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On Why Keystone XL is Not in the U.S. National Interest

Sigh ...

1.  "Miniscule ..." Who cares about someone pissing in the community pool because it is so big, only one kid.  Looking at in isolation is absurd. This:

The Keystone XL Pipeline, considered in isolation, is not a game changing or planet-threatening project. According to some estimates, obtaining and using oil from tar sands produces 14 to 20 percent greater greenhouse gas emissions than the average oil now used in the U.S. for transportation. In a report to Congress, the estimated effect of the pipeline on the U.S. greenhouse gas footprint would be an increase of 3 million to 21 million metric tons of GHG emissions annually – less than one percent of U.S. emissions. The tar sands in Canada are an environmental disaster in other ways, but the incremental emissions of greenhouse gases are small compared to the far greater threat of massive coal expansion in China, or potential fugitive emission of methane from fracking, or massive deforestation in Indonesia and Latin America, or any number of other major sources of greenhouse gases. In that sense, arguments that the Keystone pipeline is just a “distraction” or “red herring” have some merit.

But. But. But. Here’s my problem: when do we finally just say “no more?”  When are we and our elected officials going to look at the complete picture created by our individual choices and decisions?


2.  Try actually looking at the impact of Tar Sands exploitation.  "Most Destructive Project" -- start here.


3.  Keystone puts oil on world market and removes it from the upper Midwest market.  Right now, Dilbit is selling at a significant discount in the upper Midwest: "One of the most important facts that is missing in the national debate surrounding the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is this – Keystone XL will not bring any more oil into the United State for decades to come.  Canada doesn’t have nearly enough oil to fill existing pipelines going to the United States. However, existing Canadian oil pipelines all go to the Midwest, where the only buyer for their crude is the United States. Keystone XL would divert Canadian oil from refineries in the Midwest to the Gulf Coast where it can be refined and exported. Many of these refineries are in Foriegn Trade Zones where oil may be exported to international buyers without paying U.S. taxes. And that is exactly what Valero, one of the largest potential buyers of Keystone XL's oil, has told its investors it will do. The idea that Keystone XL will improve U.S. oil supply is a documented scam being played on the American people by Big Oil and its friends in Washington DC. " 

Heartland gas prices will go up: Keystone will remove oil from the upper Midwest to put it on the world market.

February 11, 2013    View Comment    

On “I Vote for Energy …”

Since I don't control what material moves from my site to Energy Collective, perhaps it makes sense to look at something posted there ... see the last link in the above. 

Not sure how, in a follow-up to something that I had done earlier in the day, posting a satiric video represents "hit piece".


January 5, 2012    View Comment    

On “We can’t wait” … The President Stands Up to Fossil Interests

I like Bloomberg's way of putting it:


The EPA has proposed rules that would reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by 90%, preventing 12,200 emergency room visits and saving $80 billion a year in health care costs. The rules -- now sitting on the president's desk -- are two decades overdue.

In 1990, when the Clean Air Act was last revised, Congress directed the EPA to establish limits on mercury and other emissions of coal-fired power plants. In March, after 20 years of delay, the EPA has finally issued a set of draft rules. By Monday, the president will decide whether to adopt the draft rules, weaken them, or withdraw them entirely. It will be one of the defining tests of the administration's commitment to public health and environmental protection.

December 15, 2011    View Comment    

On “We can’t wait” … The President Stands Up to Fossil Interests

Re Keystone jobs.

1.  For amusement, start with the Post's "Fact Checker' item: 

2.  Cornell study with analysis that pipeline might lead to net negative job creation (e.g., job losses): 

3.  Re standards ... how about, for example, the proposals from EPA going back 8 years:  The Boiler MACT wasn't some sudden surprise that emerged on 16 March 2011.

December 15, 2011    View Comment    

On “We can’t wait” … The President Stands Up to Fossil Interests

Hmmm ...

1.  These are rules that have been on delay for 20 years. How much longer should those rule delays continue? 

2.  As you note, these are old facilities -- grandfathered in under CAA -- should pollution controls and resulting health benefits ever be part of the program?

3.  The capacity discussions are far more robust and complex than you suggest -- and not severely .  Why not look to, for example, EEI: 

  • There will be far fewer shutdowns than industry shills are predicting -- around 321 plants, or 48,000 megwatts' worth (roughly 14 percent of current coal capacity, or 5 percent of total generation capacity).

  • The shutdowns will take place over a much longer period of time than public industry reporting is predicting -- over a decade rather than in the next two or three years.

  • Most of the closures are happening for other reasons, unrelated to EPA rules -- the plants are old, they're uneconomic to run, they're getting beat by cheap gas.

See the discussion here:

4. RE Keystone XL:  "The unions" are actually split over Keystone and, well, the only independent analysis to date has shown that this has a good shot of being a net negative on the jobs front. Re the consumers, the refined oil product will likely be exported and developing the pipeline will lead to increased gas costs in the Midwest (and, even more so, reduced refinery profits in the Midwest). 

December 15, 2011    View Comment    

On Durban: Putting the Dust into the Dustbin of History?


July 2012 will, on average, be hotter than December 2012 in North America.  No, nothing factual there since this is soley a "projection of potential future occurrences" based on billions of years of geologic record, thousands of years of human experience, hundreds of years of science, and decades of personal experience

A rock dropped from an airplane will fall toward the earth.  Nothing factual there since this is based solely on millenia of human experience, hundreds of years of science, personal experience, and not factual because 'gravity' is solely a Scientific Theory.

We are already seeing increased 'extreme weather events', with global rainfall coming increasing in severe rainfall events, exactly as Global Warming Theory and climate change modeling predicted. That that same body of work projects increasingly severe weather events is to be ignored since "no projection of potential future occurrences is "factual"." 

December 14, 2011    View Comment    

On Durban: Putting the Dust into the Dustbin of History?

1.  You are, of course, reacting to a guest post on my site that was put here in my name.

2.  Quoting Pielke, Jr.  Sigh ... How about, as simple as possible, the recent IPCC report on extreme weather and climate change.  (for basic story, see which, in a very conservative manner, concludes that the effects of climate change will intensify extreme heat, heavy precipitation, and maximum wind speeds of tropical storms.  Of course, that is not "factual", I gather.


December 11, 2011    View Comment    

On “We can’t wait …” President Obama’s $4 Billion Energy Efficiency Announcement


Yes. The Federal Government is living off borrowing.

We agree, don't we, that energy efficiency investments have high ROI?  Ones done through EPSCs often have ROIs, if we count the profits to the contractor along with government savings, in the 10s of %.


The taxpayer is currently borrowing money at 2% for a 10 year bond and 3.125% for a 30-year bond.  If we (the taxpayers via the Federal Govenrment) can program on a 7 year straight payback period, that 10% per year ROI would represent mean that (a) the taxpayer would see a greater savings and (b) the Federal goverment could be far more aggressive in energy efficiency (with some clean energy, especially CHP) investments which (c) would spark more jobs / employment / economic activity with (d) more federal tax revenue. 


December 2, 2011    View Comment    

On What's The True Cost Of A Gallon Of Gas?

Agreed.  From the original article:

And, how many $1s, 10s, or $100s of billions each year of U.S. military costs results from America’s oil addiction and the need to maintain ’stability’ in oil producing regions?

August 1, 2011    View Comment    

On Changing the Military's Energy Culture

Your question focused on "costs" that seemingly don't have a payoff.

Clearly, the solar panels in deployed areas that enable recharging batteries in a patrol or which offset oil that needs to be shipped via Pakistan deep into Afghanistan have a very different payoff than solar panels on military bases in the domestic United States. Investing in the first actually doesn't come 'at the expense' of other things but enables them due to reduced costs (such as significantly reduced logistics chains). The second, however, creates another serious value chain:  resiliency of the power system at the bases.  (Buying wind off the grid doesn't have the same claim ...)  The 2008 DSB Study on energy focused on two arenas: liquid fuel reliance/vulnerabilities and the risk to the military due to vulnerabilities in the civilian energy system (notably electricity). Those solar panels on bases supporting 'net zero' bases fosters resiliency in the face of natural or man-made disruption of the electrical grid.  That has a value stream.

As for renewable aviation fuels, isn't the question about how much investment can the military afford in R&D to enable more capable and sustainable forces in the future?  DOD invests in developing better radars. DOD invest in materials research. Etc ... Why shouldn't the military invest in fuels that -- while extremely expensive today -- have a viable prospect of being cost competitive and could help reduce other challenges. And, by the way, that the DOD investment today has the prospect of hastening the time when these fuels are cost competitive and available in quantity for military application. 

Your question is, imo, part of a much broader question: how much investment in tomorrow can the DOD maintain in the face of budget constraints? 

Even on the second, however, the Defense Science Board identified (during the Bush Administration

If the Department of Defense invests in solar power and renewable aviation fuels, to what extent does that come at the expense of troop deployment or vehicle and aircraft replacement, particularly with significant budget cuts in prospect?

This of course differs by arena.


August 1, 2011    View Comment    

On Why Do Democrats Want Inexpensive Oil?


Barack Obama, in the 2008 primaries, set himself aside from Hillary Clinton by not pandering to the gas tax holiday.  Talking about inflating tires, for example, as a better response to gas prices (efficiency) was better leadership than arguing for a gas tax holiday and fostering an idea of lower priced oil.

[Sorry if comment duplicated ... don't know if it made it through ...] I have long advocated for a gradual (1 cent / month / indefinite) increase in the price of fuel.  This would significantly change the nation's planning and investment (from the household, to businesses, to government) from where to build buildings, to what type of vehicles to build, the value of electrified rail, etc ... While it would only represent $1.20 over a decade, this would take us (imo) a long way toward shifting society toward a saner energy system. 

Now, personally, I would support a larger and faster implementation -- 2.5 or 5 cents / month for a few years and then dropping to perhaps 1.5 cents month for five years, then 2 cents / month for five years, then 2.5 cents ....  The 1 cent/month would, however, achieve a good share of the necessary mind shift while providing a resource base for investing in clean energy options (and contributing some resources to debt reduction).

July 5, 2011    View Comment    

On Why Do Democrats Want Inexpensive Oil?

Sometimes, perhaps, it is the audiences and environments in which we discuss and encounter.

Yes, there are people (too many) who don't understand the difference between electricity and oil in the American (and global economy) and will gleefully talk of solar as replacing oil (in the US) without discussing how this only occurs if there is serious transportation shifting from liquid fuel to electricity (whether PHEVs, EVs, electrified rail, ...).  And, well, those people tend (perhaps strongly) to be primarily from the Democratic Party.

And, there are people who believe that the answer to all our challenges is simply drilling more wells and who discount (ignore) the entire concept of externalities in terms of energy system costs.  And, well, those people tend to be Republicans.

And ... there are fallacies that can be put into ideological structures.

If I am writing on liberal web sites, then disabusing tends to be "D" -- on the other hand, in the daily life, the "misconception" correcting is almost entirely dealing with "R" and misconceptions about how 'green jobs don't exist', renewable energy is impossible, drilling is all we need to do, etc ... Direct misinformation (such as  Bryce) and purposeful misdirection does not, imo and my experience, tend to come from the D side of the political dialogue.  Check who brings who to Congressional hearings, for example, the questions they ask, and how they interact with witnesses.  This is quite revealing.

July 5, 2011    View Comment