Things that make you go Hmmm

I don’t know the veracity of the claims that these folks make, however, they raise some really good points.

…Switching to alternative energy now is a win win situation.

…Market forces will not be able to fix the problem with out great pain.

…The longer we wait, the worse it’g going to be.

Check out their little ditty.

4 thoughts on “Things that make you go Hmmm”

  1. I think alternate energy sources will show themselves worthy when needed.

    Technology is ever changing and pushing it on the population before the economy is ready to support this type of change will never be sucessful.

  2. Alternative to Oil does not of course automatically equal cleaner burning. I expect that any solution to our energy needs will have environmental consequences. Obviously these consequences should be taken into consideration as best as possible and either regulation or taxation inacted to offset the costs incurred. While one can argue that that isn’t being correctly done for oil, I would argue that it is even less correctly done for bio-fuel, for example.

    Peak Oil will almost certainly happen immediately if after alternative solutions are put in place. When we no longer need oil the production will drop. We can choose to mandate this by forcing a switch to alternative energy sources before it makes economic sense, or we can let it happen naturally when other options become cheaper than oil (through a combination of improved technologies and rising oil prices.)

    There are more forces in the market than oil companies. If someone can supply energy cheaper and in a usable format, switching will happen regardless of what oil companies want. Obviously there are ‘conversion costs’ to be overcome, but those costs should be part of the overall equation of when it is effective to transfer energy sources. Of course it is also true that despite the claims of the commercial you linked to, oil companies are in fact heavily interested and actively taking part in alternative fuel research and development.

    I have nothing against research. I advocate it myself, and I think that there are reasons for Government involvement in such a thing. I question the need for ‘tax breaks’ for biofuels for example. Certainly if it can be shown that biofuels cost less neighborhood effects than fossil fuel that could be a factor for reduced taxes, but I don’t think a biofueled vehicle requires less highway infrastructure that a fossil fuel vehicle (for example) and therefore the taxes for that neighborhood effect should be the same for both. Making one choice artificially more attractive than another is disasterous economic policy.

    From an environmental point of view, I am much more concerned with pestacide runoff and topsoil erosion than I am with CO2 emissions.

    Lastly, I don’t think there is any doubt at all that vast amounts of fossil fuels are availible. The U.S. has massive coal deposits and the existence, composition and extent of oil shale and tar sands are not, so far as I know, in dispute. There are questions about extraction costs, profitability at 40-45 dollars a barrel are numbers I have seen frequently tossed around, and obviously unless/until oil prices have a bottom estimate of that long term the capital investments to achieve that won’t be made. Certainly though I don’t think anyone would dispute that these resources can be extracted far far below $1000 a barrel. Even pessimistic estimates would put a ceiling on long term oil prices at $100 a barrel. My guess is that we are unlikely to see oil prices sustained at above $75 a barrel (adjusted for inflation of course) in our lifetimes.

  3. Win #1

    By starting right now to switch to alternitve energy sorces, we have cleaner burning fuels and power.

    Win #2

    When peak oil happens – when ever it happens, we will already be totally ready.

    Market Forces:

    This is where I leave my liberiatiran freinds behind. Market forces are concerned about one thing – increasing their bottom line. If they have a resource that is becoming more and more scarce, a resource that the majority of the people and industry is locked into, they will start to charge more and more. It’s not in the market’s best intrest to switch to cheaper, greener power production.


    I am talking about researching. I do not think that we will switch to biofuels tomorrow. However, we need to make the choice at least avaible. Right now, as a consumer in spokane, if I want to run biodiesel in my truck either I have to make it my self, or I have to go to one station way out in the valley between 8 and 5, M – F.

    It’s not a choice until it’s avaible. It will not be avaible until there is a market demand for it.

    I’m not advocating pumping billions into the research – just tax breaks. No taxes on biofuels. That would be quite the incentive to get it to market.

    Like roads, there must be an inital investment to bootstrap these things. We can either wait until the markets stop raking in record profits off the price of oil, or we can start to do something now.

    As far as these huge reserves – who is telling us this? The Oil Companies? it would seem to me that they have a vested intrest in keeping prices high, and supply low. When the entire world is starving for oil, and it’s going for a $1,000 a barrel, they will be where they want to be. Can we really trust them?

  4. "Switching to alternative energy now is a win win situation."

    No it isn’t. It is a major economic loss situation because oil is still the cheapest form of energy we have.

    "Market forces will not be able to fix the problem with out great pain."

    True to an extent, if the problem that they allege exists (which I have my doubts) then NOTHING will fix it without pain. Market forces will remain the most effective means of finding the most economically viable supply of energy however. Of course Political forces (excessive regulations, anti-nuclear paranoia) may hamper market forces in doing this. Obviously market forces need to be contrained to deal with neighborhood effects, and political forces are appropriate for that, but politics that ignores the market is doomed to failure.

    "The longer we wait, the worse it’g going to be."

    This may be true if we wait to research alternatives, but it is certainly not true that it will be worse if we impliment more expensive alternatives now. There are tremendous oil reserves left, although much of it is more difficult (expensive) to extract (oil shale and tar sands) and panicing that oil will disappear or that peak production is just around the corner is almost certainly needless doom-saying.

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