and creating obstacle courses for submarines, merchant ships laden with bunker fuel, and more tankers filled with crude oil and far more toxic refined product?

Will the President and Congress now open some of the hundreds of millions of acres they have made off limits to exploration and mining for the minerals needed to manufacture “green” technologies here in America? Or will we henceforth be dependent on foreign countries and dictators for both our “dirty” oil and the raw materials and finished components needed to build a new “clean energy” economy?

4) Under a cap-tax-and-trade regime, the price of hydrocarbon energy will “necessarily skyrocket,” to “encourage” companies and families to use less fossil fuel energy, and “persuade” them to switch to wind and solar. How will that affect turbine and panel manufacturing costs and subsidies, and the downstream costs of renewable energy and everything Americans make, grow, drive, ship, eat, drink and do?

How will US wind and solar factories compete with Chinese and Indian facilities, if the American plants are compelled to pay two, three, five times as much for electricity, under cap-tax-and-trade and renewable energy mandates? How will they compete if they must also pay subsidies, union wages and gold-plated health and pension plans, if government grants are also tied to compulsory unionization, and if non-union shops and right-to-work states are excluded from the bidding and subsidy process?

How will regulators and “clean energy” companies deal with the nasty pollutants generated in the process of manufacturing hundreds of thousands of wind turbines and millions of acres of solar panels? How will they handle highly toxic silicon tetrachloride, the powerful greenhouse gas nitrogen trifluoride and other chemicals used or generated in making solar panels, fiberglass and other components?

Even “little” 1.5 megawatt wind turbines require 700 tons of concrete, steel, fiberglass, copper and rare earth (lanthanide) minerals. Add in the transmission lines and backup gas-fired generators, and we’re talking some serious land use, raw material, pollution, bird kill and economic issues. How do our legislators, regulators, litigators and environmental activists plan to address these issues?

Will solar and wind companies operate under free market principles, to compete and possibly fail against other energy firms? Or will they be kept in business via huge subsidies under government systems that extract countless billions from families and less favored companies, borrow it from our children, and redistribute that wealth to “clean energy” companies? How long will this Grecian Formula be sustainable?

Spain lost 2.2 traditional jobs for every wind power job its massive subsidies created. President Obama has said we can create 5 million green jobs. How does he plan to compensate 11 million workers who will lose their traditional jobs under the Spanish Scenario? With more stimulus money and red ink?

Every seven million gallons of corn-based ethanol requires billions in subsidies, cropland equivalent to Indiana, millions of gallons of water and millions of tons of fertilizer, to make fuel that costs more but gets a third less mileage than gasoline. Can someone explain how this is eco-friendly and sustainable?

When this house of cards inevitably collapses, as it has in Spain, will its congressional and administration creators be held responsible and accountable, under the same standards they are applying to BP?

Just asking. (Not that I expect President Obama, Senator Kerry or Speaker Pelosi to have any answers – or even deign to respond to any American citizen who might ask such impertinent questions.)

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death.

A few questions for President Obama

How exactly does the President plan to create his new Green Jobs Economy?

Paul Driessen

America needs decisive leaders who understand what government can (and cannot) do to stop the Gulf gusher, clean up the mess, and get business, jobs and prosperity back on track. Instead, President Obama sounds like an anti-business Community Organizer in Chief – pointing fingers, making baseless claims about ending our “addiction to oil,” and leaving no crisis unexploited to promote job-killing cap-tax-and-trade and renewable energy agendas. His June 15 “vision” raised more questions than it answered.

1) The President said he can no longer support new drilling unless industry can prove it will be “absolutely safe.” This avoidable environmental disaster happened because BP, its contractors and MMS regulators did not follow procedures or respond properly to tests and warning signs, indicating critical trouble was brewing downhole. But if “absolute safety” is to decide activities and technologies, America will come to a standstill in the absence of impossible-to-obtain proof that nothing will ever go wrong, no one will ever screw up, and no technology will ever malfunction.

Oil tankers sometimes run aground, unleashing their black cargo on our shores. Will oil imports now be banned, as well? Over 42,000 Americans died in car accidents last year. Will highways and city streets be closed to vehicles? Airports, trains and subways? Wind turbines kill 3,000 eagles and other raptors every year, plus 100,000 to 300,000 other birds and bats. Will they be shut down until that carnage ends?

2) President Obama demanded that BP “set aside “whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed” by the spill. With thousands of environmental activists, regulators, congressmen and trial lawyers on Team Obama, one can only imagine what creative damages and costs might be concocted, to convert the initial $20-billion BP fund into a bottomless money pit, and what “standards” might guide bird death valuations, for example.

ExxonMobil paid $600,000 when 85 birds died in uncovered waste facilities. PacifiCorp paid was fined $1.4 million after 230 eagles were killed by its power lines over a two-year period. Will those fines set the standard for Gulf oil spill bird deaths? Or will the standard be the zero, zip, nada fines assessed to date on wind turbine operators for their ongoing slaughter? Will BP be required to compensate oil field workers who lose their jobs because Team Obama imposed an arbitrary drilling moratorium, instead of ensuring improved oversight of drilling, blowout prevention and well completion activities?

3) The President said China is creating “clean energy” jobs “that should be right here in America,” while we send “nearly $1 billion of our wealth every day to foreign countries for their oil.” We will “embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny,” he declared, because “the time to embrace a clean energy future is now.”

America is not running out of oil. It is running out of places the government allows us to drill. China is creating renewable energy jobs, because it mines the lanthanides, lithium and other minerals that are essential for wind turbines, solar panels and hybrid cars, while we lock up our prospects; burns coal to generate cheap electricity to run its factories, while the White House, Congress and EPA try to drive US coal-based power to extinction; and pays its factory workers a fraction of what American workers receive.

Companies have been drilling in deep waters, because most onshore and shallow water areas are off limits. Will we now open the ANWR, Alaska National Petroleum Reserve, Rockies and near-shore OCS to drilling – where access and development are easier, and accidents (that we hope, and industry must ensure, never happen again) can be fixed and cleaned up far more easily than in mile-deep waters?

Will President Obama lift his OCS moratorium (which even his independent safety experts opposed), before it further devastates the battered Gulf economy, rigs head overseas, and thousands of experienced workers permanently leave the industry for other lines of work?

To advance the President’s “national mission” and generate 20% or more of our electricity with wind and solar, will our legislators, regulators and litigators continue to ignore the environmental review, endangered species, migratory bird and other laws that govern fossil fuel and nuclear power – so that we can rapidly blanket millions of acres of onshore and offshore America with wind turbines and solar panels, to replace coal-fired power plants, regardless of the environmental costs?

Rather than dozens of “ugly” offshore oil and gas platforms, often dozens of miles from our coasts – will America now enjoy seeing thousands of “beautiful” offshore wind turbines, towering above our beaches and creating obstacle courses for submarines, merchant ships laden with bunker fuel, and more tankers filled with crude oil and far more toxic refined product?

Will the President and Congress now open some of the hundreds of millions of acres they have made off limits to exploration and mining for the minerals needed to manufacture “green” technologies here in America? Or will we henceforth be dependent on foreign countries and dictators for both our “dirty” oil and the raw materials and finished components needed to build a new “clean energy” economy?

4) Under a cap-tax-and-trade regime, the price of hydrocarbon energy will “necessarily skyrocket,” to “encourage” companies and families to use less fossil fuel energy, and “persuade” them to switch to wind and solar. How will that affect turbine and panel manufacturing costs and subsidies, and the downstream costs of renewable energy and everything Americans make, grow, drive, ship, eat, drink and do?

How will US wind and solar factories compete with Chinese and Indian facilities, if the American plants are compelled to pay two, three, five times as much for electricity, under cap-tax-and-trade and renewable energy mandates? How will they compete if they must also pay subsidies, union wages and gold-plated health and pension plans, if government grants are also tied to compulsory unionization, and if non-union shops and right-to-work states are excluded from the bidding and subsidy process?

How will regulators and “clean energy” companies deal with the nasty pollutants generated in the process of manufacturing hundreds of thousands of wind turbines and millions of acres of solar panels? How will they handle highly toxic silicon tetrachloride, the powerful greenhouse gas nitrogen trifluoride and other chemicals used or generated in making solar panels, fiberglass and other components?

Even “little” 1.5 megawatt wind turbines require 700 tons of concrete, steel, fiberglass, copper and rare earth (lanthanide) minerals. Add in the transmission lines and backup gas-fired generators, and we’re talking some serious land use, raw material, pollution, bird kill and economic issues. How do our legislators, regulators, litigators and environmental activists plan to address these issues?

Will solar and wind companies operate under free market principles, to compete and possibly fail against other energy firms? Or will they be kept in business via huge subsidies under government systems that extract countless billions from families and less favored companies, borrow it from our children, and redistribute that wealth to “clean energy” companies? How long will this Grecian Formula be sustainable?

Spain lost 2.2 traditional jobs for every wind power job its massive subsidies created. President Obama has said we can create 5 million green jobs. How does he plan to compensate 11 million workers who will lose their traditional jobs under the Spanish Scenario? With more stimulus money and red ink?

Every seven million gallons of corn-based ethanol requires billions in subsidies, cropland equivalent to Indiana, millions of gallons of water and millions of tons of fertilizer, to make fuel that costs more but gets a third less mileage than gasoline. Can someone explain how this is eco-friendly and sustainable?

When this house of cards inevitably collapses, as it has in Spain, will its congressional and administration creators be held responsible and accountable, under the same standards they are applying to BP?

Just asking. (Not that I expect President Obama, Senator Kerry or Speaker Pelosi to have any answers – or even deign to respond to any American citizen who might ask such impertinent questions.)

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death.

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94 thoughts on “Paul Driessen asks some inconvenient questions

  1. Bravo Paul. But they have no answers and we are just supposed to trust them because they say so.

  2. Amen brother!
    “To advance the President’s “national mission” and generate 20% or more of our electricity with wind and solar,”
    When will the pinheads understand that wind and solar does not, has not, and can not replace traditional electricity sources. We haven’t figured out how to store AC power, STILL. And the sun only shines half the day, and we still can't command the wind to blow. As Mr. Driessen pointed out, "Add in the transmission lines and backup gas-fired generators, and we’re talking some serious land use, raw material, pollution, bird kill and economic issues." and then the question would be why? So we can have less reliable and more expensive electricity? And people, that is exactly where some people seem hell bent to get us. I know gas burns cleaner than oil and coal, but really, none of the above mentioned can be called conservationism. I'd call it a disastrous rapage of our resources, jobs and economy and the American people in general.

  3. Socialism has made Greece and Spain so poor that the Kremlin is laughing at how stupid people could be to follow an economic system of heavy spending and government expansion that the Russians proved does not work. The Labour Party in the UK was attempting to drive Britain deep into the garbage pile too. Socialists have no damn shame at all and no understanding of how to run an economy or what money is worth. Give up your stupid megalomaniac schemes. Step down from your plinth of ignorance and join the working man who has been robbed by your daft ideology for too long now.

  4. “The President said he can no longer support new drilling unless industry can prove it will be “absolutely safe.””
    I think the industry should refuse to claim its “Absolutely Safe”.
    And lean back and wait.

  5. Is this really the forum for ill informed political screeds? If yes, you have just lost a faithful reader and sometime commentator. I find this whole posting offensive and misplaced.

  6. Mr. Driessen has given a truly simple and revealing precis of what is happening to western civilisation.
    No decision is made which will result in more freedom or prosperity for the ordinary joe soap.
    Every decision is geared to enslave, control and subjugate the people that these communists were elected to serve.
    To believe that this is a result of incompetence is naive. This is a controlled and planned destruction.
    When America goes the rest of us go.
    We in Europe are ruled by a group of unelected bureaucrats and NGOs who have a similar agenda.
    We look to America to save us (for the third time in seventy years!).
    So, I say God bless America, except this time you have to save yourselves before you can save us.

  7. Obama is a lawyer. He is fundementally transforming this nation into a lawyer’s wet dream.

  8. As many followers of this blog already know wind turbines are inefficient and unreliable, requiring conventional power sources as constant backup. The percentage of power from wind during the recent cold winter in the UK were risible, yet all three main political parties are committed to a ruinous expansion on land and sea of these Quixote windmills.
    Nuclear is the long term solution, as even Lovelock of Gaia fame acknowledges.

  9. Nice post, Mr. Driessen!
    Sums up the cap and trade fiasco set against the backdrop of the corruption inherent in the big government, socialist agenda. Eisenhower warned against the government-academic complex, and we are seeing it in action.
    Big picture stuff is worthwhile for our perspective, lest we get too myopic in our purview.

  10. *********
    Murray says:
    June 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm
    Is this really the forum for ill informed political screeds? If yes, you have just lost a faithful reader and sometime commentator. I find this whole posting offensive and misplaced.
    **********
    What do you mean? The guy has some really good questions and those questions deserve to be answered! I mean why should killing birds by waste pit be fined and killing them by windmill not?? Answer that!!

  11. Obama said he would force us to decrease dependence on foreign oil. He orders offshore drilling to stop and we have to buy oil to replace domestic production.
    He is living in Eutopia.

  12. @ Murray says:
    June 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm
    “Is this really the forum for ill informed political screeds? If yes, you have just lost a faithful reader and sometime commentator. I find this whole posting offensive and misplaced.”
    So, those questions shouldn’t be asked? If Driessen is “ill-informed”, I’d like to see where his posting shows that. Mainly because I’m in complete agreement with him. If I’m in error, show me how I am. Honestly, Murray, I believe this would be the time for engagement as opposed to withdrawing from the conversation.

  13. We in the UK already pay over $8.00 a gallon for our petrol (gasoline for the uninitiated) and even more for our diesel fuel. Fuel has “Duty” (a Revenue tax) added to it and then the Value Added Tax (VAT) is calculated on the total; it’s a tax on a tax. Now we have just learned that the VAT is going up from 17.5% to 20%. On just about anything you buy.
    Never mind what this is going to do to the prices of everything which has to be transported but our recently revealed adulterous Energy Minister (see here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1288770/Chris-Huhne-told-voters-Cheat-wife-Nothing-like-emerge.html) is Hell-bent on giving us another 2,600 windmills to “ensure” our energy supply, in spite of what lessons Spain has provided. He’s a “green” don’t you know, so he MUST be right!
    According to the energy producers we have about 5 years before we have mandatory rolling blackouts because there will not be enough power to meet demand.
    Our previous Socialist Government might be out of power but the green ideologies live on in Mr. Huhne.
    God help us.

  14. Jim says:
    June 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm
    ” I mean why should killing birds by waste pit be fined and killing them by windmill not??”
    Heh, it’s motivation, or the purpose. Everybody knows windmills are nice and provides really nice energy so if an occasional bird runs into its blades, so be it. Everybody also know BP is an evil seller of oil, (the really bad kind of energy) and if birdies get caught in the oil, SOMEONE HAS TO BE PUNISHED!!! See?

  15. Henry chance says:
    June 23, 2010 at 2:53 pm
    “Obama said he would force us to decrease dependence on foreign oil. He orders offshore drilling to stop and we have to buy oil to replace domestic production.
    He is living in Eutopia.”
    I think you’re being generous. I think he was disingenuous. Or maybe he simply wants to starve us from all forms of oil both foreign and domestic. Heh, the poor bugger got confused about the oath he took!! Someone should tell the president it was “enemies both foreign and domestic” not oil both foreign and domestic!!!!

  16. No luck Murray. If you chose to believe in a life bereft of risk and replete with certainty then your faithfully readership and some-time commentry was ill-opined. Risk-aversion, rose-tinted certainties while they may shore-up the whimsical predelictions of the hopefully ineffectual have little, to no part, to play in real life!
    That a leader of the free-world shouldn’t be pulled up for screaming that only certainty should be our Credo, that only absolutes should be the flagships of our future, tells me that, for far too many, weakness is the new virtue and virtue is delegated to the ranks of shame shared by its fellow-travellers, Hope, Honesty and Truth!
    Murray, polish up those rose-coloured vision-aids, replace the waxy deposits, suspend synaptical connections and traipse back to the one, true, site for Climate Science.
    Gav and Eric will be chuffed to see you. Dhogoza, will be so excited that he’ll ramp up the rhetoric and, subsequently, create new legions of doubters!

  17. tim O’Brien says:
    June 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm
    “…..So, I say God bless America, except this time you have to save yourselves before you can save us.”
    Yeh, this one is going to be a rough one. With our system, there’s really no realistic way to get different leadership for at least the next 2 1/2 years and even then, ……

  18. Murray says:
    June 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm
    Goodbye Murray, you east coast liberal intellectual denier.

  19. Here’s some more questions :
    Does POTUS understand what a multi-national company is ?
    Does POTUS understand the company’s name is *BP* not British Petroleum -the name change was made after British Petroleum bought Amoco
    Has POTUS bothered to research BP’s safety record, if so has he not discovered the vast majority of BP’s unsafe acidents happen in ex AMOCO installations ?
    Does POTUS have enough legal knowledge to comprehend that under maritime ‘Charter Contracts’ it is the OPERATING company that is responsible for day to day operation *including* all safety procedures ?
    I only ask because he seems absolutely clueless and totally racist & xenophobic in his response to this tragic accident.

  20. Very well written! All these questions deserve answers. Unfortunately none will be given, only ad hominem attacks.

  21. Stephen Brown says:
    June 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm
    I was in Nice, FR 2 years ago and I gassed up the diesel I was renting. It was about $7.50 a gallon. BUT, if I elected, I could by “Eco-diesel” or some such crap at like 0.15 Euros more (about 20 cents a liter more, or 75 cents more a gallon). Scam bells went off. I asked the attendant what the difference was, and he said “better for environment”. I asked what the difference was that made it better and he just shrugged in the French way.
    I was pumping the regular diesel, and a guy pulled up to the Eco-diesel and started pumping. I laughed, and pointed at my car then his car and asked why? He shrugged in the French way and pointed to the babe in the passenger seat and shrugged again. Now I knew the reason for “voila la difference”.
    I laughed and left and he saluted. I wonder how long till “eco-diesel” shows up here in the US?
    For the single guy, it would be a good investment.

  22. Murray,
    DLTDHYITAOYWO. Rather than being a rant, Mr. Driessen clearly laid out the problems with the current administration’s thinking. Nothing in life is risk-free; the sun only shines for half the day, on average; “green jobs” cost lots of greenbacks; and the average taxpayer will be loath to pay a new energy tax.
    I believe in 2012 the President will experience a profound change in his point of view, to the relief of most Americans. But then, his retirement check will be considerably more than mine, so he will still not experience how the average American lives.

  23. “America is not running out of oil. It is running out of places the government allows us to drill.”
    That is BS. The US is long past peak discovery and peak oil.
    This is a policy piece and I did not read any further because his data is obviously as twisted as Michael Mann’s….

  24. America and the world is not running out of oil. It is being replenished. Old see-saw wells in Pennsylvania are pumping again (still).
    It is not fossil fuel, it is abiogenic. Don’t listen to the oil companies and OPEC – they want the price high; if they can get everyone to believe it is a supply problem then the price stays up.
    Everything they taught you in government schools is rubbish. DDT, ozone, acid rain, Y2K, H1N1, need I go on?

  25. We should do what Henry Ford wanted to do, run our vehicles on alcohol. While corn is not very efficient, there are many other plants with much more bang for the buck.
    Agave being one such plant.
    What we really need to loose our dependence on is Big Banks. They make all the decisions about what gets funded and have complete control over our money system. Read, “Web of Debt” by Ellen Hodgson Brown.
    The problem with Big Oil is not oil as a resource, but Oil as a control mechanism since it has to be purchased with Federal Reserve Notes- and those are created (completely out of thin air) by the Big Banks private club, the Federal Reserve.

  26. Troels Halken says:
    June 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm
    “That is BS. The US is long past peak discovery and peak oil.”
    That’s the problem with many people. Troels, you’d be correct if our discovery technology hadn’t advanced in the last century. Odd, though, it did. In fact, we recently found a few billions of barrels right here in the lower 48. Here’s one place, http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911 . Fact is, every year we find more. And every year we import more because we’re not allowed to recover the oil. What I’d like to know, if the people are so convinced we are about out and we need to move to a different source of energy, why do they care if we suck the last few drops out of the ground? We’re about to run out anyway and move to a different form. So, what’s the problem? Is mining copper preferable to drilling oil? Bauxite? Of course it’s a toss up with coal. What’s the damned difference?

  27. It should be stated, that even if we’re to start to allow drilling in new areas of the country, it wouldn’t make much difference at the pump. This country operates at almost peak refining capacity. We haven’t been allowed to build one since the ’70s. Weird too, we have only one nuclear plant coming online in the next couple of years and I don’t believe there is anymore planned. Jobs, cheap and reliable energy, economies, energy independence…bah, who needs them?

  28. “bubbagyro says:
    […]
    He shrugged in the French way and pointed to the babe in the passenger seat and shrugged again. Now I knew the reason for “voila la difference”.”
    The French are a pragmatic lot 😉

  29. Be nice to Murray,guys/gals. I think he may be just having a little snit because Paul pointed out,or rather asked,all the right questions that explains why his(Murray’s) stock options with T.Boone Pickens are now worth less then toilet paper.
    But then again,he should have known better then to trust a billionaire OIL tycoon!!

  30. After reading the MMS data that was sent to Congress before the hearings … Massive regulatory failure … What the American people thought was supposed to be happening was not. The regulations were all there, just not followed.
    1. MMS approved a substandard well design, single wall casing, which limited safety options.
    2. During the weeks following Feb 10, 2010 BP notified MMS of a well control situation. It took three tries to finally bring the well under control. Leaking gas was the culprit. This was the first red flag, which should have shut the drilling of this well down.
    3. MMS approved every drilling move BP made, before they did the procedure..
    4. MMS waived the environmental and cleanup requirements. Which proved fatal.
    5. No federal agency had the first line of defense equipment on hand at the time of the blowout, fire booms, and only one was available in the USA. This is required by the 1990 OPA. The manufacturer can build only about 5000 feet a month of the fire booms.
    6. The EPA plan calls for containing the oil well blowout at the well head and at all costs not allowing the oil to reach shore…. Well the oil is at least contained in the Gulf, for now.
    Need more, the WSJ has a lot of the big stuff in their articles.

  31. Well contrast Obama’s approach to National Leadership to that of President Kennedy who gave Americans a challenge that they rose to.
    And all this apology for a leader can do, is get himself and his peons in the way. What was it about Nero fiddling while Rome burned.
    This one goes and plays golf instead.
    This country is a sorry shadow of the place I set out for 49 years ago, and it is going down fast; led by the killing of the Golden Goose that was California.
    Hey if I wanted to live in a third world country I would pick one myself and move there; there’s no need to turn America into one, to satisfy whatever burr Obama has under his saddle.
    If you can’t lead; at least get out of the way of those that have places to go, and things to do.

  32. “”” Troels Halken says:
    June 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm
    “America is not running out of oil. It is running out of places the government allows us to drill.”
    That is BS. The US is long past peak discovery and peak oil.
    This is a policy piece and I did not read any further because his data is obviously as twisted as Michael Mann’s…. “””
    Are you suggesting that the USA is already fully utilising, all the known oil deposits that we have discovered on our soil orunder our part of the oceans. I find such a claim to be laughable. We have huge known deposits that the Government has simply put off limits to never be developed; same goes for coal and natural gas.
    If we are already past the best of the petroleum era; and so far we haven’t had any massive climate meltdown or runaway thermal events; then what possible harm could come from at least usingthat which we have left that we know about while we are discovering this green energy of our Utopian future.
    If we had only consumed 1% of the resource, and decided it was too polluting to continue; that would be a different story.
    Jumping 10 feet across a 12 foot wide chasm; is not exactly a winning strategy; when you had the means to go 12 feet and elected to not use it.

  33. “”” Murray says:
    June 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm
    Is this really the forum for ill informed political screeds? If yes, you have just lost a faithful reader and sometime commentator. I find this whole posting offensive and misplaced. “””
    If you haven’t noticed yet; that this is a multidiciplinary blog; not restricted to just the climate science of atmospheric carbon dioxide; then perhasp you aren’t as faithful a reader as you claim.
    Well you know where the light switch is; and presumably how to use it; go for it !

  34. This one has been doing the rounds at work, so apologies if it has been posted before, but I think it sums up the last two months for BP very well:

    Enjoy!

  35. Unfortunately, while we may choose, though at our own peril, to ignore politics, politics is seldom willing to ignore us. As with everything else government has taken over, politicians make decisions based on politics. Remember that even good beancounters are still just beancounters. Many seem to have the sole goal of controlling the rest of us–for our own good, of course. To them, results don’t matter, only their intentions of doing good. Run in fear when you hear: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

  36. Bulldust says:
    June 23, 2010 at 5:27 pm
    I hadn’t seen that one! Funny stuff!
    “3) The President said China is creating “clean energy” jobs “that should be right here in America,” while we send “nearly $1 billion of our wealth every day to foreign countries for their oil.”
    Yeh, ’cause we’d rather send our money to China as opposed to other places! I wish that pinhead would figure out who’s making those damned windmills for us. I’d almost be for those silly things if we’d insist on the materials used and fabrication would be done and from the states, but they’re not and as consequence, they are of negative value for this country.

  37. @Murray says:
    June 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm
    “…Is this really the forum for ill informed political screeds? If yes, you have just lost a faithful reader and sometime commentator. I find this whole posting offensive and misplaced….”
    First, I don’t recall seeing your comments at any time (the name Murray rings a bell, ‘cuz it’s my son’s middle name). Second, why don’t you tell us how ill-informed this screed is , so we have some way to judge it relative to your obviously high standards. [snip]

  38. They should call Green Energy what it most accomplishes: Perpetual Motion.
    Expending more energy and money to support a machine that produces a fraction of what is input.
    The throughput of these schemes is loss.

  39. Team Fed today went and shut down the Louisiana barrier island project. Told them they don’t have enough permits.
    What nice people.
    Makes me wonder whose side they are on. An undersea robot ran into the top hat and it had to be shut off, so the sawn-off well leak is unabated and free-flowing now.

  40. We need a new Mann Act. One that prohibits paleoclimatologists from enslaving humanity.

  41. You know, I do expect a higher level of comments from WUWT readers than we are getting to this post. There are a lot of exaggerations and generalizations with the original post, and it is kind of a political screed. For instance, regarding ethanol, it does not take acreage the size of Indiana to make 7 million gallons, and it doesn’t take billions in subsidies. There are 36000 sq miles of land area in Indiana, equal to about 23 million acres. With a conservative yield of 100 gallons of ethanol per acre, that’s about 2.3 billion gallons of ethanol from Indiana size acreage. I am not crazy about ethanol and it’s subsidies, but what is the economic multiplier from keeping that money here, as opposed to sending it overseas for foreign oil. And who does that money go to? A lot of it goes to Venezuela, where it supports a communist dictator, Saudi Arabia where large amounts end up funding terrorists, and to the corruption in Nigeria, where the pollution in the Niger Delta continually resembles what we are seeing in the Gulf now. And don’t even think about the military money we are spending to try to keep the middle east stable. (and that may not work)
    And corn ethanol, with its’ negative properties, is not where the target is anyway. Study carefully what the biofuel developers are doing, and you will see that there is a path to biofuels that makes a lot of sense for the US. Cellulosic sources and algaes are quickly coming down in price, and dwarf the yields of corn, soybean, and sugar cane.
    Are there some hare-brained approaches in the federal programs? You bet there are, because our system rewards those that are well connected, not necessarily the best ideas. But don’t let that keep us from doing the things that make sense. And don’t be stampeded by people screaming that it can’t possibly be done. Look at it for your selves. The US has the capacity to overcome all of the obstacles to reach a better place for us and our children.

  42. I posted this in the wrong place:
    Sorry if you read this, but this should be required reading for every scientist:
    I thought this might be a good place for this gem from Pres. D. Eisenhower’s farewell address (Dartmouth, 1953). He was a forward thinking man who is the most prescient and under-appreciated of all the presidents, IMHO:
    Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
    In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present
    — and is gravely to be regarded.
    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

    Chillzzz!

  43. Barry has run up the debt to such a level that your generation and mine cannot pay our share. I’m a boomer – one of the first. Not because of anything I’ve done, I owe my grandkids a lot of money I can’t pay back as there are not enough years left to me to do so.
    Kids – I’m sorry. I didn’t think it would turn out this way.

  44. James Sexton says: “…And the sun only shines half the day…”
    You are doing well if you can get 8 hours a day of sunlight, after allowance for solar-to-array angles, surrounding structures, seasonal variation in sunrise/sunset, etc.

  45. Ok, for some of you guys complaining about the “absolute safety” thing, what would you say? You cannot say anything politically besides “we will ensure they are absolutely safe before we ever drill again.” It has to be said that way for the public and the media. Do you guys honestly think any person in the government actually intends to follow through with those words? No. It simply can’t be done–but they have to appease the people. He’s a lawyer, he went to Harvard, he knows this. I’m sure Obama will be sensible about it like an adult but will merely portray this image of being extrememly hard about it. You can’t take statements like this at face value. It’s like when a company screws up and the CEO tells people that they are taking measures to ensure that it never ever happens ever again, ever.

  46. Driessen is absolutely spot on. One of the best posts I’ve read for some time (and there has been VERY stiff opposition because the standard of the postings on WUWT never fails to amaze me. Thanks, Anthony and the moderators!)
    I don’t know the technical details of biolfuels but I do know that they do absolutely zilch to lower emissions, far less to control the climate, they do make some farmers very rich but they also make the poor of the world pay even more for their food. And the stuff just isn’t as good as normal diesel.
    There are ample energy reserves in North America just there to be exploited. Natural gas can grow exponentially, especially thanks to the fairly new technologies of extracting coal bed methane, underground gassification of coal reserves and extraction of gas from shale beds. That plus nuclear is more than enough to keep the US economy running smoothly. Oil and mined coal is there in abundance whilst the infrastructure develops.
    Just think, endless cheap, reliable energy. The energy that made America great. Energy that can be developed without a cent of subsidy and there are companies raring to go – if you can wrest political control back from the “renewable energy” eco-freaks and subsidy junkies.
    Set your environmental regulators to control and to prevent real pollution and leave harmless trace gas CO2 alone!
    Absolutely nothing is without risk. Even if you cower under your eiderdown in bed, the chimney pot may come crashing down.
    But risk can be minimised. And exploiting oil sands, for example, is just a tad less risky than drilling in a mile depth of sea!
    But the biggest risk we face, without a doubt, is to let the incompetent and corrupt politicians in the US and in Europe try to solve a non existent problem by trying to base our economies on “clean” energy that is absolutely unaffordable and simply doesn’t work.

  47. In Bangladesh water-wells poisoned around 77 million people with arsenic. I propose to stop drilling wells untill the evil water industry can prove that the wells are “absolutely safe”. But at the very least we should tax water drinking.

  48. “Are you suggesting that the USA is already fully utilising, all the known oil deposits that we have discovered on our soil orunder our part of the oceans. I find such a claim to be laughable. We have huge known deposits that the Government has simply put off limits to never be developed; same goes for coal and natural gas.”
    The fact is that the US has gone from exporting oil to importing it. Yes, there are new discoveries and new production wells coming online all the time, but they haven’t managed to stop the import of oil. Question is if allowing drilling everywhere will change this? The EIA, who is conservative in estimating the future has gone so far as to acknowledge that peak-oil production is in the foreseeable future for conventional oil. A field of 4 billion barrels does not make a big dent in the estimated recoverable reserves.
    http://www.rotarygeorgetown-on.ca/Images/090618%20frm%20Crispin%20growinggap%20of%20oil%20discovery&consumption.jpg
    I can highly recommend the book Twilight in the Desert by Matthew Simmons. He has a good writeup of the giant and super giant oilfields in the middle east and a little less comprehensive for the rest of the world.
    http://www.greatdreams.com/oil/Hubbert_world_2004.jpg

  49. James Sexton says:
    June 23, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Troels Halken says:
    June 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm
    “That is BS. The US is long past peak discovery and peak oil.”
    That’s the problem with many people. Troels, you’d be correct if our discovery technology hadn’t advanced in the last century. Odd, though, it did. In fact, we recently found a few billions of barrels right here in the lower 48. Here’s one place, http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911 . Fact is, every year we find more. And every year we import more because we’re not allowed to recover the oil. What I’d like to know, if the people are so convinced we are about out and we need to move to a different source of energy, why do they care if we suck the last few drops out of the ground? We’re about to run out anyway and move to a different form. So, what’s the problem? Is mining copper preferable to drilling oil? Bauxite? Of course it’s a toss up with coal. What’s the damned difference?

    From http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2182

    The Piceance Basin has an estimated 1.525 trillion barrels of in-place oil shale resources. This study also found an estimated 43.3 billion tons of in-place nahcolite resources in the Piceance Basin. This mineral is embedded with oil shale in many areas, and produces large quantities of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide when heated in oil shale processing.

    The nonsense of carbon dioxide affecting our climate is used to lock up this oil source.

  50. Study carefully what the biofuel developers are doing, and you will see that there is a path to biofuels that makes a lot of sense for the US. Cellulosic sources and algaes are quickly coming down in price, and dwarf the yields of corn, soybean, and sugar cane.
    Well here we have somebody who didn’t take his own advice and studied nothing .
    This is really only BS .
    1) Cellulosic sources . Let’s be simple , it’s called wood and straw and their prices are not coming down be it quickly or slowly .
    One way to use them is to simply burn and produce electricity . It needs no sophisticated technology . So why isn’t it done ?
    Because there is not enough of it to be more than anecdotical but most importantly it can’t compete with coal and nuclear .
    Another way is the enzymatic hydrolysis to produce ethanol . Here the technology is sophisticated and not ready for industrialisation . But most importantly the yields are so ridiculously low that the ethanol prices are much too high . This way will never be able to compete with ethanol from sugar cane not mentioning crude oil .
    2) Microalgaes . Another hype .
    A standard refinery processing 10 MT crude a year will produce something like 4 MT/y diesel .
    Let’s take microalgaes with a yield of 40 g/m²/day and an oil content of 30 % . Just for the sake of example because those values can’t be achieved outside of carefully controlled lab conditions . Real algaes produce much , much less .
    Well to have an algae equivalent to the diesel production of a single 10 MT refinery one would have to mobilize … 1000 km² !
    That’s a compact sea band of 500 m width going from San Diego to Seattle !
    Utterly ridiculous and I don’t even mention the costs and the logistical difficulties to harvest , dry and extract over such huge surfaces .
    Not to forget the necessity to close the whole Pacific coast of the USA for trafic and tourism to just produce 4 MT diesel/year 🙂
    Biofuels are just a buzzword for gullible people but what hides behind is a quantitatively anecdotical production at prices that cannot compete unless massively subsidized by taxpayer’s money .

  51. Troels Halken says:
    June 24, 2010 at 12:53 am
    “…..but they haven’t managed to stop the import of oil. Question is if allowing drilling everywhere will change this?”
    Probably not, but it would necessarily lessen the amount of imported oil if the drilling would out pace the increase of demand. Further, there are secondary benefits of allowing more drilling here. I call those things “jobs”. Also, there’s “capital investment”. Additionally, this would increase tax revenues without increasing rates. A decrease in the trade deficit…..ect. It isn’t simply and only about oil. It is about exporting our wealth because we’re afraid of a molecule.

  52. “When will the pinheads understand that wind and solar does not, has not, and can not replace traditional electricity sources.”
    They know very well that these can’t replace traditional sources – and that’s the whole point. They force people into using something that doesn’t work, so they declare it “failing and energy can’t fail” so they “save” it by nationalizing the entire industry and now government has to manage all energy production and use… which means they manage the economy, because NOTHING happens in our economy without energy consumption.

  53. Wow Paul – your post is liking reading a religious tome, some real facts imbued with alot of spin and a bit of misinformation.
    Obama’s plan to move to a green economy is something that was in the works for years – from our want for more solar and our want for more nuclear. You seem to toally ignore Obama’s push for clean coal and for nuclear. You seem to also be wrong about his work on the spill – BP caused this and needs to clean it up – there is little the government can do. Your post seems to irrationally hammer Obama on the one side for want of a good government that can act on you behalf while AT THE SAME TIME wanting more government action…huh?
    Obama is far from a saint and is learning on the job, but lets try to get the facts right on a site that is about science. Conflating political posts filled with spin with science posts based on real fact really reduces the effect the good science can have on the other side … just my opinion.
    Brad

  54. TomVonk
    No time to go into it, but you have constructed a cellulosic hominid, sometimes known as a straw man, to argue against.

  55. Brad,
    You write that there is little government can do to clean up the oil spill. But the intervention of this administration is not only useless, but actually proven detrimental. Why did Obama refuse the assistance offered by the Dutch to provide oil skimmer capacity that the US does not possess, and only relented in June when it was really too late? Why has Obama demanded the Gulf oil production be closed down for 6 months, falsely claiming that this was on the advice of his experts, offering no evidence? (This was thrown out be a circuit judge, but the administration will appeal.)
    To me, it only make sense in the context of a much larger, anti oil agenda. All the pieces fit together.

  56. Sexton:
    “Probably not, but it would necessarily lessen the amount of imported oil if the drilling would out pace the increase of demand. Further, there are secondary benefits of allowing more drilling here. I call those things “jobs”. Also, there’s “capital investment”. Additionally, this would increase tax revenues without increasing rates. A decrease in the trade deficit…..ect. It isn’t simply and only about oil. It is about exporting our wealth because we’re afraid of a molecule.”
    I totally agree that it will lessen the amount of imported oil and I don’t much care for the co2 molecule. However, I also do understand that there is areas that are highly sensitive to oilspils, why drilling in such places does carry a high risk. Especially when considering the recent event in the Gulf. Then it basically becomes a question of if the areas is of such a value to the society that drilling should be prohibited. Obviously that should be compared to the amount oil that can be extracted in the area, and the assessed if the value of the oil for the society is higher than the value of the area.
    If we’re looking at the non-conventional res sources of oil, then the price per extracted unit of energy is higher. When it gets high enough, other sources of energy becomes competitive. And a job created in the oil sector vs. in the nuclear sector as an example is still a job. If nuclear is cost competitive and cleaner, then why not do that instead? Again as an example. It could be a lot of other things.

  57. I feel that the proportion of assertions to basic facts is rather high here regarding basic oil issues. To me, that is not very good science. I would like some simple allround basic info like
    (1) do we have a chart of proven global oil reserves vs time
    (2) how does that chart compare with extraction vs time
    and evidence of
    (3) how can we know the figures are trustworthy and that for instance the Arabs or the US are not concealing figures that are either higher or lower than the official figures.
    Then the quest for information slides further into issues over which people get emotional, issues which include values as well as information, and issues where there may be more than one basic “info package”…
    (4) can we find a safe and courteous way to explore the evidence and issues regarding abiotic oil without just encountering “your view is rubbish!” from both sides
    (5) can we find a safe and courteous way to discuss what issues are there around using nonrenewable resources altogether
    (6) can we have reminder figures about how heavily dependent on oil our whole economy has become (including farming) – and that’s not to dismiss the benefits
    (7) can we find a safe and courteous way to get informed of basic info and explore population issues that people increasingly feel (and with reason) are connected to the global energy resources issues
    (8) can we find a safe and courteous way to explore other “fringe” potential sources of energy like the work being done around cold fusion (it now has some other name)?
    Many posters here whom I respect have useful basic information but I still wonder how much might be onesided eg sure, there are big untapped oil reserves in the US but how big? how big a proportion of total world reserves? for how long would it last if the US switched to all-US reserves? how trustworthy are those figures? what reasons are there for misrepresentation of figures, either up or down? how can we access really trustworthy figures? I want to hear all sides before forming any opinions; to be realistic but not cynical; to discover where the real drivers of Truth lie.
    For me, these are questions which arise from the depths of my spirit; they will not be answered without a sense of spiritual “rightness” despite their near-total material reality.

  58. Troels Halken
    You’re assuming a net sum zero gain in the energy sector, pitting one source of energy vs. another. (I’d have used a different comparison other than oil and nuke, but I get your point), but in any case, it doesn’t work like that if regulatory requisites don’t get involved in throttling energy production. In order for this economy to grow, we need not only more oil, but also more nuke, more coal and more natural gas and more hydro. Wind and solar aren’t going to be worth much until we learn how to store AC power. I’m all for nuclear power, but the fact is, from the planning stage to online production, it takes about 20 yrs. We’ve (the U.S.) has only one scheduled to come online in the next year or so. When regarding oil as an energy source, I’m usually referring to the by product, gasoline. Yes, there are a few oil using electric generators in use, but coal and nuke has it hands down over oil.
    The oil spill is indicative as to why we need more terrestrial drilling. We can blame BP until we’re blue, but it still doesn’t address the reason why they felt it necessary to drill in deep ocean for oil when it should be readily available near shore or on land.(Where accidents like BP’s are less likely and easier to clean up. Deep water oil recovery also increases the cost of oil.) The policies of this nation seem to state conservation is important in places where it is easier and cheaper to recover but less important where it is more expensive and riskier.
    Troels, we’re likely in more agreement than disagreement, but I just don’t understand the obsession with oil and coal. In regards to readiness and established infrastructures, those two sources, utilized properly is the only way to supply the much needed energy to this nation,(and all others) in an affordable manner. Again, I see no difference in extracting coal and oil as opposed to copper, bauxite and lanthanide. Right now, this nation is in peril. The raw number of new homes purchased is lower now than it has been since they started tracking back in 1963. (We have 100 million more people now but are purchasing less homes. This should scare the socks off of everybody that should be watching.)
    We simply can’t afford to quibble about where our energy comes from. We need it, we need all of it, and we need it now.

  59. Brad says:
    June 24, 2010 at 4:35 am
    Big Government elitists always think that the conservative, common-sense individuals want a government in their favor. No, we want less government, and the rest of the losers to get out of the way.
    Our oil drillers should be drilling in Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, etc., not deep in the Gulf. We should be mining coal and using natural gas and building nuclear plants. Then energy would be cheap and deep water drilling would be cost-ineffective by comparison.
    Forcing oil rigs to drill in the deep Gulf encumbered by fiat regulations, with increasing expensive levels of fail-safe, is like the government passing regulations that everyone has to walk the streets on their hands and knees. Then, because people are then crashing their heads into walls and other people, requiring that they wear super-safe helmets and are equipped with infrared proximity alarms. Of course, elbow and knee pads. And so on…

  60. Excellent post! You pose many questions. I can answer them all with one simple answer! It’s “green” so it’s got to be good! All those pesky little details will work themselves out. All this administration needs is a catchy little catch-all like “green”-whatever. It’s like a magic wand. You need jobs? No problem, we’ll make “green jobs”. Oil spills got you down? No problem, we’ll invent “green energy” or “green technology”.

  61. Interesting bunch of people on this blog. Pretty well informed on climate change and convinced warmers are practising a religion rather than looking holistically and objectively at the science. Then practising religion when it comes to energy, rather then getting holistically and objectively informed, and unable to recognize they are no different from warmers, except that they have changed the subject.. I don’t have time these days to write a long reply, but will try to get to it about late August if I remember and if the moderator will post it. Just a few quick comments now:
    You can go here to read a few well researched pieces I did on energy a few years ago http://www.energypulse.net/centers/author.cfm?at_id=575 . I hope to update them later this year, but the technology has not changed.
    In considering supply, one has to think of both stocks and flows. the Bakken is very low on both, with the USGS claimed stock being maybe 6 months of USA consumption if it could all be produced. My guess is that the stock is about 10x higher, but the flow will always be a limitation.
    Kerogen shales have an EROEI of somewhere between 0 and 3, and if they are ever developed will never have a flow that will make more than a small contribution to satisfying USA demand. They aren’t developed because they are not economic.
    Renewables are not competitive because they have to compete with hydrocarbons that benefit from major subsidies in not having to internalize their environmental and social costs, or carry any of the military cost of keeping sealanes open just for them.
    Solar is best used for peaking power, and is already economic in that application. The reason that many states now have net metering is that it is cheaper for utilities than maintaining peaking capacity.
    Bird kill is a giant red-herring, and when did you environmentalist bashing characters start to care anyway. Oh yeah – so you could oppose wind power.
    I could go on. Get over your biases, get past what you know that isn’t so, do some serious and objective homework, and then attack me, if you still want to. Of course if you were to do that you would run the risk of becoming liberals. Can’t let that happen. Murray

  62. Murray, if you’d done any homework you’d know that wind power has turned out to be very unreliable – on the Texas windfarms built in the last few years, the wind turbines only produce reliable power 35% of the time. The rest of the time their spot on the grid has to be powered by backup NatGas generators.
    So, in backing Wind power, you are actually backing a 35% wind, 65% NatGas mix.
    Are you a tool of Big Oil too???

  63. Vincent-
    I must disagree, the Dutch skimmer controversy is trumped up tripe – both sides now lie regualrly for political advantage, get your news from reliable sources and not Fox, MSNBC, or many websites. As for the anti-oil agenda, you are wrong again. He was opening more offshore drilling areas than anyone ever had prior to this, and to continue drilling after this as if nothing happened is tantamount to insanity. Why not wait a few months and put in regualtions about the type of BOP, the type of casing, maybe even require relief wells be drilled at the same time in completely new fields where underwater pressures are unknown! All these seem common sense solutions and to argue other wise for political gain is bad for the coutnry. LEts get over this right/left crap and start thinking again.
    George Will and Elliott Spitzer need to be on the same ticket!

  64. Green is the new black – black death. Does Obama really believe in America? You can’t run a govt. on a wish list. You deal with problems you have on a practical basis. What Obama has had to say is highly predujudicial to any court proceedings. He should have stuck to solving the problem instead of wanting to ‘kick ass’ – an infantile response from the leader of the free world. But then maybe, he has his own agenda – big companies are are bad, especially if they have ‘British’ in their name.
    He should remember that US and British interests are so aligned, that Britain is one of the few friends that the US has.

  65. Brad says at 9:40 am: [ … ],
    There are only twenty oil skimmers working out of 2,000 available. Obama is deliberately keeping out the rest.
    And regarding your contention that Obama is opening up drilling, that is false. In fact, he has shut down thousands of drilling rigs by decree, many of which have been producing for decades without any problem. That’s like shutting down the entire airline industry because of one crash. It is clear that Obama has an agenda to hobble the country, and is using this one tragic accident as an excuse to stop all possible oil production.
    Don’t listen to what the man says; he’s a pathological liar. Instead, look at what he is doing to the country.

  66. RE peak oil. Does anybody know how extensive the field is where the current well is blowing? The claim is it’s spewing 60,000 barrels/day. 30 wells in that field would double our current domestic production of around 2,000,000 B/day.
    [Note: US consumption is just under 20 million bbl/day. ~dbs]

  67. The argument against cap and trade reducing oil imports is very simple:
    Only 1.1% of electricity comes from oil ( Source: EIA 2008 data)

  68. Smokey, what are you smokin’ ???
    Obama has shut down 33 exploratory drilling rigs, and may allow many of those to restart quickly. One thing his team has advised him to do is to look at how this BOP failed and make sure we are not setting up another failure. Learn to read more new sources…
    ONLY 33 RIGS STOPPED: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-06-23/salazar-says-new-moratorium-may-permit-some-drilling.html
    HOW BIG IS THE LEAK? http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/06/24/2010-06-24_bps_everchanging_estimates_on_gallons_of_oil_spilling_into_gulf_a_timeline_from_.html

  69. Brad,
    “One thing his team has advised him to do is to look at how this BOP failed and make sure we are not setting up another failure.”
    But we know why the accident happened. It was “all BP’S fault.” Obama’s been shouting this from the rooftops of the Whitehouse, looking for “asses to kick,” and dragging the board of BP in to shake ’em down for 20 billion. So if BP have been cutting corners then how does the same logic apply to the other oil rigs? And how does this moratorium square with the fact that his own technical adivisors are opposed to it? You can’t have it both ways. It is duplicity of the highest order.

  70. Actually, Brad, no rigs are being stopped since Judge Feldman threw out the order as “arbitrary and capricious”. And today he just ruled that the order will NOT be stayed during appeals; meaning that Salazar’s order has been turned over as of NOW.
    Oh yes, this administration is appealing – but the 5th circuit may just sit on that appeal for several months, you know how easy it is to slow things to a crawl in the Federal Courts. (Btw, this has been a favorite trick of enviro activists up until now, it’s kind of funny to watch the tactic thrown back into their faces)
    Oh, I know Salazar and Obama say they will issue a new order – but since the first order ignored their own panel of experts and was not based on any actual study, they’re probably going to have to come up with a whole NEW panel of “experts” and have them do a whole new study before they can do anything like this. Oh, and they better hope that they pick people willing to slant the study in the way they want, and that’s not as easy as you may think.
    Anything less than this and any new order will be just as “arbitrary and capricious” as the last one was, and will be thrown out immediately. Remember, trying too hard to overturn a Federal Judge’s rulings may just earn someone an “Obstruction of Justice” charge, to say nothing of Contempt of Court.
    Obama and Salazar are about to find out just how much power a Federal Judge has in our system. Hint: A helluva lot.

  71. A President is powerless with out a mountain or two of money and a bunch of stupid laws that says he/she can or can’t do this or that. Who gives him/her the money and makes the stupid “can” or “can’t do” laws? The funny wierdos we send to the House and Senate, that’s who (and I’ll bet you thought they were all worthless and didn’t do anything:-). Now, the root of all evil in the federal government is NOT little old FEMA, the FAA, DOD, DOJ, DOI, DOT, DOS, DHS or any of a million other offices. The pesty little twit we send to the House and the two twirps we send to the Senate are the BIG, B I G, B I G problem.
    PS: Think about it. It’s worse than a toothache.

  72. President Obama has been educated and trained to despise Capitalism and embrace Socialism. His goal is the destruction of American industry and growing a permanent Democratic-voting culture beholden upon an increasingly bloated Federal government for everything. His economic model is Greece. The path to this end includes Universal Health Care; economic stimulus for government workers, union workers, teachers, and Goldman Sachs; Cap and Trade; amnesty for 12 million illegal aliens; making Puerto Rico the 51st State; throwing billions of dollars at unsustainable alternative energies, and bringing our reliable fossil energy exploration and production to a standstill. With his Plan there will be no wealth to spread around. For almost a century Communism tried in vain to extinguish American Capitalism from the outside. Now they can sit back and watch as their specially placed Kenyan Candidate in the Oval Office accomplishes the same plan from the inside.

  73. Carl M says:
    June 23, 2010 at 8:54 pm
    Carl, the simple truth remains that it takes more energy to make ethanol than you get back from ethanol.

  74. ECOSOCIALISM is really Communitarianism, communism for the masses and capitalism for the few. Obama is Communitarian.
    Eco-socialsim is nothing more than a collectivist plan for the incremental and ultimately forced, involuntary redistribution of the collective wealth of millions of individual “commoners”, by means of the devious use of the pretext of which ever dire circumstances will effectively necessitate the forceable redistribution of the entire commons itself. Hence, Obama uses disaster capitalism in the form of the oil spill to immediately lecture the nation about the next stage of austerity, cap ‘n trade, nothing more than a pyramid scheme. Obama argues for energy independence, meaning the end of oil, when most alternatives are not sustainable, which begs the question of just how politically convenient any such disaster can become.
    “The trouble with Socialism is, sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.” – Margaret Thatcher
    Unlike Obama, who borrows money from the not yet fully tapped taxpayer’s grandchildren.
    “The assumption that spending more of the taxpayer’s money will make things better has survived all kinds of evidence that it has made things worse. The black family- which survived slavery, discrimination, poverty, wars and depressions- began to come apart as the federal government moved in with its well-financed programs to “help.”
    – Thomas Sowell
    “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it”
    – Thomas Sowell
    “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
    – Winston Churchill
    “Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
    – Alexis de Tocqueville
    “Socialism: nothing more than the theory that the slave is always more virtuous than his master”
    – Henry Louis Mencken
    Eco-socialism, green socialism or socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, green politics, ecology and alter-globalization.
    Eco-socialists generally believe that the expansion of the capitalist system is the cause of social exclusion, poverty, war and environmental degradation through globalization and imperialism, under the supervision of repressive states and transnational structures.
    Eco-socialists advocate the dismantling of capitalism and the state, focusing on collective ownership of the means of production by freely associated producers and restoration of the commons.
    In the latest version of the Green Movement, there is to be found much evidence of “biological reductionism” identical to the Green movement under Nazism, an ideology many “organicist thinkers” still find appealing, including Herbert Gruhl, a founder of the German Green Party.
    While ‘ecofascism’ is confined to a narrow band of far right intellectuals and disaffected white power skinheads who involved themselves alongside far left groups in the anti-globalization movement, in its more sinister manifestation it may be “imposed as a revolution from above to install an authoritarian regime in order to preserve the main workings of the system” in times of crisis.

  75. Carl M
    No time to go into it, but you have constructed a cellulosic hominid, sometimes known as a straw man, to argue against.
    .
    Everybody appreciated that you had enough time to post nonsense about biofuels .
    “Prices of cellulosic sources (sic !) going quickly down” , wasn’t it ?
    Now that you have been exposed as what you are , namely a propagandist who didn’t do his homework and doesn’t know what he’s talking about , you run .
    Sure , you just “got no time” …. 🙂
    Please feel free to “go into it” at your leisure however I suppose that you understood now that anything you add to the BS you already posted will only dig yourself in a bigger hole .
    I resume the truth again for interested readers here :
    Biofuels are a very marginal source of liquid fuels at prices that are competitive with classical sources (coal , gaz and oil) only in exceptional cases . Cellulosic ethanol and algaes are even worse than classical bioethanol production ways .
    The best competing bioethanol is produced with Brazilian sugarcane .
    Its competitivity is especially good because the bagasse is used to generate electricity and electricity prices in Brazil are high .

  76. Thanks Lucy Skywalker – I share your sentiments exactly. And after engaging in the climate debate (Chill, 2009), I am attempting to tackle these questions in two projects – ‘Transition’ and ‘Resilience’ – the former to look at the next decade as a period of transition caused by ‘peak oil’, and the second to look at what it takes to make communities ‘resilient’ to inevitable changes in the climate (man-made or otherwise).
    On oil – I have some good contacts in the industry – one of whom keeps an open mind on ‘abiotic’ origins. I personally doubt the rate of abiotic production, if it is at all known, matches the depletion rate. The total reserves? This depends entirely upon the price. Above $70 per barrel the oil-shale becomes accessible and that doubles the reserves – assuming one is willing to cope with the pollution and landscape impact – without the shale, known reserves come to about 1000 billion barrels and are being depleted at the rate of 30 billion barrels per year – a billion barrels is thus 12 days worth of consumption. Hence about 30 years to exhaustion. With the shale and other less accessible sources, this timescale could double – theoretically. But as the price rises above $70 as it is likely to do, demand drops and thus extends the timescale. Right now, the economies of China, India, Russia and Indonesia are driving the demand, whilst the OECD countries have contracted a little.
    I personally cannot see this level of demand continuing at this sort of price – the economies of the world will find it too difficult to adjust.
    As for renewables – whenever and wherever you do the sums, they can’t get to more than 20% of demand because of other constraints (e.g. land, protected areas) and that figure relies a lot on biofuels which would destabilise the food markets. Nuclear cannot be expanded fast enough (I am no fan of doing so anyway – the technology is too risky) and only provides base-load electricity. Renewables only begin to make sense within decentralised systems under maximum demand management at about half current usage – with the rest of demand made up of oil (for transport fuels), coal (baseload), and gas (best not used for combustion but conserved for higher-end uses – but this is not likely when it is still cheap). Housing is key – with maximum use of passive solar, solar PV, heat pumps and insulation, plus reorganisation of transport systems toward public nor private (sorry America, but you have gone down the wrong road and it is going to be costly to retrace your steps!).
    I write about this a little in ‘Chill’ – there is more on my website at Ethos-uk.com, where I have been involved in a lot of thinking in the UK about how to integrate renewables into the landscape, community and biodiversity.
    Others with all this anti-socialist rhetoric:
    I have to get used to this on WUWT – it used to really turn me off blogging – not because it is political when I am looking for nuggets of science, but because it is so damned misinformed! Most European countries are social democracies – where the socialists learned from the mistakes made furter East and got to and ameliorated the American Dream of unnalloyed capitalism. A social democracy operates with compassion as well as capitalism.
    That’s not to say the modern-day Greens give me no concern – they do, and I helped found the movement! There are distinct tendencies – but they are not fascist as such, nor communistic – these old terms do not help describe a dark tendency I have struggled hard to name – it involves the legions of bureaucrats, accountants, lawyers, policy specialists and lobbyists that have embraced the ‘green’ solution that gives them plenty of assured work and influence – a far cry from the beginnings. They seek targets and percentages to measure their success – and seldom concern themselves with the consequential impact of their policies on community, landscape and biodiversity (let alone the taxpayer!). The green movement has supported mindless targets for biofuels, only to realise, once the monster was unleashed, how it consumed rainforests and orang utans. Or how the turbine madness would destroy great ethereal beauty such as the Hebridies or Greek Islands (with their tourist-dependent communities and also their eagles). They did not look behind Al Gore’s smile to see his Goldman Sachs buddies and the margins the brokers would make on every carbon trade. They don’t bat an eye at the thought of an unaccountable UN banking agency receiving trillions of dollars/euros/pounds to spend helping the rest of the world destroy these kind of legacies in the name of international renewable equity – despite the lessons they should have learned from an EU bureaucracy (with apparent safeguards, regulations and a parliament to watch over it) systematically destroy agricultural community and biodiversity throughout Western Europe.
    There is a lot of work needed here to watch carfefully and take action against these tendencies – but it is not helped by meaningless name-calling and political posturing. We need to be a lot smarter to outwit the guys who are on the make – who have the ear of the Obamas and the Camerons, and who use apocalpytic scare stories, authoritarian science and environmentalist guilt as a fig-leaf.

  77. BEWARE COMMUNITARIANISM OR “THE THIRD WAY”:
    It is crucial not to confuse socialist democracies such as Sweden etc., with the ideology of Communitarianism.
    Communitarianism opposes all liberal notions.
    The vast majority of Americans understand almost nothing about Communitarianism. Yet out of ignorance Americans have nevertheless voted the ideology of Communitarianism into power, embodied by their ruler, and they still continue to confuse Communitarianism with democratic socialism or communism.
    Green ideology embodies the worst of both systems whilst fed by elite capitalism. Green alarmism uses fear to deflect from its true motives. Yet it keeps its hand out to receive tax reallocated benefits of quasi capitalist selective favouritism, distributed under a system of Communitarianism which sees no problem rewarding non sustainable green corporate hypocrisy for using non sustainable polluting techniques indistinguishable in any way from any current form of energy production.
    Green eco-socialism shares far more in common with Communitarianism than it does with any nostalgic yesteryear version of European social democracy. The key difference is that the choices provided by a real democracy have evaporated and democracy has meanwhile become a mere facade behind the scenes of which corporatism and government are in bed together for personal mutual gain, to be funded by the taxpayer. Some call this public-private partnership. Does anyone recall being asked to become such a partner?
    Communitarianism …… the so-called “third way.” That’s a fancy name for that elusive system which maintains the facade of the free market while letting politicians wield as much power as they wish.
    RICHMAN, SHELDON
    Because of ambitions to change human beings, communitarianism is a form of elitism. Its advocates have the feeling that they have been chosen to advise, to moralize, to know better than the ‘normal’ people what is right or wrong, what the people should do, what will be good for them. They want us not only to be free, but to be good, just, moral as well. Of course, in their definition of what is good, just and moral.
    KLAUS, VACLAV, Society and the Crisis of Liberalism, Policy, Summer 1998-99
    The Pilgrims began the practice of a principle held up by Karl Marx two centuries later as the ideal of the Communist Party: From each according to ability, to each according to need – and by force! There was a good reason why these communalistic or communistic practices were discontinued. It was because the members of the Pilgrim colony were starving and dying.
    READ, LEONARD E., The Essence of Americanism, 1961 Address
    [S]ocialism has a double-barreled definition, one of which is the state ownership and/or control of the results of production. Our incomes are the results of production. That portion of our incomes is socialized which the state turns to its use rather than our own.
    Government control and ownership of the means and/or results of production is authoritarianism, be it called state interventionism, socialism, or communism. It rests on the premise that certain persons possess the intelligence to understand and guide all human action. It is advocated by those who sense no lack of omniscience in themselves, by the naive followers of such egotists, by the seekers of power over others, by those who foresee an advantage to themselves in these political manipulations, and by those “do-gooders” who fails to distinguish between police grants-in-aid and Judeo-Christian principles of charity. All in all, they are a considerable number, but still a minority in terms of the tens of millions whose lives they would regulate.
    READ, LEONARD, Anything That’s Peaceful

  78. Do you find yourself rankling against growing green ARROGANCE? Against the PRETENCE of energy PIETY? Against BP green washing and rebranding it’s label by changing their official name to “BEYOND PETROLEUM” way back in 2001?
    Stand back and see the big picture: View not only the the current administration, Congress, and the Senate through this lens, but expand that view to include almost every latter day green organization. Huge numbers of this group are now conspicuously silent about the Gulf event precisely because they are subsidized by British Petroleum, or rather, “Beyond Pretentious”. BP also, incidentally, manufactures Corexit dispersant and sells it to itself as well. And despite the show of weakness of the EPA’s token forbidding of the use of Corexit, BP aerial sprayed over one million gallons. This lethal agent is now raining down on several Gulf states killing livestock, birds, trees, farms, crops and wildlife alike, with the human death toll yet to come. Corexit was stockpiled by BP because Corexit is illegal almost everywhere else but in the US.
    So who is “running” this government, then? BP? Or is it a collaboration?
    “Communitarianism is a collectivist philosophy that explicitly rejects individualism. It does not merely relegate individualism to a subordinate position, but is openly hostile to it. It is an ideology of ‘civic society’ which is nothing less than one version of Post-Marxist collectivism which wants privileges for certain wealthy and influential organized groups, and in consequence, a renewed feudalising of society.”- Vaclav Klaus.
    “Communitarianism is the belief that a perfect society relies not of the ambition of personal individualism, but rather consists of the responsibilities of cohesive communal structures. This is inherently a dualistic approach to a nationalistic society…Emphasis is placed not on the inherent rights a government owes to an individual, but rather the inherent responsibilities an individual owes to their community. This is in stark contrast to Western thoughts on individualism…”
    “If the question is how can we run a sustainable and just consumer-capitalist society, the point is that there isn’t any answer. We cannot achieve a sustainable and just society unless we face up to huge and radical transition to what some identify as The Simpler Way, that is to a society based on non-affluent but adequate living standards, high levels of self-sufficiency, in small scale localised economies with little trade and no growth, to basically co-operative and participatory communities, to an economy that’s not driven by market forces and profit, and most difficult of all, a society that’s not motivated by competition, individualism, and acquisitiveness. Many have argued that this general vision is the only way out of the mess we’re in.”
    – What is our biggest problem? by Ted Trainer.
    Extract from Ockham’s Razor, ABC Radio National, 27 Nov 2005.
    (The Simpler Way is another new term for the communitarian’s U.N. Local Agenda 21 Programme and the “mistaken for communists” international communitarian Vision 2020.)
    “I am speaking of a new engagement in the lives of others, a new activism, hands-on and involved, that gets the job done. We must bring in the generations, harnessing the unused talent of the elderly and the unfocused energy of the young…. I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good.”
    -The Inagural Address of President George Bush 1989. Yale Avalon Law Project.
    “Bush’s inaugural address,” said George Washington University professor Amitai Etzioni, a communitarian thinker, “was a communitarian text, full of words like ‘civility,’ ‘responsibility’ and ‘community.’ That’s no accident. Bush’s advisers consulted on the speech with Putnam.”
    “HERD IMMUNITY”
    “Officials recognize that these vaccines will harm a small percentage of (genetically susceptible) individuals, but it is for the common good. The communitarian code posits that it is morally acceptable, if necessary, to sacrifice a few for the good of the many. Or as one observer more bluntly puts it, “Individual sheep can be sheared and slaughtered if it is for the welfare of their flock.” – Mercola.com a natural health website & critic of medical Communitarian logic
    Communitarian Quotes
    “We establish for the moment a new world order. 11 September 2001 everything changed.”
    – Amitai Etzioni on July 26, 2003 in an interview with Afghan Mania in Germany.
    “The world needs a new global architecture, additional layers of governance, to deal with issues that neither nations nor traditional forms of intergovernmental organizations can cope with.”
    – Amitai Etzioni at September 7th, 2004 conference at the Hague titled, “Europe, A Beautiful Idea”
    “Communitarianism (Idea and Movement in politics) – With the demise of true socialism as a viable intellectual force, communitarianism is now the most active philosophical opposition to libertarianism. Communitarianism is usually presented in a vague terms, but it is probably best understood as a mild form of collectivism or “democratic socialism”. Communitarianism has had some influence in the realm of practical politics, as witness the fact that Hillary Clinton is reputed to admire many communitarian thinker.”
    – From the The Ism Book

  79. WWS – You are a good example of a little bit of knowledge being dangerous. Read my articles on wind. They deal with your objections.
    Al Cooper – you too. Commercial ethanol production at present has an EROEI of from near zero to near 8, depending on quite a range of variables, but including energy needed to grow harvest and transport the crops.
    Tim Clarke – you too. Domestic production of 2M bbl/d or 730 M bbl/y ?? The USA uses about 21 M bbl/d “all liquids” of which they produce a little over 60%. Oil production alone is about 11 M bbl/d.
    And all you guys who “know” what Obama thinks or believes – where did you get your insight? Divine revelation? It is clear from everything he says that he believes in capitalism, but not in unfettered capitalism, – a wise reservation. I’m always amazed that people who have the technical talent that at least a couple of you clearly have can be so mentally screwed up when it comes to politics. I guess a little past borderline autism would explain it. And then some of you don’t even seem to have technical talent!

  80. Murray Duffin says:
    “And all you guys who ‘know’ what Obama thinks or believes – where did you get your insight? Divine revelation? It is clear from everything he says that he believes in capitalism, but not in unfettered capitalism, – a wise reservation.”
    ~
    “Capitalism” is a Karl Marx-coined word, which Obama and his followers use as camouflage. What other folks mean by capitalism is actually the free market — something Obama is doing his best to subvert, by rewarding his special interests, and by depriving the middle class of its discretionary buying power, and by ratcheting up the national debt to astronomical levels never before seen, far higher than even in the midst of WWII.
    Don’t listen to Obama’s words — he is a pathological liar. Watch his actions, and you will see someone who is trying to ‘fundamentally transform’ the U.S. into the world’s biggest nanny state, where government bureaucrats delve into every aspect of people’s personal lives, where for base political reasons he refuses the offers of oil skimmer ships from other countries to clean up oil from the gulf, where Obama ousts the elected CEO and Directors of a major car company and puts in his own personal CEO and Directors, where harmless and beneficial CO2 is mendaciously re-classified as a “pollutant,” and where the federal government is in league with the Mexican government behind closed doors, conspiring against American citizens to keep our borders wide open to the drug cartels, and our immigration laws completely unenforced.
    Mr Duffin, when you call the rest of us “screwed up,” that is pure psychological projection on your part.

  81. Perhaps it would be helpful to explain to Mr. Dutton what the meaning of the words Das Kapital from the Marxist manifesto stands for.
    Mr Dutton, you do realize that Obama was the chief of staff of the Illionois Socialist party right?
    He is not just any kind of socialist he is a progressive socialist. His entire Harvard education was paid for by his socialist mentor. It is very easy to gain access what Obama believes in and is working on doing to this country.

  82. Charles Opalek
    You do realize that there is very little difference between socialism and communism?
    It’s like saying I like the GMC Sierra and you saying you like the Chevy Silverado.
    It’s the same thing with different decals, different shaped headlights and different interior. It’s made the same place, rolls off the same assembly line and all made and controlled by GMC.

  83. Smokey – there is no such thing as a free market in the sense you are using the word. Whenever markets get too free they also get greedy and irresponsible and result in big problems. Just study a little history. You are probably generalizing a subset of Adam Smith’s “laissez faire” theories of economics, but I’ll bet you have never studied Adam Smith’s writings, including the reservations he expressed. Smith was not an apologist for the capitalist class. He warned that a group of capitalists rarely gather together without colluding against the public. He favored anti-monopoly laws and considered that free competition was contingent on its contribution to economic growth. I have never yet met a “free market” advocate that understood the economic theory behind the term, nor an Adam smith acolyte who had studied his works either as written or in the context of his times. Just to give you a quick flavor, here is a brief excerpt from one informed commentary: “Adam Smith’s championing of laissez-faire was scarcely consistent. In the first place, Smith retreated from the absolutist, natural law position that he had set forth in his ethical work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1757). In this book, free interaction of individuals creates a harmonious natural order which government interference can only cripple and distort. In Wealth of Nations, on the other hand, laissez-faire becomes only a qualified presumption rather than a hard-and-fast rule, and the natural order becomes imperfect and to be followed only ‘in most cases’. Indeed, it is this deterioration of the case for laissez-faire that German scholars were to label Das AdamSmithProblem.
    Indeed, the list of exceptions Smith makes to laissez-faire is surprisingly long. His devotion to the militarism of the nation-state, for example, induced him to take the lead in the pernicious modern view of excusing any govern­ment intervention that might plausibly be labelled for ‘the national defence’. On that basis, Smith supported the navigation acts, that bulwark of British mercantilism and systemic subsidy for British shipping. One of Smith’s reservations about the division of labour, indeed, is that it leads to a decay of the ‘martial spirit’, and Smith goes on at length about the decay of the martial spirit in modern times, and about the great importance of restoring and sustaining it. ‘(T)he security of every society must always depend, more or less, upon the martial spirit of the great body of the people.’ It was an anxiety to see government foster such a spirit that led Smith into another important deviation from laissez-faire principle: his call for government-run education. It is also important, opined Smith, to have governmental education in order to inculcate obedience to it among the populace – scarcely a libertarian or laissez-faire doctrine. Wrote Smith:
    An instructed and intelligent people besides are always more decent and orderly than an ignorant and stupid one. They feel themselves, each individually, more respectable, and more likely to obtain the respect of their lawful superiors, and they are therefore more disposed to respect those superiors. They are…less apt to be misled into any wanton or unnecessary opposition to the measures of govern­ment.
    In addition to navigation acts and public education, Adam Smith advocated the following forms of government intervention in the economy:
    Regulation of bank paper, including the outlawing of small denomina­tion notes – after allowing fractional-reserve banking.
    Public works – including highways, bridges and harbours, on the ra­tionale that private enterprise would not ‘have the incentive’ to main­tain them properly(!?)
    Government coinage.
    The Post Office, on the simple grounds – which will draw a bitter laugh from modern readers – that it is profitable!
    Compulsory building of fire walls.
    Compulsory registration of mortgages.
    Some restrictions on the export of ‘corn’ (wheat).
    The outlawing of the practice of paying employees in kind, forcing all payment to be in money.
    There is also a particularly lengthy list of taxes advocated by Adam Smith, each of which interferes in the free market. For one thing, Smith paved the way for Henry Georgism and the ‘single tax’ by urging higher taxes on uncultivated land, displaying his animus against the landlord. He also fa­voured moderate taxes on the import of foreign manufactures, and taxes on the export of raw wool – thus gravely weakening his alleged devotion to freedom of international trade.
    Adam Smith’s Calvinist abhorrence of luxury is also seen in his proposals to levy heavy taxes on luxurious consumption. Thus he called for heavier highways tolls on luxury carriages than on freight wagons, specifically to tax the ‘indolence and vanity of the rich’. His puritanical hostility to liquor also emerges in his call for a heavy tax on distilleries, in order to crack down on hard liquor and induce people to drink instead the ‘wholesome and invigorating liquor of beer and ale’. His devotion to ale, however, was minimal, for Smith also advocated a tax on the retail sale of all liquor in order to discour­age the multiplication of small alehouses.
    And finally, Adam Smith advocated the soak-the-rich policy of progressive income taxation.
    Perhaps Smith’s most flagrant violation of laissez-faire was his strong advocacy of rigid usury laws, a sharp contrast to the opposition to such laws by Cantillon and Turgot. Smith did not indeed wish to adhere to the medieval prohibition of all credit. Instead, he urged an interest rate ceiling of 5 per cent, slightly above the rate charged to prime borrowers: a ‘price which is commonly paid for the use of money by those who can give the most undoubted security’. His reasoning followed his predilection, as we have already noted, for hostility to free market time-preferences between consumption and saving. Driven by Calvinist hostility to luxurious consump­tion, Smith tried to skew the economy in favour of more ‘productive labour’ in capital investment and less in consumption. By forcing interest rates below the free market level, Smith hoped to channel credit into the sober hands of prime borrowers, and away from credit into the hands of speculators and of ‘prodigal’ consumers. ”
    Quit spouting silly catch phrases and get educated. But then, why am I wasting my time? that paragraph of inventions you have listed above is totally revealing. Murray

  84. 1personofdifference,
    You’re right about Obama. We really know almost nothing about him. We were sold a pig in a poke. His co-workers have stated that he never edited the Harvard Review or wrote for it as required, and that his grades would have resulted in expulsion — except that pressure was brought to bear, keeping him academically afloat. If his grades had been good we would never hear the end of it, would we? And keep in mind that Harvard doesn’t give letter grades, but has a simple pass/fail grading system.
    Barack Obama was forced to relinquish his law license, as was Michelle Obama. Neither one put their law license in suspension, as people do when intending to reactivate it in the future; both of them agreed to permanently give up their law licenses. Try to find out why — but you will have to overcome the roadblocks set up by the law firm retained by the Obamas, which has so far been paid over $800,000 to expunge details of their past. I stand by everything I wrote regarding this chameleon @3:58 pm. He is a pathological liar with a very shady past, and by his actions we can see that he is deliberately hobbling the U.S., bowing down to foreign potentates and apologizing for America to some of the world’s the vilest regimes, walking arm in arm with the likes of the truly despicable Hugo Chavez.
    And there is of course no unfettered free market, and there never was. But at this point in time, every step taken in that direction is beneficial for the country, and every step taken toward Obama’s crony capitalism and government takeover of the auto industry, banking, healthcare, etc., is malignant. Mr Duffin needs to open his eyes and look at the fiasco engineered by the EPA, and explain how regulating CO2 as a “pollutant” is beneficial in any way. George Orwell would understand exactly what’s going on with that.
    And the EPA is only one department. Look at the Department of Energy, created in 1977 following the second oil embargo. Its stated purpose? To lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Major fail. But like all government programs, it will never go out of business. This year’s DOE budget is raised to $24.2 Billion. It employs over 16,000 drones — and 100,000 contract employees. It is nothing but government welfare at the expense of the general public.
    And now Obama wants to have the government run the healthcare system into the ground, own the banking system for all intents and purposes, and own a major car company that will never repay the $Billions lent given to it — not to save the company, but only to save $37/hr union assembly line jobs. And Obama is intent on passing a regressive Cap & Tax bill that will jack up taxes and raise the cost of all goods and services, in the name of demonizing a completely harmless and beneficial trace gas, which will still be freely emitted by China, Russia, Brazil, India, and a hundred smaller countries, as they all laugh at the anti-American conniver that the Americans so foolishly elected as their misguided apology for slavery that ended over a century and a half ago, forgetting that Obama has zero slave blood. C&T is a disaster that will make the DOE and the EPA budgets look like chump change, and it is a certain bet that government run health care will be disastrous for Americans. Rationing of health care is just down the road. It will happen, without any doubt. Congress, of course, is exempt.
    It’s hard to believe how clueless and naive Obama’s apologists are. ‘Screwed up’ is inadequate to fully explain it; they harbor an intense hatred of America, nothing less. They want the U.S. to give up her greatness, and become a mediocre, has-been country like those in Old Europe, run by an unaccountable, opaque bureaucracy beholden only to other bureaucrats. The proof is in the Administration and Congress; never listen to their words. Watch their actions to see where they’re taking the country.

  85. Re Maurry Duffins long post
    You fail to understand that the basis of the United States is freedom. The United States recognition of the right to seek self gain, (capitalism) combined with the fact that we are a “republic” guaranteeing freedom from tyranny of other groups or from the tyranny of the majority, be that majority religious, political, corporate, or a combination thereof, is highly moral. However in empowering the individual there must be a strong co-commitment element of self-responsibility. One cannot expect the protections such a society enables, without both self responsibility and offering some form of service back to that society.
    The love of power for the purpose of subjugating others for one’s own end cannot be removed by any system. It just operates less effectively within a system built expressly for protection from such tyranny. The responsibility of the US form of government is to prevent the formation of such tyrannies: Corporate monopolies that unfairly drive out competition, lobby groups looking for special privileges, banking methods that rig the monetary system and allow leverage of assets tantamount to gambling, fractional reserve banking on steroids, government decisions making risk public but profit private, government sponsored enterprises that, under direct supervision of government regulators, do all of the above, (see Barney Frand and Chriss Dodd, heads of the senate finance committe) are not caused by a capitalist / republic, but are a sick perversion of it, caused by the love of power over others, and the lack of wisdom as revealed by satama dharma. It is the failure of the US government to police the above which is dereliction of their primary responsibility, the protection of individual freedom and power, from the tyranny of those with group power.
    No form of government can be free from intrinsic ignorance, but the evaluation of all systems should be based on their ability to resist the corruptions power reveal. Since WWII the US has been the most powerful nation on this planet. Despite its flaws, the US has demonstrated a far greater resistance to exerting tyranny over others then any other nation, relative to the power possessed. Remember that if power reveals corruption, the US has passed this test far better then any other nation. Many on the left often repeat the mantra, “live and let live,“ but remain ignorant of the danger of the system they wish to implement which is inherently duplicit to this maxim. The US system is the best “live and let live” system, specifically due to its republic / capitalist system, and within any society but particularly a large non-homogenous society this has many advantages. The “let live” part is easily forgotten in socialism, and both the “let live” and the “live” part are discarded in murderous communism.

  86. TomVonk,
    This is probably a dead thread, and probably no one will read this, but I think your belligerent attitude requires a response. I said I didn’t have time to go into it. This was because I had a all-day training session to do at my job, and then leave to spend the weekend with my sisters to say good-bye to my mother who is in the last stages of alheizmer’s. I apologize for the delay, but it certainly wasn’t for fear of addressing your post.
    The main point of my post was not related to biofuels, but rather I thought that the original post was mainly political and deserved a more critical scientific response rather than the type of replies we were seeing. I still feel that way. I love seeing the respectful, thoughtful back and forth about science on this site, and I didn’t think we were doing that very well in this case. I just picked his ethanol example because the numbers seemed so wrong, and he seemed so unaware of what DOE and DOA are trying to do.
    Now to your post, I said you were setting up straw men for the following specific reasons:
    You said cellulosic sources can’t compete with coal and nuclear. No they can’t, but we can’t really run our cars on them, can we?
    Then you said to get 1000 sq. km. for microalgae, we would need a sea band 500 km wide and 2000 km long, and close down all shipping to the west coast. Well that would be a good reason not to grow microalgae, but who is talking about doing that? This is a classic straw man technique. (And I think you juxtaposed macroalgae here. I wasn’t talking about that.) You know, you could get the same 1000 sq. km. in a square 20 miles on each side, smaller than almost all of the counties in the US. We manage to farm, harvest, dry, and process the crops from that vast area every year in virtually every county in the midwest. And for those that didn’t run the numbers, that is about a billion gallons of diesel per year, with enough starch left over to make a larger amount of alcohol type fuel.
    And 40 grams per sq. meter per year doesn’t seem pie in the sky to me. The Aquatic Species Program didn’t report results that high, but I seem to recall that when they took their testing to the ponds they were optimizing the cultures for harvestability of the algae and not yield. And they ran a lot of the cultures nitrogen deprived to increase the oil concentrations. I think after 20 years of scientific advancement in genetic engineering, separation technology, etc, we can beat what they could do in 1992.
    And yes, researchers are improving the yields of the cellulosic sources, refining planting and harvesting methods, and breeding for lower inputs of water and nutrients. That will bring down the costs. It shouldn’t surprise any one. That is what scientists and engineers do all the time.
    I said to take a look at what the biofuels developers are doing. They are not stuck on doing things the way that we have always done them. Here are a few examples of what I meant.
    Amyris has a microbe that produces a high-value chemical that is used in cosmetics, and can also be hydroformed to a synthetic diesel.
    Qteros has developed a microbe that does the hydrolysis of cellulose and fermentation in one step, thus lowering capital and operating costs.
    Syntroleum and Tyson Foods are in the process of starting up a 75 MGY plant that will convert low grade waste fats from Tyson’s operations into a synthetic diesel that is far superior to normal biodiesel.
    Origin Oil has developed an ultrasound technique to separate oil from the rest of the algae in a simple flotation/settling unit operation
    Chemrec has developed a process to produce synthetic diesel from tall oil from pulp mills and are already in production in Europe.
    At least three different companies have processes that can convert existing ethanol plants to produce butanol isomers, which is more energy dense and doesn’t have most of the difficult issues that ethanol does.
    And the list could go on and on. They are developing routes to specialty chemicals as well as biofuels, using wastes as feedstocks, and producing fuels that are far better than the ethanol and methyl ester biodiesels that we have now. And most of the fermentation type companies are working with partners in Brazil because they want the access to sugar cane sources, and the Brazilians want access to the technology.
    The US military doesn’t believe it is all hype. They have already successfully tested several synthetic jet fuels, and will have them certified soon. The oil and chemical giants don’t think it is all hype. Exxon, DuPont, Shell, Total, BP and many others have formed joint ventures with biofuel developers and are investing millions in them. Will everyone succeed? I doubt it, but I think many will. Are biofuels perfect? Not by a long shot, but the other options aren’t either. Will they have to have subsidies? Probably for now, but is that really worse than sending our money overseas? And BTW, the Kerry Lieberman climate/energy bill has about $50 billion set aside that is needed to get nuclear power going again.
    If you see this, I can tell that you know a lot about this subject. I could be persuaded that this is pipe dream. I am open to reasonable arguments and facts that I haven’t considered. I don’t think these are THE solution to our energy future, but I think they are part of it.

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