Posted by No Reagan Apologist, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2007 at 9:27 am
George Schultz? Oh, that guy! Isn't it just a gas that Schultzs who helped arm Saddam has come full circle at Hoover, and come out smelling like a rose - suggesting this and that way out of the mess that he was a primary operator in bringing about?
There's something strange about how the largely negative things that Regan's henchmen did just seems forgotten.
Hoover is weird place, full of fiendish nutcases. What say we knock the place down and put part of Stanford hospital in its place?
Posted by Unreal, a resident of Stanford, on Sep 5, 2007 at 10:13 am
Sally Benson appears to be the only scientist on the panel of five.
Ehrlich, author of the 1968 "The Population Bomb", is a modern-day Thomas Malthus more eager to cull the herd than not; Straubel is an engineer at Tesla Motors; Krupp is a lawyer who has taught some classes on environmental law; and Shultz is a war criminal who should be tried at The Hague.
I find it odd that Amy Goodman was willing to moderate this circus.
Posted by Earl, a resident of Los Altos Hills, on Sep 5, 2007 at 11:39 am
It seems pretty obvious to me that "we can have it all" with technology that is years past the demonstration stage. There is a price tag, but it is far less than what we spend today on really crazy things, like the Iraq war. Replacing fossil fuels requires only that we build the necessary wind and solar farms, and the grid to bring that energy to our homes and cars. (Getting the rest of the U.S. to adopt California energy efficiency standards would make it even easier.) Just run the numbers: building these energy sources is doable. The question is only a matter of political will, and therein lies the problem.
Posted by No Reagan Apologist, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2007 at 1:02 pm
Rearl, you're right - and, it doesn't help that Shiltz is a heavy investor in ethanol (a major indirect contributor to the price spike of corn in Mexico, making it difficult for peasants to buy corn, a staple.)
Shultz is no doubt a smart guy; so was Saddam.
Stanford is a great university, but Hoover makes me suspect of the motives of the whole place. Why would any tower of intellectual ferment let lightweights and criminals in to nest, until they get their next chance to screw America up?
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2007 at 1:28 pm
We could have had the Iraqi oil without the war. As for the rest, our current shoratge is strictly an artifact. The prudence to prepare for growth was replaced by the "We are a blight on the earth undeserving of existence except at an animal level" folk.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 5, 2007 at 8:13 pm
"We've been screwed over by the oil and auto lobby."
So they can't drill anywhere, they can't build new oil refineries but we can build dozens of silly ethanol refineries, some with pollution waivers, and the auto lobby has been unable to get the irrational CAFE standard replaced with an engineering standard, ton/miles per gallon.
The one thing we did do in the 70s was show OPEC that they could not drink their oil, and we established a base line for synfuels and shale and tar oil that was an effective cap on what they can charge us. OPECs only salvation was the no-nuke LibLuds who helped keep away energy independence.
Posted by CorrectingWalter, a resident of another community, on Sep 5, 2007 at 11:14 pm
Last time I checked, autos ran on petroleum, not nuclear power.
And as far as CAFE goes, the auto lobby loves it just the way it is - a wonderful "low bar" that they can easily pass without having to actually work any on doing so.
Finally, we can drill all we want to in the US and all it'll give us in the end is a 6 to 12 month supply of oil. That's exactly why the "Iraq war is about oil" claim certainly seems at least partially valid to many people, myself included.
Finally, I met George Shultz back in the mid-1990s and he seemed already half out of it - I can't see him adding any value to any discussion, much less one on energy.
Posted by Peter, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Sep 6, 2007 at 12:09 am
wow - that guy Shultz was even more of a hack than i expected.
Amy asked him at least one question which he dodged twice. she said, 'do you support $150 billion subsidy to oil industry every year?' and he said 'we have to be careful about subsidies, i do not support them in general, free market works', and so she followed his dodge with a repeat - 'do you support $150 Billion in subsidies every year to oil companies', to which he dodged again, saying, 'it still will not help the green industry'.
what else did he say?
- global warming is a myth
- Detroit would build 40 MPG cars if Americans actually wanted them
if Amy wasn't there, only ten people would have showed up - the students who were required to show up for class.
p.s. there were two Republicans in the crowd of several hundred. they ate up his former titles and red jacket with matching tie and George Bush-like "let's have a few laughs it's not the end of the world" joke routine.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 6, 2007 at 7:02 am
Last time I checked, autos ran on petroleum, not nuclear power."
Autos compete with other energy customers for available fuels. Natural gas, for example, would be a good auto fuel if it were not the only fuel permitted in California generator plants.
"And as far as CAFE goes, the auto lobby loves it just the way it is - a wonderful "low bar" that they can easily pass without having to actually work any on doing so."
The auto industry knows that higher CAFE = higher death rates, since competition achieved CAFE by making lighter cars. They could meet the new standards in one cycle, but no one would buy them.
"Finally, we can drill all we want to in the US and all it'll give us in the end is a 6 to 12 month supply of oil. That's exactly why the "Iraq war is about oil" claim certainly seems at least partially valid to many people, myself included."
Where did I last hear that "6 to 12 month supply of oil"? Oh, yes - the Prudhoe Bay field, still pumping after 30 years. No single well is ever going to supply all our needs, but then no single bakery supplies all our bread, nor any single cow all our milk.
Posted by Earl, a resident of Los Altos Hills, on Sep 6, 2007 at 12:32 pm
Re CorrectingWalter's "Last time I checked, autos ran on petroleum, not nuclear power":
Your auto may run on petroleum, but mine gets its power from the photovoltaic solar cells on my roof. We have two battery electric vehicles in the garage, and they work great. I drive out every day with a full "tank", courtesy of the sun. If I didn't have the PV on the roof, then some of my power would be from nuclear. So yes, autos can run on nuclear (though wind and solar are preferable).
While my situation is rare right now, it will be commonplace over the next 30 years. I bet that within 30 years, you'll be driving a vehicle with batteries in it, and solar and wind farms will be providing some of the power to charge those batteries (that is, if you don't put PV on your roof). The vehicle you buy may also have a gasoline or diesel engine as a range-extension option, making it a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or might be like mine, and be a pure battery electric vehicle. Either way, we end up driving off of the sun's energy.
Let's hope we make this transition soon enough to avoid a climate tipping point.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 6, 2007 at 4:59 pm
Earl you can afford the options, so why not give those who cannot a break? For the forseeable future, the internal combustion engine remains the most all around economical transportation [1/4 the pollution of train travel in England] Go your solar electric way, but do it without making others pay for your hobby with subsidies to you paid from higher rates for everyone else.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 7, 2007 at 5:09 am
The "subsidy" for nuclear power is essentially an arrangement to spread risk over all the generators, a not uncommon proceedure but one that does NOT transfer money from public to private or transfer costs from the lucky few to the general user. There is no appropriation of government funds to subsidize nuclear power in the accepted sense of the word.
Posted by Earl, a resident of Los Altos Hills, on Sep 7, 2007 at 8:04 am
Re Walter's "the internal combustion engine remains the most all around economical transportation":
The economics you cite in your claim for ICE should be properly called "tunnel-vision economics". When you factor in the cost of global warming, it is an absolute economic disaster. What is happening in the world is like a car crash into a concrete abutment at high speed. The only reason it doesn't get our attention is that we are watching that crash in slow motion (in film terms).
I also disagree that my prediction of battery powered vehicles is uneconomic even using your tunnel-vision economics. Consider a hybrid vehicle as sold today. It has something like a 0.8kWh battery pack. To give it 20 miles of all electric range requires an additional 5.4kWh of batteries costing $1500. And yet, 20 miles of EV range followed by ICE powered operation from the liquid backup tank has the potential to eliminate 38% of U.S. gasoline use. The operational savings over 8 years more than pays for the additional battery cost.
There's a reason that both GM, Chrysler, and Toyota are working on plug-in hybrids... (the Volt, Sprinter, and Prius respectively).
This is not a hobby; this is part of the answer to avoiding the disaster that confronts us if we do nothing.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 7, 2007 at 11:01 am
Sorry, Earl, I guess you didn't get the memo. It is "Global Climate Change" now that the numbers behind Hansen's folly have been demonstrated to be artifacts.
Two centuries of "doing nothing" put the United States at the head of the pack, then the activists started bring in the directed growth that was so successful in the USSR and Red China and - voila! - shortages and high prices.
I don't recall anyone advocating punitive taxes and controls on electric cars to make gasoline powered cars more attractive. From disencentive to Gulag - how long?
Posted by John, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Sep 7, 2007 at 11:44 am
I like your idea about electric cars. I have dabbled in solar panels myself. It is very satisfying to watch the sun drive a water pump, for instance.
Now for some serious questions:
1. If 50% of the drivers in the USA were to buy plug-in hybrids, where would the base load electrical current come from? Most of these cars would charge at night, when the sun does not shine, and the wind is generally slow. The only carbon-free source I can think of is nuclear. Is there another source?
2. How long does a typical battery pack last on a hybrid or EV? What is the cost of switching them out. What are the direct and indirect pollution costs of current batteries? In order to really make this fly, won't new battery technology need to be developed? I am aware of such technology at the laboratory level, but it is years away from consumer production.
3. What is the relative energy efficiency of internal combustion engines vs electric vehicles? Every time enery is transformed, there are energy losses. So, for instance, if a natural gas power plant produces electricity, then the electricity is used to charge a battery, is that as efficient as using natural gas to power an internal combustion engine directly?
I suppose the bottom line for me is that solar is a great thing, and it will improve a lot, going forward, but I have my doubts that it can do the job, unless it is married with nuclear.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 7, 2007 at 1:23 pm
Recent investigations in Jolly Old revealed that trains were, per passenger, 4 times as polluting as cars. We do need nuclear to do the jobs only nuclear can do, and that includes all kinds of off peak operations like charging batteries, desalting water, sterilizing sewerage, and making ice for peak cooling. With planning, we could eliminate natural gas to residences and free up that gas for auto fuel and chemical uses. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Posted by Tired, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Sep 8, 2007 at 10:43 am
Walter and John: Indisputable facts and logic. GREAT JOB!! I have lost the patience to repeat these over and over and applaud your persistence.
France gets 70% of electricity from nuclear energy..why are we failing to do the same? Poor interpretation of poor science into hyperbolic fears - voila, more dependence on foreign oil
We could be completely independent of ALL foriegn oil if we drilled for our own - why don't we? It isn't ok to drill in our own backyard, but it is ok to threaten our security by letting "others" drill in theirs.
Completely disagree - we should be drilling off our coasts, and in Alaska, and supporting more efficient refineries. Get us OFF dependence from others. It isn't an all or none option, Oil OR alternate energy, it is work on independence in oil AND work on alternate energies. As oil gets more expensive, we WILL start using alternate energies. Simple economics and human nature.
Guess I did have the patience to say it yet again.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 9, 2007 at 8:35 am
If you want more efficiency, why not directly require efficiency, as determined by ton miles per gallon? The "only 6 to 12 month's supply" was a lie the first time it was stated and it has not gained truth since. Detroit builds cars to sell, not to impress dilletantes. Crackerbox suicide carts don't sell.