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New York Times columnist Joe Nocera has put up How Not to Fix Climate Change.  In private correspondence, in bringing this to my attention, one person commented that reading this "lowered my IQ by 20 points," another "elementary arithmetic seems beyond his grasp", and third that the title should have been "demonstrating multiple levels of ignorance in a highly public way".   Nocera, in short, is arguing for Keystone XL using some arguments that quickly become head-scratching with even the briefest of scrutiny.

Join me after the fold for a look at Nocera's "boneheaded" argument.

Let's quickly tackle these points.

Like it or not, fossil fuels are going to remain the world’s dominant energy source for the foreseeable future, and we are far better off getting our oil from Canada than, say, Venezuela.
Sigh.  Why does the New York Times editorial staff let such propagandist errors to go through.  What is the basic point of the Keystone XL pipeline?  To take DilBit (diluted bitumen) from the Canadian Tar Sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries and make them available for export into the international market place.  Right now, upper Midwest refineries are buying DilBit at a discount from world prices because Tar Sands producers don't have cheap and easy ways to get their product onto the world market (and into Chinese diesel fuel supply). Keystone XL will actually facilitate not just increased tar sands production but also the reduction of Canadian tar sands production in the U.S. market place and an increase in fuel prices in much of the Midwest.
the climate change effects of tar sands oil are, all in all, pretty small.
First, this basic argument is like saying 'who cares if a kid pees in the swimming pool, there is a lot of water ...'  Every increment, in and of itself, can be portrayed as somehow 'small' but there is the impact of many incremental inputs.  100 kids peeing ... 1000?? When do you say no to pissing into waters where others want to swim?

And, well, contrary to Nocera's shallow claims, the Tar Sands represent a lot of carbon emission risk.  As per Scientific American's reporting:

Alberta's oil sands represent a significant tonnage of carbon. With today's technology there are roughly 170 billion barrels of oil to be recovered in the tar sands, and an additional 1.63 trillion barrels worth underground if every last bit of bitumen could be separated from sand. "The amount of CO2 locked up in Alberta tar sands is enormous," notes mechanical engineer John Abraham of the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota, another signer of the Keystone protest letter from scientists. "If we burn all the tar sand oil, the temperature rise, just from burning that tar sand, will be half of what we've already seen"—an estimated additional nearly 0.4 degree C from Alberta alone.
Pretty small, Joe???

And, continuing with the misleading  and faulty logic and attacks on those trying to forestall tar sands development, Joe wrote

very clear about what they hope to accomplish. Oil companies have invested upward of $100 billion to extract the unconventional oil in the sands. A pipeline is the only way to export it. The Keystone pipeline is Canada’s Plan A. Plan B is a pipeline to British Columbia, which would get the oil to China. If the president blocks Keystone, and the First Nation tribes continue their staunch opposition to the western pipeline, then Canada will have the second largest oil reserves in the world — and no place to sell it. The assumption of the activists is that by choking off the supply of new oil sources like the tar sands, the U.S. — and maybe the world — will be forced to transition more quickly to green energy.
As Joe highlights in a set up to criticism of "activists" is that the tar sands are bottled-up in the central US and central Canadian market space without a truly cost-effective path to international markets.   And, if one thought getting Keystone XL approved is difficult, watch out for "plan B" dying in the face of First Nation opposition.

However, the point is not just what the companies have invested but what they might invest.  Right now it is difficult and expensive to export DilBit, which sells at a serious discount  into the Upper Midwest compared to world market prices. Keystone XL will create something like $40 million per day or over $10 billion per year in additional profit opportunities.  With the ability to earn perhaps $20 more per barrel, would that not encourage more destructive Tar Sands operations and at an accelerated pace?

As KC Golden laid out, The Keystone Principle is quite simple: Stop Making It Worse!

Joe's piece isn't utterly wrong and perhaps he gets it partially.

The emphasis should be on demand, not supply. If the U.S. stopped consuming so much of the world’s oil, the economic need for the tar sands would evaporate.
True, if demand collapsed and if prices fell dramatically, then the incentive to devastate Canada's boreal forests for expensive tar sands oil would collapse as well. Joe's argument that we need lower oil prices to stop tar sands is perhaps the only one that's actually correct. However, the reason why the oil companies are exploiting tar sands is precisely because we've run out of the cheap stuff and now need to go for the dirty and expensive one to feed our addiction. (Which, by the way, is proof (okay, strong evidence) in itself that high prices are not sufficient to reduce our demand massively.)

Truly, while there has been and continues to be a serious focus on reducing demand, there has become a serious recognition of a basic mathematical truth:  if humanity exploits all of the carbon 'on the financial books' we have cooked the planet's ability to support modern human civilization.  There is not a single person involved in the efforts to forestall Keystone Xl who is not supportive of efforts to reduce demand (through efficiency, better planning, conservation, alternative fuels, etc ...) even as they recognize the importance of stopping Keystone XL as part of the path toward constraining destructive Tar Sands exploitation.

like to see oil companies pay a fee, which would rise annually, based on carbon emissions. He said that such a tax could reduce emissions by 30 percent within 10 years. Well, maybe. But it would also likely make the expensive tar sands oil more viable
Okay, see some problems here?

A carbon fee -- which makes any and all fossil fuels (including carbon) more expensive -- is somehow going to make tar sands more viable?  Please explain how making, lets say, every barrel of oil -- due to carbon fees -- more expensive by $25 will incentivize more tar sands production rather than foster drives for greater energy efficiency and alternative fuels? And, since tar sands exploitation has a higher carbon footprint than other oil production, wouldn't this actually put tar sands at a competitive disadvantage with other lower carbon footprint options?  Isn't such a carbon fee directly addressing Nocera's claim that focus should be on reducing demand? In fact, the carbon fee would disincentivize investment in "expensive tar sands" because it would favor lower cost production (by definition), raise tar sands costs more than lower polluting oil options, and create financial uncertainty for investors and businesses considering 20, 30, 40 year implications of $10 billion+ investments.  A carbon fee (especially one that is guaranteed to increase) would create tremendous uncertainty and would undermine tar sands oil viability in multiple ways.

Nocera states "the strategy of activists ... is utterly boneheaded".  On reflection, what Nocera has provided an accurate depiction of his self-contradicting broadside against those working to foster paths to avert catastrophic climate disruption.

See:  Why not Keystone XL. Clear reasons why Keystone XL is not in the U.S. national interest

12:36 PM PT: From Wizard's comment, something that I believe that I missed.

Contrary Argument

"Like it or not, fossil fuels are going to remain the world’s dominant energy source for the foreseeable future, and we are far better off getting our oil from Canada than, say, Venezuela."
Our future lies in a sustainability system that does not extract any carbon for energy. There is no alternative to this except a burning hot planet and massive die-offs. The foreseeable future must be fossil fuel free. Since this is the case we would be foolish to open any new fossil fuel sources.

1:30 PM PT: David Roberts takes on another NY Times mediocrity with
"the virtues of being unreasonable on keystone".  http://grist.org/...  Highly recommended reading.

Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:43 AM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (232+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lady Libertine, hubcap, James Wells, jnhobbs, kck, DWG, vcmvo2, Glen The Plumber, Eddie L, Mary Mike, JML9999, ruscle, leeleedee, possum, absdoggy, roses, Meteor Blades, ctexrep, maryabein, DBunn, spacejam, deviant24x, Catte Nappe, cordgrass, Texknight, RLMiller, kevinpdx, susakinovember, Sun Tzu, srkp23, Ashaman, willyr, sawgrass727, rantsposition, RFK Lives, linkage, Brooke In Seattle, ericlewis0, Gowrie Gal, countwebb, NoMoreLies, MKinTN, greycat, JekyllnHyde, vacantlook, bfitzinAR, dpwks, pat of butter in a sea of grits, rovertheoctopus, pontechango, Smoh, kerflooey, figbash, ChemBob, The Wizard, citisven, belinda ridgewood, Babsnc, Art Tric, fixxit, DRo, gulfgal98, joanneleon, DeminNewJ, zenox, Trendar, Shockwave, marleycat, AoT, Mother Mags, Egg, Turbonerd, Marek, Horace Boothroyd III, artisan, Joieau, homo neurotic, One Pissed Off Liberal, Magnifico, regis, filkertom, Joe Bob, PapaChach, onionjim, ColoTim, progdog, Paul Ferguson, Habitat Vic, BRog, Jim R, Puddytat, jbob, Siri, Panacea Paola, Mimikatz, Matilda, databob, Lujane, Mistral Wind, 1BQ, jfromga, xaxnar, Fishgrease, Bluerall, roystah, flitedocnm, pgm 01, Eric Nelson, wayoutinthestix, 4Freedom, zmom, mofembot, CA ridebalanced, The Knute, Steven D, orlbucfan, lynneinfla, icemilkcoffee, Hayate Yagami, maybeeso in michigan, ask, gloryous1, hazzcon, Quicklund, PBen, LakeSuperior, I give in to sin, tytalus, rapala, mndan, Calamity Jean, Maximilien Robespierre, GreyHawk, bobswern, Assaf, flowerfarmer, GayHillbilly, chimene, Supavash, antirove, bronte17, makettle, Regina in a Sears Kit House, PhilJD, dewtx, rivercard, greenomanic, Jay C, CornSyrupAwareness, rhutcheson, doingbusinessas, JayDean, Carol in San Antonio, ER Doc, remembrance, Simplify, SilentBrook, zerelda, cpresley, Chaddiwicker, wader, sturunner, renbear, blackjackal, LinSea, Teiresias70, Captain Frogbert, howd, Miss Jones, eeff, MarkInSanFran, WheninRome, jay23, MJ via Chicago, FoundingFatherDAR, newpioneer, RageKage, dance you monster, science nerd, Shotput8, dfwlibrarian, slowbutsure, most peculiar mama, David Futurama, skybluewater, Alumbrados, RiveroftheWest, salmo, splashy, merrily1000, Leftcandid, PrometheusUnbound, skywriter, BobBlueMass, Eowyn9, pat bunny, petulans, jamess, cynndara, peachcreek, begone, Larsstephens, nsfbr, SolarMom, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, BYw, KJG52, radical simplicity, ladybug53, quill, Mathazar, YucatanMan, elwior, Bluesee, Liberal Thinking, RJP9999, Rosaura, riverlover, Ginny in CO, rebel ga, rmonroe, plf515, Pandoras Box, Agathena, blueoasis, hooper, MadEye, Oh Mary Oh, Marihilda, Milly Watt, melo, Dauphin

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:43:09 AM PST

  •  Consider inviting him to a debate. (33+ / 0-)

    He's an opponent but not "ignorant" and it's highly unlikely that "elementary arithmetic seems beyond his grasp." That may mean he's an opportunity, an honest broker opponent, which more importantly may just likely also describe Obama. Nocera may be an ideal foil to debate...

    •  He does screw up basic pricing math (8+ / 0-)

      He directly asserts that a carbon tax would make Tar Sands more competitive by driving up the price of oil, completely missing the point that a carbon tax increases prices but reduces the money going to high carbon sources such as Tar Sands.

      A company that made this kind of stupid mistake would go bankrupt. (Assuming it wasn't too big to fail...)

    •  This is a disappointing missive from Nocera. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, A Siegel

      He has been a reasonably intelligent critic of the financial sector since the 2008 global economic crisis. But I recall that Thomas Frank once wrote about his work from the late 1990s, when he was one of the more thoughtless cheerleaders of globalization and the bubble economy.

      Looks like resource extraction brings out his more "boneheaded" side.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:31:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Ringwraiths of Despair are out in force (57+ / 0-)

    "It's going to happen anyway" as if that make it right to be part of the destruction.

    It's a drumbeat when it comes to coal exports.  There's even an article that alleges that exporting coal will reduce GHGs.

    So, waiting for the "study" claiming that tar sands are somehow good for the environment in 3, 2, 1, ...

    •  That and the nay sayers (15+ / 0-)

      Who swear that any attempt to stop carbon extraction is doomed to fail.  We have to stop this carbon from being extracted, what ever it takes.  This is literally the most important thing we as a people can do.

      •  I don't actually have a comment... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, MixedContent, Eric Nelson

        ...to make on this diary, but I do have a question that some of you may be able to answer.

        All of the focus on global warming seems to be directed to the polar regions.

        I'm really interested to know about any data/numbers that demonstrate increase average temperatures in the equatorial regions of the planet (not oceans, but the Amazon, Congo, Indonesia, etc.).

        Any data being collected there?  I assume that even more precipitation than 'normal' is expected (and that jungles are expected to grow in size?).  

        But what I'm interested in is if average temperatures have been increasing there, or if almost all of the increase in average global temperatures is due to increases in the polar regions?

        Is the heating equally, evenly distributed?

        Anybody?

        •  Uneven warming (6+ / 0-)

          Yes indeed the warming is uneven in many details. In particular though, what is called Arctic amplification (not actually limited to the precise Arctic, but including northern areas near it) was predicted by Arrhenius back in 1896. However it is happening even more than expected.

          It should be possible to make maps for yourself here
          http://data.giss.nasa.gov/...
          but the service has been down for some time now.

          One of the images here
          http://www.globalwarmingart.com/...
          illustrates the global pattern, just four years out of date.
          Note that some areas have hardly changed and some areas are cooling.

          The polar regions are a small part of earth's surface; warming there is a small part of overall warming. if instead of using the best estimate of Arctic temperatures you assume that the Arctic has warmed only as much as the average of the rest of the globe, you get a slightly smaller overall average.

          Transfer of heat from far south, even the tropics, by both air and water, contributes to Arctic warming.

          Also note
          1) "global warming" generally refers to the increase in our planet's average surface temperature, but
          most of the increase in planetary heat content (around 93%) goes into the oceans, while changing their average temperature very little.
          2) Dryer and wetter areas are another growing problem.

          More information is here:
          http://www.columbia.edu/...

          If you really want to dig into Arctic changes, go here:
          http://neven1.typepad.com/...

        •  Horticultural "climate zones" have been shifting (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Nelson, A Siegel, Ginny in CO, AoT

          The zones that tell horticulturalists which trees, shrubs, and other plants will flourish in a particular area have apparently shifted northward.

          These zones aren't based on politics, they're mapped by people who just want to know which plants will succeed in the area where they're being paid to plant them.

          Also, for anyone who's getting really burnt on the climate-change ostrich-ism, it might be worth shifting emphasis to ocean acidification, another effect of excess atmospheric CO2.  It's very definitely a serious problem (e.g., bad for plankton, which support the entire oceanic food-chain), and hasn't (yet) had a FUD industry built up around it.

        •  There is a lot more ocean (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Nelson, A Siegel, Ginny in CO, AoT

          at the equator so warming patterns are different.  And the oceans are an even greater heat sink than Arctic ice, so while the "heating" is more or less equally distributed (it is actually rising in the Arctic because of albido effects as the ice melts) temperature change as a result of the heating is not so obvious since there is such a large mass of water that is warming.  

          The overall result is that the Tropics, particularly Indonesia, are seeing more intense "climate events" and not so much increase in sensible surface temperature.  And, of course, most sea level rise so far has been a result not of landed ice melting but of thermal expansion of the oceans, another evidence of where the heat is going in the tropics.

          The situation in the Amazon Basin is complicated by the lack of good long-term climate data, and by the dramatic weather changes (particularly draught) associated with the equally dramatic increase in surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean.  Even where there are numbers it's hard to know what they mean, so again one reverts to sea surface temperatures and expansion, for which there is more good data.  Then, of course, there's currents and vertical mixing and the way heat moves around in the oceans . . .

          The Arctic gets more attention because ice is such a dramatically visual indicator, and because its effect on Northern Hemisphere weather will have equally dramatic impact on the larger part of the world population.

          Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

          by Deward Hastings on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:46:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Lots. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Nelson, A Siegel, Ginny in CO, AoT

          http://www.pnas.org/...

          And plenty others via google with "equatorial temperature increase."

          Basically, it's not as dramatic as polar temperature changes in absolute terms, but it's just as important in terms of destructive effects on the flora and fauna of the region.  

          The reason there's so much focus on the poles is: the ice caps are the key to sea level rise, and sea level rise is going to drive the inundation of the most populous regions on the planet - the major coastal cities of nations with coastlines.

    •  "It's a drumbeat" (18+ / 0-)

      Yup, watched Rachel Maddow's Hubris last night about a similar drumbeat 10 years ago that also used a very compliant press. This feels similar.

      stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

      by Mother Mags on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:30:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  All drilling and mining must stop (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glen The Plumber, AoT

    The only way to fix this is to ban all drilling and mining.  It might be slightly uncomfortable for a while. But, it's the only way.

    •  Frank - if all drilling and mining stopped (12+ / 0-)

      the US and world economy would collapse.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:29:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It would jump start (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MixedContent

        Renewable energy and save the planet. Short term pain for long term gain.   Simple.

        •  "short term pain" (10+ / 0-)

          I know you probably don't mean it literally (or do you?) and I support the general view that short term pain from reducing the dependence on dirty forms of energy is worth the long term gain, but let's not kid ourselves that "stopping all drilling and mining" in the world would be in any way smart. That's black and white thinking and it's quite silly.

          The collapse of the world economy (and I mean it would be a complete and total collapse) would mean wars, violence, famine, you get the picture. That is not smart policy and we're better than espousing black and white thinking and dreaming of utopias such as stopping all the mining and drilling this second.

        •  Yeah, like austerity helped Greece (3+ / 0-)

          Massive, MASSIVE fail.

        •  You need to use an energy source to build new (10+ / 0-)

          energy sources.  You need to build the wind turbines and solar panels and get them to their new locations and that will be very difficult if there is no economy to support the activity.  It needs to be a transition with new sources of clean energy coming online as the old dirty sources get shut down.  We should make the effort to make it happen as fast as possible, but dropping a bomb on the worlds economy by stopping all fossil fuels at once will not help the process along.

          •  Mandate solar panels (0+ / 0-)

            On all building and homes.   Any public land 1 acre or more must have wind turbines. We must force the issue.   Free choice and free markets have gotten us nowhere.

            •  Fails basic physics (6+ / 0-)
              You need to use an energy source to build new energy sources.
              How are you going to extract the rare earth elements needed to make magnets w/o mining and w/o factories to build the turbines?
            •  The problem with THAT is... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Farugia, VClib, JFactor, pgm 01

              ... that once you've mandated the purchase of a product made by for-profit companies, the pricing (and profits) of those products is now guaranteed to never come down and just keep going up.

              Unless the government does the actual production of the product they are mandating that people use/purchase, then the taxpayer will get screwed because of the supply chain for building that product will have the same sort of guaranteed boxed-in customer and will bilk them for all they are worth indefinitely.

              So government would have to have the entire supply chain business as well.

              At some point this just doesn't work, except for for the companies that are profiting hand over fist thanks to government mandated purchase of their products.

              *The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10*

              by Rick Aucoin on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:14:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh we'll (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Bronx59

                I guess we'll just stay as is. Always have people pointing out problems with no solutions.

                •  Yes, shockingly, these problems are complex. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JFactor

                  And simplistic answers will not work, because the world is a complicated interconnected place, where the Law of Unintended Consequences is waiting to bite you in the ass if you don't pay attention and think through your plans.

                  But yes, do please continue pretending that simple answers are appropriate to complex problems.

                  *The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10*

                  by Rick Aucoin on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:50:29 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The solution is (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    newpioneer

                    Not as complex as people like to make it seem. What's lacking is the will and courage.

                    •  and you base this on what? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Rick Aucoin

                      On a related note, I so dislike people and politicians who just make references to "common sense solutions" as if we all agreed what those "common sense" solutions are and that they are all really basic things that Average Joes can come up with. The world is a complex place and policy that deals with any kind of social science including economics operates in a world of extremely complex relationships and causalities, so basically the more you claim to know something for sure about these areas the more of a fool you come across as.

                      •  In practical terms it is a rather simple (4+ / 0-)

                        problem to solve really.  Politically it is another issue altogether.  We know what alternative energy sources we have available and how much energy we need, it's pretty easy to get from A to B and figure out how long it would take us and what needs to happen.  It's not some arcane problem, it's basic engineering.

                        •  Economics isn't engineering though. (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          AoT, A Siegel, JFactor

                          And you cannot divorce the economic aspects of the need for energy from the rest of the "energy" problem.

                          Like my response up above pointed out, it's simple and easy to say "all rooftops should be required to have solar cells" and that even sounds like a good idea, at first blush.

                          But there are real issues of supply, demand, mineral resource consumption, manufacturing facility staffing and support, delivery to market, installation, replacement, all sorts of things that need to be considered before making such a statement as "all buildings should be required to have solar cells on them" as an actual legislative goal.

                          I assume Frank Dewey (the OP above I was replying to) would like to actually see a law passed mandating solar panels on homes and businesses.  He said he thought that would be a good idea.

                          I'm saying that there's more to such a nationwide federal mandate to purchase/use a product than a simple quick off-the-cuff statement like that takes into account.

                          The Law of Unintended Consequences will bite you in the ass over and over and over again.

                          Read up on the effect that alcohol prohibition had on anti-knock additives for gasoline for automobiles, how because of alcohol prohibition, lead additives were used as a replacement, and how those lead additives measurably reduced IQ in the United States for multiple generations and very well may have contributed to the violence and crime which plagued our country in the 70's.

                          The Law of Unintended Consequences.  Can't let fear of it paralyze us, but it's certainly something to be given plenty of respect to when considering solutions to complex problems.

                          *The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10*

                          by Rick Aucoin on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:11:34 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  That makes more sense (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rick Aucoin, A Siegel
                            I'm saying that there's more to such a nationwide federal mandate to purchase/use a product than a simple quick off-the-cuff statement like that takes into account.
                            Which doesn't make this a difficult problem.  Either we can do it or we can't and the political side is far, fr more of a problem than the engineering.  There are a lot of simple things that can make good sized changes in energy consumption.  They aren't "common sense" in the way that the GOP pushes drug tests for people on food stamps, they're common sense as in making our transportation infrastructure more friendly for modes of transit.  That's a pretty common sense solution.

                            Just because the GOP uses a phrase doesn't mean that everything associated with it is bad.  I mean, should we stop worrying about global warming because we're doing it for the children, and the GOP says that we should do stuff for the children?

                          •  A different angle ... (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ginny in CO, Rick Aucoin, hooper, AoT

                            there are a range of steps that would have significant beneficial impact on climate -- and jobs / economy -- if the choice (political choice) is made to act.

                            - Energy efficiency -- such as mass building efficiency

                            - Electrification of rail

                            - Significant support for deployment of renewable energy

                            - RDT&E

                            - Etc ...

                            The "technical" paths are systems-of-systems but there are "answers" available if political will exists.

                            Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                            by A Siegel on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:46:18 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Kind of like listening to Democrats... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        A Siegel

                        ... on the stump railing against "Washington D.C.".

                        Really, guys?  You're furthering the right wing meme that government is the problem?

                        "Common sense solutions", furthering the right wing meme that experts are all detached unrealistic ivory tower pointy heads.

                        Drives me crazy sometimes.

                        *The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10*

                        by Rick Aucoin on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:05:02 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

              •  You should look at how utilities work (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SilentBrook, AoT

                since the scope for bilking customers is so high, these businesses are HIGHLY regulated, to the point that they can't establish their own prices or investment without public approval.  Since it turns out that these are precisely the companies that will be doing the heavy lifting, we're in better shape than leaving our fate to the unregulated oil industry.

                Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:38:43 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Unless you're in a de-regulated state. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT

                  I live in Texas, for instance, where de-regulation has been in process for decades.

                  I imagine other states are the same, just maybe not as far along.

                  *The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10*

                  by Rick Aucoin on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:51:16 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  The prescription and the goals need to match (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Black and Blue, AoT

              Putting a wind tower on every public acre would be pointless. Wind towers need to go where there's wind. Most places are simply not capable of producing enough power to replace the carbon burned to create the materials used to form the parts for the windmill.

              Solar needs to be placed where it can face the sun. Sticking solar on north-facing roofs would be useless. Ditto for east and west-facing, and any locations where the panels would be shaded during the key daylight hours.

              The goal is a good one, we need plans and prescriptions that actually achieve it.

      •  All development and exploration, though, should (4+ / 0-)

        either stop or be severly curtailed to only the least carbon intensive reserves.  Unless I'm substantially misinformed, existing developed and producin areas should last for a decade or so, which is about the time scale in which we should be transitioning sharply to non-carbon sources.  Resources that will take a decade or more to develop should just be dropped from further consideration, since we need to not be needing those in a decade or so.

        We know that we must transition to non-carbon at some point, since it isn't going to last forever.  Thus, we really ought to make this transition NOW when we can limit the damage to the biosphere.  

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:36:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We already know where plenty of fossil fuels (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          are located, so much that if we burned them all, we would be well over our limit to stop the worst effects of climate change.  We as a planet, have been digging up and burning as much as we wanted without much caring what happens.  If we are serious about climate change, we look at what is left in our carbon budget and we use those resources to build our future energy infrastructure while trying to maintain our society.  

          All limits we place or taxes or any other system that we create to move away from carbon to renewable must be done in a way that is not arbitrary because there is so little room if we screw this up.  Our country likes to think of things in terms of war, so this is a war on carbon.  We need to figure out what the best battle plan is and stick to it, but modifying it as necessary.  We need to limit civilian casualties, which in this case, will be the 99% who rely on the carbon infrastructure to survive and really don't have a cushion to absorb any kind of shocks to a system that is barely serving them as it is now.  Far too many people already can't afford heat, and we need to make sure that it is not those people who end up shouldering the costs of the transition.  We need to be smart which is asking a lot in a country that sends people like James Mountain "Jim" Inhofe to congress.

        •  Yes, you are "substantially misinformed" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deward Hastings
          Unless I'm substantially misinformed, existing developed and producin areas should last for a decade or so, which is about the time scale in which we should be transitioning sharply to non-carbon sources.  
          Renewables currently provide roughly 9% of all energy consumed in the US and roughly 13% of electricity.  Hydropower accounts for about 35% of that and looks to only grow perhaps 2-3% per year.

          Solar is less than half of 1%.  Wind equals 13% of that renewable amount.

          But the largest "renewable" is carbon based - biomass - wood and and waste and biofuels.

          So - the tiniest percent of our energy comes from non-carbon renewables (not counting nuclear).

          If you seriously think we will be transitioning "sharply" to non-carbon sources in a decade or so, I've got some swamp land in Florida to sell you.  I think it might be perfect sighting for a solar energy farm!!!

          Seriously - we won't even hit 25% non-carbon production in 10 years.. it's a day dream.  And, unless you want to plunge the country into economic collapse, we are going to need oil for many decades to come.

          If you seriously wanted to cut carbon output, you would be pro-nuclear.  A ten year program to close all coal plants replaced by nuclear power generation is the fastest (and only ) way to substantially cut carbon output.

          •  Slightly different angle ... (6+ / 0-)

            a WWII-level mobilization could us (the US and all of us) well past your target figure in a decade -- massive energy efficiency + massive clean energy deployment.  Three doublings is possible in a decade for wind / solar. And, energy efficiency would massively cut total demand from BAU.

            And, well, if "ten-year program" -- how many nuclear power plants do you think are deployable in a decade?  To have up and running, be shocked in current industrial base in the US could achieve much more than a dozen in that decade -- even with crash program -- due to some shortfalls in basic industrial base.

            Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

            by A Siegel on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 01:21:14 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ok.. but explain "efficiency" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deward Hastings

              How is that achieved and what is the cost to consumers?

              While I agree we could try to buy everyone in the US a new 50 MPG auto and re-build all our homes to be more energy efficient, you must be ignoring practical limits, no?

              IMHO, even with a crash program, we could not make much of a dent in efficiency in 10 years, even if consumers were willing to invest their own time and money into improving efficiencies.  And in a sluggish economy with 12-20 million people out of work, it is even more dubious.

              The reason I harp on coal plant replacement with nuclear, is that you get the most bang for the buck - at the least pain to consumers.

              And clean, cheap electricity could hopefully coincide with cheaper and better performing electric cars.  10 year.. 15 years. whatever.  We would be in a much better place without the disruption and lifestyle degradation that many folks are calling for in this diary.

              And, yes, I admit nuclear plant building has a lot of hurdles.  But those problems could have been solved long ago had it not been for obstruction by anti-nuke groups.  We have held up building and testing new generation nuclear reactors for decades - reactors that could be self-contained, built in factories and would be far safer than the massive reactors we use now.  But testing and research has all but stopped due to the misguided rantings of a select few.

              •  Seriously ...? (6+ / 0-)

                "Biggest bang for the buck ..."

                Efficiency could cut >15% at a price of 4 cents/less per kWh equivalent.  And, likel far more.  And, it is quite possible that net cost would be negative if we really look at overall economic impact.  To start with, we could look to Architecture 2030's work (http://getenergysmartnow.com/...) or you could look at ACEEE or ... The material re the cost effectiveness of and rapidity of impact of energy efficiency is widespread and easily available.

                Nuclear power is unlikely to deliver at less than about 15 cents per kWh.

                New wind+storage is far below that.

                Solar is on trend to be less expensive -- with potential for 5 cents/kWh delivered in most American communities by 2020.

                Etc ...

                To be clear, I am not "anti-nuclear power" -- even articulating the common sense of having an active nuclear power development/deployment program to advance industry and maintain/build capacity to exploit -- but it is not this panacea that you suggest.

                Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                by A Siegel on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:40:00 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think you need (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Bon Temps

                  to re-evaluate all those figures and projections . . . especially considering a built-in bias that corrupts all of them.  Nuclear cost estimates always include a massive component from the costs of obstructionism, and a general failure to consider the more practical (smaller scale) installations, primarily because of siting objections that have little or nothing to do with actual safety.  Wind project figures, on the other hand, are typically presented based on "nameplate" ratings not actual power production (they ignore intermittency and the cost of the necessary "backups" as well), and also ignore the cost of "new" infrastructure to get power from the wind farms, aggregated and delivered into the existing grid.  In simpler words . . . the figures are cooked to support the conclusion desired.

                  The solar "trend" to a "potential for 5 cents/kWh" is not even close to what I get when I price 24/7 solar for my house, even if I do all the installation myself.  I'd be very lucky to see a reliable 5kWh/day for under a dollar a day (amortized over 20 years) cost (with no allowance for any maintenance insurance) . . . and my government tells me that the panels that would provide that are already being "dumped" on the market at below production costs.  Not to mention that what might be in 2020 (which is far too late to matter anyway) has no bearing on installations needed today (or yesterday) if we want to prevent catastrophic climate collapse.  As far as I can tell that cost maintains on scaleup if, once again, one factors in the backup necessary for reliable operation.

                  There are certainly exceptions.  One could run air conditioning in Dallas or Phoenix with local (direct) solar and no backup at all, the only cost being the panels and DC motors in the compressor and fans.  Rich people could extend service for a few hours into the evening with batteries, but that bumps up the cost.

                  There are no "panaceas" of course, but it is also true that every coal fired power plant boiler could be replaced with a nuclear boiler using readily available technology and no other change to infrastructure (except removal of the coal delivery railroad tracks).  And it could be done very quickly indeed, especially if we began with the older (typically smaller and lower operating temperature) and most polluting coal plants now in operation.  It's not like we don't already know how . . . look at our fleet of submarines and aircraft carriers.

                  Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

                  by Deward Hastings on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:41:49 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  "remove the tracks" was a joke, of course, (0+ / 0-)

                    they would be very useful for removing any spent fuel for off-site storage.  In abandoned coal mines, for example.

                    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

                    by Deward Hastings on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:05:03 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Kindly substantiate this "massive ... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ginny in CO

                    ...component from the costs of obstructionism".

                    I don't accept that there is such a thing, except at the PR level.

                    Whatever costs might be incurred in rolling over people who lack faith that an industry that builds nuclear plants on active seismic faults has a proper appreciation of safety issues, must be contrasted with the savings represented by not having to purchase liability insurance commercially for the costs associated with a nuclear disaster.

                    Because by law, in the US, the taxpayer will pick up those costs.

                    •  Have a happy nuclear free (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Bon Temps

                      global warming . . .

                      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

                      by Deward Hastings on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:53:52 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  This is your response (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        AoT

                        when asked to substantiate an assertion of fact?

                        Translation of your response: I got nothin', but maybe if I use snark and misdirection, nobody will notice.

                        Fail.  Game over.  Have a good day.

                        "A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home." - James Madison

                        by gharlane on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 04:19:38 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Nukes: inefficient fix for global warming (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        A Siegel, gharlane

                        To address CO2 emissions intelligently, bang for buck must be considered.

                        A dollar spent on a nuke plant could have avoided more CO2 emissions if it had been spent on efficiency upgrades or alternative energy production instead.

                        And each dollar can only be spent once, obviously.

                  •  You have never (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ginny in CO, AoT

                    Heard of utility scale solar?   I'm sure if you built a natural gas turbine fr scratch in your basement it'd cost a lot too

                    Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                    by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:39:47 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Anti-nukers are not that powerful (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                A Siegel, Ginny in CO, AoT

                Nuclear power has been abandoned by Wall Street.

                If nuclear power is so great, why can't it raise private capital, even though in the US, it is by law absolved of all liability for nuclear accidents?  It's just not cost effective.

                If it were, if Wall Street saw billions of dollars to be made with it, those "select few" with their "misguided rantings" would have been crushed like bugs.

              •  Also false (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                A Siegel

                California has been pushing energy efficiency for a while, true, but now we have a third the per capita carbon emission of some states.  Efficiency can make a huge difference.  Of course it takes a little while but big gains can happen if the will is there.  

                Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:37:37 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  I assume he is correct about current (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel

            producing areas then?

            Because he said we should be transitioning, meaning we have the ability and should do it.  The more carbon extraction we develop the less alternative will be in use.

          •  Seriously? You're going to build ... (5+ / 0-)

            ...400 nuclear power plants (the average now is 850 megawatts of nameplate output) in the next decade to replace the 325 installed gigawatts of nameplate coal burners, but we can't hit 25% non-carbon production in 10 years?

            Have you been reading the Energy Information Administration Annual Energy Outlook again?

            The EIA predicted in 2005 that we would have, in a best-case scenario, 63 gigawatts of installed wind capacity by 2025.

            But at the end of 2012, we had 60 GW.

            The EIA predicted last spring that by 2035 we would have just 70 gigawatts of installed wind capacity.

            These ridiculous assumptions seem to underlie a lot of wrong-headed thinking in the energy field.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:49:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, we increased wind by 20% (0+ / 0-)

              Yes, we increased wind by 20% in 2012.  A fantastic number!  But we are still only producing less than 4% of our total needs with wind.

              We produce 20% with nuclear.  How long til we produce even that much with wind?

              And nuclear is 24/7.  

              Solar? Not.

              Wind? Not.

              You still need a baseload supply because even wind is unreliable.

              We are decades away from reliable dependence on renewables.  In addition, wind and solar require a whole new transmission network.  Nuclear plants are plug-in replacements for coal plants and need no infrastructure upgrades.

              We can do both.  Anyone that dismisses nuclear as an option cares more about the politics than the carbon.

              •  Standard talking points. But ever more people... (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ginny in CO, A Siegel, hooper, AoT

                ...are disagreeing about baseload power, an example of which can be seen here.

                Like A Siegel, I am not a diehard anti-nuker. But spending gargantuan amounts of money for vast numbers of new nukes, particularly new generation nukes that have not been tested (something the French are having big problems with, including cost overruns) when we have yet to run a serious efficiency and conservation regime is foolhardy, especially when nuclear power costs $7,000-$8,000 an installed kilowatt and wind is $2,500-$3,500/kw, with capacity factors of new turbines hitting 50%, a far cry from the obsolete claims of wind power foes that turbines only have 20%.

                Storage systems, like pumped hydro, can raise that capacity factor still higher.

                The nation needs a new transmission grid no matter what the source of electricity.

                Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                by Meteor Blades on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:42:36 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Especially this (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  A Siegel, hooper, AoT
                  The nation needs a new transmission grid no matter what the source of electricity.
                  Which immediately leads to: we need a national energy plan based on policies and goals that prioritize sustainable sources replacing fossil fuels as fast as possible, in conjunction with conservation.  (I am idealistically assuming the development of the plan would be fully transparent...)

                  Steven Chu's letter to DoE employees on the accomplishments of the agency in 4 years is a great example of turning around government agencies to be highly functional in bringing about change that is fast, sound and helpful to the economic status of the country.

                  The key for Obama now is to appoint the right person to put the rebuilt DoE into high gear. ASAP

                  "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                  by Ginny in CO on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 02:49:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Do you realize ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                hooper

                how recently we were below 1% electricity from wind?  How recently less than 0.1% from solar?  Doubling every 3-4 years is quite possible ... wind at 20+% of grid in the 2020s and solar over 10% is quite achievable. And, well, 'smart grid' of energy management + energy storage.

                Your "decades away" is like looking at EIA predictions on renewables penetration.

                See America Can Break Its Coal Addiction! (Or: no, coal isn’t necessary). My change to nuclear discussion there would likely be to say that most of our nuclear focus should be on SMRs which offer potential for better power distribution and a better financial/business model than multi-gigawatt plants.

                Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                by A Siegel on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 04:26:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree on the SMR's (0+ / 0-)

                  As I said somewhere above... we should have been ramping up testing of these years ago, with real-life plants in place.

                  And I fully agree 20+% is possible in a decade.  Maybe even better.

                  But, that's not 100% or even close to it.  I stated it will be decades before we substantially can rely on renewables for electricity.  Nowhere did I say we shouldn't try, nor that it was not a lofty goal.

                  I was responding to someone who said we should be transitioning sharply to non-carbon sources in ten years.  That's a pipe dream.  And, without additional new nuclear capacity, your 20+% from wind will only be filling in for all the nuclear plants that will be shutting down around that time.  Net negative carbon? Zero.

                  So, once again.. if we rely on renewables alone, we are looking at 2030-2050 to substantially reduce our carbon footprint.  

                  Even if we can achieve that 15% efficiency, we won't be reducing our carbon output by much more that that in 10 years, because we'll be losing the nuke plants.

                  So yeah.. let's push wind and solar.  But we really need to get coal offline as soon as possible if we really want to reduce carbon.  And that means quickly converting coal to natural gas and building small modular nuclear reactors.

          •  Um no (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel, AoT

            California is at 40% non carbon electricty. Right now.  Today  
            Or around 25% of our total.  We are adding renewables at a furious pace now.  Thats without serious government efforts.  Of course the rest of the US hasn't advanced since 1975. Actually California, Germany, and Spain have shown that we could well transition very fast, at least if you aren't a really dumb American for whom virtually any change is too daunting.   But you are probably right that Americans aren't put to the task.  Instead, future generations will rightly piss on our graves for being stupid selfish assholes

            (Not to mention the fact that reading comprehension isn't your strong suit, since that isn't what I said.  I said that current oil producing areas alone could provide tens years of oil.   I believe that's still true.)

            Oh. And I'm very pro nuclear for precisely the reasons you outline

            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

            by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:35:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are counting electricity from other states? (0+ / 0-)

              If you are only counting electricity generated in California, then that's cheating with numbers.  California buys a substantial amount of its electricity from other states.

              •  Electricity used (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                A Siegel, AoT

                I know it is hard to believe that there is a state in the US with European levels of efficiency, but there is.  The thee big utilities have hit 20% renewable (not including nuclear) in their portfolios, including some out I state purchases ( some out of state renewables don't count as renewables under California law).

                Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:10:10 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Reducing carbon emissions saves money (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel, AoT

          This is apparently not well understood, probably because the extraction industries don't want it to be.

          Improving efficiency of end-use can be done in many cases with very short payback periods, after which your business's bottom line benefits in perpetuity.  If your company produces the same amount of product with half the energy, how is that a bad thing?  Unless you're Exxon/Mobil, I mean.

          Just getting this mindset accepted, and getting rid of perverse incentives, would result in profit-seeking becoming a positive force, at least in the context of CO2 emissions.

          Details in great abundance may be had at rmi.org.  Their assertions have solid numbers behind them, and they get paid big bucks by people you might not expect, including the Pentagon, EPRI, and Duke Energy.

          We have to stop asking "how much pain must we bear, how much must we sacrifice, to stop global warming?" and start asking "how much can we increase profits by reducing the amount of energy consumed to create a dollar's worth of value?"

    •  This is the most stupid comment ever on DKos (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Farugia, Bon Temps

      and that is saying something. And two people rec'd it!

    •  Billions would die (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Farugia, jds1978, hooper

      An abrupt end to all fossil fuel extraction would mean the end of food and shelter for hundreds of millions if not billions of people. This grim fact cannot just be brushed aside.

      •  they're going to anyway (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quicklund, maryabein

        that cake's already baked, I'm afraid.

        however, we need to transition gracefully.  Frank's advice wouldn't be ahem orderly or graceful.  Clearly, our economy needs a swift kick in the butt to make this change.  The market is marked failure here.

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:40:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The point is that people do not understand energy (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ozy, A Siegel, pgm 01, jds1978, hooper

          That point needs to be covered in and of itself. Other issues are just as important or more so, but some basic education is also needed.

          There are many green-minded people that think shutting down fossil fuel cold turkey is an opinion. It is not. Doing so would kill vastly more people than died in WW2 and in a shorter time frame.

          There are people who think we burn oil and coal only because large corporations want us to. That is not true. We burn those fuels because doing so has made Earth capable of keeping ten-fold as many people alive.

          Energy means crops can be planted with the aid of machinery, harvested and processed in massive quantities, and transported around the globe to be eaten.  It keeps weather satellites in space and builds schools in neighborhoods. Nothing gets done without fossil fuels.

          I am certain you understand all this but many well-intentioned people honestly do not.

          •  Enough people here (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel, Quicklund

            don't seem to understand this concept that it should be emphasized.

            Even the discussion and studies about renewable power only talk about replacing our current electricity production with renewables. They don't consider all of the industrial processes that use direct fossil fuel energy for direct heating and similar purposes. The usually don't consider the replacement of fossil fuels for all transportation.

            If we want to completely electrify and go renewable, it's a much larger scale than any present study has tackled.

            •  That's not really accurate (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Siegel, AoT, MixedContent

              there's a tremendous amount of analysis done of transportation needs and the amount of energy and stock replacement that would have to be done.  For example, I just recently did an analysis here discussing how for California, we already produce nearly enough non-carbon energy (hydro, nuclear, renewables) to power all gasoline powered transportation (80 TWh v. the 100-120 we'd need).  It's a lot to replace, but with money and time, it can definitely be done.

              Some industrial process would require fossil fuels.  However, for everything else, there's electricity.

              Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

              by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:20:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Did you factor in (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                all shipping to and from California, including ships and airplanes? Intrastate air travel?

                If you include transportation and industrial/residential non-electrical uses of energy, estimates for the US renewable requirements would need to increase its renewable energy budget by an additional ~150%

                US Energy flow

                and that's before adding in the additional losses incurred by transporting the electricity and using it as generally lower-grade heat for industrial processes.

                You say that some industrial processes might require fossil fuels, but if we want to actually start reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere rather than just slowing down the increase, we're going to have to make pretty drastic changes.

              •  In the medium term it is (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                In the long term you are right. And at some point the ecological damage from extracting rare earth elements will be worse than allowing certain high-value and high carbon efficient processes continue.

                •  that's extremely doubtful (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT

                  given how incredibly damaging carbon is, and how localized mining impacts and the probable lack of need for rare earths in the long term, actually.

                  Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                  by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:08:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Carbon is not damaging. Lots of it is. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT

                    Carbon emissions at some lower point are not threatening to the environment. The law of diminishing returns applies universally. At some point in some applications a small efficient combustion engine (or other use of fossil fuel resource) is going to be a "greener" alternative than building another battery or generator.

            •  Unfair ... (5+ / 0-)

              I've written about Steel Interstates (transportation displacement of liquid fuels), about biocoal potential for steel industry, alternatives to fossil fuel based fertilizer, etc ...

              Agreed that most people (far from just at DKos) have a hard time considering energy as a system-of-systems.

              Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

              by A Siegel on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 01:23:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're right (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Quicklund, A Siegel

                I likely overreacted to the generally simplistic responses that tend to dominate the discussions.

                I'm sure there are studies looking at everything from how to make carbon-neutral avionic biofuels to nuclear powered supertankers.

                Coming to DKos and seeing comments like 'we have to stop burning all fossil fuels now' has become frustrating as it substitutes the real scale and complexity of the problem with a knee-jerk response that, if taken seriously, is tantamount to saying let's commit mass murder of millions of people.

          •  INdeed I do (4+ / 0-)

            As you know, the transition will be a big lift.  It will be a very  very big lift, and nibbling around the edges with small programs and tiny incentives will not get the job done.  And there are some significant hurdles to overcome as well.

            But yes, shutting off everything tomorrow would be a giant mess of vast proportions.

            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

            by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:18:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Let's be honest (3+ / 0-)

          If our country were serious about this we'd nationalize the oil companies and dump all the profits into alternative energy while slowly winding down carbon extraction.  And a much stricter transpo policy around cars, carbon utilizing or not.

        •  transitioning gracefully has left (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          the building.

          The earth is due for some rather radical transitioning, and that, in itself, will cause a lot of devastation.  Whether or not enough species will remain to continue is the new question.

  •  Basing decision on cost is a slippery slope (16+ / 0-)

    for the simple reason that dollars are man-made and infinitely available.
    To suggest that people want to do things to get dollars is deceptive. People want to transform matter into energy because it satisfies their inquisitive nature. However, these same people, who are good at figuring out how the processes of nature work and what is required to manipulate them, are not very good at assessing the long-term consequences.
    How many of the people that built the first atom bomb, for example, anticipated that the U.S. would end up storing thousand of them and worry for over a century about what would happen if they were detonated accidentally or on purpose? Did the nuclear engineers really think that thousands of military personnel would be tasked with baby-sitting bombs in silos and underground bunkers?

    The people wanting to separate tar from sand are intrigued by the process. That pumping carbon into the atmosphere is a bad idea doesn't really concern them.
    Somebody has to tell them 'no.'

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:59:25 AM PST

    •  Re (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      charliehall2
      The people wanting to separate tar from sand are intrigued by the process. That pumping carbon into the atmosphere is a bad idea doesn't really concern them.
      Somebody has to tell them 'no.'
      Who's going to do that? Certainly not this nation of suburban McMansion dwellers. The American 'way of life', such as it is, relies on cheap fossil fuels. Anything that is going to make fossil fuels more expensive is a no-go.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:04:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, as a matter of fact, the McMansion dwellers (12+ / 0-)

        are hardly ever home. Most of the time they are running around in their cages on wheels and as recent sales seem to suggest, they don't really care what makes them run, as long as it doesn't take too long to fill up. If the cages can be charged and ready to go while the owners are getting some indispensible sleep, so much the better.  The McMansions are designed to look after themselves, more or less, with an occasional visit from the yard man and the pool man and the exterminator. All of those visitors, who are sustained by the owners of the houses, as silent part-time servants, can get around to their designated locations in vehicles that run on some energy source other than carbon producing ones.

        I suspect that our instinct-driven "leaders" are not in touch with the electorate because their own sense of touch is deficient, as is their appreciation for automobility. Indeed, it's quite possible that some people are attracted to the "public servant" profession, even though they don't know how to serve, because of the various privileges, such as being driven around and catered to from dawn to dusk and beyond.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:42:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  One thing though, the scientists.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          radical simplicity

          ..in laboratries, intrigued by discovering new ways to convert matter into energy aren't in charge of making the decisions which type of matter to work with.

          People want to transform matter into energy because it satisfies their inquisitive nature.
          That decisions is made by the huge petrochemical giants (Koch industries et al.) and that is about profit. Pride in being an "Oil man" probably plays a role too.

          Cost matters. The fight: XL pipeline and the cost of routing it through the Rockies if the pipeline is stopped and doesn't travel the 1,700 miles through the US sort of shows that cost matters a lot.
          The tar sands extraction could be slowed down enough to buy time for other technologies to be developed. Cost differential could be that close to make a difference in choices as profit is nearly always the bottom line.

          •  Cost considerations did not inhibit the (2+ / 0-)

            development and construction of nuclear power plants, although cost over-runs did lead to various bankruptcies and re-capitalizations and, more recently, arguments that operating licenses should be extended way beyond the lifetimes they were engineered for because turning them into giant mausoleums seems such a waste.

            Our judicial regime presumes that individuals, whose ability to create mayhem is limited by many factors, can be free to act as the will until after it becomes obvious that their actions are detrimental to other people. So, we don't lock people away before they murder, but we do expect that they won't get to murder twice.
            Our mistake is in applying this same judicial regime to private corporations and treating them as if they were individual persons, when it should be perfectly obvious that a hundred or a thousand people acting as one artificial body are likely to create so much damage before anyone can stop them that they should be subject to prior restraint. And, indeed, the charter process, by which corporations are created and authorized by the states provides that opportunity. The problem is that the states, particularly states like Delaware and North Dakota and North Carolina have failed to hold the corporations they charter to account.
            Comity provides that corporations chartered in one state get to operate in others. That nobody is insuring that the public welfare is served by these artificial bodies gets overlooked.
            Why? It may just be that our public servants, alse members of corporations, have some sympathy with their cousins in the private sector. Birds of a feather flock together.
            Stripping private corporations of personhood is not really the issue. The problem isn't that they've been treated as natural persons, but that their status as artificial bodies has not been properly defined.
            That was sort of the same problem the military commissions had. They were determined not to be legal because they Congress had failed to set them up and define them in regular legislative order. The Constitution is organized so that agents of government can only carry out assigned and specified tasks and obligations, nothing else. That's how they are limited.
            Private corporations could be similarly limited by having their charters specify their area of operation, their duties to the public and what is to happen, if they don't perform.

            We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

            by hannah on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:13:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Private corporations could be similarly limited by (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              radical simplicity

              ..having

              their charters specify their area of operation, their duties to the public and what is to happen, if they don't perform.
              Yes, totally agree. The agents of govt. to define what responsibilities to society that comes with incorporation has been geared for the benefit of the corporations instead of society as a whole.

              But this:

              Cost considerations did not inhibit the development and construction of nuclear power plants, although cost over-runs did lead to various bankruptcies and re-capitalizations and, more recently, arguments that operating licenses should be extended way beyond the lifetimes they were engineered for because turning them into giant mausoleums seems such a waste.
              It is a bad thing that plants designed to last 40 years have been extended.

              Though delayed, tightened regulations and environmentalists hammering away over time has upped the cost (inhibited) for these nuclear plants (in some states more than others - Ca.) which opens up markets for sources of kinetic energy (wind, solar) vs potential (nuclear, oil, coal etc.)

      •  You can give up, the rest of us (7+ / 0-)

        will be off stopping this monstrosity.  Remember, the American way of life once included child labor and people made a lot of money on it.  We can stop carbon extraction and we have to.

      •  Well, no, not really (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MixedContent, radical simplicity

        The American way of life does not have to rely on fossil fuels.  That's the point.  However, it wil rely on them if we fail to make a serious effort at a transition.  

        Part of that serious effort requires limiting fossil fuels.  Guess what?  Defeating Hitler made a lot of things (including fuel) more expensive or plain unavailable.  We managed to pull that off anyway.  I'm a little distressed that Americans really have become fat, ugly, selfish slobs.  I don't think I'm buying that entirely.

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:43:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This I think is wishful thinking: (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk, A Siegel, AoT
          The American way of life does not have to rely on fossil fuels.
          We are true pigs with energy, no offense to pigs.  Our way of life is not sustainable no matter how much we'd like to believe in green consumerism.

          Which is not to say we can't live well and sustainably, but most people are currently not willing -- or even aware of what it might take -- to live within our energy means.

          After the transition we'll live on only what the sun sends us every day.  The transition could mean a rational powering down of our energy use, including substitution of renewables for FFs and deep reductions of use overall, or it could include mass dieoffs with immense longterm carrying-capacity degradation.  Or both.  But it will not just be the same system powered differently.

    •  They're not intrigued by the process (10+ / 0-)

      They're intrigued by the profit. Everything else is secondary to them, if that.

      And even if these decisions were based on cost, the externalities would obviously push that cost well past the point where it would be worth it. But since those externalities are still mostly borne by everyday people, via their tax dollars and other ways (e.g. medical costs, lost productivity), they don't have to factor that it. Yet another example of socialism for the rich.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:01:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you include the cost of cleaning up the mess... (6+ / 0-)

      ...it makes sense to base decisions on cost.  But these people are pigs and don't care about the mess they leave behind, either on the land, water or air.

      They are mega litterbugs who should be fined to say the least.

      Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

      by Shockwave on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:25:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Their activities should simply not be tolerated. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave

        If lands have been previously declared to be private, we can invoke emminent domain, if the use of the lands is abusive and contrary to public welfare.
        Counting on costs to dissuade is a losing proposition.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:51:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Spot on regarding export (36+ / 0-)

    If the oil is for domestic consumption, put the refineries in North Dakota. If you say you need water transport because the volumes are so big, put it in Southern Minnesota.

    Texas is access ot the globe, not to the domestic market.

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:17:32 AM PST

  •  Good takedown, Adam. n/t (19+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:20:22 AM PST

    •  I was only able to make it through the 2d graf (9+ / 0-)

      when I started reading Nocera today.  "Replacing" Herbert w/ Nocera on Tuesday and Sat. was a big step down for the gray lady.  While he has his moments, he also has drivel like what he wrote today.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:47:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Beyond the specifics of the issue (13+ / 0-)

        is his snotty, elitist view of civil disobedience.

        In any case, McKibben, Hansen and others were arrested on Wednesday, as planned. They spent a few hours in jail and paid $100 fines. And that was it.

        Until the next time, of course.

        Oh, those silly little people, challenging authority, putting their bodies and their money with their mouths are. How utterly absurd.
        •  They need to be doing that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          david mizner, 4Freedom, flowerfarmer

          Where they're trying to build the pipeline.  This was a good start for them, but it's only a start.  Symbolic action isn't going to stop this pipeline and the sooner we realize that the quicker we'll stop it.

          •  Major civil disobedience is probably only way to (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, orlbucfan, LakeSuperior, A Siegel

            stop this pipeline.  There's ample reason to expect the WH to approve KXL as per this FDL diary:

            On January 18, 2012, the Obama administration decided to not issue a permit before February 21 after Congress imposed a 60-day deadline on a “process for the permit as part of a deal to extend a payroll-tax break and unemployment benefits for two months.” This was largely viewed as a victory by leaders like McKibben, who reacted, “What you’ve done these past eight months is quite amazing—and against all the odds. We’ve won no permanent victory (environmentalists never do) but we have shown that spirited people can bring science back to the fore.”

            However, just over a month and a half later, Obama held a rally for his presidential re-election campaign in Cushing, Oklahoma, an oil town, where he boasted, “Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.” He said he directed his administration over the last three years to open up millions of acres of land for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states. “We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some. So, we are drilling all over the place.”

            Obama addressed the “glut” of oil, how there wasn’t enough pipeline capacity to move it to the Gulf of Mexico for refining. He added, “Right now, a company called TransCanada has applied to build a new pipeline to speed more oil from Cushing to state-of-the-art refineries down on the Gulf Coast. Today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles and make this project a priority.” He issued an executive order to expedite construction and the permit process for the pipeline.

            I wish it were otherwise, but I see little reason to expect the WH to kill this project.

            Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

            by RFK Lives on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:56:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  He's correct when he say's focus on demand (6+ / 0-)

    I think many believed that once oild hit a certain price - alternatives would become competetive.

    In reality - the sustained high price of oil has fostered and supported oil exploration in high cost / process forms.

    Instead of trying to raise the price of oil, we should be working on ways to reduce world demand that will reduce the price and make areas such as tar sands non profitable - if you can take the profit out - the companies will go away.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:20:45 AM PST

    •  Umm... (5+ / 0-)

      Raising the price of carbon-based energy relative to other energy sources will tend to move energy demand away from carbon and towards those other sources.

      •  Not really (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jon Says, VClib, Fishgrease, Bon Temps

        in a global economy - if you lock your industry into using higher cost sources of energy - the business will move to places that won't impose such rules.
        .
        The people who will suffer are the consumers / taxpayers.

        You need to strike a balance and you need to get everyone in on it - or it will fail.....in other words - good luck.

        The world will stop using oil when it runs out and it has to find another way or if the technology makes another source more acessable, more efficient and less costly.

        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

        by ctexrep on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:16:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reducing the amount of oil on the market (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          will increase prices world wide.  Oil is not priced locally and the oil from this pipeline is not going to be used locally.

          •  Which will hurt consumers (0+ / 0-)

            Is $4.00 for a gallon of gas too cheap?  Ask a struggling family - they can do without some things - gasoline isn't one of them.  For every petro dollar spent - means one less dollar spend on something else.

            If you want to send any progress or gains the economy has made into a tailspin - increase energy costs.

            As oil goes - so goes food and everything else - having alternatives is a must - but you don't pull the rug out from underneath everyones feet in the process.

            The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

            by ctexrep on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:15:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If given a choice between my life being slightly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Siegel

              worse because of fuel price increases and have a mass die off in the relatively near future then it's not a choice to me.

              If you want to send any progress or gains the economy has made into a tailspin - increase energy costs.
              If you want to see our world decimated then worship the economy and growth some more.

              You're basically arguing that we need oil to continue to live the way we do.  I'm not disagreeing, I'm saying that we need to change the way we live and we need to do it soon or the world is fucked.  This isn't optional.

              •  You are in the minority (0+ / 0-)

                when you say you are willing  to change the way you live.

                Not in "saying it" but "doing it".

                People are soft and getting softer.  Look at all those people who spend a few days on a ship with no water - you think it was the end of the world.

                Look at when a storm comes and the power goes out for a few days - everyone (including me) bitches.

                There's not too many people who would want to live in a world without oil (or some darn good alternatives which do not exist in the quantity, quality and efficiency needed to sustain peoples standard of living).

                We dry our clothes on a clothes line three seasons of the year - most neighboorhoods don't allow for this anymore becasue neighboors don't like to see it (to hell with the enviroment).

                What I'm saying is do your part- do what you think is best but don't expect the same from others. There are no politicians who will impose what you speak of - if they did, it would be suicide politically - Americans don't like being told what to do - it's in our DNA.

                The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

                by ctexrep on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:37:03 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Wow ... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pgm 01, AoT

              wrong on so many levels.

              1.  There are huge costs due to pollution that are not included in the price -- costs that have real impact on the economic performance. Why shouldn't this be priced into energy costs?

              2.  Sensible investing in a clean-energy economy will create economic activity / jobs.

              3.  We have oil prices 3x 13 years ago.  All of that is going into the pockets of producers.  If we'd started a 1 cent per month tax a decade ago, we wouldn't have a budget problem, oil prices would likely be about the same price, and we'd be using a hell of a lot less oil.  

              When economy was great, we were told 'don't risk the great economy'.  

              When economy is bad, it is 'how dare you ...'  

              Evidently better to silently accept the need to bend over and kiss our asses goodbye.

              Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

              by A Siegel on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:19:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Truer words were never spoken (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ctexrep

          "The world will stop using oil when it runs out and it has to find another way or if the technology makes another source more acessable, more efficient and less costly."

          The world will stop using fossil fuels when they run out or become too costly to extract.  Not one day sooner.  And fossil fuels aren't going to run out in our lifetimes, or our childrens', or our grandchildrens'.  And, there is really nothing any of us can do about it.  This pipeline will probably be approved by Obama.  Maybe not now, but closer to the end of his term, when he is "legacy building", and "post presidency, what am I going to do?" building.  He wants to do it anyway.  Only the re-election campaign stopped him.  And, Nebraska has now gotten on board, as well.  The media also seems to be coming around to the approval side.  Approval is going to be the easier thing to do.  And, even if Obama holds firm,...

          The pipeline will be approved by the next president, regardless of party.  If the GOP wins in 2016, they'll appeove it on January 21, 2017.  Hillary is the only Dem I can see winning.  Do you really think the Clintons, the Dems of "the era of big government is over" and NAFTA, are going to do anything other than approve it?

          It's a done deal.  It's just a matter of when.  

        •  well then (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          Then we better make thos technologies available now.  Cut oil subsideies, impose taxes, fund construction of alternatives.  Done.

          On a side note, under the theory espoused by Dick Cheney that if a nation is engaging in activities that pose an existential threat, the target nation has a right to take action.  Under this theory, Bangladesh and the Maldives would be well within their rights to launch cyberattacks and send commandos to attack US and Chinese coal and oil facilities.  

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:47:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Several things ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          who is suffering now and into the future due to our failure to price in externalities?

          If "the world will stop using oil when it runs out ...", then you are asserting that there is nothing worthwhile to do in the face of catastrophic climate chaos.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:16:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  DBunn - while that is true (0+ / 0-)

        There can be dislocations. Energy prices are a key variable in locating manufacturing.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:35:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Astute observation (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mindful Nature, A Siegel

          You are correct, there can be dislocations. I'd go farther: there definitely will be dislocations, because even if we do nothing, climate change will force them upon us.

          Examples of predictable dislocations from climate change include abandoning coastal regions due to rising sea levels, massive famine due to droughts in major food producing regions, and northward spread of tropical diseases. Then there are the less predictable but potentially even more catastrophic possibilites such as destabilization of ocean currents due to rapid warming of the Arctic.

          We don't get to choose whether there will be dislocations. We can try to avoid or minimize the worst dislocations, and develop adaptive strategies where possible.

          Some parts of our economy will have to change, whether on not we attempt to slow or mitigate climate change. Recognizing this is the first step towards responsible management.

    •  Per/Capita CO2 emissions in the US down 5% since.. (0+ / 0-)

      ..1990.

      Aggregate CO2 emissions up only 5% since 1990.

      And Nocera wants to reduce US demand for energy even more???!!!!

      And he wants to do it by increasing the tax burden on the working and middle-class!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Nocera is as clueless as Thomas Friedman when it comes to energy.

      Nothing would make both happier than to see our middle-class's standard of living fall even more than it has over the last 12 years.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:47:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Substituting a carbon tax for payroll taxes (12+ / 0-)

        would help the working class. It would be tough on rural areas but benefits could be thrown their way to make up for the increased costs.

        Your economic analysis is simplistic and predictable.

        You know what will really devastate middle class Americans and the American economy? Worsening droughts and high food prices are going to have disastrous effects as the climate warms up and the grain belt dries up.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:03:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  FOW - SocSec taxes are a key part of the program (5+ / 0-)

          Taking away the separate funding mechanism from SocSec undermines the key foundational structure of the program. SocSec has been so popular on a bipartisan basis because of FDR's wisdom that it should have a separate funding source and your benefits would be determined by your contributions.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:38:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am very aware of that. Medicare didn't exist (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            orlbucfan, VClib

            when Social Security was established. Also Social Security taxes were raised to "save up" money to fund baby boomers. I'm not suggesting that payroll taxes be replaced completely. How about a 2% reduction paid for by a carbon tax?

            look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

            by FishOutofWater on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:56:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe they'll grow grain someday (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          orlbucfan, A Siegel, AoT

          in Minnesota and Montana?  We had a very mild winter in Pittsburgh last year.  A friend of mine remarked that he liked this "climate change stuff".  "If PA becomes North Carolina, who am I to complain."

      •  Do you think (0+ / 0-)

        alternatives are less expensive?

        If they were, there would be a lot more people taking advantage of them - but were not there from a technology standpoint nor an infrastructure standpoint.

        Even with tax credits and subsidies it's difficult to cost justify some alternatives.

        I can't wait until we get the hydrogen fuel cell technology in cars - but I'm not pluggig something in that costs many thousands more and has a small range - doesn't work for me.

        One of the best ways to improve the middle class standard of living is to reduce energy costs - gas is aapproching $4.00 per gallon - heating oil (for many of us who use it) is $3.80 or more - people using LP are getting the screw job - in some cases LP is marked up two to three times depending on what you use it for and how much you use.
        Electric rates are insane.

        Natural Gas seems to be the only bright spot but unless you live in an area that is densly populated - you're out of luck.

        I can't believe Democrats and the Obama administration have yet to invesstiage the gouging at commodities markets - I hope Elizabeth Warren looks into it.

        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

        by ctexrep on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:10:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Pretty simple (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel, AoT

          folks who are wasting energy need to stop. Apparently, relying on people's moral sense won't do it, so time to slam them in the pocket book, and hard.  Frankly, if most states were merely as energy efficient as California (which emits 1/3 as much carbon per capita as the more wasteful ones, leaving out Texas and Louisiana), that'd be a giant step forward.

          I'd recommend the Volt, which has an effectively infinite range.  Anyone driving a car that gets under 35 MPG for commuting or non-work purposes has zero cause to complain on this point.  Furthermore, substantial numbers of Americans live near public transit they don't use or live within 35 miles to work, in which case an electric car, like the LEAF is plenty adequate.

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:02:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, it isn't "adequate" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PatriciaVa

            I love folks like you proclaiming from your ivory tower what is or isn't adequate for other Americans.

            If you need to drive further than those 35 miles, even occasionally, then the Leaf is not adequate at all, now is it?

            And your answer will be : Have 2 cars..

            Well, ok!  Are you going to help pay for millions of families to transition to Leafs and buy a second car?

            •  Actually ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mindful Nature

              the 'solution' is to be prepared to rent / timeshare a vehicle for longer range.

              And, "Mindful Nature" wrote "substantial numbers" and not "all Americans".  

              Just as the Ford Bronco isn't the transportation option of choice for many, so the Leaf won't be for others.  

              Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

              by A Siegel on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 01:25:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  The problem is ever the same (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT, A Siegel

              People who would not raise a finger that onconveneinces them at all to help the world.   Whether it is tobacco companies, oil companies, banksters, warmongers, or people who refuse to change even a little, it is at root those who place their own pleasures so far above the needs of the many as to completely ignore the suffering around them

              And yes, for many or most Americans, a single charge on an electric is plenty fine.  For other needs there are car sharing and charging stations.  The fact that some circumstances are harder to negotiate is no argument against plucking the low hanging fruit.  I will point out that we've paid $2 trillion for stupid and pointless wars over the last decade.  A small portion of that added to the monies spent or polluting cars would go a long way toward inducing a high rate of transition.  Somehow people will vote for money for wars, but when it comes to saving civilization, they can't be bothered

              Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

              by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 01:56:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  No ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mindful Nature, AoT

          the "costs" that you are whining about are a fraction of their real costs -- costs counted in asthma cases, cancer victims, climate change, ocean acidification.  

          You are complaining when the majority of costs are exported onto others and not including your energy use pricing.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:23:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I don't get it. (7+ / 0-)

        And reducing demand further is bad why?

        You could reduce US energy use by another 20% just by wringing useless waste out of the system. And waste doesn’t contribute to anyone’s standard of living.

        Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

        by Joe Bob on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:59:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Allowing Elon Musk or Richard Branson to... (0+ / 0-)

          ..spearhead projects which will enable the very wealthy to take a joyride into sub space, emitting in a few minutes as much CO2 as they would in a cross-country flight, that's a HUGE WASTE.

          I doubt that the struggling family in East LA, living paycheck to paycheck, is wasting energy.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

          by PatriciaVa on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:36:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The you need to do some research (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel

            Those people driving long distances in inefficient cars are in fact polluting a lot also. Do they have energy efficient appliances and the like?

            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

            by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 01:59:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Do I have to disprove this again? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, Deward Hastings, Leftcandid

        this time you already know it is false.

        GHG emissions are UP by 10.5% in 200 and were still up in 2012.  That is, in 1990, total CO2 emissions where 5.1 Billion tons CO2 , and were up to 5.7 billion in 2010.  See Table ES-2.  As noted, that number dropped to 5.2 billion tons CO2 in 2012  Overall, numbers of CO2 eq numbers are not that different, with a GWP climbing from 6.2 billion CO2eq to 6.7 Billion CO2 eq  (see the bottom of the table).  

        We can rate this zombie lie as false.  I wouldn't be chiding anyone else as ignorant of energy (especiallly when citing to Anthony Watts as your source, as I seem to recall you doing.)

        And yes, the working and middle class who use the fossil fuels will need to be paying more to induce a transition to electricity for transportation or to induce not living a gazillion miles from work.  They're part of the problem, so they need to be part of the solution.  If small paychecks are the problem, then the US needs to institute a saner tax and government policy, and not use this as a very lame excuse for screwing over the rest of the world (nearly all of whom are economically in MUCH worse shape than the US middle class).

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:58:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've liniked to my sources in the past. (0+ / 0-)

          You can research my comment history if you wish.  

          And as you concede, aggregate CO2 emissions have increased from 5.1B tons of CO2 in 1990 to 5.2B tons in 2012.  According to your numbers, less than a 5% increase.

          More importantly, you argue...

          And yes, the working and middle class who use the fossil fuels will need to be paying more
          The working and middle-class have seen wages stagnate/decline for 12 years, and some liberals want them to shoulder an ever sharper after-tax wage decline, via an energy tax.

          I'm not one of those liberals.

          I'm the type of liberal that believes that wage and income inequality is the primary problem, and that fiscal policies put forth should address it.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

          by PatriciaVa on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:32:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again ... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mindful Nature, AoT, Leftcandid

            refusing to recognize that your focus means that climate chaos will overwhelm any near term gains.

            You are not offering up policies that will address climate + income inequality (which many, include myself, have done) but are simply a frequent whine against calls to address climate change.

            Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

            by A Siegel on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 01:27:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Best Return on Investment is Retrofitting Homes (0+ / 0-)

              Let's have the federal government provide 90% of the cost of retrofitting insulation / high-efficiency furnaces to any household earning less than 150K per year.

              That would be money much better spent than having the struggling family in East LA subsidize Larry Ellison's purchase of a 100K Tesla.

              Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

              by PatriciaVa on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 01:57:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  By all means (0+ / 0-)

            Put forward measures to address income inequality, but we need action now and can't wait for the working and middle classes to figure out that they should stop voting to cut their own paychecks

            And yes, you have cited noted climate denialists in the past, so color me skeptical

            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

            by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 01:46:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Is former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson a Denialist? (0+ / 0-)

              Because I've cited her in the past to support my view on climate change policy prescriptions.

              What climate denialist have I ever cited?

              Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

              by PatriciaVa on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 01:50:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, but Anthony Watts (0+ / 0-)

                Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:32:24 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Anthony Watts is citing EPA data (0+ / 0-)

                  So many of you refuse to concede the FACT that the US has done so much in the realm of carbon mitigation, in large part due to policies put forth by Dem administrations.

                  Compare our record since 1990 to Asian countries, where per/capita CO2 emissions have, in certain cases, increased by 300%.

                  How's that comparison.

                  A decrease of 5% in the US since 1990, vs an increase of 300% in certain Asian countries.

                   I stand by my numbers.... (0+ / 0-)

                  And according to figure ES-1 in the report you cite....

                  http://www.epa.gov/...

                  ....CO2 emissions are down by about 5% since 2000.

                  Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

                  Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

                  by PatriciaVa on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:58:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  You have misled people with her words (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                A Siegel

                Numerous times.  Misrepresenting what she said to make it sound like the US shouldn't do anything, which is not at all what she said in the quote you often provide.  She says we can't do it alone, and you turn that into meaning we shouldn't do it at all.

              •  You have misrepresented her (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                Citing with misrepresentation isn't exactly a respectful action.

                And, well, as per other comments, you were given an answer to "What climate denialist have I ever cited?"  You can't then play a game as to 'but he was citing EPA data", you did cite a climate denialist.

                Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                by A Siegel on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:00:41 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Oh ... (0+ / 0-)

        so you want to see increased polluting energy usage.

        Yet again, deceptive and destructive thoughts ...

        Thank you for consistency.

        Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

        by A Siegel on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:21:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And yes, we need an 80% reduction. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        Or so says the science

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:07:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  ctexrep - reducing energy demand is a plus (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, ctexrep

      but cheaper oil makes transitioning to alternatives difficult, unless they can be delivered at a lower cost.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:33:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But that's what it will take (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        The Petro industry is pretty darn efficient - they creat pipelins to transport their goods - they can take a ship, load it to the gills and ship it across the ocean, tanker trucks etc - each step is not labor intensive - right down to retail - you can have one minimum wage pat time worker in charge of 20 gas pumps and a mini-mart.

        Again - petro dollars are empty IMHO becasue so few people for the amount of revenue generated.

        Wall Street has learned how to vulture this industry and how to drive the price up in the face of high supplies and ample capacity.

        There was such a glut of oil, storage capacity ran out - yet the prices fell briefly and then skyrocketed back up.

        As a % of income, energy costs have soared.  The last thing the world needs is higher costs for staple items without alternatives.

        To me, the most difficult thing is that OPEC knows where that price threshold is - while they enjoy the prices they are getting - as long as the supply is there - they will make sure that oil is always more competitive to alternatives.

        The way you win is through technology - the hydrogen fuel cell has that potential - to reduce cost AND be better for the enviroment.

        Most people are not willing to go backwards so the only direction to go is forward.  

        IMHO, time would be much better spend aiding and figuring out that next technlogy will be rather than fighting the old established one.

        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

        by ctexrep on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:55:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I would say the Forward on Climate rallies (21+ / 0-)

    hit a nerve or two. Good.

    We need more opportunities to combat the talking points.

    Be radical in your compassion.

    by DWG on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:28:33 AM PST

  •  This was one of the dumbest NYT columns ever... (26+ / 0-)

    ...and I read Ross Douthat, so I know dumb.

    The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

    by Scott in NAZ on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:31:50 AM PST

  •  Just think of all the jobs that will be lost if (9+ / 0-)

    the mimes in the misinformation campaigns are not allowed to spout their falsehoods.  It's all about the jobs.  Don't you get it.  

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

    by John Crapper on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:43:59 AM PST

  •  That Scientic American article is top notch (16+ / 0-)

    I read that article this morning and it makes a very clear fact-based presentation about the effects of the existence and use of the Keystone pipeline on global warming.

    I highly recommend it.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:44:39 AM PST

  •  or, as I like to put it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    "Heaven forbid anyone should try to deprive you of your God given right to get on the net and prove to the whole world you don't know what you're talking about."

    "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

    by azureblue on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:57:39 AM PST

  •  It's like arguments being made to "Fix the Debt" (12+ / 0-)

    They're based on half-truths, unfounded but understandable assumptions, misapplied common sense, factual distortions, and outright lies, motivated less by a desire to do good than to benefit a certain set of special interests.

    People who want Keystone XL do not care about lowering energy prices let alone the environment. People who want Keystone XL care about one thing only: profit, for them and their friends.

    Same thing about ANWR, or fracking, or opening up yet more federal lands to conventional drilling and mining, or "clean coal". It's all about the bucks, not making energy cheaper or protecting the environment.

    Or "Fixing the Debt". It's not the debt, or the deficit, or the economy, or jobs, or making government more efficient. It's about destroying the New Deal so yet more money is made available for Wall St. to steal.

    These people care only about money, and their own careers and interests.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:58:16 AM PST

  •  Contrary Argument (6+ / 0-)
    Like it or not, fossil fuels are going to remain the world’s dominant energy source for the foreseeable future, and we are far better off getting our oil from Canada than, say, Venezuela.
    Our future lies in a sustainability system that does not extract any carbon for energy. There is no alternative to this except a burning hot planet and massive die-offs. The foreseeable future must be fossil fuel free. Since this is the case we would be foolish to open any new fossil fuel sources.
  •  Thank you for this diary. The media are awful. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, A Siegel

    I heard a relatively sympathetic report on how meteorologists are reporting climate change this morning on NPR and I cringed the whole way through.

  •  It is really bizarre that (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, 4Freedom, KenBee, orlbucfan, A Siegel

    the people who are some of the greatest advocates of 'the market' (and I don't know if Nocera is, I am not familiar with his column, but a general comment) - the "drill baby drill" / energy security crowd - are trying (and apparently succeeding) to foist on people the idea that if we drill at home or nearby, that means the oil company will just sell it to the US market since we are local, rather than selling it to the highest bidder from whatever location all around the world.

    Sure, if the US government were doing the drilling, that might be the case. But these are global oil companies we are talking about. Just because it was produced in North America doesn't mean they are going to save it to be used here, if they can get a better price from another place.

    It's a basic reality of the market, and it's unfortunate that the media have allowed this idea to become such a common misperception.

    •  The idea is that added supply lowers global prices (1+ / 0-)

      Personally, I don't think the effect of Keystone will be anywhere near as great as its advocates propose, nor will it be as inconsequential as many here seem to believe.

      IMHO, it will modestly lower oil prices (and bring prices in the midwest more inline with the rest of the country), but more significantly, it will take much of the pressure off of the middle east to increase their supplies to meet rising global demand.

  •  on climate change, I note a headline today (7+ / 0-)

    "New Study Challenges Climate Change Advocates"

    The study showed snow cover over more of the US than there has been in decades.  However the Joker in the deck is this snow cover is also the thinnest it has been in decades.

    It appears the anti-climate change industry (and it is an industry) is ramping up for another media blitz

  •  Joe Nocera's Judith Miller Moment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, A Siegel

    F-him.

  •  My, that collapse of the NYT environmental desk (6+ / 0-)

    has sure done wonders on the quality of their articles. What gives with the yellow journalism? I'm not going to even touch this, and people who want to estimate my views can go back to the lengthy comments I've written in recent months.

    I had been mulling over whether or not I wanted to subscribe on-line to NYT, and I think it's now off the table.

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey ////\\\\ "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

    by rovertheoctopus on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:14:04 AM PST

  •  God, my head hurts (9+ / 0-)

    Thanks A Siegel for sifting through this intellectual swamp. I love this one, I might have to use that analogy when dealing with that tired argument of "it's just one little pipeline."

    First, this basic argument is like saying 'who cares if a kid pees in the swimming pool, there is a lot of water ...'  Every increment, in and of itself, can be portrayed as somehow 'small' but there is the impact of many incremental inputs.  100 kids peeing ... 1000?? When do you say no to pissing into waters where others want to swim?
    I also like the analogy of the junkie, who keeps saying, "just one more fix, then I'll quit." Yeah right.

     

    Ecology is the new Economy

    by citisven on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:14:28 AM PST

  •  Is this an (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, Joe Bob

    opinion piece?

    •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, A Siegel

      But as I like to say, opinions should be based on facts, and an opinion is not the same thing as speaking "lies, damn lies, and statistics" (or manipulations thereof.)

      "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey ////\\\\ "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

      by rovertheoctopus on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:22:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nocera=Tool (0+ / 0-)

    that's nothing new, is it?

    Barack Obama for President

    by looty on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:20:37 AM PST

  •  Joe Nocera Hates Great Lakers, midwesterners (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, A Siegel, Losty

    So why does Mr. Nocera want to raise the price of oil products in the midwest? Maybe because he hates us.

    And why does he want to RAISE the profitability of Tar Sands Sludge? He should be advocating things that minimize its profitability, if for no other reason than the devastating water pollution taking place in that region. Or because of the export of close to $50 million per day that will happen (at present prices) when the price of oil in the midwest goes up by close to $20/bbl when the price of the DilBit we now do consume goes up. And even though it's only $18 billion a year of money exported from our country, that's still a fair amount of employment we export and convert into domestic unemployment. After all, all money exported to Canada from the US does not necessarily come back to the US, either right away or on a deferred basis...

    Maybe Joe Nocera fancies himself as cute. But mean, evil and ignorant are apparently descriptors that also apply....

  •  The Gray Lady has crimson stained hands (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, Losty

    She should have been the voice of reason on the lead up to the Iraq war. Instead she gave voice to those advocating war with no verifiable evidence. That cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.

    Now the Gray Lady is about to top herself by orders of magnitude. The course we are on with global destruction is a planet that cannot support a population trending towards 9 billion. This will mean die-offs in a scale never before seen in human history. And once again the Gray Lady is giving voice to the  those advocating the wrong side of the issue. This is not a case of equivalence, the science is clear on this, try 400 ppm CO2. At some point she has to take a moral stand on the biggest issue mankind has ever faced, or she should just fade away.

  •  Tar Sands are (5+ / 0-)

    safely sequestered carbon.

    That is why they should be left in the ground.

    I'm sorry some rich people invested a shitload in this insane project, but they placed a huge bet, and they will lose.

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:38:32 AM PST

  •  It isn't the First Nation Tribes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, Losty

    blocking the pipeline to the Canadian west coast, it is the provincial government of British Columbia!

    They could still build a pipeline to Eastern Canada which has numerous refineries -- and could use the oil. So could the northeastern US, where there are no refineries northeast of NJ.

  •  This is industry propaganda... (8+ / 0-)

    shades of Judy Miller stenographic journalism here. I have an aunt who works in PR for Enbridge. This is exactly what she says. Revkin had similar talking points on the dot earth blog a few days ago. Combine this with their hit job on Tesla. I wouldn't wipe my ass with the NY Times. Who knows if it's intentional, but from the invasion of Iraq to this hatchet job on the environmental movement it sure seems like their reporting and opinion pieces are decidedly slated toward protecting the investor interests of their NY cocktail crowd friends.

    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

    by play jurist on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:08:37 AM PST

  •  They publish Brooks, Douthat, Friedman (8+ / 0-)

    Why would anyone think the NY Times could be embarrassed by anything Nocera has to say on top of that?

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:16:12 AM PST

  •  Canada is more corrupt than Venezuela, btw. (5+ / 0-)

    Look into what happened with the Tides Canada money that was supposed to go to the Dept of Fisheries for coastal impacts research when Enbridge decided they didn't want that. Look into the changes to the Indian Act designed to circumvent treaty obligations and First Nations consultation. Look into how they gutted the Navigable Waters Act. Venezuela's oil is not as bad for the climate as Canada's and Venezeula is not (to my knowledge) gutting environmental regulations and continuing hundreds of years of colonialist lies (google "MacMartin diary" to find out what the real oral treaty obligations are) and exploitation of its indigenous population.

    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

    by play jurist on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:42:47 AM PST

    •  Canadians act nice and behave dirty. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      Long history on that one.

      You can't go back and rewrite your past, but you can use your past to create your future. ~ Ray Lewis

      by 4Freedom on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:44:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  One more I forgot to mention... (0+ / 0-)

      http://www.cbc.ca/...

      Also, google "Experimental Lakes Area"

      Someone with the spare time to write up a nice diary could really do a great service by informing kossacks about Harper's war on science with the three cases: (1) the Tides Canada funding, (2) the Experimental Lakes Area shut down, and (3) the Arctic science silencing. Democracy works when the public can be responsive to whether a policy is in its interest. It's literally an assault on Democracy to shut down research that would inform the public about its interests. There's been sadly little mainstream media coverage about this issue, and that's part of why these NYT shills think they can get away with pretending that Canada is a great liberal paradise with great environmental regs and so on. That's really a pernicious industry lie. They pitch their oil to America saying "better to do it here where we have regulations" then they lobby Calgary to cut science funding and gut the regulations. It's really a disgusting enterprise and very corrupt.

      Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

      by play jurist on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:02:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Since we're the world's largest oil exporter now.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, Eric Nelson, A Siegel

    we need the pipeline to send our oil north, right? :)

    Anyone? Buehler? :)

  •  Life is like a box of candy. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrblifil

    NYT Gumpism at its best.

    I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

    by blue drop on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:53:10 AM PST

  •  Pretty shocking (0+ / 0-)

    Nocera used to have some gumption. Seems like someone made him an offer he can't refuse.

  •  to answer your question about the carbon fee (0+ / 0-)
    Please explain how making, lets say, every barrel of oil -- due to carbon fees -- more expensive by $25 will incentivize more tar sands production rather than foster drives for greater energy efficiency and alternative fuels?
    If you make the cost of every barrel of oil more expensive it reduces the proportional difference between the myriad means of extraction.
  •  Hmmm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, KeithH

    Actually the whole Keystone debate is a distraction.

    Coal fired power plants in Wisconsin alone emit almost as as much CO2 as do the oil sands. But it is far easier to target one point than to try to go after dirty coal throughout the US where jobs might actually be impacted.

    Plain and simple - the US underprices energy and as a result uses far more than its share.  Much higher pump prices are required to actually change the American lifestyle and move it to a more sustainable path. Killing Keystone will not help, in fact it will actually hurt because it will give people the impression that something is being done, when it is not.

    The whole carbon debate is a disaster because everyone wants someone else to do something and take the pain, but leave themselves free to continue with their wasteful lifestyle. You want real cation? Double pump prices and say they will keep going up year after year. Then you will see some action on conservation, and then Keystone would not be needed for many years yet.

    There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

    by taonow on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:26:21 AM PST

  •  the column Nocera should have written (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    If he hadn't been so put off by his interview subject's behavior would have said something like this:

    The big problem of the early 21st century is how do we get enough energy.  Right now, it's not clear that conservation, new sources, and alternatives all combined will be able to keep up with demand.  Even if you posit a completely stable middle east, the capacity of the world's energy supply is really tight.

    Nocera's view is that we can't just say "no" to more energy because it will negatively impact the climate.  We need energy stability now to ensure a recovery and Keystone offers that.  Climate change is a big problem, of course, but it's not an immediate problem like energy is.  It's a gradual problem that we can deal with over the long-term.

    I don't think that's a particularly good point; in particular it strikes me as coming from a Cold War (us-vs-them) mentality.  But, in my opinion, it's a much better point than the rambling nonsense the Times printed.

    I think you can counter argument that the longterm effect of Keystone on our energy supply is unproven.  That there are other, more reliable and less polluting means of generating the power we need.  That the benefits of the pipeline will go to international oil companies and the longterm costs will be borne by the public.  And that climate change, in the form of more powerful storms and changing weather patterns, will cause far more systemic shocks than increasing global demand for energy ever would.

  •  When you say (0+ / 0-)
    Why does the New York Times editorial staff let such propagandist errors to go through.
    I guess you must mean that the NYT staff needs either to fact check or to politically screen the work of its OpEd columnists.

    Doesn't that impinge on the whole point of a world-class newspaper's OpEd page?

    Play chess for the Kossacks on Chess.com. Join the site, then the group at http://www.chess.com/groups/view/kossacks.

    by rhutcheson on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:25:31 PM PST

  •  Fascinating linguistic juxtaposition (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    "Almost certainly isn't..."

    Almost certain there's a linguistic term for this.

    Reminds me of a trip to a restaurant I took with my brother who insisted on using his GPS. We went 3/4 around the block to a place that was directly reachable by going one block straight.

    What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

    by equern on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:20:08 PM PST

  •  CT on why gas prices have risen so high since 1/1 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sweeper

     My (semi-snark) CT is that gas prices have been increased almost 50 cents/gal in the past month to "motivate" more Americans to pressure Obama to approve Keystone pipeline (because they've bought into the meme that that oil will lower gas prices here in the US.)

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:01:09 PM PST

    •  And if gas prices aren't high enough, it doesn't (0+ / 0-)

      make economic to develop the tar sands.

      It's hard to figure out what sort of manipulation is going on and why.  It's not a CT, it's a fair assumption, that the system is fixed.

    •  Juan Cole vs your CT (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      WaPo says Gasoline Price Increase Mysterious, Ignores US blockade of Iran Oil!

      Ironically, the high petroleum prices produced in part by the blockade of Iran oil sales cushion Iran’s government from the sanctions, since what oil it does sell goes for high prices and feathers the ayatollahs’ nests. Over time, some Iranian exports may be taken over by the private sector, which is not subject to the same sanctions as the government-owned enterprises.

      The Neoconservatives behind the largely congressionally-led financial blockade against Iran’s oil exports (mandated by last year’s National Defense Authorization Act) promised that the policy would not harm the American economy because Saudi Arabia would be willing to pump extra petroleum to cover the Iranian shortfall. The Saudi ability to replace Iranian exports in the medium to long term, however, is doubted by many analysts, and Saudi exports fell slightly in the last quarter of 2012 from last summer’s heights. There was also a strike at a plant in Libya, and continued security problems for exports in northern Iraq. Not to mention that Syria and South Sudan exports have been halted by political upheaval, and that technical problems reduced the UK’s North Sea production.

  •  NYT let go of their environmental staff (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, A Siegel

    last month.  But privately told complaining readers that it would continue environmental articles, but it would be a subject for all their writers, not just one department.
    Hopefully this is true.  The guy is but one writer, and hopefully we'll be seeing opposing viewpoints.

  •  A Pipeline to British Columbia...Right (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, AoT

    They keep talking about this as if it could be done. What they forget is that a pipeline from Alberta to BC would go over the continental divide. Not only would they have to pump it uphill (probably several thousand feet) but when it got to the top it would be freezing cold most of the year.

    Naturally, it would burst and destroy Lake Louise.

    I suppose they could tunnel through. If only they had a couple decades to drill through the Rockies.

  •  Here's How to Use Tar Sands (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    If these companies want to ship this stuff to market cheaply, my suggestion is that they build PV production on site. Solar cells take a lot of energy to produce. The efficient way to make them is to produce them where we get our gas or oil.

    For every watt of energy used to produce a cell we probably get back 20 in energy over the life of that cell. If you transform the energy from the tar sands into PV they are much cheaper to ship than the oil itself. If all this stuff can be channeled into PV we would significantly reduce emissions over even a fraction of it getting piped somewhere.

    And every time you produce PV you reduce the need to use fossil fuels and provide price competition for them. By requiring this oil to go into PV we reduce emissions overall.

    We should give them an alternative. If you can say, "Instead of a pipeline..." then you make killing Keystone a much more politically acceptable option.

    •  "Instead of a pipeline ..." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking

      I've provided paths -- explicitly discussing Keystone XL -- for how to cut demand more than pipeline (more than tar sands) would deliver. So, I agree with you.

      The PV concept is a problem because electricity and oil don't mix very much.  Having more PV, without a significant change in our transportation sector, has little (near no) impact on oil use/demand.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 04:30:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  PV Already Has an Impact (0+ / 0-)

        I agree with you it's not the only solution, but transportation is not the majority of energy used. PV has already had a very significant impact on energy used in homes, where there is plenty of room for improvement.

        I'm attacking the assumption that this stuff has to be shipped someplace in the first place. If you use it there for something valuable, you avoid the enormous ecological impact of a pipeline, as well as reducing the amount of carbon it ultimately produces. Short of stopping it cold, that would be a victory.

  •  Recced tipped and tweeted n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  How much reading would Joe have to do to get (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    the facts straight? Not that much since so much has been written about the Tar Sands dirty oil. It seems like he got some talking points from the industry.

    The landlocked bitumen is heading for three coasts, east, west and south. The US is not the main market since its consumption is declining.

    The other Koch brother is waiting for it down in the Gulf and he will refine it with petcoke, a by-product of the bitumen that is dirtier than coal. The US gets the risk of the pipelines and the pollution from the refineries. The Koch bros. get the profits.

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 05:48:10 AM PST

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