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Foreign Policy Author's Insight into American Oil Policy

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  • paulparma
    Charles Kupchan, the author of The End of the American Era in which he predicts that the EU and China will usurp the US in its world leadership role, was
    Message 1 of 12 , Nov 14, 2002
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      Charles Kupchan, the author of "The End of the American Era"" in which
      he predicts that the EU and China will usurp the US in its world
      leadership role, was recently interviewed on NPR's "Fresh Air". The
      interviewer asked why US Oil Policy was not discussed at any length in
      the book. Kupchan said, that The foreign policy side of Us Oil
      stategies are in fact on target, and if memory serves me correctly, he
      said this stategy is in fact making for a stable future as much as
      foreign policy alone can do that. He said that what is dangerous
      about US Oil policy is domestic consumption and a lack of alternative
      energy sources [to oil]. He said results of this condition, unchecked,
      could be catostrophic.

      Just another datum for the pile. Noted J.H's comparison of car
      fatalities in the DC area for the same time period as the Sniper
      period. I had been using 2.5 Million as the DC are population,
      yielding 1 car fatality a day on average. I'll use the 5 million
      basis carfree.com used, assuming J.H. did his usuall due diligence.

      Anyone have comments on J.H.Crawfords BBC exposure? anyone hear it?
    • J.H. Crawford
      Actually, in the case of the DC population statistic, I had some trouble. The 5 million is from memory; all I could find on the net was for the SMA (7.x
      Message 2 of 12 , Nov 15, 2002
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        Actually, in the case of the DC population statistic, I had some
        trouble. The 5 million is from memory; all I could find on the
        net was for the SMA (7.x million), which includes Baltimore, so
        I thought that I would trust my memory on this one; don't take
        the number as gospel!

        >Just another datum for the pile. Noted J.H's comparison of car
        >fatalities in the DC area for the same time period as the Sniper
        >period. I had been using 2.5 Million as the DC are population,
        >yielding 1 car fatality a day on average. I'll use the 5 million
        >basis carfree.com used, assuming J.H. did his usuall due diligence.




        -- ### --

        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        mailbox@... Carfree.com
      • Mike Harrington
        Nine millions of barrels of oil per day imported by the US amounts to eighty billion dollars a year at twenty-four dollars a barrel. Since government and
        Message 3 of 12 , Nov 15, 2002
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          Nine millions of barrels of oil per day imported by the US amounts to eighty billion dollars a year at twenty-four dollars a barrel. Since government and automotive interests decided to motorize the US economy in the fifties, the previous petroleum surplus of the US turned into an energy deficit by the late 1960's, and increased exponentially since that time despite a considerable improvement in engine efficiency. Not content to pay the true cost of car ownership through the fuel tax, which would have been the equitable thing to do, charging those who drove more a larger share of the road construction, maintenance, and security, America instead robbed property, sales and income taxes to pay for the spiraling costs, putting autos and trucks on welfare, an official policy to this day. The internal combustion engine, its inefficient and wasteful use of energy, and the single-occupancy vehicle's prohibitive cost to the less fortunate in society would be subsidized into conscious non-existence by the rest of the economy, which lost most of its manufacturing companies as a reward for the trillions sent abroad for what its advocates now gleefully proclaimed the American Dream, their dream. As they tore down America's architectural heritage and expropriated green space for parking lots and highways, the highway interests' Deconstructivist architects made a fortune off shopping malls and the landscape of the off-ramp. Destroy the scenery, rape the national economy and call it progress, market forcing with such cousinage.

          Putting cars and trucks on welfare with general funds instead of the fuel tax, the leadership perverted the free market in transportation, and motor vehicle miles nationally double every twenty-five years, as Jane Holtz Kay pointed out in Asphalt Nation, going from one to two trillion miles annually between 1970 to 1995, a rate much faster than population growth. In the process both the passenger and freight railroads were bankrupt, largely abandoned, and the huge suburban streetcar systems that were once marvels of engineering were junked. The past fifty years prove conclusively that the more government subsidizes highways and urban sprawl, the more miles we drive, the more oil we import, the poorer we become and the more foolish we look to countries that have motor vehicle fuel taxes around three dollars a gallon, the real cost of car ownership to government. Meanwhile, the fervent highway lobbyist Wendell Cox http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/em838.cfm , tells us over and over again that cars are cheaper than light rail and high-speed intercity trains, conveniently ignoring the auto culture that pays him so well has given us the most costly and dangerous transportation system in the world.

          We are reassured that this house on sandy ground will stand. The Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve, apart from any environmental concerns, has a potential of sixteen billion barrels on the outside, representing only two and a half years' worth of US petroleum consumption. With or without the ANWR oil, the present ratio of imported oil to total US consumption of fifty-eight percent can go nowhere but up in the long term. We are also to be comforted by optimistic news splashes about motor vehicle fuel cells and the coming hydrogen economy, which will enable us to drive forever. In the more detailed articles however, the main problem with fuel cell technology for cars and trucks is that it costs about nine times as much as petroleum-powered implementations. It is likely that increases in human understanding of fuel cells for motor vehicles will be realized over the years, but it is equally unlikely that the cost of fuel cells will ever be anything but an integral multiple of existing technology's cost, with increased carbon monoxide emissions. It's called, "grasping at straws," otherwise known as wishful thinking. The twenty-first century will sink in, eventually, but the longer we wait the more painful it will be. New centuries are like that, closing one door and opening another.



          From: "paulparma" <info@v...>
          Date: Thu Nov 14, 2002 8:25 pm
          Subject: Foreign Policy Author's Insight into American Oil Policy


          Charles Kupchan, the author of "The End of the American Era"" in which
          he predicts that the EU and China will usurp the US in its world
          leadership role, was recently interviewed on NPR's "Fresh Air". The
          interviewer asked why US Oil Policy was not discussed at any length in
          the book. Kupchan said, that The foreign policy side of Us Oil
          stategies are in fact on target, and if memory serves me correctly, he
          said this stategy is in fact making for a stable future as much as
          foreign policy alone can do that. He said that what is dangerous
          about US Oil policy is domestic consumption and a lack of alternative
          energy sources [to oil]. He said results of this condition, unchecked,
          could be catostrophic.

          Just another datum for the pile. Noted J.H's comparison of car
          fatalities in the DC area for the same time period as the Sniper
          period. I had been using 2.5 Million as the DC are population,
          yielding 1 car fatality a day on average. I'll use the 5 million
          basis carfree.com used, assuming J.H. did his usuall due diligence.

          Anyone have comments on J.H.Crawfords BBC exposure? anyone hear it?




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • paulparma
          ... concerns, has a potential of sixteen billion barrels on the outside, representing only two and a half years worth of US petroleum consumption. I ve beenn
          Message 4 of 12 , Nov 15, 2002
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            --- In carfree_cities@y..., "Mike Harrington" <mike@p...> wrote:
            >
            >Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve, apart from any environmental
            concerns, has a potential of sixteen billion barrels on the outside,
            representing only two and a half years' worth of US petroleum
            consumption.


            I've beenn most concerned that once oil allocations become worth
            fighting for in the minds of US decision makers, even if China is the
            entity we may fighting against, ANWR oil will be too far removed (that
            is Northern Alaska is too far away and a damn horrible place to
            experience something as inherently hellish as combat; recall
            Stalingrad, Moscow (twice -- Napolien and Hitler) and the Arden
            forest.) to be a dependable and defendible supply to sustain war level
            (limited) domestic non-war oil use and most especially war level
            military oil use. My own idea is to go ahead and use ANWR oil now,
            with constraints on pipeline configuration (possible using phasing of
            multiple plots of the total ANWR field in sequential time intervals;
            when one plot is sucked dry you clean it up, remove your stuff and go
            the the next plot) realizing that business entities can be bad little
            boys and girls with out bounds (its a #@$%#*n shame). I would also
            like to see oil rights in the contigous 48 states, including off shore
            oil and gas, to be bought up by the US government for reserve. We
            could sell our oil right in the ANWR to help pay for this
            nationalization of nearby oil. Its our ANWR, not Exxon's! It would
            send a signal to everyone that this is serious and could keep us out
            of a war, knowing we have enough to get us through a decade on our own
            if needed (then we would be out of domestic oil). Of course
            nationalization would be unlikely to happen with GW in the saddle (how
            do I look Pa?!).

            Unlike J.H., if I understand him correctly, I don't think attacking
            Iraq would lead to a bigger, badder war or necessarily to a noticable
            push on further terroist attacks, though more terroist attacks should
            always be expected; I had wondered why a 9/11 hadn't happened yet
            with our laxed security then. If we attacked, which isn't guranteed
            now, a US friendly regimem would QUICKLY be in place with only the
            Kurdsh question left as a decision or long term problem or both. Oil
            prices would go down with the substantial new Iraqi oil in the pipe.
            It would help a US recovery, and GW would look really good. However,
            lower prices and US recovery without oil conservation measures will
            deplete oil reserves faster and then.....


            >We are also to be comforted by
            optimistic news splashes about motor vehicle fuel cells and the coming
            hydrogen economy, which will enable us to drive forever. In the more
            detailed articles however, the main problem with fuel cell technology
            for cars and trucks is that it costs about nine times as much as
            petroleum-powered implementations.

            The main problem with Hydrogen fuel cells is that Hydrogen is a
            oil/gas derivative; hydrogen as a yet relatively unsellable
            by-product somewhere in almost all petro chemical products'
            development is currently burned off with flares, a relatively
            non-polluting method of dumping. J.H. points this out succintly.
            This should be the most salient, highlighted argument against
            consideration of Hydrogen as a 'fix all' I think. Hydrogen IS Oil or
            Gas. Your other points were well taken however regarding hydrogen.
          • dubluth
            ... the ... I think it is incorrect to think that national oil allocations are being fought over. Business s ability to form profit producing contracts
            Message 5 of 12 , Nov 15, 2002
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              >
              > I've beenn most concerned that once oil allocations become worth
              > fighting for in the minds of US decision makers, even if China is
              the
              > entity we may fighting against, ANWR oil will be too far removed (that
              > is Northern Alaska is too far away and a damn horrible place to
              > experience something as inherently hellish as combat; recall
              ---snip

              I think it is incorrect to think that national oil allocations are being fought over. Business's ability to form profit producing contracts regarding the procurement and sale of petroleum and allied products is behind the US interest in waging war in Iraq.

              "The national interest" is really the interest of politicians -- the interests that put them into office. The behavior of the White House under this administration makes clear who that is -- those who profit from poisoning us and ruining the environment.

              Business interests will as gladly sell to the Chinese as to U.S. residents. No other country matches the U.S. appetite for oil. That may make Americans particularly loved by oil execs but this war isn't to supply any particular nation's addiction. It is to benefit those who have profited from and lobbied to stimulate this gorging where ever it can.

              Conceivably China could try to seize Alaskan oil fields, but it hardly seems likely that that costly endeavor could sufficiently pay off in lower price oil or other benefits to Chinese interests. (Nations may wish to seize the source of inputs to polluting activities in order to cap them off, but I doubt that that would be workable way to go about pollution reduction).

              I tend to agree with the next sentence.

              > prices would go down with the substantial new Iraqi oil in the pipe.
              > It would help a US recovery, and GW would look really good. However,
              > lower prices and US recovery without oil conservation measures will
              > deplete oil reserves faster and then.....
              >

              Then what? By then, someone else will be in office and we will be suffering with more global warming, sprawl, and pollution.

              Bill
            • paulparma
              ... being fought over. Business s ability to form profit producing contracts regarding the procurement and sale of petroleum and allied products is behind the
              Message 6 of 12 , Nov 16, 2002
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                --- In carfree_cities@y..., "dubluth" <dubluth@y...> wrote:

                > I think it is incorrect to think that national oil allocations are
                being fought over. Business's ability to form profit producing
                contracts regarding the procurement and sale of petroleum and allied
                products is behind the US interest in waging war in Iraq.
                >

                I Don't think Oil Allocations arre being fought over now. Wwe are not
                yet into a Supply limitted maarket. In commodity markets,
                'allocation prioritization' happens only in a supply limitted market
                (like the Memory IC market a few years ago, or whenever a uP company
                like Intel or AMD comes out with the early and limited quantity runs
                of the newest, fastest Processsors; Dell will always get priority for
                Intel products in 'allocation' mode.

                I was speaking of later, when the @&$*% really hits the fan. Then, if
                we can successfuly occupy Saudi Arabia, when oil is $120 a barrel,
                ie. all but a few fields in Russia, Iraqi fields and Suadi Arabia's
                then still sizable reserves are left, we could produce the stuff for
                $15 a barrel. Some bright eyed, bushy tailed admins might think it
                would be worth defending the Arab Oil path, versus changing 'Our
                American Way of Life', Praise God (and pass the ammunition!)!

                >
                > Conceivably China could try to seize Alaskan oil fields, but it
                hardly seems likely that that costly endeavor could sufficiently pay
                off in lower price oil or other benefits to Chinese interests.
                >

                they wouldn't necessarily go after the ANWR field infrastructure to
                get oil, reference the Suadi and IRaqi fields dominance in importance
                mentioned above --they could defend such an infrastructure (ANWR
                infrastructure, Alaskan pipeline and Valdez docks) even less than we.
                However, If I were king of a territory at war with the US, and it was
                a high priority war, then I would take out the wells heads, pipe
                lines, etc... Maybe just the pipeline(s).... That would cripple the
                US, in a long term war if you could also keep the US away from Arab
                Oil. That's why I suggested we nationalize oil in the lower-48 and
                immediately offshore (where the gas is. we have a LOT MORE GAS than
                Oil measured in Energy Units, as a matter of fact it is almost certain
                that we will go to a Gas or Hydrogen from Gas irregardless of what
                carfree and carfreeish things happen unless Electrical cars take off--
                in which case it'll be Coal, Gas (here in Texas and Lousiana), and
                Hydro. I just ordered my LAfree electrical bike to use with my bike
                trailer. Its a hell of a lot narrower than an electrical car and a
                darn sight cheeper!... Oh, yeh, baack to war...)

                To keep a war from happening, you MUST think of motivationsfor and
                means of execution of such wars in order to make these wars either
                impossible or obviously undesirable to possible initiators, so I think
                the discussion we are having is useful. My ID would much rather talk
                about my electrical Bike (and LED system development, etc...) though.
              • dubluth
                The sniper episode has passed, but it illustrates something very disturbing and ironic about risk perceptions and behavior. I heard reports that parents were
                Message 7 of 12 , Nov 19, 2002
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                  The sniper episode has passed, but it illustrates something very disturbing and ironic about risk perceptions and behavior. I heard reports that parents were driving their children to school rather than letting them take the bus because of fear of the sniper. A couple months ago a study came out showing how much safer buses were than automobiles for transportation to school. This difference was really great if the drivers were high school students transporting themselves to school. Still it seems that those parents who were taking their kids off the school busses were reducing their safety. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find the article and get numbers for making a quantitative comparison of risks. Perhaps Joel discussed this on nightwaves, to which I have yet to listen.

                  Bill Carr

                  --- In carfree_cities@y..., "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@c...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Actually, in the case of the DC population statistic, I had some
                  > trouble. The 5 million is from memory; all I could find on the
                  > net was for the SMA (7.x million), which includes Baltimore, so
                  > I thought that I would trust my memory on this one; don't take
                  > the number as gospel!
                  >
                  > >Just another datum for the pile. Noted J.H's comparison of car
                  > >fatalities in the DC area for the same time period as the Sniper
                  > >period. I had been using 2.5 Million as the DC are population,
                  > >yielding 1 car fatality a day on average. I'll use the 5 million
                  > >basis carfree.com used, assuming J.H. did his usuall due diligence.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > -- ### --
                  >
                  > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                  > mailbox@c... Carfree.com
                • Mike Harrington
                  I think fuel cells are the last desperate attempt to impose the exclusive use of the highway internal combustion engine, as opposed to electric rail, as North
                  Message 8 of 12 , Nov 19, 2002
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                    I think fuel cells are the last desperate attempt to impose the exclusive
                    use of the highway internal combustion engine, as opposed to electric rail,
                    as North America's method of surface transport. Even if engineering
                    progress on fuel cells enables automakers to get the price down by a factor
                    of four, likely a rosy prediction, fuel cell-powered cars and trucks will
                    nevertheless be more than twice as expensive as they are today. In other
                    words, before mid-century, the whole transportation system, and therefore
                    civilization itself, will grind to a halt if twentieth-century attitudes
                    towards energy and land use continue be applied. It is likely that more
                    economic displacement due to rising petroleum imports and the cost of
                    maintaining an aging road system will precipitate an economic correction
                    before then. To assume that the world will perpetually experience low oil
                    prices like it has in the past twenty-odd years, that the good times will
                    last forever, takes much for granted. To a certain extent the same could be
                    said for natural gas for electric power plants. And, unlike 1941, the US
                    has almost no railway alternative in a national emergency. Almost no one
                    remembers now that railroads saved the Western Hemisphere in the 1940's, and
                    that they generally ran much faster than they do today. The Feds are really
                    grasping at straws in modern times and agribusiness, for example, is
                    profiting from taxpayer largess for ethanol:
                    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/michellemalkin/mm20020828.shtml
                    Government's measures will get more expensive and lobbying from interest
                    groups will get increasingly desperate to preserve this 1960's-style economy
                    of their youth, at least past these politicians' political careers. Like
                    Louis XV said, "after me, the flood." Après moi, le déluge.

                    It might have been different if government had reacted differently to the
                    oil shocks of 1973 and 1979 by funding fusion energy research. Too many
                    opportunities have been missed, and government is far too paralyzed to act
                    on fusion energy development, which required marshalling of resources, like
                    a latter-day equivalent of Kennedy's Apollo program. I believe that door is
                    now closed to the US, that the necessary long lead time to find out if
                    fusion would even work is no longer there.

                    Most people here in Texas have realized for a long time that the US has
                    little choice but to develop the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. It's a
                    shame the North Slope had to be pumped dry already, but what can you expect
                    from a country that doubles its motor vehicle use every twenty-five years?
                    If there's a continent that was ever set up for a fall, it's got to be North
                    America. Of course, like before, if an 8.5 shock ever hit us like 1929 and
                    following, the US would take the rest of the world with it.


                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "paulparma" <info@...>
                    To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Friday, November 15, 2002 5:52 PM
                    Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Foreign Policy Author's Insight into American
                    Oil Policy


                    > --- In carfree_cities@y..., "Mike Harrington" <mike@p...> wrote:
                    > >
                    > >Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve, apart from any environmental
                    > concerns, has a potential of sixteen billion barrels on the outside,
                    > representing only two and a half years' worth of US petroleum
                    > consumption.
                    >
                    >
                    > I've beenn most concerned that once oil allocations become worth
                    > fighting for in the minds of US decision makers, even if China is the
                    > entity we may fighting against, ANWR oil will be too far removed (that
                    > is Northern Alaska is too far away and a damn horrible place to
                    > experience something as inherently hellish as combat; recall
                    > Stalingrad, Moscow (twice -- Napolien and Hitler) and the Arden
                    > forest.) to be a dependable and defendible supply to sustain war level
                    > (limited) domestic non-war oil use and most especially war level
                    > military oil use. My own idea is to go ahead and use ANWR oil now,
                    > with constraints on pipeline configuration (possible using phasing of
                    > multiple plots of the total ANWR field in sequential time intervals;
                    > when one plot is sucked dry you clean it up, remove your stuff and go
                    > the the next plot) realizing that business entities can be bad little
                    > boys and girls with out bounds (its a #@$%#*n shame). I would also
                    > like to see oil rights in the contigous 48 states, including off shore
                    > oil and gas, to be bought up by the US government for reserve. We
                    > could sell our oil right in the ANWR to help pay for this
                    > nationalization of nearby oil. Its our ANWR, not Exxon's! It would
                    > send a signal to everyone that this is serious and could keep us out
                    > of a war, knowing we have enough to get us through a decade on our own
                    > if needed (then we would be out of domestic oil). Of course
                    > nationalization would be unlikely to happen with GW in the saddle (how
                    > do I look Pa?!).
                    >
                    > Unlike J.H., if I understand him correctly, I don't think attacking
                    > Iraq would lead to a bigger, badder war or necessarily to a noticable
                    > push on further terroist attacks, though more terroist attacks should
                    > always be expected; I had wondered why a 9/11 hadn't happened yet
                    > with our laxed security then. If we attacked, which isn't guranteed
                    > now, a US friendly regimem would QUICKLY be in place with only the
                    > Kurdsh question left as a decision or long term problem or both. Oil
                    > prices would go down with the substantial new Iraqi oil in the pipe.
                    > It would help a US recovery, and GW would look really good. However,
                    > lower prices and US recovery without oil conservation measures will
                    > deplete oil reserves faster and then.....
                    >
                    >
                    > >We are also to be comforted by
                    > optimistic news splashes about motor vehicle fuel cells and the coming
                    > hydrogen economy, which will enable us to drive forever. In the more
                    > detailed articles however, the main problem with fuel cell technology
                    > for cars and trucks is that it costs about nine times as much as
                    > petroleum-powered implementations.
                    >
                    > The main problem with Hydrogen fuel cells is that Hydrogen is a
                    > oil/gas derivative; hydrogen as a yet relatively unsellable
                    > by-product somewhere in almost all petro chemical products'
                    > development is currently burned off with flares, a relatively
                    > non-polluting method of dumping. J.H. points this out succintly.
                    > This should be the most salient, highlighted argument against
                    > consideration of Hydrogen as a 'fix all' I think. Hydrogen IS Oil or
                    > Gas. Your other points were well taken however regarding hydrogen.
                    >
                    >
                    > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                    > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                    carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                    > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                    >
                    > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • dubluth
                    Perhaps this discussion isn t worth having but maybe a bad idea shouldn t be left unquestioned. There may be a valid case to be made for the nationalization
                    Message 9 of 12 , Nov 19, 2002
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                      Perhaps this discussion isn't worth having but maybe a bad idea shouldn't be left unquestioned. There may be a valid case to be made for the nationalization of oil and gas rights but paulparma doesn't detail what would be the objectives of nationalization, how nationalization would achieve those objectives, or why nationalization is a prefered means for achieving those objectives. Of course the questions remain, how could nationalization be achieved and at what cost.

                      Before I drop the topic of energy I will suggest that more power isn't necessarily a good thing. If fusion power were achieved it would theoretically not directly produce the sort of toxic emmisions associated with hydorcarbon and coal use. It would give humans more power to alter the planet, a power which no-one should expect would be defered. Is concern that the last of conventional nature would be squeezed from our world only a cerebreal matter? If we understood that there are consequences of our actions, we might learn to accept the concept of enough.

                      Fusion also also has one product for certain -- waste heat. Enough of that will cook you.

                      The topic of this thread seems to be specifically covered in the group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Towards-Energy-Independence/
                    • Mike Harrington
                      Cheap power can lower the cost of living and make the American economy more competitive. I m not against energy development, just overreliance on fossil
                      Message 10 of 12 , Nov 19, 2002
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                        Cheap power can lower the cost of living and make the American economy more
                        competitive. I'm not against energy development, just overreliance on
                        fossil fuels. Most of the planet lives in darkness, anyway. Have you ever
                        seen an African city from the air at night? I certainly wouldn't want to
                        live there, and the life expectancy is only age fifty. Altering the planet
                        is not always a bad idea. For example, if the Sahel Desert were irrigated,
                        rainfall and tree cover in sub-Saharan Africa would probably increase. A
                        low-energy, low-tech future is an impoverished one, and two-thirds of
                        humanity lives under those conditions. If energy doesn't come from fossil
                        fuels, nuclear fission and fusion are about the only sources left. Solar
                        and aeolian energy, low density, intermittent energy sources, will never
                        amount to much, in spite of the hype we hear about them. The main problems
                        with solar energy are that sunlight is low-density energy, meaning you need
                        prohibitively-sized solar collectors to get a significant amount of return,
                        and that the sun doesn't always shine. Wind power also has very low energy
                        yields for the investment required. Both solar and aeolian energy were
                        discussed to death in the 1970's, and I doubt anyone will ever be able to
                        make a go of them on a grand scale, in spite of massive government
                        subsidies. Even with subsidies to offset their inherent limitations, solar
                        and wind still require backup power sources.

                        Regardless of the possible energy substitutes, one thing is certain. Five
                        percent of the earth's population won't be able to use twenty-five percent
                        of its energy indefinitely. Something's got to give sooner or later, either
                        gradually or all at once. The first thing to do to fix the problem is chalk
                        up the last fifty years of runaway highway construction and urban sprawl as
                        a bankrupt lifestyle. We won't have the luxury of another fifty years to
                        procrastinate.


                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: "dubluth" <dubluth@...>
                        To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Tuesday, November 19, 2002 7:01 PM
                        Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Foreign Policy Author's Insight into American
                        Oil Policy


                        > Perhaps this discussion isn't worth having but maybe a bad idea shouldn't
                        be left unquestioned. There may be a valid case to be made for the
                        nationalization of oil and gas rights but paulparma doesn't detail what
                        would be the objectives of nationalization, how nationalization would
                        achieve those objectives, or why nationalization is a prefered means for
                        achieving those objectives. Of course the questions remain, how could
                        nationalization be achieved and at what cost.
                        >
                        > Before I drop the topic of energy I will suggest that more power isn't
                        necessarily a good thing. If fusion power were achieved it would
                        theoretically not directly produce the sort of toxic emmisions associated
                        with hydorcarbon and coal use. It would give humans more power to alter the
                        planet, a power which no-one should expect would be defered. Is concern
                        that the last of conventional nature would be squeezed from our world only a
                        cerebreal matter? If we understood that there are consequences of our
                        actions, we might learn to accept the concept of enough.
                        >
                        > Fusion also also has one product for certain -- waste heat. Enough of
                        that will cook you.
                        >
                        > The topic of this thread seems to be specifically covered in the group
                        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Towards-Energy-Independence/
                        >
                        >
                        > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                        carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                        > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                        >
                        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • dubluth
                        I am slow posting this response. Mike Harrington attempted to defend the idea that low priced energy is a good thing. Evidence suggests that given more
                        Message 11 of 12 , Dec 3, 2002
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                          I am slow posting this response.

                          Mike Harrington attempted to defend the idea that low priced energy is a good thing. Evidence suggests that given more physical power humankind may well do itself, and certainly other species, more harm than good. The points Mike raised skirt the central question. While he also sheds some light on his preferences, the question of environmental consequences of cheap energy isn't settled.

                          Mike Harrington wrote:
                          Altering the planet is not always a bad idea. For example, if the Sahel Desert were irrigated, rainfall and tree cover in sub-Saharan Africa would probably increase.

                          Me:
                          I agree that local alterations in the natural environment can materially benefit humans. To disagree would be to say that the cultivation of the land for crops is a bad idea. Regional alterations may also be found to be beneficial to populations of humans. The short term benefits of some alterations will be greater than the future costs. However, the converse is true. We often fail at predicting some of the most significant consequences of alterations in the environment. Prehistoric and modern cultures have gone extinct after calamities such as famine, brought about by man-made alterations to the environment.

                          No doubt, there is a tendency to believe that applying modern technology virtually always reaps benefits and that conservatism on that score is foolish and harmful. It is reasoned that it is the less advanced societies' lack of energy resources and technology that causes their failure to master the environment. Mike might agree in principle that such a bias is unwarranted. Yet, while he is opposed to the highway culture, he is wanting another national industrial policy, fusion energy research and development. He believes that its success would guarantee no less than a continuation of modern 1st world habits of consumption.

                          Our experience with cheap energy is a great deal of environmental destruction. Energy for war machinery and conquest. Energy for single occupancy vehicles with a resulting demand for roads and exurban development. Of course, energy provides great benefits also. In principle, energy should be priced at its cost of production and the price of damaging uses be charged seperately to the user. In practice, energy production is subsidized and no attempt is made to recover third party costs from users as they cause the damage. Hit and miss regulation that variously moderates behavior and positive energy prices that DO moderate damaging behavior are all we have.

                          An attraction of this car-free cities idea is that it simultaneously offers a very beneficial environmental regulation -- banning the automobile from the city -- while directly improving the space where people live and do business.

                          We should put technology to its best uses. If such a thing as correct pricing were achieved, it would help guide proper uses and development. In general, the achievement of ecologically sound practices doesn't imply a low tech future. My own bias is that people should live long enjoyable lives and that that should apply across nations and into future generations. Cheaper energy would provide immediate benefits but, with no curb, would also empower one generation to thoughtlessly gut the very environment which would otherwise provide vital services to its progeny.

                          Bill Carr



                          "What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected."

                          From letter attributed to Chief Sealth, 1851.
                        • Mike Harrington
                          Actually, I said that it is probably too late for fusion energy research to do any good, given the tremendous hurdles to be overcome, i.e., huge expenditures
                          Message 12 of 12 , Dec 3, 2002
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                            Actually, I said that it is probably too late for fusion energy research to do any good, given the tremendous hurdles to be overcome, i.e., huge expenditures over a long period of time, before it could be economically feasible. As far as fusion energy "gutting the environment," it sounds to me like it would be a lot cleaner than the hydrocarbon-based technology we have now. If you go back and check the note, you'll see that I'm not even sure it would be feasible, not being gifted in plasma physics.

                            The point is that a either a sudden or a long-term, inexorable increase in energy prices would be the necessary ingredient for a depression, and since it's been such a long time since one of those has hit, people have forgotten just how bad that they can be. Your home would be very cold in the winter or roasting in the summer, you wouldn't have a job or it wouldn't pay enough to live on, and there probably wouldn't be enough food for most people to eat. How could it happen? Hostilities in oil-producing regions causing market instability are a possibility. It's true that the military and foreign policy of the US is heavily funded to make sure that doesn't happen, but I wonder how long the US will be able to keep it up. Ten years? Thirty years? Forever is a long time. The one flexibility that President Bush doesn't have that Franklin Roosevelt did was that the US was an oil exporter in 1941 (we rode trains and streetcars and could walk to the store then), not an importer of nine million barrels per day, so a "fortress America" was possible. Furthermore, I think increasing world-wide energy use will see Saudi Arabia depleted in about fifty years, and most oil fields will be played out long before then. There's bound to be a point where demand overtakes supply and an economic correction sets in. The effect could be much worse than the 1930's because we consume so much more energy per-capita than we did then, since cheap energy has been built into the model since that time. The global economy today certainly isn't very encouraging, and energy shock under these conditions would certainly have us all on our knees.

                            To say that there won't be a time where the abject misery common today in the third world will be the rule everywhere due to an energy collapse is wishful thinking. That's why energy conservation in the US by means of an anti-sprawl policy could have a long-term stabilizing effect on energy prices worldwide. And, as far as cheap energy prices are concerned, nothing would please me more than cheap oil prices in continents like Africa where famine and disease are so widespread, as I have seen firsthand. The third world is composed of human beings that deserve a chance and who have as much right to live as the rest of the world. Conservation on the part of the US could be an inspiration to the two-thirds of humanity who can't afford even today's energy prices, let alone the higher prices that will come. It is possible for North America to use less energy and have a better standard of living than we do today, which I think is what the concept of carfree cities is all about. It is also desirable for improvements in the standard of living of the third world, not just for humanitarian reasons, although that should be the most important part, but for selfish ones. For instance, starving countries are bad for world political stability, and increases in diseases like AIDS due to worsening economic conditions could result in increased infection rates in developed countries. What goes around comes around.

                            It is impossible for people today, you included, to survive without cheap energy prices. Attacking science and technology can be dangerous, because it is what keeps you and your loved ones alive. What I'm afraid of is that it may be past the point where science will help very much.

                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "dubluth" <dubluth@...>
                            To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Tuesday, December 03, 2002 5:11 PM
                            Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Foreign Policy Author's Insight into American Oil Policy


                            > I am slow posting this response.
                            >
                            > Mike Harrington attempted to defend the idea that low priced energy is a good thing. Evidence suggests that given more physical power humankind may well do itself, and certainly other species, more harm than good. The points Mike raised skirt the central question. While he also sheds some light on his preferences, the question of environmental consequences of cheap energy isn't settled.
                            >
                            > Mike Harrington wrote:
                            > Altering the planet is not always a bad idea. For example, if the Sahel Desert were irrigated, rainfall and tree cover in sub-Saharan Africa would probably increase.
                            >
                            > Me:
                            > I agree that local alterations in the natural environment can materially benefit humans. To disagree would be to say that the cultivation of the land for crops is a bad idea. Regional alterations may also be found to be beneficial to populations of humans. The short term benefits of some alterations will be greater than the future costs. However, the converse is true. We often fail at predicting some of the most significant consequences of alterations in the environment. Prehistoric and modern cultures have gone extinct after calamities such as famine, brought about by man-made alterations to the environment.
                            >
                            > No doubt, there is a tendency to believe that applying modern technology virtually always reaps benefits and that conservatism on that score is foolish and harmful. It is reasoned that it is the less advanced societies' lack of energy resources and technology that causes their failure to master the environment. Mike might agree in principle that such a bias is unwarranted. Yet, while he is opposed to the highway culture, he is wanting another national industrial policy, fusion energy research and development. He believes that its success would guarantee no less than a continuation of modern 1st world habits of consumption.
                            >
                            > Our experience with cheap energy is a great deal of environmental destruction. Energy for war machinery and conquest. Energy for single occupancy vehicles with a resulting demand for roads and exurban development. Of course, energy provides great benefits also. In principle, energy should be priced at its cost of production and the price of damaging uses be charged seperately to the user. In practice, energy production is subsidized and no attempt is made to recover third party costs from users as they cause the damage. Hit and miss regulation that variously moderates behavior and positive energy prices that DO moderate damaging behavior are all we have.
                            >
                            > An attraction of this car-free cities idea is that it simultaneously offers a very beneficial environmental regulation -- banning the automobile from the city -- while directly improving the space where people live and do business.
                            >
                            > We should put technology to its best uses. If such a thing as correct pricing were achieved, it would help guide proper uses and development. In general, the achievement of ecologically sound practices doesn't imply a low tech future. My own bias is that people should live long enjoyable lives and that that should apply across nations and into future generations. Cheaper energy would provide immediate benefits but, with no curb, would also empower one generation to thoughtlessly gut the very environment which would otherwise provide vital services to its progeny.
                            >
                            > Bill Carr
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > "What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected."
                            >
                            > >From letter attributed to Chief Sealth, 1851.
                            >
                            >
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