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6421RE: [hreg] Continental Airlines offers carbon offsetting program

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  • Robert Johnston
    Jun 1, 2007

      I have much more confidence in the “free market” than in any intervention this group or anyone else (ESPECIALLY our government) might want to do.


      If we reduce energy consumption etc. through legislation or high consumption taxes, don’t we just in effect subsidize China, India and other developing countries to use that energy more cheaply to even more effectively take away U.S. manufacturing jobs and for our nation to become even further indebted to them (our huge trade imbalance and foreign debt load is going to ruin us someday, maybe soon)? 


      It seems like this would only work if the alternative energy was in fact the more economically attractive choice, and then the Chinese, Indians etc would compete with us on equal terms energy-wise.  But that means we have to trust the free market to get us to that point.  i.e., when the cost of fossil fuels increases enough, and/or cost of renewables decreases enough, to where it is “naturally” preferred to switch to renewables, the free market will drive the change with or without help.  (Help may accelerate the process slightly, but can’t succeed in the long run if the basic economics aren’t there).


      Seems to me the best groups like us can do is support the R&D and development of alternative business models etc. to make renewables more economically competitive with fossil fuels.  Campaigning for research is probably OK, though even here I think we put too much faith in government intervention (look at the amount of venture capital pouring into alternative energy today; if the market thinks it looks promising, the money will come from the “free market”).  Campaigning for interventionist energy policy changes that attempt to dictate our energy choices arbitrarily and unilaterally strikes me as short-sighted and futile (that’s what was wrong with Kyoto ).


      A great example of why I prefer the free market is ethanol.  Not so long ago the activitists on this group were pushing it.  We experiment with biofuels.  Nothing wrong with that—as individual experimentation, and for small-scale recycling of waste McDonald’s oil etc.  But now everyone is concerned about the consequences to food supplies.  The underlying reality is that corn-based ethanol is approximately energy neutral, so makes little sense except to farmers and ag-industry players who are heavily subsidized.  But let’s be honest:  the farm states have long had subsidies, but they have been decreasing over the years.  This new infusion of pork couldn’t have happened if the green activitists hadn’t provided so much political “cover” through their campaigning for renewables.  i.e., some may complain that this ethanol policy is a cynical ploy by the Bush administration to look green while protecting big energy interests, but I’d say the activitists kind of got what they deserved.  When you ask for intervention, you may not always like the results, especially when you haven’t done your homework in science and economics.  Politics is ugly.  So is the free market.  But I prefer the latter, as in the long run I think it gets the right answers more often.




      From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of chasmauch@...
      Sent: Friday, June 01, 2007 9:31 AM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [hreg] Continental Airlines offers carbon offsetting program


      And speaking of gasoline going through the roof - I'm afraid we haven't seen anything yet. We not only import over 60% of our oil these days, the front page headline article in the Chronicle today reports that due to a shortage of refining capacity, we now are importing 11% of the refined gasoline we use. That is really scary, since we all remember how a couple of major hurricanes in the Gulf last year disrupted supplies. The price didn't go up much - there just wasn't any gas available when everyone tried to top off their tanks.


      There is an obvious trainwreck situation rapidly bearing down upon us and we should be taking emergency steps to deal with it now, but we still are not treating our energy situation as a critical threat to our national security and our whole society. We need a comprehensive energy policy to reduce consumption, go to alternatives and renewables, cut pollution, and generally get the public up to speed on the energy situation - but there is no sense of urgency about this except complaints about high prices. I'm afraid when demand exceeds supply and the "free market" takes over (which could easily happen this summer) it will be a really ugly scene. But as usual we probably won't take action until the crisis hits. Any suggestions about what this group could or should try to do?


      Charlie Mauch

      ____________ __


      In a message dated 5/31/2007 8:57:31 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Dans1@... writes:

      Yep  your right  they did kill the High Speed rail system and now is when we really need it. with Gas going through the roof.


      Dan S.


      -----Original Message-----
      From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto:hreg@ yahoogroups. com]On Behalf Of Robert Johnston
      Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 10:31 PM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
      Subject: RE: [hreg] Continental Airlines offers carbon offsetting program

      Ah, but you may recall they are the ones that gunned down the Texas high speed rail system.  Or would that have traveled half full?  (I’ll bet not, after 9/11, when Houston-Dallas is hardly worth flying anymore due to the check-in time requirements) .

      Robert Johnston

      From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto:hreg@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of Ariel Thomann
      Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 8:12 PM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
      Cc: houstonpeakoil@ lists.riseup. net
      Subject: Re: [hreg] Continental Airlines offers carbon offsetting program

      I dunno. I think I'll stick with my beloved nutty Southwest -- a full plane is
      much more fuel-efficient than one that's half empty, or so I think. Am I right?

      - We are all Human beings here together. We have to help one another, since
      otherwise there is NO ONE who will help.
      - All countries need a NO REGRETS strategic energy policy. Think ahead 7
      ------------ --------- --------- ------

      > Article in today's Chronicle says Continental will offer passengers a chance
      > to counter the environmental effects of their flights by participating in a
      > carbon offsetting program.
      > _http://www.chron. com/disp/ story.mpl/ business/ 4849662.html_
      > (http://www.chron. com/disp/ story.mpl/ business/ 4849662.html)
      > ************ ********* ********* ******** See what's free at http://www.aol. com.


      See what's free at AOL.com.

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