Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-05-2009, 04:23 AM   #61
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
clifp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,450
Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
I think the Iranians know what's going on with that. The earth is one big gas centrifuge.

As I sit anxiously in Hawaii awaiting the North Korean 4th of July surprise, I have two questions? What does this mean, and should I be concerned?
__________________

__________________
clifp is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 07-05-2009, 09:21 AM   #62
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp View Post
For a variety of reasons, I've gotten very interested in renewable energy recently. Unfortunately as by knowledge has grown so has frustrated with the hype/hot air generated by all sides of the discussion, which reached a breaking point yesterday.

* * * * *
So last night, I went looking for article that was posted on the forum a few months ago, and found it and than stumbled across this fabulous free book.
David MacKay: Sustainable Energy - without the hot air: Contents.
After spending much of last night and today reading the book and finishing all but the technical chapters, I feel better.

* * * * *
Clif --
Thanks much for pointing us to this book. I have started to read it. A focus on facts instead of opinion, mixing in a bit of humor and anecdote.

A couple of things I have noted so far, only 40 pages or so into the book, one general and one specific.

First, the "hot air" the author refers to is ethics opinions, what should we do about energy, who has the responsibility for doing it, etc. The author is trying to avoid leaking his own hot air, but he can't entirely avoid it. So far in the book, I tend to agree with his occasional opinion leaks.

Second, I was bummed out by one particular fact. The author notes that the world-wide per capita carbon emissions is a bit over 5 tons a year, and we in the USA lead the world in this category with a per capita emissions of about 24 tons. Then he says that ONE roundtrip intercontinental flight is responsible for producing two tons of CO2 emissions per passenger! Wow. Now he is making me feel bad about my FIRE travel plans.

Look forward to reading the rest of the book.
__________________

__________________
OhSoClose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2009, 10:45 AM   #63
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,526
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhSoClose View Post
Then he says that ONE roundtrip intercontinental flight is responsible for producing two tons of CO2 emissions per passenger! Wow. Now he is making me feel bad about my FIRE travel plans.
Just imagine the ecowarrior's dismay if they were to discover this unfortunate fact as they jet around the world fighting for environmental causes, indulging in "eco" tourism, and volunteering a few weeks in a rainforest village teaching sustainable agriculture techniques. Hey, as long as they pay some shady company for carbon footprint offset credits, all in the world is good!
__________________
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2009, 11:12 AM   #64
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,666
I am so sick of that argument, many use it to cry foul about anyone concerned about the environment that also flies in airplanes (not sure that you were fuego, but I hear it often from those that do).
There can be very good reasons to do that even if someone is concerned about the environment.
If, as a result of the trip, 2 tons of CO2 are added to the atmosphere AND 3, 20 or 1000 tons that would have been are not, because of a speech, teaching sustainable argriculture techniques, convincing other world leaders to cut down on the amount of CO2 they emit, then it is well worth it.
__________________
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
(Ancient Indian Proverb)"
Zathras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2009, 11:12 AM   #65
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by FUEGO View Post
Just imagine the ecowarrior's dismay if they were to discover this unfortunate fact as they jet around the world fighting for environmental causes, indulging in "eco" tourism, and volunteering a few weeks in a rainforest village teaching sustainable agriculture techniques. Hey, as long as they pay some shady company for carbon footprint offset credits, all in the world is good!

My daughter is an ecowarrior, although she has mellowed out a bit as she actually learns more about the realities of life (she is pursuing a double major in political science/environmental science). This plane travel thing, though, would kill her if I harrassed her about it, because she will be taking a roundtrip flight to India to visit her boyfriend later this summer. I am too interested in familiy harmony to bring it up, I think.
__________________
OhSoClose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2009, 11:46 AM   #66
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zathras View Post
I am so sick of that argument,....

If, as a result of the trip, 2 tons of CO2 are added to the atmosphere AND 3, 20 or 1000 tons that would have been are not, because of a speech, teaching sustainable argriculture techniques, convincing other world leaders to cut down on the amount of CO2 they emit, then it is well worth it.
That is a very big IF though. Can any of these "limousine environmentalists" document the cost/benefit ratio? And compare to alternatives, such as...

Can't we give speeches over video conferencing now? I suspect that in some cases, the speaker can't justify as high a speaking fee w/o the "personal touch" that requires burning some jet fuel.

And books can be be downloaded over the internet these days, but some "environmentalists" insist that you "buy the book" and kill some trees and burn energy in the books production, shipping, and eventual demise (hopefully recycled). I ain't buying it - literally.

edit/add - hey, here's one you can download for free, imagine that....

http://www.withouthotair.com/download.html


-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2009, 12:30 PM   #67
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: New York
Posts: 898
Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp View Post
It doesn't really matter what your position is on greenhouse gas, drilling in ANWAR, Nuclear, solar, conservation, Carbon cap or trade etc etc. I have yet to meet a person that is happy that US consume 20 million barrels of oil a day, and spends >$1 billion/day purchasing imported oil mostly from folks who don't like us much.

You would think that viewing it either in national security terms or in terms of our trade balance would be enough to galvanize opinion, but surprisingly it isn't.
__________________
Money's just something you need in case you don't die tomorrow.
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2009, 12:57 PM   #68
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,666
Too many people, in my opinion, want the government to fix it, or find an easier way to fix it.
Frankly, I think the best thing that could happen would be to remove the restrictions and protections on the oil companies.
Let them drill in ANWAR, off the coasts, where ever they like. And also hold them responsible for any damage they cause (so it is in their own best interest to be careful).
Then (in 10 years or so) when we finally see what a lost cause it is, more people will take an interest. I just hope we have 10 years (from security, environmental and fiscal standpoints).
ERD, don't get me wrong, there is a hell of a lot of waste, and a lot of hypocrits. All I am saying is that not ALL people that take trips, and are concerned about the environment, are hypocrits.
__________________
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
(Ancient Indian Proverb)"
Zathras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2009, 01:22 PM   #69
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,526
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zathras View Post
I am so sick of that argument, many use it to cry foul about anyone concerned about the environment that also flies in airplanes (not sure that you were fuego, but I hear it often from those that do).
There can be very good reasons to do that even if someone is concerned about the environment.
If, as a result of the trip, 2 tons of CO2 are added to the atmosphere AND 3, 20 or 1000 tons that would have been are not, because of a speech, teaching sustainable argriculture techniques, convincing other world leaders to cut down on the amount of CO2 they emit, then it is well worth it.
I was more pointing it out as irony than actually using it as an "argument". Undoubtedly in many cases, people can produce a net benefit by flying somewhere and doing something. But there are plenty of cases where individuals don't really do the math on their carbon footprint. Consider an environmentalist flying thousands and thousands of miles to protest outside of a WTO conference. Is there a net benefit there? How about a dozen someones involved in "volunteer tourism" who fly half way around the world to help build something green to save a little energy, when that same thing could have been built cheaper and better by locals with only the supervision of a foreign consultant?

Is "ecotourism" environmentally friendly when you fly thousands of miles to a rainforest jungle and stay in "sustainable" housing and go on zip lines through the jungle and raft down rivers?

Just a few comments - businesses have figured out the green thing and have latched on to its huge profitability. Consumers are suckers for fads. "Green" is a fad right now. Truly taking action and making real sacrifices is different from simply buying goods and services with a "green" label attached to them.

To those that are actually benefitting the environment in some manner that actually matters, that is great. For the rest, just do your part by doing nothing. Sit at home and stare at the wall - that will probably reduce CO2 emissions more than jetsetting around the world on a misguided mission.

I see too many people pay lip service to environmentalism then proceed to not do much in the way of true conservation. You probably know these people too and are equally incensed by them. The type that buys a hybrid SUV to commute 60 miles a day, when any mid-range sedan would produce less emissions AND succeed at delivering them to/from work everyday. The type that would drive a few miles out of their way to buy a cup of coffee because their favored coffee shop supports "sustainable agriculture" and uses disposable cups made from 30% recycled content. In the meantime, they have no issue idling in the 8 car deep drive thru line and after finishing their cup of coffee, they throw it in the trash. The type that installs a 200 W windmill and 200 W of solar cells to help green some of the electricity required to cool their 4000 sf mcmansion (which was marketed as "green construction").

Too often it is uninformed do-gooders that try to intervene in something without really knowing what they are doing. This without hot air book is a breath of fresh air. I still have not finished reading it, but from what I have read, it is full of actual facts and numbers, not just scare tactics or feel-good-ness. Maybe if more armchair environmentalists did a little research, the world would be a more happy efficient place?
__________________
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2009, 04:31 PM   #70
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: New York
Posts: 898
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zathras View Post
Let them drill in ANWAR, off the coasts, where ever they like. ... Then (in 10 years or so) when we finally see what a lost cause it is, more people will take an interest.

I agree wholeheartedly. The argument over drilling is a distraction. Only when its behind us will people come to realize the true situation we're in.
__________________
Money's just something you need in case you don't die tomorrow.
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2009, 06:06 PM   #71
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,614
Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp View Post

What is obvious to me , and I am sure 95%+ on the forum would agree, is this simple proposition. "The US and the world would be better off if the consumption of oil was dramatically reduced."
Maybe not, it depends entirely on the alternative. Obviously, if we just stopped burning oil tomorrow and didn't replace it with anything, I don't think many people in the US (or on this board) would believe we are "better off." Obviously, that's a very exaggerated situation, but there are many alternatives (some being proposed right now) that are worse than the status quo. There are several options that could significantly reduce the US GDP growth. That's more than a number, it is quality of life and actual length of those lives in many cases. The energy sources we are using now are being used because they are the cheapest--and that puts the US on a competitive even field with everyone else. If we unilaterally choose to hobble our industry and our citizens with higher energy costs, we should demand a very high standard of proof that we are getting a good return on a very significant investment.

From a long-range geopolitical standpoint there are other issues. Right now the US is a lone economic and military superpower-the military supremacy is based largely on the economic one. If we deliberately handicap our economy, we hasten the end of this situation, and reduce our influence in the world. Before we decide that is a good thing, it would be good to see who's coming up to start calling the shots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp View Post
It doesn't really matter what your position is on greenhouse gas, drilling in ANWAR, Nuclear, solar, conservation, Carbon cap or trade etc etc. I have yet to meet a person that is happy that US consume 20 million barrels of oil a day, and spends >$1 billion/day purchasing imported oil mostly from folks who don't like us much.
Somebody is going to buy that oil. Some of the potential buyers are folks that don't like us either. I'd prefer that they not get a cheaper price for the stuff while we spend more for alternatives just so some people can feel good about themselves. Also, few in the world will burn it more efficiently and with less pollution.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2009, 09:51 PM   #72
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
clifp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,450
Quote:
Originally Posted by FUEGO View Post
I was more pointing it out as irony than actually using it as an "argument". Undoubtedly in many cases, people can produce a net benefit by flying somewhere and doing something. But there are plenty of cases where individuals don't really do the math on their carbon footprint. Consider an environmentalist flying thousands and thousands of miles to protest outside of a WTO conference. Is there a net benefit there? How about a dozen someones involved in "volunteer tourism" who fly half way around the world to help build something green to save a little energy, when that same thing could have been built cheaper and better by locals with only the supervision of a foreign consultant?

Is "ecotourism" environmentally friendly when you fly thousands of miles to a rainforest jungle and stay in "sustainable" housing and go on zip lines through the jungle and raft down rivers?
....

To those that are actually benefitting the environment in some manner that actually matters, that is great. For the rest, just do your part by doing nothing. Sit at home and stare at the wall - that will probably reduce CO2 emissions more than jetsetting around the world on a misguided mission.


Too often it is uninformed do-gooders that try to intervene in something without really knowing what they are doing. This without hot air book is a breath of fresh air. I still have not finished reading it, but from what I have read, it is full of actual facts and numbers, not just scare tactics or feel-good-ness. Maybe if more armchair environmentalists did a little research, the world would be a more happy efficient place?

This is one of my favorite anecdote so I've told it before but I think it especially appropriate for an environmental thread in forum filled with LYBM type.

Intel Co-Founder Gordon Moore (the guy behind Moore's Law) is the largest donor to Conservation International, CI, (an intelligent environmental group IMO) and on the board of directors. In the late 90s he flew down to Rio for the board meeting. Much of CI's work is in the Amazon so the location made sense. Before the meeting fellow board member Harrison Ford went up to Gordon and exclaimed.
"Gordon I hear you flew down here commercial, that is killer flight"
"Yup, even flew coach" Gordon said proudly.
"But Gordon, I flew down in here in my jet, so did John Travolta (both Harrison and Travolta are avid pilots). My god you are a multi-billionaire, you could afford a fleet of jets, even an entire airline."
"Yup, but how do you think I got into this position, Harrison?"

I originally told the story as example of classic (ok maybe extreme, if I was billionaire I'd fly first class) example of LYBM.

I don't want to beat up on Harrison Ford, who by all accounts is pretty normal guy by Hollywood standards and has been helping out CI for 15+ years. Still there is something almost obscenely wasteful about flying 6300 miles to participate in an environmental event in your Citation (couldn't he at least given Gordon a ride).

In contrast Gordon is conservative in all matters of life. A life long Republican, he lived in a modest size house, drove standard sized sedans. His reputation for frugality in all things was legendary at Intel. He recycled the lead used in experiments into fishing lures, asked his fellow Intel board members for change for a quarter so he could use $.10 pay phone etc.

I can't fault CI for using Harrison Ford as their spokesmen, I'd use Indy Jones as my spokesman instead of 80 year old grandfather type. Still I think a billionaire who drives an 11 year old Mercedes diesel is a good environmental role model, even if he hadn't donated almost 1/2 billion to conservation efforts.

One of the attractions of CI is that hire primarily local people work with other local people to make conservation economically attractive. The exact opposite of the global environmentalist flying down to the rainforest to due volunteer work and possibly depriving a local of a badly needed job.

In fact one of my motivations for finding Sustainable Energy, was my revulsion to thunderous applause given to film maker of FUEL. His approach to solving the energy problem was to drive a full size van across the country, and make a film about the experience. In the mistaken believe that biofuel was THE solution to our energy problems. He then compounds the problem by jetting across the country (a few weeks ago he was in CT.) to promote the film. Argh as FUEGO says just stay home.
__________________
clifp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2009, 11:34 PM   #73
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
clifp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,450
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Maybe not, it depends entirely on the alternative. Obviously, if we just stopped burning oil tomorrow and didn't replace it with anything, I don't think many people in the US (or on this board) would believe we are "better off." Obviously, that's a very exaggerated situation, but there are many alternatives (some being proposed right now) that are worse than the status quo.
Sam I am trying to find common ground. I am simply saying that while you may be the 5%, for the other 95% if we cut our oil consumption
in 1/2 to 10 million barrels a day (which would also mostly eliminate our dependence of foreign oil) that would be a good thing. I think if I had add without any change to our current standard of living, or economic power, I'd even convince you it is a good thing.

Now obviously in the absence of a magic new energy source this isn't going to happen. I also agree with you that many of the proposed solutions are worse than the status quo. However, I think it is important for us tree hugging skeptics to acknowledge is that the status quo isn't good either. In particular, we are living beyond our energy means. So just in the same way that a good retirement requires savings for a future and a willingness to fore go current consumption for a better future, when paychecks stop, the same thing applies to energy consumption. We need to save now for the day when the oil supply gets smaller. I also believe in compounding effect of energy saving. A 2-4% gain in energy efficiency/increase renewables each year will be more beneficial and less painful than trying to achieve a 30-50% in a single year 10 years from now. Much in the same way that starting to save for retirement is much better of at 35 than at 45.

I think why Sustainable Energy:Without the hot air (SE) is important to me is provides both a clear warning about how much we have to do as well as what things are most important. To me it is the difference between the magazine articles screaming Americans will need save millions to retire and tells you cut out your daily starbucks, and something like Firecalc. FIREcalc lets you easily model the differences between cutting the daily Starbuck (~10K lifetime saving) and switching from a mutual fund with an ER of 2% to Vanguard (~100K lifetime savings). The numbers are way more valuable than adjectives.




Quote:
Somebody is going to buy that oil. Some of the potential buyers are folks that don't like us either. I'd prefer that they not get a cheaper price for the stuff while we spend more for alternatives just so some people can feel good about themselves. Also, few in the world will burn it more efficiently and with less pollution.
Yes, but in general consumers of oil like Europe, (China is an important exception) are more friendly than producers like, Iran, Venzuela,and Russia. Decreasing total demand for oil, decrease total revenue into these unfriendly governments. Becoming less dependent on oil is also a national and economic security issue. If Europe/Japan because less dependent on oil than the US, in the event of another 70s style oil embargo their economies will be able to adjust easier than our.

As for the US being particularly efficient or non polluting, you are simply mistaken here, and SE:WTHA documents it quite well. On a energy per capita consumption the US is near the top, at 250 KWH/personday about 2x most Europeans. Nor are we particularly efficient at KWh per dollar of GDP. Our 250 KWh produces $42,000 per capita income, where as England 125 KWh produces $32,000, Argentina produces $15,000 but only consumes 50KWh.
__________________
clifp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 07:57 PM   #74
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp View Post
Yes, but in general consumers of oil like Europe, (China is an important exception) are more friendly than producers like, Iran, Venzuela,and Russia. Decreasing total demand for oil, decrease total revenue into these unfriendly governments. Becoming less dependent on oil is also a national and economic security issue. If Europe/Japan because less dependent on oil than the US, in the event of another 70s style oil embargo their economies will be able to adjust easier than our.

As for the US being particularly efficient or non polluting, you are simply mistaken here, and SE:WTHA documents it quite well. On a energy per capita consumption the US is near the top, at 250 KWH/personday about 2x most Europeans. Nor are we particularly efficient at KWh per dollar of GDP. Our 250 KWh produces $42,000 per capita income, where as England 125 KWh produces $32,000, Argentina produces $15,000 but only consumes 50KWh.
Aw, cmon. It is more fun to bash people we don't like than to think about what we collectively need to do. I admire you for sticking with the facts.

I am still reading the book, trying not to jump to the end.
__________________
OhSoClose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 09:17 PM   #75
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,614
Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp View Post
Sam I am trying to find common ground.
Me, too. Hey, I'm reading the book now.

(Bold added)
Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp View Post
I am simply saying that while you may be the 5%, for the other 95% if we cut our oil consumption
in 1/2 to 10 million barrels a day (which would also mostly eliminate our dependence of foreign oil) that would be a good thing.
I don't know why people think if we use less oil that the percentage of oil we purchase from overseas will decline. It won't (necessarily). We will (and should) continue to buy oil from overseas as long as it is cheaper than what we pull out of the ground here. General rule: "Energy independence" is a campaign slogan that makes no economic sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp View Post
Nor are we particularly efficient at KWh per dollar of GDP. Our 250 KWh produces $42,000 per capita income, where as England 125 KWh produces $32,000, Argentina produces $15,000 but only consumes 50KWh.
England! C'mon. Is it possible that a much higher population density ( 249 people per sq km compared to the US figure of 31 per sq km) and the resultant lower transportation costs for goods and people might explain a lot of this? Or maybe the milder climate?

Argentina? Why stop there? Chad has the world's "cleanest" economy (measured by GDP/CO2 emissions, here's a link to a Wikipedia chart). Anybody prefer to live in Chad than the US? BTW, by the info provided at that link, the US produces $1,936 in GDP for every ton of CO2 we put out, Argentina produces $1072 per ton. That is, they are far less efficient (45% less efficient) than we are. Probably a difference in the details of how the figures were assembled, but as we go down this "facts-based" discussion we should all be aware that the methodology used to compile and frame the facts can drastically change the outcome. IOW, let's not kid ourselves about the "precision" of this endeavor--but it's still worth doing.

Anyway, the ER board has already been down this road of dividing GDP by energy use (using CO2 emissions as a rough approximation for "dirty" energy use). See our discussion starting at #76 in this thread. In fact, it was exactly one year ago today that one of our most respected and insightful posters* wrote (post 83) " . . . This does make US quite energy efficient per $ of GDP." He's a smart guy and I agree with him wholeheartedly.

*clifp
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2009, 08:20 AM   #76
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,255
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp
I am simply saying that while you may be the 5%, for the other 95% if we cut our oil consumption in 1/2 to 10 million barrels a day (which would also mostly eliminate our dependence of foreign oil) that would be a good thing.
(Bold added)
I don't know why people think if we use less oil that the percentage of oil we purchase from overseas will decline. It won't (necessarily). We will (and should) continue to buy oil from overseas as long as it is cheaper than what we pull out of the ground here. General rule: "Energy independence" is a campaign slogan that makes no economic sense.
We can make a parallel to this, to explain it from another angle:

Instead of a reduction in consumption, an increase in domestic supply of oil would (according to clifp's premise) have the same effect in "eliminating our dependence on foreign oil". But, we can produce all the cars we need here in the US - GM Ford and Chrysler have plenty of empty plants and available workforce. But people still buy foreign cars.

Yes, partially because of perceived (or actual) quality differences in those cars, but probably mostly due to "value". So, as long as foreign oil is a better value than meeting our demands domestically (either through increased production of oil or alternative energy, reduced consumption, or both), we will choose to buy some foreign oil, whether we are dependent on it, or not.

And samclem makes a good point - cut our oil needs in half, and we will *still* buy that remaining half from wherever we can get it at the best value. And if we are buying less on the open market, the prices will drop (relatively), making it tough to pass up.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2009, 05:33 PM   #77
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
clifp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7,450
Ok I'll concede that cutting our oil consumption in 1/2 wouldn't eliminate our dependence on foreign oil under normal circumstance. But it would make us less vulnerable to 70s style. oil embargo

(As an aside, does anybody know did the price of oil from producers like Canada or Britain rise more during the oil embargo. Or in other words how does an embargo of a global commodity like oil work?)

Quote:
Anyway, the ER board has already been down this road of dividing GDP by energy use (using CO2 emissions as a rough approximation for "dirty" energy use). See our discussion starting at #76 in this thread. In fact, it was exactly one year ago today that one of our most respected and insightful posters* wrote (post 83) " . . . This does make US quite energy efficient per $ of GDP." He's a smart guy and I agree with him wholeheartedly.
My that is no fair using my own words against me, especially when combined with flattery LOL. However this isn't an apples to apples comparison. GDP per ton of CO2 emissions is different than KWh per GDP/per capita. You were the one who made reasonable assumption that CO2 emission was good substitute for energy consumption. I am inclined to believe the data in SE:WHTA more than a a collection of articles pulled from Wiki, simply because I think Mackay was very careful to make valid comparison. So with new data my opinion has shifted.

I agree that the distances in the US mean we will never achieve the energy efficiency of a place like Europe. I picked Argentina because it is also a large (bigger than Alaska) country and not particularly densely populated. I think Argentina living standards are closer to the US than Chad, but I not willing to scale my standard of living back to that level. On other hand I do hope that BRIC countries could in the future live like folks in Argentina.

Overall, after reading the book, I was surprised to see how generally inefficient the US was at using energy. In fact, I pretty much agree with what even more respected poster* said a year ago on the topic
Quote:
Nope, we're not "saints" in the US, but we ain't demons, either. And, as oil gets more expensive, we're in a fairly good spot relative to the rest of the world:
-- We've got lots of coal. Sure, the price will go up as oil gets more scarce, but at the very least US producers will gain from this. "We're the Saudi Arabia of coal." Dirty--yes, but that's fixable at the right price.
-- There are no technical or political barriers to increasing US nuclear power production
-- Where we waste energy is on the consumer side. That's a good thing. It's a lot easier for people to start driving more efficient cars and maybe even carpool than it is to convert a huge, energy-hungry industrial base to production of a different item or to use of a different energy source. How will the creaky industrial infrastructure of Eastern Europe fair? How are European consumers going to cut back in the face of higher oil prices--cram 150 people into each bus? Strap more seats on the top of their Smart cars? Will Thais bolt a sidecar to the other flank of their 50c scooter? In the words of Mark Twain (in an entirely different context), they "have neglected their [bad] habits . . . she was a sinking ship with no freight to throw overboard." The US has plenty of "freight to throw overboard" and still keep our production and standard of living high!
So which one is true Sam? does the US have plenty of freight to throw overboard or will "few in the world will burn it [oil] more efficiently and with less pollution"

*SamClem
__________________
clifp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2009, 05:58 PM   #78
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,255
clifp - I think samclem may be speaking more to the pollution from burning a gallon of fuel, not just the CO2.

I read recently (forget the details), that some island nation had a huge smog problem. Most of the smog came from little 2-cycle engines used for transportation and delivery vehicles. They had almost zero pollution controls.

In this article, the govt started subsidizing loans for a cylinder head replacement (I think it included fuel injection). Not only did this design cut pollution, but it improved fuel economy so delivery people could actually repay the loan on fuel savings (the local govt might have subsidized some of the cost, I don't recall). But, by charging for the upgrade, the people who benefit most (and provided the most benefit in smog reduction with these upgrades) were the ones to apply for it.

Anyhow, a vehicle w/o pollution controls spews out hundreds and thousands of times as much nasty stuff as our US cars. Even our current standards are tougher than Europe, one reason we don't see their diesels here.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2009, 08:57 PM   #79
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,614
Hoist by my own petard! But not so fast.
Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp View Post
Overall, after reading the book, I was surprised to see how generally inefficient the US was at using energy. In fact, I pretty much agree with what even more respected poster* said a year ago on the topic
So which one is true Sam? does the US have plenty of freight to throw overboard or will "few in the world will burn it [oil] more efficiently and with less pollution"

*SamClem
Okay, I see the gloves are coming off. It's only a little dirty to point out total contradictions small inconsistencies from posts a year apart, it is downright mean to point out inconsistencies between near-simultaneous posts!

Unfortunately, I've only got time for a brief parry (and explanation). With regard to our industry, I think we are very efficient. This has nothing to do with our altruism or basic goodness, but because businesses here (largely free of state subsidies, etc) have a reason to watch all their costs, including energy costs. The situation is different with regard to "consumer use" of energy in the US-- we are a wealthy people, we live long distances from each other, and fuel has been historically cheap. It's no surprise that we buy heavy sedans, trucks and SUVs. We buy energy-using TVs and toys. We can afford larger houses than even Europeans with similar GDP/capita, and these houses have higher embodied energy costs and cost more fuel to run. So, I'd defend both of my statements: Few national "wealth engines" use fuel as efficiently as the US, and few end consumers waste it as much as we do. And, we do still have plenty of "freight to throw overboard" while maintaining our standard of living--but it's mostly on the "retail" side, not the "industrial" side.

Re: the book (SE). I like MacKay's writing and explanatory style and applaud his approach, but I'm afraid he's glossing over some important items, and I suspect he does have an agenda. I'm only on Chapter 1, but he says (page 11) :
Quote:
Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide; each gas has different physical properties; it’s conventional to express all gas emissions in “equivalent amounts of carbon dioxide,” where “equivalent” means “having the same warming effect over a period of 100 years.”
Okay, what about water vapor? It is, by far, the most plentiful and important greenhouse gas. But MacKay goes on for pages and pages about "total greenhouse gas emissions" for various regions and never tells us if he's including this most ubiquitous villain in his numbers or not. Now, many global warming adherents make a good case for minimizing the impact of H2O (due to efficient feedback mechanisms), but MacKay ought to make this point himself. In fact, the term "water vapour" (sic) shows up in his 300+ page book only thrice. In addition, from what I can tell he talks nothing about the important homeostatic mechanisms that will (eventually) reduce greenhouse gases (the equivalent of adding more passport control officers in his Ch 1 example). This is not a book that purports to explain global warming, but GW is one of the main reasons he says the rest of his book is worth considering. For a guy claiming to be a facts-based explainer, he shouldn't demand that the reader take this fundamental point (the existence of anthropogenic GW) on such flimsy evidence.

But, there's much more to read, and much that seems worthwhile.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2009, 08:58 PM   #80
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
brewer12345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 16,391
I am not gifted in the area of math and engineering is a closed book to me. But I am (a) interested in reducing my impact on the environament, (b) a late adopter, and (c) lazy. So personally, I go for the low hanging fruit, of which there seems to be an awful lot lying around:

- Solar doesn't work for my location and seems a bit of a question mark in terms of energy savings, so I switched to a green power supplier. They indicate that the power supplied is mostly wind and small scale hydro, although I think some nat gas is used. In any case, its all inarguably a hell of a lot cleaner than coal, which was the predominant power source for my inccumbent local supplier. Incremental cost per month is roughly $10/month per family of 4.
- I finally saw dimmable compact fluorescents for sale at a reasonable price. After the local utility's rebate, payback is pretty swift vs. the incandescents I used to use. When they work the kinks and oustized costs out of LEDs, I will switch to those.
- Instead of driving to work, I take the train. Kind of a "duh" thing, but probably the most effective thing I could possibly do.
- I pay more attention to what the stuff I buy is packaged in. If I can buy one of two products at about the same cost, but one has far less superfluous packaging, I pick it. Bonus points for recyclability.
- Any appliance that dies gets replaced by a high efficiency model.

This stuff is relatively small potatoes and doesn't require much effort or understanding. I think most of it is stuff people will not argue over as far as energy efficiency and pollution savings. The hard part is how to motivate the population to pick the low hanging fruit.

And help me out: natural gas is cheap and abundant, as well as a good deal cleaner than oil and orders of magnitude cleaner than coal. Why don't we use more nat gas?
__________________

__________________
"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."



- Will Rogers
brewer12345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air HFWR Other topics 11 05-19-2009 11:26 PM
Air Car- runs on compressed air and/or combustion samclem Other topics 53 07-19-2008 07:28 AM
New Calculator - Max Sustainable Withdrawal Rates kmarbach FIRE and Money 13 03-19-2003 01:28 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:08 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.