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Have you ever heard of Charles Babbage or a device he designed and almost built called an Analytical Engine around 1840? Even though it was purely mechanical, it was by some accounts the first full-blown Turing-complete computer with the capacity to process, store answers and even carry the result forward, i.e., loop memory. Babbage's engine was never completed, but an entire genre of science fiction and future history has grown up around the possibility it had been.

The idea, so the story goes, led to better and more compact mechanical designs eventually bordering on near nanotech-like breakthroughs enabling all sorts of interesting robotic and cybernetic devices. Eventually, with the invention of telegraph and telephones, and the lines to carry complex signals, the Info Age dawned in 1890 or so, a full century early. This initial wave of the sci-fi genre remained fairly obscure throughout the reality of the 1990s. But a lot of the people who read it were also into programming, some went on to develop video games, or contribute to movies and series, so the fashion and art influence grew and evolved in different ways in a second wave.

That alternative history is called Steampunk, a play on Cyberpunk. But in some ways, we do live in a steamy-punkish world. The most visible technology may be Wi-Fi and iPhones and social media. But what drives it, the underlying industrial infrastructure mostly unseen by today's smartphone user, is the wheels of industry. Gears and turbines, cogs and chains, powered by burning gas, oil and coal, turning water into steam to produce the electricity that runs the whole shebang. If we are successful in converting automobiles and maybe even one day trucks and barges to electric, they too will plug into that growing, smoky grid.

Which brings up some touchy subjects, not the least of which is the Bakken Shale and the Keystone pipeline that would carry the raw sludge.

Join in below the fold and we'll talk about that some more.

The Keystone Pipeline system already exists, it's been transporting crude from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Canada, to US refineries for years. The debate is over an extension called Phase IV, often referred to as Keystone XL, shown in green to the right. This phase is currently planned to consist mostly of pipe sections about three feet wide that move oil over 1,000 miles, from both the Canadian Basin and parts of the Bakken formation that lay just south of the border.

Keystone & XL
There was time not that long ago when harvesting this oil simply wasn't a commercially viable option. But thanks to increasing oil prices, advances in drilling and new methods for hydraulic fracturing, it can now be extracted and distributed for a net profit. Which leads to the Keystone XL dilemma before us now. There are many dimensions to the pipeline outside of environmental objections, chief among them is energy security.

Sadly, that's a real concern. Think of the US side of Niagara Falls, water endlessly plunging over the distinctive scarp into the river, only think of it flowing with nasty black oil heading into refineries and engines instead of sparkling water landing in frothy pools. That's not a bad, representative image for how much oil the world burns every second, with the US leading the pack. When that supply is threatened or curtailed, the price goes up. The cost increase cascades through our entire economy and beyond.

Do not underestimate the political ramifications of sharply higher energy prices on the US electorate. Oil shock and the associated inflation helped put Ronald Reagan in the White House over 30 years ago, deficits soared and the social safety net was cut almost to the day he was sworn in, and it didn't stop there. Energy prices have dominated our post Cold War foreign policy. The whole tragic trillion dollar train wreck of Iraq was made possible, some might say falsely hyped, by concerns over global energy prices and national security. All items to seriously consider going forward. But the immediate objections are environmental and can briefly be classified in two parts: 1) the impact of the pipeline itself on the surrounding region, and 2) the impact greenhouse gases released by burning the oil could have on global climate.

On the regional impact, any development alters the natural environment. A carefully planned hike and bike trail will have some effect, maybe in some cases a negative one, let alone big industrial developments involving megatons of toxic substances moving over rich farm and ranch land relying on fragile, underground aquifers. We know for a recent historical fact that that kind of thing can have terrible consequences. It's worth noting here this isn't limited to Keystone XL, the same applies to other domestic energy sources and many other industries in general. But the idea that there's never going to be a nasty spill or other problems is complete nonsense. Of course there will be. Our best defense, aside from not building it, is to limit the frequency and scope of accidents as much as possible, and be prepared for one when it happens. Neither is possible without well-defined, well-enforced regulations and related incentives.

On the global impact, this oil will be produced and burned regardless of what pipes carry it to what refineries. That's a sobering thought. NASA climatologist Dr. James Hanson has written and said many times that if we are so foolish as to burn all fossil fuels, including all coal, all gas, and all tar sands, the climate catastrophe could runaway to the point that it becomes uncontainable. Way beyond the delightful, quaint fiction of a Steampunk planet segue.

In fact, some climatologists worry continued fossil fuel use resulting in more than 350-400 ppm of tropospheric greenhouse gases could ultimately trigger a climate shift approaching or surpassing the Permian-Triassic extinction, where 90 percent of land and marine species perished 250 million years ago. It is even possible such an event could speed up the Earth's slow but inevitable descent into a runaway greenhouse loop, a phenomenon some researchers predict could—hopefully in the very distant future—end with our planet resembling a slightly cooler version of Venus. Our best course of action, assuming we wish to avoid finding out, is to not burn every last shred of fossil fuels we can dig up, preferably by developing new, cleaner energy sources well ahead of time.

Politicians and media outlets are fond of simplistic slogans that can fit on a bumper sticker. But most modern issues are fiendishly complex and this is certainly one of them. The stakes are about as high as they get and there's a lot of moving parts to consider, not to mention plenty of motives, measured in gigabucks, to spin and understate the risk to regulators and voters. One school of thought voiced by the occasional progressive is, since the oil will be produced anyway, we get as much as we can legislatively in return for permitting Keystone XL to go through. What exactly that should be is a great discussion to have. But it must include sharp regulations and meaningful penalties for companies that screw up. And there should be substantial funding, from industry or government or both, on mitigating the regional and global impact as well as energy alternatives, from solar to smarter grids, to get us off this crazy, unsustainable fossil fuel treadmill.

That being said, please respect the views of those who feel this is a line that must be held as well as those who feel it is a battle we will eventually lose. Especially if you take the poll and weigh in via comments below.



How should progressives approach the Keystone XL extension?

68%2636 votes
31%1227 votes

| 3866 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have a feeling Keystone will be OKed (19+ / 0-)

    but I hope happens is that the President also attaches some real-life strings to it, namely--in exchange for allowing this pipeline I want to hit coal-fired electric plants with new limits on the CO2 they emit, or some other offset.

    I doubt that would happen, but if enough people suggest it i.e. at the top of their lungs, maybe it just might move the needle a little.

    “When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.” —Abraham Lincoln

    by Pragmatus on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 03:10:25 PM PST

    •  'fraid so. As for Steampunk, much exists (3+ / 0-)

      on the S.L. platform, such as that at... Stratospheria Neodemonia. And, I actually have a steampunk submarine mostly sunk in my watering hole at my S.L. hangout on the Leopard sim.

      •  I wouldn't be surprised to see Keystone (7+ / 0-)

        force a major rethinking by some red state folks of how they are being lied to and used by corporations, religion, government; possibly to the extent of exploring the sort of lawsuits against individuals that took place among the militias after Waco.

        This has no benefit for anyone on this planet, maybe some short term relief for the Chinese at the cost of their air getting much worse much faster.

        I sort of got a kick out of watching the "balanced" discussion on the Ed show, but I'm getting old and pretty much convinced it won't be until the Flood Plain insurance maps with projections of 2 feet of sea level rise by 2050.

        Those same maps project 5 feet by 2100 and after that it gets bad quick.

        All the rich Republicans with ocean front property will then have to realize its no longer up to taxpayers to replenish beaches, build seawalls and levees.

        In category V high risk coastal areas which include the entire perimeter of the US except for Canada and Mexico their flood insurance is going to start at $2.10 per $100 of value per year.

        Then maybe we will get some concern. It will be too late of course, but mildly satisfying none the less.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:12:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is some small satisfaction in (5+ / 0-)

          knowing that in 2 or 3 years I'll collect S.S. checks - if they're still sending them out - and thumb my nose at the Ubers and Filthys (rich).  Take your J.O.B. and shove it - I'm off to Belize!  But, then I remember there is a generation behind me - and one behind them - that have to put up with this $h!t for another 20 years, 30 years, 40 years.  So... so much for Belize.  If someone would have told me back in '75 that we'd be going thru this b.s. in 2014 I would have asked them where they got their acid.  I should be looking at property in Belize.  Instead?  Instead we march on against the non-stop zombie apocalypse brought by the Ubers and Filthys (One Percent) each and every day.

    •  Guy MacPherson spoke locally recently (5+ / 0-)

      as did Parenti.  My spelling may be suspect.  Together with James Hanson,, Rising Tide, Occupy, the UN, and more, it is obvious to me we can't afford to triangulate.  Even without the possibility of the planet becoming like Venus and unable to sustain carbon based life we are likely to be returned to the stone age with probably over 99% gone and all extensions to our senses we have developed with them.  The only war that must be fought is for the survival of our species and others we can recognize.  We're not ready to find a new planet nor do we yet have the wisdom to be responsible stewards.  We may be too late here already but not trying to mitigate the problem is as bad or worse than pretending it doesn't exist for short term gain.  Reality isn't linear and not fighting for our lives is not an option.  Xenored is not always funny and so am I.

    •  Keep the grease in the ground, or we're done. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, Penny GC, JeffW, unfangus

      It's just that simple.

      Pumping more out of Canada means we cause more damage.  There is no such thing as "clean coal".

      It was clear a year ago that this would happen - a sop will be given to whiny Fauxgressives and those who give a fuck about our future will be ignored completely.

      Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

      by JesseCW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 09:11:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for this well written (12+ / 0-)

    intelligent  thought provoking article. you raise good points and ask good questions. i appreciate the cautionary final paragraph as well

  •  Regarding the poll (9+ / 0-)

    Since Obama "hearts" coal anyway, he should at least put up a green front and extort all he can for that damned pipeline.

    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 03:29:29 PM PST

  •  I would say that putting up wind farms... (17+ / 0-) far less damaging than building pipelines.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 03:31:30 PM PST

    •  There is a steampunk aspect to do it yourself (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Floande, RiveroftheWest, ivote2004

      Whether you are going off the grid with wind and or solar, or learning to be solar self sufficient with your own forge and still, I think there is some recognition that the future will have a lot less cheap fossil fuel in it and be a lot harder to live in.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:16:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unless we can get more renewables... (5+ / 0-)

        ...up and running, and get HVDC trunks in place to share the power nationwide. We intend to put in a wind turbine on our farm, but it will have both batteries, and an inverter tied to the grid. When we need more power, we buy it, and when we have plenty, we sell it. If there's a disruption, we have the batteries. And our farm is 15 miles east of the Eco Grove wind farm near Lena, IL. You can just see the turbine blades on a clear day when they swing above the horizon.

        We could sure use more of those here in Illinois.

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:26:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My farm is in Rockport Maine (5+ / 0-)

          just below the pass Between Spruce and Pleasant Mountains from the top of which you can see  the Atlantic from Mt. Desert to Monhegan Island. We get a lot of wind and sun, I'm hoping that I can get some help from Penquis to repair my leaky wood shingles with six squares of solar cells and an inverter and batteries plus a 48 volt bus bar and some DC wiring.

          I know the ARRA provided some funds for that, I just haven't figured out how to get iall the paperwork approved. but I'm working on it.

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:39:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  There's no DIY efforts that will amount to much (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        We cut our coal use, efforts ramp up to export it to China.

        Canada raises fuel effeciency standards, more oil gets pumped south through the US for world wide export.

        All that matters is reducing the output of fossil fuels.  That's the whole show.

        I'm not against slapping up some solar panels.  They're not without merit.

        But they don't solve the problem.  Only concerted political action can do that.

        Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

        by JesseCW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 09:15:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Its too late for political action (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, RiveroftheWest

          We are locked in to losing 90% of our infrastructure by 2050. Flood Plain insurance maps are projecting 2 feet of sea level rise by 2050 and 5 feet by 2100. Those expectations are probably optimistic.

          Most of our large urban areas are located near river mouths. Most of our roads, tunnels bridges, pipelines, utilities connect infrastructure along coasts and inland waterways that are also subject to flooding

          Take away California, the Gulf coast; Texas, Louisiana. Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, The East Coast, Florida, Georgia, The Carolina's, the Chesapeake and the Bos Wash Corridor you lose well over 100 cities with populations over 100,000, some with populations in the millions. Add in their slurbs and the economic impact and the fact that every country in the world with a few landlocked exceptions like Afghanistan are in the same boat so to speak and civilization is over.

          The places we put pipelines in to deliver oil to will be gone.

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 01:57:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Most of CA is well above projected sea rise. (0+ / 0-)

            Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

            by JesseCW on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 10:58:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Try this viewer (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest, JeffW

     Look at the socio -economic affects section. For a 100 miles inland some parts of California will be cut off from other parts (Harmony)
              Large urban areas like San Diego, LA and San Francisco will have flooding in their business districts. Nuclear Power plants, water treatment plants and sewage treatment plants with outfalls to the sea will be affected.

              There is also salination and saturation of of soils disruption of underground utilities, coastal roads, bridges, tunnels, marinas, docking facilities, LPGN storage tanks,

              When you say California will be unaffected you are mistaken.

              Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

              by rktect on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:24:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Stopping KXL is the defining (14+ / 0-)

    environmental battle of 2014. Its importance as a political marker can not be overstated. Victory here will strengthen the movement to challenge other fossil fuel infrastructure investments and hasten the day when we'll have no choice but to dramatically escalate the development of alternative fuels.

    To facilitate the delivering of greater volumes of shale oil with the justification that it's going to get all burnt someday anyway is, in my view, defeatist. And to couch that justification in the hope that maybe appropriate pipeline safeguards and regulatory oversight will be enacted is beyond silly, given the current anti-regulatory mindset of our elected officials and their track record of holding no one accountable for anything. Witness the wholly inadequate compensation exacted from BP for the disaster they let loose upon the Gulf.

    In 2006 Obama explicitly ruled out a 2008 run for president and declared he would remain in the senate until his term expired in 2010. Encouraging Elizabeth Warren to run in 2016 is the right thing to do.

    by WisePiper on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 03:32:43 PM PST

  •  Still an optomist. (5+ / 0-)

    Try to stop the line, hold it back, stall. Every day the price and viability of large scale solar and wind and tide etc. is overtaking the fossil fuels. Result? political chaos.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 03:32:48 PM PST

  •  That socket you screw your new LED bulb into... (7+ / 0-)

    ... is early 1880's technology.

    Edison patented a system for electricity distribution in 1880, which was essential to capitalize on the invention of the electric lamp. On December 17, 1880, Edison founded the Edison Illuminating Company. The company established the first investor-owned electric utility in 1882 on Pearl Street Station, New York City. It was on September 4, 1882, that Edison switched on his Pearl Street generating station's electrical power distribution system, which provided 110 volts direct current (DC) to 59 customers in lower Manhattan.[62]

    Every time my iPhone battery gets down to 47%, I think of Mitt Romney.

    by bobinson on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 03:34:22 PM PST

    •  Yes, but remember, that LED bulb... (3+ / 0-) designed to replace an incandescent one. Edison would have jumped at the chance to build light-emitting diodes if his "invention factory" had discovered the phenomenon, and they would have fit better into his DC power systems.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:29:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ugh... Edison (0+ / 0-)

      Edison was a piece of shit unqualified to lick the toilet paper shreds off Tesla's butt...  A no-talent ass-hole.

      But I agree, boiling water by burning shit to make power is so industrial revolution.  We need to get past that ASAP, it's an embarrassment to our collective intelligence.  Makes us appear pathetic.

  •  One of the central problems (10+ / 0-)

    that we face is that is that the future of humanity doesn't really depend on things like recycling and hybrid cars as the diarist points out. There is just no real decrease in the global burning of coal, oil and gas. That's the key: gigatons of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere and the oceans. That's why I think Keystone is a bit of a red herring. Although one would not want Keystone to be built, the truth of the matter is that it represents a tiny part of a really huge problem. We are not, and probably will not, decrease fossil fuel consumption anywhere near enough to make a difference to climate change.

    The environmental argument has to switch totally toward pushing hard for non-fossil fuel power generation: energy efficiency, wind, solar, hydro and, yes, lots of nuclear. We are past picking and choosing. I note that Germany in its purity has been shutting nuclear power plants only to increase burning of lignite. Oh what a friend to the environment that action was.

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 03:37:25 PM PST

    •  I had always hoped Illinois would get... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...more wind farms up and running, and coal burning would decrease, before the nukes went offline because of their age. Well, coal burning is decreasing, but natural gas is taking up the slack.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:31:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for this..... (11+ / 0-) so happens that I was a member of the senior curatorial staff of the National Museum of Science & Industry, London, the organization that constructed the Difference Engine.

    I cannot claim any credit for this at all, although I did enjoy seeing it take shape - and storing some computer components for Dr Doron Swade, who was Head of Computing.

    •  I sometimes (9+ / 0-)

      think Babbage had to be some kind of time traveler. His designs were so incredibly innovative. It was so far ahead of its time that most people had forgotten about it by the time computers became a reality. I'm glad those ideas found a second life of sorts in museum display at least.

      •  Automata (5+ / 0-)

        Sorry mate - Babbage, like all greats, was just building on technology that had already been around for well over half a century.

        Babbage used the gears and cams that had been designed to power the workings of highly complex Automata by greats of the last half of the 1700s - designers such as Merlin, De Vaucanson, Von Kempelen, Maillardet and Jaquet-Droz.

        For example, the workings of Jaquet-Droz's The Writer even go beyond the complexities of normal Automata and allow for actual early "programming" of the robot - it can be programmed to write words, names and phrases by the operator.

        In Babbage's day Automata like The Writer would have been famous, as were the workings and methods of their designers. I think he applied their technology to his own ends.

        If Babbage could be said to be truly an innovator, it is in his supportive attitude towards female students in a time when female access to higher learning was highly restricted and frowned upon. You can't think of Babbage without remembering Ada Lovelace.

        •  The hardware and essence of the technology. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          While the Difference Engine itself may have been little more than a clever re-ordering of existing technology to execute polynomials, the Analytic Engine was a genius work.  

          It is like saying the Eniac was no big thing because it had vacume tubes in it, and vacume tubes were well estabilished.  It entirely misses the point that the primitive hand cranked brass gears and cams had been used in other devices, because this device was an information processing machine a century before the information age.  The Writer had more in common with the Jacquard looms than the designed-but-never-completed Analytic Engine.

          We do so many things with technology in today's world, and associate the technology with the essence of what we do.  But one of the great enabling axioms of steampunk is that the essence of what we do does not need be bound by the technology we use.

          Babbage was not a great engineer so much as an applied mathematician.

          Currently reading: Path To A Better World: A Plan for Prosperity, Opportunity, and Economic Justice by James Aldus

          by Aramis Wyler on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 09:42:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Not all that many years ago ..... (5+ / 0-)

        ..... researchers - using the tools that existed at Babbage's time - were finally able to make his machine work ... I can't find a link, but it may have been in the late 1990's? Or a decade ago?

           In its Millennium issue, The Economist magazine - in looking at what it considered the ten greatest inventions from 1000-1999 - settled upon a different figure as the forerunner of modern computing. Do have a look at this essay at this link ... here are a few key sentences:

        It was only with the construction of the first electronic computers in the 1940s, by people who were unaware of Babbage's work, that the ground-breaking nature of that work became apparent. Had Babbage never lived, in other words, the rise of the computer would have happened anyway.

        In contrast to Babbage - who wanted to automate the fiddly business of mathematical calculation - another 19th-century pioneer (Hermann Hollerith) was interested in the less esoteric (but equally tedious) field of data processing. Babbage intended his elaborate "calculating engines" to be used by scientists, in much the way that specialist supercomputers are today. The particular application he had in mind—the "killer app"—was the production of error-free mathematical and astronomical tables. Hollerith, on the other hand, made his name building machines to handle a gargantuan data-processing task: the analysis of the results of the United States' census.

        And after noting how Hollerith made a huge difference in the tabulation of the Census, it added:
        This success enabled Hollerith to expand his Tabulating Machine Company into overseas markets. In 1911, the company merged with two others, and in 1924 the new firm changed its name to International Business Machines—now better known as IBM. There is, in other words, a direct line from Hollerith's tabulating machines to mainframe computers and, in 1981, to the first IBM PC.

        "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

        by Ed Tracey on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 04:56:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  And I was there a few weeks ago... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      1BQ, RiveroftheWest

      looking over the results.  What amazed me was the size of it, and the amount of work that must have been required to actually build the thing.

  •  This months trains magazine (5+ / 0-)

    has a feature story , long , multi page , maps , etc
    about oil shipping via rail .
    If it doesn't go via a pipeline it might go via rail .

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 03:48:15 PM PST

    •  Albany, NY is the hub of oil by rail (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, PrahaPartizan, RiveroftheWest

      The Albany Times Union has an article with maps and pictures showing where oil is being shipped from by rail, the two main routes, and where it goes once it reaches Albany, NY.

      About 75 percent of Bakken oil production travels by rail and as much as 400,000 barrels a day heads to the East Coast, said Trisha Curtis, an analyst at the Energy Policy Research Foundation. Albany gets 20 to 25 percent of the Bakken’s rail exports, according to various analyst estimates.
      Albany’s newfound role did not happen by chance. It has long served as a regional distribution center for heating oil and gasoline to Vermont. It is linked to the Midwest by rail and is close to many of the East Coast’s major refineries. This coincidence of geography and logistics has made it an ideal trans-shipping point for oil produced in the Bakken region, now about 950,000 barrels a day.

      “Early on we saw an opportunity to supply East Coast refiners with cost-effective North American crude oil,” said Eric Slifka, the chief executive of Global Partners, which first brought oil by rail to Albany around the end of 2011. The company doubled its oil-handling capacity to 1.8 billion gallons a year, the equivalent of 118,000 barrels a day, in 2012.

      Another energy company, Houston-based Buckeye Partners, made a similar calculation and also expanded its capacity for crude oil in Albany in 2012 to one billion gallons a year, up from 400 million gallons. At the time, state regulators at the Department of Environmental Conservation received no public comment.

      There's this about shipping the oil by rail. It's forcing the authorities and the railroads to look hard at upgrading their lines and their equipment. Upgrades will benefit all rail traffic, not just oil. Oil by rail has the 'advantage' that accidents will be limited to the damage that can be caused by a single trainload of oil - if the worst happens, there's only so much oil that can spill or burn. (Of course, that could happen right in the middle of a city, as we've seen.) Unlike a buried pipeline, oil by rail is in plain sight. If something goes wrong, it's obvious pretty quickly. Oil by rail is not limited to a single route - it can go where the rails are up to the traffic. Oil by rail has another advantage. If the market goes south (or is shut down), you don't have an empty pipeline crying out for something to fill it, or an abandoned ticking time bomb.

      I do not think we should be using the Bakken Crude, but rail isn't the worst of all the trade-offs out there.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 04:28:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are limits to how much rail can (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      handle, which is a damn big part of why staggering amounts of money are spent to build the pipeline.

      If the pipeline wouldn't result in more oil reaching market, only the most idiotic businessmen in the world would be trying to build it.

      Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

      by JesseCW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 09:18:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Have you read the trains magazine (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        about oil shipping ?

        If the pipeline wouldn't result in more oil reaching market, only the most idiotic businessmen in the world would be trying to build it.
        That's not the whole story , the cost to ship via pipeline is less , the overall costs are less , if the pipeline is owned by the oil company they are not giving profit to the rail companies , etc etc etc

        "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

        by indycam on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:22:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Trains Are Hauling Oil (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PDiddie, RiveroftheWest

      The oil transported on oil is real and it is growing.  And, it is spilling.  The Texas and Louisiana ports are growing and some old facilities are being brought on line to handle the oil carried by train.

  •  We can't afford to give Keystone XL a pass (7+ / 0-)

    The US should ban all tar sands oil eventually.

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 03:53:38 PM PST

  •  Here's an idea.. more nukes! (6+ / 0-)

    But there's the rub.. the folks against Keystone XL also yell the loudest when new nuclear plants are proposed.

    Nuclear is by far the cleanest, most abundant form of energy available to us right now.  Solar is still pitifully inefficient.  Wind is coming along, but painfully slow and a lot more expensive than proponents first led us to believe.

    And with wind, ungodly expenses for infrastructure must be put into new grids, because the wind is where people aren't.

    Standardized mini-nukes, developed and sited near point of use for the next 30 years would give us breathing room to get next-gen solar, wind and other renewables going.

    Plug-in electric cars are coming into their own.  Electric hybrids can get well over 100 MPG.  We need to build newer power plants that can provide clean cheap electricity to power those cars.  The cheaper electricity is, the more common plug-in electrics will be.  It is a reinforcement we should be pushing.

    The sooner we get away from gas guzzlers, the sooner oil prices will drop.  And fracked oil will be priced out of the market.

    But it will never be done because.. scary!

    •  My (5+ / 0-)

      big concern with nukes isn't the technology, it's the corruption. From regulation "creep" to out and out bribes. Even if you start out with tough regs and monitoring, we've seen how that process can be eroded over time. Think Glass-Steagull. And look at Fukushimo, when a nuke goes it can lay waste to vast swaths of our habitat.

      •  Using a safer technology helps. (0+ / 0-)

        Using Thorium reactors of the molten salt variety, who's destructive potential is a tiny sliver of the usual nuclear power plants, would go a long way towards making the tough regs less necesary.  They can also be a lot smaller.

        Currently reading: Path To A Better World: A Plan for Prosperity, Opportunity, and Economic Justice by James Aldus

        by Aramis Wyler on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 09:48:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Mini-nukes have been the future (6+ / 0-)

      for the past fifty years. And will continue to be the future for the next fifty.

      I'll get on that bandwagon when we've got a good way to handle the waste. And when I'm convinced that the infrastructure for uranium enrichment is not being subsidized by expenditures for nuclear weapons, so that the true cost of nuclear (including remediation and waste handling) is expressed in the cost of the produced electricity.

      Screw John Galt. Who's John Doe?

      by Mike Kahlow on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 04:14:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do we have a good way.... (0+ / 0-) handle carbon dioxide?

        You're so obsessed with dodging the bullet that you are going to be hit by the cannon shell.

        "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

        by sagesource on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:56:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Did I say I was in favor of continued carbon? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, RiveroftheWest

          Am I asking too much, that we have a realistic way of dealing with the waste?

          Am I really asking for too much in wanting an honest, cradle-to-grave assessment of nuclear costs?

          Along with solar. And wind. And then let it fall where it may.

          But hey, congrats. You really knocked down that strawman.

          Consider that the next time you're wondering why more people on the fence aren't leaning nuclear. It's because we've been fed decades of bullcrap from the nuclear industry - AEC/Department of Energy.

          Screw John Galt. Who's John Doe?

          by Mike Kahlow on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:19:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  All Hail the Electric Car (6+ / 0-)

      That last point is strikingly important, since it's always "The Economy, Stupid!"  If we drove mostly electric or hybrid electric cars and buses, that expensive to extract shale oil would just sit under the ground, due to the economics of it.  So maybe Elon Musk becomes the hero of the 21st Century by pushing through his national electric charging station highway and continuing to come out with electric cars that are so stunning in design, safety, affordability and drivability that he sells thousands of them and other manufacturers join the bandwagon.  And talk about Steampunk, wouldn't the 21st century triumph of the electric car be ironic, since we took the detour in the 20th century to the gas engine after starting out in the 19th century with electric cars!

      •  Keep (7+ / 0-)

        in mind, electric vehicles have to plug into a grid. Basic thermo students learn an important principle about conversion efficiency from heat to mechanical (And then to electricity) early on. It's arguably more efficient to burn the gas in an engine than to use it to heat water and turn a generator to charge a battery to turn a motor. If the entire population of cars hit the grid today, I'm not sure what would happen, but assuming it didn't overload it, the net output of ghgs, given the current mix of power stations might be the same or worse. To solve this issue, we need more than electric cars. We need fundamentally cleaner energy sources coming online.

        •  Charging mainly occurs at night... (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          geez53, nirbama, 1BQ, ModMark, RiveroftheWest

          ...when other energy users are off the grid. And EV's don't care what their source is, whether it's the grid, or a bank of fixed batteries that are charged during the day by PV panels.

          Just sayin'...

          Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

          by JeffW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 04:31:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You speak truth to possibility grasshopper.....but (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            1BQ, JeffW, RiveroftheWest

            only at the end use of the total energy involved.

            We could, with smart grid tech, even out the line peaks that would come with charging EVs at night, but the utility company would be engaging more generation over a longer period of the day.

            Start your energy input to the fixed battery idea from the stand point of galena (lead ore), get it mined, processed, turned into plates. Then the plastic case, starting with the crude oil for the petro-chem. Same same with the sulfuric acid. Now put it all together, ship it to your door and hook it up to the PV panels (for which you have performed the same total energy requirement). Now start your countdown clock, because the first volt that enters the battery starts the end of it's life, same for the PV. So in xyears, you have to start that consumption process again.

            Recycling will help reduce the total energy consumption overall, but it too requires some form of energy consumption, starting with picking it up at your house.

            We must get off fossil fuels at some point, it's not optional, it will run out, if we don't fry the planet first. The main problem is overcoming it's energy-density advantage that we have taken for granted for far too long. And our solution is going to have to be accounted for End-To-End, not just from any particular point in the system.

            Yeh .... it's all complicated and sh%t.  ;}

            21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

            by geez53 on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:29:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It is complicated (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              but the utility company would be engaging more generation over a longer period of the day.
              But reducing off peak hours is a positive issue for nuclear power, just start them up and let them run steady state 24/7. For more cost effective and efficient to run generators at constant output all day.

              That is the problem with intermittent power sources (solar/wind),  very expensive machines sitting idle when used in a backup role.

              •  True dat ....... but again ........but. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JesseCW, RiveroftheWest

                I used to be firmly in the nuke camp till concrete. It takes an extreme amount of this seemingly simple gray stuff to construct a convention power station. But start counting the energy consumption/carbon foot print from the point of exposing the limestone, bring in a track drill for the blast holes, fill the wholes with explosives (add their total ec/cfp), blast,crush and grade (releasing a surprising amount of CO2), transport, mix with portland cement (even more energy consumption to bake that stuff) and we haven't even gotten to the tons of rebar and the construction process itself. Don't forget start-to-finish for uranium ore to fissionable material, the reactor, control mechanisms ....... it all adds up. and we still have the unknown variable of making the waste safe or neutral for 250K years.

                It was only the partial realization of this total investment that through the phrase "too cheap to meter" into the PR trash bin in the first place. I haven't given up totally on nuke power, but there is no such animal as "FREE", especially when it comes to energy conversion, production and consumption. We just have to find the solution that the species and planet can afford from now until the sun goes all red giant on us (mute point after that).

                21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

                by geez53 on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:17:49 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wind is cheaper. That pretty much means (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Egalitare, RiveroftheWest, JeffW

                  the argument is over, except for the politicians bought by the nuke industry.

                  Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

                  by JesseCW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 09:25:47 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Actually, nuclear is "cheaper" than anything else (0+ / 0-)

                  Nuclear uses one-third the concrete of wind when calculated by KWh over their productive lifetimes.  And, it uses one-fifth the steel of wind.

                  Building Materials Footprint

                  Nuclear power is often criticized as a huge consumer of building materials. This is true if you just look at the materials used to build a power station without considering the amount of energy the power station generates over its life. As such, building materials are often quoted in tonnes per MW (power plant size) rather than tonnes per MWh (the power plant’s energy generation). This can mislead us into thinking that nuclear power uses more resources than solar panels, when the opposite is true.

                  The table below shows the concrete and steel used in some plant constructions expressed as tonnes per GWh per year.

          •  For now it does. In the future, more and more (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest, JeffW

            people will insist on having charging facilities at work.

            Which is fine.  There's nothing wrong with covering parking lots with solar panels.  Shade reducing heat islands is just a minor side benefit.

            Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

            by JesseCW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 09:24:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  On efficiency... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It is very close between electric or burning gasoline in a ICE cars as these engines are very inefficient.  

          A 'napkin' calculation...

          ICE is ~30% efficient. Combine cycle turbine, 50%, transmission loses  7%,  charging efficiency  90% and motors can be 93% efficient.

          That is 30% for ICE vs 38% for electric.

          Of course if you include nukes which have negligible fuel cost, electric cars is the clear winner. In my area if you charge up at night, commuting to work would have near zero CO2 emission with a PHEV/EV.

    •  There are micro nuclear power plants (2+ / 0-)

      Like the Toshiba 4S. They pose little risk with their micro sodium reactor design. Toshiba was going to build one in Galena AK. The problem that they ran into was they had to meet the same standards as a full scale nuclear plants, and they abandon the project.

      I can see a place for these.

      “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

      by se portland on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 04:44:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Needed to Read Your Comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      1BQ, JJ In Illinois

      When you mentioned "nukes," I thought you were referring to the use of nuclear bombs to create a "nuclear winter" to offset the atmospheric heat increase caused by the increase in warming gasses.  I've always been surprised that some on the climate change denial camp haven't advocated that more aggressively.  Of course, their foreign policy initiatives might result in global nuclear winter accidentally anyway.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:03:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It needs to be something better (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      than these 1960s vintage boiling-water reactors we've been building.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:03:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Light Water vs Boiling Water (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I presume you mean light water reactors of all stripes (boiling water and pressurized water).  Boiling water reactors (BWR) refer to a particular design championed by General Electric back in the early days of the nuclear power revolution, when the electricity was going to be so cheap that meters would become irrelevant and unnecessary.  The BWR design offered the advantage that it eliminates the complexity of the high-pressure cooling loop with its pumps and motors but condemns the entire steam path to becoming radioactive because it's "hot" steam passing through the turbine.  It's also slightly less efficient since its top pressure and temperatures are slightly less than the pressurized-water reactors.

        Somehow any new nuclear designs should include some ability to automatically shut down the reaction with loss of coolant and allow for heat dissipation to avoid melt down of the cores.  Someone should have learned something from our collective experiences of the last thirty-five years.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:11:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  An issue bigger than the XL pipeline may be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JJ In Illinois

      Convincing consumers to start buying PHEV/EV cars. If these cars were selling in moderate volumes with oil demand starting it's slow decline, the XL pipeline may have been a dead issue.

      Many hope for that miracle alternative fuel but the future of transportation may be here today, electric cars. Just reducing gasoline/diesel consumption by 50% over couple decades would be a major accomplishment.  

    •  I'm just going to point to Fukushima (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, Mike Kahlow, JesseCW

      and leave it at that.

      Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

      by The Dead Man on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:06:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's like.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JJ In Illinois, JeffW

        ....pointing to the Hindenburg to argue against airliners.

        If the environmental movement hadn't been such fools about nuclear energy, we might be shutting down the reactors and transitioning to wind and solar about now. Without the gigatons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

        I sometimes think that nuclear was deliberately fed to the wolves by the energy industry to distract criticism from oil, gas, and coal. The environmental movement went running after the shiny, and didn't notice the planet's future was in peril until perhaps too late.

        "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

        by sagesource on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:01:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nuclear is more expensive than wind. It (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, Mike Kahlow

      has a bigger carbon footprint.  It has undeniable massive additional risks.

      We're heard Nuke Fan-Boys for 60 years tell us that "The new designs around the corner are perfectly safe".  They are, without fail, wrong.

      Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

      by JesseCW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 09:21:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As much as I wish it wouldn't be built... (4+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately approval is the logical choice for US energy security.  As  US citizen living in Ontario, I wish the Canadian government was wise enough to leave that lignite in the ground until a) it is needed in Canada, and b)better and less destructive technologies are developed for recovering and using it. But the conservatives from Alberta are in power and they are going to dig that stuff up and burn it as fast as they can, and get it to market with crashing trains, leaking pipes through BC, or Valdez-type tankers from the BC coast, all of which are likelier to spew oil than an inland pipeline.

    I say get all we can from it..carbon restrictions on coal, renewable energy development, conservation initiatives, even a carbon tax.

    •  The oil will flow, so I don't buy the "energy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, RiveroftheWest, JesseCW

      security" line even if Keystone XL is blocked.  That oil will find its way to market.  Even with the building of the pipeline, they're right now planning on sending the oil to Texas to then export it.  Oil isn't any one country's property.  The US can't just take the oil if there's some sort of energy shock (like if the neocons who are pushing this are able to invade Iran post-2016).  Oil kept here in the US will be filled in by the market so another country will get the US' shipments.

      Real energy security will be when we produce and consume power here in the US and that means non-global markets.  That leaves out oil and increasingly natural gas.  Coal is becoming known for how dirty it is, what with the spills into waterways and knowledge about polluted air.  Nuclear is an option, but I agree with Mike Kahlow just above - I'm not in favor of them until we have a way to dispose of the waste.  What happened in New Mexico in early February still isn't known, but many workers were exposed to radiation at a storage facility.  Fukishima is another warning klaxon.  

      Conservation, wind, solar and biofuels are the future - the sooner we ramp them up, the more secure this country will be and the sooner the US feels secure, the fewer wars the US will get into over energy in the future so the whole world will be safer.

  •  Keystone is the wrong place to focus too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland

    much energy.

    American consumption of tar sands oil is a better place.

    Hard to speak with much moral authority when  we are the largest consumer of tar sands oil.

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

    by dinotrac on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 04:04:10 PM PST

    •  That's because it's already flowing south... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac, JesseCW

      ...through older, smaller pipelines. Some of which have already leaked.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 04:33:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes it is, but the real reason is because we keep (0+ / 0-)

        buying and burning it.  The pipelines are just an instrumentality.

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

        by dinotrac on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:02:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We keep buying and burning it... (3+ / 0-)

          ...because we haven't got enough choices, yet.

          Elon Musk hasn't opened his new battery plant. Via hasn't sold enough heavy-duty PHEV trucks and SUV's to fleets to bring them to single users. Our farms require fuel for machinery and food transport, and there are few alternatives. Just getting around longer distances requires petroleum.

          The parts of the XL that have been built are crappy examples of pipeline construction, and not specifically built for dilbit, by the owner's own admission. If I had to pick the instrumentality to move the crud, I'd rather it went by train.

          Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

          by JeffW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:20:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is Musk a God? (0+ / 0-)
            ...because we haven't got enough choices, yet.
            But you do have viable and affordable products today. With the federal tax credit, the Volt cost $28K which is below the nation average car price ($30K). And you can use this car for long distance trip.

            Yet hte sales for the Volt are a pathetic 2,000 month.

            It is a Chevy seem to be the main problem. The Tesla S is cool!

            Time to build another pipeline.

            •  The Volt is a very expensive Chevy Cruze, even (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              with the tax credit.

              And there are other problems as well.

              One big one: Car salesmen don't like to sell electrics.


              They're on commission, and potential buyers have a lot more questions about electric cars than on gasoline models.  If you're not a Toyota dealer selling Prii out the yinyang, how to you convince Chevy salespeople to take the time to make people understand the difference between the Volt and the Prius while also explaining why the Volt costs so much more than the near-identical (save for drivetrain) Cruze?

              One of the ironies of being in supposedly free-market Texas is that Tesla is not allowed to sell cars here because of its direct from the factory approach.

              And yet -- that is very well designed to let sales people patiently explain the pros and cons of their electric vehicles.

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

              by dinotrac on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:02:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, and when she settled on the VW Golf... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                ...I was admiring a 2012 Touareg Hybrid while the salesperson was finishing up the paperwork. It would be more than enough for our needs, but I'd still need a windfall to pay for it, and Calamity Jean wants us to have a plug-in.

                Oh, welll.

                Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

                by JeffW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:33:57 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The Prius is a very expensive Toyota Corolla, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                even with the tax credit.

                Why do so many compare the Volt to low end cars but don't do the same with other car manufacturers? This is quite common with both liberals and conservatives.

                And if we are dependent on car salesmen for reducing oil consumption, our planet is screwed.

                •  No, it really isn't. Certainly not in the sense (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JeffW, RiveroftheWest

                  that the Volt is an expensive Cruze.

                  The Volt actually is a Cruze outfitted with a hybrid drivetrain and some niceties.  The concept isn't unknown.  Infiniti and Lexus have long built their entry-level models on Nissan Maximas and Toyota Camrys, but -- the Cruze ain't in that league.

                  The Prius is a special purpose car that does it's job well.  It looks different from a Corolla and it is different.  It's not my cup of tea -- I like to have a little bit of fun with my care -- but it is distinctive.  You won't mistake a Prius for anything else.  

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

                  by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:04:07 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The Prius is a special purpose car (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    while the Volt is just an  expensive Cruze? The non-PHEV version of the Prius was just a standard ICE drive train with an electric motor bolted on the transmission. It is a standard parallel hybrid drive found on many cars.

                    The Volt was completely different, the motor provides the primary drive with assistance from the ICE (electric or mechanical). The gear box on the Volt was quite unique.

                    And of course it was built using an existing platform (Delta 2), all cars are built this way.

                    I should not assume you are liberal or conservative but I don't understand the critical attitude towards the Volt on a liberal site. This car could reduce your gasoline consumption by 90% and reducing demand is the only way to stop projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.

                •  Just checked -- The current generation Prius (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  is built on the chassis of the Toyota Avensis, a European model that is smaller than the Camry but bigger than the Corolla.

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

                  by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:07:28 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  My wife test-drove the Volt in 2012... (0+ / 0-)

              ...she found it too cramped. I have a 13-year-old Ford Focus I'd like to replace, but our needs call for a pickup or SUV capable of hauling a cow trailer. Via makes them, but unless we have a windfall, and they start selling them to individuals, we will have to look elsewhere. I doubt a Volt will pull a cow in a trailer.

              Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

              by JeffW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:05:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  No (0+ / 0-)

              but there are some who joke that SpaceX is a cult :)

  •  A comment only on the poll's numbers: 617 votes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geez53, Stude Dude

    (at a point in time) and only nineteen comments.

    Another indication that posters of comments here a relatively small sampling of the entire blog's visitors.

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 04:05:56 PM PST

    •  "are" a relatively small sampling.... (0+ / 0-)

      "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

      by Wildthumb on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 04:06:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd call it clear evidence that polls on some (0+ / 0-)

      topics reflect a lot of votes from people who are not users of this site but who have received social media prodding to go vote in some poll.

      Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

      by JesseCW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 09:32:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not everyone here needs to make a signature tweet (0+ / 0-)

        just because they voted in a poll.  Some people can just vote and move on, the salient points already made by others.

        Currently reading: Path To A Better World: A Plan for Prosperity, Opportunity, and Economic Justice by James Aldus

        by Aramis Wyler on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 09:57:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Remember Penn Station? (10+ / 0-)

    One of the most glorious buildings to ever grace New York City - destroyed in the corporate melt-down of the Penn Central Railroad. The corporation owned it, the corporation destroyed it. Madison Square Garden was hardly a fair trade - but that's the way the money said to go.

    And yet, it did have one consequence. When Grand Central Station faced a similar fate, the horrible example of Penn Station and the loss to the Big Apple was one of the elements that contributed to the preservation movement and the successful crusade to save it. (It didn't hurt that Jackie Kennedy Onassis got involved.) The station was not only saved, it was restored and today it's impossible to imagine New York City without it.

    I think we need to fight the KXL. If we can stop it, so much the better. If we can't stop it, we A) should damn well demand everything possible to mitigate its effects, and B) we make the next fight easier.

    Because you know there will be a next fight.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 04:12:12 PM PST

  •  Keystone is a done deal. (7+ / 0-)

    Obama will delay it until he is ready to leave office, then OK it on his way out the door. This will secure him serious monetary compensation from the oil industry payable after he us beyond paying any political price.

    As to "triangulation", it would be a bad idea, since the other side would NEVER keep up their end of the bargain. We might get some green concessions, but those concessions would be withdrawn, cancelled, or simply never implemented once the pipeline was built.

    •  If (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PrahaPartizan, JeffW, RiveroftheWest

      it's a done deal I don't see what there is to lose by going after concessions.

      •  because that's a fool's argument (7+ / 0-)

        First off, to claim that KXL is a done deal, with no evidence back it up,  is simply defeatist logic that doesn't account for the effect of public pressure. If there had been no sustained pushback by environmentalists and Democrats, it most likely would be a done deal by now. But the deal is not done, due that pressure, and here we are advocating accepting defeat?

        Secondly, it seems typically liberal that, when faced with the fight of our lives (considering the impact of defeat at this point - politically and environmentally), there will always be voices arguing that we should give up the fight, because we'll probably lose anyway, lower our expectations, and accept some kind of imaginary consolation prize that none of the decision makers have ever proposed anyway. Classic Lucyball, the Democrats' favorite sport.

        Here's my prediction: if KXL is approved, there will be NO significant concessions,  no matter what we ask for in our nice polite voices.  

        Here's a third option for your poll: fight against this like hell, and make it clear that there will be consequences if it is approved (because there will be). IF it is approved anyway, THEN demand those concessions as a price for once again bowing to the corporate masters at the expense of everyone on the planet.

        "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

        by quill on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:56:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My evidence is history (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          We have been sold out, again and again, by the very people we elected to save us.

          Oh, we get the odd bone tossed to us on occasion, but the march to the right continues. While we may win on marriage equality, we lose on finance reform, corruption reform, law enforcement reform,  election reform, etc, etc.... Any single victory is accompanied by a string of other losses

          Corporations are assimilating our democracy. Resistance, while encouraged and expected, is ultimately futile.

          Make no mistake, we could actually defeat these people, but that CANNOT happen until we face the reality of the situation and stop pretending that our enemies are our friends. But, too many people keep refusing to do this, which mean we are doomed to see a lot of folk with knives in their back and expressions of shock on their faces.

          I don't have to look far to see that isn't going to happen.

          Again, I could be wrong. Would love to be wrong.

          I have just betrayed too many times to have much faith in optimism.

          •  that's one way to see it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And I confess that I share your cynicism about our entire political system, Obama included. But though we can't trust our leaders to not betray us, we also have real power, when enough of us can be persuaded to move together in the same direction, and that is what is happening right now with KXL opposition. Will it be enough? We don't know, but for sure it won't if enough people decide to give up and go home.

            "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

            by quill on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 09:03:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Again, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I agree with you that we CAN change things. We just can't do it while a large part of our contingent refuses to believe Obama is going to screw us, and paints us as the enemy for pointing this fact out.

              "We have met the enemy..." etc.

        •  I love Darksyde's notion of a perfect power (0+ / 0-)

          sweet spot.

          Just enough to get a few concessions, nowhere near enough to impact core policies.

          No need at all to defend the notion that we have just exactly that much power.  State it, stick to it, and lo and behold....people will buy in.

          Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

          by JesseCW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 09:35:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  By all means, try (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, DarkSyde, quill

        I have watched this play out again and again.

        We could win, if only we had leaders who were not working for the other side. Need I remind folk that the Obama they are expecting to put the kibosh on the pipeline deal is the same Obama pushing hard for a trade deal that will make NAFTA look like The New Deal?

        •  I (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quill, RiveroftheWest

          get frustrated often, with "our side". But in the end, after the election is over and the session begins, the lessor of two evils strategy does have the advantage of being more likely to advance the ledge you want and/or slow down the ledge you don't want. Ultimately, politics as practiced in this day and age is about advancing ledge or stopping ledge.

          I don't know if I could bring myself to vote for a moderate republican, even if there was no other choice, but I can recognize the mod is less likely to stop ledge I want than a fanatic. The centrist is more likely to help me or less likely to hinder me than the moderate republican. The centrist dem, etc, iterate, you get the picture :()

          •  I don't think we have to worry about (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            the dilemma of having to vote for a "moderate Republican" as such a creature no longer exists.

            I have no problem with the "lesser of two evils" strategies as long as we are honest about the fact that we are still voting for evil.

            What annoys me are people claiming Obama is some kind of fucking liberal saint. No, he isn't. He is, in a number of places on par with, or to the right of, Nixon

            All I am asking for is honesty in our discourse. The same hype we got about Obama is starting with Clinton. She is presumed the next president and the only good things I see about it is:

            1) We get a second historical first.

            2) I get to watch the wingnuts peg their blood pressure.

            The downside, is that Clinton is more Thatcher than Shirely Chisolm and that she will pretty much cement Wall Street's power on Washington.

    •  Money don't mean much to dead species. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, quill, JesseCW

    I voted to stay the course.  I am not certain; we know just what compromise is worth the potential damage which this pipeline, a Master Limited Partnerships with little legal controls by law  would achieve.  Laws would need to be changed and the climate is not in favor of the changes needed.

     Pipelines are organized in accordance with the 1986 Tax Reform Act as Master Limited Partnerships.  They do not pay Federal Corporate Taxes since the Act exempts enterprises organized as MLP’s.   Some of the investors may pay taxes on their dividends.  Pipelines are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has a history of allowing pipeline firms to collect taxes and pocket them as profit.  The Commission and its employees are a revolving door between regulator/regulatee.  
    The public needs to know the following:
    Who are the partners and what is their role and contribution to the firm?   Who is responsible for the pipeline’s operation and oversight of maintenance, inspections and public safety?
    The public also has the right to know how all 200 pipeline firms are organized, their profits, taxing programs, investor dividends whether from profits and/or new investors, and there overall safety record.
    An Executive and Legislative investigation of all these matters should be undertaken before any approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline is given.

  •  Turing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "by some accounts the first full-blown Turing-complete computer"  Don't listen to those people's accounts.

  •  This is not going to be popular... (4+ / 0-)

    There is existing Enbridge pipes from Edmonton to Patoka. Pokatoa connects to the Exxon Enbridge Pegasus into Texas. The proposed pipe line from there to Echo outside of Houston does not cross any sensitive ecological areas. I don't have a problem with that. In fact the whole line from Cushing OK. to Echo TX. is not all that sinister from an environmental prospective.

    I am opposed to the PADDIII from Canada to Nebraska, because now we are talking about aquifers, and the risk is just to big. We don't need it, and I suspect it is more about ownership of the pipes and people wanting to make more money with 'their' pipe.


    “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

    by se portland on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 04:28:22 PM PST

  •  Yeah - like everything else... (4+ / 0-)

    related to the damned petroleum industry, it's most likely another done deal in exchange for some big-time campaign bux. After all, this is America, where everything and everyone is for sale to anyone with cash on the barrel head - including it's soul.

    Still, I fail to see where the profit motive is in this project for the affected states who will receive the environmental damage  and the poisoning of their aquifers (notice that there were no conditional inferences here -  it isn't "IF", but WHEN it happens).

    Transporting hydrocarbon sludge so toxic that it's second only to radioactive waste 1500 + miles through a hastily-built pipeline with dubious industry "oversight" to Gulf Coast refineries where the processed fuel will be floated via tanker ships to China just doesn't make a bit of sense. SOMEbody is getting filthy rich on this, and it's anybody's guess who it is... but what would compel the ranchers and farmers who will see their livelihoods fail and the land and water poisoned if there weren't some direct kickback? That isn't how this country rolls anymore - there has to be some back room deal lucrative enough to sell out the entire midwestern ecology - come on! For a few hundred lousy short-term pipe fitter jobs?! Get real.

  •  I don't think there's much to trade off. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You are dealing with the Gulf oil refineries. Oil refineries
    don't produce that much CO2, less that steel and cement mills and fertilizer plants.
    The only thing I think could be a trade is if Big Oil agrees
    to accept CO2 for sequestration in oil fields and then require industries to capture CO2.
    Some arrangement of carrots and sticks based on KXL seems unlikely.

  •  It's Obama's call (4+ / 0-)

    The Keystone decision gives the clearest  possible view into the thinking of the Obama administration on energy and global warming. The decision is Obama's alone. He is not constrained by congress or the courts.

    I'm pessimistic. I expect him to approve it.

    Our top scientists are telling us that, to avoid disaster, most of the remaining coal and unconventional oil reserves must remain in the ground, unburned. Energy policy should be directed toward this goal, building out non-carbon alternatives as quickly as possible, and not encouraging new development of unconventional oil.

    Keystone appears to be central to Canada's attempts to increase their tar sands production. They've said as much. If they could get the stuff to market without a new pipe line they would, and they wouldn't be fighting so hard for Keystone. Substantially higher non-pipeline transportation costs will limit production, and make it easier to scale it back once the reality of global warming finally hits home.

    Again, it's Obama's call. I'm prepared to be disappointed.

    •  I'm surprised that they haven't built... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest refineries in Canada for the crud. They would probably pay for themselves by producing finished products that the Canadians could make money off of.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:44:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Possible mitigation measures (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    TransCanada owns and proposes about 4000 mw of fossil-fueled power plants, and operates and proposes probably scores or even 100s of fossil-fueled compressor pumping stations, which are like small power plants.
    The power plants emit a total of about 16 million ton/year of CO2 and fossil fuel compressor stations emit about 500,000 ton/year of CO2 apiece, for perhaps 50 million tons of CO2 from the compressor stations.

    TransCanada could be required to implement carbon capture on its US power plants (such as Ocean State and Ravenswood in the NE) , to convert its compressor stations from gas-fired to electric-powered, and to construct wind and solar power plants to drive the new electric compressors. Electric compressors are very common.  TransCanada already owns some wind, hydroelectric and nuclear generation facilities.

    That would reduce their CO2 emissions by tens of millions or more ton/year and would partly or wholly mitigate for the increased CO2 emissions from mining the Tar Sands.

    I apologize for not providing more data but I am traveling and unable to search the inntertubes for the gritty details.

    I hadn't planned to comment since I am not a pipeline hater, but another commentor pointed out the gap between comments and votes.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 04:54:13 PM PST

  •  It should be noted (6+ / 0-)

    that the existing pipeline (pictured) into which the Keystone will be plugged was not built to carry northern crude south. It was built to carry Venezuelan crude to the midwest. The Tar Sands is being piped South for export, energy security ain't in it. Second, if fracking crude had to pay to treat it's waste water instead of injecting into the ground causing earthquakes and contaminating groundwater, it would probably not be quite so price competitive over sustainables. So if we want to ask for something, that's my preference and if we want to stop Keystone keep talking about exporting oil into a global market. Another ask would be to recover all the gas they flare in the baken. More energy, less profit.

    "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

    by johnmorris on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:06:25 PM PST

  •  win or lose, it's a fight to make (6+ / 0-)

    The idea that we ought not fight it because we may not win seems rather silly.  Most historical political victories on big issues are preceded by a lot of losses that help lay the groundwork for eventual victory.  Win or lose, it's an opportunity to educate, organize and build capacity for future fights.  And I really do believe that the tar sands, coal, and a great deal of oil can and should stay right where they are.  Move it by pipeline or move it by rail is a false choice.  This deserves a Manhattan project or "going to the moon" level of commitment to make the move from fossil fuels to renewable sources.

    "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verité et de la dire" Jean Jaures

    by Chico David RN on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:17:39 PM PST

    •  Manhatton style war for survival-green energy now. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Begin reducing the carbon footprint identified in1938 as the causative factor.  The tipping point may be past.  Only a world wide effort has any chance to hopefully help mitigate this disaster.  The UN knows.  The only hope is extreme diminishment of carbon output.  Totally ground the US military for a week and see the difference that alone would make.  Rush Limbaughs and the Koch brothers flatulence too.  Xenored.

  •  Punking Out. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1BQ, JeffW, RiveroftheWest, Egalitare

    I tried to invent Steam Punk as a stupid kid back in the '70s and sort of fizzled out because it was scribbly juvenilia by somebody who didn't know what he was doing.

    space1888 by melallensink on deviantART

    But it gave me a lot of ideas to recycle in later years. You know those trendy Steam Punk laptops with the brass do-dadds on them? I was drawing hose back in 1996 when the fanboys didn't get the joke.

    Steam Punk Laptop '96! by melallensink on deviantART

    And recycling over again for more recent stuff.

    All of God's Mechanical Creatures by melallensink on deviantART

    Steam is a Gas! by melallensink on deviantART

    Epigonetweak by melallensink on deviantART

    I even did this preliminary character sketch last night.

    Steamed by melallensink on deviantART

    Bonus: Another preliminary of all the Punks together with their robot sidekicks.

    Punks and robots by melallensink on deviantART

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:27:40 PM PST

  •  Pure casuistry, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde, XR News Service, JesseCW

    you must have been raised by Jesuits. In the woods.

    Or so it seems to me: not "fiendishly complex" at all, but drop-dead simple.  If the oil burns, we will all (whole planet) suffer terrible consequences as a result; ditto if it spills into an aquifer - a likely prospect given past records of behavior by both industry AND government.  Forewarned of the danger, to commit oneself to a course of action that facilitates the burning of the oil is to act malevolently - to act, that is, with evil intent.  

    So don't be evil.

    What is your "complexity" but a fancy-pants argument to justify being evil?

    The sum of all religion as expressed by it's best preacher, 'fear god and love thy neighbor,' contains no mystery, needs no explanation - but this wont do. It gives no scope to make dupes; priests could not live by it. --Thomas Jefferson

    •  Come (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, 6412093

      on man, it isn't simple or we would have solved it. Networks are by definition complex. Socially and economically, we use energy, everyone on this thread is using it right now, and unless someone here has their own energy source and are running every hop between their PC and our servers using that source, has installed and maintains that connection without using fossil fuels in anyway, everyone here is using some fossil fuels.

      That's aside from the political and economic issues all wrapped up together. It's fine to concentrate on particular facets, but it's unrealistic to imply we have an easy binary option available right now, eg use or don't use fossil fuels. We do not have that option, not today. If we turned them all off right now, most of us will be living in near Neolithic conditions in short order. Followed by mass starvation, epidemics, and eventually war among the scant few survivors using muskets or clubs.

      •  May be preferrable to total extinction but I hope (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DarkSyde, JesseCW

        We can do better if it's not too late already.  Roll over and play dead and none of us will be playing for long.  Can you say " grandkids, do you know what a living hell on Earth looks like?"  Go ahead and wait, and triangulate!

        •  I (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          understand the concern and have written about it and researched it quite a bit, but again, it's complex. I don't know if our system has the capacity to unravel the energy hole we've dig.

          For example if gas went to ten bucks a gallon and stayed there, whoever happens to be in the WH is probably toast. So if a dem is in there and tries to do some good with green energy, and there's a fuel spike, that very effort could be used against us and usher in people who are far, far worse in every way than the centrist or energy sympathetic dems we all like to complain about. This isn't purely academic, I saw something like that happen in 1980 and I and everyone I know has been living with the devastating consequences my entire adult life.

      •  We are born into a world we do not choose (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, RiveroftheWest

        and it is our role to improve it.  Your implication - that we are all already using fossil fuels, so we might as well get on with it - seems to me a perfect analogue of the argument pilloried by Voltaire in Candide, by which Candide justifies a new murder by a prior one: the deed is already done, what's another corpse?  

        You say "it's unrealistic to imply we have an easy binary option available right now". But I think you are wrong in this: the world you claim to prefer - the world of sustainable alternative energy - will never come to be unless we choose it.  So I would say Yes, we do have a "binary option" to exercise, every day.  And unless we exercise it with persistence and determination, in large ways and in small (do I need to have the lights on all the time? Can't I turn down the heat a few more degrees? Can I hitch a ride to the next KXL protest in DC?  Or install a solar panel on my roof?), then we will be forever living in the world our Masters decree for us, wallowing in our unhappy powerlessness.

        We each do what we can, knowing that we cannot do all.

  •  "Triangulate and demand substantial regulatory and (5+ / 0-)

    green energy concessions"  And you know you're going to get those concessions because...........?????  You're most likely to get neither, so stick to your principles.  At least then people will understand you have some.

    If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu.

    by CarolinNJ on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 05:45:58 PM PST

    •  Well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, JeffW

      it was kind of a trick question. The two options provided in my snap poll are not necessarily mutually exclusive. We can oppose it and still demand concessions in the event it goes through. We may not get them, or they might renege, but there's no reason why we can't try and still oppose. In fact we are better off opposing it with as much ferocity as possible right up to the point, hypothetically speaking, where we know we're about to lose, more opposition gives us more bargaining power, not less.

      •  Politics is a power game and punishing errant (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, 6412093

        behavior, as the baggers have demonstrated, works.  Once the opposition knows you'll roll two seconds before defeat, you're done as players:  they only have to squeeze hard and wait.  The siege strategy.

        If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu.

        by CarolinNJ on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 08:54:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I remember exactly when front pagers here (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CarolinNJ, JeffW

        started floating trial balloons for "trading" the Public Option for some concession or another.

        They did their job.  They got a hell of a lot of people thinking "Oh...well....I guess that's negotiable...".

        And in the end we not only got no Public Option, we got jack shit in the way of trade off for it.  As soon as enough of the Left showed a willingness to trade it away, it was gone with nothing to show for it.

        So the only thing I've got to ask the decidedly right-of-site-center front pager pushing this sell out is -

        Do you think we're all too stupid to recognize patterns?

        Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

        by JesseCW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 09:42:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You have to figure out what will hurt them and (0+ / 0-)

          demonstrate your willingness to engage, win, lose or draw.  The baggies are kamikaze pilots and they've scared the repubs into submission:  no republican with a tea bag mob howling at h/er heels will risk offending them.  It'd be funny if it weren't crushing the rest of us.  And the baggers don't care if they take a hit or lose a round, they just keep on howling and slugging.  Pain is a great equalizer.

          If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu.

          by CarolinNJ on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 10:15:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The only possible way to garner those concessions (5+ / 0-)

    is by absolutely opposing it to the last. The second the progressive left as a bloc even begins to countenance accepting this thing, the game is over.

    Sadly, it probably won't matter anyway.

  •  Climate change is too serious and there is no such (6+ / 0-)

    thing as mitigation when moving in the wrong direction.

    Denying Keystone will increase costs of transportation/export of tar sands crude where expansion may become unprofitable.

    •  I (0+ / 0-)

      see concessions more as a way to take all possibilities into account, including those I don't want. I don't wear a seatbelt because I plan on wrecking, I wear it in case a wreck happens. Wearing a seatbelt does not interfere with driving safely. Knowing what concessions would be most beneficial, or discussing them, doesn't interfere with opposing the pipeline.

    •  You're being talked down from a decent position. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Good for you for not going quietly.

      Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

      by JesseCW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 09:45:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Getting back to the Victorian era, (6+ / 0-)

    I read an article several years ago, one of the most sobering things I've ever read.

    Large-scale production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) was well within the capabilities of mid-to-late 19th Century industry. Industry that was totally free-market, utterly unregulated, much like what we're heading back to today.

    By a stroke of luck it didn't happen; no one at that time happened to stumble across the process to make CFCs, or no one came up with a widespread application for them.

    But if they had... given the manufacturing standards of that time, and the willingness to dispose of anything in the cheapest way possible, it's easy to imagine massive quantities of CFCs escaping into the atmosphere, drifting upwards to irrevocably damage or destroy the ozone layer. Life on the planet might have gradually burned to a crisp in a UV bath, with the species that caused it having no way of knowing why.

    We dodged a bullet on CFCs because, just as the situation could have spiraled out of control, our space technology gave us the means to realize there was, in fact, a situation. The next bullet we have to dodge is GHGs, and we're moving awfully slowly. I wonder how many other bullets, other unintended consequences that perhaps we don't yet know about, are headed in our direction? It gives me pause.

    -8.38, -7.74 My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. - Jack Layton

    by Wreck Smurfy on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:05:38 PM PST

    •  It (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is interesting to speculate what we might have figured out if we had known to go for it. For example, glass lenses or even reflecting telescopes. We might have figured out microscopes and telescopes hundreds of years earlier, maybe thousands of years earlier, had we known to try or even suspected it was possible. That would have been a fascinating development. What might someone like Hippocrates or Hypatia have accomplished with microscopes or telescopes?

  •  A few more from the sketchbook. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, RiveroftheWest

    aerrotor by melallensink on deviantART

    bent-8 by melallensink on deviantART

    Belle too by melallensink on deviantART

    But of course the bestest Punk ever is Atomic!

    But Mother redraw with base color by melallensink on deviantART

    I'm just a little bit bored. Plus a bit frustrated that I can't get recognition for my comics.

    I'm a bit proud of Belle, a spaceship girl with a Nipkow scanned hologram. It's more than just a silly gears and goggles bandwagon thing for me.....

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:19:26 PM PST

    •  One should not take one's baby sister busking... (0+ / 0-)

      ...but I like the Nipkow scanner. I've seen some people playing with recycled hard drives and Arduinos to build a scanner digital readout on YouTube.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:37:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The old Norden Bomb Sight? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, JeffW

    How close was that to a Babbage type machine?

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:26:33 PM PST

  •  The real steam punk is cyberpunk: corporatism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, DarkSyde, Stude Dude

    19th century -- Gilded Age -- models drive our information age. We may have temporary blips of "IT" companies with large market capitalizaiton, but the real money and power still lays with the few involved in infrastructure control, energy control, and media "pipeline" control -- all oligopolies established in the Gilded Age. The families and interests owning them have slid and shifted over the ages, but the power has not.

    The only power shift had been the destruction of ITT and then the seeming destruction of AT&T. However, the re-emergence of Bell South (as Cyngular, as Bell South, and then as the owner of AT&T) and Verizon (NY Bell) proved that that was merely an illusion. The power stayed the same.

    "man, proud man,/ Drest in a little brief authority,. . . Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven/ As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,/ Would all themselves laugh mortal." -- Shakespeare, Measure for Measure II ii, 117-23

    by The Geogre on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:26:36 PM PST

  •  Already laying the groundwork for the Big Cave. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    WTG with the "lay back and let it boil" argument.

    I expected no less before this was over.  I'm sure within 3-4 years it will be grounds for banning to point out that Kos himself once held a position other than the one you're now trying to sell.

    Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

    by JesseCW on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 09:09:10 PM PST

    •  I've (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      never staked out a position on XL and the article above states some of the cons quite clearly, so it's hard to see how I could be caving on any position at this point. I'm just curious what progressives think. But it doesn't make much sense to me to malign my fellow progressives simply because some take into the account the possibility it might go through or others want to fight it tooth and nail.

  •  You Don't Concede Science for Keystone (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde, mommyof3, Egalitare, JeffW

    You stand firm and demand Fracking be banned in the US.

    You don't concede as you both insult Science and the Environment.

    You demand massive expansion of BioDiesel, Solar and Wind.

    You streamline Hydro and free up hundreds of useless dams that hold back Waterways that would help clean up the environment by simply flowing.

    Start listening to Mechanical Engineers on Heat Transfer, Fluid Dynamics, Hydrodynamics, MEMS, etc. Listen to any applie scientist who isn't bought by a member of old industry.

    Stop voting in religious wacks who sit on Scientific Committees.

    Stop being intimidated by Education and obsessed with Greed.

  •  I might be on board with the approval . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but most of the conditions that I would push for probably would kill any kind of deal anyways.


    1. The oil companies should be compelled to escrow, let's say $100 billion, for the next 10 years in connection with environmental remediation, clean-up expenses.  The first 10 years the $100 billion requirement would be the baseline funding -- if there were draw downs, the oil companies would be required to replenish funds.  After 10 years a determination could be made whether to release a portion of the funds, or to require a higher escrow amount.  Consider that the BP oil spill cost $40 billion+ from just a single event.  I don't know if there would be a single event on that scale from Keystone, however, it seems very likely that there will be multiple small scale events.  Plus, with the escrow, the firms would have an added incentive to minimize environmental harm from leaks, as they would have a harder time externalizing costs down the road.

    2. The imposition of a carbon tax, with some portion of the carbon tax being applies to funding of renewables.

    3. Ending special tax breaks for oil companies, including tax breaks regarding depreciation of reserves.

  •  i don't get steampunk (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nils o, RiveroftheWest

    how do they produce the steam?

    how do they prevent everything from being too damn hot to touch?

    If you aren't outraged, you are an idiot

    by indefinitelee on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:46:29 AM PST

  •  We are at an unprecedented Catastrophe point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in our effects on the planet, where what we humans do to the planet will have immediate, dire effects. No longer will the gradual rise in carbon dioxide have a gradual effect, rather, we will see runaway feedback lead to higher and higher temperatures, and higher CO2 levels, caused by increased forest fires, release of methane from permafrost, and the like.

    We are also entering a realm of unprecedented human- caused chaos, which is not identical to catastrophe. The future will become harder and harder to predict, because of the intricately detailed interaction of social, economic, political, environmental, and demographic forces. We may in fact be able to pull back from the abyss because of unforeseen human creativity applied to amelioration of effects and solutions to climate change and species extinction.

    However, counting on such a future is dangerously naive, by its very nature- it may be achievable, but is perilously uncertain to predict that we will pull back from the brink. So we must speak out against Keystone XL, mountaintop coal mining, fracking, and a host of other threats to our very existence. God helps those who help themselves, remember!

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