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By Robert Rapier on Jan 11, 2012 with 49 responses

R-Squared Energy TV: Episode 7 – The Carbon Emissions Quandary

In the first episode of R-Squared Energy TV for 2012, I give a short presentation on global warming. I believe there are a number of misconceptions around the U.S. contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, and I provide some graphics that may surprise some viewers.

Some of the topics discussed are:

  • What do I think about global warming?
  • Why do I feel that it is mostly out of the hands of the U.S.?
  • Why do I feel that it will be very hard to rein in emissions in developing countries?

I realize that the sound quality on the video needs to be improved, and I am working on that. It isn’t simply a microphone issue, or I would have already resolved it. But I am working on a fix, and will probably eventually replace some of these videos with versions that have better quality sound.

Readers who have specific questions can send them to ask [at] consumerenergyreport [dot] com or leave the question after this post (at the original source). Consider subscribing to our YouTube channel where you’ll be able to view past and future videos.

Link to Original Article: R-Squared Energy TV: Episode 7 – The Carbon Emissions Quandary

By Robert Rapier

  1. By Wendell Mercantile on January 11, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Excellent analysis RR. Wish more politicians had a grasp on what you presented.

    I’ll only add that some of that warming is because the earth is still on the rebound from the last Holocene ice age. Only ~12,000 years ago, where I’m sitting as I wright this was covered by more than a mile of ice. The effects of all that ice melting across the Upper Midwest, New England, Canada, and the Rockies is still having an effect on our environment. It will take many years until the residual effects of the Holocene ice age have dampened themselves out of the earth’s weather system.

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  2. By rbm on January 11, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Is there a transcript available for this or other of your presentations ? I’d like to be able to use your work as a quotable source.

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  3. By rrapier on January 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    RBM said:

    Is there a transcript available for this or other of your presentations ? I’d like to be able to use your work as a quotable source.


     

    You are the 2nd person to ask about that, but at the moment I don’t have time to transcribe it. There is a chapter in the book on this, and those slides are from the book.

    RR

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  4. By Tom G. on January 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    I have often said on many blogs that the best way to help developing countries is to give them solar panels NOT money.

    We give/spend billions of dollars every year on trying to make/control some foreign nations. Instead; what happens to that money is it is turned into weapons or pilfered by the dictators. At least if we gave them solar panels with a U.S. flag on the frame, they could make electricity and improve their lives. Maybe our billions of foreign aid in solar panels would have a more positive effect and might even help our U.S. manufacturers ramp production.

    O.K. so I know this will never happen but a small trial might be an idea worth trying. We give low carbon stoves for heating and cooking, why not solar for electricity? Solving hunger, pain and suffering and you make a friend. Building or buying weapons can make them an enemy.

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  5. By ben on January 12, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I like Tom G’s notion of providing foreign aid via US-made energy products offering more of a fishing pole vs. a fish. Apart from the bellyaching that always accompanies foreign assistance, it seems that scaling US production capacity for renewables might contribute domestic benefits even as it helps ease away from the waste/corruption that is consistently cited as the leading objection to Uncle Sam’s aid program. Energy, water and food production are the big three and the 2nd and 3rd item require the 1st to achieve sustained growth. We’d do well to support renewable energy projects even as US energy companies pursue investments in traditional energy supplies abroad noting that RR’s chart does not bode well for GHG reductions among the world’s poorest nations anytime soon. China clealry has its own agenda in dealing with the LDCs and let’s say that it’s far from an altruistic one. We can do better. A little enlightened self-interest directed toward a sensible course is long overdue.

    Ben

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  6. By tim Bastable on January 12, 2012 at 6:33 am

    No arguments with the analysis of the emissions scenario with respect to the developing world but surely The USA and Europe are the countries who above all should be taking action on fossil carbon emissions. One analysis you didn’t make is our historical contribution to AGW – which actually puts us Europeans slightly higher than the USA – we have the lifestyle we have because we’ve had almost exclusive access to HC’s for the last 150 years –

    The only way we can help solve developing worlds energy needs is by helping develop and bring to maturity the kind of low carbon technology that will avoid ever escalating HC consumption – We need a low carbon economic model – even if you don’t believe in AGW and even if you figure it’s OK to squeeze every last drop of oil from the world’s reserves it’s still a finite resource – so in many ways we need just as much as everybody else. You seem almost to be saying “there’s no point in the USA dealing with its outrageously high CO2 emissions because China and India emit so much more” – That’s no kind of argument at all – we need to put our hands to our hearts and acknowledge our economies are utterly unsustainable in their current form and invest our massively disproportionate resources in creating viable low carbon infrastructures and provide a beacon the rest of the world can follow

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  7. By rrapier on January 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    tim Bastable said:

    You seem almost to be saying “there’s no point in the USA dealing with its outrageously high CO2 emissions because China and India emit so much more” – That’s no kind of argument at all – we need to put our hands to our hearts and acknowledge our economies are utterly unsustainable in their current form and invest our massively disproportionate resources in creating viable low carbon infrastructures and provide a beacon the rest of the world can follow


     

    That’s not what I am saying. In fact, my work is in renewable energy, which will help reduce CO2 emissions in areas where we are active.

    But — and here is my point — as far as global CO2 emissions go it won’t have any impact whatsoever because Europe and the U.S. are not the source of skyrocketing emissions. In fact, as I showed our emissions are already slowly declining. So what I want to do is to make sure people clearly understand the nature of the problem, and that even if the U.S. and Europe completely stop emitting CO2 tomorrow it won’t solve the problem — or even a major part of the problem.

    In order to solve a problem, you first need to clearly understand the problem. I don’t think everyone understands the problem.

    RR

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  8. By art on January 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    HI RR,

     

     in general  I agree with your analysis but i think one of the reasons western societies seem to level off in carbon emissions is that a great deal of production (cars, steel, electronics, solarcells, plastics to name a few)  were transferred to asia pacific region in the last decades.  i  wonder how much of this 1 barrel per capita consumption is result of this effect of treanferring economic activities.

     

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  9. By Tom G. on January 12, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    That is a very good question art.

    It seems to me we manufacturer almost nothing in the U.S. anymore.  Go into almost any store and take a survey of the products sold.  I don’t know what that percentage would be, but I bet America is less than 10% of the products sold.  So is is any wonder other countries are producing more carbon.  

    Maybe RR knows the answer or maybe it’s in his book. 

     

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  10. By rrapier on January 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Tom G. said:

    Maybe RR knows the answer or maybe it’s in his book. 

     


     

    I do discuss it in the book. It is worse than simply transferring manufacturing to China. We are transferring manufacturing to a country that produces far more emissions per dollar of GDP. Jeff Rubin has suggested that the way we fix this is to put carbon tariffs on goods coming from China. This would force them to become more efficient while encouraging manufacturing here in the U.S.

    RR

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  11. By russ-finley on January 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    A transcript would be nice …says the guy not volunteering to do it. Maybe somebody would want to volunteer?

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  12. By navin-r-johnson on January 13, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Robert, this is a little off topic, but I was wondering if you follow anything having to do with Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) which was formerly know as Cold Fusion.  While I understand that many simply dismiss this a junk science that was debunked over 20 years ago, it seems some recent developments might change that view.

    My interest starts with a 60 minutes piece on this in 2009 that can be found on youtube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..OabYImeDSc

    The American Physics Society recommends Dr. Robert Duncan to help debunk cold fusion for 60 minutes, instead, after looking at the data and checking experiments he becomes convinced that the reports of excess heat are real and that there is something to this.

    Dr. Duncan expands on this here at 2009 Missouri Energy Summit  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..nNRB0K_dw0

    Dr. Duncan hosts technical talks at 2009 University of Missouri LENR Seminar.  search this at youtube and you will find a number of presentations from a who’s who in LENR, serious people doing serious work.  The presenters include a group from the US Navy SPAWAR systems center presenting evidence of cold fusion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..yciIs53GfA

    Recently,slides from a NASA LENR workshop were posted on the internet showing that NASA has been working on this for some time.

    http://blog.newenergytimes.com…..ion-forum/

    Yesterday, NASA puts out a non-technical video talking about LENR as the energy source of the future.  (I put the youtube link because I was having trouble with the NASA link, but I saw it first at the NASA site).  Also, there is a NASA patent related to this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..xeKeuh_2Bw

    While this is all happening, an Italian inventor named Andrea Rossi claims to be manufacturing a LENR device for sale later this year.  He is a very dubious character and deserves a high level of skepticism, but videos of him demonstrating his device are all over the web.  While many claim he is perpetrating fraud, he has managed to convince some very respectable physicists from Italy and Greece and a couple of high level physicists from the Swedish Skeptics society. I note that his demonstrations are all flawed in some way and they are not independent.

    Given the 60 minute piece and the involvment of organizations like NASA and the US Navy SPAWAR, do you have any opinion about LENR.

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  13. By rrapier on January 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Navin R Johnson said:

    Robert, this is a little off topic, but I was wondering if you follow anything having to do with Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) which was formerly know as Cold Fusion. 


     

    I haven’t followed it closely, but the times I did look at it I came away very skeptical. And I do agree that Rossi is a dubious character. Any time a dubious character is hawking something that is questionable in any case, the burden of proof is extremely high. He has not met it for me.

    RR

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  14. By dharmeshmahajan on January 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    As always, an excellent perspective from RR. It really need extra-ordinary efforts to understand and analyse the depths of all these complicated subject and finally sharing the “Take home points” in a 5-10 minutes for die-hard RR followers like us.

    Recently I was studying more about Aviation ETS introduced by EU from Jan 01, 2012 and all well known cries from big daddies globally.

    As explained in video by RR, most difficult task is going to bring a change in the emission patterns of developing nations.

    Honestly speaking, China and India are biggest beneficiaries of CDM scheme as per statistics so that speaks volume about the money being made by 2 largest countries (by population) from carbon trade. However, leaders from China and India made a strong noise against EU’s ETS in aviation. So when it comes to make truck load of money from emission schemes, China and India are at the forefront. BUT….and a big bold BUT, when the time came to pay for emissions (that too only when their plane lands/take off in EU) , they start shedding tears and talk about a trade war. Being an Indian myself, that hurt me more when I read about the protests filed by Environment Minister of India.

    Infact, after reading lot of material available on European commission’s website on the subject, I started respecting them more than I used to earlier. They have counted all their chickens before the hatching. All the efforts and hard-work by EU commission before jumping into something which was confirmed to create ripple around the globe deserve a standing ovation in a COP 17 or 18 or 19 but unfortunately that is not the reality.

    I strongly believe that such hard “Love me or leave me” measures are going to bring a change. It really need guts to force such strong measures against cries and tears of “Global powers” at a time when EU is crossing through a very bad financial situation….hats off. We need something like that to happen to see a change in global attitude. Especially when I see a useless note in the outcome about Aviation and maritime emission at COP17-Durban which reads:

    International aviation and maritime transport

    78. Agrees to continue its consideration of issues related to addressing emissions from international aviation and maritime transport;

    It would be really great to see RR’s views on current situation on this hot topic of the season right now.

    -Dharmesh

    (A quick disclaimer, Opinion shared here are purely my own and have nothing to do with anybody)

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  15. By navin-r-johnson on January 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Like I said, I agree with Rossi skepticism, but I find I very curious that NASA would release a video that A) endorses LENR (aka Cold Fusion) which is very taboo amongst mainstream scientists. and B) mentions Nickle, Hydrogen and Carbon.  The same reagents Rossi uses (some have speculated that his “secret ingredient” is some form of carbon), Keeping in mind that the more common LENR experiments use Palladium and Deuterium.

    Coincidence?

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  16. By rbm on January 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    Navin R Johnson said:

    Robert, this is a little off topic, but I was wondering if you follow anything having to do with Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) which was formerly know as Cold Fusion. 


     

    I haven’t followed it closely, but the times I did look at it I came away very skeptical. And I do agree that Rossi is a dubious character. Any time a dubious character is hawking something that is questionable in any case, the burden of proof is extremely high. He has not met it for me.

    RR


     

    What specifically makes him ‘dubious’ ? I think he’s greedy and that’s being mistinterpreted.

     

    I don’t expect proof forthcoming becasue this is a breakthrough. Steve Krivit of IRI has written extensively on this aspect.

     

    I don’t expect a reply from anyone, especially you Robert as this is off topic. As one who shares your concern for the future, I lacked the discipline to remain mute.

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  17. By rrapier on January 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    RBM said:

     

    What specifically makes him ‘dubious’ ? I think he’s greedy and that’s being mistinterpreted.

     


     

    He has spent time in prison for fraud. So, when we are talking about an improbable technology, to me it becomes a lot more improbable if the promoter has previously been involved in controversy as Rossi has.

    RR

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  18. By Rufus on January 15, 2012 at 8:46 am

    China invested $47 Billion on Renewable Energy in 2011, falling to second place behind our $55 Billion. The World spent $260 Billion.

    It’s a start.

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  19. By Rufus on January 15, 2012 at 8:52 am

    2011 saw a 36% increase in Solar investment, which is all the more remarkable when you realize that the cost of solar panels has fallen by 75% in the last 3 yrs.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2012/…..-us-china/

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  20. By Rufus on January 15, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Worldwide Solar investment was $136 Billion.

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  21. By rbm on January 15, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    RBM said:

     

    What specifically makes him ‘dubious’ ? I think he’s greedy and that’s being mistinterpreted.

     


     

    He has spent time in prison for fraud. So, when we are talking about an improbable technology, to me it becomes a lot more improbable if the promoter has previously been involved in controversy as Rossi has.

    RR


     

    Sure – “In the 1990s, following the collapse of the company, he was jailed for
    environmental crimes and tax fraud, serving time in prison.”

     

    Having tracked fringe energy science for many years with it’s many fraudsters I weigh those against what Krivit as expounded on. That sort of dynamic is missing in all the prevoius fraudsters I can think of.

     

    I’m looking forward to black box reverse engineering, as a result.

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  22. By navin-r-johnson on January 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    RBM said:


     
    Sure – “In the 1990s, following the collapse of the company, he was jailed for
    environmental crimes and tax fraud, serving time in prison.”

     

    Having tracked fringe energy science for many years with it’s many fraudsters I weigh those against what Krivit as expounded on. That sort of dynamic is missing in all the prevoius fraudsters I can think of.

     

    I’m looking forward to black box reverse engineering, as a result.


     

    are you talking about Steven B Krivit of New Energy Times?  He has been on of Rossi’s biggest critics.  For example,

    http://blog.newenergytimes.com…..-on-video/

    Krivit seems a little obsessed with his pet LENR theory, Windom-Larsen, and ensuring that people don’t use the term fusion.

     

    As far as Rossi goes, my problem is with his demonstrations, It seems to me that if the device worked as claimed it would be very simple to demonstrate without any doubt, but in almost every case, there is some aspect of the test that leaves me scratching my head and wondering how a competent engineer would make the mistake (or leave it open to doubt).

    The reason I checked in here is that I respect Robert’s opinion about energy issues. And with respect to the NASA video, I can’t believe that NASA would allow the video to be released without something to back it up.  I mean in science today, endorsing “cold fusion” is the equivalent of questioning climate change.

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  23. By Cheryl on January 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Robert,

    Do you think this “dark inventory” argument making the rounds is credible?

    http://www.businessinsider.com…..oil-2012-1

    Thank you

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  24. By moiety on January 15, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Navin R Johnson said:

    Like I said, I agree with Rossi skepticism, but I find I very curious that NASA would release a video that A) endorses LENR (aka Cold Fusion) which is very taboo amongst mainstream scientists. and B) mentions Nickle, Hydrogen and Carbon.  The same reagents Rossi uses (some have speculated that his “secret ingredient” is some form of carbon), Keeping in mind that the more common LENR experiments use Palladium and Deuterium.

    Coincidence?


     

    And if I had a dime for every research topic that the research centre where I used to work endorsed, I would be very rich. Indeed I should have been a betting man there as I could get people working for the same company to have completely opposite opinions on most technologies that we worked with. Endorsing, investing and succeeding are very different things.

    Remember NASA endorsed the solar sail. Nothing wrong with that per say but dont read into it too much.

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  25. By rrapier on January 15, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Cheryl said:

    Robert,

    Do you think this “dark inventory” argument making the rounds is credible?

    http://www.businessinsider.com…..oil-2012-1

    Thank you


     

    I skimmed over that. It seems like a convoluted way to make the point, and I am not clear on some of the examples. The reason tar sands is profitable is in fact because natural gas is cheap and oil is expensive. As long as that holds true, tar sands production will continue. I agree with some of the points that are being made, it just seems like an overly complex way to explain it.

    RR

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  26. By Joseph on January 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    While the facts are obvious (one only has to look at the graphs!) I disagree that it is largely out of our hands or that it is difficult to rein in emissions in developing countries, at least from a technological perspective (politically, absolutely – corporate self interest and corporate political influence virtually guarantees difficulty).

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  27. By rrapier on January 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Joseph said:

    While the facts are obvious (one only has to look at the graphs!) I disagree that it is largely out of our hands or that it is difficult to rein in emissions in developing countries, at least from a technological perspective (politically, absolutely – corporate self interest and corporate political influence virtually guarantees difficulty).


     

    How would you do it? How can a country that uses more than 20 barrels of oil per person per year teach a country that uses 2 or less how to develop without burning fossil fuels?

    RR

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  28. By navin-r-johnson on January 16, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Since I posted the video with the NASA guy talking about LENR, I thought I would follow up with that same NASA guy clarifying his position.

    http://joe.zawodny.com/index.p…..way-video/

    This is a much more sober view than what was presented in the video.

    I believe that 2012 will be the year that LENR comes out of the closet and is accepted as a real effect that warrants further scientific research.  If true, that will be a big change.

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  29. By Joseph on January 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    How would you do it? How can a country that uses more than 20 barrels of oil per person per year teach a country that uses 2 or less how to develop without burning fossil fuels?

    As I mentioned, it isn’t technology that is stopping us from dramatically reducing our 20 barrels of oil per person per year consumption… politics is… and if we could have educated and rational politicians that are divorced from being influenced or controlled by special interest groups and lobbyists (I know, seems impossible!) we could drastically reduce our oil consumption in a relatively short amount of time.

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  30. By Optimist on January 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    …we could drastically reduce our oil consumption in a relatively short amount of time.

    Keep on dreaming, Joe.

    If the technology was really that simple, the politics would follow.

    Any politician who can make a credible claim to putting Big Oil out of business, would be hugely popular (whether this is fair or not), and able to get elected to any office in the US.

    Hint: the fact that no politician is making the claim (even in a field of crazier-than-thou primary candidates) reflects on the technologies that are out there. It is NOT a sign of a vast, watertight, world-wide, complete conspiracy that involves every government (even the newly elected ones) and all big companies (even the newly rich, counter-establishment ones, like Google).

    But if it makes you happy, keep on dreaming, Joe…

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  31. By Joseph on January 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    If the technology was really that simple, the politics would follow.

    Throughout history most politicians have only followed where they are getting donations from… not what is best for the country.

    Any politician who can make a credible claim to putting Big Oil out of business, would be hugely popular (whether this is fair or not), and able to get elected to any office in the US.

    Your post completely ignores my point that you quoted. I didn’t say anything about “putting Big Oil out of business.” Talk about dreaming.

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  32. By Optimist on January 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Throughout history most politicians have only followed where they are getting donations from… not what is best for the country.

    Really? Who donated to the Founding Fathers? Who paid for the French Revolution?

    Your post completely ignores my point that you quoted. I didn’t say anything about “putting Big Oil out of business.” Talk about dreaming.

    Semantics. Any politician who claims he knows how to get us to Energy Independence, even if it is a 50 year plan, is guaranteed to win every election he enters. Such is the absurd hate for Big Oil.

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  33. By Joseph on January 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Really? Who donated to the Founding Fathers? Who paid for the French Revolution?

    Super Pacs , the Koch brothers and George Soros.

    Such is the absurd hate for Big Oil.

    Again, no one has said anything about “Big Oil”. Ignoring the content of a quote you posted just so that you can rant about your “Big Oil” opinion is not “semantics”.

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  34. By Optimist on January 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Really? Who donated to the Founding Fathers? Who paid for the French Revolution?
     

    Super Pacs , the Koch brothers and George Soros.

    Very funny, Joe. Just concede already.

    Again, no one has said anything about “Big Oil”. Ignoring the content of a quote you posted just so that you can rant about your “Big Oil” opinion is not “semantics”.

    Then again, nothing you say makes much sense. Please explain where the technology would allow us to dramatically reduc[e] our 20 barrels of oil per person per year consumption, whether you think it will put Big Oil out of business or not. Take as much space as you’d like.

    Then go ahead and explain how politics is holding back this wonderful technology, and to such an extend, that even highly interested and highly educated (and enthusiatic) observers, such as RR, isn’t even aware of it.

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  35. By Joseph on January 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Very funny, Joe. Just concede already.

    Concede what??

    The only thing possible to concede is that your bringing up two revolutions from over 200 years ago are totally irrelevant to this discussion!

    Then again, nothing you say makes much sense.

    When someone resorts to gratuitous insults it demonstrates that they really don’t have something cogent to say.

    Please explain where the technology would allow us to dramatically reduc[e] our 20 barrels of oil per person per year consumption

    If you were better versed in energy economics you would readily know that while our per capita GDP is only ~10% greater than Germany our oil consumption is over 120% greater than Germany.

    So… even if one didn’t know anything about technology one would easily realize that even with current technology we are capable of dramatically reducing our per capita oil consumption.

    whether you think it will put Big Oil out of business or not.

    You really have a fixation with “Big Oil”. You somehow work it into every post even though no one is talking about it.

    Then go ahead and explain how politics is holding back this wonderful technology, and to such an extend, that even highly interested and highly educated (and enthusiatic) observers, such as RR, isn’t even aware of it.

    You shouldn’t put words into RR’s mouth… not only has he not stated that he isn’t aware of technology but, more to the point, when I posted my reply to his question he didn’t disagree. Only you disagree and are now using RR’s name to try to cover for your ignorance of the issues.

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  36. By rrapier on January 21, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Optimist said:

    Then again, nothing you say makes much sense. Please explain where the technology would allow us to dramatically reduc[e] our 20 barrels of oil per person per year consumption, whether you think it will put Big Oil out of business or not. Take as much space as you’d like.


     

    I would agree that it could be done, but our lives would look very different than they do today. I don’t agree that it could be done with present technology and us still maintain anything close to the sort of mobility we enjoy today. It really just depends on how large a cut we are talking about by the term “dramatic.”

    I do discuss GDP efficiency in the book. We do have some gains to be made there. European countries are more GDP efficient than we are, and China and India lag far behind.

    RR

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  37. By Joseph on January 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I would agree that it could be done, but our lives would look very different than they do today. I don’t agree that it could be done with present technology and us still maintain anything close to the sort of mobility we enjoy today. It really just depends on how large a cut we are talking about by the term “dramatic.”

    We consume over twice as much oil per capita as Germany so we have more than just “some gains to made there.” If we even came close to Germany’s oil use per capita we would be completely off OPEC oil. The only reason why we are a far way off Germany’s per capita oil consumption is due to ignorance and/or a lack of patriotism, on the one hand, and a lack of political leadership on the other.

    The positive thing is that even with weak political leaders, and consumers with a lack of knowledge and/or patriotistism, even with just our current oil use trajectory we will be seeing significant reductions in per capita oil consumption over the next decade:

    - The aviation sector will see a 25%-30% fuel use reduction because 1,000s of jets are being replaced, equipment is being upgauged and NextGen ATC will be operational.

    - Trucking fleets, such as Wal-mart’s (the nation’s largest), are increasing fuel efficiency by up to 100%.

    - Companies like UPS are increasingly moving more freight via rail (If you’ve seen the CSX hype on TV they claim they can move a ton of freight nearly 500 miles on a single gallon of fuel).

    - Many commercial carriers are renewing their fleets with more more fuel efficient vehicles including CNG/LNG and hybrids.

    - New CAFE standards.

    - Industry is increasing oil efficiency like Interflor (largest carpet manufacturer), Coca Cola, etc. that have plans to eliminate all petro-based products by 2020.

    - Demographics: aging population that drives drive less while younger generation is increasingly more socially responsible.

    - World’s largest user of oil (Defense Dept.) will be reducing consumption due to budget cuts, foreign intervention pullbacks, and increased “vehicle” efficiencies.

    However, to realize a “dramatic” drop in oil consumption with present technology we need political leadership with taxes, mandates, legislation and incentives such as:

    - Taxing imported oil

    - Increasing taxes at the pump (to reflect oil’s real economic costs)

    - Passing the NAT GAS ACT or similar

    - Make “stop-start” systems or, better yet, mild-hybrid systems mandatory (Ford has said that they will be doing this)

    - Make low-rolling resistance tires mandatory (including all after market tires)

    - etc, etc, etc.

    So, in short, it is indeed possible to “dramatically” reduce oil consumption with “present technology” while still maintaining the “sort of mobility we enjoy today.”

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  38. By rrapier on January 22, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Joseph said:

    I would agree that it could be done, but our lives would look very different than they do today. I don’t agree that it could be done with present technology and us still maintain anything close to the sort of mobility we enjoy today. It really just depends on how large a cut we are talking about by the term “dramatic.”

    We consume over twice as much oil per capita as Germany so we have more than just “some gains to made there.” If we even came close to Germany’s oil use per capita we would be completely off OPEC oil. The only reason why we are a far way off Germany’s per capita oil consumption is due to ignorance and/or a lack of patriotism, on the one hand, and a lack of political leadership on the other.

    So, in short, it is indeed possible to “dramatically” reduce oil consumption with “present technology” while still maintaining the “sort of mobility we enjoy today.”


     

    But our lives would look quite different than they do today. Which was what I also said. I don’t dispute that it could be done. I have lived in Germany. They have some very fundamental differences from us; differences that have proven time and again politically challenging to address.

    RR

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  39. By Joseph on January 23, 2012 at 3:13 am

     

    But our lives would look quite different than they do today. Which was what I also said. I don’t dispute that it could be done.

     

    How would our lives look quite different (or “very different“) than they do today?

     

     

     

     

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  40. By rrapier on January 23, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Joseph said:

    But our lives would look quite different than they do today. Which was what I also said. I don’t dispute that it could be done.

    How would our lives look quite different (or “very different“) than they do today?


     

    We live on average much further from our jobs in suburbs. We don’t have the same sort of mass transit infrastructure. We drive much larger vehicles. Changing those things is politically very difficult, and would indeed be very different than the way most people live their lives today.

    RR

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  41. By Joseph on January 23, 2012 at 5:17 am

    We live on average much further from our jobs in suburbs. We don’t have the same sort of mass transit infrastructure. We drive much larger vehicles. Changing those things is politically very difficult, and would indeed be very different than the way most people live their lives today.

    We don’t have to move closer to work or take mass transit… we just have to adopt/implement the points that I laid out that use present technology. The only issues that are holding us back is indeed politics, which is what I have repeatedly stated, and, unfortunately, our lack of “patriotism”.

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  42. By rrapier on January 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Joseph said:

    We live on average much further from our jobs in suburbs. We don’t have the same sort of mass transit infrastructure. We drive much larger vehicles. Changing those things is politically very difficult, and would indeed be very different than the way most people live their lives today.

    We don’t have to move closer to work or take mass transit… we just have to adopt/implement the points that I laid out that use present technology. The only issues that are holding us back is indeed politics, which is what I have repeatedly stated, and, unfortunately, our lack of “patriotism”.


     

    If we still commute twice as far to work, even adopting those points — many of which are already common in Europe — can’t get us down to their levels of energy usage. Further, once more these changes will be fundamentally different than the way we live today. Getting people to drive smaller cars (No, we would be driving super efficient SUVs) or NGVs is quite a different paradigm from what we have today.

    RR

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  43. By Joseph on January 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm

     

    If we still commute twice as far to work

    With NGV’s it doesn’t matter how far we commute to work… we’re not burning oil.

     

    Further, once more these changes will be fundamentally different than the way we live today.

    It isn’t “fundamentally different ” driving to work in the same model of vehicle you drive today but fueled with NG.

     

     

     

     

     

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  44. By Optimist on January 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    We consume over twice as much oil per capita as Germany so we have more than just “some gains to made there.”

    There are also a few real differences between the US and Germany:
    1. The Germans live in smaller houses, and much closer to each other. Not something that Americans can adopt overnight, using existing technology.
    2. The US is a much bigger country, and the distances are vast. The road trip is a part of US culture. That is one of the things RR is refering to that would have to change, if we are going to reduce our consumption.
    3. The US has a history of enjoying low gasoline prices, making higher prices difficult to stomach. I’m not defending low gas prices, just pointing out that it’s a reality, and complicate the gradiose plans you have for the country.
    4. Related to 3, many people believe that too be safe you need to drive an unsporty, non-utilatian oversized and overweight sedan, called an SUV for reasons I couldn’t imagine. I find it a ridiculous mindset, but it’s real.
    5. Americans have this weird belief that if your butt touches the seat, the motor needs to be running. There is nothing worse for consumption than doing 0 mpg. I understand that if it is 100F and humidity about the same, you want to run the AC. But all to often, all you need to be comfortable is to open the window a crack.

    The only reason why we are a far way off Germany’s per capita oil consumption is due to ignorance and/or a lack of patriotism, on the one hand, and a lack of political leadership on the other.

    All presidents going back to Nixon have promised Energy Independence. All were basically presented with a choice between cheap oil and energy independence. All made the same choice. If you think the next guy is going to be different, I’d have to admire your faith, if not your common sense.

    The positive thing is that even with weak political leaders, and consumers with a lack of knowledge and/or patriotistism, even with just our current oil use trajectory we will be seeing significant reductions in per capita oil consumption over the next decade:

    Nice examples, Joe. Brought to you by free market oil, as much as any market is free. It proves that we don’t need political leadership, which I personally find a huge relief. No need to wring your hands about it. If $150/bbl doesn’t do it, $200/bbl will. If $200/bbl is still not enough, $250/bbl may do it. Etc.

    With NGV’s it doesn’t matter how far we commute to work… we’re not burning oil.

    NGVs are indeed a good idea. Too bad there is no lobbyist who stand to make money from them. Again, @$200/bbl NGVs will be real attractive…

    It isn’t “fundamentally different ” driving to work in the same model of vehicle you drive today but fueled with NG.

    I prefer old cooking oil myself. You know, cheaper and lower carbon footprint.

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  45. By Joseph on January 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    There are also a few real differences between the US and Germany

    Absolutely. But my point wasn’t that we can duplicate Germany but that we can approach Germany’s per capita oil consumption which is more than double ours with existing technology.

    The Germans live in smaller houses, and much closer to each other. Not something that Americans can adopt overnight, using existing technology.

    Yes, we cannot change our McMansion mentality over night but going forward we can certainly start reducing.

    2. The US is a much bigger country, and the distances are vast. The road trip is a part of US culture. That is one of the things RR is refering to that would have to change, if we are going to reduce our consumption.

    Actually, there is not that much difference with regards to German’s traveling around Europe. I have friends that drive every summer from Luebeck in northern Germany to the Costa del Sol in Spain every summer for holidays. The car culture is just as strong (some may argue perhaps even stronger with the no speed limit autobahn and high-performance car manufacturers – Porsche, Audi R8, AMG, BMW-M, etc.)

    Related to 3, many people believe that too be safe you need to drive an unsporty, non-utilatian oversized and overweight sedan, called an SUV for reasons I couldn’t imagine. I find it a ridiculous mindset, but it’s real.

    I agree with you that it is real but if those SUV’s were NGVs than it wouldn’t be an issue.

    Americans have this weird belief that if your butt touches the seat, the motor needs to be running. There is nothing worse for consumption than doing 0 mpg. I understand that if it is 100F and humidity about the same, you want to run the AC. But all to often, all you need to be comfortable is to open the window a crack.

    In addition to opening the window a crack, there are several things that can be done by OEM’s about interior car comfort. One of the biggest use of AC is when the car sits in the sun and is very hot. The AC is cranked MAX to try to cool the car down ASAP when the driver gets in. Simple things like a vent fan, better insulation, heat reflecting glass, etc. would reduce the green house effect significantly.

    All presidents going back to Nixon have promised Energy Independence. All were basically presented with a choice between cheap oil and energy independence. All made the same choice. If you think the next guy is going to be different, I’d have to admire your faith, if not your common sense.

    I don’t have any faith in politicians… they are easily bought by special interests and their lust to remain in power.

    Nice examples, Joe. Brought to you by free market oil, as much as any market is free. It proves that we don’t need political leadership, which I personally find a huge relief. No need to wring your hands about it. If $150/bbl doesn’t do it, $200/bbl will. If $200/bbl is still not enough, $250/bbl may do it. Etc.

    It is anything but a free market… OPEC, subsidies, protective tariffs, bailouts, etc, etc, etc. That is why we need real political leadership.

    I prefer old cooking oil myself. You know, cheaper and lower carbon footprint.

    I like the smell of french fries coming from a tail pipe.

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  46. By Optimist on January 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    It is anything but a free market… OPEC, subsidies, protective tariffs, bailouts, etc, etc, etc. That is why we need real political leadership.

    Oh, I don’t know. Can you name one remaining free market in the US? Food certainly is not free – it’s the holy cow of US politics. We can regulate ag because it might make somebody’s dinner more expensive. Medicine is getting less free, and has not been free for a while. Telecom companies are as large as they were before the government broke them up to preserve a free market. This time there is no political leadership to reverse the trend. We all remember how disasterous California’s attempts to create a free market for electricity turned out to be. The financial industry appears to have adopted a business plan where ripping off your customers is routine. The prostitutians are actually lining up to defend the industry, and get access to all the associated campaign funds. The auto industry has been fundamentally distorted by Uncle Sam. How long before GM and Chrysler go bankrupt again? Probably no more than 20 years. About the only remaining free market is computers. One has to wonder for how long.

    So, relatively speaking oil is a free enough market.

    Political leadership, OTOH, is something I just don’t trust…

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  47. By Joseph on January 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    We all remember how disasterous California’s attempts to create a free market for electricity turned out to be.

    Which demonstrates that you can’t trust corporations to act legally… or ethically. At least Lay, Skillings and others went to jail… many other corporations simply get away with it.

    So, relatively speaking oil is a free enough market.

    It isn’t since prices are controlled by the OPEC cartel and we are dependent upon an industry where the majority of producers are hostile to us.

    Furthermore, no other industry affects us in so many ways as the oil industry… national security, defence, transportation, manufacturing, etc, etc and yet instead of taking real steps to eliminate the national security and geopolitical risk we are still enabling dependence on oil by direct subsidies and legislation paid for by lobbyists.

    Political leadership, OTOH, is something I just don’t trust…

    I agree… that is why I have previously posted that it is my belief/hope that it is the next generation that will affect change. Unfortunately, they will have to dig out of the huge hole that we continue to dig.

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  48. By Optimist on January 31, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    It isn’t since prices are controlled by the OPEC cartel and we are dependent upon an industry where the majority of producers are hostile to us.

    I think OPEC’s ability to control the market is but a fond memory. Sure, they can still affect the market in a BIG way, but control? Not so much. Witness the events of 2008. OPEC would never have wanted oil to go all the way to $150, because at that price their customers are hurt and angry. Alternatives look good. But as price rose, and OPEC kept promising more oil, the market studiously ignored them.

    Then the reverse happened: oil prices started falling and OPEC (obviously) wanted to arrest that development. Again, the market ignored their efforts and prices went all the way down to $30.

    That huge volatility ($30 – 150/bbl) is exactly what an organisation like OPEC is supposed to prevent.

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  49. By Joseph on January 31, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I think OPEC’s ability to control the market is but a fond memory. Sure, they can still affect the market in a BIG way, but control? Not so much.

    I agree to a degree, and certainly not as in the past but that is due to various unforeseen factors in a relatively compressed time period over the past 8 years, such as the Iraqi War, Libya et al, refinery problems & MTBE/ethanol switch, major increase in speculation, hurricanes, the Great Recession, etc., etc., that has whipsawed prices and mitigated OPEC’s moves… since 2004 OPEC has raised production 7 times while decreasing production 3 times over the same period. Without those actions the highs and lows would have been exacerbated.

    That huge volatility ($30 – 150/bbl) is exactly what an organisation like OPEC is supposed to prevent.

    Given all the items mentioned above it is obviously impossible to effect change to the fast changing events. However, even as oil prices were going up global demand did not slow down. When oil were spiking towards the peak the Saudis stated that they were not going to increase production because the fundamentals did not support the ~$140/bbl… and a great deal due to the 100 million barrels that speculators had stored in tankers. When the recession hit the prices fell out the bottom and the market corrected.

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