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View Diary: Obama announces plans to mandate increased fuel-efficiency for trucks. Good. But more rail needed (77 comments)

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  •  Less than meets the eye. Jevons paradox. (1+ / 0-)
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    Roadbed Guy

    This is the typical half measure we get from modern Democrats. It grabs headlines so they can be seen as "doing something," but delivers less than what's really needed--which, in this case, is a price on carbon (and other greenhouse emissions).

    The Jevons Paradox:

    as technology progresses, the increase in efficiency with which a resource is used tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource. In 1865, the English economist William Stanley Jevons observed that technological improvements that increased the efficiency of coal use led to increased consumption of coal in a wide range of industries. He argued that, contrary to common intuition, technological improvements could not be relied upon to reduce fuel consumption.
    More fuel-efficient trucks will mean:

    * Less reliance on rail, which is WAY less carbon-intensive.

    * Less rethinking of production & supply chain to minimize schlepping around of materials.

    * Postponing investment in hybrid or battery-electric trucks (like this: http://wrightspeed.com/... ).

    * Thus continued reliance on oil (think Keystone XL) and natural gas (fracking) instead of conversion to grid power. Which, with a price on carbon, would be increasingly nuclear & renewable.

    And of course, a price on carbon would produce--ta-dahhh--federal revenues. Lessening pressure on food stamps, Social Security, infrastructure jobs, etc.

    Understand, despite all this, I think the new efficiency standards are Better Than Nothing. But, as on so many issues, the Dems are once again the Lesser Evil.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 04:24:25 PM PST

    •  So more efficient trucks are a bad thing? Jeez! (2+ / 0-)
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      jiffypop, BYw

      No, they're not.  Apparently Obama gets shit from us even when he does what we'd want.

      The Jevons paradox is an observation, not a reason to do nothing.  It can be useful in making more accurate estimates of the effects of increasing efficiency.  But other than that, what's its value?

      Every step in the right direction is valuable. This is not a small one.  We'll need many thousands - millions, maybe - of these steps if we're to avoid real catastrophe.

      Trains, yes.  Carbon tax, yes.  Kill Keystone, yes.  Stop exporting coal, yes.  Etc.  But there's no need to trash actual progress when it happens.

      •  The president doenst have a frigging clue (0+ / 0-)

        If a company, ANY company came out with a Semi that was a: legal b: would actually do the job c: got 2mpg more average EVERY single trucking company in america would replace their entire fleet TODAY. They operate on math.. not emotionalism or ideology.

        A man is born as many men but dies as a single one.--Martin Heidegger

        by cdreid on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:30:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You didn't read my whole comment. (0+ / 0-)
        Understand, despite all this, I think the new efficiency standards are Better Than Nothing.
        I suspect more efficient trucks will give us a temporary cut in fossil fuel use, which we can make permanent IF we put a price on carbon in conjunction or soon after.

        But if we don't price carbon, then fossil fuel use will increase again.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 04:44:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I read this awesomely grudging concession. (0+ / 0-)

          "Better than Nothing."  

          Yes we need a price on carbon, and many other changes.  But that doesn't mean to trash genuinely helpful steps when they're taken.

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