Gore asserted, "The quickest, cheapest and best way to start using all this renewable energy is in the production of electricity. In fact, we can start right now using solar power, wind power and geothermal power to make electricity for our homes and businesses." This massive push for no-carbon electricity production would help prevent climate change and cut our dependence on foreign oil. Of course, great-souled visionaries such as Gore do not concern themselves with piddling and mundane issues such as who will pay for this marvelous no-carbon energy future and how much it will cost. Not being burdened with a great soul, I decided to don my green eyeshade and make a preliminary stab at figuring out how much Gore's scheme might cost us. According to the Energy Information Administration, the existing capacity of U.S. coal, gas, and oil generating plants totals around 850,000 megawatts. So how much would it cost to replace those facilities with solar electric power? Let's use the recent announcement of a 280-megawatt thermal solar power plant in Arizona for $1 billion as the starting point for an admittedly rough calculation. Combined with a molten salt heat storage systems, solar thermal might be able to provide base load power. Crunching the numbers (850,000 megawatts/280 megawatts x $1 billion) produces a total capital cost of just over $3 trillion over the next ten years. What about wind power? Oilman T. Boone Pickens is building the world's biggest wind energy project with an installed capacity of 4,000 megawatts at a cost of $10 billion, or about $2.5 billion per 1,000 megawatts. For purposes of illustration, this implies a total cost of around $2.1 trillion over the next ten years to replace current carbon-emitting electricity generation capacity with wind power. That's assuming that the wind projects generate electricity at their rated capacity at or near 100 percent of the time. Making the heroic assumption that in fact wind projects will generate power at about one-third of their rated capacity (due to wind variability), this would imply tripling the number of wind power generators. This boosts the total overall cost to more than $6 trillion over the next ten years. What's the potential for geothermal electricity generation? Geothermal power taps the heat of the Earth itself to make steam to drive turbines to generate electricity. For instance, superhot water erupting from the Geysers in northern California fuel power plants with a generation capacity of 725 megawatts. But such geothermal sites are relatively rare. However, an unconventional geothermal source—hot dry rocks—might supply us with no-carbon electricity. In lots of places, rocks several kilometers down are quite hot. To get at this heat, engineers drill at least two boreholes and inject cool water in one. The injected water flows around fractured hot rocks and rises through the other borehole as steam to drive a turbine to generate electricity. Some very preliminary figures suggest that it would cost around $3 billion for build a 1000 megawatt geothermal plant. Replacing 850 gigawatts of carbon-emitting power generation capacity with geothermal electricity would cost around $2.5 trillion over ten years.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
For example, billionaire George Soros--Croesus was told--has covered much of his shorts in financial stocks. Why chance another public policy move by regulators to shut off this automatic feeding trough? Soros finally shorted oil at $137 a barrel and put on a long position in gold; he expects to see gold hold its ground even if oil continues to decline.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
He made a prediction and it did not happen. Fair enough, that is how science progresses, but any relationship between the Hansen phenomenon and science is rather remote. His latest calling down of fire and brimstone is upon the wicked oil executives, who are allegedly stoking up infidel opposition to the true gospel of the global warming catastrophe to come. That this is not true is evident from the greener-than-thou advertisements put out by that industry. They know a good racket when they see one and if there are a few billion taxpayers’ dollars on offer they want their share of them. They are, however, likened to the tobacco giants who so misled the public. Yes those were liars; but so were their opponents, led by the EPA, and they turned out to be better at it. The current big lie is that all the sceptical commentators are in the pay of the nefarious industry.Hansen’s answer to it all is to call for an inquisition (he is a bit late into that game, by about five years). “May you have what you wish for” is an ancient curse and it would be satisfying to see Hansen have his day in court. The reason that Monty Python’s dead parrot so rapidly became a dead metaphor is that it encapsulates the modern political phenomenon of lying with a straight face, when all parties involved know that it is a lie (It’s not a constitution, it is just a treaty). So now, when we are told that Global Warming isn’t dead, it’s just restin’, we accept it as just a normal part of the political process. Formerly it would have been regarded as an example of the fifth of Langmuir’s laws of bad science. It is quite extraordinary that this sort of activity should fester within the world’s most notable scientific and engineering organisation. Anyone who has had the misfortune to have been reluctantly involved with such a weirdo will feel the embarrassment for all those genuine professionals whose ingenuity, among many other achievements, put a man on the moon. They obviously tried to subject him to some sort of control, quite properly in a tax-funded, non-academic institution, which led to his wild claim to being censored. He must be the least censored person on the planet, thanks to his friends in high places.
Perhaps the world will one day be grateful to the brave band of volunteers, who have at last got together to provide an audit of the activities of such fanatics. Owing to the efforts of the likes of Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts, we have been able to penetrate the unscientific veil of secrecy behind which they brew their spells and hokum. Not only are the standards of software production and maintenance way, way below the standards officially embraced by NASA, some of the procedures are unbelievably bizarre, including even the Orwellian process of systematically rewriting the past.
A phenomenon indeed!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
"We find that oil that is expected to reach the market some years hence has an immediate impact on oil prices," and that "if oil firms were allowed to drill in ANWR and many of the other areas that are currently off limits to oil production, it is possible that these areas together might have a significant impact on world oil prices."That is, "will lower prices." When these two authors - both economics professors - submitted their findings for publications to a prestigious energy journal, what was the response from the rarified world of economists? It was rejection -- but not for the reasons opponents of opening up new areas for oil and gas exploration would like to believe. No, their study was rejected because their conclusions were so obvious and so well-known - since the 1960s in the field of economics -- that the two authors were not offering up anything new that merited publication. Letter from Energy Journal
Although the referees, and I, are in agreement with your basic argument, I regret to say that we will not be able to publish this work. Basically, your main result (the present impact of an anticipated future supply change) is already known to economists. If Hotelling didn’t exactly spell this out in his original article, certainly Herfindahl and others had done so by the 1960s. It is our policy to publish only original research that adds significantly to the body of received knowledge regarding energy markets and policy.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Follow the money and you'll find it. Al Gore is a partner at the prominent West Coast venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The ex-veep and Nobel Prize winner is the most politically connected member of KPCB's "green tech team." KPCB is a justly famous VC firm. It funded Genentech, Compaq, Sun and Google, among others. Since 1972 the San Francisco/Menlo Park firm--under the first-generation leadership of Tom Perkins, Gene Kleiner and Brook Byers and, since the early 1990s, under John Doerr--has performed dazzlingly well for its limited partners. The best guess is annualized returns north of 40%. But KPCB hasn't had a big hit since Google. And now, according to this Fortune story, KPCB has bet the farm on green technology. Al Gore is a visionary (if you like him) or a fraud (if you don't). Drain the emotion and a more accurate description of Gore emerges. He's a lobbyist.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Half of Beijing's 3.3 million vehicles will be pulled off the roads and many polluting factories will be shuttered. Chemical plants, power stations and foundries left open have to cut emissions by 30 percent — and dust-spewing construction in the capital will be halted. In a highly stage-managed Olympics aimed at showing off the rising power of the 21st century, no challenge is greater than producing crystalline air for 10,500 of the world's greatest athletes. "Pea-soup air at the opening ceremony would be their worst nightmare," said Victor Cha, director of Asian Studies at Georgetown University... A World Bank study found China is home to 16 of the 20 worst cities for air quality. Three-quarters of the water flowing through urban areas is unsuitable for drinking or fishing.They have been struggling to clean the grossly polluted water at the sailing venue for several weeks now. Not to make it safe, just to look good. I am sure we will see some degree of this with the winter Olympics at Whistler and Vancouver, BC. But only a shadow of this.
Cantwell ... and others think that speculators have driven up the price of oil and could be responsible for more than $1 of the cost of a gallon of gasoline at the pump.She should close down the NY Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, all of them. Because people and pension funds go there intending to sin: to buy and make a profit. But she compounds this action with ignorance of basic economics:
Cantwell and most Democrats oppose lifting the offshore-drilling ban. They quote the Department of Energy as saying that offshore oil and gas wells wouldn’t come online for seven to 10 years and the impact on prices would be insignificant.Notice that they never trust "Bush!" and his administration except when they can take administration statements out of context to advantage. Any increase in supply will tend to decrease prices, even one years in the future. See my unpublished letter to the SeaTimes on the same ignorance in an establishment spokesman. Question for Senator Cantwell: I bought my house hoping to sell it at a profit. Am I a speculator? Are you proposing a law to prevent me from profiting on the sale of my home? Question for Senator Cantwell: The price of oil went down 12% this week. Do the speculators get credit for this? Hat tip to Orbus. Cross posted at Sound Politics. My first entry in about a year.
Friday, July 18, 2008
There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution." The APS is opening its debate with the publication of a paper by Lord Monckton of Brenchley, which concludes that climate sensitivity -- the rate of temperature change a given amount of greenhouse gas will cause -- has been grossly overstated by IPCC modeling. A low sensitivity implies additional atmospheric CO2 will have little effect on global climate. Larry Gould, Professor of Physics at the University of Hartford and Chairman of the New England Section of the APS, called Monckton's paper an "expose of the IPCC that details numerous exaggerations and "extensive errors" In an email to DailyTech, Monckton says, "I was dismayed to discover that the IPCC's 2001 and 2007 reports did not devote chapters to the central 'climate sensitivity' question, and did not explain in proper, systematic detail the methods by which they evaluated it. When I began to investigate, it seemed that the IPCC was deliberately concealing and obscuring its method." According to Monckton, there is substantial support for his results, "in the peer-reviewed literature, most articles on climate sensitivity conclude, as I have done, that climate sensitivity must be harmlessly low." Monckton, who was the science advisor to Britain's Thatcher administration, says natural variability is the cause of most of the Earth's recent warming. "In the past 70 years the Sun was more active than at almost any other time in the past 11,400 years ... Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s largest moon, and Pluto warmed at the same time as Earth."
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Reid criticized President Bush’s announcement earlier in the day to rescind a longstanding executive order banning offshore oil drilling, saying it was a gift to the oil companies that are not exploring for oil in 68 millions of acres available to them.Distinguished Senator Reid can ignore economics, more likely he know nothing of its power to predict. This is the Econ 201 Supply and Demand. But he sends us the bill for his ignorance. And the "not exploring 68 x 10^6 acres" is a red herring. The records don't show the acres being tested, etc., only those in production. Much of the acreage is going through the processes of deciding if, where and when to drill and produce. And his spokesminions say it will take too long to affect prices in the near term. Wrong. The impact on near-term prices is lower for longer term expected commodity prices drops, but it still exists, like we saw this week. The answer to both questions is YES. Update. There are additional possible factors. Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Bernanke said the economy is weakening. This bad news leads to good news. The weaker economy will lessen the demand for gasoline and petroleum products and lower the price of crude oil. This news probably influenced the drop in oil prices. Thanks to Hugh Hewitt at Townhall
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
American tourists top the list of tourists credited with trying to speak local languages the most, with the French, Chinese, Japanese, Italians and Russians coming in last in the local language rankingsJohn Hinderaker observes:
Does Obama really not know that for the last several decades, every school district in America has been relentlessly pushing the study of foreign languages? Is he unaware that it is now commonplace for American high school students to travel abroad in school groups to practice their German, French, Spanish, Japanese, and so on?
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Aside from their cruelty and their adverse effect on the quality of life, these cuts will be a major drag on the national economy. … it’s clear that the administration’s tax-cut obsession isn’t just busting the budget; it’s also indirectly destroying jobs by preventing any rational response to a weak economy.
Living half time in Asia for the last two and half years has taught me that many countries around the world are tightly focused on competing with other countries for energy resources and global talent, as well as creating a solid financial foundation for their country and an attractive environment for multi-national companies to run their businesses. Unfortunately, in my opinion, very few people in the U.S., and even fewer in Washington DC, seem to realize this. ... This is in stark contrast to many countries around the globe such as China, several Middle East countries, Norway, Singapore and Russia, which generate a profit each year, based on smart management of their natural resources, very low corporate tax rates which attract multi-national companies and increase total tax revenue for the country, and smart investment of cash reserves. What is needed is for citizens to get very mad, and to put intense pressure on their legislators to stop treating U.S. budget as an infinite source of funds, and to begin managing the country as a business.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
European officials proposed scaling back drastically on their goal of increasing Europe’s use of biofuels, a major about-face on a central environmental and energy issue. At the same time, a new report by the British government cast fresh doubt on fuels made from crops as a way to the fight climate change. Until recently, European governments had sought to lead the rest of the world in the use of biofuels, aiming to derive 10 percent of Europe’s transportation fuels from biofuels by 2020. But the allure has dimmed amid growing evidence that the kind of goals proposed by the European Union are contributing to deforestation, which speeds climate change, and helping force up food prices. “I think when we will look back we will say this was the beginning of a turning point for Europe on biofuels,” said Juan Delgado, a research fellow specializing in energy and climate change at Breugel, a research organization in Brussels. “It will be very difficult now for Europe to stick by its targets.”So the Europeans might violate holy Kyoto! How can they blame Bush for that? Do you think they are taking the right tack? Leave a comment.
US cargo carrier Kalitta Air appears to be the operator of a Boeing 747 freighter which crashed near the Colombian capital Bogota today, the second Kalitta 747 to have been written off in less than two months.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Oil companies once viewed drilling in the deep waters off Florida as cost-prohibitive. Politicians feared even the slightest sign of support would be career suicide. No more. Record crude-oil prices are fueling support for oil and natural-gas exploration off the nation's shores. In Florida, the movement was under way even before President Bush called on Congress last month to lift a federal moratorium that's barred new offshore drilling since 1981. The early activity here stems from a 2006 congressional compromise that allows drilling on 8.3 million acres more than 125 miles off the Panhandle — an area that had been covered by the moratorium, which was enacted out of environmental concerns. In exchange, the state got a no-drilling buffer along the rest of its beaches. ... If oil or natural-gas deposits are found in the newly opened region, experts say it could further the push to explore other once-protected areas everywhere.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
An armed police officer wearing protective clothing stands guard on Whitehall in London. Stab and bullet-proof vests are being ordered in their tens of thousands to protect public sector employees from increased levels of aggression. Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP The growing fear of knife crime in Britain is forcing hospital trusts and local authorities to supply body armour to frontline workers, including A&E staff, hospital porters, teachers, benefits officers and traffic wardens. Stab and bullet-proof vests are being ordered in their tens of thousands to protect employees from increased levels of aggression, a move described as 'a shameful indictment of violence in Britain today'.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Motorists have driven roughly 30 billion fewer miles in the past six months compared with the same period a year ago, according to federal government estimates. Meanwhile, commuters took 10.3 billion trips on public transportation last year, the most in 50 years — when the population was about 60 percent the current size — according to the American Public Transportation Association. Ridership is up 3.3 percent in the first three months of 2008 and 30 percent since 1995. Those trends suggest growing numbers of Americans are reaching their tipping points in how much they'll spend for the freedom and luxury of personal automobile transportation.
Friday, July 04, 2008
"It's a more economic model," said Eric von Hippel, a management professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of the 2005 book "Democratizing Innovation." "The users are making designs, and other users are getting to choose the ones they like. The first function replaces in-house research and development. The second function replaces marketing research," he said. "If you're looking at it from a manufacturer's point of view, you're exporting all these costs."Prof. von Hippel knows better than to say outsourcing all those costs, which it is! The article also shows clues that flexible production of shoes is bringing us the era of "group" shoes, like T shirts 25 years ago: it is now economical to manufacture a custom design for a run of a few dozen shoe pairs. Personalized T shirts arrived about 10 years ago; personalized shoes soon?
Thursday, July 03, 2008
the Burmese monks whose defiance against, and brutalization at the hands of, the country's military junta in recent weeks captured the attention of the Free World. The prize was also not awarded to Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and other Zimbabwe opposition leaders who were arrested and in some cases beaten by police earlier this year while protesting peacefully against dictator Robert Mugabe. Or to Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest in Vietnam arrested this year and sentenced to eight years in prison for helping the pro-democracy group Block 8406. Or to Wajeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia al-Uyyouni, co-founders of the League of Demanders of Women's Right to Drive Cars in Saudi Arabia, who are waging a modest struggle with grand ambitions to secure basic rights for women in that Muslim country. Or to Colombian President Àlvaro Uribe, who has fought tirelessly to end the violence wrought by left-wing terrorists and drug lords in his country. Or to Garry Kasparov and the several hundred Russians who were arrested in April, and are continually harassed, for resisting President Vladimir Putin's slide toward authoritarian rule. [... many more ...] These men and women put their own lives and livelihoods at risk by working to rid the world of violence and oppression. Let us hope they survive the coming year so that the Nobel Prize Committee might consider them for the 2008 award.This was posted on Economic Freedom in November, 2007 Do you have a favorite entry? Please nominate your favorite entry by posting a comment. Explore the archives by month along the left margin.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Industrialised countries led by the US, the European Union and Switzerland have called for the resignation of Kamil Idris, head of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, in the wake of scandals that, the EU says, have "compromised" his leadership. Mr Idris, a Sudanese national who has the backing of African nations, has vigorously rejected the resignation demand, alleging a deliberate campaign of harassment and destabilisation over the past three years.Update. I forgot to mention what year I was born. This is a great offense to us "end of war" babies. I was born after the German surrender in April, but before the Japanese in August.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
The "barbecue" index. That's the number of times since March 11 (the usual start of spring here) temperature climbs to 60 degrees or more — a temperature that Mass thinks people are comfortable being outside in. How about if you compare this year to the average, Mass? It's easy sensationalism to compare to the worst ever.☂ The coldest spring in record keeping history was 1917. This year is tied with 1908 for 2nd coldest as of June 9th, he said. The warmest spring was 1934.
☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁Seattle is the rainiest city, right? We are in a B league at best. The contenders for rain champion haven't heard of cool Seattle. Have you heard of Reunion? A remote island in the Indian Ocean.
12 feet of rain in 3 days. And this is not so remote that people don't live there - Hellbourg, Reunion - 3/13/08I am looking for official data for June to focus this. The SeaTimes prints the stats for the month on the first day of the following months. But it wasn't in today.