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Christopher F. Schuetze of The New York Times analyzes this week's massive climate change rally in Washington:
At first glance, it was hard to tell whether they had come to bury Obama or to praise him.

Thousands of activists from hundreds of environmental, social justice and community groups marched on Washington yesterday in the biggest climate rally ever held in the U.S. capital. Activists both called on President Obama to make good on his climate change policy promises and protested the Keystone XL pipeline project.  The demonstration’s timing — early in the administration’s second term — was important. While many say Mr. Obama achieved important green goals in his first term (Rendezvous wrote about tougher fuel efficiency standards for cars), critics say he did not achieve enough in the fight to address climate change. Many blame an uncooperative Congress and the always-looming re-election campaign. (The words “climate change” were not uttered during any of the three presidential debates between Mr. Obama and Mitt Romney.

The secretaries of the interior and energy — portfolios where green leadership is seen as important — are being replaced. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, announced her resignation late last year.

The editors at The Los Angeles Times argues that best intentions aside, politics will definitely get in the way of a sound energy policy again:
During the State of the Union, Obama promised that if Congress fails to step up on energy, his administration will. That probably means more regulation of greenhouse gases, more funding for R&D, more incentives for energy efficiency and so on. Meanwhile, gamely plowing ahead despite an absence of support beyond party lines, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Feb. 14 proposed a bill to impose a carbon tax, something this page has been urging since 2007 but whose current prospects look dim. This combination of administrative action and congressional paralysis has characterized Obama's first term, and short of major changes in Congress, we might as well get used to it.
Jump below the fold for more analysis.

Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, on the Keystone XL pipeline:

[A]brupt and extreme changes in the planet's patterns demonstrate the stupidity of prolonging our addiction to fossil fuel, which is exactly what Keystone will do.

By providing a new and easy way to access the "dirtiest oil on earth," the pipeline will drive the expansion of tar-sands production. It is the definition of folly.

Its proponents have always claimed it will create lots of jobs (it will create some, for a couple of years, which is nothing to sneeze at — but the real jobs bonanza comes when we move decisively toward renewable energy) or boost energy independence (which is nonsense — this oil is destined for export). By easing the glut of Canadian oil, even its backers concede, it will raise, not lower, gas prices.

In The New York Times, Joe Nocera argues in favor of the pipeline and called McKibben's strategy "utterly boneheaded" and ineffective.

Julian Zelizer at CNN:

To break through the gridlock on this issue and to persuade some of the congressional Republicans to start clapping, Obama will need more than crisis and science. The march this weekend must be the first of more organized grass-roots protests, not just on the mall in Washington but in the districts and states of key members of Congress. [...]

Members of Congress know that climate change legislation doesn't offer tangible benefits to voters, so they're unlikely to act unless they feel pressure from activists in their districts.

Jennifer Ludden at NPR on your local weather guy or gal:
When it comes to climate change, Americans place great trust in their local TV weather caster, which has led climate experts to see huge potential for public education.

The only problem? Polls show most weather presenters don't know much about climate science, and many who do are fearful of talking about something so polarizing.

Jonathan Bernstein at The Washington Post points out the truth about the GOP's lack of ideas:
The problem with Republicans today on public policy isn’t that they’re stuck in the 1980s; it’s that they’ve given up entirely. More often than not, what passes for Republican “policy” is just symbolic, not substantive. Think, for example, about the big GOP rollout of the spring, a balanced budget amendment — which wouldn’t be much in terms of substantive policy even if it had a chance to pass, which it obviously doesn’t. Or think of their inability (still!) to come up with an alternative to the Affordable Care Act. Again, it’s not that Republican health policy is stuck in the 1980s; it’s that there is nothing that could really be called Republican health policy. Or, to move away from Ponnuru’s topics to national security, there’s the frenzy over Benghazi, Libya, that (as Kevin Drum points out) somehow never quite is about anything, or what seems to be purely symbolic attacks on Chuck Hagel.

The first step out of the policy wilderness for Republicans, then, is for them to decide that developing substantive public policy ideas is a good idea at all. If the way to do that is to attribute it to Ronald Reagan, well, if it works then there’s nothing wrong with it. I hope so; the nation could really use a political party that advances well thought out conservative policy options. There hasn’t been one of those in years.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A propos of nothing of importance (10+ / 0-)

    I reflect upon a few apparently unrelated things about which I have pondered recently and offer a personal reflection in this post to which I invite your attention

    peace

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:35:04 AM PST

    •  week off (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude

      Don't you have the week off?  Sleep late.  BTW--spoke to a high school teacher about student keyboarding skills, figuring they must be great.  She said her students are very good---with their thumbs--smart phones have diluted keyboard skills.  One step forward, one step back.

      Apres Bush, le deluge.

      by melvynny on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:21:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I own a typing and editing service, (7+ / 0-)

        and my customers are mostly college students - from freshmen to grad students.  I figured I might be able to pick up a few $$ doing easy work like this from home to supplement my retirement, because students didn't want to type, read, re-read and edit papers that they had had to write for their classes.  

        Little did I know that most of these students couldn't type or edit their own work even if they had the time and inclination to do so.  They can't type.  They can't spell.  They apparently don't know the meaning of "complete sentence," and they have so few composition skills that "editing" has come to mean almost complete rewriting just so their papers make sense.

        It's amazing to me that they're willing to pay me big bucks (a lot more than I thought I could make) to do this work for them.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:56:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  For those of you who skip links more often (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SueDe, UncleCharlie

      than not, I encourage you to read this post of teacherken's. I found it enlightening and very much worth the reading, as his posts usually are.

      I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

      by Gentle Giant on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:34:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem is, most people can't see beyond (10+ / 0-)

    their own noses.  When they're digging out of the results of a blizzard, they can't bring themselves to believe in global warming, climate change, or whatever you want to call it.

    I've seen it here in the Washington, DC area in my own lifetime.  When my sons, now 42 and 38, were small they used to sled down the hill in our back yard.  The creek at the bottom of our yard used to freeze, and they'd skate along the surface--sometimes they'd hold on to the Labrador's leash and he'd pull them along the creek while they were wearing their ice skates. That creek hasn't frozen over for 20 years.

    We haven't seen a substantial snowy season since Snowmageddon three years ago.  Before that we hadn't seen one since the winter of 1996.

    In the summer we have one long drought until September.  Even using the water from our three rain barrels, it's hard to grow any vegetables for ourselves.

    I hate to think what my grandchildren are going to face.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:41:58 AM PST

    •  The thing about snowfall these past few years (0+ / 0-)

      is that it's not accumulating; it's melting and starting over. That never used to happen. My town might lead the nation in snowfall this year, but I can see grass out my window. Twenty years ago, there'd be two feet on the ground accumulated since late November.

      I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

      by CFAmick on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:11:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you Gene Robinson.....The reason rethugs (10+ / 0-)

    don't want to be seen cooperating with Obama or just seen with Obama is because they'd be primaried.....This ain't rocket science.

    •  Yeah, and maybe there is a promising course of (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skillet, skohayes, Stude Dude, tb mare

      action here:

      I believe Gingrich is right. Republican members of Congress have shown a willingness, even an eagerness, to vote against measures that they themselves have sponsored in the past — if Obama is now proposing them.
      Perhaps Obama needs to pick some TP/GOP plums and propose them. Maybe the bastards will shoot themselves in the foot voting against bright and shiny things their base treasures. If, by chance, one passes he can always be as fickle and veto them.

      Oh yeah, our "great" political system has fallen so low as that. Then what else can you do with an entrenched minority determined to wreck the nation in order to preserve their views.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:58:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Flood the end zone with sensible proposals and (4+ / 0-)

        watch them implode....The GOP's biggest problem is that they expected Romney to WIN...He didn't.... Now they have a lot of catchup to do. But they can't......A truly revoltin situation.

      •  The tack of proposing the same thing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pelagicray

        that Republicans have been touting just to watch them do an about-face may be what the president is doing now with his immigration proposal that was leaked to USA Today.  It's almost exactly Marco Rubio's proposal for immigration reform, and Rubio declared it "dead on arrival" in the senate the same day the USA Today article was printed.  If Obama's plan was to get the Republicans hoist on their own petard, so far it's working quite nicely - even Chuck Todd has mentioned the similarity in Rubio's and Obama's plans.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:03:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We had protests and rallies against the... (13+ / 0-)

    Vietnam war, for voting rights, etc. We now need the same actions to stir support for doing the right things to protect Earth and climate.


    Predicting is hard...especially the future. ~ Y. Berra

    by jim in IA on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:42:57 AM PST

    •  Tornado season will be upon us in just a minute. (6+ / 0-)
      •  Not to mention the drought (0+ / 0-)

        here in the middle of the country it's expected to continue or worsen...

        I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

        by sillia on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:30:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  As long as people don't start dressing up... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude

      ....in silly costumes when they're doing it.

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:36:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  they don't work anymore (0+ / 0-)

      the right learned the last 20 years that as long as the left ignores talk radio all they need are 1000 of the loudest radio stations in the country reading the same crap all day long.

      the politicians don't have to pay attention to protestors anymore.  a few idiots with practiced denial skills, a script, and  giant megaphones can get a lot more attention while characterizing the dirty spoiled rabble to 50 mil a week, yelling at the mayors and police for not cleaning up the streets, and creating made-to-order counter constituencies to enable obstructionist politicians and media. and they can keep doing it as long as it takes after the protestors go home.

      it doesn't help the environmental groups have NO organized opposition to it and our universities plaster their team logos all over it.

      afghanistan, iraq, election theft, OWS, etc.

      This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

      by certainot on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:45:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bill McKibben ought to sit down at a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brooklynbadboy

    good search engine and educate himself why the Keystone Pipeline has become (if it wasn't always) moot wrt to Tarsands production.

    But maybe he just likes the attention, who knows?

    •  Whatcha mean? (0+ / 0-)

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:14:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I mean it's a feel good NIMBYism type (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brooklynbadboy, Stude Dude

        thing - unfortunately it will have zero effect on global climate change.

        •  You're absolutely right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stude Dude

          those greedy bastards will find another way to ship the dirty oil out so why bother trying to do anything.  We're fucked anyway.

          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

          by DisNoir36 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:30:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, you hit the nail on the head (3+ / 0-)

            with the first part of your post.

            However, we * should * still try to do something, and that something is reduce demand.  

            Too bad that's too difficult / politically unpalatable of a route to take!!

            •  You do realize though (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tobendaro, Stude Dude, Laconic Lib

              that shipping the crap out via truck will be a HUGE cost that would make this oil that mush more costly  More costs to extract, ship and refine means it'll be more epensive which will mean nobody will be willing to buy it.  Less demand for it is better for everyone.  

              So by stopping the pipeline it's actually helping suppress the demand for this oil.  

              This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

              by DisNoir36 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:49:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're only stopping (0+ / 0-)

                the pipeline from finishing up it's trip through the US (it's already being refined and sold in the US now).
                They can still build one to Vancouver and ship from that port. Which is fine with me, frankly.

                “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

                by skohayes on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:53:56 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  They can (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Laconic Lib, skohayes

                  if the Native indigenous population allows them to.

                  This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                  by DisNoir36 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:10:39 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There's already a pipeline to Vancouver (0+ / 0-)

                    whose capacity is now in the process of being doubled (or maybe tripled).

                    Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMP), the second-biggest U.S. pipeline partnership, is increasing the planned expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline in response to customer demand to move oil across Canada.

                    Kinder Morgan will spend $5 billion to bring the pipeline’s capacity to 850,000 barrels a day by 2017, according to a statement today. That’s $2.2 billion more than the company said it was planning to spend on a smaller expansion in January.

                    The 1,150-kilometer (714-mile) pipeline system stretches from Alberta to Vancouver, providing the only access for Canadian oil to reach the West Coast, Houston-based Kinder Morgan said. The system is currently capable of carrying 300,000 barrels a day and Kinder Morgan announced plans to double that to 600,000 barrels a day in January.

                    link

                    This product, btw, is not just for foreign export but will be used by Seattle area refineries as output from Alaska dwindles over the next decade or so.

                    •  Expansion not certain (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      skohayes, Laconic Lib
                      Environmental groups have raised concerns about the size of Kinder Morgan’s expansion and the amount of tanker traffic that the increased exports will create in Vancouver.

                      The company plans to spend 18 months to 24 months writing detailed plans and building support among local communities, First Nations and aboriginal groups before applying for permission to build the line from Canada’s National Energy Board, Anderson said.

                      “We’re going to do our darnedest to hear them and consider them,” Anderson said of the regional groups.

                      The Trans Mountain expansion will follow the pipeline’s existing right of way, except in places where urban encroachment or environmental concerns make that too difficult, Anderson said.

                      “Wherever we do divert, it will be because the local circumstances benefit from that diversion,” Anderson said.

                      They don't even have plans in place yet.  I realize that with Little Bush in power in Canada they'll very likely get approval for it but as of right now they don't even have plans in place.  The more roadblocks that are put up the less profitable it will be for them.  

                      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                      by DisNoir36 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:32:16 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  What people can learn from drug dealing cartels (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                skohayes, Van Buren

                is that production price is nothing. the profits are in transporting and only mildly in dispensing at the street level.

                The best thing to attack it with is electrical technology, battery design and ever-more efficient electric vehicles (since fossil fuels from cars are a massive source of GHG)

                Less oil burned.

                The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

                by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:55:42 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Something else to learn from the drug (0+ / 0-)

                  cartels (and Prohibition for that matter) is that the enterprise cannot be stopped at the production / supply end.

                  The only solution is to reduce demand.

                  •  Not the only solution (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    skohayes, Laconic Lib

                    I really wish you would stop spreading this nonsense.  

                    You cannot simply decrease demand.  That's Nancy Bush 'Just say No' bullshit.

                    You CAN decrease demand by making it cost prohibitive.  The answer to our drug problems was never prohibiting it as the answer to our oil problem is not simply by decreasing demand for it.  The answer is making it so costly while making alternatives so cheap that market forces will take over.  The war on drugs would be over if our government legalized it and taxed it heavily.  It would put the cartels out of business because it would not be profitable for them and it would decrease demand because it would be more expensive for users to buy it, while at the same time adding much needed revenue to gov't coffers.  The war on oil would be over if we made it so expensive to extract, refine, ship and sell it.  Allowing pipelines to ship it cheaply is not helpful in that sense.    

                    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                    by DisNoir36 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:38:20 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  As I have documented in other posts (0+ / 0-)

                      the pipelines - or the lack of pipelines - have no effect on the global cost of oil, and thus have no impact on tarsands output.

                      But maybe we do agree on the need to decrease demand.  And actually it would be fairly simple (but not politically possible) to do so - all one would have to do is impose an escalating carbon tax - say 25 cents a gallon per year (and for the energy equivalent for coal and NG).

                      This would both give the economy time to adjust (for example, for the first 2 or 3 years the tax would be no more than normal price fluctuations), and over time (e.g, after 20 years, it'd be $5 gallon) become prohibitive enough that alternatives would be adopted big time.  

                      •  They have no effect on oil PRICES (0+ / 0-)

                        by they DO have an effect on COST.  

                        The more costly it is for them the less likely they will extract it.

                        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                        by DisNoir36 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:49:57 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Maybe, I suppose the veritable (0+ / 0-)

                          canary in the mine shaft might be Bakken oil extraction, which has all of the following features:

                          1) production costs barely above break even (e.g., $80 to $90 bbl) link

                          2) almost entirely reliant on shipping by rail

                          3) still undergoing massive exploitation

                          If your predictions about the Tar Sands economics were true, the Bakken oil extraction should have stopped (because they're considerably more expensive and are beset by the same or worse pipeline issues), or at least dramatically slowed ALREADY.   But it hasn't.   Why?

                          •  Well simple (0+ / 0-)

                            If you thoroughly read the report you would see that some companies already ARE cutting back on their activities.

                            The oil service giant Baker Hughes recently expressed concerns about slowing activity levels in shale plays if oil prices moved below $80/Bbl. Further the oil companies Marathon and Occidental recently cut back on their activities in the Bakken formation. Oil and gas companies still care about the colors of the numbers at the bottom line for their projects.
                            It seems that some companies are trying to offset the loss of huge profits by drilling more wells.  But the reality is if oil prices drop only a bit further, the Bakken shale will be all but abandoned.  

                            The problem with Tar Sands is that the profit spread is a bit greater.  Which goes back to my point, why would you ADD to that profit margin when our goal should be to all but eliminate the profitability out of Tar Sands oil extraction?

                            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                            by DisNoir36 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:41:57 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If you are pinning your hopes on (0+ / 0-)

                            the price of crude oil dropping below $80/bbl - to me the only way that that is plausible is if the "peak oil" meme is not true.

                            I don't have any particular insight into this question except to note that the only people who don't seem to believe it are Rush Limbaugh type idiots.

                            For whatever that is worth.

              •  The numbers don't support your contentions: (0+ / 0-)

                In fact, just opposite - the economics are in favor of pipeline alternatives, already:

                In a market that is short on pipeline space and heavy crude sells at a big discount, one oilsands producer has found a way around the bottleneck.

                Southern Pacific Resources, which began trucking out initial production from its new McKay Thermal Project three weeks ago, will open a dedicated rail terminal in a few weeks just south of Fort McMurray and ship its product in leased tanker cars via CN Rail all the way to Natchez, Miss.

                From there, it's just a short barge ride down the Mississippi River to one of the eight refineries in Louisiana, where the crude will fetch $20 to $30 a barrel more than it could at the congested terminal hub in Cushing, Okla.

                Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/...

                So, Tarsands oil is ALREADY being shipped by rail to the Gulf Coast, to fetch the $20 to $30 premium it is accorded there.  Why?

                From the same link:

                Southern Pacific estimates it will pay $31 a barrel to move its product to a Louisiana refinery by rail and barge compared with $8 for pipeline shipping.
                So basically the pipeline v. rail is a wash, pricewise.  So why should Big Oil give a fuck if the pipeline is built or not.

                Another way to look at things is that it costs a premium of $0.50 a gallon to ship the tarsands oil anywhere in NA by rail.  In my neck of the woods, gasoline prices have increased that much just in the past 3 months - thereby making back any shortfall in profits caused by the extra expense of shipping the tarsands by rail.

                But can rail transport be done on a large scale?

                Absolutely!

                Rail transport of crude in North America has jumped by about 360,000 barrels a day in the past year — the equivalent of adding a “major” pipeline, according to Steven Paget, an analyst at FirstEnergy Capital Corp. in Calgary. Those shipments have soared as community protests slow new pipelines and oil finds occur outside the current pipe network.
                link

                Yup, in just one year, the equivalent of a major pipeline in shipping crude oil by rail has come on line in NA.  Do that every year and the Tarsands folk have no fear at all about the anti-pipeline hysteria.

                Here's a link with a lot of nitty gritty stats on this issue

                •  Actually the numbers don't support YOUR contention (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  skohayes, Laconic Lib
                  Southern Pacific estimates it will pay $31 a barrel to move its product to a Louisiana refinery by rail and barge compared with $8 for pipeline shipping.
                  $31 a barrel to move by rail and barge as opposed to $8 by pipeline.  

                  That's $23 a barrel MORE.  

                  The only thing the article shows is how profitable the crap is to the oil companies that even though they'd be paying $23 more to go by rail and barge, they can make $20-$30 more by getting it to the Gulf Coast from Ft McMurray.  So yeah it's a wash for them because they'd still be making a ton of money regardless of where they get the oil from.  But what you're failing to grasp is that if they build the pipeline to the Gulf Coast they'll be making $23 MORE per barrel by piping it to the Gulf Coast directly and selling it at higher prices.  

                  If they have to ship it instead of pumping it that means the margin spreads in profit are much smaller.  The only reason its even profitable is because oil prices are so high.  If oil prices drop it would not be profitable to even consider tar sands as a viable alternative to other oil sources.   So the question is why would you want to make it an even more attractive alternative and give them $23 more per barrel in profit?  That's just dumb.

                  This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                  by DisNoir36 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:26:43 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes (0+ / 0-)
                    That's $23 a barrel MORE.
                    but what you seem to have missed is that that is offset by a $20 to $30 price differential (which averaged $24/bbl last year).

                    Plus, there's more (from a link I gave above):

                    Despite the hefty $31 a barrel transportation cost, Lutes said his company can make a decent return because of Brent-related prices and savings on diluent, which allow the oil sands' sticky, tar-like bitumen to flow in a pipeline. Rail cars can transport bitumen without added diluent.

                    Southern Pacific also sees a new business opportunity sprouting from its choice of rail: it is exploring using the empty rail cars returning from the Gulf to haul diluent back to Alberta, which it could sell to other producers at a profit.

                    So, like I said, the economics of transportation are pretty much a wash right now either way.

                    But the key thing are the overall economics of getting the tarsands oil to market - which include about $20/bbl capital costs, about $15/bbl extraction costs, and about $30/bbl transportation costs (which is the worst case scenario).  The total is about $65/bbl.

                    With current prices for crude oil at $95/bbl - that's $30/bbl profit - or about $50 million per day or about $18 billion per year.  Sure, I'm sure Big Oil would be thrilled to make even more than that, but they for sure aren't going to be throttling back at that profit margin!

                    •  you don't get it (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Laconic Lib

                      Let me spell it out.

                      Company pays $31 to ship oil to Gulf Coast.
                      Company A makes $31 more by selling it at Gulf Coast.  
                      Company A makes X profit per barrel.

                      Company B pipes oil to Gulf Coast paying $8 a barrel.
                      Company B makes $31 more by selling it at Gulf Coast
                      Company B makes X + ($31-$8) profit per barrel.

                      Which company makes MORE in profit?  The one shipping it or the one piping it?

                      Now imagine if there was no pipeline and oil prices for Tar Sands Crude dropped to $65 -$70 a barrel.  It wouldn't be profitable for them.  However, if you reduce transportation costs to $8/barrel then the price would have to drop to about $40 a barrel for it to be unprofitable for them.

                      There is NO way we can cut demand THAT much to make it unprofitable.  

                      The goal is to end the oil extraction from Tar Sands because it's very dirty.  Extraction of it is dirty, refining is dirty, transportation is dirty.  The ONLY way to end it is by making it unprofitable.  You CANNOT simply end demand of it.  You CAN make it so unprofitable for oil companies that they will not consider even extracting it.  

                      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                      by DisNoir36 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:47:12 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You do realize, of course, that that (0+ / 0-)

                        all is more or less nonsense, considering that Southern Pacific is ALREADY transporting the tar sands product to the  Gulf Coast by truck, rail, and barge.

                        I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be doing that if they were losing money - and they state that they aren't so I suspect they aren't (or their shareholders could sue them for making false financial statements, etc).

                        And once they build their railhead all the way to Fort McMurray and the "truck" part is cut out of the equation, costs will surely decrease even more.

                        •  You do realize (0+ / 0-)

                          that by doing so it is LESS profitable than if the pipe was built.

                          Why are you hell bent on helping them?

                          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                          by DisNoir36 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:45:19 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Here's something else of relevance (0+ / 0-)

                        The cost of new oil supply

                        This link describes the costs for bring "new" production online (and what with peak oil and all, "new" production is always needed from here on out):

                        In order to pacify its population during the Arab Spring and pay for significant new infrastructure projects, Saudi Arabia has made enormous financial commitments in the past several years. The kingdom really needs $90 - $100 a barrel now to balance its budget. Other major exporters like Venezuela and Russia have similar budget-driven incentives to keep prices high.

                        Globally, Skrebowki estimates that it costs $80 - $110 to bring a new barrel of production capacity online. Research from IEA and others shows that the more marginal liquids like Arctic oil, gas-to-liquids, coal-to-liquids, and biofuels are toward the top end of that range.

                        My own research suggests that $85 is really the comfortable global minimum. That’s the price now needed to break even in the Canadian tar sands, and it also seems to be roughly the level at which banks and major exploration companies are willing to commit the billions of dollars it takes to develop new projects.

                        So again, the Tar Sands are economically competitive (in fact, are at the low end of the range for "new" production).  And therefore development will proceed.

                        As I've already said, the only way to stop that that I can see is with a carbon tax with teeth.

                        •  Carbon Tax with teeth is a pipe dream (0+ / 0-)

                          It's not going to happen.  Tar Sands is economically competitive and will be MORE so if the pipe is built.  Our goal is to make it LESS so.

                          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                          by DisNoir36 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:44:08 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  It's no less of a pipe dream than your (0+ / 0-)

                            fantasy that stopping a pipeline is going to make a single iota of difference.

                            During the last time since I replied to you, I spent considerable time looking into the non-environmentalist perspective on this issue.

                            Or more specifically, what Railroad executives are thinking.  Which is that they are hesitant to invest in infrastructure to move crude oil in fear that competing pipelines are built.

                            Thus, the nanosecond the death knell to pipelines occurs (e.g., Obama blocking Keystone), mega$$s will pour into railroad infrastructure thereby dramatically lowering the (non-prohibitive, already) costs that we have been discussing.

                            Then, a decade from now when 4 million/bbl/day of crude oil is being transported across North America, with the sure-to-happen environment destruction (increased energy for moving the crude, more spills, etc) the enviromentalist will rue the day they blocked pipelines instead of focusing on demand.

                            Perhaps similar to how PETA is now IN FAVOR of horse slaughterhouses in the USA after playing a pivotal role in getting them banned just a few years ago.  

                            In both cases, an interesting example of the law of unintended (but not unforeseen, unless you're a complete dumbass) consequences kicking in!

  •  What's the mechanics of selling this to China? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA

    If this crud is like pumping wet cement or oatmeal under the best of conditions how do they get this to presumably west to the pacific ocean given how cold it is closer to the arctic circle.  Alaska crude is one thing but this is as I say like pumping wet cement or oatmeal.

    Sounds like bluster on Canada's part

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:44:38 AM PST

    •  Its called steam assisted gravity drainage (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JML9999, Laconic Lib

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      When pumped through the pipeline it is viscous but thin enough that under pressure the flow is maintained.

      But the sum up is correct, this oil is not destined for US markets. It will be pumped to southern refineries, refined into either light crude or your various products (more often than not diesel) and then exported to countries in the Asia-Pacific, and South American markets with some going to Europe as well.

      If anything it will put upward pressure and demand on refined crude products here at home and drive fuel prices upward.

      --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

      by idbecrazyif on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:29:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The oil will be piped to (4+ / 0-)

      Texas via the Keystone pipeline, refined there and shipped to China and South America from a duty free port.
      The Chinese own the refinery, the Canadians own the pipeline and the oil, we get nothing.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:37:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ah Republicans. The Party of No Nothings! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, Desert Rose

    "Here comes the landslide" Dick Morris

    by wild hair on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:54:23 AM PST

  •  Re: Local weather forecasters (7+ / 0-)

    Just want to acknowledge the weather team at KSDK Channel 5 in St. Louis. They have been doing a good job educating viewers on climate change in recent months. They actually use words like "global warming" in their newscasts. Shocking, I know.

  •  Breaking Nooz....GOP whines that nothing can get (5+ / 0-)

    accomplished in DCWash because the president is always up in their faces.

    details at eleven....on FOX!!

  •  Another bright idea out of AZ (8+ / 0-)

    No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.--Lily Tomlin

    by Desert Rose on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:11:13 AM PST

  •  Obama urged bipartisan, market-driven intervention (4+ / 0-)

    in climte change.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

    Capitalism is at the very root of persistent efforts to derail and deny climate change action and changes.

    Republicans (the ugly half of 'bipartisan) has zero goddamned intentions of cooperating with ANYTHING Obama does plus, in theor spare time, they cheer climate denial.

    "Market-based'. Hmm..... how can the 'market' make beaucoup bucks cleaning up the environment? That's well over my head, but I cannot help but notice all the opposition to changing anything about the causes of climate change because that will cost rich people money.

    So, you can certain lambaste my ignorance here, if I am, indeed, ignorant (which won't be surprising) BUT... a 'bipartisan, market-driven intervention into climate change' is just a set-up for jokes.

    Bully pulpit all the way, full-on ignoring republican howling: that's the way to achieve what is actually necessary (which is terribly not like the Democratic party I have been trained to have no hope in, and with Harry the Caver in charge, do not lecture me on having a better perspective).

    Anytime spent with republicans is completely and totally wasted.

    Obama will HAVE to simply use his power to make it so.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:13:39 AM PST

    •  And since Obama is too savvy to blow his (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gentle Giant, tb mare

      political capital doing something like ending marijuana prohibitiion, he COULD use that card to do SOMETHING about climate change.

      He could.

      At any moment really.

      Totally possible.

      Can't......hold.....breath..... though....

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:23:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Marijuana would be more likely. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes, xxdr zombiexx, tb mare

        At least he can say that will raise money through taxes and save money through less use of the courts and prison systems.

        "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

        by Bush Bites on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:46:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ideology. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OleHippieChick, tb mare, Laconic Lib

          The US Federal Government is terribly invested in maintaining the status quo partly, I think, because once it is relegalized there will be questions, eventually: WHY were we told lies for 80 years? Why were we told lies and bilked out of over a trillion dollars for something that wasn't a threat to begin with"?

          Governments will continue to do th wrong  things just to hide that they are known to be wrong.

          The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

          by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:52:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  There are market-driven solutions. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xxdr zombiexx, tb mare, Stude Dude

      Trouble is, all the solutions are from weak startup companies, while all the problems are from the 100-year-old mega corporations.

      They can stomp out alternative competition pretty easily

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:48:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  climate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, Gentle Giant

    I read somewhere this analogy of climate change consequences and thought it worth relaying.  Baseball great, Barry Bonds, is suspected of having taken performance enhancing drugs late in his career.  That doesn't mean that he wouldn't have hit home runs without drugs--just like a specific hurricane might have occurred w/o climate change--but most probably the home runs would have been shallower--and the hurricanes less intense.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:16:53 AM PST

  •  Julian Zelizer almost right... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, Whatithink

    He misses it a bit with this:

    Members of Congress know that climate change legislation doesn't offer tangible benefits to voters, so they're unlikely to act unless they feel pressure from activists in their districts.
    But he's not too far off:

    The ultimate political pressure does not come from lobbyist dollars, no matter how much tin foil's in your hat.  The ultimate political pressure comes from those people who can keep you from getting those lobbyist dollars.

    When the electorate is sufficiently energized on an issue, Washington pays attention.

    The notion, however, that grass-roots protests are going to make a difference  stumbles over the first part of the sentence: that tangible benefits part.

    I would disagree that tangible benefits don't exist, but the real problem is the potential for tangible harms.  Neither environmentalists nor the current administration have shown much compassion for the the bulk of ordinary Americans and whether we can take care of our families.

    People who fear they and their children will be cast aside as collateral damage are not likely to support the kind of massive and expensive change required to combat global warming -- especially if those changes aren't going to make any difference so long as China and other emerging economies stand on the sideline.

    What do Republicans talk about when they argue for Keystone?

    It ain't the fundamental beauty of the thing.

    It's jobs.

    They grossly exaggerate the number of jobs, but they're damned happy to make the argument turn over whether there are a lot of jobs or just a few jobs.  Democrats are forced to argue that they would rather keep people out of work than have a pipeline.

    That's a lousy place for the party of FDR to be.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:23:53 AM PST

    •  If people would start (6+ / 0-)

      debating this honestly, we might have a chance.
      The problem is that so many politicians and pundits ignore the facts of the matter. Bill McKibben is NOT one of these and presents the facts:

      Its proponents have always claimed it will create lots of jobs (it will create some, for a couple of years, which is nothing to sneeze at — but the real jobs bonanza comes when we move decisively toward renewable energy) or boost energy independence (which is nonsense — this oil is destined for export). By easing the glut of Canadian oil, even its backers concede, it will raise, not lower, gas prices.

      At the moment, which even my own representatives in Congress don't seem to understand, the tar sands oil is being pumped through the parts of the Keystone pipeline that are already completed (Phase 1 and Phase 2).
      The oil goes to Illinois and to Oklahoma, where it is refined and sold in the midwest.
      Once Phase 3 is completed, the oil will be refined in Texas, loaded onto ships and sold to China, Europe and South America. NONE OF IT will be sold in the US. We will make no money off of this pipeline in taxes, in port duties (Port Arthur, Texas is a duty free port) or anything else.
      This will cause prices to rise in the midwest 10 to 15 cents per gallon.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:47:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Keystone is a diversion, not worth wasting time on (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes

        The real problem with Keystone isn't the pipelone but the fact that the tar sands are  being exploited to put all that CO2 into the air (not to mention some other nasty enviornmental crap).

        The real pressure needs to be in and on Canada to stop  producing the stuff.

        The real pressure in the US needs to be on the nasty stuff we produce and the nasty ways we do it.

        It seems like the height of hypocrosy to sniff at the tar sands while we're injecting millions and millions of gallons of chemical laden water into shale formations to shake out our own fossile fuels.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:03:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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

          I complain about the Keystone pipeline so much because of all the misinformation coming from politicians on it, but the shale oil (from the little I've read about it) is an even worse problem because of what it will do to our groundwater.

          “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

          by skohayes on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:37:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I would have to agree with this (0+ / 0-)

      idea that it doesn't offer tangible benefits to voters. When some people say we need to fight climate change and big Oil that all sounds great, especiallyfor the grandchildren, but when they are told that they have to bite the bullet on higher gas prices, consumer goods transported by truck, etc. because it helps the environment, it won't happen. It won't. When people have to make the choice of saving the planet now but can't get to work, or saving the planet later (however crazy that may be) and affording the gas to get to work, they will take their chances of kicking the can down the road and hope the planet limps along a while longer.

      I know some say we wouldn't have to bite the bullet if fossil fuels came on line big and bold, but there is no orderly, transitional plan to transfer over that keeps prices livable during that period. Also, no one addresses the fact that at this point alternative fuels cannot possibly supply all of our energy needs anytime soon, so how does that work in taming prices during a transition.

      To think that Obama can wave a magic wand that makes alternative fuels mandatory and we all just build and use them is not reality, and the public knows this. And they will go with what they know and rely on rather than what they don't and can't.

      •  It's one reason I like the analogy of a quilt. (0+ / 0-)

        One big problem with our current energy use is that so much is devoted to so few sources of energy.

        There is no reason why we cannot exploit biofuels, solar, wind, nuclear, and whatever else might find its place in a sustainable greenhouse-friendly energy economy.

        There is not reason why we need to wait for the "one" source to do great things now.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:06:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Trouble is, Obamacare and Cap-and-Trade ARE... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, tb mare, Laconic Lib
    I hope so; the nation could really use a political party that advances well thought out conservative policy options. There hasn’t been one of those in years.
    ....conservative policy options.

    Repubs been triangulated.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:32:02 AM PST

  •  I too disagree with Bill McKibben. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites, tb mare

    As some here know, I'm not exactly in line with the zeitgeist on fossil fuels and climate change. Yes, I believe there is climate change. No, I do not believe there is anything we can do about it without new fuel and fuel efficiency technology...which is where I think the focus ought to be. Because no matter if we had climate change or not, we should seek to be more efficient and produce less harmful waste externalities.

    •  Can't overlook the damage efficient electric (3+ / 0-)

      car will do to Big Oil profits.

      If we use any less oil at all, profits slip.

      Replace MILLIONS of gas-burners with electricity and millions of cars getting 20-25 mpg aren't burning any oil, not buying any oil/gas. That is a debacle for a business fixated on keeping people dependent on its product.

      And I will never be able to overlook the fact that thwarting the evolution of this is 100% in Big Oil's interests.

      Screw us into the ground for their profits.

      It's clear that profits take precedence of human needs and this is a sterling example.
       

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:50:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What you have to remember (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude

        with electric cars, is that most electricity in the US is supplied by coal and natural gas.
        So you're still burning fossil fuels, just at a different place in the timeline.
        With wind turbines replacing some of that fossil fuel out west here, it's a better scenario, but we still need charging stations built around the country so you can go farther than 200-300 miles on one charge.
        Hybrids and electric vehicles are great when all you do is drive around the city, but completely impractical out here in the rural west.

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:46:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I understand all that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes

          and add that aside from squelching electric car tech, Big Oil also opposes all alternative energies.

          Solar and wind power at one's home, charging one's car is an ideal and do-able.

          I totally understand the rural west thing as well. I prefer 4WD trucks so I can go off road for wilderness access and backpacking. Electric trucks are doubtlessly a ways off.

          The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

          by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:34:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Even if we had an all electric passanger car fleet (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skohayes

            and an electric grid that ran exclusively on renewables, we'd still need a lot of fossil fuels for a lot of other things. Passenger jets. Fertilizer. Plastics.  Furthermore, it wont make one iota of difference in the developing world which will still need the cheapest possible fuel sources, namely fossil fuels. We'd still have a climate change problem.

            Instead, what we should be doing is developing new techs that get more power from less fossil fuels and more efficiently deal with the waste products produced from them. Of course the big industries would be against this, but they're going to be against anything that hurts them.

            •  And I think you make an excellent point (0+ / 0-)

              in developing new techs. I think we should keep in mind what the goal is. Is it to simply move from oil to something we already have (electricity, hence fossil fuel usage) to screw big Oil or prevent climat change however we need to get there. I could give a rat's axx about screwing Big Oil if it does nothing to prevent climate change. I get that we need to remove their stranglehold on our decisionmakers, but developing alternative technology will further us along, and we may just get to screw them in the process. IOW the goal is climate change not screwing Big Oil (even though they deserve it;-)

  •  Once again, if pressure comes from (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, tb mare

    voters there will be change.  Grumbling about big oil is a great excuse for not mobilizing your community and makes all of us part of the problem.  

    Even lowly Texans can be convinced.  Watching the trees die and having a wildfire escape kit focuses the mind.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:21:14 AM PST

  •  Jonathan Bernstien (0+ / 0-)

    The lack of policy proposals partly is due to Obamacare, which is essentially the conservative health care policy cooked up as an alternative to universal health care. Like a lot of conservative "policy" positions, it was never intended to be enacted, since the actual conservative solution for most problems is to do nothing. But then they went and enacted the conservative policy in Massachusetts, and the Democrats pushed it through the US Congress. Now the conservative think tanks don't know what to do, since it's been proven that sometimes politicians actually read and act on their fake policy proposals.

  •  no significant action while left ignores the radio (0+ / 0-)

    how many activists and protestors and scientists and greenish dem politicians is one blowhard with a giant megaphone worth?

    and we continue to let our universities to put their team logos on those megaphones.

    there is still NO organized response from the environmental groups or the democratic party.

    the ability of the fossil fuels industry to intimidate media and  politicians, keep all republicans in line, extract compromise from dems, and delay action is directly dependent on their ability to blast the country with that coordinated radio monopoly messaging monster.

    it has worked well for the last 25 years, including the east anglia "climate gate" hoax, the "debt crisis" and it will keep minimizing the work of all citizens on this issue until the left stops giving it a free speech free ride.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:16:30 AM PST

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