25 October 2010

The Times They are A'Changin'

President Obama signals a more ecumenical approach to energy policy, one that does not rely on any sort of climate science litmus test:
Regardless of what you think about climate change, here are a bunch of things that are smart to do. It will save consumers money, it will save the country as much money going into foreign oil imports, so let’s concentrate on things that we just know are smart to do." If we do that, we can probably get a quarter of the way there in terms of where we need to be in terms of carbon emissions. The other thing we need to do is to make investments in new energy sources, clean-energy sources, because the unit costs for clean-energy [sources] are still higher than they are for traditional fossil fuels. I had a group of businessmen in here led by Bill Gates that said, "Probably the most important thing we might be able to do right now is to triple our R&D budget for energy," because right now it’s about a third of what the NIH gets for health research. Why not boost this so that we can make faster strides? Even when you talk to somebody like Steven Chu, my Energy secretary, who knows the science of climate change and takes it very seriously, as do I, he’s the first one to acknowledge that we’re going to need some transformative technologies in order for us to get all the way to where we need to be on climate change. The point is that there’s things that we can do short-term on that don’t require you to perfectly agree on the science of climate change in order for you to think that it’s beneficial for Americans long-term.

22 comments:

Greg in Houston said...

I would like a source on the cost of research being done. There are vast sums being spent on battery technology and wind - also on increasing solar cell efficiencies. The Solar Energy Research Institute in Golden has existed in one form or another for about 35 years - what has that cost, and what has been the result?

My answer to his rhetorical statement,

"The point is that there’s things that we can do short-term on that don’t require you to perfectly agree on the science of climate change in order for you to think that it’s beneficial for Americans long-term."

Would be: "Like what, for instance?"

R&D Investment has to be targeted properly, and there is little evidence that the government is up to the task.

Andreas Bjurström said...

Obama is fast; already ordered, read, understood and formulated new climate policies recommended in the Climate Fix ;-)

dljvjbsl said...

Greg in Houston writes

=========================
R&D Investment has to be targeted properly, and there is little evidence that the government is up to the task.
==========================

As someone who survived the Internet bubble and the fiber optic bubble, I can testify that private industry needs no lessons from the government on wasting vast sums of money. On line pet food stores and numerous companies all chasing the tiny ultra-long haul fiber market do not give one great confidence in the wisdom of venture capitalists.

dljvjbsl said...

===============
R&D Investment has to be targeted properly, and there is little evidence that the government is up to the task
===============

The NSF supported the Internet while AT&T with Bell Labs was moribund and could not see the benefits of digital networking. The government targeted R&D funds on the most important technological development of the late 20th century while private industry tried to stall any technological development.

My preference would be that the needed developments should not be hampered by any ideological issues. We should just get on with it

Paul Biggs said...

I suggest that we stop so much wasting money on climate alarmist 'research' and spend it on energy research instead.

Perhaps when America's experiment with Socialism comes to and end, which starts with the next week's mid-term elections, Obama can carve out a new career as a stand-up comedian. "Steven Chu, my Energy secretary, who knows the science of climate change" - that's really funny. It made me laugh anyway. I bet he has even funnier jokes about Holdren.

eric144 said...

"Regardless of what you think about climate change, here are a bunch of things that are smart to do. It will save consumers money It will save consumers money, it will save the country as much money going into foreign oil imports, so let’s concentrate on things that we just know are smart to do."

Kenneth Lay lives on. Enron 'saved' Californian consumers tens of billions of dollars by trading energy in a forerunner to their ultimate scam, carbon trading which Obama is committed to. Obama is a much bigger scammer than Kenny Boy Lay ever was.

If home drilled oil was cheaper, it would have been exploited decades ago. It isn't cheaper. The price of nuclear energy was promoted as being so low, it wasn't worth metering. Not as cheap as snake oil.

I have no problem with new government sponsored technology research because it makes sense, but this dosn't come across as support for the Hartwell position, but merely a logical corollary to (the future of) cap and trade.

Mark B. said...

"Regardless of what you think about climate change, here are a bunch of things that are smart to do. It will save consumers money, it will save the country as much money going into foreign oil imports, so let’s concentrate on things that we just know are smart to do."

OK, so there are things that are just plain good policy, and they have nothing to do with global warming.


"If we do that, we can probably get a quarter of the way there in terms of where we need to be in terms of carbon emissions."

Wait a minute - so now, in the next sentence, you're telling me it was all about global warming all along? So the energy policy initiatives don't really stand on their own merits - that's just spin to get at carbon limits through the back door. Nice trick.

Fred said...

The Obama echo chamber will need to be lined with mirrors post Nov 2 so Obama can bask in the glow of his own sight and sound . . . because no one else is going to listen to the pied piper stories any longer.

The spell is being broken right in front of our eyes.

Gerard Harbison said...

Well, if you're going to cite Bell Labs as an example of corporate inaction, remember what killed Bell Labs was the US goverment breakup of AT&T.

Stan said...

If private industry wastes money, it's not money that was taken from me by threat. Not an insignificant detail.

And one of the dumbest arguments I've heard in a long time is the one floated recently that past govt research during war and the space program resulted in some useful developments, so govt sponsored research into alternative energy must also be a good idea. No discussion of cost/benefit analysis at all. No discussion of the failures of the past when govt tried to direct winners and losers in the market. Just silly platitudes about how the war/space effort had some positive spinoffs -- therefore any amount poured into research must be an appropriate investment.

Even my child in grade school can see how weak that argument is.

TFC said...

Stan:

Any chance you can post your child's paper? I've been curious about this argument for some time.

Jim Ogden said...

Obama is a smart guy, but he has no background in science. He didn't come up with the idea to shift gears a la The Climate Fix. I suspect it was Steven Chu. Hopefully he has read Roger's book. The question is: does Chu now accept that Cap and Trade is not going to work, per the Iron Law? If so, was it really a shift in his thinking or just a reaction to political pressure?

dljvjbsl said...

In comment 9 Gerard 9arbison writes

==========
Well, if you're going to cite Bell Labs as an example of corporate inaction, remember what killed Bell Labs was the US goverment breakup of AT&T.
============

Bell Labs and AT&T were effecitively moribund long before the break up. it is no coincidence that neither Bell Labs nor AT&T in general had any significant role in the creation of the Internet. In fact, AT&T actively opposed the creation of the digital telephone network that enabled the Internet.

Some banks are "too big to fail" and should be broken up. Similarly AT&T was "too big to fail" and was broken up because of its anti-competitive practices that were handicapping the evolution of communication technology. The US government made the right technological decisions in breaking up AT&T and fostering the Internet.

Matt said...

I just hope that the guy who calculated the savings wasn't the same guy who analyzed his health care bill.

Werner Krauss said...

Impeccable Dylan cover! Great poetry! Listen to this one, alarmist and skpetic in conversation:

"It’s a restless hungry feeling
That don’t mean no one no good
When ev’rything I’m a-sayin’
You can say it just as good.
You’re right from your side
I’m right from mine
We’re both just one too many mornings
An’ a thousand miles behind"

eric144 said...

This is the first anti carbon trading protest song, written by Bob Dylan in 1963. He was indeed a prophet.


Masters of Finance


You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

Tamara said...

Someone please explain to me how "it will save the country as much money going into foreign oil imports". The money will be spent on oil. Domestic oil will not be cheaper than foreign oil. Domestic oil companies expend resources to obtain oil, either from under our feet or from Saudi Arabia. The "country" doesn't buy oil, private citizens (taxpayers) do. Unless we are talking about a new Government Oil Company, the exchange of money for oil is a wash. Are we just talking about wanting to punish Canadians and Middle Easterners for daring to trade oil for our dollars? Maybe we should punish China for daring to trade cheap stuffed animals and kids meal toys for our dollars.

dljvjbsl said...

re 17

Tamara writes

===================
Are we just talking about wanting to punish Canadians and Middle Easterners for daring to trade oil for our dollars?
==================

Under NAFTA, Canadian oil is regarded as a North American asset and is regarded as domestic oil in these sorts of political discussions. The supply of Canadian oil and tar sands oil in particular is essential to all of these plans. The US will be sending dollars to Canada for oil for the foreseeable future. Under NAFTA, Canada does not have eh right to restrict access even in the time of a world wide emergency and shortage
.

Jonathan said...

Roger,maybe you could write a book on this topic? Perhaps you could call it The Energy Fix?

Tamara said...

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=can-offshore-drilling-make-us-independent

eric144 said...

A little bit of reality, from Britain . This is a result of CO2 fantasies. Firstly there is a large renewable subsidy on UK electricity prices, secondly the price of oil and gas have been allowed to soar since the Kyoto Protocol was signed. Ten times for oil in 10 years.


Number facing fuel poverty up 20%

28 October 2010

The number of older people living alone and facing fuel poverty in NI this winter has risen by 20% on last year, according to the Housing Executive.Charities are asking for automatic payment of benefits for the elderly which will reduce the burden on the NHS and enable older people to stay warm.

Anne O'Reilly from Age NI said it was time for the Executive to act.She appealed for NI's political leaders "to escalate the Fuel Poverty Strategy to Executive level".


Ms O'Reilly added "In 2008, Age NI warned our political leaders that older people were in the impossible position of having to choose between eating and heating their homes.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11640348

eric144 said...

Shell earnings increase as oil production rises

28 October 2010

Shell has been moving away from oil refining towards more production Profits at oil giant Royal Dutch Shell hit $3.5bn (£2.2bn) in the third quarter, up from $3bn last year.

Excluding profits from one-offs and inventories, profits were $4.9bn, a jump from $2.6bn last time and ahead of analysts' estimates of about $4.3bn.

Shell produced 3 million barrels of oil per day in the quarter, up 5% on the same period last year. Chief executive Peter Voser described the results as a substantial rebound due to better industry conditions.

Rebound

Anglo-Dutch Shell, the world's second largest independent energy group behind Exxon, is paying $2.6bn in dividends to shareholders for the quarter.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11641458

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