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They offer a few crumbs to the economically stressed community.  "Jobssssss.  Yesssss, precious.  Jobssssss.  And if you don't want them, we know a town that does, just across the border.  The Others, you know.  Don't let them take your jobs away."

They cook up a number like X = (Actual Jobs) * (Years) * (Massage Parlor Multiplier) and trumpet it as if it as a real jobs number.  You know, like the kind of real jobs we used to have, that lasted more than a year.

After the permits are issued, the reality arrives.  Many of the jobs aren't locally sourced, and they don't last long.  Long after those few enough construction job have left forever, leaving three lonely guys in a computer room operating the pipeline, or the terminal, the impacts remain.  The pollution.  The spills.  The climate impacts.  The lost opportunity - because your community could have spent that time and energy building something worthwhile and enduring.

The breaking wave of these schemes are large scale carbon export plans from North America.  Keystone XL is the obvious and best known example.  At the same time as Keystone XL is playing out, there are plans to infest Whatcom County, WA with the largest coal export terminal in North America.  The entire west coast of North America is threatened with an array of carbon export plans, for both coal and dirty tar sands oil.

Coming soon to a town near you
There are plenty of reasons why these carbon export schemes are stunningly bad ideas, the pinnacle of the stupid being the amount of carbon, previously locked away, that will be liberated on the global combustion market and into the atmosphere if these projects are not stopped.  

There's lots of information about that immense problem - this diary is about a specific aspect of the plans.

They are fooling, and cowing, communities into participating in their own destruction.

The deception starts, of course, with the inflated job numbers.  They really do take the job number and multiply it by the number of years (say two years, for construction) to get job * years as if it was a job number.   And yes, there really is a massage parlor multiplier in the number.  Don't even mention that these job numbers are small compared to the job opportunities in solar power or in upgrading our power stations to save lives.

The job promotion is just classic lying.  I could almost accept that as normal, these days.  What, you expect sharks not to eat fish?

What really gets me is this premise, very actively pushed by the hired guns of the project proponents and currently creating despair here in Whatcom County WA:

"It's going to happen anyway, so you may as well take the jobs."

That, as my good friend Woodrow used to say, is what really chaps my butt.

Let's take that apart and see how much it sucks.

Coal town?
This is a project that should not happen.  It should not happen anywhere.  But they say we should accept and even advocate for it - here - because we'll get a few crumbs.  A few temporary jobs.

The supposed issue is that if we stop the project - here - that some other community will accept the crumbs and so we'll be out of "luck".  We achieved nothing because the project, and its enduring global impacts, happened anyway.

Here's an extremely pointed and intentionally polarizing analogy:

Somebody comes by and offers you money to poison your neighbor, who has not done anybody any harm.  You figure that somebody is going to do it regardless, so you may as well take the cash.  And after all, it's just business.  Right?

Well the only difference between that analogy and the reality is that you don't know exactly who will be harmed. Does that matter?.

There is only one answer: We shall not participate in our own destruction.

Any time we hear about another community that might be "competing" for the privilege of hosting a carbon export facility, all that should mean to us is that it's another community that we can help out, compare notes with, and combine forces with, in order to stop carbon export.

Then there's the macro version of this: China is going to burn coal anyway, so we, as a nation, may as well take the cash.  This line of reasoning is even worse.  It enables people to say, in turn, "China is not reducing GHG emissions, so why should we?"  Well, if we send them a billion tons of coal, and outsource all of our manufacturing to them, don't we have just a wee bit of responsibility for what occurs over there?

The initial permitting process is the critical and in fact only realistic chance to stop these projects.  Once the permit is issued, and construction begins, you will never be rid of it.  The vampire is at the window - if you invite it into your house, you're going to be out of luck.

For proposed or potential coal export projects, here is the current list to my knowledge:

Cherry Point, WA (Coal Export)  Currently the biggest and most immediate threat.
Longview, WA (Coal Export)  
Hoquaim, WA (Coal Export)
Port of Morrow, OR (Coal)
Port of St. Helens, OR (Coal)
Westshore, BC (Coal, existing, Expansion threat)
Ridley Coal Terminal, Prince Rupert, B.C (Coal, Existing, Expansion threat)

On tar sands export, some exceptional recent dKos coverage is here (and it's just from the last few days!):

DWG on First Nations protecting their land and people

RLMiller all over Keystone    With followup

Ellinorianne about the Canadian government messing with our energy policy to promote their dirty oil

Lefty Coaster on ramming through tar sands pipelines that will pollute the Salish sea

Any time you think that you don't have a choice, you actually do.  Any time you think you have to do something that's wrong, you don't.

Save our Beautiful Clean Air
Not Here.  
Not in Our community.  
Not in any other place.

Not Today.  
Not Tomorrow.  
Not Next Year.

We shall not participate in our own Destruction.

 

Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 07:32 AM PST.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Strand that carbon! (16+ / 0-)

    For all of our children.

    We shall not participate in our own destruction.

    by James Wells on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 07:21:56 AM PST

  •  we're all going to ... (6+ / 0-)

    die someday too ...


    does that mean we just accept it, and just quit living?


    Thx for the great post James Wells,
    nice synergy of ideas and concepts.


    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 07:41:30 AM PST

  •  Yeah, I don't get why everyone is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Wells, koNko

    so worked up about the tar sands when coal is a way worse and more immediate threat.

    Guess that's because there are more jobs involved in swing states, or something like that.

    •  They are both massive (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SolarMom, bnasley

      I am largely tracking the Cherry Point proposal because it is local to here and so huge (1 billion tons of coal over 20 years), but also because it seems the tar sands are getting all of the attention.

      We shall not participate in our own destruction.

      by James Wells on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 08:13:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess my concern is that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Wells, bnasley

        with "peak oil" - oil production is fated to drift surely and slowly downwards (with or without tarsands, with are only a small fraction of the globe's output - and logistical constraints ensure that that will be the case for a long time if not always).

        OTOH, do you ever hear about "peak coal"?  Maybe - but I know I don't!  What really happened is that COAL DOUBLED since 1980 (and is on pace to do so again in the next generation).  And yet there is relative silence about that (hey, not trying to diminish your efforts - that's just the way it seems to me!!)

    •  no either/or (0+ / 0-)

      tar sands is "easy" because it all rests on the president, who promised to do something about climate.

      but people are "worked up" about all of it.

      As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

      by mightymouse on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 06:27:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You don't actually answer the argument. (0+ / 0-)

    I guess that's my biggest concern about the environmental movement: they seem to honestly believe that people will willingly and significantly degrade their quality of life by using a lot less energy, while at the same time leaving a potential source of that energy in the ground.

    I'm sorry, I don't think that's realistic at all.  Unless you can present people with an energy alternative that allows them to preserve a signficant portion of their lifestyle, then you have to accept that that oil and that coal will be pulled out and used.

    So, yes, barring development of a successful alternative, if you dont take the benefits of that removal, someone else will- because that oil/coal is going to be removed.

    You can either attempt to take it out responsibly and benefit from it, or eventually lose the power to control it and only be able to stand by and watch in horror as people who will exploit it take it out irresponsibly.

    Forgive me if I think the first option is better; though I will cheerfully acknowledge finding an option that allows people to maintain the majority of their quality of life without using oil or coal would be best of all.

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 11:39:34 AM PST

    •  Coal export will cost job and impair life quality (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SolarMom, mightymouse

      It's just not true that leaving this coal in the ground, instead of shipping it to China, will degrade our quality of life.  The opposite is the case.

      To the case of the Cherry Point coal terminal specifically, all along the rail line, the impacts are significant and basically no jobs created.  At the terminal, the few permanent jobs created will be outweighed by permanent impairment of our ability to further develop jobs downtown, due to 18 incredibly large, polluting, and insanely noisy trains going through each and every day.  Fishermen will lose jobs, the local herring population will likely be significantly impacted.  

      At the end of all this, we ship the absolutely least value-added item that can possibly be imagined, being coal, to China, so that can use to manufacture more things that we should be making here, so we can owe them even more money.

      Coal export = net loss of jobs and major impairment of quality of life.

      We shall not participate in our own destruction.

      by James Wells on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 11:50:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh its entirely true that leaving (0+ / 0-)

        coal in the ground degrades quality of life.

        Leaving the coal in the ground means less energy being produced (unless you have some alternative you're not mentioning). Less energy produced means I have to pay more or use less energy, both of which degrade my quality of life.

        That's the argument you're dodging; instead trying to reframe it as "Taking the coal out degrades the quality of life more than leaving it in".

        Which is a persuasive argument for now; the environmental movement's mistake is in beliving that it will be a persuasuive argument forever.

        As people are forced to either use substantially less energy or pay substantially more for the energy they are using, the quality of that argument will degrade significantly, and, once again, barring an alternative, there will come a day when it will simply cease to be persuasuive and that coal WILL come out.

        What will you do then?

        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

        by Whimsical on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 12:37:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  um... bullshit. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          James Wells, bnasley

          first, using less energy doesn't degrade the quality of your life. That's simply absurd. How does turning off a light you aren't using (conservation) or replacing the same light with a more efficient bulb (efficiency) in any way degrade the quality of your life?

          Second, paying more for energy only degrades the quality of your life if you don't get anything in return. If you pay more for energy but less in taxes because there is less pollution requiring less clean-up, less healthcare (less asthma, less mercury poisoning, less cancer), and less policing of oil tankers, then you come out ahead. How about paying less for insurance because there are less big storms due to climate change? How do you think the influx of millions of climate change refugees is going to impact the global economy?

          Mercury, acid rain, SOx, NOx, radiation, hurricanes, drought, flooding, lost forests, lost mountains, ground water contamination, air quality degradation, black lung, and extremely high disability rates - that degrades your quality of life.

          Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

          by jam on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 01:43:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But the environmental movement isn't talking (0+ / 0-)

            about conversion and efficency, not as more than minor footnotes, anyway.

            Every message I see from the enviromentalists boils down to "You are going to need to substantially reduce the amount of energy (far more than you could get by conversation or efficency) you are using or we're doomed."  If that's not what you're saying, I'll apologize, but its what me, and millions like me are hearing from you.

            There have been several diaries up over the past month about how we are going to have to transition to a low-energy economy, in fact.

            And no one seems to have an answer to me pointing out how unrealistic it is to expect people to voluntarily switch to a low-energy economy when there's a source of energy right in the ground.

            If you pay more for energy but less in taxes because there is less pollution requiring less clean-up, less healthcare (less asthma, less mercury poisoning, less cancer), and less policing of oil tankers, then you come out ahead. How about paying less for insurance because there are less big storms due to climate change?

            Thinking taxes or insurance rates are going to go down is as unrealistic a view of government and business as thinking people will voluntarily transition to a low energy state when there's energy in the ground is an unrealistic view of people.

            Mercury, acid rain, SOx, NOx, radiation, hurricanes, drought, flooding, lost forests, lost mountains, ground water contamination, air quality degradation, black lung, and extremely high disability rates - that degrades your quality of life.

            Not really. You haven't made the case how any of that stuff affects me directly. The $200 a month extra I shell out for energy, I can see how that degrades my quality of life very directly, though.

            Look, I accept the reality of warming and that we're causing it, and somethings going to have to be done.  

            That's why I get upset when I see the enivronmental movement focusing on messaging that simply isn't going to work.

            We need to find a way to tell people "Here's how you can use just as much energy, if not more, than before, without killing the planet" if we're to have ANY hope of solving this problem.

            Instead we appear to be focusing on the band-aid of trying to get people to change their behavior, which will only be effective until they have to pay more or use less.

            "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

            by Whimsical on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 02:10:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I can only speak for me, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bnasley

              not whoever these other environmentalists are.

              All of the above.  Conversion and efficiency are huge, there is no way that they are a footnote.

              And not all behavior change is sacrifice.  In our household, we have reduced our energy use by about 15% and our waste stream to trash by about 65%.  My daughter thinks that tearing up packaging into its different component materials so they can go into the different recycle bins is fun.  We haven't given away a thing in lifestyle.

              And we absolutely, positively are going to keep burning coal.  It's an incredibly useful energy resource that will continue to fulfill a role in the energy mix, due to properties like having the ultimate in dispatchability and of course being plentiful.  It just needs to stop growing  in scale and then move in the direction of a minority share, in which capacity it will be viable for centuries.

              This diary is mostly about stopping the further expansion of coal.  Entirely new, huge capital projects, which are going in the wrong direction.

              We shall not participate in our own destruction.

              by James Wells on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 07:27:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well then we sort of agree. (0+ / 0-)

                Im all for stopping the expansion of coal. But you'll only be able to stop it for so long unless you have a better alternative to offer people to get their energy from. As I said above, your argument is persuasive now, but barring offering people another way to get their energy it will not be persuasive forever.

                Focusing on getting people to change their behavior rather than providing them with new sources of energy is a bit like focusing on a paper cut when you've got cancer. Yeah, sure, it'll stop the immediate bleeding, but it does little to nothing to stop the overall problem.

                "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

                by Whimsical on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 03:08:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  you pay $200 a month for electricity?!?! (0+ / 0-)

              Well, then you definitely need to shift from what you are paying!  My god!

              If that's not what you're saying, I'll apologize, but its what me, and millions like me are hearing from you.

              Not from us.  From Chevron and Massey.  

              Therein lies the problem.

              •  Chevron and Massey are behind (0+ / 0-)

                the environmental movement?

                I never knew.

                Look, I'll try and find the diaries that hit Community spotlight over the last week if you want, about how we were going to have to transition to a "low energy" world; but I promise you, the majority of environmental messaging comes off as exactly what I said- "You are going to have to use far less energy than you do now or we're all doomed."

                That, to me, is ABSOLUTELY the wrong thing to be focused on.

                "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

                by Whimsical on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 03:02:43 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Some other diary, somewhere else, whatever! (0+ / 0-)

                  Just a diversion from the actual topic of the actual text of the diary.

                  We shall not participate in our own destruction.

                  by James Wells on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 05:44:02 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Look at the places that *have * done it! (0+ / 0-)

                  the "you will have to use amazingly less energy" line is from Chevron trying their scare tactics.

                  Of course, the US is so incredibly energy inefficient on average that most of the county could cut its usage a whole hell of a lot and still be o.k.

                  For example, I think you'll agree that Californians do not live in cases, and in many cases have a higher standard of living.

                  Well after forty years of environmentally friendly policies, we use 40% less electricity per capita to do it to.  THAT gives you an idea of how insanely much fat there is in most of the country's energy usage.  And even that people don't want to reduce (for exapmle, see this nonsense about the super wasterful incandescent light bulb (or should we say "space heater"?)  Europe is even more efficient that California.  no caves there either.

                  Oh, and Seatttle?  It decided to go along, and it complied with Kyoto.  Back to 1990 levels.  I think they don't live in caves either.

                  So, if the US started to deal with climate change, it would look like Europe, California and Seattle.  I think you'd be o.k. with that.

                  (sorry if I got snippy, but it was super late for me and I was tired.)

            •  not so - people talk conservation all the time (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              James Wells

              more expensive energy -> more conservation.

              it would be wonderful to have cheap, pain-free energy from coal & oil. unfortunately, there is no such thing.

              As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

              by mightymouse on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 06:30:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Actually (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          James Wells, mightymouse

          when health and environmental costs are factored in, society is paying roughly $1 to $2,50 in costs for every $1 of power produced. Leaving it in the ground more than pays for itself.  We'd be better off paying people NOT to mine it.

          I am guessing you've never heard of solar, wind, tidal, biogas, or geothermal?

          •  Of course I have, usually along the lines (0+ / 0-)

            of how they're insufficient.

            http://physics.ucsd.edu/...

            The only way out of the political trap is for a substantial fraction of our population to understand the dimensions of the problem: to understand that we’ve been spoiled by the surplus energy available through fossil fuels, and that we will have to make decade-level sacrifices to put ourselves on a new track.

            http://www.postcarbon.org/...

            Maybe I'm reading the wrong environmentalists, but most of the messaging I see falls along the lines of those examples above- "sacrifice", "use much less energy".  

            A message that's simply never going to fly.

            As for what society pays, that's only going to be usable as excuse for so long.  Eventually, barring alternatives, individuals are going to be asked to pay more than they can bear, and society WILL bear the cost of that coal coming out of the ground.

            "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

            by Whimsical on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 03:35:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  thanks for the links (0+ / 0-)

              I don't know this do the math guy (is he an environmentalist?  Or a physicist who thinks he knows everything?  Remember how much egg Robert Muller got on his face when he said that climate change was all bad data analysis and then was forced to concede the climate scientists were spot on?  Anyway, I digress)

              I think I'd look first to more mainstream environmentalists, such as EDF or NRDC, but really my perspective is from my professional situation in the building industry, which includes renewable energy developers.  THere is a HUGE amount of emphasis on figuring this out in a pragmatic standpoint by the people who have to actually go out an do the permitting, arrange financing and buld stuff and sell the actual power, and the policy makers they are dealing with.  I have not heard any suggestion from the people who will be doing this actual work that it's impossible.  This "energy density" analysis theory is interesting, but it's far frmo having been shown to be correct.  In fact, if he were correct, it would seem the California economy shouldn't exist.  (oh, and REALLY don't tell him abouty Denmark.  Denmark as a country is well on their way to having a 100% renewable economy.  I don't know about you, but I think the Danes have put in more collectve person-hours on this than a physics blogger in San Diego!)

              So, to your point that it is bad messaging and that there are a bunch of naysayers out there who are ignore the actual evidence of whats going on, it sounds right, and thatnks for bringing them to my attention.  I have a little debunking to do, it seems!

        •  If you are an average American (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mightymouse

          The amount of power you consume is simply unsustainable.

          There are solutions to reduce consumption, reduce emissions and improve quality of life.

          Just be honest: you don't want to. I don't know why, but that is what your arguments say.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 03:35:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I disagree with you (0+ / 0-)

            The answer is not to tell me to degrade my quality of life, its to find ways of making my energy usage sustainable.

            That's my entire point, really: "You have to use less energy" is a losing message and a surefire way to drive people AWAY from your cause.

            And it's vital to get people to convert to the cause, which is why I get so frustrated when I see the environmental movement using messaging guaranteed to drive people away from it.

            "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

            by Whimsical on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 03:43:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are not making sense (0+ / 0-)

              If it it unlimited power you want, then why don't you support Clean, Renewable Power Generation?

              But the simple fact is, US per capita energy use is very high and there is much room to reduce the amount used AND to improve quality of life if there is investment in energy conservation, clean energy generation and mass transit.

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 08:30:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Who says I don't support it? (0+ / 0-)

                My point is that I want the environmental movement to be trumpeting more "Here's how you can use more energy without killing the planet" and less "Use less energy!"

                "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

                by Whimsical on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 05:43:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So you are against energy conservation? (0+ / 0-)

                  This is the part that does not make sense because energy conservation is the low hanging fruit, i.e., the fastest and cheapest way to reduce carbon emissions with the best return on investment.

                  Reduce, reuse, recycle, replace. That is the order.

                  Google "Negawatt" and start reading.

                  What doesn't makes sense? What is not to like?

                  What about my Daughter's future?

                  by koNko on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:51:26 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm not against conservation (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm not HEARING about conservation.

                    What I am hearing from the environmental movement is "You're going to have to degrade the quality of your life by using substantially less energy."

                    FFS, there have been 3 diaries on either the rec list or community spotlight in the past week about how we are going to have to stop living the way we are and transition to a "low-energy economy".

                    That's a message that's not going to fly.

                    There needs to be much more of the stuff I've seen in this thread about how we CAN keep living in a reasonably close manner to that which we've been accustomed to while transitioning to renewable energy(btw, this thread is the first time I've seen that message from ANY environmentalist), and much less of the "your quality of life will inevitably deteriorate".

                    The environmental movement has a messaging problem. That's my point.

                    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

                    by Whimsical on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 04:09:11 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  May I suggest (0+ / 0-)

                      You research a bit more?

                      I agree with you that conservation is often under-stressed in some public spaces but it is a significant part of the nuts and bolts of the clean energy and sustainability movements and an area where actually a lot of progress is being made because it is cost-effective.

                      Search "Green Data Center" and I think you will find one tip of that iceberg.

                      Are you also reading selectively?

                      Just for example, conservation measures such as auto milage standards, energy efficient lighting and mass-transit are prominently featured on most green sites and even here on Daily Kos, both on the front page as well as some prominent diarists such as ASiegel (Adam Siegel) who's current diary may interest you.

                      What about my Daughter's future?

                      by koNko on Sun Dec 25, 2011 at 12:36:02 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

        •  Eventually solar and other renewables will be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          James Wells

          cheap enough that coal will not be cost effective. However that is going to take a while.
          One reason that oil has been "cheaper" is that we haven't been calculating the true cost of extraction.
          Including the wars for oil and the 40,000 dead on the nations highways, cancer deaths, etc.
          We need to make every industry pay its own way, and then at least renewables will have a fair chance.

          The oil industry wants to do risky extraction in deep water.
          At the same time they want to fight regulation and oversight, and fight having to pay for technology to make that extraction safer and cleaner.
          Same with coal.
          Same with shale nat gas extraction.

          At least we can fight to make all these industries submit to responsible oversight, regulation and danger mitigating technologies.

          We can also put in place a transactions tax on commodities trading that creates irrational bubbles on prices that have nothing to do with supply and demand. The oil spike was the needle that burst the housing bubble and created the last recession. High gas prices drives the power of oil, coal, and robs from the middle class. It's a regressive tax.

    •  no kiddin'. i never hear environmentalists talking (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Wells

      about things like wind or solar.  and even if once in a very great while some fringe enviro-whacko mentions either of those energy sources its' so unrealistic because developing either as an alternative to coal would take, jeez, i dunno, a couple hundred years at least.  So lets' GO GET THAT COAL!!!

      •  See above (0+ / 0-)

        Where I post examples of environmentalists basically going on about how nice wind and solar are, but how they're utterly insufficient for our needs.

        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

        by Whimsical on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 03:46:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  totally false premise you have there (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Wells
      they seem to honestly believe that people will willingly and significantly degrade their quality of life by using a lot less energy, while at the same time leaving a potential source of that energy in the ground.

      This is simply not what is being asked. No, this is basically coal company propaganda.  Funny how people roll their eyes at big bank propaganda about "job creators" but lap up coal and oil company propaganda like it was mother's milk.

      Right now I am sitting at my kitchen table looking at the enrollment packet from my new utility (I have two options and switched) that outlines my 100% renewable energy package. The power for my computer right now is from either biogas or wind.  You read that right, no carbon for my electricity.  Zero, zip, nada.  There are no "significant degradation" of quality of life here.  I am still posting.  World hasn't ended, nope.

      All it took was for someone to invest the money in the plants and someone willing to buy it.  And with incentives (and removing insane and immoral carbon subsidies) people have done exactly that.  A lot of them

      Yes, it costs me about $10 a month extra, although I could recoup that pretty fast if I were to buy electric for my next car rather than gas.  

      So, yes, not only are people taking the cash to go poison their neighbors but they aren't even demanding to be paid much for killing people!  Not just mercenaries, but cheap ones.

      Sorry, but one has to nip these falsehoods in the bud

      •  How nice for you. (0+ / 0-)
        This is simply not what is being asked. No, this is basically coal company propaganda.

        Then its coal company propaganda coming out of the mouths of people who call themselves environmentalists.
        You might want to look into that, cause they are driving people away from your cause with that message, and if they are misrepresenting themselves, proving it would be a good first step in winning those people back.

        Believe me, I would LOVE to hear more about how "This is how you can get your utility company to offer you 100% carbon free energy for only $10 more a month." That's a winning message.

        "You have to use less energy", as I was told in this very thread, is a losing message. My entire point is how I want to hear a lot more winning messages coming from the environmental movement than I currently do.

        Mind you, even if every power company in America offered 100% carbon free energy, that coal would still come out and be burned somewhere in the world, but that's another argument altogether...

        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

        by Whimsical on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 04:00:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  that's exactly what I pay more a month (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mindful Nature

          $10/month more to be 100% wind power. Depending on the state, you can get a solar power PPA for less than grid power.

          As far as "you have to use less energy" being a losing message, that's crazy. Every single business on the planet tries to cut costs and be more efficient. How is doing that as an individual any less viable? Make the argument that "tie goes to the dolphin"* sure, but everyone wants more from less. It's people that can't understand the cost to own versus the cost to buy that are caught in that trap.

          *Canned tuna - people buy dolphin safe tuna assuming that the price is the same or very slightly more.

          Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

          by jam on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:36:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Whimisical is right, but you have the answer (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jam

            Whimsical:  I don't want to live in a cave but eliminating my energy use! (imagining giving up the TV and coffee maker (or the dailykos computer!))

            jam:  it isn't about cutting back, it's about efficiency!

            Between the two of you, that's the media message:

            if isn't about "cuttng back" it's about "efficiency"

            Efficiency is a much better sell!  We don't have to be crunchy granolaheads without deodorant (apologies!) to do this.

        •  absoultely (0+ / 0-)
          You might want to look into that, cause they are driving people away from your cause with that message, and if they are misrepresenting themselves, proving it would be a good first step in winning those people back.

          I think this is right, and we do have to address it.  Thanks!

          Mind you, even if every power company in America offered 100% carbon free energy, that coal would still come out and be burned somewhere in the world, but that's another argument altogether...

          This is true.  I will offer another anecdote.  Back in the 1960s and 1970s California started putting in air pollution controls and mileage standards, and folks pointed out that it wouldn't matter because pollution would just get shifted somewhere else.  Well California went ahead, in part on a theory that if we demonstrate it can be done others will follow.

          Now, we have AB32 (our climate change cap and trade law) and our 33% Renenwable POrtfolio Standard that some argue is useless because there is pollution elsewhere.  

          THe reason it got passed anyway though is because we recognized that 1) it won't be a killer to do 2) we've done this before and 3) if the world's eigth largest economy takes action, we can show it can be done so that the US can more forward.  I think that model's been born out already with espect to energy efficiency, so if the will were there, the US is actually in a good position to reduce its emissions by a good chunk pretty fast:

          1) Enact national energy efficiency and building efficiency standards (just use California's)
          2) Shut down all coal plants and replace with renewables to get up to a 20% renewable standard.

          Neither of these steps would be too difficult (fro a national perspective.  Coal company stockholders woudl get wiped out, but then, so did horse buggy makers.  Call it "creative destruction".) and they would do a lot to get started.  These are the low hanging fruit.  If the US could just catch up to the EU, that'd be a huge step forward.

        •  An aside: Efficiency v conservation (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jam, James Wells

          I think you highlight a difference between two easily confused concepts.  (I know I used to until someone pulled me aside and cleared it up in my head)

          1) Efficiency is the notion of doing the same thing, but using less to do it.  This is the idea of getting a more efficient heater and/or living in a better built house or weatherizing, but keeping the thermostat at 72.  I am arguing that this is a big part of what we need to do and can do.  This is the first part.  

          If we think in terms of Carbon Efficiency, then the conversion to renewables is all about increasing carbon efficiency (hours of TV watching, ironing, heating, driving per ton of CO2 eq).

          2) Conservation is the notion of actually reducing energy (or carbon) usage by doing less  This is the idea of not changing anything, but turning the thermostat down to 56 andputting on three sweaters.

          What I hear you saying is that pushing conservation is a hard sell, but efficiency is easier.  I think you are exactly right.  I will try to bear this in mind in my proselytizing.

          (oh, and thanks for pushing me to think more clearly.)(

          •  easier (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            James Wells

            1) Conservation - turning lights off when not in use
            2) Efficiency - using an LED light in place of an incandescent

            I have motion sensors on the lights in my basement and all of my outdoor lights. Anything moves, they come on and I never have to remember to turn them off. I've got a timer on the Christmas lights so they go off without having to remember. I telecommute so I don't drive to the office.

            All are conservation efforts that have reduced my carbon foot print while improving the quality of my life!

            Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

            by jam on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 02:20:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  In between - substitution (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mindful Nature

            That's doing something that gives you the same business or life values, but you may be doing it with less for reasons of saving cost and energy.

            For instance, I started a (software) project 6 years with the customary in-person meetings to do requirements gathering and design, up to 20 people jetting in from here and there to sit in a big room filled with whiteboards and flip charts.  After 3 such meetings, we realized we didn't need to do them in person.

            We then proceeded to do 12 version releases over 5 years without a single in-person meeting.   Not one!

            You could call it efficiency.  You could call it austerity.  It's somewhere in between.  I call it an improvement.  I love being home with my family.  In the 1990's, in the same line of work, I was on a jet almost every week.  Now it's almost never.

            We shall not participate in our own destruction.

            by James Wells on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 06:30:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  using that energy will degrade our life more (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Wells

      is the idea.

      what do you think we should do?

      As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

      by mightymouse on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 06:28:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a race. I suggest we win it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Wells

        You're right, at the moment, using that energy would degrade our quality of life more. But that's not going to be true forever.

        I think we should either have renewable technology available for the whole world before that happens or accept that every bit of coal and oil is going to be pulled out of the ground and used and have  a plan in place to mitigate the effects of that use.

        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

        by Whimsical on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 06:48:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you ask the impossible (0+ / 0-)

          that is the problem.

          renewable energy will likely never fully replace what we get from fossil fuels.

          and it is not possible to mitigate the use of all the coal and oil left in the ground.

          you might as well ask for cake to fall from the sky.

          As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

          by mightymouse on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 08:43:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Fully? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mightymouse

            Fossil fuels have extremely important properties that will make them a critical part of the grid for a long, long time.  What's in play is the balance between renewable and combustion fuels.

            There is a huge, huge, world-changing difference between our current (or even future expanded!) rate of burning fossil fuels and the train wreck that is leading us to, compared to substantially reduced usage, extended over a few centuries.

            Certain areas, like Scotland, are leading the way to 100% renewable electricity (100% by 2020), which is inspiring, and will be a real contribution both by the numbers and by example.  Ths is not going to happen world-wide soon.  [And note the Scotland's 100% obviously does not cover transportation fuel]

            Step 1: Stop the expansion in the user of fossil fuels.  That's what is in play with the carbon export terminals.

            We shall not participate in our own destruction.

            by James Wells on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 09:36:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  that's a good step 1. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              James Wells

              step 2 is to reduce the use of fossil fuels

              need some $ incentive.

              I don't think going too fast is gonna be a problem for us.

              As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

              by mightymouse on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 10:46:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  PS - curious what are these important properties (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              James Wells
              Fossil fuels have extremely important properties that will make them a critical part of the grid for a long, long time.

              I would guess it's that they are energy-dense and that the user doesn't pay the full cost - so short-term they look cheap.

              As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

              by mightymouse on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 10:59:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Some important speciality applications (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mightymouse

                Let's be extremely clear that these should only be important as a diminishing minority of the total energy mix.  The appropriate transition in the next few decades is from 5-10% renewables to 80%+ renewables.

                1) Yes, energy density, which matters in certain specific cases, for instance long haul transportation fuel for air, land, and sea.  Electric vehicles (where the electricity can be generated from renewable sources) logically will take over at the short haul end first, and then gradually expand range.  Similarly there's not really any short term prospect that I know of of replacing petroleum for air fuel.  Portable fuel is important for lots of remote types of operations which may not have solar resources available (say, polar areas in winter).

                2) Dispatchability.  Basically this is the ability to turn on or off when you want regardless of other conditions.  If you have a big heap of coal, and a coal generating station, you can burn as much coal as you need to make up any shortfall.  [There's a little more to this question - coal plants work with one or more operating bands, being ranges of power generation at which the plant can work, but at a simple level it's a reasonable description]

                Acknowledging the continued minority role of fossil fuels is an important way to de-fang the kind of stupid and polarizing "what will you do for power when the sun is not shining?" thing that we get all the time.  Fossil fuels will be available to fill shortfalls - over time the degree of "last resort" for this usage should increase.

                Energy needs to come from the right mix considering a lot of factors; that mix needs to change over time, aggressively.  Just like a road that needs to acept traffic for every minute that you are working on it, the energy mix also needs to meet the needs of users every minute of every day as those changes occur.

                We shall not participate in our own destruction.

                by James Wells on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 11:38:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not worried about de-fanging (0+ / 0-)

                  as much as inaction.

                  Another approach is not to travel so much.

                  We have been fortunate - spoiled even - by the ease we get energy any time we want it. I believe that we cannot address climate and continue to be as thoughtless about our energy use as we are now.

                  As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

                  by mightymouse on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 12:32:59 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And its precisely that attitude (0+ / 0-)

                    that drives people AWAY from listening to the enviornmental movement. Its a losing message.

                    "You're going to have to use less energy" is an unacceptable argument.  We should stop wasting time making it.

                    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

                    by Whimsical on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 03:57:44 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  it's true though (0+ / 0-)

                      Hard to see how to address global warming while maintaining our current BTU/citizen ratio.

                      People need to hear it. People can act like grown-ups.

                      And more than that, people need to understand exactly where unchecked fossil fuel use leads us.

                      We can certainly work on living well on less. Don't need to be profligate. We are smart people.

                      As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

                      by mightymouse on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 05:11:29 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Conservation/efficency is acceptible. (0+ / 0-)

                        But that's not the message that is being put out.  

                        Just in the past couple of weeks, there have been three diaries  which hit the rec list/community spotlight that talked about how we were going to have to lower our quality of life as we transitioned to a low energy economy.

                        ALL of them got more attention than this diary, and this thread which makes excellent arguments for conservation and efficiency and how we can maintain the vast majority of our lifestyle as we switch to renewable energy. That ratio NEEDS to change, if we are to have ANY hope of convincing the general public to accept the necessary changes to solve the problems.

                        Persons can act like grown ups.  People are dumb, panicky, stupid, selfish animals and you know it; to slightly modify one of my all time favorite movie quotes.  They will NOT take well into being scolded into lowering their energy usage. Not enough, and certainly not in time.

                        Telling them they'll have to use less energy is a losing argument.  I vote we switch to a winning one.

                        And for the record, I believe we can address our citizen/btu ratio without the level of sacrifice the environmental community is projecting to be needed.

                        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

                        by Whimsical on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 06:32:40 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  don't understand (0+ / 0-)

                          the difference between "conservation/efficiency" and "low energy economy" other than branding and/or spin.

                          Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

                          by jam on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 05:49:07 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Ill try to explain (0+ / 0-)

                            The average American can save around 40% on his energy usage just by doing simple things like turning off the lights when they leave a room (conservation) or modernizing his appliances (efficiency). And they  can do these things without affecting their life in the slightest.

                            A low energy economy means that the average American CAN'T live their life like they used to because of lack of energy.

                            The top message will fly, the bottom one wont. The majority of the environmental movement, at least from what I saw before this thread was persisting in trying to sell the bottom message.

                            "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

                            by Whimsical on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 07:37:25 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

          •  Nothing is impossible. (0+ / 0-)

            The only questions are to we have the will to stride forward and make it happen, or do we prefer to wag our fingers and scold people? And which is more effective?

            I know what I believe the answers to be.  You seem to think differently.

            "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

            by Whimsical on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 04:00:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We have to work on both sides (0+ / 0-)

              Use energy more wisely, cut back aggressively on fossil fuels, and go heavy into deployment and research on renewables.

              that's what I advocate.

              Where we differ is that you seem to think our living standard is non-negotiable. I think that if it's our energy-intensive way of life (short-term) vs. the ability of the earth to sustain civilization over the medium and long-term, I take the latter.

              As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

              by mightymouse on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 05:17:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And I think that's a false choice. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mightymouse

                I think it's perfectly possible to maintain our living standard WITHOUT damaging the ability of the Earth to sustain civilization.

                "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

                by Whimsical on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 06:16:00 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  why do you think this? (0+ / 0-)

                  where is all this energy to come from? to keep all our big houses warm and fuel our giant cars on our long commutes?

                  or do you think fossil fuel use is not a big problem?

                  As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

                  by mightymouse on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 06:32:14 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think there is a huge overlap (0+ / 0-)

                    between what both of you are saying.  I'll try to bridge.

                    Our experiential standard of living should be a non-negotiable as possible.  It's not just the "marketing" aspect, as in getting people to accept changes that might be perceived as negative, but also - why settle for less overall goodness?

                    A huge question is what matters to create a high experiential standard of living.  Core items are life expectancy, health, security, freedom to do fun things.  Those things, to achieve them, require energy resources, a lot of them.

                    What's debatable is what's the right mix of efficiency, careful conservation, improvements in energy sources, and in some cases actual sacrifice, are required to maintain a high overall level of good life but make vastly better use of our energy and environmental situation.

                    And directly related is the relationship, or in some cases non-relationship, between goodness of life and certain material goods or potential material excesses.

                    Sometimes trends are happening but get masked in the guise of current events.  The dramatic fall of the useless McMansion is portrayed as a result of the great recession, and in a proximate sense it was, but in a larger sense it could be seen as part of a larger trend of realizing that such a degree of wretched material excess did not actually improve quality of life as much as some people thought it would, and it wasn't worth the energy bills to heat 4500 square feet for a family of 4.

                    I don't want to sacrifice in positive experiences and things that make me happy.  I am definitely willing to carefully look at changes in material life that save resources, and in the final analysis, don't actually matter to my family's happiness, security, and health.

                    We shall not participate in our own destruction.

                    by James Wells on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 07:37:35 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

    •  If you're not aware of "What every President (0+ / 0-)

      should know about energy efficiency"
      Arthur Rosenfeld Symposium on energy efficiency
      UC Davis
      via UCTV online. You might want to check that out.

      Youi're getting at something they're  ahead on. As for global warming, after the US has converted to renewable energy and electric cars, the global carbon problem curve will continue to climb, because of the developing nations.
      They cannot realistically be expected to adopt more expensive energy sources if it's not in their narrow self interest. (short term economical interests)

      They're saying we can have an even greater impact on total carbon release by developing technologies that save energy, that will be in these developing countries best interest to purchase. This will also help our economy.

      The first thing we need to do is push back against the dirty coal plants.
      They're advertising solar power installation in Home Depot, in N. Texas.
      Small scale solar is for the 99%.  as is energy efficiency.
      Its time has come.

  •  I hate to think (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Wells, SolarMom, koNko

    about encouraging coal combustion in China.  I agree with the other commentors that coal fired power plants are a much bigger problem than tar sands oil.

    But I also feel obligated to suggest alternatives to coal with a chance of offering energy to China in a timely way.

    For a while I bit my tongue and supported nukes, then those plants in Japan blew up.

    So for now I am considering whether to support export of the USA's natural gas surplus (as liquefied natural gas/LNG) to China and elsewhere which would displace coal fired energy.

    There's a couple of LNG export terminals proposed in Oregon for instance.

    I support wind and solar everywhere it is proposed but that will take a long while to fill the world's needs.

    •  There's no silver bullet (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SolarMom, mightymouse

      Thanks for your comment.

      I have no single answer, just some ideas.  

      First and foremost, if a given course is doomed, then you have to stop it and work hard on something else, even if you don't know what that something else is yet.

      Second, the answers will be in some combination.  For instance, stopping coal exports to China won't make them stop using coal, it will just alter the price signal and may reduce the rate at which they increase their coal usage.  It's actually a pathetically small step.

      Third, we have to question underlying assumptions on what is possible.  Projections of adoption of renewable energy are based on current, or similar to current, price signals and prices of those technologies.  When circumstances change a lot, adoption of a new technology can be astonishingly fast.

      It will likely be the consuming topic of the rest of our lives.  

      We shall not participate in our own destruction.

      by James Wells on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 12:11:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  China is developing multiple alternatives (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse, James Wells

        Denying us coal helps to speed-up the better alternatives.

        China never puts it's eggs in one basket so it really doesn't matter if the coal basket comes-up empty.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 03:39:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They have lots of coal themselves. (0+ / 0-)

          They have the extra capital sitting around to subsidize their development of solar, etc.

          •  Yes we have coal (0+ / 0-)

            And mine a lot, but the quality of it is "poor", i.e., soft and high sulfur, so the energy density is low and the amount of pollutants per energy unit high.

            Obviously I'm against burning coal to the greatest extent possible and I'm hardly alone.

            China is aggressively investing in clean energy and it is accelerating. And yet, we need to do more.

            The US is starting to invest more in clean energy on a local basis but still has no national policy to strongly promote it, and the short-term outlook to do so is not very promising. I hope that will change, you need to do more.

            If subsidizes bother you I suggest comparing how much the US subsidizes fossil fuels verses clean energy. Why not reverse that?

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 08:26:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, I'm not against subsidies. I'm saying that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koNko

              we're sitting around hiding our thumbs thanks to the gop while China invests its massive surplus in everything, energy, high-speed rail, etc.
              In another comment I made a similar point about the true cost of fossil fuels, including the wars, etc.
              I'd rather we not use coal. I'd rather we find a way to extract nat. gas without causing the problems with ground water we're finding.
              We should put our resources into developing carbon sequestration, if it's possible and we could export that technology to other countries. Until we have that, we should be focused on limiting coal, and make sure the plants are up to date and have the latest technology.  
              I'd rather we not use nuclear, but if we do, let's have the development run this way: come to a consensus about safe storage. Put our effort into development of 4th gen reactors, that use up waste. Use up our existing stockpiles of fuel, and don't mine any more uranium.
              Let's subsidize small scale solar first. Start with schools, hospitals, public buildings, airports, etc. As the cost comes down, increase the incentives for commercial and rental properties to install, as well as homeowners.
              This would redound to the middle class's benefit the most.

              •  This may interest you (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                David54

                China traditionally used coal because it's available, so industrialization means more coal.

                Therefore, CCS technology and other coal generation improvements have been a big focus here. Most new thermal power plants use coal gassification, much of which comes from GE, and is incrementally better than traditional plants they replace.

                However, this is not an environmentally sustainable option to meet Chinas growing energy needs and so all energy options are on the table and being adopted (including a lot of biogas, another win for GE).

                But to meet future needs it's really clear coal has to go so current policy is a mix of wind, solar, gas and nuclear, and the same is the case for India, because in both, you cannot provide any substantial power for the 1Bn plus populations with coal.

                In the most recent 5 year plan passed this year the amount of coal plants was significantly reduced and that's progress but it is still not enough.

                I personally doubt the viability of CCS. The US and China are actually cooperating on development of this technology but that will never solve the problem of coal mining so it's a dead-end proposition that attempts to buy time and nothing more.

                The US actually has a much different situation; it already has the infrastructure so the issue is replacement technology and the politics of that - who gets the money.

                Frankly the short-term political prospects for clean energy in the US look poor, but if Obama gets re-elected I hope he makes that a priority because it makes sense environmentally and economically, short and long term.

                Dr. Stephen Chu said "My nightmare is China coal". Good point. My USA nightmare is "energy & efficiency meltdown", i.e., that other major countries build clean energy and mass-transit infrastructures that make them more sustainable and economically competitive, and the US does nothing, gradually falling behind, because that's where fossil fuels are leading.

                The world is depending on China and the US to change. Can we? Sure. Will we? That is the question.

                What about my Daughter's future?

                by koNko on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:42:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  My feeling is to tell the coal industry: "OK, you (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  koNko

                  say clean coal is possible, go ahead prove it. Otherwise, we can't afford to clean up after you, (including the effects of mountaintop removal, the coal ash dumps, ocean acidification, and the mercury problem. "

                  The discussion that has not fully ripened in this country is about the costs of each energy source and who should pay for it. That alone will give a boost to renewables. They ultimately should be subsidized because they empower the middle and working class. That's ultimately a boon to capitalism which is suffering from lack of middle class demand.

    •  A long time? Four years? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko, James Wells, jam

      I work in a lot of development projects, some of them are energy projects.

      Right now, there are seven or nine approved projects going up (pending law suits) in the Mojave that will together have the potential to power much of the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.  

      California gets around 15-20% of its electricity from renewable sources.  Right now, the Enery Commission has approved *4,242 MW of nameplate capacity for solar thermal plants.   Photovoltaics, both rooftop and utility scale are another big chunk on top of that.  For scale load in Los Angeles will peak at 35,000 MW.

      What is missing is financing and the will to build it.  If we had spent $2 trillion on building renewable energy rather than wars in Iraq, we'd be a lot further along toward done with the transitiong

      •  Absolutely Correct. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Wells

        It's not a matter of options, but of political will verses vested interests.

        Right now California leads the US and is to be commended and supported.

        In fact, pre-Durban The Guardian had an info graphic listing some policy "positives" and what they bannered as progress for the US was, in a word "California".

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 03:42:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree, but it is worth noting that solar power (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Wells

        installation is now being offered in Home Depot in N. Texas now.
        If we just had a level playing field for small scale solar, it would make a difference.
        We need small scale for its impact on reducing peak demand on the grid during hot spells, cold snaps, etc.
        Also during weather/disaster related outages.
        It also empowers the middle/working class relative to big power projects that are subject to Wall Street speculation, etc.

        •  Absolutely right! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          David54

          Here in California there are a number of regulatory bonuses being offered in terms of exemptions and the like which is great for builders of mid scale projects also (for example see [Recurrent Energy recurrent energy.com] one of my faves.

          It will take both kinds to get this going

  •  Checking back hours later (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Wells, koNko

    this diary seems to be true to form for coal-based diaries -namely, almost entirely ignored!

    similar to this diary, which evaporated into the ether with little or no notice

    geez, I understand how Celine Dion has poisoned people to All Things Canadian - but seriously folks, there are bigger issues out there than tar sands development!

    •  Community spotlight later (3+ / 0-)

      It's funny, more FB likes (23) than dKos recs (6), never seen that before.

      We shall not participate in our own destruction.

      by James Wells on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 12:43:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I guess I'm late to the party (3+ / 0-)

      ...but this diary raises a really important issue about just saying no to destructive projects.

      There are alternatives - not one big one, but many smaller ones added together.  

      Feed-in tariffs, like in Germany, where they're causing rooftop solar to take off and make up almost 20% of power demand, I believe.

      Renewable portfolio standards, as in 30 different states, requiring renewables and efficiency to be a certain part of the state's mix.

      Pushing to continue the production tax credit and 1603 grants, which is set to expire, which have been incentivizing wind farms over many parts of the country.

      Subsidizing investment in the smart grid and offshore wind.

      Large scale programs to weatherize public buildings, and efficiency requirements for utilities to institute demand-reduction programs.

      All these things will move up away from coal, and, eventually hopefully, gas.

      •  The party's just getting started! (2+ / 0-)

        Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

        I get tired of replying to portrayals, actually caricatures, of saying that being opposed to expanded new coal projects is being in favor of turning out the lights.

        It is absolutely possible to stop expanding the use of coal, and the first step is not to create massive new capital projects whose entire purpose is to increase coal use.  The concurrent first step is all of the measures you cite.

        I am pretty sure that the 20% number for Germany is based on all renewables rather than just solar, but it's an inspiring number.

        Thanks so much,

        We shall not participate in our own destruction.

        by James Wells on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 07:17:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not ignored (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Wells, mightymouse

      Just too much attention from Climate Deniers, and that is worse.

      My Bit: Greetings from China! Don't sell us coal!  Thanks!

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 03:44:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pricey renewable can't replace cheap carbon FF (0+ / 0-)

    So don't use FF regardless?
    This all seems like a pipedream.

    •  Who said pricey? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Wells

      my 100% renewable electricity cost me about $10/mo more.  People spend way more than that on all manner of frivolities.  (true, there are those who can't, but no where near a majority.)

      I'm thinking that maybe you might want to look if that price quote you have in mind didn't come from * ahem * a coal company maybe?

    •  FF not cheap (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Wells

      what you pay is not the total price.

      As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

      by mightymouse on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 06:33:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, please say NO. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Wells

    China is turning away from coal but not fast enough and you can help speed it up.

    Just Say No.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 03:31:08 AM PST

  •  Beware the red herrings! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, joanil

    I thought I had defined a topic pretty well:

    1) Carbon export to China as part of vast new dirty combustion capacity, bad thing.

    2) Don't give in to bullying/deception and end up being part of it.

    I don't see any place where the diary advocates moving to a cave and reducing our industry  to weaving hemp sweaters with bicycle-powered knitting needles.

    So when you hear that "you environmentalists" believe this or that based on something that someone wrote somewhere at some other time, it's just a big whatever.  There's no need to even get sucked into it.

    I see the stopping of expansion for this kind of capacity as the absolute most basic way to stop digging the hole we're already in.  In the larger picture, it's a small step but it's the one we have in front of us.

    We shall not participate in our own destruction.

    by James Wells on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 05:58:02 AM PST

  •  Can we defer gratification? T$10.69 says Yes! (0+ / 0-)

    A common argument against investment in a clean energy future is that somehow Americans are congenitally unable to make some adjustments now in order to get future benefits for them and their children.

    Despite increasing numbers of Americans voluntarily enrolling to pay extra for clean energy (I do), and despite clear evidence that clean energy pays for itself in health savings, this line of "reasoning" says that Americans won't lift a finger to make their future lives better.  Therefore we shouldn't try to do smart things because we are too dumb to do those smart things.

    There's a 1-word answer: Pensions.

    As of 2001, Americans had over $10 Trillion invested in retirement plans.  Yep, money stashed away that can't be touched for decades (or in some cases can be touched with a significant penalty, and most people don't).  Why would people defer gratification by so much if it was against our nature?  

    Let's try and follow this "reasoning": Even if our population generally came to understand that making energy changes will dramatically improve our future, and that they might even have to (gasp!) pay extra to the tune of, oh, I don't know, having to leave Afghanistan to pay for it, that they wouldn't?

    That's just silly.

    We need to believe in ourselves, just a bit.  And educate, educate, educate, advocate, advocate, advocate.

    We shall not participate in our own destruction.

    by James Wells on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 06:31:07 AM PST

  •  Correct me if I'm wrong, but there was a Senate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Wells

    energy/climate bill that was intended to be reconciled with the House climate bill, that included 21st cent. infrastructure and was a big step toward middle/working class job restoration in the country.
    It got pushed aside because of the looming 2010 elections, after the Senate stall on HCR pushed the financial reform bill back,  and jammed the Pres'. agenda.
    Right?
    The gop did a good job reframing the narrative about climate change for a while, and co-opted the "jobs" narrative.
    Now their jobs agenda has been proven to be a bunch of hot air.
    The restoration of the middle class, the future of middle/working class jobs, the downpaying of the debt and the salvation of medicare/SS etc. are bound into this energy/ response to climate change/ 21st century infrastructure issue. It seems like it's time to reclaim the narrative on this.

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