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OPEC says British climate change report "unfounded"

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A hard-hitting report on climate change published by the British government on Monday has no basis in science or economics, OPEC's Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo said on Tuesday.


Howard pushes for 'new' Kyoto agreement

Mr Howard dismissed as "pure speculation" Sir Nicholas's more alarmist projections.


White House Nods at British Climate Change Report

In an e-mailed statement, the White House Council on Environmental Quality said, ``The U.S. government has produced an abundance of economic analysis on the issue of climate change. The Stern Report is another contribution to that effort.''

That's fine company to be in: the oil producers' cartel and the closest thing to the coal producers' cartel.


Barkindo told an energy conference in Moscow that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) -- which holds around two thirds of the world's oil reserves -- opposed such research efforts.

"We find some of the so-called initiatives of the rich industrialized countries who are supposed to take the lead in combating climate change rather alarming," he said.

(...)

Barkindo said it was misguided but he did not elaborate on possible solutions to the problem.

"The mitigation and adaptation to climate change can only be accomplished on the principles of common responsibility and respected capabilities and not by scenarios that have no foundations in either science or economics as we had yesterday from London," he said.

In other words: don't stop buying our oil, and please don't start planning for a future when you would not be buying our oil.

Which, coming from a lobbying group, is a bit crude (pun intended), but par for the course.

Same thing for the conservative government in Australia:


"We are going to be absolutely determined to ratify the Kyoto targets; to set real emissions targets; to establish an emissions trading system; to invest in renewables, not in reactors; and to fast-track clean coal technology," [conservative Prime Minister Howard] told parliament.

"We are going to do all those things and be good international citizens and good supporters of Australian industry as a result of that."

In other words: let us continue to produce and burn coal, and let us decide ourselves if what we do is good for theenvironment or not.

Which, again, makes sense if your main industries are resource exploitation, mining, and in particular coal mining, that most of your electricity comes cola-fired plants, and that your industry, thanks to abundant oil and coal, is very energy-intensive and greenhous gas emitting. And that you are a conservative government giving priority to industry over the environment. Profits over people.


In an e-mailed statement, the White House Council on Environmental Quality said, ``The U.S. government has produced an abundance of economic analysis on the issue of climate change. The Stern Report is another contribution to that effort.''

The statement from spokeswoman Kristen Hellmer said the United States is ``well on track to meet the president's goal to reduce greenhouse gas intensity of our economy 18 percent by 2012.''

The problem, said Annie Petsonk of Environmental Defense, is that this goal essentially requires only the status quo.

``This is just business as usual for this economy,'' Petsonk said by telephone. ``The result is no reduction in America's total greenhouse gas emissions.''

The United States is the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, producing 25 percent of greenhouse gases from 5 percent of the global population.

Note, as usual with this White House, the smart parsing of words: the commitment is to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of the economy, not the greenhouse gas emissions themselves: this means that you only commit to use less energy per unit of GDP, but the absolute amount can increase as GDP grows faster than the intensity decreases.

(Just like with a car: if you buy a higher MPG car but start driving it a lot more, you improve your mileage (intensity), but increase your total consumption in gallons, becuase you've gone more miles, thus worsening emissions).

Energy intensity has been decreasing naturally over the years, as we switch to service activities rather than heavy industry, and as technology improvement and productivity increases allow us to do more with the same quantity of energy. The problem is that this is not enough, and overall energy consumption is increasing pretty rapidly.

Fundamentally, we are in a world where those using energy are not paying for its full cost, and letting is be borne by others in indirect ways (pollution of the atmosphere and of the lands where the resources come from, global warming, the military budget funding the aircraft carriers protecting the trade routes and the expeditionary corps in various oil producing countries, the police and emergency services on the roads, the lost lives and limbs of traffic accident casualties, etc...).

The whole point of carbon taxes, gas taxes and other environmental regulation is to make this price apparent for the consumers directly.

Of course, it increases the price they're used to. But that's not because it's an unfair cost, it's because the existing price is extravagantly, unfairly subsidized by those hurt by pollution, accidents, wars and climate events around the world, who pay with their shattered lived and limbs for our privileged lifestyle.

The governments of Australia and the USA obviously think that they can go on living as they do, letting various countries around the world pay the price of our inaction; after all, it's only invisible thirdworlders (or the occasional Louisiana black) who are dying or being uprooted from their lives.

But the fact remains: our lifestyle is in many ways unsustainable, and it will thus STOP, xwhether we want it or not. That can be done in an orderly fashion, because we acknowledge the issue and organize our societies to cope, and to help those in the least favorable situation, or it will be imposed in a chaotic way by reality.

So, to those that tell me that it is not possible to live in rural Nebraska without a big car and, if you're poor, cheap gas is vital, I say this: I agree. It is not possible, and it will not last. The only question is whether the people that now live there will be helped to move to a more sustainable lifestyle, or if they will be forced brutally to change their lives.

Understand me: I have nothing against rural Nebraska, and I am not saying that you should not live there; but I am saying that living there is steadily going to become more and more expensive, and it will be quite simply unaffordable for those that are not rich. I am not blaming those that live there now:  I am sure it is a wonderful place, and cheap energy has made it possible. But the bill is coming due. A serious energy policy will organise the transition. A lack of policy will condemn those of you that do live in such places to be subject to unpredictable lifechanging circumstances dictated by the realities of the international energy markets.

Calling the messenger arrogant or ignorant of your reality will not change this.

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:24 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I admire your tenacity ... (7+ / 0-)

    ... in bringing forth this subject and I agree that the way we are now going is not sustainable.

    Didn't like the last line, though, Jerome.  One of the things that struck me profoundly when watching "An Inconvenient Truth" was how non-judgmental Al Gore was in his presentation. He included himself with those who have come late to this debate, and persuaded with positive statements, not ones designed to provoke guilt or resistance.

    A difficult task, to be sure, when the problem is so urgent and the consequences so grave.  But one can agree completely with what you say and still say you're arrogant, heh.

    Seriously, in order to reach people who either will have to make significantly more sacrifices than someone like me, who lives in a city and uses public transportation, it is important to use the best approach, which is one that will not arouse even more defensiveness.

    Good diary.  Recommended.  This issue is not going to go away.

    •  Defensiveness is okay (14+ / 0-)

      as long as the topic is discussed.

      We're way past the time for niceties. My nice wonky diaries get read by the usual crowd that already cares about the issue, but not by many others. Energy blablabla Jerome a Paris blablabla oh it's complicated blablabla.

      This attracts attention and discussion; Anger is fine, it shows that something of the message is getting through.

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:33:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Disagree. (4+ / 0-)

        Al Gore's movie has gotten incredible audiences and has virtually changed people's behavior.  You can get people all fired up with anger, but the effects don't usually last -- take Darfur for example.  There've been a few diaries that got everyone riled up and then two weeks later it's all forgotten.

        I have nothing against anger -- towards those who deserve it (i.e., those companies and governmental officials you highlight in your diary).  Trying to reach others to change their behavior in a fundamental and permanent way is not well served by being angry.

        Having said that, I liked all your dairies in this past week.  But then as I said, I live in the city and I don't even drive.  I know there are other sacrifices to be made than just that, but my "lifestyle" will not be as dramatically affected as those who live in the 'burbs.

        •  Consider how your food will get to you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nightprowlkitty

          and tell me you're not as worried as those who live in rural areas! (I'm a city-dweller too, and that's what has me panicking.)

          •  Sure. (0+ / 0-)

            I don't think there is anyone on the planet who won't be affected by what is happening with the environment.  I only referred to cars because that was the topic that set off such a defensive edge among those who need to drive in the areas in which they live.

            I think you can get people's attention with anger, but you can't sustain that attention and turn it into permanent change, so it's a very limited tactic.  Not to mention there are, unfortunately, so many topics where anger can get attention that one can end up in a permanent state of outrage and not really make any inherent changes to solve problems.

            Wasn't really a big point, but I've seen several diaries now on really urgent topics using quite justifiable anger, but haven't seen any real and enduring follow-up as a result.  So I think Gore's way is better even if it is enormously frustrating to have to be patient when patience seems impossible.

      •  Yes, But . . . (4+ / 0-)

        Poking fingers in the eyes of your intended audience will likely result in fewer and fewer readers.  Telling people that, essentially, they're too stubborn to accept pronouncements from on high is a strategy that, historically, doesn't succeed in the U.S.  Most Americans, for varying reasons, have a visceral dislike for what they perceive as elitists telling them that they have to think and act a certain way.  Their reaction to this, in fact, is often manifested by running headlong into the "welcoming" arms of the other side, which tells them that the know-it-alls "don't understand people like you and me".  In doing this, then, there is the risk of actually strengthening one's opposition through such antagonism.

        I'm not suggesting that you don't get angry about the situation here, but belittling those who take issue with your arguments and exhortations is a road to marginalization, where the population is even sparser than in rural Nebraska.

        •  Fair enough (10+ / 0-)

          You make a good point, and I've waited a long time before making such direct affirmations in my diaries. But the strange thing is that the diaries where I poke eyes are also those that are the most supported, the most commented on and where the best substantial discussion takes place.

          This is dailyKos after all, not the whole US population, so I'm not poking hostile eyes, for the most part. I wouldn't dream of speaking like this to non-kossacks; I know it would be counterproductive.

          In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
          Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

          by Jerome a Paris on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:01:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Americanized (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Powered Grace

            "Fossil Fools"  Brilliant!

          •  Very True (0+ / 0-)

            Though even here, there's a reasonably fine line between engaging the community with somewhat provocative statements and having discussions merely devolve into hostile pie fights that inevitably drive people away.  I'm sure you're fully aware of that, but once the back-and-forth begins to heat up, it becomes increasingly easy to cross that line even without intending to do so.

            Even friends don't particularly enjoy having their eyes poked at, if it keeps happening again and again.

            I would imagine that once the midterm elections are behind us, along with a week or two's worth of post-game analysis, hand-wringing and/or theorizing about how certain races were/were not stolen by the Republicans, there will be a much greater focus here at dKos on issues, as we all seek to begin developing themes -- and specifics -- to be put to use in 2008.  At that point, it may not take the same kind of eye-poking to get folks' attention.

        •  The Next Elitist (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bellatrys, tzt, redstar, esquimaux, A Siegel

          ...elitists telling them that they have to think and act a certain way.

          Your assessment is an accurate one: offending people often leaves them susceptible to the opposing message of the other side.

          However, soon it will not be "elitists" telling people to live differently, it will be reality.  That's why James Howard Kunstler has the following mantra:

          People who refuse to negotiate with the circumstances that the world throws at them automatically get assigned a new negotiating partner: reality.

          So we can either follow the likes of Dick Cheney and Chuck Grassley, who say our way of life is "non-negotiable" and that we have a "right" to cheap gas, or we can cut a deal with reality before it cuts us down.

          broo-'dye-mo-NEE-uh | "who can please long / The Omnipotent?" - Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound"

          by Brudaimonia on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:24:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly! Jerome is being kind compared (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bellatrys, tzt, esquimaux, A Siegel, ilex

            to the wrath of mother nature that will soone be upon us.  

            Think of those pictures of people on the roofs of their homes awaiting rescue after Katrina; the black mothers holding their starving and dying children; the faces of people digging out of earthquakes and mudslides and then multiply that across the globe.  

            Jerome will seem quite mild then.  

            That is our choice.  Ignore or deal with it, but change is going to happen one way or another.

      •  I live in rural SD because I think (5+ / 0-)

        that the urban unrest that is bound to come is going to be dangerous.  

        I also wanted land to grow my food on.

        And the ability to build a house that is pretty earth friendly without having to pay for meeting buidling code inspections - because I couldn't have afforded that.

        But - I managed with a Toyota Tercel until it was over 300,000 miles on it and now keep a truck for those few times I have to haul something and do with a 30 mpg van the rest of the time.  

        I gave up going to the local store more than a couple of times a month and do one big trip to the city every 3 or 4 months.  I only get my mail every 7 to 10 days because that is a 12 mile trip one way.  

        I work at home and manage to get by on about $1,000.00 a month, though I don't have health insurance. But jobs here are scarce and I would make about the same if I drove into work every day and had to pay for better clothes and gas.

        So rural life will be possible and maybe slightly better, if you are willing to adjust.  When the snows get heavy, I park by the county road where the plows will come and walk in and out - have a sled for hauling stuff if needed (and I did that when I did drive 30 miles into work for the five years I worked at the school in town.)

        •  Rural NE won't disappear, life will just have to (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SarahLee, Jerome a Paris, Colman

          change.  A lot of things are going to change, one way or another, when oil production declines (there, I didn't say 'peak').  The only question is whether we get ahead of and plan for the changes, or get flattened by them.

          My mom's mother grew up rural NE and her dad farmed using mules.  How quickly we forget that yes, life without oil is possible.  Even without returning to the 19th and early 20th century, rural life does not require SUVs.

          "Going to church does not make us Christians any more than stepping into our garage makes us a car." --Rev R. Neville

          by catleigh on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:51:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The fact that I know how to ride a horse (5+ / 0-)

            is of immense consolation to me.

            (I also know how to spin wool into yarn and make clothes out of it with nothing more than two smooth sticks, start a fire with a flint-and-steel, make serviceable clay pots and dishes, tand various other sorts of archaic skills which were always the subject of laughter from my peers in high school. If I had a fortune, I would start investing in windjammers and clipper ships and build up a small fleet of them for when it is no longer cost-effective to ship, say, spiral-bound notebooks all the way from China using cheap diesel.)

            "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

            by bellatrys on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:09:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

        The same applies over at DU. Energy specific threads die quick death. On the other hand, the ones that sound a generic "The End is at Hand" alarm tend to attract a lot of responses.

      •  Complicated is just a synonym for expensive (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        catleigh, esquimaux, ignatz uk, ilex

        I just read somewhere that the North Atlantic Drift actually stopped for ten days in 2004.  It stops for good and the Western hemisphere is essentially doomed.

  •  RE the Stern Report ... (7+ / 0-)

    Obviously, have not had time to read all of ... nor all of the supporting documents.

    It is quite strong and will be a quite valuable resources.

    My immediate reaction to / frustration with the Stern Report is, slightly, "it is too optimistic" ...

    The focus is ECONOMIC and economic impact, at least from the top-level material that I have looked at, without nearly enough discussion of how -- as CO2 concentrations go up -- we might be literally risking the very existence of the human race.

    And, sadly, I think that it does not well deal with the externalities and emphasizes "cost" of 1 percent of GDP without talking enough about the positive impacts of moving toward a sustainable energy economy that will the profits for extracting natural resources to good jobs (around the world).

    The Stern Report will, I hope, have a powerful impact. We should be careful to remember, however, that it might be on the positive side of the equation.  

    For a quick discussion of the report, you can check out its Press Release:  

    “The conclusion of the Review is essentially optimistic. There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we act now and act internationally. Governments, businesses and individuals all need to work together to respond to the challenge. Strong, deliberate policy choices by governments are essential to motivate change.

    But the task is urgent. Delaying action, even by a decade or two, will take us into dangerous territory. We must not let this window of opportunity close.”

    Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

    by A Siegel on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:37:04 AM PST

  •  Keep at it Jerome! Some folks just don't (8+ / 0-)

    realise how bad it is even when it bites them in the ass! Perhaps when the water comes to lap gently at their feet they may act.

    It is only during an eclipse that the man on the moon has a place in the sun, George.

    by Asinus Asinum Fricat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:39:28 AM PST

  •  Rural Nebraska may be not so doomed (0+ / 0-)

    Vinod Khosla, who's very active on cellulosic ethanol, estimates that fuel ethanol can be made available at the consumer (including all : production, processing, distribution, etc) below $2/gal on a large scale. Ethanol doesn't replace gazoline gal for gal (less energy per mass/volume) but that would be the equivalent of about $2.30/gal for gazoline.

    Not cheap but still manageable.

    See his presentation here.

    •  And so ... (8+ / 0-)

      Even with cellulosic, you run out of earth before you fuel all our vehicles with current efficiency. Also, you move from "peak oil" to "peak top soil" as a real issue.

      Actually, cellulosic ethanol is one of several hundred things (actually thousands) that should be being pursued. There is NO SILVER BULLET -- but concentrated action, across all humanity, could have real impact.

      •  Echoing your thoughts, the only solution I see (7+ / 0-)

        has nothing to do with which source energy comes from but everything to do with conservation and reduction of energy usage.

        The U.S. is profligate in its energy consumption. An ad I saw on TV yesterday estimates that energy demand in the U.S. will increase by 50% by 2012. Apparently there is very little effort being made at reducing consumption. No calls for restraint or conservation, just an open-ended committment to increasing energy production.

        "Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." - Albert Einstein

        by scoff0165 on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:15:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Peak, peak, peak !!! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Colman, Brudaimonia
        Grrr,

        Rule #1 of peak claims: must be backed up by credible numbers.

        Estimates of acreage required to cover all transportation needs on a sustainable basis range from 40M acres (fairly optimistic, Khosla) to 114M acres (very pessimistic, NRDC), that is 64,000 to 180,000 square miles.

        For comparison:
        - The US territory is 5,984,685 square miles, 1,256,000 (21%) of it being arable.
        - US planting intent report 2006 (source USDA)
          - Corn    : 78.0M acres = 121,875 square miles
          - Soybean : 76.9M acres = 120,156 square miles
          - Wheat   : 57.1M acres =  89,218 square miles

        All ethanol would be a massive shift in the structure of agriculture but the point is that we're not talking about science-fiction.

        And no, I'm not claiming ethanol as "the silver bullet". Personally I'm much more enthusiastic about reducing the demand such as shifting car technology to plug-in serial hybrids, favoring mass transit, shifting long range heavy freight to railroads, etc.

        I'm simply supplying those numbers as a baseline, so people have an idea of what orders of magnitude we're dealing with. Otherwise, the dialog never goes beyond sloganeering and I find that annoying and pointless.

        Now, if you're into sloganeering, my sincerest apologies for using numbers. I did not realize I was being rude.

        •  Don't forget the amount of energy needed (0+ / 0-)

          to produce all that nice grain-based ethanol.  

          •  Keyword : sustainable (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel
            Those acreages are for close-loop - not grain-based - production, with no external energy input, including fertilizers as rquired for top soil maintenance.

            Khosla has an interesting take on corn/grain ethanol. He sees it as a primer for making ethanol available at the consumer's pump. Not gung-ho on it but not religious about hating it either.

            Looking at those numbers, my hunch is that the real limiting factor would be water availability but current irrigation methods are so wasteful that there's probably a lot to be gained.

            Hey, little wingnut drummer, you should always remember they also hanged Julius Streicher...

            by Farugia on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:49:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  umm, huh? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ilex

              Not sure how you can make ethanol out of close-loop as opposed to out of crops.  And external energy input is, of course, essential.  Large-scale agriculture is about nothing if not about external energy inputs to produce crop yields--it's a huge entropy process.  When energy is cheap, nobody cares.  When it's really expensive, the subsidies to produce ethanol either have to rise precipitously (to be paid by someone else, and scrupulously disguised so as to not appear as the cost of producing energy).

              Back before chemical fertilizers and engine-based machinery, farms produced much less, and at much greater cost.  And for a reason: the entropy cost had to be shunted onto Mother Nature, who takes a lot longer to put energy back into the topsoil than Monsanto does.

              The availability of water is a really good question; out where I live (Colorado) farmers are rapidly depleting groundwater supplies that have taken aeons to accumulate--to say nothing of the increasing millions of suburbanites who want water-guzzling trees and Kentucky bluegrass on their plots of land that was meant to sustain semi-desert flora.  I doubt farming on any appreciable scale (regardless of crop) will be much of an option in the Plains states a generation or two from now.    

              •  Mmmm (0+ / 0-)

                Close-loop meaning that the energy required to produce the ethanol from the field to the pump comes from the ethanol itself (for the tractors, the trucks, etc) or from by-products such as the lignin, for instance to supply, process heat for the enzymatic reactors, the distillation or for the production of fertilizers if needed.

                Hey, little wingnut drummer, you should always remember they also hanged Julius Streicher...

                by Farugia on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:43:49 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Would love to see a study (0+ / 0-)

                  that shows that a system like that can beat entropy.  Could you provide a reasonably precise citation or a link?

                  •  You can watch ... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    A Siegel

                    .. the preso quoted above (1 hour).

                    It's called the energy balance. If you recover more energy from your production than you expend on it, you're positive.

                    If the ratio is very low, say 1.1, it's really not glorious as you use 90% (1/1.1) of the your output to sustain your production and only 10% reaches the end consumer.

                    For cellulosic ethanol, the ratio is more in the order of 5. 20% of the production goes back to the production and 80% is available for the consumer.

                    Hey, little wingnut drummer, you should always remember they also hanged Julius Streicher...

                    by Farugia on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 10:10:07 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Bear in mind that cellulosic ethanol does ... (0+ / 0-)

                ... not require a grain feedstock ... it can work just as well with a perennial grass like switchgrass or other topsoil retaining fodder crops as with an annual grass like wheat or corn, with their selection for producing protein-rich seeds.

                And back before chemical fertilizers and engine based machinery, there was an earlier agricultural revolution based on crop rotations and integrated production that increase productivity by (and this is a shocking concept) being more productive, rather than simply by being more energy intensive.

                OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

                by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 12:35:50 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Hostility noted ... (0+ / 0-)

          Not meant to be as much of a slam ...

          Likely we are not as far apart as the exchange suggests ...

          Personally I'm much more enthusiastic about reducing the demand such as shifting car technology to plug-in serial hybrids, favoring mass transit, shifting long range heavy freight to railroads, etc.

          We have 100% agreement here (although, I normally write "plug-in, flex-fuel, composite hybrid ..."

          But ...

          1.  Please note the substantial amount of shift in agriculture called for.  This has serious implications for global diet ...
          1.  And, while you are well aware, these estimates (positive/negative) are for a technology that has yet to be deployed. (Corn Ethanol figures are so much worse -- as you are aware.)
          1.  Appreciate the numbers -- you were perhaps an unfair person to 'ping' in this vein, but there is a high frequency of 'if only this, everything is solved' and there are certainly those pushing bio-fuels in this vein.

          Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

          by A Siegel on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:47:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Frustration rather (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            besieged by bush

            I'm a bit annoyed with people who decree out of thin air that problems are so vast that they are, in effect, unsolvable.  

            ... concentrated action, across all humanity, could have real impact.

            Yeah, ok, right. I'm all for worldwide action, etc. But let's start at home. Those are big problems but we don't need to wait for an universal lovefest of risen global consciousness to start making a big dent in them.

            Anyway, enough snipping and back to you.

            The technology is now beyond lab-bench demonstration and at the pilot plant level so it's not entirely speculative anymore. The technology is, let's say, probable. The real risk factors are now more strucutural/political : issues with distribution, oil price manipulations to kill off investments, etc.

            Please note the substantial amount of shift in agriculture called for.  This has serious implications for global diet ...

            Oh, absolutely. The 2 figures I quoted actually tell a fairly different story.

            The pesimistic assesment implies a complete restructuration of agro-business and would imply competing with foodstuff and restoring a lot of fallow lands. Unlikely to happen. Realistically, ethanol would just be a significant complement to fossil fuel (and as a cost depressor) but not a replacement. Not so great.

            The optimistic assesment would involve a rather modest 20% displacement of foodstuff and, beyond fuel self-sufficiency, it would be a very good thing in itself.  At long last, the US would stop flooding the world market with excess production and give some breathing space to local producers in the 3rd world. I'm all for it :)

            What is composite hybrid ? Serial hybrids are electrical cars with an added thermal engine for long range travel but running as ZEV for most travels. To quote meself, here (note, though, that diesel and ethanol are not BFF). My dream car...

            Hey, little wingnut drummer, you should always remember they also hanged Julius Streicher...

            by Farugia on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:34:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We are absolutely in agreement ... (0+ / 0-)

              For me, a "composite" hybrid is a vehicle that is aggressively made of composites, along the line of the car extolled by Amory Lovins/RMI and described/discussed in Winning the Oil Endgame.

              Absolutely should add into my description "serial", which what I think all plug-in hybrids should be: e.g., electrical for that first 50 (75, 100) miles before the batteries get down to some drainage point where the thermal (hopefully flex-fuel) engine then kicks in.

              Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

              by A Siegel on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:50:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  PHEV's, I have seen them abbreviated. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                A Siegel

                Pluggable hybrid electric vehicles.

                I don't think any has made a pluggable hybrid that can not run as a ZEV until the battery runs low. That's the point of the plug.

                OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

                by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 12:42:13 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Absolutely ... (0+ / 0-)

                  Writing it out simply because I want to emphasize moving to (much) more efficient car frame (composites ... plus, fly by wire would be great) along with ability to take multiple fuel types.  Thus a Flex-Fuel, Composite body, Fly-By-Wire PHEV.

                  Re PHEVs, see, of course:  CalCars.

                  Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

                  by A Siegel on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 12:45:48 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  This is part of the argument for folding ... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    A Siegel

                    ... fuel efficiency car finance into part of a Connie Mae portfolio. That is, once there is a federal agency that offers finance based not on the value of the property but rather on the reduction in operating costs, there is no reason to restrict that to structures ... it can be available to qualifying cars as well, which provides a substantial commercial advantage to up front costs  that push down running costs of cars.

                    And once the fuel powered plant is in series with batteries, it becomes that much easier to swap not only flex fueled but also dedicated biofuel engines for whatever the widely available biofuel happens to be, since the design target is simply a certain electricity output when the engine is operating.

                    OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

                    by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 01:45:01 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Absolutely in agreement ... (0+ / 0-)

                      And, if you wish, there could be the packaged financing for distributed power (such as rooftop solar/wind) along with the financing for the PHEV.  Eliminate 90+% of the driving from the GHG stream.

                      And, by the way, while I'm not a big "hydrogen future" for transportation, the PHEV in this vein is a logical / reasonable stepping stone toward that future.

                      Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

                      by A Siegel on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 01:49:19 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Distributed power is even more in the core ... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        A Siegel

                        ... than PHEV's! As I see it, Carbon Neutral "Mortgages" should use any power bill reduction to aid in financing any Carbon Reducing technology, whether it be a technology to conserve power use, a technology to avoid the need to use power, or a technology to sustainably produce power on site.

                        And over and above the provision of the financial instrument, the federal government should directly subsidize the interest rate as well, to reflect the benefit in terms of National Energy Independence.

                        OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

                        by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 02:19:33 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe there needs to be a standard 'wedges' tag. (0+ / 0-)

            That is, when talking about something seen as one contributing slice of the solution rather than seen as the "silver bullet" (popularized as a 'wedge' by Al Gore ... not the wedge-politics kind of wedge)  maybe we need a standard 'wedge' tag to drop in at the end of the comment. Like ...

            NB. wedge.

            OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

            by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 12:39:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  And will try again ... (0+ / 0-)

          Should not have written "Not meant to be as much of a slam ..." ... should have started "not meant to be an attack ..."

          Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

          by A Siegel on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:18:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Do you not believe that "Peak Top Soil" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Plan9

          is a potential issue?

          Green Revolution is maintaining soil through massive fertilizer imputs -- which mainly come from hydrocarbons (natural gas) at this time.

          And, a massive demand (and the numbers you provide are, after all, massive) for additional agricultural production would further threaten the stability / sustainability of the agricultural system.

          But, in any event, questioning was not mean to be silencing. There are too many people out there who ring the bell for "the" solution ... I apologize as I typed my note with that in mind.

      •  Plus you drive up the cost of food (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        by diverting arable land to non-food purposes, essentially putting a global tax on food to subsidize rich-country transportation at a luxurious mode.

        Not real progressive, that.

        Freedom is merely privilege extended unless enjoyed by one and all -9.50, -5.74

        by redstar on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:46:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Compared to what? (0+ / 0-)

          We need to rehabilitate the topsoil of large stretches of American farmland with perennial grasses of some sort, if we are going to move from an energy intensive to a knowledge intensive agriculture ... why not harvest the hay and make ethanol?

          OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

          by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 12:43:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  well, are you saying the hay couldn't be used (0+ / 0-)

            to feed livestock?

            one way or another, it diminishes agricultural productivity for the purposes of alimentation. the fact it does this is not controversial.

            there was an interesting graph in a recent Marianne magazine (subscription/mostly print only) which described the proportion of arable land in each continent it would take to replace i believe it was 10% of petroleum-based energy sources for that continent. type of land mattered, and efficiency of conversion to ethanol also mattered (eg corn not nearly as efficient as, say sugar). for europe, it was a ridiculously high ration. for north america, it was very high as well, though somewhere around 30% if memory serves. on the other hand, for south america, where brasil is basically a world leader on the subject, the ratio is quite low.

            for my money, food for all, and conservation first. cover those two steps and then we can talk about making gas instead of protein out of hay.

            Freedom is merely privilege extended unless enjoyed by one and all -9.50, -5.74

            by redstar on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 01:04:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The problem with the food for all slogan ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... is that it continues the practice of the US using supposed "subsidies" to "help" governments of poor countries desperate for some relief in the current account deficit, while savaging the food production sectors of those countries like a plague of locusts, making the country even more dependent on food imports in the future.

              Mind you, my wife is Congolese ... many Americans do not, of course, give a damn that their politicians are pretending to help feed the world while instead pursuing policies to make countries dependent on US food subsidies. As long as it wins votes in the Great Plains, that's all that matters.

              Sliding down the food chain in the US leaves plenty of scope for growing biofuel crops, provided that the focus is on biofuels with energy inputs that are less than 1/3 of available energy.

              And regarding the idea that we need to put conservation "first", that is BS. We need to put everything first. There is no time to do A, see how far it takes us, and then start on B. We need to be starting down every track at the same time, since there is no certainty that all of them taken together will prove to be enough.

              OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

              by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 01:37:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux

      Microbial cellulosic ethanol hasn't been even pilot planted yet; enzyme cellulosic is still way too expensive; and gasification and conversion will not be anywhere near that cheap.  I wouldn't hold the party just yet.

      •  Well well (0+ / 0-)
        Given that Khosla is putting his own money into it, I would doubt the "way too expensive" clause. The guy likes to take risks but he's not foolish.

        Hey, little wingnut drummer, you should always remember they also hanged Julius Streicher...

        by Farugia on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:45:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If he's got a way to make cheap enzymes (0+ / 0-)

          it could work.  Recovering them has proved to be impossibly expensive so far.

          •  Dunno the details (0+ / 0-)

            I just know he has a rather good track record on his investments both at KP and solo (and a few craptacular dudes, too, but well, that's what VCs are for).

            [ And now, I'm gonna send that Khosla guy an invoice for PR services :> ]

            Hey, little wingnut drummer, you should always remember they also hanged Julius Streicher...

            by Farugia on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 10:20:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  You say the glass is half empty ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... I say the glass is half full. You say, "unproven", I say, "promising, through not ready for prime time".

        And if the federal government pays some soil rehabilitation subsidies for putting land into perennial grasses and that wedge fizzles, we still get the improved soil, so its not a total write-off.

        NB. wedge

        OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

        by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 12:46:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not just Nebraska, Jérome (10+ / 0-)

    It's likely that Nebraska and the rest of the plains states will be returning to Dust Bowl status as the global temperature rises and drought conditions increase.

    But really, we all live in the same house now.  The smog from China is making people in California cough.

    It's possible that temperatures in La Belle France will drop if the influx of fresh water from melting glaciers curbs the warming ocean currents from the tropics that now keep Europe comfortable.

    Of course you know all this.  I very much appreciate your keeping this whole topic going.

    Big Oil and Big Coal have done a wonderful job over the decades of keeping us blind to their machinations.  Germans thought they were going to war for Pan-Germanism reasons.  In fact, they were after the coal in the Saar and the oil in Mesopotamia.  Americans were told we had to invade Iraq to stop an evil dictator and plant democracy.  In fact it was all about the oil.

    Could it be that those in political power do not want people to wake up and demand energy independence?  For the US to become energy independent would require considerable commitment on the part of the federal government--as happened in France with the establishment of nuclear power.  The bigger the government role, the more problems for the fossil fuel industry.

    Ergo, downplay global warming, predictions of environmental and fiscal disasters, etc.

    ...it always turns out that no one is in charge of the things that really matter.--Deborah Eisenberg, Twilight of the Superheroes

    by Plan9 on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:45:56 AM PST

    •  There was a study released a few years ago (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jerome a Paris

      that indicated it was our pollution mixed with China's that was causing the African droughts and thus the famines there.  

      That was one of the things that reinforced my determination to live more simply - I had nightmares about being a black mother holding my dying baby - trying to shoo flies from it and imagining what that felt like and I simply could no longer justify the extravagance of my life.

      It is one of the things that both made this Green rejoin the Democratic Party and yet hate most of my votes.    I balance that with trying to "Live simply so all may simply live."

  •  Shhhhh. Not too loud. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee

    My plan to buy beachfront property in Kerguelen in advance of Havas Regie will go pouf.

    Freedom is merely privilege extended unless enjoyed by one and all -9.50, -5.74

    by redstar on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:46:46 AM PST

  •  We're in deep trouble... (7+ / 0-)

    The global warming phenomenon is our biggest weapon of mass destruction; I can see other countries imposing sanctions against us - or worse - for our use of carbon.

    The thing of it is, we don't friggin' make anything any more.

    So we're using up all this carbon on services.

    Ponder that...

    "It's better to realize you're a swan than to live life as a disgruntled duck."

    by Mumon on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:50:23 AM PST

    •  Wee bit oversimplified (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel
      I think companies from Ford to Boeing to Fastenal would be shocked to learn they do not exist.

      Yes, proportionally manufacturing is a much smaller part of US GDP, but there is still a great deal of manufacturing going on in the United States.

      Yes, some of those cars from Ford are made partially or entirely outside the US, but some are made here. And some "Japanese" cars are made here in the US.

      It is simply wrong to say "we don't friggin' make anything any more."

      Manufacturing is alive and well in the US. It is the worker who is in trouble.

      None of this is intended to minimize the profligate waste of energy and resources in the US, or the importance of global warming, or the stupidity of the industries that deny both.

      But there is plenty of manufacturing in the US. We are not a 100% service economy.

  •  Nope, I think you are very wrong (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, Brain Donor

    and in addition sort sighted.  You learned one schtick and you are stuck on it.
    Americans are not going to all start moving to cities.  There will be other solutions which will work for Nebraska and other places that you fail to imagine and all the  unearned arrogance in the world will not change the fact that you are stuck in your own reality where you have the answers and knowlege and you imagine that if you piss everyone off that you are getting your message out.
    I am not angry Jerome, I just find you counter productive to any real solutions.

    Don Sherwood, if you campaign on family values, it helps if you have some.

    by TeresaInPa on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:56:45 AM PST

    •  And I hope you're right (7+ / 0-)

      Frankly, I'd rather live in a world where you're right and I'm wrong than the opposite.

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:02:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't see anything objectionable at all in (6+ / 0-)

        your statement about Nebraska and driving big cars.

        People can still live in rural parts of Nebraska, no doubt - there's nothing stopping them from putting up windfarms (as is already increasingly the case - I race down there and see them all over the place), just as there's nothing stopping then from driving fuel efficient cars or light duty trucks rather than the 12 mph inline 6 F-150s a lot of them drive today.

        Fact is though that for many counties in the midwest, population decline is a fact of life, and there's nothing objectionable about pointing this out, and pointing out that a certain lifestyle is unsustainable.

        Freedom is merely privilege extended unless enjoyed by one and all -9.50, -5.74

        by redstar on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:10:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  What solutions? (5+ / 0-)

      And where will they come from?

    •  Rest assured (3+ / 0-)

      that my wife tells me the exact same things as you do!

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:13:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  asdf (7+ / 0-)

      From an engineering standpoint, he's right and you're wrong.  There are no unknown solutions appearing as if by magic; anything that will make a difference is the next twenty must already exist, at least in rudimentary form.  If break-even fusion happened in the lab, it would be twenty years at least before a power reactor.  Choose to assume that something better will come along and do nothing, and poor Nebraskans will be freezing in the dark in 10-15 years, if not sooner.

      •  And ... if applied ... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TJ, MackInTheBox, Plan9, Colman, tzt

        Globally, there is more than enough to make massive change in the situation:

        • Smart planning / urban design
        • Smart infrastructure design
        • Renewable power (solar stirling / PV, wind (both large-scale (Jerome's world) and urban/rooftop, wave, geothermal, etc ...)
        • Energy efficiency technology -- from the home (LED lights) to the electrical distribution system (including moving more to distributed power)
        • Plug-in hybrids for ground transport
        • Moving freight to transport
        • Nuclear power (with renewables) to shut down coal plants (rapidly, starting about a decade from now)
        • Retrofitting existing infrastructure with efficiency (everything from white / reflective roofs to new appliances to insulation to ...)

        There is so much "in hand" right now that could enable rapid and massive change in our GHG footprint world wide, if the choices were made ...

        And, as part of that, there should be strong emphasis in all international aid / World Bank / etc for "leapfrogging" technologies that enable developing nations to avoid the 'high waste'/'high polluting' step of development to get directly into a more sustainable, more survivable, more profitable energy system.

        Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

        by A Siegel on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:53:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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

          I wish I could give you 10 recs for this.
          Whether cheap oil is peaking now or 75 years hence more attention must be paid to engineering energy efficiency and energy source diversity into our infrastructure now, while it is relatively inexpensive, both in monetary and disruptive costs.
          Since the problem of oil depletion is paired with the adverse consequences of degrading the human-supporting ecosphere we have little choice in the matter.

      •  20 years? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Plan9

        I think the known commerically exploitable oil reserves are enough for a lot more than 20 years.

        Any number of economically viable technologies to mostly replace oil and coal already exist in something better than rudimentary form. And really, if 20 years from now we're using 10% as much oil as today, and 1% as much coal... all our problems will have been solved.

        That's right, I said we already have solutions. We just need the political will to stop fighting against them.

        Jerome's wind farms are a great example. I remember seeing the wind farms in California 20 or 30 years ago. Why don't we have them in every windy area? Why don't we have them in Cape Cod Bay? NIMBY politics, that's why.

        Solar panels are another example. Is there a reason every government building south of Washington, DC isn't covered in solar panels? No, there's no reason. If our government started a program to install solar panels using some of the gasoline tax money they squander on highway construction, it would create a viable mass market and drive down the price to where businesses and homes would find it cost-effective to install them without subsidies.

        Electric cars are here. They will get much better over the next 20 years, but they're the present, not the future.

        The biggest oil/coal killing technology, of course, is nuclear power. Given Energize America's off-the-cuff dismissal of it, I'm not sure this is an appropriate forum to discuss how thorium ADS technology solves every problem with nuclear power and is going to usher in cheap electricity over the next decade or so. But that's my prediction.

        The Geneva Conventions are not a suicide pact

        by Brain Donor on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:57:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thorium ADS doesn't count (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          until the nuclear industry actually goes out and builds a power plant.

          FWIW, I believe peak oil is now.  We're going to be forced to conserve energy whether we like it or not.  Worse, we're obviously headed toward a recession, and big capital items like nuke power plants and refineries do not get built in a recession.  IMO, our most likely future right now is gasoline rationing, natural gas rationing, and power rationing thru blackouts.  All of the above with the usual exemptions for the rich and powerful.

          •  Thorium can be used in existing reactors. n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brain Donor

            ...it always turns out that no one is in charge of the things that really matter.--Deborah Eisenberg, Twilight of the Superheroes

            by Plan9 on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:17:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  We can dismiss any advance that way (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Plan9

            There hasn't been a real nuclear power plant built in this country in decades. Thorium has been used in test power plants instead of uranium for at least a decade. ADS spallation is what, unproven? uneconomical?

            If it turns out not be ADS, it'll be pebble bed or one of the other technologies researched and developed in the last 2 decades but not deployed because of the debacles at 3 mile island and chernobyl.

            I mentioned thorium ads specifically because i think it solves a wider range of problems.

            To address the meat of your post:

            We're not running out of oil in our lifetimes. Peak oil expands every time the price goes up.

            Our economy has surprised me by running just fine with oil prices as high as $80/bbl. At those prices, oil sands and oil shale reclamation become economically viable. So if we want to save the pristines views in the Rockies, we need to work harder at alternative energy sources.

            The Geneva Conventions are not a suicide pact

            by Brain Donor on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:23:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thorium is very promising (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel, Brain Donor

          I hope Energize America folks will take a look.  

          Energy R & D funding is about half what it was in the US 20 years ago.  We need to elect politicians who will increase spending on projects that merit more attention.

          The thorium cycle has many advantages.  Thorium is abundant in the earth's crust, experimentation with thorium as reactor fuel goes back to the 1950s, and thorium is cheap and weapons-proliferation resistant.  

          What if we could build a nuclear reactor that offered no possibility of a meltdown, generated its power inexpensively, created no weapons-grade by-products, and burnt up existing high-level waste as well as old nuclear weapon stockpiles? And what if the waste produced by such a reactor was radioactive for a mere few hundred years rather than tens of thousands? It may sound too good to be true, but such a reactor is indeed possible, and a number of teams around the world are now working to make it a reality. What makes this incredible reactor so different is its fuel source: thorium.

          More here.

          ...it always turns out that no one is in charge of the things that really matter.--Deborah Eisenberg, Twilight of the Superheroes

          by Plan9 on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:16:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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

            I'm an engineer. I want to see a full size woprking unit before I count on it.

          •  OK, you got me started (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Plan9, A Siegel

            Other important advantages:

            It doesn't use uranium. From an engineering perspective this may not be important, but it could be a huge factor in public acceptance.

            Also, it would speed up the R&D cycle tremendously. Current nuclear technology is still kind of stone age, because it takes so long to set up a test, perform a test, clean up and prepare to set up another test. If you have a reactor technology where you can flip a switch and it cools down, just like water boiling on the stove, you can change that development cycle to days instead of months.

            Tighten the development cycle and you'll start to see progress on all the other drawbacks of nuclear technology.

            The Geneva Conventions are not a suicide pact

            by Brain Donor on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:29:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Please explain: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Plan9, Colman, tzt

      Why is Jerome "very wrong"?

      What are the "other solutions ... that [Jerome] fail[s] to imagine"?

      And, considering that Jerome just diaried a few days ago his role in financing a huge wind farm, which I would argue is part of "solutions", how is he "counter productive to any real solutions"?

      Provide substance, please, to support these comments.

      Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:10:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll take a shot (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deathsinger

        It wasn't my comment, but I think I understand where Teresa's coming from.

        Jerome's post was surprisingly combative. The tone was not that we're going to have to figure this stuff out, but that we're going to have to force those scumbag morons in Nebraska to do things our way. (sorry that's so harsh, Jerome, but that's kinda how it read)

        That's a counter-productive polemic. Independents and republicans across the country have a stereotype of democrats as elitist and turn against the policies democrats support, for exactly that reason.

        This thread is full of people talking about existing technologies that will wean us from oil and coal over the next decade or two. Not science fiction, not experimental hopes, but working technology that just needs a push to go mass-market. Almost any technology that replaces gasoline will require massive infrastructure changes, but those changes can and will happen. All we need at this point is an administration that isn't blocking them to prolong the profitability of the oil industry.

        OK, now I'll go beyond what I read in Teresa's post.

        Overstating the case, and overstating the government's opposition to doing anything about it (both of which Jerome did here, in my view) discredit global warming science. The reason so many people don't take it seriously is that so many press releases from global warming activists were scaremongering and not supported by science.

        Yes, the science indicates there is global warming going on.
        Yes, the science indicates human carbon production from fossil fuel use conributes to global warming.
        There is a broad consensus among scientists on these points. There is less consensus about the impact of global warming.

        No, the science does not support assertions that last year's hurricanes were caused by, or worse because of, global warming.
        No, the science does not support predictions that Nebraska is going to be a dustbowl because of global warming.
        No, the science does not support predictions that the sea level is going to rise so much a billion people are going to be displaced.

        Those are statements of activists pushing an agenda, not scientists. People aren't stupid - they keep hearing these doomsday predictions from people calling themselves "researchers" and they know how much credibility to give those people.

        When this study came out yesterday, the US government did not deny global warming exists. Jerome's title is a distortion. Sadly, that discredits a lot of what he said afterwords.

        The Geneva Conventions are not a suicide pact

        by Brain Donor on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 11:06:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Disagreement on so many levels ... (0+ / 0-)
          1. If combative, would argue that this is not surprising if one has followed energy discussions here at DailyKos over the past several years.  But, I do not read this in the same tone that you do ...
          1.  Your posts throughout are coming from an angle that I disagree with.  For example, your peak oil comments are totally off from basically every data point that is coming out. You are arguing from the 'price is the only issue' school of "as long as people will pay more, there will be more oil".  As long as we are talking "traditional", this simply is fantasy. And, the environmental impacts of "non-traditional" within the context of Global Warming/Catastrophic Climate Change are simply terrifying when it comes to non-traditional (such as Oil Shale, Oil Sands, Heavy Oil).
          1.  Yes, there can be hyperbole re Global Warming. Was Katrina "caused" by Global Warming?  How would one know?  On the other hand, do changes in weather patterns -- globally -- align with Global Warming model predictions, including for more severe weather patterns?  Absolutely.  And, you're right, Jerome would have had a more accurate title with "OPEC rejects, Australia ignores, and Bush Administration looks ready to bury Stern Report" ...
          1.  Your approach / discussion re global warming, however, borders on the reverse of any hyperbole -- perhaps to the extent of near denial. The "fact" is that the Stern report actually seriously, IMHO, understates the real risks and paints a rather optimistic future path.  

          Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

          by A Siegel on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 01:46:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

            for addressing me seriously.

            1. As regards the tone of the diary, Jerome wasn't arguing with anyone here. The idea that anyone knows what's best for everyone else is anathema to me, and contrary to the principles on which this country is founded (imho). More to the point: it's a counter-productive style of argument. You don't convince anyone they'd better listen to you; you convince them to dislike and ignore you.
            1. a) If you look into it a little I believe you'll find that all stated oil reserves are restricted to economically retrieveable oil. It was a big scandal at royal dutch shell last year that they were including oil of questionable economical retrievability in their reserve estimates. I could take half a day or so and look up how much oil is known to exist but under deeper oceans, etc. The non-traditional isn't just oil shale.
            1. b) I don't understand your point about oil sands and oil shale being terrifying. Maybe I read it wrong, but I don't understand.
            1. a) I'd ask you to back up your statement, in the context of the warming seen to date, not what's predicted for 50 years from now. Even if the models predict that eventually we will see more extreme weather, there isn't any support I'm aware of for the assertion that it's already affecting weather intensity.
            1. b) Also, did you mean to assert that every global warming model shows we will definitely have more severe weather in the future? Because if it's only some models, and it's only may have more severe weather, the statement is non-operative except as fear mongering. That's the kind of thing that turned Michael Crighton against global warming activists.
            1. Yes, that last bit was over the top. I wanted to challenge the orthodoxy a bit. On the other hand, economic predictions by government officials... separate that phrase from this topic for a minute. I can cut economic numbers to support any lie you care to challenge me with. Without having read the report, I can almost assure you it means nothing if it was just economic analysis of some theoretical scenarios.

            Let me state again (to stave off the troll ratings) that I don't deny that global warming is happening, or that our fossil fuel work is a contributing factor. That's a separate issue from my assertion that the tactics and polemic used by global warming activists is counter-productive to addressing the problem.

            The Geneva Conventions are not a suicide pact

            by Brain Donor on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 02:34:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Economics v. Thermodynamics (0+ / 0-)
              There is considerable debate about peak oil. Personally, I am convinced it is coming, even if Thomas Gold is right and oil has an abiotic origin.

              It doesn't much matter how much oil is left in the earth. Once it takes as much energy to extract a barrel as you obtain on consuming it, the game is over. Oil will continue to be used as a base for plastics and pharmceuticals, but it is then useless as an energy source, no matter how you charge for it. That point exists. And our approach to it will be asymptotic (please, those you with better than pre-calculus math education, please correct me if I used the wrong word there. ;-)

              I can't talk about the rest of your points, but I can say that we will hit economically unrecoverable before we hit net energy sink.

              •  Excellent point (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                evilpenguin

                I can't vouch for the spelling, but that's the right word. Even if we don't do it ahead of time, as oil gets scarcer and harder to extract we'll be shifting more and more of our use to other energy sources.

                Yes, I was being expansive in my original post. There is some finite amount that will be economically extractable; my point was just that that amount is much more than quoted figures for known reserves.

                The Geneva Conventions are not a suicide pact

                by Brain Donor on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 06:43:50 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  It takes a VILLAGE to survive Global Warming... (5+ / 0-)

    and rural communities may be the best place to be in a post global-warming scenario... to survive, we need access to (clean) air and water, followed by (edible) food, following by clothing and shelter.  We cannot take care of ourselves for very long due to a lack of 'resource critical mass', and too many people in a confined space will break the survival model and result in tremendous violence.

    While it may be more energy-efficient to house folks in a city, the lack of natural resources will turn cities into truly terrible places to live.  The only real 'escape' from global warming and its associated erratic growing patterns (and associated food supply disruptions) may be to live in small, rural communities where folks actually look after one another.  Call it a commune, but if things turn really dark, I'd rather be surrounded by a few thousand rural neighbors with guns who can grow various types of food than by millions of desparate and starving city dwellers.  

    And while we are woefully behind in the deployment of wind and solar systems in this country, there is still, relatively speaking, plenty of time to install renewable power systems at the community level...

    Energize America: Demand Energy Security by 2020!

    by Doolittle Sothere on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:15:56 AM PST

    •  Just remember (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Colman, esquimaux, A Siegel

      No hospitals without cities.  No drugs. No food preservation or water treatment.  No machinery spare parts. You might live longer than urban dwellers (though I personally doubt that) but it would be an 18th century existence.

      •  The no food preservation or water treatment ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... is going overboard. Like you say, a material 18th century rural existence, but with a 21st century knowledge base that is certainly far, far from a catastrophe. And certainly in the 18th century, we were perfectly capable of preserving food and boiling water.

        And most of our gain in life expectancy over the last century is due to improvements in public sanitation, and not to medical advances. Again, an 18th century material level of rural life with a 21st century knowledge base is far from Road Warrior territory.

        As far as machinery spare parts, that depends on the machinery. As long as there are automobile junkyards there is scrap metal to make machinery. And as long as the resource footprint of the village is smaller than the resource availability in the village's hinterlands, there will be an ability to swap for high tech, low material input gear.

        How bad the cities are to live depends on how apocalytpic we allow the climate crisis to become, but it is outer suburbia that is out on the exposed leading edge as far as exposure to more limited resources go. In many cities, a larger share of the population unable to afford cars means a virtuous cycle of more effective mass transport leading to less need to drive leading to more effective mass transport ...

        Outer suburbia and exurbia is simply not in a position to have some systems gain from a forced reduction in resource use ... the entire settlement system is premised on cheap resources.

        OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

        by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 01:02:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That is the vision I saw back in the late 1980s (0+ / 0-)

      and why I moved out of the city.

      It is why I have a "medicinal" garden.   It is why a number of my friends and family decided to live within a few miles (walking distance) of each other to pool some of our driving and resources and why comunes will probably come back into style even here in the good ol' US of A.
      .  

  •  Fossil Fools (7+ / 0-)

    I like that a lot. First time I've heard it. What a simple but perfect description of these idiots. It will be part of my vocabulary from now on. Thanks.

  •  Unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

    Global heating is one of those things where it's almost impossible to get people to sacrifice for since it appears so far away in the future. Americans will generally not fix anything until it is well into the FUBAR range. By the time we get around to doing something, it will be too late. I think we will hit the 6°C rise rather than the 2°C rise.

    Walking. It's the new driving.

    by Batfish on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:18:15 AM PST

  •  The post carbon transition is gonna hurt. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, SarahLee, catleigh

    The only question is, how badly will it hurt?  Our governments (yes, you too Aussies) and the fossil fuel industry are just trying to bide their time so that they can rack up as much in profits as they can before the shit hits the fan.  Their efforts are deflection, casting doubt, changing the subject, pretending they care are all just shiny baubles in the face of who they perceive to be little kids--US.  So, are we going to continue to act dumb and ignore the writing on the wall or will act preventatively for a change?

    Cities and towns are mobilizing, giving a big FU to the federal government.  Now citizens need to do the same.  This grassroots at it's core.

  •  Germ theory of disease ONLY a THEORY. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee

    Earth revolving around Sun ONLY a THEORY.
    Earth round ONLY a THEORY.

    on and on. Thank Zeus that eventually we evolve past these idiots.
    Oh yeah right, we don't.
    They just hang out in Evangelical "Christian" Churches

    I'm not ready to make nice, I'm not ready to back down, I'm still mad as hell... Dixie Chicks

    by UndercoverRxer on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:30:44 AM PST

  •  I can't take another summer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee

    like the one we just went through in Northern Cali. And I don't see things improving much. This report, coming from an economic perspective, actually gave me some hope that those with the power to make changes might be very motivated to start doing so. Yes, it is the human suffering and the future of our children and grandchildren that concern us -- but it is money (or the loss of it) that motivates the powerful.
    As far as regional patterns of mobility and best use of limited resources, I find it all very contradictory. "Move to the cities, where services and transportation are centralized!" vs. "Move to the country, where you can grow your own food and provide a safe haven for your loved ones from inevitable break down of civilization that will happen in the cities!"

  •  Some thoughts: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    European Nomad

    First, I have noticed that many have now accepted that the earth is warming, that there is such a phenomona as global warming, but that it isn't caused by man. They say that this warming is a natural cycle, and so therefore there is no need to change our ways.

    Secondly, and I have made this point before, there is a definite link in the U.S. and other nations between potable water and energy. Much of the water that we use here is mined, i.e. it is brought up from the ground by mechanical means. And further, much of the water used in western states is transported through mechanical means, huge pumps used to lift water over mountain ranges. Without a reliable cheap energy source, this system will fail.

    And lastly, emissions need to be rated to miles per gallon driven, not simply per gallon of fuel. The new NOX standard that Maine will adopt is based on the California model, and so VW turbo-diesel cars cannot be purchased new here becuase they pollute too much. No one seemed to figure that you can drive the cars twice as far on the same volume of fuel, effectively cutting emissions in half.

    17. Ne5

    In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

    by Spud1 on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:39:40 AM PST

    •  That's brilliant. (0+ / 0-)

      I wonder who lobbied for that particular emissions standard?

    •  Wind power? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spud1

      And the like should be suitable for water pumping, surely? Assuming that you have suitable storage facilities you don't need constant pumping to keep the system going when the power supply is low.

      •  Municipal water systems use huge amounts (0+ / 0-)

        of water, and to keep water pressure at a usuable level, often lift the water into a tower - we've alle seen them. Wind generated power may help, but it would be curious to see if it is feasible.

        Lifting water over mountain ranges as is done in California is another problem. Water is also transported in Texas, etc.

        17. Ne5

        In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

        by Spud1 on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:56:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The problem with wind (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jerome a Paris, Spud1, A Siegel

          Is that it's not always on. I'm assuming that if you have enough available to fill up the storage facilities when the wind is suitable and to let them run down a bit when it's not then it'd do the job.

          •  Lifting water into a tower is actually a great (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel

            use for wind power. The pressure needed by the system comes from gravity, hence lifting the water high above the faucets and toilets. The tower does not need to be full at all times, and so could be topped off as wind was blowing.

            I just know how feasible it is to get the electricity from mill to pump (use the windmill as a direct pump might have worked out west in cowboy days, but not for a municipal system).

            17. Ne5

            In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

            by Spud1 on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:07:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you need to? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Siegel

              You just need to know when there's power available to pump. You can draw it from the grid when there's lots of wind available to supply it. There's lots of things like water pumping that that applies to. Obviously the big water transport projects could have their own dedicated turbines

              •  In a word, smart gird. (0+ / 0-)

                This is why smart grid technologies become more important ... the more we are able to use active monitoring of availability to signal various levels of "off peak" rates when there is excess power on offer, the more distributed systems there will be that will take up that "excess energy" when it is on offer.

                Distribute the "energy storage" across a wide range of energy tasks and you increase the capacity of the system to take advantage of intermittent sources.

                OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

                by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 01:07:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Why not? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Siegel

              If you've got enough wind you put a direct drive pump right at the river or well.

              •  A lot cheaper too (0+ / 0-)

                saves almost all of the electrical gear.

              •  Your pump is large enough for a town of (0+ / 0-)

                5,000, or a city of 2 million? Direct drive will not work at this scale.

                17. Ne5

                In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

                by Spud1 on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:29:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Out of curiousity, why not? n/t (0+ / 0-)
                  •  Think of air as a fluid, which it technically (0+ / 0-)

                    is, albeit a very light one. Water, as you can imagine, is much heavier, requiring more power to move. To directly link the wind driven propeller to a mechanical pump to lift water will work, but not in the volumes required to supply a town or city. The tattered ones seen in westerns work on the same principle as the hand pump in Jack and Jill - just not efficient.

                    Gearing would help, but the forces required to turn the pumps would be tremendous - certainly the force required to get the pump started. Perhaps a system with an electric start and midmill to take over?

                    I think it's just a lot easier to have the windmill generate electricity for a typical pump.

                    17. Ne5

                    In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

                    by Spud1 on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:40:24 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Take Buffalo, where I live (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Spud1

                  The water supply pumps are, I believe, 39,000 gpm each.  Now you obviously couldn't power that from a single windmill, so a direct retrofit would be out.  However you wouldn't switch over that way anyhow.  For capacity control you would use multiple pumps and windmills.  The giant pumps (one of which is diesel for power outages) would remain as backup.

                  For a single water well a windmill, a gearbox, a lift pump and a centrifugal pump on the same shaft should work pretty well.

            •  Indeed, lifting water is what ... (0+ / 0-)

              ...all those ragged old (some still working) windmills you see throughout the Western U.S. farm and ranch areas were installed to do.

          •  Wind capacity issues are being addressed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BruceMcF

            A group of Iowa utilites are using their wind farms to fill underground compressed air for dispatchable electricity. A South Dakota facility is doing the first phase of hydrolysis, or electricity to hydrogen.  There's a bunch of solutions coming on line (pun).

            Two issues - The power grid can take 10-20% of intermittent electricity like wind before storage becomes a real need, or 10-20 years off, which is plenty of time for storage/load managementimplementation.  Also, the conversion losses are no big deal because unlike coal, nat gas or uranium, the supply of wind is endless.

            Larry - "Fish is brain food." Moe - "Oh yeah? Well you oughtta eat a whale!" SMACK!!!

            by vegancannibal on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 10:16:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Americans want transportation freedom... (0+ / 0-)

    at an affordable, reasonable price.  In my area of California that means reasonably priced gas for our cars.  Right now gas is in the mid-two dollar range.  If gas had stayed in the mid-three dollar range, as it was earlier this year, Pombo would be on his way out.

    Many, many voters commute to the San Francisco Bay Area from this area every day.  That's 40-90 miles each way.

    •  That's nice. (8+ / 0-)

      You can't have it. There isn't enough gas.

      What now?

    •  And why do folks commute? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CAL11 voter

      Because of the cost of housing. Which is the big problem that I see with city life. So, will that change?
      Are we reaching the point where the cost of gas is a greater deterrent to commuting than the cost of housing is an incentive to commute? Are we motivated enough yet to design and build high population density communities that work?

      •  Seems like everything is more expensive... (0+ / 0-)

        in the big cities.  In this area, people can get much more house for their money outside the Bay Area.  And we are talking hundreds of thousands of dollars which is significant to working and middle class people.  As long as the relatively higher paying jobs are in the Bay Area, the motivation to commute will be there.

        •  That's partly because rental costs are ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CAL11 voter

          ... in the overhead of everything provided by a commercial establishment, while decentralization costs are typically cross-subsidized, with utility hook-ups charged by a flat fee to "promote development", even though a quarter the density more than double the costs of the supporting utility infrastructure.

          Include the costs of decentralization in the the price of goods, the same way that centralization costs are included, and the "preference" for having to drive miles and miles to get anything done will shift.

          OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

          by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 01:12:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Want transportation freedom ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Plan9, Colman, CAL11 voter

      at an affordable price ...

      What is affordable?  Leaving behind from the exhaust pipe a world that will be quite possibly uninhabitable for humankind?  Leaving behind from the exhaust pipe a world that will be atrocious for our children and children's children (if they exist)?  And, a world that will -- from year to year -- be a worse rather than a better place to live?

      Price is NOT JUST ABOUT THE COST OF A GALLON OF GAS!

      I have been an "environmentalist" of sorts for most of my lift ... of sorts ...

      I am a "petro-holic" -- my last tank refill was two days ago and I drove my car 25 miles yesterday.

      That is unsustainable ... I am a hypocrite since I know that ...

      I am working to change my life (starting with massive change in my home this year) ... and that of my community (variety of activities, from writing articles to working to convince the local community center to renovate using LEED standards to giving CFL lightbulbs as house warming gifts to all new neighbors and as birthday gifts) to business activity to policy world (including being a founding board member of The Energy Consensus).

      Want transportation freedom at an affordable price?  Even in terms of $s per gallon, this will not be affordable into the indefinite future as Peak Oil will come and prices will go up.  But, in terms of the "real cost", we are well past the time where a gasoline-based, SUV-dominated, long-distance commuting lifestyle is affordable for the nation, the world, the future ...

      Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:03:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. The time has come for comprehesive... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Colman, A Siegel

        legislation.  It is the only way to "convince" Americans to change their energy consumption habits.  Legislation was successful in getting cities to change their waste dumping practices.  I remember when the city I was living in at the time first went to a three can waste removal system.  People objected and complained.  But, in time, people adjusted and it became normal and habitual.  Just one example.

        •  Well ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CAL11 voter

          we've tried ... can't believe that I failed to mention Energize America above which, while it has its (significant) warts, really does try to put together a comprehensive and balanced approach. Among other things, its biggest problem is that it is not ambitious/aggressive enough.  But, that is a discussion for elsewhere.

          Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

          by A Siegel on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 11:02:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  This is serious, folks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tzt, A Siegel

    More serious than most Americans believe.  A Siegel is probably right that the Stern report, in many ways, despite its comprehensive nature, its constructive solutions, and its mention of future catastrophes, is too optimistic.

    The Stern report calls for a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, and a 60% by 2050.  George Monbiot would say that that is not enough.

    Researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact in Germany have estimated that holding global temperatures to below 2 degrees means stabilising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at or below the equivalent of 440 parts of carbon dioxide per million(7). While the carbon dioxide concentration currently stands at 380 parts, the other greenhouse gases raise this to an equivalent of 440 or 450. In other words, if everything else were equal, greenhouse gas concentrations in 2030 would need to be roughly the same as they are today.

    Unfortunately, everything else is not equal. By 2030, according to a paper published by scientists at the Met Office, the total capacity of the biosphere to absorb carbon will have reduced from the current 4 billion tonnes a year to 2.7 billion(8). To maintain equilibrium at that point, in other words, the world’s population can emit no more than 2.7 billion tonnes of carbon a year in 2030. As we currently produce around 7 billion, this implies a global reduction of 60%. In 2030, the world’s people are likely to number around 8.2 billion. By dividing the total carbon sink (2.7 billion tonnes) by the number of people, we find that to achieve stabilisation the weight of carbon emissions per person should be no greater than 0.33 tonnes. If this problem is to be handled fairly, everyone should have the same entitlement to release carbon, at a rate no greater than 0.33 tonnes per year.

    In the rich countries, this means an average cut by 2030 of around 90%. The United Kingdom, for example, currently releases 2.6 tonnes of carbon (9.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide) per capita(9), so would need to reduce its emissions by 87%. Germany requires a cut of 88%, France of 83%, the United States, Canada and Australia, 94%. By contrast, the Kyoto Protocol – the only international agreement that has been struck so far – commits its signatories to cut their carbon emissions by a total of 5.2% by 2012.

    These could be underestimates.

    But we shouldn't split hairs about percentages at the expense of realizing that it's clear we should be doing something - something major - right now in our own lives.  As Monbiot says,

    My fear is not that people will stop talking about climate change. My fear is that they will talk us to Kingdom Come.

    broo-'dye-mo-NEE-uh | "who can please long / The Omnipotent?" - Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound"

    by Brudaimonia on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:53:42 AM PST

  •  I support carbon taxes, but you don't get America (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CAL11 voter, A Siegel

    So, to those that tell me that it is not possible to live in rural Nebraska without a big car and, if you're poor, cheap gas is vital, I say this: I agree. It is not possible, and it will not last. The only question is whether the people that now live there will be helped to move to a more sustainable lifestyle, or if they will be forced brutally to change their lives.

    Actually, in the not so distant future (50 years?) life on the land may be considerably more feasible than life in urban centers.    You will be closer to food, closer to jobs (aka farming!), living at population density levels that reflect normal human population density for most of human evolution.

    Understand me... I have nothing against industrial civillization and urban life.  It is just not a sustainable form of civillization.... not without cheap oil... and cheap oil is destroying the planet, and must be ended... or it will end us.    

    A carbon tax may be the right path to follow, but it is not at all clear that urban civillization can afford the cost of food and transportation and infrastructure maintenance that will result from a carbon tax.   I put my bet on rain irrigated agricultural regions.... not New York City or LA.

    Understand me: I have nothing against rural Nebraska, and I am not saying that you should not live there; but I am saying that living there is steadily going to become more and more expensive, and it will be quite simply unaffordable for those that are not rich.

    What you say is true, but it is even more true about urban civillization.

    I am not blaming those that live there now:  I am sure it is a wonderful place, and cheap energy has made it possible. But the bill is coming due. A serious energy policy will organise the transition. A lack of policy will condemn those of you that do live in such places to be subject to unpredictable lifechanging circumstances dictated by the realities of the international energy markets.

    Good thing that you are not blaming them.  Why would you?   Far more correct to "blame" the suburbs and cities who are every bit as potentiated by cheap oil... not just in absolute terms but on a per capita basis, and which are far more endangered by high energy costs.

    Small cities and towns in close proximity to agriculture are the future of the planet, and rural America, impoverished and penetrated by the destructive forces of global capitalism as it is, is the location in which the future will be built.  It is New York City that you should worry about.

    ---

    OK, so WHY do rural areas seem less interested in high energy prices than urban areas.  Well that has to do with the effect that they have for almost 100 years been the tail on the dog... they have been penetrated by global urban capitalist networks, and become a support service for cities and suburbs....

    They are at the MOMENT more dependent on cheap gas for agriculture and transportation and daily life.  They will take the hit first, pay the highest cost...  so they naturally resist the role that you assign to them.

    They will take the hit because they have been   undermined as independent places and exist only to serve the cities, the first stop in an agricultural production chain. That will change.  

    People in rural America may not yet understand that they are living in the place of the future.  

    People in suburbs don't yet understand that we will return to and spread out across the rural landscape in search of agricultural jobs.   It seems unimaginable to them and to most of you reading this.

    But it will happen, and as it does it is urban/suburban civillization that will whither and dispersed agricultural and small town civillization that will thrive.

    •  Actually (7+ / 0-)

      both city centers and rural areas are reasonably okay, energy wise, and both will remain. What is really wasteful and unsustainable is suburbs (the newer kind, some of the old ones were okay), with the compulsory use of cars for everything.

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:07:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

        It really depends on what scale of city center we're discussing.  

        Ancient Rome might have included 1 to 3 million souls.

        Pre 1850 London might have reached that range too.

        That's probably about what you can do without fossil fuels or other high energy transport systems.

        The cost of transportation for food and other goods makes current mega cities on a scale larger than that unlikely forms for future human civillization... in my opinion.

        Cities of 1 million are possible to imagine in a post-oil world... much larger than that and I think people are dreaming.

        New York City?   The whole Eastern seaboard megalopolis?  Kiss it goodbye.   Depopulation will come.

        Los Angeles?  The American Southwest?  In addition to the end of Air Conditioning, just where is the water going to come from?   Kiss them goodbye too.  

        Look for patterns of settlement prior to the coming of coal fueled railroads as a guide to where and how people will live.  

        •  Spelled out in Kunstler's "The Long Emergency" (0+ / 0-)

          Required reading for this topic.

          Larry - "Fish is brain food." Moe - "Oh yeah? Well you oughtta eat a whale!" SMACK!!!

          by vegancannibal on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 10:19:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What counts as high energy transport systems? (0+ / 0-)

          Even with heavy rail, trains in Japan are massively more fuel efficient per passenger than trains in the US, due to much better off-peak loading. With electric interurbans connecting "urban village" neighborhoods, there is no reason why a city of 5m or 10m is any more inconceivable than a city of 1m.

          Look to patterns of settlement after coal fueled railroads were replaced by electric trolleys and interurbans as the dominant means of ex-neighborhood transport as a guide to where and how people will live.

          OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

          by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 01:21:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Sustainability (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, plymouth, A Siegel

    I've seen more mentions of sustainability in this thread than anywhere else. Perhaps this is a good sign that people realize that continual growth is not realistic.

    If you need some ammunition to bolster your arguments, here are three essays from ecological economist Herman Daly (from shortest to longest) and one from me:

    http://dieoff.org/...
    http://www.earthrights.net/...
    http://www.feasta.org/...

    my 2 cents:

    Planning For a Steady State Economy

  •  Don't worry. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, Colman

    The Powers That Be used to believe the earth was flat.  But they came around eventually.  Don't worry!

    Oh, wait.  Maybe that analogy isn't a good one.  The fate of the human race didn't hinge on their believing that the earth was round and making drastic permenant lifestyle and economic changes based upon that belief...

    War is not the continuation of politics by other means. On the contrary, it represents a catastrophic failure of political skill and imagination. - Kofi Annan

    by Arclite on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:12:51 AM PST

  •  We will go the way of the Maya - or Mars (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    julifolo, A Siegel

    if we insist that it is our god-given right to burn up everything around us to continue to live in the way to which we have become accustomed.

    Conspicuous consumption cannot last forever.

    There was an ocean here once

    "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

    by bellatrys on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:14:03 AM PST

  •  Rural NE aint the problem ... outer suburbia is. (5+ / 0-)

    Rural Nebraska aint the problem. Rural Nebraska has hope on three fronts ... opportunities to sustainably generate the energy it needs for transport; opportunities to provide that transport much, much more efficiently if attention is focused on their specific transport tasks, rather than reliance on one-size-fits-all technologies; and the limitation in the total resource use due to the limitation in the total number of people.

    The problem is where I am writing from, the middle of Portage County Ohio, and thousands of places like it across the country. Like most small cities / big towns in Ohio, the size of the town population was at one time determined by the number of local jobs available. However, it is now outer suburbia for Akron and southern Cleveland.

    Outer suburbia / exurbia is the massive resource sinkhole that we have to plug if we want to make headway on reducing US contribution to the climate crisis. And, yes, as presently built it is close to essential to have a car ... very few days go by when I do not run into a limit as a result of not having a car that most people would not tolerate.

    However, as Jane Holtz Kay reminded us in the 1997 (instant) classic Asphalt Nation, a hundred years ago this terrain was built to be traversed by local, interurban and interstate rail, with private transport playing a much more limited role, and in many cases devoted to getting to the closest rail line.

    And in that built terrain, we had far less need to take the multiple trips which steal massive chunks of time as well as inexorably increase the total annual miles we must travel to accomplish everyday tasks ... with ever growing traffic congestion as everyone else is also forced to keep their cars on the road for more and more of each day.

    It takes quite a bit of public money to create this environment of maximizing travel distance and maximizing time lost to travel ... yet suggest spending not as much money on building a terrain that reduces total travel distance and time lost, and people treat it as a massive expense. In a sense, the climate crisis is not only a serious threat, but also a tremendous opportunity to get off a transport treadmill that is taking is nowhere at decreasing rates of speed.

    We can rebuild outer-suburbia. The key is to provide the finance and the portfolio of options to allow that rebuilding, at the same time as providing the strong incentives to take up the alternative options as they become available. However, once we get the process past a threshold of viability, the presently obscured payoff of the increase in the time available to live our daily lives will translate the push into an ongoing movement.

    OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

    by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:21:56 AM PST

  •  Follow the Green - Money (0+ / 0-)

    Despite what these dinosaurs are wailing about (picture them trapped in their tar pits kvetching), investments are swinging the green way.  This year will see over $50 billion invested in solar, wind and bioenergy facilities.  Wind power passed 1% of power capacity two years ago, and will approach 1% of world electricity generation (the first 1%, then 10% are the hardest).  Solar electricity production is approaching 200MW a month, and thermal energy twice that.  Countries like Sweden will use sustainable biofuels to go petroleum free by 2050. This is the start of the major upward curve, similar to where computers were in the 1970's and 1980's

    Politically speaking, the dinosaurs are quieting down, or grumpily retreating to their caves where they are counting their dwindling fossil and nuclear fuels reserves.  A centrist Brit Prime Minister and Austrian California Governor have shot two big holes in the Guzzling Titanic.  Bush/Cheney or not, there will be a North American carbon market in force within the decade (hell, even Dick Lugar of Indiana is buying in).

    So just watch John Howard, Dick Cheney, the Cato Institute and OPEC sink into the ooze.

    Larry - "Fish is brain food." Moe - "Oh yeah? Well you oughtta eat a whale!" SMACK!!!

    by vegancannibal on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 10:11:13 AM PST

    •  RE the computers ... (0+ / 0-)

      Looking at the solar industry, there is an interesting concentration beginning in ... Silicon Valley ... as companies look to move from chip expertise into solar PV.  

      And, I do hope that you are right that

      This is the start of the major upward curve, similar to where computers were in the 1970's and 1980's

      This is the optimistic scenario ... and I hope that the rapid impact/effect comes in.

      I am fearful, for example, of the building infrastructure of coal plants where there will be fiscal drivers for burning coal to get the profit out of the plant without the political will to shut them down. (See the grandfathered 50-year coal electrical generation plants, which are the most profitable ones in the United States ... ) China / US / elsewhere -- to many coal plants coming on line.

      And, how many additional cars into the infrastructure every year ... and ...

      Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 11:09:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary. But what's with the last sentence? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poemless

    What is with the thin skin?  You're convincing people of your point of view, and for the great majority of Kossacks, you're preaching to the choir.  Leave out the self-referential stuff, please.

  •  It's always so much fun to read people's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    fantasies about how they, but not you, will survive in a post-peak oil world.  Especially the ones who think they're going to live a late-twentieth century American lifestyle out in rural wherever.

    Nope.

    Everybody, everybody, will be living some sort of 18th century lifestyle if we're lucky!

    Technology, all of it, is entirely dependent of oil in some form or another for it's existence.  Krist almighty, look at how things are constructed and of what materials.  The modern medicine we all depend on for things like flu shots?  That'll be gone, folks.  Heaven help you if you have a tendency to high blood pressure, high LDLs, or diabetes.  Ain't gonna be nothing anyone can do for you.  (No, alternative medicine, herbs and shit, will not save you anymore than it saved your ancestors, most of whom died before the age of five.)

    By the time climate change gets through with us, most of those rural areas and all of the Southern US, will be uninhabitable. Either because of no water (no glaciers = no rivers = no reservoirs = no water, no trees = no forest = no rain = no water), or the temps will be far too high.  Or both.

    Oh, and with increasing temps, comes increasing numbers of interesting insects.  Disease vectors, every single one of them.  You think west nile and malaria are bad?  What'll you have to cope with dengue.  Lotsa fun, that one.  Or newish viruses such as that H5N1 that's been evolving into a nice little nightmare over in Indonesia.

    Jerome is right.  In order to side-step the worst of climate change and post-peak oil, all of us are going to have to radically change our way of living.  Smaller houses, fewer appliances, smaller and MUCH more efficient cars, more mass transit, more freight rail, fewer airplanes, wind farms, solar panels on every building, free contraceptives, medically correct sex ed in the schools, smaller families, local vacations, reading a book rather than watching tv, playing cards rather than watching tv, playing an instrument and learning how to sing rather than being hooked up to a Ipod, etc.

    Some of this could actually be quite pleasant.

  •  Aussie grain shortages & global warming (0+ / 0-)

    Grain Drain: Get Ready for Peak Grain

    UPDATE: ABC (Australia) has a report on the grain drain Down Under. It begins:
    The latest report from a government forecasting body has described the nation's key winter crops of being in the grip of a severe drought, one which will whip more than $6 billion off farm production, and the bureau of agricultural and resource economics has made another substantial cut in its estimates of production from the nation's major crops of wheat, barley and canola, only one month after its last forecast.

    Submitter Rod Campbell-Ross adds:
    The failure of the Australian grains crop further reduces the worlds food stock piles.

    The "drought" in Australia is a symptom of a major redistribution of rainfall within Australia. Rainfall has decreased in the South East in many areas by half, but has increased by the same amount in the Northwest over the last 50 years (Australian Bureau of Meteorology).

    PM John Howard defends his lack of action on Kyoto quoting cost, but refuses to acknowledge the rainfall redistribution or that it could be a result of climate change.

    •  But, that's just El Nino ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... that has nothing to do with the export coal boom! The two phenomenon are not yet proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to be inextrincably linked. Any suggestion to look at the balance of evidence and the most likely explanations in order to inform this government's policies is just not cricket.

      OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

      by BruceMcF on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 01:24:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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