By Chris Nelder
Posting in Energy
America, we need to talk. It's time to face your dependence and begin the recovery process.
America, we need to talk.
Have a seat.
Remember when President George W. Bush told you seven years ago that you're addicted to oil?
Well, you're still addicted, and it's clear that many of President Bush's prescriptions for breaking that addiction -- "zero-emission coal-fired plants", nuclear energy, next-generation biofuels, and hydrogen -- have gone nowhere. Even now, they remain part of President Barack Obama's climate plan. We are no closer to "moving beyond a petroleum-based economy" now than we were in 2006.
It's time to get serious about your problem. So here's a little tough love.
Admit you have a problem
Your addiction is getting worse, even if you've cut back a little on your use.
You consumed 2 million barrels a day (about 10 percent) less oil in 2012 than you did in 2006, but your gasoline consumption is down just 0.5 million barrels a day. And that decrease is mainly because you can't afford it in a recession, not because you're deliberately finding ways to use less. You're just driving less, in an older vehicle. You've still got a fleet of around 240 million cars and light trucks on the road with an average fuel efficiency of 22.5 miles per gallon (mpg). New cars average 23.8 mpg on a sales-weighted basis. That new 54.5 mpg federal standard is great, but it doesn't cure your problem.
The market for hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs) is growing, but it still has very little share. As long as you keep buying millions of trucks per year that get 22 mpg, you've still got a huge problem.
Stop blaming others for your addiction
It’s easier to point fingers at someone else than to face your addiction. But you know who has the real problem.
It's not the fault of the oil companies or the car companies or even Congress that you're addicted. Sure, they didn't help, just as ads for liquor don't help keep you off the bottle. And sure, you had a tough childhood, growing up in a time when people were building roads and suburbs all over the place with no thought for how that architecture might work in an era of constrained oil supply and high prices.
But nobody made you live 50 miles away from your work, or put the kids in activities scattered all over town, or buy that inefficient vehicle. It's your problem now. Nobody else's. Deep down, you know that's true.
Who's in control here? You, or the gasoline? You, or society? You are not powerless over your addiction. You make a choice every time you buy a car, get behind the wheel, get on a plane, and pick a place to live or work. You make a choice every time you vote for or against roads, buses and trains.
Acknowledge the cost of your addiction
Gasoline prices will never fall back under $3, because the cost of new oil from activities like hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and tar sands production is so high.
Americans spent $434 billion last year on imported oil. That's $1.2 billion dollars a day.
In addition, you're spending somewhere between $13 billion and $143 billion a year in military costs to protect U.S. oil interests in the Persian Gulf, alone. You spend yet more to protect them in Africa, South America and anywhere else there is oil.
There are health costs: Many of your children have asthma because of pollution from cars and coal-fired power plants. Social costs. Climate change costs. Environmental destruction costs, not from just well blowouts, but from habitat loss and many other things. All kinds of hidden costs. A rough back-of-the-napkin analysis I did in 2007 found that the true cost of your oil could approach be in the range of $12.5 trillion a year (it would be even higher today). That's nearly equivalent to America's gross domestic product (GDP), so it's probably an overestimate.
Due to a lack of reliable data, it's almost impossible to know the right number. But that doesn't even matter. It's huge. It's like spending every dollar you make on drink.
That is part of the reason why you've got money troubles. A big part. You will never get your balance sheet straightened out until you stop using oil.
Stop denying it
These marginal sources of oil don't cure your addiction; they extend it.
You are the world's biggest oil junkie, by far. Nobody else consumes roughly one-fifth of the planet's oil supply. Increasing your domestic supply does not curb your consumption. You can make a big show of becoming "energy independent" some day, on a net British thermal unit (BTU) basis, by exporting more coal, gasoline and diesel, but that isn't fooling anybody. You're still the largest oil consumer.
Forget about miracle energy cures. They are fantasies, the hallucinations of an addict in withdrawal. They aren't real. The only real solutions are difficult and require some sacrifice.
Stop kidding yourself that global warming isn't happening or that isn't happening because of your consumption of fossil fuels. You have been the main contributor of carbon dioxide emissions for decades. You have released carbon that took nature many millions of years to sequester, and pumped it into the atmosphere in about 150 years. Don't even try to pretend that hasn't affected the climate.
Get off the sauce
You can't actually stop using oil. It is embedded in everything you buy, everything you use, and everything you eat. If you tried to go cold-turkey, everything would grind to an immediate halt. Your fear of that -- eating shoe leather in the dark -- is what keeps you in denial. But it doesn't have to be that way.
You can do your part.
You can choose modes of transportation that use less -- or no -- oil. You can drive EVs that charge up with your own rooftop solar arrays. You can get around on bicycles and use public transportation. You can carpool. You can take a train and build new rail systems, like California's high-speed rail. (But no, you can't bet on Elon Musk's "Hyperloop," because no one is planning to build it.) You can move to a place that will let you walk to work.
Make amends to those you have harmed
Your addiction has caused a great deal of harm and suffering, not just at home, but in other countries.
Your addiction has led to wars that have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. It has fomented the terrorism that has made surveillance and pat-downs part of your everyday experience. It has caused the destruction of vast areas of boreal forest in Alberta, and the contamination of lands and waters in dozens of countries around the world. It has probably contributed to habitat loss and species extinction. It has contaminated the air that you and everyone you know breathes.
You have many people, places and species to make amends with. There's no time like the present to get started.
Make a commitment and take responsibility
It's time for you to take responsibility for your oil addiction and do something about it, instead of just hoping that you can continue to be a high-functioning addict.
Saudi Arabia, the world's No. 1 or No. 2 oil producer depending on the year, which enjoys the cheapest domestic oil on the planet, is building a $22 billion metro to cut its oil use. You are the world's largest oil importer (although you're about to be the second largest, after China), and the cost of producing your oil is among the highest in the world. Should you not do at least as much as Saudi Arabia to curb your addiction?
You need to do much more than you have done to get your life under control again. You need to think about how to get 240 million cars and light trucks off the road, permanently. Merely cutting back on your use a little through a few more efficient vehicles each year isn't enough. You need to make some big commitments, and give up on some cherished dreams and beliefs. It's going to take real courage to look yourself in the mirror and make those changes, but you really don't have a choice. You're either going to get a grip, or your addiction is going to kill you.
The good news is: If you resolve to do something about it, you can recover from your addiction, bit by bit, year by year. As you do, you'll discover a better you inside: One that's happier, healthier, able to help others cure their addictions, and able to start repairing the damage you've done. But you have to commit to it. Your days of inaction, denial and blaming others have to stop.
You can do this, America. Let's start on the long road to recovery, individually and collectively. Starting now.
Thanks to Robert Rapier for a little inspiration.
Aug 20, 2013
Hi, most people don't know it or won't believe it but just where did all the oil in the ground come from? Well its simple, the great biblical flood in Noah's day. That's the only way that much vegetation could get buryed under the earth and get cooked pressure and resulting heat into crude oil. There is only so much oil and its not really being replaced by mother earth, so it is a finite supply. Please explore alternative transportation, and other ways to fuel your car before you end up with old cars and no fuel for them.
It's amazing how apoplectic these deniers become at the mere suggestion that strong willed incremental changes might add up to something good for the human race, how loaded with concrete their butts become at the suggestion that they put down the remote control, rise from their ultrasoft chairs and turn up the thermostat a few degrees on the AC, how adverse to the natural world they have become while promoting actions that refuse to pay for commons pollution, and how beedy their eyes have shrunk into in-finite illogic and dark hearts. I address this comment to those who weekly come here just to castigate the author with fossil, big corporate and political talking points that completely ignore the mess we are in. I am not addressing those who are still thinking, but caught in a status quo, immediate economic bind, that the deniers think is just fine. The "I won't be guilted into taking any action" folks are going to earn all the guilt they can carry, which their progeny will unfortunately have to shoulder. If they win we all lose, so let's spir the worm back into the ground to pursue it's natural dirt eating function.
I have the money to talk, but I don't have the money to convince congress to fast track molten salt nuclear reactor technology (developed and proven about 50 years ago). Meltdown proof reactors are better than the biosphere melting down. Again, I have the money to (just barely) afford this internet connection, but nowhere close to buying a home and putting up a bunch of solar panels, batteries and the EV... Sooo, I think it would be cheaper, much cheaper to go the route of the non pressurized Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJdLELUXxKw
Chris, I generally agree, but you wrote "But nobody made you live 50 miles away from your work," Our national housing policies encouraged individual home ownership through cheap mortgages insured by Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. This meant fewer people rented housing in dense cities and towns; they moved to the suburbs where houses were being built. When the great recession hit the home owners could not sell their houses and were forced to drive more miles to change jobs. No good deed goes unpunished.
Oil, GTas, Coal and Nuclear Fission have to go. Wanting to slather the planet in oil just doesn't sound very forward thinking. And that is what we neede, forward thinking. Here are three things to consider 1. LENR, Low Energy Nuclear Reactions. We need to help in the birthing of this incredible Black Swan. Zawodny and Bushnell see a world transformed by this technology. This is a good one. 2. Focus Fusion technology was first conceived a a way to gener4ate enough power to fire up a fusion reactor. It became apparent that it could generate enough power to eliminate the need for the main Fusion Reactor. Charles Chase is building a 50 Megawatt unit on a 40' trailer. 3 Graphene in its many different applications holds just gobs of promises for a new way of doing business. Then there are a half a dozen more amazing new technologies coming to the front. Some are like, uh, Star Trek City. A lot of people in the energy business want none of this to happen, wanting to continue pumping oil up our a_s. Let's not let them get away with it.
You have really gone off the rails this time (your articles are showing an increasing tendency to do that). Seems to me that you are addicted to lunacy. We aren't "addicted" to oil. We use it for our needs. It's what's available now and it works. Of course, your only solution is to tax it to death. Tax it for what? So bloated governments the world over can continue to expand and squander money while the rest of us have less and less for ourselves and families? Yeah, that's real smart. And once we get off of oil (which we will eventually), what then? The governments will "need" to continue their orgy on our dime, so whatever replaces oil will also be heavily taxed. It never ends with you Socialists.
On a macro level, the biggest impact is from imported oil, which drains resources otherwise invested in the domestic economy. Of the $700 billion America spent on oil last year, more than half of that â about $380 billion â went to pay for imported petroleum. We also exported refined products from domestically produced oil, worth about $50 billion, so the net cost to the economy of imported oil was about $330 billion.
who had vested interests in oil companies, told us the Iraq war would bring in cheap oil that would pay for it (yet all that went to China, as the media told us years later...) It's hard for us to be addicts, or blamed in being so, when those that make and lobby our country force the issue. Since "it costs too much" to rezone, redistrict, put in other forms of transport - even forms we used in the past... In a word or two, the cause is: Lobbyist meddling. In a "free" country.
Oil and gasoline deliver the largest energy value per pound of any fuel alternative on the planet except nuclear options - and humans are quite irrational when it comes to nuclear. Meanwhile we actually have even greater reserves of oil than even Saudi Arabia when you employ coal gasification - as the Germans did in WWII and South Africa did during the Apartheid years. We could readily become internally energy self sufficient - but the current political climate is not going to support that. However we do see some signs of change as fracking liberates natural gas and drives down prices to the point where the trucking industry is slowly starting to migrate over. Then we come to EV's. Do we provide that electricity via coal or nuclear? I embrace the latter. By embarking on an education program so people understand the risks of radioactivity, only then will we get the population behind what the French found obvious 40 years ago. As one example the citizens of Denver scurried for the hills after the "Radioactive Gas Cloud from Fukushima" flew by. While it was a radioactive gas cloud - the level of radioactivity was 5 times less than the natural background radiation from radon gas emissions due to local uranium deposits. Ironically, in one of the most heavily irradiated states in the nation, the citizens of Denver have the longest average lifespans of any group in the contiguous 48 states. People without clear understanding of actual risks will behave badly when assessing options. Lets face it - on average, Americans are poorly educated about the options and risks associated with energy policy - which plays into the hands of the status quo.
Wow! This arrogant "lecture" which absolutely ignored geography, sociology, psychology and common sense. Without oil and other fossil fuels, we would be using horses for transportation, and burning wood. Our standard of living would be pitiful, and our medical care poor. And so on and so on. What a waste of pixels this article is!
The fact is, we are addicted to energy, and we just go for the cheapest fix on the street. Patty Limerick of the Center of the American West in Boulder Colorado (not noted as a conservative stronghold) has suggested that hydrocarbon energy (first in the form of coal) was responsible for the demise of slavery in the world, as it made it cheaper to get energy from the earth rather than from the sweat of animals, including humans. Will we have fewer resource wars when they are over rare earth elements used for magnets, etc. in wind turbines and hybrid autos? Working ahead on the alternatives that will replace oil over the next century and a half will solve this problem, not more whining from Peak Oil Concernists like Chris Nelder.
Oil feeds the world. Should we use horses instead of tractors? Any 3rd world country needs oil to climb up the food chain. We realize that there is just so much left in the earth to pump out, but an alternative is hundreds of years in the future. In the mean time, energy efficiency will stretch out what we have left and so will population control and education based on science, not politics.
Yes, I choose to live far away from work, drive a SUV, and fly for vacations along with business. That's what makes America great, we can make our own CHOICES. We can CHOOSE to live in safe areas far away from cities and CHOOSE drive large safe vehicles to haul our families. If Nelder chooses to live in a city and walk to work, good for him, that's his choice, but not mine. Nelder wants to conclude that fossil fuel is the cause of global warming, well good thing. Back in the 50's and 60's the scare mongers were preaching the coming of another ice age (look it up if you're too young or don't believe me). Had we not upped our CO2 output be frozen by now!!! I agree with the author on one point, fracking is temporarily slowing down. BECAUSE SUPPLY HAS OUTWEIGHED DEMAND!!!! Once the commercial trucking industry and coal fired plants convert over to Natural Gas the demand will be able to keep up with the supply. Unfortunately, the rest of the world is clamoring for our NG. The energy companies are proposing 15 plants to liquefy natural gas for easier transportation at shipping ports so they can export our natural gas. OPEC is shaking in their boots at the potential of US to become a net exporter of energy. So yes, I am addicted to oil, and for that matter water too.................which just happen to be the two most available liquids on this planet of ours. Aren't choices great!!!!
Speak for yourself. I have never bought gasoline in my life. I've been commuting by bicycle since I was 8 years old. Before that, I walked everywhere I needed to go. SOME of us are addicted to oil. But don't lump me in with the addicts. I'm clean - I've always been clean and I always will be.
Early in my career, I lived down the street and walked to work every day. I now have a long commute because I can't afford to live where I work (I didn't choose to be downsized from my previous job, either). Assuming that I could afford to live down the street, it would have come to naught because the company sold the property and is moving. Depending on where they move, I might get a shorter commute, though.
Any person who lives requires air, food, water, sleep, shelter, etc. and energy. It is a mischaracterization to refer to energy use as an addiction or a dependency. These terms should be referred to habits that have not productive purpose and lead to wasting of one's time and life. We should use the energy source that is the most abundant and available. The market should determine which energy sources are the cheapest, and differnt energy sources should be treated equally in terms of taxes and subsidies. Energy producers should be responsible for their pollution damage to third parties, but not all emissions should be considered pollution. For example, water vapor (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are byproducts of energy consumption. They are emissions, but they are not pollution. CO2 is a natural component of the atmosphere, and it is a part of the cycle of life, beng expired by all animals and taken in by plants. The CO2 issue has been a big distraction, and we should refocus on real pollutants, like sulfur dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen oxides (NOx), ozone (O3), and particulates, as well as heavy metals. Those are real pollutants that cause real, direct harm to human health.
After so many years writing nonsensical articles about the oil industry, and how it's killing us, and about how it's so expensive, and about how we're running out of it (despite all indications to the contrary), he's now trying to work on us with a bit of psychology, trying to make us feel guilty. The above article is an indication of frustration, and a huge indication that, he's wasted so many years of his life on a journey to nowhere. Mr Nelder: it's time to retire, and leave the guilt-trips to government agents, like Obama, who no one respects or believes. You' re in the same boat as Obama, but you've been in that boat a lot longer. So, it's time to get off that boat. BTW, most of what you wrote above is full of rear-end-deposits.
We have, since the late 1800's, been drilling for oil, and finding new uses for it. We have pretty much perfected the looking part, and are refining the extraction (pardon the pun) process, and now we are reaping the benefits of oil! Without oil, life in the deep South and the Southwest would be pretty miserable. And, I've noticed when the temperatures approach 90+ in Liberal land (no big deal in Texas!), everyone really complains! Yes, we use oil! We have enough (right here in America!) to last hundreds of years for our own present usage, and we are getting more efficient every year, so it should last even longer! One way to preserve the supply and to REDUCE smog (a liberal war cry) is to resurrect our nuclear facilities, and build newer, more efficient refineries, but these possibilities are anathema to liberals! Seems they want their cake and to have it too! When they are gasping in the 100's temperatures, maybe we can talk!
Seriously? 1. Lay out for us, in another article, how you personally have completely eliminated your dependence on oil. No gasoline, no electricity from any carbon-based process, no food, clothing or shelter produced or maintained in any way by oil or it's derivatives. Impossible? Correct - unless you live with the bushmen in Australia, or the equivalent. This question, BTW, reveals your hypocrisy. You aren't about to do this in your lifetime, yet you ride around this website on your solar horse shouting at us to do it. 2. Apparently, the American people sense the truth of my position. See: http://nation.foxnews.com/2013/06/25/poll-climate-change-bottom-list-voters-priorities-2013 I welcome your direct response in these comments.
Very true! I am guilty as well. I am trying to slowly weed out the things I do with dirty energy, but its tough. I am determined and have done quite bit to reduce my footprint (solar, new insulation and windows, LED bulbs, walking and riding my bike for close to home errands. Its possible. But its easy to forget and slip. Just like an addict. But I like the challenge that comes with doing things that are hard. Especially when it means a better future for our kids. Is it too hard to go to the moon, eradicate smallpox or end apartheid? Is it too hard to build a computer that fits in your pocket? No? Then it's not too hard to build a clean energy future, either. http://clmtr.lt/cb/wv70bJd
They told me it was "11:59" for the supply of oil in 1978. Now you are telling me it is "11:59" regarding climate change. What happened to the oil shortage?
May I suggest that the President order all government owned vehicles be replaced with hybrids or EV's as the gasoline powered vehicles they own now are replaced? How about with American made vehicles? Think about all the new American jobs that would create? Think about the effect it would have on the costs of electric or hybrid vehicles? Everyday citizens would be inspired to buy them and we would be closer to eliminating the over use of oil.
Once we run out of oil, all the alternatives will be the cheapest and best. The problem fixes its self. I've heard the latest measurements indicate the globe has not warmed one degree in the last fifteen years. Does anybody know if that is true?
Zero emission coal, or indeed gas or oil power station are pipe dreams. The best you can do is off-set it with a massive re-forestation programmes globally. Carbon capture and storage is crack-pot territory, for subsidy hungry chemical engineering snake oil salesmen.
America used to be a place of ideals and fairly reachable ideas. I came to this country in the seventies, when it was a much different place then it is today. Not to glorify the past but back then children were taught for every right, there is a duty. I came back in the nineties, and it felt the unruly want-it-now children took over. We cut the cable cord in 2003 and have not owned a TV. We read more, walk to the beach and talk more. No need to pay over $100 a month for 900 channels plagued by commercials and appalling programming quality. Since, at the moment we can't spend $40 to 20K on EVs, we bike, walk, take public transportation, favoring electricity as much as possible. I have two old collectable cars I use sparingly. Is this ideal? Heck no, but at least I do something, as anyone can. There are perfect solutions, but they require careful planning, critical thinking, all those things scholls no longer train for. We spend our money locally, dumped a bank for a local credit union. None of these things have been tough to do, in fact, they are all enjoyable. The last thing I do and enjoy most, I write, film, talk about green energy transportation and green performance since 2006. Because, yes, we can have transportation and even performance with greener energy systems. Spot on article. A great way to start the day and energize us.
I just checked the local Realtor website and found that most the least expensive home within walking distance of the office is listed at $270,000. It's about 400 sq. ft. smaller than my current home in the suburbs (36 miles from the office), which is fine, as 1700 sq. ft. is probably more suitable than 2100. However, I can most likely get only $150,000 for my current home. You can buy a lot of gasoline for $120,000! Of course, that isn't a total cost scenario. The problem with the costs is that my share of the total cost to society, paid through taxes and health insurance costs, doesn't go down even if I do "my part" toward decreasing our country's addiction. On the other hand, walking to work every day would improve my own health considerably. I would probably lose that extra 20 lbs. pretty quickly, so I wouldn't have to start taking the blood pressure medicine that I've been avoiding, and I might even stop snoring. But right now, I can't afford the note! So a better solution for me is a compromise. Move closer... I know of a neighborhood only 20 miles away from the office where a new home goes for $170,000. When it's time to replace my work car, I can try to find a low-miles vehicle that gets 35-40 mpg instead of 28. (Or not... a search shows that the only used Priuses near $10,000 have over 100,000 miles on them. For reliability and economic reasons, I'm normally looking for a car with 75,000 miles or fewer, with a $7000-8000 price goal. I'll have to do the math to find the break-even point on initial cost vs. fuel cost savings.) My point is your point, I suppose: Addictions are hard to break. I can take the park-and-ride to work now, but the trip would take an hour-and-a-half vs. 45 minutes, the fares would cost as much as I'm spending on gasoline now, and I would still need to keep the car and pay the same insurance. Maybe a new version of the cash-for-clunkers program should be instituted: A combination of government and employer incentives contribute toward the extra price of a house close to work. Give me the $100,000, and I'll move tomorrow! All they'd have to do is give me a 4- or 5-year tax holiday. The government can afford that, right?
We change slowly even at our own peril. I drive an electric vehicle (LEAF) and encourage folks to join me all the time. After two years, and 50,000 miles, no one close to me has gone electric yet. They still say that they can't go far enough, they all drive less than me. It is addiction and I hope that the resulting denial doesn't put us in a bad position by killing the EV.
We are NOT addicted to oil. We ARE addicted to inexpensive eergy. That is a HUGE difference. What is TRUE about the USA and oil is that the US government is controlled by oil money-which, ironically, was earned by selling oil that the US public (you me and the rest) once owned which was (and continues to be) sold at trivial fractions of it's value to political 'friends' of those in power. This is our problem. We do not lack for energy in the world. We do not lack for sources of fuel, and if we did, we might easily replace all of our energy needs with orbital and ground based solar power. (Orbital solar could recover thousands of times our entire civilizations energy use to date on a daily basis.) Corruption has so metastasized that newcomers to the political process are absorbed into the general background of corruption like sugar dissolving in hot water. As with similar cases through history, this has coincided with the transfer of power in our society from the rule of law by a democratically elected republic to a rule by money and greed. As with similar historic cases, the emergence over the past few decades of corruption and illegal acts by government from covert to overt marks the beginning of the end for this governmental system. Probably not today, but in the near future, as eventually people will revolt. I'd though 'Hunger Games' a well-done version of an old plot, but it seems that America today lives a very similar system. Those in our Capitol live lives unconnected to the majority of the population, with special exemptions from law and seemingly exempt from prosecution even for the few laws they are subject. Revolution is overdue, but the exact nature of revolution in an information age is yet to be revealed. Oil is NOT a problem. Corruption at all levels is a disaster.
C.Nelder, obviously you have been reading the same articles as I. I would agree with most of your points and no need to debate the disagreements. What you lack in this article is real answers to these real problems. You mentioned a few but we know how they have not caught mainstream acceptance. Here is an idea ... Tax the Oil and use the revenue to specifically cure the oil addiction. Start small and slowly increase so as to not impact the [q]economic recovery[/q]. If you price the drug too high, the [u][q]user[/q][/u] will find alternatives. Didn't the US use that same method on cigarettes? WAIT ... The US government has never managed this kind of thing well, think Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, ... even tax revenue from the lottery. And as mentioned above, you have the special interest groups. Private industry is an option but would certainly take advantage of loop holes, corruption with golden parachutes and not sure a privatization of this size would be possible. Europe is a prime example of taxing oil but they have limited success directing the $$ toward meaningful long term solutions. So, the concept of taxing oil has its merits and is certainly a road to recovery, but the implementation would be challenging (the devil is in the details). Just An Opinion/Option
Global warming can cause an ice age. Obviously you're not exactly educated on the facts of global warming.
Good comment, but what they want is for us (the masses) to walk barefoot down a dirt road from our mud hut half a mile to our dead-end job so they can tax us to death in order that they can live in their mansions on the hill top and be chauffeured in their gas-guzzling limos while we starve. Well, slight exaggeration, but only slight.
If you focus on what this message actually was - a call to make little choices every day. I think that is more than reasonable. Instead of using regular plastic bags for your vegetables, use compost bags or use none at all and wash them at home. there ARE little changes every person can make to move us toward using less. There are a lot of folks who drive single occupancy cars to work every day when a bus or carpool would be an easy option. you dont have to live with the bushmen to make positive changes.
Consider the Old Order Amish. Their carbon footprint is about as small as it gets in modern society. Also consider that they do not live anything like the Australian bushmen. In fact by American standards you could consider them "Well To Do". What do you think of their way of life?
are Progressive wet dream scare-mongering tactics designed to extort more money from us in the form of taxes that they will just squander on failed ideas.
Nothing is anywhere near as energy-rich or transportable as light sweet crude oil. Saying that the problem fixes itself shows a gross misunderstanding of the issue, which is a dilemma, not a problem. This is not a matter of substituting one form of energy for another. There is no substitute. All of the other forms of energy are far less energy rich and far less transportable. You need more of them to do the same job that oil does, and that is going to cost us far more, and that would be fine if we could afford it, but history indicates that we cannot. As we transition to less efficient and more expensive fuels, the likelihood is that we will enter a depression that will make the depression of the 1930s look like a minor economic blip.
A Prius-beating small EU turbo diesel like the new 2013 Honda Civic 1.6 iDTEC gives over 75 mpg (slightly larger Imperial gallon), And is plenty powerful for normal diving needs. Shame Diesel cars have been wilfully kept out of the US marketplace! as they are great and have outstanding mileage and resale values. http://www.whatcar.com/car-news/honda/civic/2013-honda-civic-16-i-dtec-review/1201342 Alternatives, as the article mentions, are VW Golf, and Ford Focus diesels.
The eco-Progressives would prefer that you buy the more expensive yet smaller home within walking distance of work, and finance it with a lower standard of living.
Orbital solar power stations? Look, I was a member of the L5 Society back in the '80s, and I thought that was the answer as well. But look at how much it cost to build the ISS. Now a lot of it was due to huge government cost overruns, multiple redesigns, etc. but building a lot of much bigger orbital power stations won't come cheap. On top of that, it simply was a lot harder to build the ISS in zero gravity and a vacuum than we first thought. With all the efforts in private launch vehicles, asteroid capture, etc. one day we will probably be able to build orbital power stations. But by then the oil will have run out.
As gas is around $2.00 in the UK, and not far below this in much of the EU, this argument is proved to be Wrong, and is just another revenue stream for central government. People need to use cars etc to get places, do stuff and transport goods. Try taxing on emissions, and you'll get some movement, as no-one needs a 4 L or larger v8 SUV. Some turbo Diesel engine encroachment into mainstream cars is needed too, as they are now powerful, refined and hugely more economical - see Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes, Nissan, VW, GM, Ford, Chrysler and many more vehicles, outside the US.
[i]"Europe is a prime example of taxing oil but they have limited success directing the $$ toward meaningful long term solutions."[/i] Europe taxes oil not because of any grand green scheme, but because demand for oil is relatively inelastic (since we're all so "addicted") and it's one of the primary sources of revenue used to fund their massive welfare states. Actually eliminating oil for some "free" and hard-to-tax solution would actually collapse the entire economy. What makes you think that doing the same here would be any different? In the long run, the bureaucracy isn't really interested in actually solving problems, since doing so would mean no more bureaucracy. Any alternative that they actually come up with will be, by necessity, just as problematic as the one they are replacing. No, I'm afraid that we'll have to wait for honest "creative destruction" to solve the problem. The solution is not going to come from Washington.
Beery1, yes, I'm not educated on the facts of global warming - I thought An Inconvenient Truth was a bunch of baloney. Al Gore tries to tell me how much CO2 was in the atmosphere tens of thousands of years ago, and yet Meteorologist can't get tomorrow's weather right. Yeah, right.... Mr. Well Educated, answer this question: Do you happen to know the single largest source of CO2 in the atmospher? (Hint: it outnumbers all other factors by far - go ahead and look it up) Every other global warming preacher ask that simple question doesn't know the answer. All your fellow global warming evangelist should get educated on the CO2 subject rather than just watch a fictional movie. But, but, but, but, but, Scientist overwhelmingly agree that the earth is getting warmer, and the cause is man-made. Scientist that are all given government grants to study global warming overwhelmingly agree that there is man made global warming, and anyone who disagrees with their flawed logic must not care about the planet - believe in dirty water and dirty air. Read the posts on this board and count how many different suggestions their are to TAX or MANDATE. Hmmmmm, who benefits from taxes and mandates? Beery1, you're probably the same guy who told me back in '98 the world was going to stop spinning on its axis come Y2K. I laughed at you then, and I laugh now.
...as it's being perused by the warm-mongers. No matter what happens, it's "global warming". If my house that is located in a historically hurricane-prone location is damaged, it's now because of "global warming". Yaks in Bunglestan less fertile? "Global warming". Stub your toe this morning? "Global warming".
but it should be my decision, not some frothing-at-the-mouth lunatic bureaucrat trying to force me to either by increased taxes or saying that "electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket" in order to force the issue. How about you live your life and I'll live mine? I'm sick and tired of do-gooder leftists trying to force their agenda on me and trying to make me feel guilty for the way I live. Here's a hint: it's not working. Anyway, I've always tried to use the least amount possible while still maintaining a decent standard of living. It's just common sense not to waste. Of course, I may use more than you think I should, but that's really none of your business. I use what I need.
Beery, I hear this all the time, and while it's true just now, and has been more true over light, sweet crude oil's historic use, it's about be tested for truth in a heavy duty way. We needn't bother debating the transportability of energy sources, since distributed solar generation involves almost no transport and what there is is handled by the grid, a lot cleaner, and with much less investment than trucks, railroads, pipelines and refineries to produce and distribute liquid fuels. Let's talk energy density for personal transport, oil based liquid fuels vs batteries today and tomorrow. Today's commercial batteries for electric cars like a Nissan Leaf have about 2-3% the energy density of gasoline. But electric motors are 4 times more efficient than internal combustion engines, so really those batteries are 10% the effective energy density of gasoline in practical usage. There is proven technology waiting just for the commercial application for a 3 times leap in battery technology that will begin showing up partially this year and be fully implemented in about 3 years. The Chevy Spark, all electric, this Fall will have a significantly smaller, less expensive battery pack than a Nissan Leaf yet have more range. With the technology fully commercially implemented in 2 or 3 years we'll see budget electric cars with 200 mile+ range. There are experimental batteries that'll take another decade to work out that will mean another 3 times or so leap in energy density, i.e., close, if not matching, the energy density of gasoline when taking into account the efficiency of electric motors. If we let denying fools define our energy possibilities we will end up looking like fools ourselves. I've a friend who is this day driving a Nissan Leaf with the minivan mostly molding in the driveway. The Leaf is powered by the solar panels on his roof as well as 2/3rds of his household energy on average. If he hadn't run out of siting space for panels, he'd be doing it all. This is in Madison, WI by the way, not TX, AR or Southern CA. Many of us can't do this for financial or physical reasons, but there are other things that we can do to get on with the transition and it behooves us to do so. I don't know about the addiction metaphor, but I do know that disaster and chaos are waiting just around the corner if we close our eyes and ears to the finite truths that Nelder preaches, and don't find amelioratng ways pretty darned fast.
At most stations, Diesel is 40-50 cents a gallon higher priced than regular gasoline (10% ethanol), so you need that increase in mileage! Unless you are going to brew your own from weeds and cooking oil. As for public transportation, there is none that comes within 5 miles of where I work, rail wouldn't work w/o huge buy in and again it is not supposed to come near where I work, I would love to have a vehicle getting even 22mpg. My P/U comes no where near that, my wife's car does. I am less than 4 years away from retirement and the last thing I want to do is to move in to the city proper. We may even move out of the state and give up the lower gas prices enjoyed here. As for the loop/tube thing from Tesla's CEO in SoCal it makes more sense to build it than standard rail, it is estimated to cost about 1/2 the cost of the other train and neither California nor the US Gov have the money to spend on such a pipe dream. The powers to be here in Oklahoma think they would like to have a passenger train between Tulsa and OKC, but the population of the state of Oklahoma is less than that of LA alone, so again ridership alone would not pay for such a venture, even connecting it with the Heartland Flyer (OKC to FW Tx) which may or may not still be in service (one trip/day each way) wouldn't help much nor conecting to KC via Wichita would help much. The price of tickets has to be reasonable and the ability to get around to where you want to go without renting a car, and the time involved in travel and ticketing, etc. all are factors in ridership of any alternative to driving. Any Public transportation option in OKC generally means you are going downtown. The only thing downtown for me is the ballpark and a movie theater. We haven't been to a concert in the Civic Center Music hall in years. NBA basketball is too expensive, and I don't do hockey, nor most of the concerts at the arena. At 65, I don't know what most of the 15-30 year olds sing, and the old rockers are older than I am and don't tour much anymore. I dropped Rock and Roll generally in about 1975 or so. So I may be "addicted", but there is no real alternative, I can't get into most small cars, much less have enough room to drive one, that is one reason I drive a full sized pickup. At the price I paid for it, it was cheaper than most cars, I bought it new (2008). The car is a 2007 F 500, which as been renamed back to a Taurus, Haven't sat in one yet, so don't know how much room is in the new ones, the one we have I can can sit in the back seat comfortably! In a tossup between the Chevy Impala, and the Ford 500, it was the deciding factor in 2007. We buy our vehicles new keep them for a long time.
Easy my friend, let's agree to disagree. It can be said that emission taxation would be just as Wrong. Example: Fines for power plant emissions have been around since the early 90's. The system has setup "credits" to work around certain taxes/fines. And I am sure there are more examples. However, let's don't throw out the whole idea. Maybe fine the emissions but no credits, no loop holes, no special anything. Kind of like a flat tax !!!
You are a little extreme here but let me talk you off the cliff. "discredit argument" ... no I did not, I simply gave you an example of how hard it will be to stop the addiction. Not sure of the real history behind EU taxation of oil, but it certainly has developed into a socialist funding revenue stream. A perfect example of missing the mark. "any different here" ... you are right, we certainly could follow in EU's footsteps but EU is an example of how not-to-do-it. US stands a chance of doing it right since we have an example that went off the tracks. "Bureaucracy not interested" ... "creative destruction" ... no, I am not drinking that kool-aid. Let's begin the recovery process by removing the special interest groups ... the "pushers" of oil.
You deniers always claim that nature can absorb the extra that we put in the air. But you are DEAD wrong. Why, Because I looked it up (just as your kind said to do many years ago). You're dead wrong because before the industrial revolution, nature had a balanced "CO2 budget". Now, it IS indeed a rising ppm count, one that is also being absorbed (and converted into excess carbonic acid) by the oceans. Since the ppm WAS about 300 and now IS 400, this clearly PROVES that nature is NOT properly absorbing it in a safe manner. Besides, only the WILLFULLY IGNORANT think that we can continue to burn fossil fuels FOREVER... God gave us brains, to figure our way out of this problem (and that would be advanced machine automation of the parts necessary to collect and store solar and wind energy for much cheaper than have been done in the past AND molten salt nuclear reactors)!
Let the oil run out or get too expensive to extract, and viable alternatives will evolve. What kind of solutions do we get when we let the government choose? Ethanol?
You are now aware of the big problem. Special Interest groups are a very strong influence (good or bad) on the whole process. There must be something better, not sure what that is, to handle the revenue process of getting the US off of the oil addiction.
Punitive taxes, regardless of what they are taxing, are unsustainable business models when used to fund social programs. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/11/funding-preschool-with-a-tobacco-tax-is-unsustainable/
When a better alternative comes along, (and one will) "big oil" will go the way of "big whale oil". Meanwhile, the reason that we spend do much in military assistance is mostly inertia left over from the cold war. Most of our oil no longer comes from the middle east. The only reason we stay there is to protect the supply to Europe and China, which stabilizes the global price of oil, which is traded in dollars. I'm all for sending Europe and China a bill for our efforts on their behalf. Europe has enjoyed a 50+ year vacation from being wholly responsible for its own defense, allowing them to indulge themselves in their self-centered socialist ways. It's time for them to step up and foot some of the bill. I can hear the screams now. Meanwhile, China would just laugh at the notion, and proceed with expanding their navy to fill the void. (Our annual interest payments to them alone is now more that we spend on the whole of our Navy) Do you think that's a good idea? How long before we become Portugal?
Yes, I'll agree with ... big government has traditionally failed at providing useful products/services that are cost effective over the long term. Don't get too cozy with "big oil". They have delivered a product we use abundantly, BUT, we pay for it at the pump, thru our national defence protecting oil routes, oil disaster repercussions, annual payments to oil rich nations and military assistance. The analogy is: We love the drug so much, we are protecting the pusher of the drug.
...from the examples of Europe. And yet, they're clearly not. They honestly believe that the only reason that Europe fails is because they aren't as smart as we are and didn't spend enough. The big difference between the "special interest" of "big oil" and "big government"? At least "big oil" delivers a product that's useful to most of us and we're interested in and are willing to pay for. I can't say the same for "big government".