News on a Lazy Sunday
First up, Vinod Khosla:
I have no question that in 10 years, there’s no way oil will be able to compete with biofuels. Even in five years. Now it will take a long time to scale biofuels, but I’m the only one in the world forecasting oil dropping in price to $35 a barrel by 2030. I’ll put it on the record: Oil will not be able to compete with cellulosic biofuels. If you do it from food, the food will get so expensive you can’t make fuel out of it.
Let’s focus our energy on the research and development and innovation that allows us to produce a $1-a-gallon fuel. There’s no question about it, we can produce it for $1 a gallon and retail it at Wal-Mart for $1.99 a gallon and create a competitor for oil. Oil is a monopoly. It leads to an energy crisis, it leads to a terrorism crisis and it leads to an environmental crisis. So we have to replace it.
And on electric cars and solar power:
Others talk about things like electric cars. Nice cars. In fact, we can make money on them and are investing in electric hybrid batteries and things like that. But they will not make a dent in either worldwide oil consumption or carbon reduction in the next 20 years. And that’s why we have to be clear about nice, (patchwork) solutions that make people feel good.
People say, “Priuses are selling a lot, people want them.” Yeah, but so are Gucci bags. You know, they make people feel good, they’re great fashion statements. Do they reduce carbon emissions enough? If you do a critical analysis, a hybrid reduces carbon emissions about the same as corn ethanol, and costs 100 times more. So what’s the point?
I drive a hybrid, and I can afford it. But in the next 15 years, we’re going to ship a billion cars. Unless a technology can reduce carbon emissions dramatically for 50 to 80 percent of those cars, we haven’t made a dent in the climate change problem. And too many politicians are focused on silly ideas like that, because politically it sounds good.
Take San Francisco, for instance. Putting solar cells on anybody’s roof is absolutely silly, in a foggy city like San Francisco. If somebody wants to do it with their own money, that’ s great. Do it. But don’t do it with other people’s money.
Somehow, not-so-sunny Germany has developed a large solar industry.
Next, Barack Obama shows that he can pander like everyone else:
It isn’t right that oil companies are making record profits at a time when ordinary Americans are going into debt just to fill up their tanks. That’s why we’ll put a windfall profits tax on oil companies and use it to help Oregon families reduce energy costs.
We’ll also take steps to reduce the price of oil and increase transparency in how prices are set so we can ensure that energy companies aren’t bending the rules. And to help Oregon families meet the rising cost of gas, we’ll put a middle-class tax cut in their pockets that will save them $1,000 a year, and we’ll eliminate income taxes altogether for seniors making less than $50,000.
But the truth is, there is no easy answer to our energy crisis — and we need a president who’s going to be straight with us about that; a president who’s going to tell the American people not just what they want to hear, but what they need to know.
So, in addition to telling them what they want to hear, you will also tell them they need to hear. Funny, I didn’t read the “need to hear” bit in that article.