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During the 2008 campaign, a Palin-McCain Michigan ad had this line:

"Offshore drilling to reduce the price of gas to spur truck sales."

How many times does it need to be said? Offshore drilling is, at best, a 1 cent, 1 percent solution 20 years off to the question of gasoline prices.  According to Department of Energy analysis, offshore drilling would:


  1. Lead to a 1.2 cent reduction in gasoline prices.

  2. Provide 1 percent of today's US oil demand and 0.25 percent of global demand (about 200,000 barrels per day of production compared to 20 million barrels/day of US demand and global demand (over 80 million barrels / day)

  3. Do this by 2030 ...


Yes, a 1 cent, 1 percent solution, 20 years from now would "spur truck sales".

And, of course, without risk because (as BP told us) offshore drilling is safe and clean ...
There is a better way.

Shortly after President Obama's election, Joe Trippi put out Letter from a friend: Cars, Oil, Entombing the Future, and Reform.  Amid much good material pointing to the 'end of cheap oil' and the need to use the current economic crisis as an opportunity to restructure the economy away from oil and resource devastation, is this comment:  

Secondly, the majority of so-called Keynesian pump-priming, should be spent not on the parts of America's present infrastructure that are unsustainable, but in transforming it to be much less energy and resource wasteful.

Absolutely!

Hear! HEAR! HEAR!!!!

Definitely agree that priming the pump should focus on creating tomorrow's infrastructure, on turning the tide to something better rather than trying to protect dinosaurs.

But these are the words that follow:

America should make a goal of cutting its oil use by 50% in five years ...

With that, my mind felt like it hit a brick wall. Huh?  While I might laud this in my fantasy dreams, the only paths that I see to achieving such a reduction within five years all involve scenarios that I would prefer for you, me, my and your children not to live through. How about peak oil really hitting hard, with production levels falling off the chart leading to massive disruption in global trade, agricultural processes, etc ...?  No, "50% in five years"?  Laudable but laughable.

What comes next?

spending money to evolve more walkable, bikeable, and transit oriented communities.

"Evolve ..."  Does anyone think that we can "evolve" our communities over a five-year period to achieve any serious element of a 50 percent reduction?

Even with a great deal of focus on energy issues, I simply am not sure how we can get down to fifty percent of today's oil use within five years.  

But ... watching oil spills ...

Emphasizes that we must be driving down our addiction, taking actions every day, every week, every month, every year -- on a constant basis -- to reduce our oil dependencies. Everything from cutting use to plastics, to ensuring that our tires are inflated, to riding bikes for grocery shopping (carrying a cloth bag), to choosing our places to live based on transportation demands, to insulated oil-heated buildings (and converting away from oil burning), to electrification of rail, to ...

Thus to a plan ...

Off the top of the head, let's do some thinking about what is possible as this issue is about how much of a cut is possible, within reason, in that five-year time period not on the path that we should follow.

A rough cut at the near term ...

So, if we are going to be serious about reducing our oil dependencies, to reduce the risks of yet another massive dump of oil into our ecosystem, what are some elements that could have impact in the near term that would contribute meaningfully to reduced oil use within that five years.

Here are some thoughts / items:

  • Foster greater technical efficiency in today's / existing cars (properly inflated tires, clean air filters, weight out of trunks, etc): 10% savings or roughly 1 million barrels/day. At what cost to the taxpayer?  Perhaps a few $100s of millions (let's round off to $1 billion) for an education campaign and, for example, to help subsidize air pump operations at gas stations and put air pumps at toll booths and rest stops across the nation.
  • Get feedback systems (such as a kiwi) into all existing 1996-on cars: This will foster about 10% savings due to changed driving behaviors (while lowering life lose, crashes, etc). Benefit of roughly another million barrels per day in reduced demand. Total Federal cost, assuming that 100% of cost goes to the taxpayer, in the range of $20 billion dollars. (Note: equals impact of subsidizing natural gas in transportation at, roughly, 1/10th the cost and faster impact.]

  • Tax and other policy initiatives to foster ever more telecommuting / flexible office schedules. A worker on a 9/80 drives to the job 10% less. Flexible scheduling enables people to travel outside rush hours, saving time and gasoline. A telecommuter might reduce work related driving by 100%. As a start, 100% of Democratic Party offices on Capital Hill should strive to reduce their office's daily commuting footprint by 10%, with an additional 10% on flexible hours putting their travel outside traditional rush hour periods. Due to reduced mileage and reduced congestion, perhaps another 1 million barrels/day in savings.  Cost to taxpayer?  Perhaps $5 billion / year in incentives.  
  • Tax / other support for car pooling, public transport: perhaps able to support another 1 million barrels/day in terms of reductions.  Cost?  How about $10 billion / year?
  • A smorgasbord of other items:  Conversion of existing home heating oil and increased efficiency in oil burning for heating / such:  Perhaps 80,000 barrels/day (or so) improvement potential within two years.  Regulations/otherwise to reduce truck idling (50,000 barrels/day); air traffic control management improvement (50 barrels/day).  Mandating fuel efficient car tires and car tire replacements, alone, could save about 270,000 barrels per day.
    Etc ... Total savings, perhaps 500,000 barrels/day by 2013.  Cost? Perhaps $2 billion/year, with full weatherization of heating oil homes half paid for by the federal government.
  • Reduce plastics demand -- putting a nation-wide 25 cents cost to plastic bags at stores would essentially eliminate them and could cut demand by about two-days of US oil use almost overnight. (No reason not to do this yourself ... now!)
  • Increase assistance to home and urban farming -- reducing food miles (can) lead to reduced petroleum use.
  • Etc ....

There are other things to help achieve oil reduction that might not be so easy or might not be worth the same near-term emphasis, such as increased 'renewable fuels' (but do we really want to be talking about ethanol) and imposing the double-nickel (55 mph speed limit) which would be a massive political battle (though, perhaps a concerted effort can develop that will -- on the other hand, the terror of driving 65 mph in a 65 mph zone while truckers barrel up at 80 mph ...)

But, let's recap where we are with the points above:  roughly 4.5 million barrels / day in reduced US oil demand (or between 20 and 25 percent) by 2014.  Cost to taxpayer:  perhaps $66 billion total over five years. Whoa, horsey, that's a huge number.

Note that we've done this before, as we had about a 25 percent drop in oil consumption from 1979 through 1982. This time around, we shouldn't stop with 25 percent and we can't afford (on so many levels) to allow the usage curve to go back the wrong way.

Let's look at this another way:  

  • 4.5 million barrels / day
  • at $50 per barrel
  • translate to $225 million per day not leaving the United States to buy imported oil.
  •  
  • That is $82 billion per year in money that stays in the United States ... per year.
  •  
Thus, at an annualized cost of $13 billion, US imports would drop by $82 billion.

And, of course, the $13 billion and the savings would spark economic activity that would create jobs and otherwise lead to tax revenues that would quite possibly directly pay back that $13 billion in subsidy.

Oh, yeah, oil prices are $85 (not $50) per barrel and, unless things change radically, headed higher.  Thus, we're talking more like $140+ billion year in reduced oil imports. (Hmmmm ... that could pay for a transition to, for example, a post-coal electricity future in two decades, the cost of a transition to single-payer universal health care, and send a lot of kids to college while helping pay down some debt ...)

Oh, yeah, these savings would continue and mount with each passing year.

But, 50%?  Okay, that 4.5 million barrels/day represents a little less than 25 percent of US oil use.  Can we achieve everything on my list? Yes, with some leadership and investment.  Can we achieve it in five years? Yes, with determination.  Can we achieve more? Almost certainly, but hard to see how that is another 5.5 million barrels/day in savings.

Going beyond 25%

The above seem to be things that could have major impact within the next several years.  These serve to foster perhaps a 20-25% cut in US oil demand, without other conservation/technologies, within the coming 2-5 years.  To get beyond these 'relatively low hanging fruit' options require more serious investment, from smart growth to more rail/public transport to higher fuel efficiency in vehicles/electrification of cars. That investment can start kicking in quickly but the impact is incremental and unlikely to have millions of barrels per day in impact.

For example, electrification of rail over the next decade will foster a direct reduction of oil use of 250,000 barrels per day due to conversion of diesel engines.  It opens up the potential for 2+ million barrels per day of converting truck transport to rail and increased passenger movement on rail.  But, the impact of electrification of rail on petroleum use in the next five years would be relatively neglible in the face of 50 percent reduction target.

Electrification also provides a path for getting much of America's trucks, buses, cars off gasoline (or at least reducing that demand). (Please note, electification of transport can occur even as we break America's coal addiction and eliminate coal from the electricity equation.) With just $50 million per year, we could spark Plug-In Hybrid Electric School Buses, starting immediately, as the new standard for school bus purchases, halving their use of liquid fuels and reducing the health impacts to America's youth from school bus diesel fumes.

The Federal government, under President Obama, is taking a leadership position with quite serious targets for reduced oil use and targets for introducing alternative fuel vehicles (including electric cars). And, there are the substantial tax credits for individuals and businesses for purchase of EVs and PHEVs.

The funding for the Smart Grid, with V2G (vehicle to grid) research and development, which will enable this transportation electricity to come from the grid more efficiently and enable greater penetration of renewable power is a critical enabler of electrification of transport. (Note that this relates back to electrification of rail, as the rail right-of-ways can be used for a new HVDC backbone to move renewable electricity efficiently across the nation.)

Moving off fossil fuels is not only electricity. Electricity provides flexibility in options, but other options exist.  Standards should mandate that all vehicles with liquid fuel be either GEM flex-fuel (100% of all gasoline like fuels (ethanol, methanol, gasoline) can be used) or diesel flex fuel (from 0% to 100% biodiesel).

For further fuel efficiency, there should be a near-term mandate that 100% of new vehicles (of all types) provide real time and longer term feedback to driver as to gallons per mile / fuel efficiency.

We should apply resources for improving traffic management throughout America to help reduce fuel demands.

Of course, we should be investing in the deployment of renewable energy resources.

For homes, something like Architecture2030 should be made national policy, a national standard, to drive down, on a constant basis, the energy requirement for America's building infrastructure. (And, this feeds back directly to oil -- due to oil-heating of homes.)

And, across the board, energy efficiency and renewable energy should receive greater research and development resources and prioritization.  

And, we must move toward more sensible development concepts / practices ("smart growth"), integrating walkable lives and public transit/rail as a core part of that development so that the necessity for vehicle miles drops with each passing year.

And, so on ... (For some great thinking on this, see: Winning the Oil Endgame.)

Now ... there is "conservation" and the potential to go far beyond the type of things outlined above. But, I am highly skeptical that such strong measures are possible.

Back to 50%

Cutting US oil use by 50% is absolutely achievable, but not likely within five years.  

By 2020?  Possibly. Even probably if we choose to do so ...

And, we should not stop with 50%.

NOTE: All of the figures above are off-the-top-of-the-head ballpark figures, but they are roughly in range of what is achievable.  And, a version of the above appeared on 12 Nov 2008 as Shaving away at the oil addiction. There has been progress since then, such as the CAFE standards for improving fuel efficiency. We must, however, go much further than shaving at the edges.

Originally posted to A Siegel on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:07 AM PDT.

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  •  Tips / Mojo: Mayday ... Mayday ... Mayday (195+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ClaudeB, JekyllnHyde, davej, Ed in Montana, Angie in WA State, chuck utzman, Donna Z, northsylvania, melo, copymark, SarahLee, alisonk, Powered Grace, PeterHug, RunawayRose, Mnemosyne, frisco, shpilk, object16, MarkInSanFran, Jerome a Paris, Plan9, sardonyx, opinionated, bronte17, conchita, DaleA, bluesteel, cosmic debris, vmibran, oceanspray, ornerydad, ctsteve, Jesterfox, Eddie C, wader, tidalwave1, TexDem, gmb, grannyhelen, westyny, churchylafemme, riverlover, forrest, Pohjola, Oaktown Girl, side pocket, tomjones, JayDean, TexasLefty, environmentalist, TexMex, sawgrass727, nailbender, joanneleon, maybeeso in michigan, NoMoreLies, jrooth, Roadbed Guy, Militarytracy, BCO gal, kamarvt, panicbean, Simplify, truong son traveler, drewfromct, Rosita, Pam from Calif, GreyHawk, Burned, Phil S 33, Tunk, mikolo, Cory Bantic, Detroit Mark, mightymouse, berning, xaxnar, ksingh, Showman, gwilson, Crazy like a fox, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Milly Watt, tung sol, stonemason, mr crabby, koNko, luckydog, Lefty Coaster, Crashing Vor, thegood thebad thedumb, Dauphin, Preston S, gabriella, sceptical observer, soccergrandmom, dirtfarmer, Turbonerd, Pete Rock, profh, means are the ends, WarrenS, frostbite, Temmoku, Nulwee, pale cold, pgm 01, dotsright, uncomfortably numb, Loudoun County Dem, Bob Guyer, blue armadillo, tgypsy, possum, linkage, dotcommodity, Jimdotz, DWG, Unbozo, bnasley, RosyFinch, BobTrips, letsgetreal, cadejo4, Got a Grip, alkalinesky, JaxDem, geez53, cumberland sibyl, wvablue, jamess, beltane, Calamity Jean, pamelabrown, mofembot, change the Be, doppler effect, allie123, ekyprogressive, LaFeminista, FudgeFighter, maggiejean, 1BQ, Louisiana 1976, sustainable, greengemini, divineorder, BoiseBlue, tr GW, dRefractor, Muzikal203, Leftcandid, LookingUp, Amber6541, RhymesWithUrple, marabout40, patrickz, LaughingPlanet, eXtina, marsanges, SeattleTammy, TheWesternSun, Melissa J, gulfgal98, Kristina40, nirbama, skillet, Its a New Day, Colorado is the Shiznit, speak2me, hooktool, We Want Change, gravlax, princesspat, Shes a Riot, Lorikeet, theone718, jgnyc, Vtdblue, aoeu, chira2, gr8trtl, tjampel, MikeBoyScout, RLMiller, CoyoteMarti, PrometheusUnbound, Mean Mr Mustard, Pinto Pony, Patric Juillet, yawnimawke, Catskill Julie, Siri, farlefty

    Today is May Day -- a time to spark a revolution toward a clean energy future. A day to spark a revolution "Beyond Petroleum" and "Beyond Pollution" and off BP pollution and off BP/et al petroleum.

    There is also the reality of our Mayday call of our planetary climate emergency ... getting off petroleum and getting off coal are two, extremely important, steps for dealing it.

    •  It's both depressing and reassuring (55+ / 0-)

      that a lot of what we could/should be doing is (i) not that difficult and (ii) feasible with existing technology.

      Depressing in that we don't do it; reassuring in that when we're finally pushed towards it (and we will be), we'll manage to get it done.

      But it would be easier to anticipate the process and do it in an orderly way...

    •  Bring back the 55 MPH speedlimit. (14+ / 0-)

      That should have happened on 9/12/2001, after seeing that 15 of the 19 hijackers on those planes were Saudis.

      $1000 federal fines for speeding on Federally funded roads would be a great place to start, with proceeds going to fund alternative energy. Could have been in place for nearly a decade.

      Taxes on vehicles by GVW should have been increased.

      It's not too late to start, but there's no will in Congress or the WH to do any of this.

      The amount of energy wasted in this country is horrendous. We could cut probably 20% or even more of our energy use, and not effect the economy [well, actually it would effect the economy - sickness rates from particulate air pollution would drop, for one.]

      How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

      by shpilk on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:49:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Conservation like 55 is key. Administration (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk, Heart of the Rockies

        should be leading on this.

        www.yesweSTILLcan.org

        by divineorder on Sat May 01, 2010 at 07:13:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As example ... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk, NoMoreLies, divineorder

          What if WH and D in Congress targeted a shift to at least 10% of worktime telecommuting and another 10% reduction in commuting with flextime/compressed work schedules?

          •  Wa State DoT advocated such 15 years ago (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel, divineorder

            along with distributed work places linked via telecommunications. Businesses showed little interest, even when shown economic advantages and possible further advantages through proposed government incentives.  It came do to resistance to change, and that humans are social animals that have to be able interact with each other in close contact. In particular management didn't like the idea of not being able to walk up behind their employees and look over their shoulders.

            It's also a problem to apply to retail and service jobs, which are an increasing percentage of work in the U.S.  People don't like it when they can't shop when they want to, or when the business they want to interact with is closed.

            And if your company has a lot of customer interaction, you also have to be a fairly large business to use those trip reduction methods. Companies have discovered that they need staff in 'all the time', that 4/40 meant having some of their staff out for their extra 4/40 day off, while still staffing at a level to allow operation 6 days a week (yup, 6). Some have lost customers, who switched to overseas suppliers that were manned 6 or 7 days a week, a change likely not to save energy.

            Encouraging such can't hurt, but forcing it may play into the hands of the GOP and "anti-green" organizations.

            Someone did a study that indicated compressed work schedules may fall afoul of Jevons’ Paradox, reducing days at work to reduce work related trips resulting in people driving more, as they drove further on their days off than on their commute and such.  I should try for a grant to do a study on this.

            •  I stay home when I am off work (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Siegel, RosyFinch, divineorder

              and drive less, or if I do drive, it is locally for shorter trips than the commute to work. You could also use split shifts/shorter hours and staggered scheduling to solve the problem of staffing the workplace. The 40 hour workweek doesn't have to be enshrined, and there is no reason other than the inflexibility of managements (tough shit, they also need to make sacrifices) why they are so resistant to change. Plus, those who do work are worked to death to feed the work and consume treadmill, which we need to get off. Shorter work schedules also have the benefit of giving more jobs to more people.

              "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

              by NoMoreLies on Sat May 01, 2010 at 01:32:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I give you that 10% and double it. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel, divineorder

            No reason we can't use our improved productivity and mandate a 4 day, 32 hour workweek to cut commuting by 20%, not 10%. We don't need to work people to death, we don't need to have them driving to work everyday. We also need to employ more people who currently aren't working, so give them the excessive hours everyone who is working. To mollify employers, make the day off flexible each week.

            "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

            by NoMoreLies on Sat May 01, 2010 at 01:26:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  No cut the military in half (4+ / 0-)

        first. They are they biggest consumers of fuel in the US. We can eliminate our overseas bases, and cut our military in half, and still spend ten times what anybody else spends on their military.

        But for those who like 55, I suggest a drive over to Nevada, then up to Montana at 55, and see how you like it...

        55 is an outdated benchmark- cars are now much more aerodynamic and do almost as well at 65 as they do at 55. My car has a real time mpg readout on it, and there is scant difference between the two speeds, and in some cases, like mild hills or extended flats, 65 is better, due to momentum.

        Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.--- Martin Luther King, Jr

        by azureblue on Sat May 01, 2010 at 08:37:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  With excemptions for mass transit. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk, NoMoreLies, Calamity Jean

        Car 55
        Train 155

        Sounds like a winner.

        Wed April 21 07:49 - a moment of silence for Qinghai Earthquake Victims

        by koNko on Sat May 01, 2010 at 08:56:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Quibble. (11+ / 0-)

      We may be on the edge of peak oil. However, my roommate, a geologist studying for his Master's in Norway (oil, naturally), as well as many of his professors, are convinced we aren't nearing peak oil, but peak cheap oil: That there is plenty of oil to be extracted, but for a lot of that oil the technology hasn't been invented yet, while other oil is expensive to extract. We might not be nearing peak oil but peak cheap oil, where there's enough in absolute terms, but it's very expensive to extract.

      Now, I think we should plan for peak oil as a reasonable worst-case scenario, but peak cheap oil is a possibility with similar implications, but allows for a far smoother transition.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:55:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  one single measure (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ed in Montana, divineorder

      could change the apparent calcification of the US political process, and that´s what the UK seems finally getting closer to, as per this editorial: proportional representation. Seemingly unrelated - but in fact that would possibly be the best single thing the US could do to promote more responsible policies.

      Ici s´arrète la loi.

      by marsanges on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:01:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Foreign oil will be bought anyway.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ed in Montana, Dauphin

      It's cheaper and better quality than a lot of the oil we produce here.  It costs the Saudi's about $5 bucks a barrel to produce.. so there is quite a bit of elasticity in the price.  As consumption goes down, the price goes down and domestic wells will just shut down and wait for the price to go back up.

      That's not to say all you have said isn't a good idea.  They're great ideas! But just don't count on keeping all the oil money here.

      One other thing.. investing in 2 things will get us to much lower consumption of oil and producing less CO2..  Battery technologies and, in the short term (~20 yrs or so) building nuke power plants.  Electric cars are the fastest way we can reduce our oil usage.

      "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

      by Skeptical Bastard on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:17:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Too bad nuke is a non starter until waste (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy

        disposal is handled. Don't even think about giving away my tax money on new plant start ups either.

        http://www.theintelligencer.net/...

        www.yesweSTILLcan.org

        by divineorder on Sat May 01, 2010 at 07:17:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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

        that last sentence is simply not true, by a long shot, even as I am a (strong) supporter of electrification of transport. Even with aggressive action, it will take awhile to shift to electricity in transportation. An awful lot of effective stuff that we can be doing in the interim.

        And, well, in terms of global demand -- unless the entire world goes on a path of reducing, not increasing, oil demand ... US domestic production will continue.

        •  We need new energy models (0+ / 0-)

          and we need more engineers to take biology and chemistry classes to use nature and chemistry as a model for energy conversion models.  Plants capture and store solar energy; we use electrical energy in our bodies all the time with our nerve cells (nerves are similar to electrical wires, and transmit electrons down their length).  Our current models are based on academically physics solutions, which means machinery to convert energy.  We need to start using other models, like chemistry and biochemstristy.  

        •  " a while" is relative.. (0+ / 0-)

          I'm talking 10-15 years..  We need to invest in the research and clean power plants (i.e. nuclear) to be there by then, however.

          Lifespan of cars being so short, the turnaround would be very quick if the technologies are in place.  And I see no good reason electric cars won't be viable (possibly even cheaper) alternatives by then.

          Electric cars run on clean power gives you a double whammy that no other single item can give.

          "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

          by Skeptical Bastard on Sat May 01, 2010 at 08:57:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Off shore windmills not oil rigs (7+ / 0-)

      Does this really need to be explained?

      Suggestion: Billboards with the oil spill on the right and windmill on the left.

      People need to get it in their heads how beautiful, sensible and necessasry windmills are.

      Wed April 21 07:49 - a moment of silence for Qinghai Earthquake Victims

      by koNko on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:28:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  1, to 5,000 brls/day to 150,000 brls/day ? this (4+ / 0-)

      thing might get so big that it does spark that revolution.

      At the same time there is no way to describe the damages that will occur if the abrasive sands in the oil destroy the piping.

      The slow motion disaster of fossil fuel exuberance has just cranked it up a notch.

      http://blog.al.com/...

    •  WHat about CNG? (0+ / 0-)

      How about switching fleets to CNG fuels instead of gasoline/diesel? we could use biodigesters to create the fuel using organic waste materials. Imagine how much fuel we could produce if we just took the waste from the giant pig and cattle CFOs...

      A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

      by Timroff on Sat May 01, 2010 at 07:22:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  then it would be CMG (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think methane will be big for transportation.  But it certainly could be used for home usage.  The NG transport system is already in place and every city has waste disposal systems that produce methane.  We can never produce enough to replace NG, but it's an easy fruit to pick to start reducing NG usage.

      •  Basically ... (0+ / 0-)

        a disastrous option -- better transitioning to electric and using the biogas for generating electricity.

        •  why "disastrous"? (0+ / 0-)

          how could anything be more disastrous than what's happening right now in the gulf?

          There's a proposal that Obama should take a stand and convert the entire government fleet into CNG. Most public transit systems use it already, and converting gas and diesel engines to burn it is a simple fix. If it reduces our need for petroleum, how could it be a bad thing?

          A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

          by Timroff on Sat May 01, 2010 at 11:00:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  no need to imagine how much (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        studies indicate that converting all sewage, municipal solid waste, and agricultural waste not best left on the soil or similar, into biogas would result in the generation of amounts about equal to 1/3 the current natural gas consumption.  Oil for transportation equals about 125% of the energy supplied by natural gas, so that biogas figure totals to 1/3 of 4/5 or about a quarter of the fuel demand.

        And this assumes that you process the wastes in large facilities that are more efficient at converting organic trash into biogas, facilities that are only practical for communities of at least 100,000 inhabitants.  Small scale digesters run 10 to 15 percent lower yield.

    •  Two best ways to save millions of oil barrels (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RosyFinch, Calamity Jean

      a day. 1. Cut the largest gas guzzling entity in half--that would be our military. This would save both oil and money for all taxpayers. 2. Double the gas tax--this would definitely reduce usage of oil. The taxes saved by cutting our bloated military would pay for this extra cost.

      A. Siegel, I completely agree that the USA  cannot cut its oil usage in half without the making of serious changes. We could fund an educational program to promote better energy usage habits with the money saved from a smaller military and from increases in the gas tax.

      It's interesting how all energy organizations are now spinning the idea that they are specifically responsible for the creation of thousands of jobs. On that same basis, we should thank all exporting countries for the cheap oil that they have sold us for decades. This has helped to create and boost our entire industrial growth, our transportations systems, and been responsible for many millions of new jobs.

  •  Electric Wired City Buses (18+ / 0-)

    No battery losses, right-of-ways already owned, no track to lay, no turning food to fuel, and they used to be very common. Probably don't need to build vehicles, just swap motors.

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:28:47 AM PDT

    •  There is a battle going on in DC (15+ / 0-)

      right now with a plan for these. Those fighting say the wires are visual pollution.

      Just as there are those still attacking Cape Wind for its 'environmental impacts' as they drive their cars to their offices.

      •  visual pollution (12+ / 0-)

        oy, that one gets me every time.

        Cure for visual pollution; look away.
        Cure for aitr pollution; hold your breath indefinitely.
        Cure for massive oil spill; none exists.

        To call an object that offends the aesthetic sense of some observers "pollution" is utter horseshit.

        The Republican Party will never die until there is a new political home for racists.

        by kamarvt on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:37:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Grrrrr, visual pollution (5+ / 0-)

        I was talking to my husband about wind farms.  Course he hangs out with some Conservatives, they go with his job.  My husband said that too many people consider them visual pollution.  I live in BAMA, every wire is hanging in the air here.  They didn't go underground, but they are used to seeing them.  And if they want to see some real visual pollution we can always go to Panama City.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

        I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

        by Militarytracy on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:49:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  7 years ago I was up in Canada (11+ / 0-)

          on the West side of the Rockies.

          There was a town that had wind turbines so I made sure to stop and talk to some town's people.

          Guess what I answer I got when I asked them didn't the wind turbines spoil their view?

          They said, better that then poisoned ground water from gas drilling they couldn't drink.

          •  I think they look majestic (7+ / 0-)

            The last time I was on the Wyoming/Colorado border there were two wind farms.  There may be more now.  They look incredible to me on the plains.

            I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

            by Militarytracy on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:03:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So do I (9+ / 0-)

              And here in China, where there is a big push for wind, the government, aided by the media, has really changed peoples minds about windmill changing them into an object of beauty and an iconic symbol of green and clean.

              One of our local stations uses an image of a meandering line of windmills at sunset with points of light animated on the centers of the rotors to laed your eye to their logo and it's actually quite a beautiful image to watch.

              Get creative folks, good ideas need to be sold too.

              Wed April 21 07:49 - a moment of silence for Qinghai Earthquake Victims

              by koNko on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:51:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think seeing wind farms changes people (4+ / 0-)

                I canvass for a solar company in the Bay Area. I really notice how neighborhoods seem to have personalities with regard to renewables. Some are timid and afraid of change.

                Some, (Berkeley, Kensington) are environmentally aware and educated. But the big bills (swimming pools and a/c) are in back of the hills where it's hot. So I try to help people in Dublin, San Ramon, Livermore, Brentwood etc to go solar.

                What I am noticing is that more people in neighborhoods or towns within sight of renewable energy are much more open to it than the ones with none. Even regular non-environmental types: with giant SUVs and big flatscreen tvs.

                In towns where 3 or 4 wind farms are in the distance on distant hills visible even from the local Rite-Aid big box stores, those people don't laugh at solar and renewables. They are paying up to 50 cents a kwh for their electricity and the chance to get it for 12 cents to 20 cents with solar is very appealing. You might think that's a given.

                But in towns with no renewables around, the non-eco people like that don't believe it's possible or that solar is ready, or they want to "wait till solar is cheaper" or "don't want to commit" some other nonsense.

      •  That's why we're ending up with an extension of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RunawayRose, erush1345

        a nuclear power plant and a new coal-powered plant. Expanding hydropower? That's been done in part, but NIMBYs screamed we should think of the fish. We're not suitable for wind power, much of suitable land is in national parks, and where it was possible, NIMBYs screamed the birds would die. So that was abandoned.

        Geothermal? Possible, but studies of its potential haven't been done yet, so it would take a long time, if at all possible. Tidal? In the Adriatic? Not possible.

        In the end, we're getting stuck with a coal plant expansion, because the unions wanted to keep a lignite mine open and shouted down the environmentalists. As a long-term solution, we are going to build an exansion of our nuclear power plant, which will cause us to have an enormous energy surplus. Not a bad thing.

        And NIMBYs? They've brought this on themselves.

        Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

        by Dauphin on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:00:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In shanghai we have lots of electrics. (5+ / 0-)

        One runs down the cross street near my house (No. 24 line) and I ride it almost daily.

        I think the overhead wire issue is really nonsense, unless you are looking for them, they aren't really noticeable and it provides some work for some nice people how trim the branches and maintain the lines. Want to know what works great? Tree lined streets that canopy over the side lanes conceling the wires and shading the walkways, which also lower surface temperature in summer, windbreak in autumn, supress street noise and convert CO2 to breathable air. Brilliant invention, the tree.

        Generally I prefer electrics that run on tracks, but on surface streets without enough space for dedicated lines, electric buses work great and are a whole buch quieter tham desil.

        Wed April 21 07:49 - a moment of silence for Qinghai Earthquake Victims

        by koNko on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:46:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  tracked costs 10x or more per km (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel, Calamity Jean

          to install than does overhead wiring. Plus it's much more difficult and expensive to change routes.  And with modern electricity storage overhead trolleys could get off the wire for short temporary reroutes due to street repair or construction.  And while tracked steel-on-steel transport is more energy efficient, it is also noisier than rubber tires on road surfaces.

          •  I agree electric buses are flexible (0+ / 0-)

            But unless they have dedicated lanes (ours do not have) they are subject to traffic jams so in urban situations I think the combination of Metros and Buses works best.

            Basically, my choices are usually:

            :: 10 minutes walk or less - walk
            :: more then 10 minutes - bike
            :: local surface transport - bus/electric bus
            :: mid/long distance - Metro

            In Shanghai basic fares are:

            :: Bus RMB 2 for first entry, RMB 1 for tansfer from bus or Metro
            :: Metro RMB 3 - 6 depending distance

            My daily commute to work is:

            RMB 4 Metro + RMB 1 Bus x 2 = RMB 10, about US$1.50

            So my monthly is about US$ 40 but with other trips I estimate about US$ 60.

            A car would be many times that.

            I think in US a car with insurance and fuel is at least several hundred USD, in China it would be about the same (car and gas more expensive, insurance cheaper).

            Wed April 21 07:49 - a moment of silence for Qinghai Earthquake Victims

            by koNko on Mon May 03, 2010 at 09:41:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Well........ (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, koNko

      I don't mind shopping for new ones.  I love to shop.

      Catholic Church: Example of Religion thats TOO BIG TO FAIL

      by Detroit Mark on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:41:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What would this save? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder

      most driving is suburban/exurban commuting. Cities are a tiny part of the problem and are already doing comparatively well vs. suburbs created by the interstate highway program.

    •  got 'em in Seattle (0+ / 0-)

      GM bought up all the old trolley cars. Bad for car sales doncha ya know.

      "We heard their ideas, and they stink." Hal Sparks

      by lisastar on Sat May 01, 2010 at 08:24:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  they are one of the best options (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      but get w lot of opposition.

      Here in the Seattle are the regional transit authority has been waving about a study that shows Diesels are cheaper than electric buses, and wants to tear out all the electrics. The Seattle DoT doesn't agree, but Seattle City Transit was absorbed into the regional one decades ago so it's likely Seattle will get stuck with the cost of removing the wires.

      I suspect the study is severely flawed, right off it sounds as they assume early 2009 prices for Diesel fuel for the next several decades, and that electric power rates will climb to match the national average.

      BTW - changing from ICE to electric isn't just dropping in a new motor. Electric motors have much better torque at low speeds than do ICE, they generally do not need transmissions which reduces the complexity and maintenance of the bus. And the trolley connection needs stronger support than the roof on an ICE bus.  And with modern electric motors its better to put a motor at each axle or even better at each wheel to get all-wheel drive. At each wheel means anti-skid on acceleration and braking is not complicated to implement, plus it gets rid of the volume and weight of the oiwer train.

      •  sounds like when the Milwaukee Road (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, wondering if

        (railroad) trashed their huge electrified line over the mountains in the early 1970s, since diesel was so much "cheaper", supported by their internal studies. Soon after they converted it, fuel prices skyrocketed. It was an important contributing factor to the bankruptcy and demise in 1985 of that once powerful railroad. If they had left it electrified, they would have been in a powerful position to move freight without the need for oil, and their costs would have been ultimately cheaper.

        "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

        by NoMoreLies on Sat May 01, 2010 at 01:42:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wind... OK. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, skillet, erush1345

    Solar... very promising. Hydro... interesting. But no nuclear.

    Sorry, but without mentioning nuclear power as a realistic part of the solution, it's difficult to take this as anything but more hippy fan fiction.

    The US needs to get serious about ending our hydrocarbon economy, that using everything at our disposal to do so. We get maybe 5% of our energy from wind/solar/hydro and 20% from nuclear. Nuclear should be the first thing wee discuss if we're really serious about getting off of oil.

    "Drill, baby, drill" -- Governor Sarah Palin

    by Han Shot First on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:29:28 AM PDT

  •  Ideas (9+ / 0-)

    A simple suggestion is the increased use of clean diesel. Over 50% of new cars sold in Europe use diesel giving them large energy savings. I drive a diesel and the difference in fuel economy is huge.

    Currently the federal government is borrowing at the rate of $5 billion a day - so your $66 billion works out at about 2 weeks worth of funding - hardly extreme for the benefits.

    Here is the crazy one. Americans have 1.01 vehicles for every licensed driver, Canadians have 0.70. Canadians pay more for gas than Americans. Canadians drive smaller cars (in the US people buy Camry's, in Canada Corrodes). But here is the kicker. Canada is a net exporter of oil, the US a large importer.  Canada increase its exports buy using less itself, the US increases its imports by using more. Essentially the US sends Canada money so it can drive more and bigger less fuel efficient cars. Nice if it can last ... can it? I doubt it!

    I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

    by taonow on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:31:33 AM PDT

  •  good work (13+ / 0-)

    That's a lot to think on.

    I am pinning a lot of my hopes on the electrification of transportation, (sustainable, renewable, no GHG production).  I don't want a hybrid, I want an electric car, which I can charge from my renewably powered home. I got off heating oil two years ago, and highly recommend wood pellets for anyone with a small home - it was supposed to be a supplement, but the thing heats the whole house for 1/4 the cost, and with all local wood. It has paid for itself in two seasons. The garden has gotten much bigger and more efficient, and composting aggressively has nixed the need for buying soil or fertilizers. The lawn is now a meadow full of wildflowers with new spruce trees for shade and wind protection. Next is a chicken coop.

    I don't bring this up to toot my horn (I eat way too much beef), but to highlight some of your thoughts with easy actions taken. They will be different for everyone, but any diary that prods thinking along these lines is highly useful.

    thanks

    The Republican Party will never die until there is a new political home for racists.

    by kamarvt on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:33:13 AM PDT

    •  Gardening ... (6+ / 0-)

      ... sigh ... will add into diary ... there is so much that we can and should be doing.

      I went with wood burning, rather than pellets, as I burn trees that neighbors cut down. (Have an oak, maple, elm, poplar stacked up for next year's heating.)

      •  Be sure to get your chimney cleaned (8+ / 0-)

        If you burn much soft wood, like some of those species you mention, be sure to get the tar cleaned out of your chimney.

        •  Wood pellets in a properly maintained and (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gmb, kamarvt, koNko, A Siegel, LookingUp

          operated stove typically don't have creosote buildup that burning wood can create. My asthma prevents me from burning wood, but if I were to do it again, it would be wood pellets - they really do burn quite cleanly.

          How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

          by shpilk on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:07:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  in my case; (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ClaudeB, gmb, A Siegel, divineorder

            3 tons of pellets = the whole season, Oct-May.
            I emptied and closed out the stove for the year this morning.
            Total ash produced (and added to compost) = < 1 cubic ft. (2-3 lbs)
            Aside from startup, there is no visual smoke from the chimney either. It's impressive.

            The Republican Party will never die until there is a new political home for racists.

            by kamarvt on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:52:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Have you ever heard of somkeless charcoal? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kamarvt, A Siegel

            In Asia, particularly Japan, Korea and Northern China, this ype of charcoal has traditionally been used for cooking and in some cases, for heating in winter bly placing a small charcoal burner under a low table covered by a cloth (to hold the heat in). You put your legs under the blanket to keep warm.

            For cooking, you have a small clay burner with charcoal at the bottom and a grill on top, or a ring shaped boiler with a cone shaped flue to maximize the heat transfer (the so called Mongolian hot pot).

            Both are very energy effcient and need only a little charcaol for each use.

            The heater can also be put between blankets vefore going to bed to heat it up.

            In fact, this method is so popular, in Korea, even in modern buildings it;s common to have a sitting room with a raised floor with heating coils under the sitting area to localize heat use (verses heating an entire room.

            Wed April 21 07:49 - a moment of silence for Qinghai Earthquake Victims

            by koNko on Sat May 01, 2010 at 07:13:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  gardening is for everyone (6+ / 0-)

        apartment dwellers, I'm talking to you.
        I was perusing a gardener's supply catalog and noticed a huge upsurge in types of containers for container gardening. Apparently it's all the rage in Communist England to fill a plastic shopping bag with soil, plant some greens, and plop it on a sunny staircase, balcony, wherever.
        I will confess I am a little uncomfortable with the pellets vs raw wood, but the BTUs generated were far higher, and I don't have access to a wood lot. Plus the stove can run over 24 hours unattended, which is a big deal in VT winters, when Mrs kamarvt and I are both working 10 hr days. Also not real thrilled with the CO2 released (but it's at least rereleasing recent carbon, not the fossil type). I am not pure enough to freeze, or apparently give up the odd burger...working on it.
        gardener's supply

        The Republican Party will never die until there is a new political home for racists.

        by kamarvt on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:51:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That graphic is priceless (nt) (4+ / 0-)

    Catholic Church: Example of Religion thats TOO BIG TO FAIL

    by Detroit Mark on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:40:15 AM PDT

  •  If this country does not change (14+ / 0-)

    it's energy policy, we are going to be playing catch up with Germany, China, India and other nations.

    The US is in danger of becoming a loser in the new emerging economy that must come. Obama and the Democrats have shown so far they are totally incapable of saying 'NO' to the oil, gas, coal, and nuclear lobbies.

    We'll simply slip further behind, as time progresses.

    How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

    by shpilk on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:42:20 AM PDT

    •  A Bit Of Real In This Fantasy Fest (5+ / 0-)

      Obama and the Democrats have shown so far they are totally incapable of saying 'NO' to the oil, gas, coal, and nuclear lobbies.

      But why not give them something to say yes to?

      How about this:

       title=

      The "Orange" car that might have run on orange peeelings in Ft. Lauderdale never went beyond a preliminary design but the all-fuel engine is the motive force for many experimental vehicles including a race car that may soon challenge the steam land speed record in Utah.

      The experimental engines are being developed in Florida.

      Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are sites of pilot geothermal power development.

      Indonesia hosts world's biggest geothermal energy forum

      Countries from all over the planet were represented but not America as far as I know.

      We are too busy with dreamy stuff as well as fossil fuel development.

      Add in the solar and wind lobbies to the fossil fuel and nuclear and you have the recipe for continuing disaster.

      Best,  Terry

  •  The Problem $$$$$$$$$$$$ (5+ / 0-)

    right now the Obama admin is countinuing to support wasteful, stupid policies, one being endless war (on somebody, anybody- take your pick).

    slave-like devotion to old paradigms suck economic resources from where they need to be-- which is preparing NOW for a green energy future.

    soon electric cars will hit the market; correct me if I'm wrong-- but these cars have a range of 100 miles (or less).

    so where's the recharging stations along our nation's freeways? are there any?

    face it, we're not going to make the leap to green energy without massive subsidy/help from the federal government. this means building recharding stations along our freeways, many years of tac breaks/incentives for domestic manufacturers of solar, wind, thermal, etc..

    but of course the excuse from congress is going to be "we can't afford it".

    Really?

    "Essentially, Obama is irrelevant". Paul Craig Roberts

    by Superpole on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:43:43 AM PDT

  •  It should be noted (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ed in Montana, RunawayRose, koNko

    in your graphic that shows "We Are Here" with oil use winding down, and alternatives firing up by 2100?

    The disparity between the peak of oil, and the much lower alternatives use, that space between those two peaks...

    REPRESENTS US.

    Catholic Church: Example of Religion thats TOO BIG TO FAIL

    by Detroit Mark on Sat May 01, 2010 at 05:44:52 AM PDT

  •  Problem is, we use too much coal. nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  The problem isn't 1 mile down in the Gulf, (23+ / 0-)

    it's 100 deep in the Senate.

    Old, bought-and-paid for Senators who do the bidding of the industries that have brought this planet to brink of a brave new world where our polar ice caps are melting as we continue to burn fossil fuels no matter the cost.

    You think $4 per gallon is expensive? The real cost is coming due.

  •  Peak Cheap Oil, your chart is off (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pletzs, NoMoreLies, Bob Guyer

    I'll absolutely guarantee you, we will not be using more oil in 2030 than we are today!  Pumping capacities are already being reached and major oil fields around the world are in decline.  Even with Canadian oil sands and deep off shore fields near Brazil (I'm sure they're rethinking that about now), we won't be using more oil in 2030 than today.

    Your chart says we use about 15mb/day, I don't believe this is correct, it's more like 18.84mb/day

    We will have no choice in about 2 years (which will cause another major financial crises) to get that oil needle out of our economic arm.

    •  For what it's worth this is what is projected (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder

      by our own NIC, the National Intelligence Council, which is the center for midterm and long-term strategic thinking within the US Intelligence Community. Their latest report, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World, from November of 2008, is available online and may be downloaded in PDF format.

      This graph is on page 43 of the linked report. The outlook, as they see it, does not look good.

      Uploaded with ImageShack.us

      We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

      by truong son traveler on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:46:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you predict more military invasions based on (2+ / 0-)

        this,   more conservation (forced/voluntary), or more innovation?

        Thanks for sharing the info.

        www.yesweSTILLcan.org

        by divineorder on Sat May 01, 2010 at 07:01:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd venture to guess that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NoMoreLies, divineorder

          this is what our "Long War" is mostly about. It is too much of a coincidence that the center of our military attention lies in the middle of the planet's largest remaining oil and gas reserves - Iraq, Iran and Central Asia.

          Access to resources has for a very long time been included in the definitions of "our vital national interests". While we obviously favor the use of force in order to get our way the Chinese take the soft approach and it looks like they are being reasonably successful at diplomatically lining up future energy resources while we prefer the military approach.

          Conservation and innovation, sure. If we are to maintain anything close to the lifestyle that we have enjoyed since the end of WWII that will have to be a part of it.

          The NIC report linked above also stated as a "future certainty" the fact that:

          The unprecedented shift in relative wealth and economic power roughly from West to East now under way will continue.

          This fact is bound to upset many people. We are seeing the effects of it now and have been for a while.

          We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

          by truong son traveler on Sat May 01, 2010 at 07:48:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Mars, bitches. (0+ / 0-)

          How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

          by shpilk on Sat May 01, 2010 at 11:16:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  PFC Energy International, not a good source (0+ / 0-)

        This chart is crazy!  It sure doesn't represent U.S. oil production or international production.  What in the world is it supposed to represent?!

        •  Why is it not a good source? (0+ / 0-)

          The NIC saw fit to put it in their report.

          It's quite simple. It represents projected global demand vs time and estimates the likely energy sources for the time period until 2030.

          According to this projection the largest energy sources will still be coal, oil and gas.

          We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

          by truong son traveler on Sat May 01, 2010 at 08:31:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  current oil usage 8mb/day?! That's crazy (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            truong son traveler

            If this is global demand, it's simply wrong! it's off by a factor of 10.  There's no decline in the last recessions, even the growth between 2000 and 2010 is wrong.

            I'm sorry, I've been watching oil production and consumption since the crises of the 70's and I don't know what this chart represents, but it sure isn't oil.

          •  in today's SF Chron... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NoMoreLies, truong son traveler

            Coal Use to Double - 5/1/10, p. D3. home delivery version

            Karnataka Power, the company that supplies power to Google, Dell and Microsoft in Bangalore, plans to more than double its coal fired generation capacity by 2012, from 2000 megawatts now to 4,700. It also plans to increase gas-fired capacity.

            could not find a link to this, either in the Chron or another source...

            sounds like our "clean" computer networks require a lot of energy, too.

      •  Without radical change, it's all over. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler

        How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

        by shpilk on Sat May 01, 2010 at 11:14:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I see, as I drive to work everyday huge swaths (4+ / 0-)

    of land that sits, filled with green stuff that converts sunlight to starch.
    In the Fall, this stuff dies, and rots releasing methane.

    We need national leadership to present a suite of Manhattan/Apollo like projects to:

    Conserve:

    Reduce current energy consumption across the board with advertising campaigns and even civil penalties where appropriate [it's illegal to idle a vehicle in many States and localities, for instance].

    If we can't 'bring back the 55MPH limit', at least encourage it with ad campaigns.

    Convert:

    All the waste plant material that's right in front of our noses locally to ethanol or biodiesel.

    Capturing methane from sewage treatment centers, landfills, farms.

    As a bridge technology, a shift to more of an emphasis on natural gas might make sense, but the real baseload generators of the future must be fusion based; Bussard's Polywell has been languishing for decades, getting mere millions when it should have been getting the billions given to companies like ExxonMobil and BP.

    How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

    by shpilk on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:04:37 AM PDT

  •  50% would be easy, the politics hard (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    Tax bike and ski roofracks at $1000, similarly six cylinder or over commuting vehicals. Outlaw flown in food, no more planes for flowers. All jet travel. Make me god and I'd be there in months.

    "Don't fall or we both go" Derek Hersey

    by ban nock on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:10:44 AM PDT

    •  Thank you father mother god. In ban nock (0+ / 0-)

      we trust. Can't wait for those few short months to come to pass.

      www.yesweSTILLcan.org

      by divineorder on Sat May 01, 2010 at 07:03:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not sure ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies

      that we get that 50% so quickly as there is much of US (and global) oil use that is not transportation.

      But, I take your point about flowers / such. One of the interesting elements of the Iceland volcano / air transport was hearing how it was disrupting the airlifting of fresh food/flowers around the world and how New Zealand, for example, saw a bump in its freighter aircraft flights to fill in.

      In all seriousness, you might be right that the transition could be accommodated that fast if we got a pass at the political debate / uproar. What did Switzerland, after all, do during WWII?

  •  Bad Religion said it best (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart of the Rockies, BoiseBlue

    open your eyes america
    wo-oh!
    see through the lies they tell to us
    wo-oh!
    confront the fears that worry us
    wo-oh!
    we need a new america
    wo-oh!
    we don't have to be afraid to re-invent
    we've got to start to build,
    progress, and implement
    for when we take our fill,
    and never pay the price
    we only build ourselves a fleeting,
    false paradise

  •  commercial/office space is kept at 70º 24/7 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, A Siegel

    And some of it is large glass windows, ie., heating/cooling systems have to work hard to maintain the temp.

    I rarely see that mentioned in these discussions about what we can/should do residentially.  It just crossed my mind as I was going home through the city last night.

    •  I fight with the folks at work constantly over (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Torta, NoMoreLies, A Siegel

      the thermostat settings, even when we're open.

      I swear some of them think they've got to have it at 72 in the winter, and 68 in the summer, or their lives are somehow made less full.

      How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

      by shpilk on Sat May 01, 2010 at 11:10:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it is? News to me. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, A Siegel

      I remember freezing or broiling on getting into work early because the HVAC system hadn't switched from night mode yet, and the interior was either in the upper 50s or low 80s.

      Take out the windows, need to add a lot more lighting, plus people start getting crazier without the view.

  •  But, but we can't do these things now---we're in (6+ / 0-)

    a recession!  And next year, it will be some other excuse...

    we missed the boat when we didn't listen to Jimmy Carter.  Think of where we'd be today had we done so.....

  •  The problem, as I see it, is that A) change takes (4+ / 0-)

    courage, something our current "leadership" has shown very little of, and B) change takes acknowledging that a problem exists that needs to be changed. For too many, the only "problem" is that it costs too much money to fill up their gas tanks. They see no need to change their own consumption of oil because consumption is not part of the equation.

    If the great masses see no problem in oil consumption and our elected leaders care only about their own careers, we're screwed.

    Sad thing is, we have so many ways out of this mess, but no one to steer the ship in the right direction. It's like the Titanic heading straight for the iceberg and the Captain saying hitting the iceberg is okay as long as it's part of a broader survival plan.

    "In fact, Sarah Palin is just Snooki without the much-needed self-awareness." Amelie Gillette

    by BoiseBlue on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:14:47 AM PDT

  •  Thank god (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erush1345

    This blowout has happened in the Gulf of Mexico and not the Arctic Ocean, which will be opened to drilling under Obama's plan.

    The oil in the Gulf is light, sweet crude which can disperse and biodegrade over a period of months to years in a warm climate.

    The oil on Alaska's North Slope is a heavy, sour crude full of sulphur. This junk takes forever to degrade naturally in a cold harsh climate, as they found in Prince William Sound after the wreck of the Exxon Valdez. Heavy crude is still being found buried on cobble beaches twenty years after the spill.

    This is not to minimize the seriousness of the uncontrolled blowout in the Gulf. But it's not the worst case scenario for an offshore drilling accident, not by a long shot.

    That's Countdown for the 2,082nd day since Mission Accomplished. You thought that would change? Are the troops home yet? Keith Olbermann January 20, 2009

    by Ed in Montana on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:22:57 AM PDT

  •  Work in an office building or business? (6+ / 0-)

    Do they have a traditional hot water heater [you know, a tank that's filled with water that remains heated by electricity, gas or burning of oil]?

    Right there is a horrible waste of electricity.

    Most office buildings and business [not resturants or laundries OBVIOUSLY] do not need more than 2 to 4 gallons per minute of hot water, which can be provided with an inexpensive "on demand" electric hot water heater. Many homes can also save money using 'on demand' electric or natural gas HW rather than storing 30 or 40 gallons in a huge tank.

    Our company saved the price of buying these [actually, one of the old tanks burst, so we HAD to buy a new one, anyway and the other ones were corroding away and needed replacement] in less than 18 months by reducing our electric bill.

    Hot water heating using traditional methods of heat and store is a horrible waste of money and energy in most cases.  

    How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

    by shpilk on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:26:14 AM PDT

    •  A solar water heater would also save money. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, JeffW

      But the person or company putting it in would need to own the roof.  Wouldn't work for leased business space, unless the building owner paid for the hot water and therefore had a motive to install it.  

      Renewable energy brings national security.

      by Calamity Jean on Sat May 01, 2010 at 12:03:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's not going to happen in 5 years, but ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, happymisanthropy

    if we are strongly moving in the right direction within two years, we can have accelerating progress over the long run.  We don't have to get everything exactly right in five years, but we do need a good foundation and a systematic approach.

    We're not even doing all of the things that reduce the use of fossil fuels and save money at the same time.  This is because we haven't gotten out of comfort zones of doing what has always been done.  We have to get across the idea of changing habits to improve our economy, the environment, add jobs and increase world stability.

    There has to be a lot of selling going on that cuts through the noise being made by those who fear any change - even change for the better.

    The good news is that the product being sold is an excellent product.  If we all keep making that point and if there is leadership at all levels from the presidential administration through neighborhoods, this product can be sold.

    It's just going to take a bit of time to make the sale and to get the changes moving.

    "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

    by LookingUp on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:28:46 AM PDT

  •  Agreed (7+ / 0-)

    Obama went off the rails when he came out for opening up more offshore drilling.  What did it gain him even politically?  I seen no movement on the energy bill just because he changed his mind on offshore drilling.
    This is the same mistake he made trying to bring in Republicans on health care.  He would be advised to forget about offshore drilling and concentrate on projects such as Cape Wind.

    I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.

    by noofsh on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:29:20 AM PDT

  •  $10B for public transit? (6+ / 0-)

    I don't know what you'd expect to get for that. The NYC MTA operating budget for last year was $8B, with a $5B deficit. That's not counting the capital budget of course. Or any of the commuter railroads outside the city proper.

  •  thanks A Siegel (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, berning, koNko

    thoughful, practical, and visonary,

    all roled into one.


    Peak Oil waits for no one.

    The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

    by jamess on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:34:01 AM PDT

  •  Conservation of foodsheds. Urban (6+ / 0-)

    and home gardening should be encouraged, but sustaining agriculture surrounding cities (what's left of them) will yield a far bigger energy savings for the buck. You're talking about economies of scale you won't be able to achieve with home gardens and urban farms. I'm not just talking just about farmers markets where ten or twenty pickups carrying a few hundred pounds of produce each may not be terribly eco fantastic, I'm talking about reinventing regional agriculture, with functioning wholesale and food processing facilities, food incubator centers, slaughterhouses and meat processing, etc.

    Conserving foodsheds will place a premium on land on urban fringes, making city and towns more attractive economically.

    "The central tenet of Buddhism is not 'Every man for himself'" - A Fish Called Wanda

    by the fan man on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:45:38 AM PDT

    •  Don't ... per se ... disagree ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      the fan man

      This is an extremely long diary, as is, and is doing incredibly short shrift to all the items within.  "Regional agriculture", with home gardening, urban farms, suburban farms, exurban farms, easy to rail transport farms, etc ...  

      PS:  Thanks. "Foodshed" is a term that I should get in the habit of using.

      •  Well I hope you agree! I feel too much hope (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        and expectations are being placed on urban ag. We've gone through waves of urban ag in America, in the end most have been abandoned or developed over. Highest, best use and all that. Perhaps not this time. In some countries it's common to see farms comingled with city development (greater Tokyo for example), but there are very, very different sensibilities about the importance of farming. Another example, in Italy, it is almost impossible to dislodge a farmer who rents land. Imagine that here? I'm happy to see anyone anywhere attempting to grow food, be it on a balcony or city lot or fifty acre farm. As a matter of policy, I emphasize ex-urban local ag, as much for land use considerations as food production. If we keep farms intact and prosperous, it's a great hedge against suburban sprawl.

        Foodshed is a term coined in the nineties by local food activists. Obviously derived from watershed, it is meant to describe regional farm resources that can be called upon to feed a city or metropolitan area. Prior to that, we used "bio-region", from Ian McHarg and other environmentally aware land use planners, to describe particular areas where both land type and water resources favored farming.

        By the way, in a diary this ambitious, I didn't expect a treatise on agriculture. :)

        "The central tenet of Buddhism is not 'Every man for himself'" - A Fish Called Wanda

        by the fan man on Sat May 01, 2010 at 09:05:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  one thing to consider (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          the fan man, A Siegel

          in the climates of the places you mentioned, central-southern Japan and Italy, you can raise crops much of the year. Try that in MNPLSTPL. That puts pressure on land use options, building get used year round while farmland sits idle; that's a powerful force for the conversion of urban or near-urban agricultural lands to other uses. Some places that enacted greenbelt and ag land protect measures back in the 1970s have seen public pressure to overturn those laws for the purpose of rezoning for housing or commercial use.

          •  Greenbelt and land preservation are not the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel

            same as keeping active farms in production, which many municipalities are finding out. I think in Portland, greenbelting didn't turn out as expected. In Britain there also was pressure to remove some areas from greenbelts.

            "The central tenet of Buddhism is not 'Every man for himself'" - A Fish Called Wanda

            by the fan man on Sat May 01, 2010 at 12:13:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  land preservation is/was indeed about farms (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Siegel

              in the area; I specifically said "greenbelt and ag land protect measures" (should have been 'protection', stumblefingers).

              Greenbelting was mostly preserving unused land, at that time much of which was either not buildable or on the edge of such terrain. Since then it became cheaper to build on those slopes, and the green belts were chipped away at.  Land protection was more for the river valley farms, much of which is now new housing and business parks, although the County did put much of their emergency response and communication centers in the flood plains as well.

  •  Great diary with a positive way forward. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bnasley, Battle4Seattle

    Clearing out the lobby money from Congress is going to be the big obstacle.

    Life is good. Injustice? Not so much.

    by westyny on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:51:46 AM PDT

  •  Honestly, the one thing I'm thankful for in this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart of the Rockies, A Siegel

    national tragedy is that the brakes might be on for offshore oil drilling.

    I also think, in general, it's smart to slow down a little before ramming through a terrible climate change bill. Maybe a smaller package first. We need to really think things through.

    For one, well I've always been opposed to it, but I think we need to be really careful about nuclear power. Do you really trust corporations to do the right thing with new power plants? Considering the mining, and now oil incidents, I wonder if we can take the risk.

    After all, oil and coal are at least nature's products. Nuclear disasters could really kill all life, if severe enough. I really think we need to slow down and debate that before blindly approving the bill.

    "[K]now that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy." -Barack Obama

    by Battle4Seattle on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:52:29 AM PDT

  •  Just remembered (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, divineorder

    I have to check the tire pressure.  It's always something.

    Get off that couch! It's National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

    by Powered Grace on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:55:53 AM PDT

    •  Some unusal 'social' habits of mine ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Powered Grace, pgm 01
      1.  Bring a bottle of wine, in one hand, and a CFL in the other when I go to someone's house for dinner. Has sparked some pretty interesting conversations and, from what I've heard, sparked at least six households to switch all their bulbs. (Offsetting about 100% of my household's total electricity use which, in any event, is about to be 90+% solar pv from rooftop.)
      1.  Have taken tire gauge from car-to-car when a group of friends come over & then put tires to full pressure.   With one group: whoever has lowest % compared to recommended pays for drinks.  First time, average was 7 lbs below recommended. Most recent time was 3 lbs over.  That translates to about 4 percent fuel efficiency improvement across 8 cars (sadly, two SUVs).
      •  Everyone I know has been switching to the new (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        light bulbs (including Repub relatives).  O-o-o a tire gauge drinking game!  I like that.  I have to tell Hon. #2 Daughter.  She'll appreciate that (as she has no working auto, currently, and she usually ends up being the Designated Driver when she's with her buds, anyhow.

        Get off that couch! It's National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

        by Powered Grace on Sat May 01, 2010 at 11:02:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Out f#cking standing diary! Whoop! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    berning

    www.yesweSTILLcan.org

    by divineorder on Sat May 01, 2010 at 06:59:37 AM PDT

  •  At this point, it feels as though (4+ / 0-)

    BP and Halliburton thought to themselves:
    The dead zone in the gulf is only, like, 8,000 square miles this year?! Killing the whole gulf is taking waaaaaaay too long!.

    The overwhelming consensus of 2,000+ scientific experts from the IPCC& 18 US scientific assns: climate change is happening and is a growing threat to our wo

    by Cenobyte on Sat May 01, 2010 at 07:01:35 AM PDT

  •  Adam, have been meaning to write to you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, A Siegel

    and might as well do it here.  The Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt - Why Design Now? in NYC is opening on May 14.  I am working for the design firm that designed the exhibition and have seen the work included in the show.  I can't spill the beans but I know that you and others who have been following energy innovation will be enheartened.  If people see this exhibit it could help to build interest and commitment to changing American lifestyles.  Unfortunately, I didn't see any devices to clean up massive oil spills in the show, but there are many designs that can make a difference in everyday lives and others with larger impact.  After it opens and after I finish my semester I will diary about it unless someone else beats me to it.

    •  My email address is in my profile ... (0+ / 0-)

      send me a note, if you wish. Wouldn't mind getting embargoed material re the show to be able to write something up.

      There are tremendous things / opportunities in the design/architectural worlds. Cooper-Hewitt has had some great exhibits that, sadly, I have only seen virtually.

      •  will do (0+ / 0-)

        as soon as it opens.  there are some really great things in the show - worth a trip to nyc - that present solutions to many of the environmental problems we create just by being alive.  it's really encouraging to see these creative people - designers and scientists - dedicate themselves to making the world a better place.  i get emotional each time i work on graphic pieces for the show.

        •  Hint ... (0+ / 0-)

          was to get the PR person to send material prior to show ...

          •  ah, problem is i do not work for the museum (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel

            however, i just googled and there is a press kit pdf available on line.  here is how they describe the exhibit in it:

            The exhibition title asks the question "Why Design Now?" to examine why design thinking is an
            essential tool for solving some of today’s most urgent problems; what draws creative thinkers, makers and problem solvers to this crucial field of discovery; and why business leaders, policy makers, consumers and citizens should embrace design values. Key developments across design disciplines will be presented through eight themes: energy, mobility, community, materials,
            prosperity, health, communication and simplicity.

            the press kit also lists many of the exhibitors and includes photographs of a good number.  i didn't realize this was available to the public.  check it out,i think it will get you inspired.  i really hope a lot of people see this show.

  •  What domestic oil is collected will not (4+ / 0-)

    be sold to us at a reduced price. It will go on the market, and it is not enough to put a dent in the market prices.

    The domestic drilling idea is ridiculous, and what a great post. Thank you.

    How about clean energy being the one non-negotiable issue and we (try to) own it.

    No compromises,no triangulation and we make it our signature wedge issue, and bang their heads with a wedge hammer.

    Win or lose but I think it is a winner if we keep the message good and positive.

    "We can do this, we must do this, America can do anything, and it will help the (all important) economy. New jobs, new jobs, defeat the terrorists".

    Doggone it, the earth is melting and the ocean is dying, and we are paying our enemies for the oil.

    We should flog the rethugs with this issue every freakin' day. Every freakin day.

    Okay, calm down. I am calming down. Auuugghhh! No I'm not. Eff the oil industry.

    Must have pootie diary, fast. :-)

    I give evolution two opposable thumbs up.

    by Mean Mr Mustard on Sat May 01, 2010 at 07:19:45 AM PDT

  •  I am not brilliant but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    I would think it common sense to start calculating the direction and probable direction the spill will take in a 6 to 10 month time.. perhaps out to a year or so..

    I think the concluseion could be this is a worlde issue?? Not sure I am not a math wiz...

    •  Jeff Masters at Wunderground (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      Oil a long-range threat to southwest and southeast Florida, Cuba, and the Bahamas
      ....The long range wind forecast is too uncertain to put odds on the possibilities at this point. If the oil keeps spewing from the ocean floor for many months, though, eventually a wind pattern will set up that will take the oil into the Loop Current. This would most likely happen if a persistent trough of low pressure settles over the East Coast in May, or if a tropical storm makes landfall along the Florida Panhandle this summer. Any oil that does make it into the Loop Current will suffer significant dispersion before it makes landfall in Cuba, Florida, or the Bahamas, and far less oil will foul these shores compared to what the Louisiana coast is experiencing this weekend.

      http://www.wunderground.com/...

      Legalism: strict conformity to the letter of the law rather than its spirit

      by Catte Nappe on Sat May 01, 2010 at 09:26:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Aprx. 8% of oil goes to make plastics (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, A Siegel

    From Here

    A statistics class at Indiana U did the math: more than 1.6 billion gallons of oil are used each year for plastic bags alone.  

    From Here:

    Approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil—enough to run 100,000 cars for a whole year—are used to make plastic water bottles, while transporting these bottles burns even more oil.

    From Here

    So can't we just outlaw things like plastic bags and put a tax on plastic bottles and eliminate offshore drilling?

    We're all one heartbeat away from Forever. kasandra.us

    by KS Rose on Sat May 01, 2010 at 08:22:15 AM PDT

  •  Don't know if we can come off feul (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erush1345

    even by 25% in five years.  There are far too many places that don't have effective public transportation, and a lot of people live too far from their places of employment (cheaper housing) to be able to bike into work.   We can start to decrease dependency, but we can't get it down in five years.  We really need some stop-gap measure while alternative forms of energy come on line.

    Fuel isn't the problem per se; the carbon emissions are.  (Fuel running low may not be a problem because we can probably get bacteria to produce hydrocarbons for fuel.)  What we need to do is capture the carbon emissions from anything that creates emissions.  Such as a emission capture box for cars that transforms the carbon into something else (non-gaseous, may benefit the environment as it may be something useful), and then just have this something else removed from the car when one needs to refuel.  Make it like the transition over to digital cable - everyone's required to do it if they have a vehicle, but it'll be free for each car.  (And we can offset this by increases taxes on new vehicles/carbon taxes.)

    http://green.autoblog.com/...

    We're not going to get off of oil anytime soon, but we can mitigate its effects.  Best way forward is to allow people to maintain their lifestyle but simply use different forms of energy.  

  •  THIS is from 'off the top of my head' figuring? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme

    how smart are you?

    Seriously.

    I couldn't pull this kind of data 'off the top of my head' in three centuries...

    WOW.

    Great diary.

  •  Costed out converting my car (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pete Rock

    To elec. Well, my husband did.....
    About $5000, if we do it ourselves.

    Its about 7 years old, and is in very good shape....

    But getting that $5000 bucks is the issue ATM. As it is for most people.
    Cash for clunkers? How about Cash for conversions?
    Would start a whole new industry at the same time.

    A Creative Revolution- - To revolt within society in order to make it a little better- Krishnamurti

    by pale cold on Sat May 01, 2010 at 08:43:58 AM PDT

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

    I am all for conservation, but I think the elephant in the room is overpopulation. Which for some strange reason, seems to be off limits when discussing the survival of our planet. Why is that?

    Using plastic bags instead of paper isn't going to mean jack-shit when there are just way too many people in the first place.

    The answer to so many of our problems is reducing the amount of people using resources on this planet. The End.

    "I'm looking forward," he told the troops, "to returning to Afghanistan many times in the years to come." Obama March 2010

    by Wamsutta on Sat May 01, 2010 at 08:44:00 AM PDT

  •  I think telecommuting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pgm 01

    may be part of the solution  because so many office jobs involve the manipulation of data on computers and communication through email.

     People working at home even part of the week would save a lot.

  •  Anyone else think WTF (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    over Palin's ad: "Offshore drilling to reduce the price of gas to spur truck sales."

    Why would we want to spur truck sales? Why would you specifically want to spur the sales of gas guzzlers?

    I understand some people don't care about conservation, but I don't get people who think it is better to waste than to conserve.  Who actively think it's better to squander and pollute than to not.  Who even if it took no effort to keep the planet cleaner - would chose not to.

    I don't get it.

    explain how letting gays marry will directly affect your own heterosexual relationship?

    by bluestatesam on Sat May 01, 2010 at 09:22:11 AM PDT

    •  Most people in Alaska want a truck. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      She's all about helping them get one.

      •  People in Alaska and places like it (4+ / 0-)

        do need trucks for ground clearance, cargo capacity, etc. The problem is that my neighbors in my California suburb (and places like it) who drive trucks mostly don't need to. They drive them for pretty much the same reason as my neighbors who drive Porsches and Audis, etc. --- to communicate social status or cultural identity. (Those people would no doubt argue that I'm doing the same thing with my '89 beater Honda, a symbol of conspicuous nonconsumption that identifies me as a "liberal puritan.") The McCain-Palin campaign was appealing to people who want to play redneck.

        "Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous." -- Molly Ivins

        by dumpster on Sat May 01, 2010 at 11:00:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  revolutionary technology- bicycles! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, greengemini, Amber6541

    mine gets me to work and back.

    gets me to the beach and back.

    saves me $$ by not paying gas, car insurance, egregious CA state vehicle registration fees, etc.

    keeps me in shape despite my proclivity for eating too much food

    witness the GOPRANOS.. rethugs: "If they fuck with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to fuck them too." -Paul Wolfowitz, quoted by the UK's Guardian

    by change the Be on Sat May 01, 2010 at 09:30:17 AM PDT

  •  Yes we cannabis! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, bnasley, Calamity Jean

    It can be done, it should be done, but it won't be done. sad

  •  Hey, if someone wanted to buy me an electric car, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, Amber6541, erush1345

    I'd use it. I rarely drive anywhere that's more than ten miles away, so I would rarely need gas.

    However, I don't have a spare $40,000 lying around to buy one.

    Reality has a well-known liberal bias.

    by allergywoman on Sat May 01, 2010 at 09:37:29 AM PDT

    •  So ... (0+ / 0-)

      There is nothing, nothing that you see as helping reduce oil demand that involves you and your life short of an electric car????  Is that what we are supposed to take from that comment.

      ANd, well, there is always electric bike ...

      •  No, you're being quite unjustifiably nasty, IMO. (0+ / 0-)

        What's wrong with you?

        I'm saying I'm poor. I'm saying if people really want to address energy needs, not charging $50,000 for cars that would help us cut our energy needs would be a great idea.

        Reality has a well-known liberal bias.

        by allergywoman on Sun May 02, 2010 at 10:16:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sigh ... (0+ / 0-)

          I read the comment, then, in a different way then intended.  My question "is that we are supposed to take from that comment" was a serious question.

          In general, I am not particularly "nasty".

          And, well, the $50k electric car is far from the only action to take and, well, actually reasonably far down the list for most people.  And, as generations move forward, prices will fall. Plus, Nissan LEAF will be in range of $20k for actual purchase.

          Much of my work / writing has been about how to finance things such that all people have access to (appropriate) resources / assistance to shave their polluting energy demands. And, that has included advocacy of financing efficient automobile purchases for those 'lower' on the economic ladder.

    •  Could you make payments... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      On a $25,000 car?  That's about what the Nissan Leaf (100 mile range) will cost have after the US rebate of $7,500.

      Live in CA?  Then you get another $5k off which brings the Leaf price down to $20,000.

      What's your annual mileage?  12,000 is average, but it sounds like you drive less.

      At 12,000 using a 30 MPG car and $3 gas you would spend $1,200 per year plus another $100 or so on oil changes.  $6,500 in five years.

      An electric vehicle using 0.25 kWh per mile and $0.105 per kWh electricity would cost $315 to charge.

      At 6,000 you would spend $600 plus another $50.  $3,250 in five years.  Or $158 for electricity per year.

      And add in some more for all those things that go wrong with car engines.  And for more frequent brake replacements.

      Just for laughs, suppose gas goes to $4 a gallon.  Then 12,000 miles burns $1,600 per year.

      At $5 a gallon it's $2,000 per year.  (Gas got to $5 a gallon here during the latest spike.)

      At $6 a gallon it's $2,400 per year.

      There is a point where what you don't pay for gas makes your car payment.

      That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

      by BobTrips on Sat May 01, 2010 at 08:06:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nothing is going to happen until (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    we are all forced to limit the amount of resources we consume.  

    I thought it was interesting when I was visiting a friend in London that he goes to the near by gas station to pay for his power.  He is on a pay before you use system.  If we were forced to go to the store to pay for our power like a pay as you go cell phone, we may not be so wasteful.

    If we were only allowed so much water out of our taps/day, we may not let the water run while we brush our teeth or wash our vegetables.

    Face it we are not humans anymore.  We are consumers, and the system is designed so we consume mindlessly and buy things we don't need and shop to fill a void and spend our time.  

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

    BYD (major Chinese battery manufacturer who bought a car company so they get get busy making electric cars) announced that they would be establishing their US headquarters in LA.

    They are bringing their e6 to the US market in the next few months.

    200 mile range on an overnight-plug it into your house.

    100 mile additional range after a 10 minute quick charge at a rapid charge "gas station".

    Good acceleration and top speed.

    Would probably be adequate for 90% of US drivers.  Even the occasional long trip would be fine.  400 mile day would mean two 10 minute charge breaks.  500 mile day would mean three 10 minute charge breaks.

    That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

    by BobTrips on Sat May 01, 2010 at 12:36:33 PM PDT

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