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John Petersen is the executive vice president and chief financial officer of ePower Engine Systems, Inc., a Kentucky-based enterprise that has developed, built and demonstrated an engine-dominant diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain for long-haul heavy trucks that promises fuel savings of 30 to 40... More
My company:
Fefer Petersen & Co.
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ipo-law.com
  • The Great Climate Change Fraud 120 comments
    Aug 26, 2013 1:34 PM

    I'm not a denier or an activist when it comes to the subject of climate change, but five years of blogging about investing in the energy storage and electric vehicle sectors has convinced me that self-serving activists and promoters, mathematically challenged politicians and an irresponsible media are cynically selling snake-oil climate change solutions to a gullible public.

    The observed CO2 data is unassailable. Atmospheric concentrations have climbed at increasing rates for over a century and show no signs of abating, or for that matter flattening. We've all seen the hockey stick graphs and read countless stories about the computer modeling by activists who stridently insist that their statistical correlations are proof of causation. We've also read equally strident arguments that the activist's models are contrived and their data has been massaged to a point that the statistical correlations are meaningless.

    I couldn't care less whether global warming theory is right or wrong because the critical question we should be asking is, "What is causing the increases in global CO2 emissions?"

    Activists love to blame the CO2 emissions on the industrialized west and big oil, but the simpler reality is the population of the planet quadrupled over the last century and the sheer mass of humanity is generating more CO2 than the planet can process.

    In 2009, a climate change activist who teaches computer science at the University of Toronto created this graph to show that population growth and CO2 emissions are NOT correlated.

    He argued, "emissions grew much more sharply than population from 1950 onwards, with the only exceptions being during the economic recessions of the early 1980′s, early 1990′s, and around 2000. Since 2000, emissions have been growing at something close to double the population growth rate."

    Give me a break!

    I can accept the premise that population growth alone is not enough to account for fine variations in CO2 emissions; but when you factor industrialization trends in North America, Europe, Asia and the rest of the world into the equation, the root cause is undeniable. The culprits are:

    • 1 billion humans in industrialized economies where per capita CO2 emissions have been flat or falling for decades; and
    • 6 billion humans in developing economies that (a) want to be richer, (b) know a better life is possible because we gave them Internet access, and (c) are working hard to build a brighter future for themselves and their children and grandchildren.

    That first bullet point is crucial. By combining national CO2 emissions data from the Department of Energy with population data from the Census Bureau one can easily calculate that:

    • Per capita CO2 emissions from coal peaked at 7.64 metric tons in 2000 and have fallen by 31% over the last 12 years;
    • Per capita CO2 emissions from natural gas peaked at 5.56 metric tons in 1973 and have fallen by 22% over the last 40 years;
    • Per capita CO2 emissions from petroleum peaked at 11.46 metric tons in 1978 and have fallen by 37% over the last 35 years; and
    • Per capita CO2 emissions from all sources peaked at 22.35 metric tons in 1973 and have fallen by 25% over the last 40 years.

    While few dare to speak the truth above a whisper, CO2 emissions aren't climbing because of activities in the industrialized west. They're climbing because billions of humans in developing economies are increasing their carbon footprints as they try to catch up.

    The unpleasant but indisputable reality is that every barrel of avoided oil use and every ton of avoided coal use in rich countries will simply increase supplies in poorer countries where another human who has a choice between freezing in the dark or increasing his carbon footprint will pick his comfort and convenience over our climate change worries.

    Another unpleasant but equally indisputable reality is that EVs are a little less carbon intensive in the hands of a consumer, but they're extremely carbon intensive to manufacture and recycle. As a result every EV starts out with a massive carbon debt that will take years to amortize through clean driving. When you include the incremental carbon footprint of manufacturing and recycling EVs, they're not significantly cleaner than conventional cars. It's a zero sum game.

    If the dire warnings of climate change activists are correct, a topic where I scrupulously avoid expressing an opinion, then humanity is in for a tough time and we'll all have ringside seats to the ultimate tragedy of the commons. Nature will do as it's always done when populations in a species grow beyond sustainable limits. It will ruthlessly cull the herd until balance is restored. While most will find the cull distinctly unpleasant, humanity will either have to evolve or face extinction like every other apex species in the history of the planet.

    The First Great Fraud is the idea that individuals in wealthy countries can change anything by putting an electric car in their garage, with or without solar panels on the roof. These are vanity purchases, cute ego boosting symbols that make no meaningful contribution to the common good, the environment or the overall health of the planet. Buyers can make themselves feel virtuous, but senseless symbolism can't make a difference on a planetary scale. It's like trying to fight a hurricane with Depends.

    A Second and Greater Fraud is that humanity can produce enough metals to transition even an insignificant fraction its transportation fleet away from oil without diverting technology metals from other critical uses. We may be able to build thousands or even tens of thousands of EVs per year without destroying supply chains. But we can't build millions or tens of millions of EVs per year without a couple extra planets to provide the required raw metals.

    The common thread in every alternative energy scheme is manufacturing machines that replace a superior energy resource with an inferior resource. Since alternatives are always more costly, the promoter's playbook never changes - demonize the superior energy resource with half-truths and pseudo-science to justify higher costs. All time favorites include:

    • Protecting the planet's oil resources from imminent and catastrophic depletion;
    • Protecting the planet's atmosphere by reducing CO2 emissions in wealthy countries;
    • Promoting energy independence through natural resource diversity; and
    • Rationalizing the massive front-end natural resource costs with the magic incantation, "recycling," which is far easier to say than it is to do.

    The claims are inspiring and they fire the imagination, but they're utterly devoid of technical and economic merit.

    Last year the planet produced 14,000 million tons of hydrocarbons; 2,600 million tons of iron and steel; and 140 million tons of all other metals combined. For critical technology metals including rare earths, cobalt, tungsten, vanadium, lithium and cadmium, annual production rates of less than 100,000 tons are the rule. While the oil industry has a long history of developing new resources in godforsaken places like the arctic and deep water, commercial mining activities can only be conducted on dry land and in relatively temperate climates. The billions of dollars in infrastructure costs to develop a new mine in the middle of nowhere are beyond imagining.

    In a world where one billion people want to keep consuming at current rates and six billion more want to increase their consumption, supplies of ALL natural resources are constrained. We pay attention to oil because most of us buy processed petroleum products several times a month, but the greatest challenge of our age will be overcoming persistent global shortages of water, food, energy and every commodity you can imagine. Humanity is long past the point where we can find and develop enough new natural resources to solve the supply problem.

    Whether we like it or not, humanity's only remaining option is to eliminate waste in all its pernicious forms.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

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Comments (120)
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  • ephud
    , contributor
    Comments (2438) | Send Message
     
    Can someone tell me when the climate wasn't changing?
    26 Aug 2013, 01:57 PM Reply Like
  • rhyse12
    , contributor
    Comments (183) | Send Message
     
    Can somebody tell me WHY the last ice age occurred?
    Great point on massive population increase results in nasty SnapBack, where the population gets " culled" to a sustainable level. Brutal truth...
    26 Aug 2013, 03:20 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    rhyse12 - I know WHY the last ice age occurred!!!!!!

     

    Can you (or anyone) tell me how LOW the ocean levels were during that ice age???
    26 Aug 2013, 03:37 PM Reply Like
  • colodude
    , contributor
    Comments (238) | Send Message
     
    I've read that when the North American and Eurasian glaciers were at the peak (2 miles thick at the center and a continent in extent), sea levels were low enough so that the Mediterranean had no sea, blocked at the straits of Gibraltar, Southern Africa's coastlines moved out an impressive 40 miles, but I forget how many feet the sea level line was lowered. 150 feet?
    26 Aug 2013, 07:35 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Shallow enough for humans to migrate across a land bridge from Asia to North America.
    26 Aug 2013, 07:40 PM Reply Like
  • Heinz Doofenshmirtz
    , contributor
    Comments (271) | Send Message
     
    Climate Invariance®...the next environmental concern.

     

    You heard it here first.
    27 Aug 2013, 06:01 AM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    Now John - during the ice age(s), wouldn't ice have covered the "North", so that any "land bridge" from Asia to North America would have actually been upon ice (popularly noted route as along the Aleutian Islands.?
    27 Aug 2013, 11:29 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Since I wasn't there to witness the migration I can't discuss the details with any confidence in my conclusions; or yours for that matter.
    27 Aug 2013, 11:34 AM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    Cooldude - I also have read that IF the existing ice were to melt and all that water went into the oceans we would flood Florida etc., etc. So, I can imagine that someone would have made the inverse calculation as to where all that water would have come from to form all the ice of the ice ages: but, what evidence do we actually have that the ocean levels dropped, and to what elevations, and why.

     

    One must deal with the probabilities and the effects scientifically.

     

    The "effect" calculations indeed can be made; but, what are the probabilities?? (All things considered [and better yet, do we even know "all things considered"??????]).

     

    For instance, we've found sea fossils hundreds of feet above sea levels - yup, the earths platelets rose up out of the ocean.

     

    Gibraltar and most of the northern Mediterranean coastline is above LA to San Francisco and Boston to D.C.. Gibraltar is at 36 degrees N. The bottom of the Italian boot is like Denver. Ice formations would of course be elevation dependent.

     

    So, evidence, please.

     

    For instance, if the Med was blocked at Gibraltar for some reason and also the rivers feeding the Med (if they also were not also blocked or minimized for some valid worldly reasons unknown to us), then the Med could have just evaporated on down to some lower levels. Who knows. Humanly speaking?

     

    What keeps and kept the Med in existence: the oceans or the rivers (and what keeps or kept them in existence?) - blockages applied, that is.
    27 Aug 2013, 11:57 AM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    That John, is one of my points.
    27 Aug 2013, 01:06 PM Reply Like
  • rhyse12
    , contributor
    Comments (183) | Send Message
     
    Okay, why? What triggered the last ice age..
    27 Aug 2013, 04:46 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    RHYSE12 - do you want primary cause or secondary cause? And before you say secondary, because we can pretty well identify primary causation of which I was referring to, can we even say what really triggered the latest or most recent erupting volcano other than platelet shifts, lava surges, etc. (causes and effects cause causes and effects, etc?).

     

    Global (ice ages), I would say, is out of the hands of humans. Just as the earth (atmosphere) creates and destroys more ozone annually than man ever could hope to tickle. Same for the ice ages: out of man's hands. Or the Genesis Flood: out of man's realm of control.

     

    Urban pollution in LA and Begiem and the orange haze over Denver up against the mountains: man-caused. Bothersome for a season and with some local climate change - but, globally, a nit.
    Same for currently erupting volcano's; bothersome for a season with local climate change, leaving tracks or traces world-round in some cases; but, yet a nit beyond a season. And in a sense, even the ice ages were for a season, and that season may be random even tho some of it's signs may be measured, recorded, and extrapolated and predictive, but with unknown limits, severity, and timing; far from Law. Trustworthy theory? Other than when they happen they are real, not as good as saying, predicting and proving that when the human heart stops, so does the human. And then come the "why's", etc.
    28 Aug 2013, 11:02 AM Reply Like
  • tlmkr1605
    , contributor
    Comments (6) | Send Message
     
    If I remember correctly from my Roman History period, you may find a good explanation on the formation and draining/ filling cycle of the Med in a book by Michael Grant titled "The Ancient Mediterranean".
    1 Sep 2013, 12:19 AM Reply Like
  • Glenn Doty
    , contributor
    Comments (1116) | Send Message
     
    rhyse,

     

    If you are actually interested in the science, the reason for the ~20,000 year climate cycle is because the Earth's orbit has a slight "wobble". The axial tilt gradually shifts from ~22 degrees to ~24 degrees, and that tilt gradually rotates - so that the winter and summer solstices of the Northern and Southern hemispheres can correspond to the points in the Earths orbit where the Earth is closest to or farthest from the sun (perihelion and aphelion)...

     

    These wobbles of the Earths orbit lead to extensive periods where the the Northern hemisphere (where most of the land mass is) is subjected to longer durations of winter corresponding to cooler summers (summer is at aphelion), so ice starts building up in the Northern latitude, and carbon starts becoming sequestered under the growing permafrost... This is a period of thousands of years, but as the carbon sequestration continues, the carbon levels in the atmosphere drop, cooling the planet, allowing the ice to slowly trend south, engulfing the conifers that had been shedding needles into the permafrost for hundreds of years... and creating new regions of permafrost with more carbon sequestration...

     

    This continues until the Earth wobbles back to a point where the northern hemisphere is getting longer, hotter summers... After a few thousand years of continual longer, hotter summers in the North, the permafrost starts to thaw, releasing billions of tons of stored carbon, which starts heating things up and thawing more permafrost - releasing more carbon. etc... - until the winters are long and the summers are cool, and the cycle starts reversing itself again.

     

    Google "Milankovitch cycle" if you want to know more.
    2 Sep 2013, 10:30 AM Reply Like
  • rhyse12
    , contributor
    Comments (183) | Send Message
     
    THANK YOU.
    "milankovitch cycle" is a term i investigated. BUT, its important to get more information from a source not familiar with my own research.
    without advocating a position, it is impressive how quick folks are too jump on trends based on maybe 100 years of accurate measurement, when the time line is in fact measured in "thousands to tens of thousands" of years..
    4 Sep 2013, 01:06 AM Reply Like
  • Glenn Doty
    , contributor
    Comments (1116) | Send Message
     
    rhyse,

     

    First of all, you're welcome.
    :)

     

    Thank you for asking, rather than telling people that you understand something when you do not... then going off on some rant about a subject you don't understand (something that is far more common when discussing anthropogenic global warming -AGW).

     

    Second, it must be pointed out that you are doing a disservice to the incredible research and progress that has been done in the past 50 years when you allude to "maybe 100 years of accurate measurement". Ice core studies, ocean floor composition studies, etc... have provided astounding detail of climate trends dating back hundreds of millions of years, and have high accuracy for thousands of years. We know far more than "a hundred years" worth of data. In some cases - such as the Milankovitch cycles - we can very accurately model the behavior of the planet for the past several billion years. Climate is many orders of magnitude more complex, so we cannot do nearly so much or so well, but we have a tremendous amount of data at our disposal... We know a lot, and we understand a lot.

     

    Third, the theory (correctly defined, a theory is a summation of all known data concerning a specific field of study) of AGW lies in physics and chemistry, not based on observation. It's a simple energy balance equation:

     

    The Earth/atmosphere is an isolated body. It receives energy from the sun (and produces an insignificant amount of energy from nuclear fission in the core). Some of the solar energy is reflected, while some of the energy is absorbed. At the same time... we are constantly emitting energy into space as a blackbody radiator. The frequency of the energy we are emitting lies predominately in bandwidths that can be absorbed by H2O, CO2, CH4, CFC's, NOX, and other GHG's. If we increase the concentration of those gasses, then some of our emitted radiation will be re-absorbed, and we will be in a state of energy imbalance. Energy imbalances result in a change of the energy state of the body in question.

     

    This is not subject to dispute. If we are receiving more energy from the sun (and the tiny amount of energy from core activity) than we are net radiating, then the body's energy state will increase. As the energy state increases, the body will emit far more blackbody radiation, so even though some of portion will be re-absorbed/re-conducted back into the body, enough radiation will escape that we once again achieve energy balance.

     

    Increasing CO2, CH4, or other gasses will therefore increase temperatures, which will cause more H2O in the upper atmosphere, further increasing temperatures... until a new balance is achieved.

     

    This is fact. There's nothing to dispute here, there are no questions as to whether this will happen. It is as certain as the fact the sun will rise in the East tomorrow. The difficulty is trying to figure out the rate of change in the energy state of the planet, and the nature of the change in the energy state of the planet, and the ultimate extent to which the energy state must change before a new balance is achieved.

     

    But no-one extrapolated observed climate trends and then postulated that the Earth will warm. In the 1800's it was noted that we were increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere... and as a result we UNDERSTOOD that the Earth MUST warm. That is the basis of the science.
    4 Sep 2013, 11:04 AM Reply Like
  • Neil_Anderson
    , contributor
    Comments (1637) | Send Message
     
    To rhyse12

     

    You haven't done any disservice to anyone.

     

    I'd also like to point out that Glenn's definition is a bit lacking:
    "... a theory is a summation of all known data concerning a specific field of study" That definition's an "over-achiever" because no summation of all known data is ever required.

     

    Here's an impromptu alternative definition:
    A theory is any statement that cannot be proven true (otherwise it would be "fact", not "theory") and yet cannot be proven false (otherwise it would be "fiction", not "theory"). A theory can only be proven consistent with one's axioms, those basic underlying assumptions that one holds near & dear to one's heart. In fact, some axioms are held so near & dear that one is not even aware of them. Such are called "implicit" assumptions and they can be dangerous. A common example is "ceteris paribus" which means "all other things remaining unchanged" which is used extensively in many sciences, especially economics and human behavior.

     

    Ceteris paribus is supposed to be explicitly assumed, or explicitly denied. But, all too often, it is implicitly assumed when it must be explicitly denied.

     

    For instance, if one is trying to prove the statement that -"Electric vehicles are always the marginal load on the electric grid, and the marginal load is always dirty." Well, proving the statement is easy if one **implicitly** assumes that all other things are unchanged when the electric vehicle plugs in.

     

    But the world doesn't work that way. None of us have to stop ourselves from turning-on TVs, ovens, or ACs just because an electric car is about to be plugged in. Ceteris paribus was implicitly assumed rather than explicitly denied, and a erroneous conclusion was thereby obtained.
    19 Oct 2013, 08:23 PM Reply Like
  • gordonq
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    @Glen Doty... I was so following you until you said "It is as certain as the fact the sun will rise in the East tomorrow." Crap, now I have to doubt everything you say. Why couldn't you have just said "It is as certain as the fact the sun will APPEAR in the East tomorrow, if there is no cloud cover."? Who can you trust these days?
    27 Feb, 11:36 AM Reply Like
  • greg105
    , contributor
    Comments (42) | Send Message
     
    This article really sends a clear message about how far some people are willing to contort while pretending to offer a simple solution.

     

    Yes, it is population growth but more importantly, population growth using more and more sequestered hydrocarbons. There are no other occurrences in the life cycle of any of us which create a long term change in the carbon cycle whether there are 10 of us or 10billion.
    27 Jun, 11:53 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Even if you can convince the rest of the world that freezing in the dark is a better option, I'll do my best to cheat because I don't want what you propose.

     

    Have you considered the possibility that climate change is just Mother Nature's way of saying "There are too damned many humans on the planet and I'm going to cull the herd." ?
    27 Jun, 12:01 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    Amen, John; again and again.............
    26 Aug 2013, 03:33 PM Reply Like
  • Mr Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (2739) | Send Message
     
    Great to see you inject some levity into such a dark article. I'm referring to the Depends link. lmao!

     

    Makes articles like this much more readable for the average retail investor.
    26 Aug 2013, 04:19 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » This Instablog was originally the lead for my new article on Tesla's battery problem but the Editors were afraid it would reap a whirlwind of political comment that had nothing to do with the investment issue.
    26 Aug 2013, 04:21 PM Reply Like
  • obieephyhm
    , contributor
    Comments (1591) | Send Message
     
    I came, I read and I stood up and applauded at the end.

     

    Yes, seriously.
    26 Aug 2013, 04:31 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Many thanks. I just wish the Editors had a little more grit when it came to articles for the main pages.
    26 Aug 2013, 04:36 PM Reply Like
  • mrholty
    , contributor
    Comments (1025) | Send Message
     
    John, I'd actually recommend this be sent to editors of major newspapers as a guest editorial. Easy to understand and it would actually lead to a productive discusssion of what we as individuals and collectively our government should or should not be doing.
    26 Aug 2013, 07:23 PM Reply Like
  • tlmkr1605
    , contributor
    Comments (6) | Send Message
     
    I haven't checked into your blog for quite a while but was pleased to read such an un"PC" article on the developed vs undeveloped world as they relate to the climate change debate. In my opinion this blog entry should be sent to the editorial pages of major newspapers. Especially like the link to the "tragedy of the commons".
    1 Sep 2013, 12:34 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Many thanks for the kind words. This particular piece started out as the lead-in to my recent article on Tesla's battery constraints. Since the editors thought it would draw a firestorm of political comment they asked me to put the incendiary stuff in this Instablog and just publish the directly Tesla related conversation in the main pages.
    1 Sep 2013, 07:06 AM Reply Like
  • AlphaCoils
    , contributor
    Comments (312) | Send Message
     
    No problem, Elon has it covered. That's what SpaceX is all about - we will become a multi-planetary species. We can also harvest all those goodies in the asteroids.
    26 Aug 2013, 04:41 PM Reply Like
  • greentongue
    , contributor
    Comments (859) | Send Message
     
    I'm afraid the collapse of Telsa will also take down SpaceX.
    Investors may be "gun shy" of further investment in SpaceX if they just lost their shirts on Telsa. The longer it takes to play out, the bigger a scar it will leave.

     

    I believe we have solutions to the greenhouse gas issue. They just are not profitable to implement. Mother Nature is a little more heavy handed with her solutions.
    27 Aug 2013, 08:03 AM Reply Like
  • Nicu Mihalache
    , contributor
    Comments (1081) | Send Message
     
    greentongue, first, it is Tesla, not Telsa

     

    second, SpaceX is a profitable private company that probably won't go public for a decade or so
    27 Aug 2013, 08:29 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I've heard the claims that SpaceX is profitable but private companies don't typically open their books for public inspection so nobody knows for sure whether SpaceX is profitable for real, or hypothetically profitable like its sister.
    27 Aug 2013, 08:48 AM Reply Like
  • Retired Aviator
    , contributor
    Comments (1840) | Send Message
     
    Good ideas in this article. Another point missing from the debate is that rising CO2 is not just a 'burning of fossil fuels' story.

     

    Rising CO2 is also caused by massive deforestation. Trees suck CO2 out of the atmosphere at a good rate and turn it into oxygen, so deforestation (esp rainforest) to harvest the wood, and to plant cropland, and for suburban development, has been a large contributor to the rising CO2 levels for decades. Somehow this story doesn't get told, though, and the whole CO2 problem gets pinned on fossil fuel burning.

     

    So part of the "green" solution is, not ironically, to restore some of the green forests where practicable.
    26 Aug 2013, 05:17 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5362) | Send Message
     
    We all get the same amount of ice. The rich get it in the summertime and the poor get it in the winter.” ~ Bat Masterson, found in his typewriter after he died.

     

    There is enough energy reaching the earth to meet our needs, it just needs to be moved around, geographically and across time. The issues would be more tractable if a small minority of the human race were not consuming a disproportionate share of the readily available energy.

     

    Conservation on a massive scale, together with application of simpler technologies on a non-economic basis would help.
    26 Aug 2013, 05:43 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » That's only true if you have unlimited supplies of the natural resources required to make the machines that can harvest low quality energy, turn it into useful energy and send it wherever it's needed.

     

    I won't hold my breath waiting for that planet to appear in the firmament.
    26 Aug 2013, 05:56 PM Reply Like
  • Moon Kil Woong
    , contributor
    Comments (11135) | Send Message
     
    Corn into ethanol has to be the greatest power scam and dumbest power idea ever invented. Change your food into fuel and jack up food prices while adding ethanol to gas at 2x or more the cost which is less efficient and enables various pandering oil processors to monopolize gas prices in certain areas like California so they can rip off consumers even more. It was a great idea to subsidize farmers. It was a great idea to make tons in campaign contributions to lobbyists. It was a great idea to enrich fuel processers. It was a terrible result for taxpayers, average citizens that need to eat. And it was a terrible blow to capitalism. Now it is becoming a terrible drag on the quest to find truly viable alternative energy like LNG which is superior in emissions and costs less. A more capitalist China uses it because China is trying to become capitalistic and is reaping the rewards of it while we madly abandon our capitalistic and free market beliefs to pseudo-science based on political pandaring and then go to bed thinking we helped the environment. Hogwash. Ethanol and reformulated gas is a blight on poor people who must pay for it with food inflation, for average consumers who pay higher fuel prices, a blight on environmentalists who like in California end up with fuel that contaminates the ground worse than regular gas and which prevents real viable alternatives to gasoline, and a blight on America's former stellar economy that has embraced science and capitalism over corruption and pseudoscience.
    26 Aug 2013, 06:26 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I'm with you Moon, but the problem is far greater than ethanol. It's happening everywhere we look.
    26 Aug 2013, 06:32 PM Reply Like
  • dastar
    , contributor
    Comments (281) | Send Message
     
    You said it better than I could have, Moon.
    26 Aug 2013, 06:49 PM Reply Like
  • Retired Aviator
    , contributor
    Comments (1840) | Send Message
     
    Not sure about Moon's other points as every story has 2 sides. But the notion of 'food (corn) into gas jacking up the price of corn' is nonsense.

     

    The reason high fructose corn syrup is so ubiquitous as a top ingredient in food products is that it is a super cheap sweetener. The reason it is super cheap is because the corn supply so outstrips demand as corn is overproduced in this country.

     

    So the ethanol deal in part was to find another use for the excess corn the US produces and in that one particular sense it has succeeded. Whether, in sum total, ethanol legislation has made sense is debatable but you can't argue it's jacked up the price of corn when corn syrup remains probably the very cheapest filler ingredient in processed food products.
    26 Aug 2013, 07:17 PM Reply Like
  • Moon Kil Woong
    , contributor
    Comments (11135) | Send Message
     
    You are right the farm lobby loved it because it uses up excess supply that used to rot from government subsidized buying. However, after the law passed a record number of acres of corn were grown and even this year a record number oa acres are grown which replaces other more wholesome crops. This has raised other tabletop food prices. Sadly so much was grown that many farmers went bust trying to sell a glut of corn to ethanol producers many of which reneged out of their contracts when a glut arose thus encouraging States to force ethanol into fuel at ever increasing percentages to prevent the bubble from collapsing. We are replacing our food cropland for con to ethanol crops. That is the cause for the jacked up food prices.
    27 Aug 2013, 12:29 AM Reply Like
  • Retired Aviator
    , contributor
    Comments (1840) | Send Message
     
    Moon,

     

    Possibly, but your answer strikes me as speculation. Not sure what hard evidence you can cite that supports that corn growing has crowded out acreage of other crops to the point of pushing their prices up, but nice try. Maybe just a few crops, and their prices just a little bit? Who's to say?

     

    Since today's markets for crops are quite global, chances are that less acreage devoted to some crop in the US will be offset by a foreign producer stepping up his acreage to export to the US.

     

    I have yet to witness actual shortages in foods from the consumer viewpoint (due to inadequate acreage) and specific price spikes are usually traceable to weather or pests.
    27 Aug 2013, 01:22 AM Reply Like
  • Moon Kil Woong
    , contributor
    Comments (11135) | Send Message
     
    "According to a 2008 report from the World Bank the production of biofuel pushed food prices up.[43] These conclusions were supported by the Union of Concerned Scientists in their September 2008 newsletter [44] in which they remarked that the World Bank analysis "contradicts U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schaffer's assertion that biofuels account for only a small percentage of rising food prices."

     

    According to the October Consumer Price Index released Nov. 19, 2008, food prices continued to rise in October 2008 and were 6.3 percent higher than October 2007."

     

    This comes from Wikipedia and the citations are real.
    27 Aug 2013, 09:07 PM Reply Like
  • Sandy Lighthouse
    , contributor
    Comments (54) | Send Message
     
    Anybody who buys corn by the 50 pound sack like I do knows that Moon has it nailed.
    28 Aug 2013, 12:34 AM Reply Like
  • kickgas
    , contributor
    Comments (98) | Send Message
     
    John, you correctly identify that the biggest threat is the developing nations wanting to catch up to the developed world in terms of consumption. What you don't seem to see is that the solution to this problem is for new carbon-free energy production tools to be used by the developing world. Solar PV is perfect for these parts of the world where they don't already have power plants. But the developed nations need to get the renewable energy sources up and running. I recommend the book written by Britain's former finance minister reviewing the findings from Britain's impartial study of this global problem. It's titled The Global Deal. There you will find solutions clearly outlined. It is achievable. We don't need "another planet of resources" as you keep saying.
    26 Aug 2013, 06:49 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Balderdash.
    26 Aug 2013, 06:52 PM Reply Like
  • mrholty
    , contributor
    Comments (1025) | Send Message
     
    Lets look at the history of every nation. They start out as a low cost supplier (US until the 1920s vs Europe), Japan (pre/post WWII) and do so by growing their economy as an exporter by labor arbitrage and cheap energy. A third world country today will do the same. Then once they become a first world country will they only then think about cleaning up the environment.

     

    Do none of us remember the pictures in our history books of the Cuyohoga river and countless other rivers burning due to pollution. Go back and read reports from European papers about Chicago in the 1800s with its dirty smog so thick one couldn't see. Its the same narrative as we talk about China and much of Asia today. Chaotic, dirty, etc.

     

    Cheap wins until there is a chicken in everypot. Solar isn't cheap compared to coal when you have to have base energy. Until it does, third world countries will use it. If I grew up in Bangkok or wherever and I had no Fridge I'd worry less about the air I breathe as that will kill me in 30 years vs the ability to store meat safely for my family.
    26 Aug 2013, 07:31 PM Reply Like
  • kickgas
    , contributor
    Comments (98) | Send Message
     
    John, You invited us to read this instablog and leave our comments. I realize that you are busy and it's impressive that you take the time to respond to many of the comments here.
    I'm guessing by your thoughtful reply of "nonsense" to my comment above that you have not read and do not plan on reading the book - The Global Deal: Climate Change and the Creation of a New Era of Progress and Prosperity. Written by Nicholas Stern, one of the greatest economists and public intellectuals of our day. He is also chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank. His research and publications have focused on the economics of climate change and the role of the state and economies in transition. He was commissioned by the British government to direct the largest study ever of global warming.
    It's a shame that you would close your mind so. You seemed genuinely interested in the topic of finding economic solutions for climate change.
    26 Aug 2013, 11:15 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » As I said in the Instablog, I scrupulously avoid having an opinion on whether climate change is real or nonsense because I truly am a fatalist on the issue. If the theory has merit, government is powerless to change the outcome and individuals are even more powerless.
    27 Aug 2013, 05:53 AM Reply Like
  • kickgas
    , contributor
    Comments (98) | Send Message
     
    John, Regarding climate change - The IPCC report (a conservative consensus of scientists) that was recently leaked raised from 90% (2009 report) to now 95% the probability that climate change is caused by man. Man CAN reverse it. Government is NOT powerless to change the outcome. Consumption will become more sustainable, conservation will increase. As Neil reminds you below, we are NOT about to run out of metals, esp if we recycle them rather than burn them as we do most fossile fuels.
    27 Aug 2013, 08:58 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Man cannot reverse anything without first reversing the inexorable growth of the human population. Our species has over-taxed its environment and nature will do what it's always done - brutally cull the species until balance is restored.

     

    Recycling is great for things like engine blocks that are big hunks of a single metal. It is hopelessly uneconomic for metallurgically complex devices that have small percentages of several metals that can't be simply and cheaply separated from each other.

     

    Getting the copper out of a stolen power line is easy. Getting the copper out of a junk computer is an entirely different kettle of fish. Getting the copper out of a junk lithium-ion battery is damned near impossible because it comes out as part of a steel, nickel, copper, cobalt alloy that can't be economically separated back into its constituent metals.
    27 Aug 2013, 09:05 AM Reply Like
  • kickgas
    , contributor
    Comments (98) | Send Message
     
    Who said the population will never stabilize? China has stopped growing. It's quite clear among population scientists that when a nation becomes "developed" the population stabilizes (or shrinks as in Russia, Europe). The U.S. population would be shrinking if not for immigrants.
    The bigger problem is making the switch to carbon neutral habits soon enough to avert disaster.
    27 Aug 2013, 09:15 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » The population curve has already gone hyperbolic and shows no sign of flattening much less declining. When the facts change my opinions will too. Until the facts change I can't afford to invest on the basis of somebody else's aspirations, rationalizations and self-deception.
    27 Aug 2013, 09:22 AM Reply Like
  • kickgas
    , contributor
    Comments (98) | Send Message
     
    Mid-range U.N. estimate for world population is for leveling at 10 billion in 2100. You are right that resources will constrain population growth. It can't grow forever. So in 90 years with 3 billion more inhabitants than now, the world does not end. We need to plan for when fossil fuels are too scarce. Why not try finding alternatives now?
    27 Aug 2013, 09:55 AM Reply Like
  • ephud
    , contributor
    Comments (2438) | Send Message
     
    I know I'm nitpicking here but is Climate Change really a Theory?

     

    A Theory must make specific predictions. It must be testable and it must be falsifiable. None of those conditions apply to "Climate Change".

     

    It is at best, a Hypothesis.
    27 Aug 2013, 09:57 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Fossil fuel scarcity is nowhere near as critical as technology metal scarcity. You're arguing that we can use a few million tons of technology metals that are essential in all the necessities of modern life to supplant the need for a few billion tons of hydrocarbons. The materials balance cannot work without a couple spare planets.

     

    Sometimes people run into circumstances they cannot change. At those times the only alternative is to accept the facts and adjust.
    27 Aug 2013, 09:58 AM Reply Like
  • kickgas
    , contributor
    Comments (98) | Send Message
     
    CO2 traps heat in presence of sun = fact. Human activity raises atmospheric CO2 = fact.
    Below I have pasted from Wikepedia "Climate Change Denial."
    "Climate change denial is a set of organized attempts to downplay, deny or dismiss the scientific consensus on the extent of global warming, its significance, and its connection to human behavior, especially for commercial or ideological reasons.Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and scientists are more than 90% certain most of it is caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels.[2][3][4][5] These findings are recognized by the national science academies of all the major industrialized countries.[6]

     

    Despite scientific consensus, allegations have been made that scientists and institutions involved in global warming research are part of a global scientific conspiracy. There have been allegations of malpractice, most notably the Climatic Research Unit email controversy. Eight committees investigated these allegations and published reports, each finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct.[7] The Muir Russell report stated, however, "We do find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA."[8][9] The scientific consensus that global warming is occurring as a result of human activity remained unchanged at the end of the investigations.[10]"

     

    Unless you are a climate change scientist, you might want to put some faith in the world scientific community.
    27 Aug 2013, 10:14 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I don't much care whether the climate change hypothesis is right or wrong because we're screwed in any event.

     

    The global population of human beings has already turned hyperbolic and you can't put that genie back into the bottle. Now it's up to nature to brutally cull the species and restore balance. Nature's mechanism of choice might be plague but it might also be AGW.

     

    Sometimes people run into circumstances they cannot change. At those times the only alternative is to accept the facts and adjust.
    27 Aug 2013, 10:19 AM Reply Like
  • kickgas
    , contributor
    Comments (98) | Send Message
     
    In an effort to find support for John's title of "The Great Climate Change Fraud." I thought I might find confirmation on the the wikapedia site "Global warming conspiracy theory". But what I found was:
    "Steve Connor links the terms "hoax" and "conspiracy," saying, "Reading through the technical summary of this draft (IPCC) report, it is clear that no one could go away with the impression that climate change is some conspiratorial hoax by the science establishment, as some would have us believe."
    "An analysis conducted by The Carbon Brief in 2011 found that 9 out of 10 of the most prolific authors who cast doubt on climate change or speak against it have ties to ExxonMobil. Greenpeace have said that Koch industries invested more than US$50 million in the past 50 years on spreading doubts about climate change."
    "It's an unhappy fact that the oil companies and the coal companies in the United States have joined in a conspiracy to hire pseudo scientists to deny the facts... the energy companies need to be called to account because what they are doing is un-American in the most basic sense. They are compromising our future by misrepresenting the facts by suborning scientists onto their payrolls and attempting to mislead the American people.
    — Diane Rehm Show, Bruce Babbitt, WAMU-FM"
    27 Aug 2013, 10:27 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » The Fraud is cynical promoters and mathematically challenged politicians selling the idea that humanity can stop the tide of climate change, if in fact there is a tide of climate change.

     

    You might as well battle a hurricane with a box of Depends.
    27 Aug 2013, 10:33 AM Reply Like
  • obieephyhm
    , contributor
    Comments (1591) | Send Message
     
    >Kick

     

    UN numbers represent hopium not based on real data. Look around at the world growth statistics that get published by reputable sources each year. Population growth continues and at frightening levels....

     

    Those who really want to know the truth will seek it out; those who wish to live on fairy dust and false promises will be content with the superficial pablum dispensed by politically-motivated organizations.
    27 Aug 2013, 11:41 AM Reply Like
  • obieephyhm
    , contributor
    Comments (1591) | Send Message
     
    >ephud

     

    If my science is correct and I understand you, yes -- climate change is a hypothesis but testing it is difficult because so much of the 'data' used to justify conclusions are extrapolated rather than verified and reliable.

     

    Unfortunately, 'Global Warming' is a theory and a very poor one at that but it is politically what is and has been driving scientific research budgets for more than a decade. And there's a lot of bad science in there, too . . .
    27 Aug 2013, 11:45 AM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    ephud - right on. Hypotheses must be tested and proven repeatedly in order to become Theories. Until then, hypotheses remain hypotheses.

     

    The word "Theory" has been hijacked by the less-than-forthrights and accepted by the uninformed.
    27 Aug 2013, 12:07 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    Yo John - I'd like to see the climate change folk and the scientists explain away the Genesis Flood and the wiping out of all human existence (except for 8 folks), without trashing the Source. What caused all that rain? And where did it come from? It kept raining as the oceans covered the earth and there was no ice to be found (oh! that's where the water came from - no ice.). A good thing there were only 8 folks and a few animals to breathe, cause there were no trees to convert the CO2 into O2. Gracious.
    27 Aug 2013, 12:16 PM Reply Like
  • ephud
    , contributor
    Comments (2438) | Send Message
     
    nakedjaybird

     

    If I understand things correctly, a Hypothesis (lower theory - from the Greek) does not make a specific prediction. When it does, and it can be tested, it becomes a Theory. When a Theory is tested and the predictions are verified repeatedly without fail, it eventually gains enough confidence that we call it a Law. Why we have a "Law of Gravity" but only a "Theory of Relativity" when both have been verified repeatedly, is unknown to me, especially when the "Law" of Gravity requires we consider the "Theory" of Relativity to make the most accurate predictions under extreme conditions. One must also ask if Evolution is a theory. What specifically does it predict, how can it be tested and how can it be falsified?
    27 Aug 2013, 12:53 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    ephud - in my world of understanding, a Theory must be proven (whether positive or negative), and if not proven, it remains a failed theory, or nothing more than a hypothesis, even if tested.

     

    Somewhere in the "conversion" of theory into law, specific boundary conditions are set under which such laws (or "fixed" theory) become law; for example, the various laws of electricity which differ for AC v/s DC. Or even Law's of Gravity, earth v/s moon, space, etc.
    27 Aug 2013, 01:29 PM Reply Like
  • ephud
    , contributor
    Comments (2438) | Send Message
     
    nakedjaybird

     

    Sounds like we're both saying the same thing.
    27 Aug 2013, 02:01 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    ephud - I have difficulty understanding why Climate Change would be called an hypothesis because it cannot be tested and proven, and retested with proof, whereas Global Warming could exist as a proven theory and also not just exist as an hypothesis.

     

    I'm not an expert here, but what part of Climate Change is not Global Warming and v/v? Global Cooling?? And what part of Global Cooling is not Climate Change??

     

    The extrapolations of either or both are fraught with error. Extrapolations are beyond proof. They exist beyond the boundary conditions of the proof test. Hence, hypotheses only.

     

    Re. sounding like we are saying the same thing: no. A failed proof test of an hypothesis remains an hypothesis. It doesn't make it to a failed Theory category. Failed Theories are only Hypotheses at best.

     

    There is no categorical grouping in Failed Theory as in "it's better to have loved and lost, then to not have loved at all".
    27 Aug 2013, 05:11 PM Reply Like
  • ephud
    , contributor
    Comments (2438) | Send Message
     
    Nakedjaybird

     

    Global Warming is not a theory or a hypothesis, it is an observation based on collected data points. What we need is an explanation to account for how and why the warming came about at the time and rate observed. That's what a hypothesis is. An explanation for why something behaves like it does. A theory goes further by explaining precisely how something works in a predictable fashion, usually in mathematical terms, and can lead to an experiment where the theory can be tested in some measurable way. If the theory is correct, the experiment will yield the predicted results. If the experiment fails to meet the prediction, then the theory is proven false, or falsified.

     

    Another example is Evolution. It has been observed by fossil records, that life appears to evolve into new forms. Natural Selection is an attempt to provide the mechanism that causes evolution to take place, however Natural Selection does not make a specific prediction that can be tested. One can be a Creationist and reject Natural Selection yet still believe in Evolution. You would just need an alternative mechanism to account for it (God did it).

     

    Likewise, one can acknowledge global warming without accepting the "Man Made" Hypothesis. Other explanations may account for the observations.
    27 Aug 2013, 06:39 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    ephud - I can agree with this portion of your above comment:

     

    "Global Warming is not a theory or a hypothesis, it is an observation based on collected data points. What we need is an explanation to account for how and why the warming came about at the time and rate observed. That's what a hypothesis is. An explanation for why something behaves like it does. A theory goes further by explaining precisely how something works in a predictable fashion, usually in mathematical terms, and can lead to an experiment where the theory can be tested in some measurable way. If the theory is correct, the experiment will yield the predicted results. If the experiment fails to meet the prediction, then the theory is proven false, or falsified."

     

    As for evolution, and I'm speaking about MACRO (between species) not MICRO (within species) evolution, there indeed are many fossils and artifacts of sorts. If MACRO evolution would be the process, there would be current evidence and continuing processes, including proof testing positive; we indeed can observe and test MICRO evolution within species, today.

     

    I am a Creationist and believe in Micro evolution within a species. God made it clear that humans are a different species than the animals, fish and bird, rocks and trees, etc., and that's sufficient for me to not waste any time in proving or searching otherwise.

     

    There may be some Creationists that believe in Macro evolution, but they are either wrong or not really Creationists.

     

    God didn't do Macro evolution.

     

    He may have planted some evidence to test and confuse the confusable. Goodness gracious, He created Adam and Eve with age, and He was capable to have done the same with the earth and it's fossils. For sure, all the evolutionists needed some reason to waste their time and effort while on earth.

     

    My college Anthropology course indeed showed me the gaps in the fossil records that still have not been accounted for, and I carry no hope that such gaps will ever be completed successfully, accurately, nor honestly.
    
    28 Aug 2013, 11:44 AM Reply Like
  • ephud
    , contributor
    Comments (2438) | Send Message
     
    nakedjaybird

     

    I believe religion is beyond the scope of this forum.
    28 Aug 2013, 12:18 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    ephud - no more than evolution or global warming, etc. They are all beliefs. One valid, the others not (without denying that climate exists and indeed changes).

     

    Unfortunately, there's a reluctance to talk about good politics and good religion; lack of both hinder the progress of this nation.

     

    John's title for this article alone certainly opened the discussion for numerous matters. Especially the politics of global warming and climate change; hence, to get to the truth, one must discuss what you want to shy away from or prevent; not unlike the rest of the deniers.
    28 Aug 2013, 03:36 PM Reply Like
  • ephud
    , contributor
    Comments (2438) | Send Message
     
    [i] no more than evolution or global warming, etc. They are all beliefs.[/i]

     

    They are science, not a belief system. The evidence is convincing that both exist. What is in dispute is the cause and their course. The belief system comes into play when you don't have a workable theory to account for how they came about, just like religion. I consider "man made" Global Warming to be a belief system every bit as much as any Religion. They both require faith in what can not be proven. Government is allowed to support it's own Religion by denying that it is a religion.
    28 Aug 2013, 08:00 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    ephud - there may be several simple and easy books (only to imply they are fast readers) to read on evidence: one by Josh McDowell, "Evidence Demands a Verdict" which may be more difficult than any of several books by Lee Stroble in "A Case for Christ" and "A Case for a Creator" and several more. Lee Stroble, an attorney and atheist, decided to collect evidence to prove the non-existence of God, and when finished, started writing his books (start here:

     

    http://bit.ly/149INUH

     

    Peace.
    28 Aug 2013, 10:51 PM Reply Like
  • ephud
    , contributor
    Comments (2438) | Send Message
     
    nakedjaybird

     

    Thank you but I am not interested.
    28 Aug 2013, 11:02 PM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    ephud - hmmmmm. Fooled me. I thought you were a real searcher for things of fact and user of the scientific method.

     

    I believe in science, and it's source. it's easier that way. Well, for me it is. And that is my hope for many others. It was good chatting with you.

     

    I trust I still have valid uses for my umbrellas: for rain; for sun; as a sled; an ugly stick; garden seed-depth planter,.................
    28 Aug 2013, 11:25 PM Reply Like
  • Occam's_Razor
    , contributor
    Comments (1488) | Send Message
     
    kickgas.... I'm with you on the "renewables for developing economies who currently do not have power plants." However, the intermittency thingy needs to be addressed.

     

    Here is one MIT prof (and former student's) answer:

     

    http://www.ambri.com

     

    I've often wondered if the developing world will be able to skip steps in the process to industrialization vis-a-vis tech that wasn't available to the developed world at the time.
    26 Aug 2013, 07:01 PM Reply Like
  • Occam's_Razor
    , contributor
    Comments (1488) | Send Message
     
    The other one that I've been researching is:

     

    http://bit.ly/wdNgJt
    26 Aug 2013, 07:02 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » While Lindsay Leveen is a bit crude and far too political for my taste, his grasp of the interplay between thermodynamics and alternative energy is very solid. Lindsay has looked deeply into the Bloom Box and calls it a gangrene solution.

     

    http://bit.ly/1449mdP
    26 Aug 2013, 07:31 PM Reply Like
  • greentongue
    , contributor
    Comments (859) | Send Message
     
    While I agree with the majority of the article, I do NOT agree with your last statement.
    "Whether we like it or not, humanity's only remaining option is to eliminate waste in all its pernicious forms."

     

    The universe is huge and full of "resources" it is up to us to make use of it. If instead of growing outward we turn inward, we will eventually grow to the point of "eating our seed corn".

     

    We need people with vision not ration cards.
    26 Aug 2013, 07:47 PM Reply Like
  • Sandy Lighthouse
    , contributor
    Comments (54) | Send Message
     
    The lowest hanging fruit is conservation, efficiency, call it what you will. Not that there aren't other paths forward.
    28 Aug 2013, 12:48 AM Reply Like
  • obieephyhm
    , contributor
    Comments (1591) | Send Message
     
    and it doesn't matter what's in the 'whole universe' -- space is really, really, really big and the only thing we have is this planet. Nothing else.

     

    humanity has insisted, for most of the last two millennia, that it can 'have it all'. We're paying the bills of decisions made ten generations ago and that train has too much momentum to stop, much less turn around.

     

    The only resources we have are here and its a closed system.

     

    And anyone who claims otherwise should seriously think about having their medication checked . . .
    28 Aug 2013, 03:06 PM Reply Like
  • ARGE
    , contributor
    Comments (722) | Send Message
     
    "We need people with vision not ration cards."
    I like that, a lot.
    We also need to realize that Ration, Conservation and Efficiency are not interchangeable.
    5 Sep 2013, 10:18 AM Reply Like
  • greentongue
    , contributor
    Comments (859) | Send Message
     
    As long as we never look up, we will never shoot for the moon.
    I remember when we landed on the moon.
    We didn't find any people wanting handouts for their votes.
    Didn't take the people in government long to do that math.
    5 Sep 2013, 01:50 PM Reply Like
  • ARGE
    , contributor
    Comments (722) | Send Message
     
    He is a guy (Kirk Sorensen) who is shooting for the moon in respect to liquid fluoride thorium reactor (acronym LFTR; pronounced as lifter):

     

    http://bit.ly/11jcSTX

     

    Introduction is just 5 minutes, I would recommend the longer version:

     

    http://bit.ly/14xcteE
    6 Sep 2013, 10:51 AM Reply Like
  • ephud
    , contributor
    Comments (2438) | Send Message
     
    ARGE

     

    It simply makes far too much sense to ever be implemented.
    6 Sep 2013, 11:30 AM Reply Like
  • ARGE
    , contributor
    Comments (722) | Send Message
     
    ephud, better explain that to China.
    6 Sep 2013, 07:34 PM Reply Like
  • Occam's_Razor
    , contributor
    Comments (1488) | Send Message
     
    Interesting link, John. Thanks.

     

    As I understand it, the Bloom Box burns Natural Gas, instead of Coal.
    What am I missing? I thought Nat Gas emits less "bad stuff" than Coal. I get the corruption part, but isn't the Bloombox *less* pullutive than coal?
    26 Aug 2013, 07:51 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Natural gas is cleaner than coal. But a Bloom Box burning natural gas isn't cleaner than a combined cycle turbine burning natural gas, although it is several times more expensive.
    26 Aug 2013, 07:55 PM Reply Like
  • Occam's_Razor
    , contributor
    Comments (1488) | Send Message
     
    Interesting, thanks John. I knew there was a disconnect somewhere.

     

    I remember reading recently that in the Fuel Cell space, everyone is having trouble... then there's Bloom Energy.

     

    Thanks.
    26 Aug 2013, 08:23 PM Reply Like
  • Neil_Anderson
    , contributor
    Comments (1637) | Send Message
     
    To John Peterson

     

    You asked me to read this instablog and tell you where you're wrong, and tell you how many "ill-conceived solutions" I listed in my comment to your Tesla article dated 8/26/2013.

     

    Your first four paragraphs are based on a belief system that's similar to my own but you're a little easier to convince than I as you will see:

     

    1.) no one will ever be able to prove that humans are responsible for the increasing temperature of earth. There are too many other variables which ruin the "experiment" which must be run without a so-called control-group. For instance, there's roughly 100,000 miles of fault-lines (mostly at the bottom of the oceans) that can emit all sorts of nasty chemicals and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere unseen and these will continue to vent at varying rates for billions of years.

     

    2.) no one will ever be able to prove the earth's temperature is actually increasing, well, at least not in the next 2,500 years. That's how long it would take to prove the trend-line is truly positive. A lot can happen in 5,000 years: to mother nature, that's just the blink of an eye.

     

    3.) CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas, but it is admittedly worrisome that industrialized agriculture may have stunted mother-nature's ability to absorb CO2 and sequester it in plants which are then buried deep underground (via natural processes) where it becomes oil for future generations (perhaps a millennium after "we" are gone.)

     

    4.) The root cause of the CO2 increase (I mean the portion which mankind is responsible for) is industrialization trends around the world. BTW, you need not talk about rates of CO2 per capita, you can just cite the annual tons of coal burned, and the billions of barrels of oil burned annually, and convert that to parts per billion in the atmosphere. No need to complicate matters by looking at the actual population.

     

    And here's your mistakes:

     

    Paragraph 10: OK, go ahead and blame pollution on China and other developing nations and then, yeah, throw your hands up in the air in exasperation.

     

    Wait a minute, who are these developing nations producing these products for? Us, right? And a good part of their production is to create infrastructure which allows them to produce more products for us, right? So, if we insisted on cleaner production methods, they would be well served to listen, right?

     

    You've simply overlooked our clout. A lot of the pollution in developing economies is produced on our behalf.

     

    Well, admittedly we would have clout if we had a leader willing to voice it for us. And if we the American people had a clear voice that said "This matters." May be one man can make a difference, may be one can't, but if it is possible, then all it takes is one man.

     

    The way I see it, it's unethical to play Russian Roulette with your descendants' lives. It's wrong to do nothing and watch our world go to h___ in a hand-basket while we smile and nod and remark "what a lovely (but hot) day it is" to our children, and their children. It's wrong to assume we cannot make a dent in the problem. It is wrong to assume that it's too expensive or a waste of time. Sure, we have no proof that anything can be accomplished, but we have no proof that it's a waste of time. I guess we're not going to do anything because there's no clearly delineated benefit to be wrought from the investment in cleaner technology. Seems shortsighted and a mistake ... but you're the judge, not me.

     

    You also forget that a technological leaps could allow China to leap-frog dirty industries and create products (especially cement) that are clean. (China has already leap-frogged the inefficient cement production technologies of the 1920s and 1930s). But they're not widely-using cutting-edge state-of-the-art.

     

    Paragraph 11: In the short run, I have to agree that every barrel of avoided oil or ton of avoided coal will be used in poor economies. But in the long run, a healthy world economy lifts all boats, obviously emerging economies would not be emerging if they did not have a ready market to sell to. Again, we Americans have clout, and they have the opportunity to leap frog. A barrel avoided here in the US might mean half-a barrel is used in the poorer countries in the long run. Nothing changes overnight. It's unpleasant, but it's not an indisputable reality.

     

    Paragraph 12: You say EVs are carbon intensive to manufacture and it's a zero-sum game compared to conventional cars. OK, let's assume you're right about the zero-sum game, and let's assume that EVs cannot get any cleaner. So, where's the harm in producing and selling EVs to an unsuspecting stupid public who would soon wish they'd purchased an ICE? After all, our economy is founded on the "caveat emptor" philosophy.

     

    Here's the harm: if we don't try to produce EVs and perfect them, then we will never know if there really is a net CO2 benefit or not. This is clearly a mistake, because there might be a net CO2 benefit. And even if there's no CO2 benefit, there is the benefit of diversification of energy sources. Huge mistake.

     

    Paragraph 13: If you mean that humanity will have to literally "evolve" due to a future huge climate change, or face extinction, I would say "No, we would have to ADAPT or face extinction ... UNLIKE any other apex species." (Hey, you have to give me this one.)

     

    Paragraph 14: Senseless symbolism? According to your logic, no one should bother voting. Faulty logic.

     

    Paragraph 15: We don't have enough raw materials to build 25 million EVs per year? How do we produce that many conventional cars every year? This is clearly statement akin to "The sky is falling, the sky is falling" Make no mistaek, the sky is NOT falling, it's just cloudy.

     

    Paragraph 16: No one is demonizing Big Oil and no one should. Everyone depends on Big Oil to survive, at the moment. Every energy source has it's good points and bad points. Your mistake is putting complete reliance on an energy source that is not perfect ... and not realizing it. Your other mistake is the implicit assumption that it's a "them or us" world ... You seem to assume that EVs will wipe out ICEs and we will have no more need for wonderful, reliable oil.

     

    Oil is not a perfect encergy source. The Middle East turmoil and OPEC oil embargo of yesteryear must be off your radar. Big mistakes.

     

    Paragraph 18: Last year the planet produced all those tons of hydrocarbons, iron, steel, etc, because the markets demanded them. Had there been no demand, there would have been no production. Let Tesla increase the demand for raw materials and voila, soon there will be even more production. Your mistake is being blind to the fact that produciton depends on demand and production follows demand as closely as humanly possible ... but obviously not even a bread factory can follow demand exactly.

     

    A week ago or so, the WSJ reported that Greenland is now hosting exploration for most if not all the raw materials that you listed. Greenland does not have a temperate climate. So, you might be wrong on this in a few years if land mining is successful in the artic's permafrost.

     

    (Aside - You mention "billions of dollars in infastructure" ... that's not something you can hang your hat on. Investment dollars can come from equity or debt. There's a lot of equity looking for good investment opportunities ... so if you want to pose intimidating numbers, you need to cite $trillions. And even that's not intimidating when you consider that Banks can actually create money outta thin air. All they need is a good business plan and a pair of brass you-know-what. )

     

    Paragraph 19: Humanity is NOT long past the point of finding and developing enough resources. We may be approaching that point, but we are not there yet. The proof is that the world population is still growing, as is the global economy but perhaps not quite as fast. It's technology that allows humanity to stay ahead of the game, isn't it? Or is it just Big Oil? The good Reverend Thomas Malthus (1776-1834) was the first to sound the alarm about how popluation can grow faster than output, and failing that, the problem would eventually be seen as how small our planet is, and how population just keeps growing. Good points, very worrisome when you consider that a glitch inthe economy can hurt so much production. Especially if production is powered by one type of fuel - and that was wood in Malthus's day. Thank goodness we have Oil to rely on today.

     

    I dare say that the world has always been a place where a small percentage of the population has owned most of the goods. (If everyone were rich, no one would work.)
    26 Aug 2013, 09:56 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I'm not easier to convince than you. I simply don't care because I know the population quadrupled in the last century and is on track to quadruple again in the relative blink of an eye. Hells bells, it's grown by 2.7 billion since I graduated from law school.

     

    While the battery industry has been my primary focus for the last decade, I've worked extensively in both oil and gas and mining and understand those industries and their challenges very well. Your view that supply will expand to meet demand is hopelessly naive.

     

    Until population growth is brought under control our other problems will spiral hopelessly out of control. Our fathers and grandfathers had one goal in life - to put their kids in a position to do better than they did. Like it or not the boomers are the first generation that will not be able to honestly hold that aspiration.
    26 Aug 2013, 10:24 PM Reply Like
  • Neil_Anderson
    , contributor
    Comments (1637) | Send Message
     
    To John Peterson

     

    << Your view that supply will expand to meet demand is hopelessly naive. >>

     

    Me naive? No. The supply of oil, metals and rare earths (and every other resource, product and material) has been following demand for centuries. Demand is what gives a product a high price. The high price is what gives entrepreuners the incentive to mine said materials. How can you deny this?

     

    Perhaps you don't actually deny it. Perhaps you agree in principle, perhaps all you're actually saying is that we've exhausted the earth's supply of what we need to make EVs.

     

    But come on, your work experience cannot tell you that. If your work experience COULD tell you that, then every lawyer and every entrepreuner would already know it ... and the price of whatever raw material you're talking about would have already hit the moon.

     

    Apparently you didn't know Greenland is now mining territory, recently reported in the WSJ. How could you NOT have known it already if your work experience is as informative as you say?

     

    But I must agree, it is inevitable that we'll reach that point of resource exhaustion sooner or later, perhaps sooner. But here's the rub: it's been predicted to be "around the corner" for over 200 years, starting with the good Reverend Thomas Malthus. Many before you have already made the prediction (including me). Welcome to the waiting line.

     

    We both agree Global Warming is occurring, and we both agree that it's impossible to tell if mankind is the main culprit, or just one of many.

     

    Your position is that we can't do anything about it. My position is we might as well try, and that it's well worth the effort and investment ... even if our efforts and investment fail. At least we tried.

     

    Your say EVs contribute just as much CO2 as ICE cars do. I say that if you advocate ending the EV industry, then you should also advocate ending the ICE industry.

     

    Am I a hopium addict? If so, my only retort is that hopium takes a higher ground in ethics than does a surrender to nihilism.
    27 Aug 2013, 08:17 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Anyone with any exposure to the mining industry knows that ore grades have plummeted over the last 40 years and it's getting increasingly difficult to find resources that are worth developing. The fact that the mining industry is even considering places like Greenland as an exploration frontier is irrefutable proof of the principle.

     

    We both grew up in a charmed period in human history where supplies magically increased to satisfy unlimited demand. With soaring demand from folks who used to be poor and ignorant and are no longer ignorant because we gave them Internet access, the supply and demand dynamic we grew up with has forever changed.

     

    In July 2011 I borrowed a table from Jeremy Grantham to show where the world's resources were going. It's an extraordinary illustration of the problem.

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    Malthus was right. He was just a hundred years too early.

     

    FWIW I don't agree that global warming is occurring, but if it is we're thoroughly screwed already.
    27 Aug 2013, 08:58 AM Reply Like
  • nakedjaybird
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    Amen John - Noah was probably the last and most significant wise observer to Global threats (actually, promises!).
    27 Aug 2013, 12:25 PM Reply Like
  • Neil_Anderson
    , contributor
    Comments (1637) | Send Message
     
    To John Peterson

     

    Well, yeah, the world population has been doubling every 25 years or so, and the earth's store of raw material has been experiencing depletion every year. There's more and more people demanding a share of all fewer and fewr natural resources.

     

    For that reason, it seems ever-more advisable to allocate scarce resources to their most valuable use. The only mechanism that can do that is the invisible hand of the market. That's the magic you mentioned above.

     

    If Tesla can outbid other companies to obtain these natural resources, then that's the optimal allocation. That's as fair as it can get. The alternative is to give the opportunity to some other nation, who may squander it .... on our behalf, as the donor of said opportunity.

     

    The specter of China, India and other nations becoming economic powerhouses (and demanding oil) is a potent reminder that it is ever-more important to develop other forms of energy for use in automobiles, homes, factories, etc.

     

    Oil is subject to the same depletion experience as that you mentioned for metals and rare earths, as evidenced by huge investment in far, remote and dangerous places. Oil is surprisingly cheap today ... I doubt it will remain cheap in the future when China, India and other countries become economic powerhouses, as you pointed out.

     

    It seems ever more advisable to develop alternative energy sources that can be used where Oil, Coal and NG are used today. That means harvesting electricity from wind, solar, hydro, etc. and using some of it in electric cars. A lot of electric cars.

     

    Electric cars work best in temperate climates like the US, and in countries that have good roads, like the US. Many of the emerging economies don't have enough infrastructure, like paved roads, to make EVs worth while.

     

    Imagine two cars side by side, each stuck in the mud on a dirt road in some developing nation. One's an EV, the other's an ICE. The ICE has the clear advantage of being able to refill its tank where it sits.

     

    My theory is that EVs have more value in the US than they would in a developing nation, simply because we have more infastructure, like paved roads, electrical outlets and a reliable grid.
    27 Aug 2013, 12:39 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » If Tesla can outbid others for resources it will most assuredly get the resources it needs. The cost of the bidding war, however, will be passed on to Tesla's customers who are likely to find the prices Tesla has to charge increasingly unpalatable. Increasing resource prices most assuredly are not compatible with Tesla's plans to make an affordable EV for every man.

     

    I really wish commenters would think their arguments through to the logical conclusions before reducing them to a form I have to read.

     

    Tesla has $5 in book value and a market price of $164 which I find unsupportable under any circumstances but some think reasonable based on many years of forecasted market beating earnings that we both agree will be savaged by climbing raw materials pricing.
    27 Aug 2013, 12:56 PM Reply Like
  • Neil_Anderson
    , contributor
    Comments (1637) | Send Message
     
    To John Peterson

     

    Be nice. I'm not contradicting myself (i.e., my previous comments) when I agree with you:

     

    I agree that Tesla might win the bidding on a large number of important raw materials, but lose the war. Tesla might well be forced out of business if it cannot produce an EV at a low enough price. That's how the market works, as you assert.

     

    I never asserted that Tesla would prevail. You have me confused with someone else.

     

    Nor have I ever contested anyone's assertion that Tesla is overvalued. You have me confused with someone else.

     

    I'm just trying to point out faulty logic and half truths.
    27 Aug 2013, 05:24 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » What nobody seems to understand is that use of metals is a 20th century phenomenon. While they've been around since the bronze age their primary use throughout history was weapons. The widespread mining and consumer use of metals didn't exist before the early 1900s. The degradation in ore quality over the last century is mind boggling. You are trying to use logic to supplant geophysical facts and failing miserably. Do your homework and then talk to me about mineral production.
    27 Aug 2013, 05:29 PM Reply Like
  • Neil_Anderson
    , contributor
    Comments (1637) | Send Message
     
    To John Peterson

     

    Yes, I must admit you are probably right about the ores. This is your strong suit, but this topic is not developed much herein. I admit having no idea what elements in the Tesla battery pack are lynch-pins ... I'm sure you and a few others have that knowledge.

     

    I recall that a rare earth named "neo-something" is needed in minute amounts to create a powerful permanent magnet, and that China holds most of this ore. Unfortunately, we may just have to use 2nd-class magnets in our motors, if China is unwilling to trade. I recall that Molycorp (spelling) supposedly has the only rare earth mine in the West, but it doesn't have the "neo-something" ... I researched this years ago, surely things have changed since then.

     

    I'll bet you've already written an article on the specific elements that are in short supply, and all the possible lesser substitutions. If not, someone else will do a better job than I ever could.

     

    In closing, I give you my sincere thanks for your good work and I apologize for testing your patience. Unlike you, I do think EVs are a good idea, but I don't think an over-priced stock is good for anyone.
    28 Aug 2013, 02:53 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Most automakers use neodymium-iron-boron permanent magnet motors because of their tremendous power to weight. Tesla does not. They use a conventional AC induction motor instead.

     

    I've requested data from the International Copper Producer's Association that tracks average ore grades over the last century and reportedly highlights the problem with surprising clarity. The metal problems are far worse than anyone imagines.
    28 Aug 2013, 05:29 AM Reply Like
  • obieephyhm
    , contributor
    Comments (1591) | Send Message
     
    >JP:

     

    Are you considering an article that highlights the data you got from ICPA and other sources on the decline of average ore grades and what that means, economically, going forward?
    28 Aug 2013, 03:09 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I haven't received the data yet. The USGS has annual production data for most minerals going back to 1900 and it's truly amazing to see how little we consumed until the last century. The more critical data on ore grade progressions is the one point I haven't been able to nail down yet. I think I know what the data will show, but until I get it I can't make any promises.
    28 Aug 2013, 03:14 PM Reply Like
  • blauschuh
    , contributor
    Comments (186) | Send Message
     
    John, please see slide 13. It gives a good overview of the issue.

     

    http://bit.ly/1aQDTU0

     

    We seem to have some pretty large reserves of the stuff....for now Problem is, the yields are being averaged downward as lower quality mines replace high yield mines.. it might be becoming an energy input issue as much as a scarcity issue.

     

    Chris Martenson dedicates several chapters in one of his books to these issues from both a material scarcity and energy standpoint. The stuff is out there somewhere in the earths crust. But at what point do you stop wasting gallons of fuel to get a trivial amount of ore?
    28 Aug 2013, 08:54 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » That's an absolutely wonderful presentation. Many thanks for bringing it to my attention. It will save a ton of time if I can get the author to share some of the data he used to build the graphs. Frankly I thought typical ore grades were about 5x to 10x what they actually are.
    28 Aug 2013, 10:09 PM Reply Like
  • siliconhillbilly
    , contributor
    Comments (2169) | Send Message
     
    I can't quote the source, but it was most likely an article synopsis in Science Daily within the last year or so . Maybe.

     

    Anyway, the researchers claimed that about 45% of any global warming can be blamed on the black soot produced by billions of poor people, with no other energy supply, burning raw organic fuel in low efficiency stoves. The particulates (smoke) produced filter down from the atmosphere to blacken the ice caps. They opine that this blackening is 45% of the total global worming mechanism and CO2 is responsible for the remaining 55% That is rather amazing. But believable, considering the number of people living at subsistence level around the world.

     

    Rather then worrying about CO2, the researchers say that just making higher efficiency, smokeless stoves available would drastically reduce the particulates and significantly reduce the CO2 (higher efficiency) produced by these billions. Result, much less warming.

     

    But of course the "CO2 is evil" interests haven't seemed to accept this idea, since it doesn't involve the Big Bad Fossil Fuel Users cutting back. It also requires actual effort and money to make a dent. Saving the people from breathing particulate poison? Eh, not my problem. Oh! look over there! An evil SUV!
    27 Aug 2013, 06:45 PM Reply Like
  • Dirk McCoy
    , contributor
    Comments (665) | Send Message
     
    There are also cosmic cloud formation mechanisms (solar wind and extra-solar sources) to consider, and any article that doesn't consider them is incomplete.
    28 Aug 2013, 06:31 PM Reply Like
  • Dirk McCoy
    , contributor
    Comments (665) | Send Message
     
    Man is responsible for some warming (especially in big cities due to Urban Heat Zone), but the cure many are proposing is worse than the disease. Three billion people live on a couple dollars a day, they need cheap, modern electricity so they don't have to burn coal and dried cow dung for heat and cooking (since starvation and cold weather kill way more people than heat anyway) and die from lack of MRIs and clean water. Forcing those people to go to solar is like forcing immigrants to start their taxi companies with Tesla roadsters; it's not going to happen. And why force half-baked technology anyway? It's as if Jimmy Carter would have proposed mainframes for every neighborhood in 1976. Next generation nuclear, CPV, bioenergy- there's so much research promising way better solutions down the road.

     

    Meanwhile, China has a pollution problem, so cleaner coal and smaller/cheaper EVs will make sense there, just as Divvy shared bikes make more sense in the US than they used to- thanks to technology. But telling banks to stop loaning for coal so people will use solar and wind (like telling them to stop loaning for cars so people will use bikes), though... the people in our Administration who want to go that far to get their way are the real fraudsters here, pretending to actually care about other people like Al Gore with all his jetting around and multiple houses and giant carbon footprint.
    28 Aug 2013, 06:27 PM Reply Like
  • Nicu Mihalache
    , contributor
    Comments (1081) | Send Message
     
    Maybe this video about oil consumption will give a clear image about the phenomenon described in the article
    http://bit.ly/15hr0ks
    28 Aug 2013, 06:30 PM Reply Like
  • Glenn Doty
    , contributor
    Comments (1116) | Send Message
     
    Hi John,

     

    It's been a busy summer... so I haven't had time to play.

     

    I wanted to say that I appreciated the tone in this article. You are - of course - correct in pointing out that little to nothing is accomplished by switching to electric cars in terms of climate change mitigation (especially in America), and it costs a fortune.

     

    The one thing I wish you would have brushed up on is the relative economics of funding 15 vanity cars vs building a wind turbine or improving efficiency or other much better purchases. The 15 Tesla's MIGHT - in extremely rare circumstances - result in a maximum mitigation of ~300 tons-CO2 over the course of their life. A 1.5 MW wind turbine put up in a class 4 wind zone would abate ~3500 tons-CO2 every year for 40 years. So there's a ~470-fold difference in the effectiveness in mitigating climate change between the best-case for the ridiculous Tesla-S vs a standard wind turbine...

     

    Many investments in efficiency improvement would show far greater advantage than the wind turbines. It's clear that those of us who ACTUALLY care about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) would have no cause to support the funneling of funds to electric vehicles.
    2 Sep 2013, 10:43 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Welcome back Glenn. I've missed the occasional voice of reason in my comment streams.

     

    I agree that the kind of analysis you suggest would be very informative. Unfortunately I don't have the depth of knowledge required to do that kind of work so I stick to simple things like EV vs HEV.
    2 Sep 2013, 11:16 AM Reply Like
  • Glenn Doty
    , contributor
    Comments (1116) | Send Message
     
    John,

     

    Fair enough.

     

    I hope to find time to start a series on that eventually. We'll see.

     

    I'll try to check in more often, but it's been total chaos.

     

    I hope all has been well with you.
    :)
    2 Sep 2013, 11:28 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I hope it's been good chaos rather than bad chaos. There are huge differences between the two.
    2 Sep 2013, 11:37 AM Reply Like
  • Neil_Anderson
    , contributor
    Comments (1637) | Send Message
     
    To Glenn Doty

     

    << The one thing I wish you would have brushed up on is the relative economics of funding 15 vanity cars vs building a wind turbine or improving efficiency or other much better purchases. The 15 Tesla's MIGHT - in extremely rare circumstances - result in a maximum mitigation of ~300 tons-CO2 over the course of their life. A 1.5 MW wind turbine put up in a class 4 wind zone would abate ~3500 tons-CO2 every year for 40 years. So there's a ~470-fold difference in the effectiveness in mitigating climate change between the best-case for the ridiculous Tesla-S vs a standard wind turbine... >>

     

    Sounds like a good point if one assumes that we cannot have both the wind-turbine and the EV. That's short sighted becasue the invisible hand of the market rewards innovation, and there's not reason to think that we can't have both at the moment. May be next decade I will have to surrender this point.

     

    Tesla's electric motor that doesn't use neodynium (spelling?) because the heat from a high performance engine could ruin the wonderful properties of the rare earth metal. So, there's less overlap of critical materials. Just saying.

     

    May be if I had time to dig for answers I'd have Mr. Musk's game plan all figured out. No one else does.
    16 Oct 2013, 08:30 PM Reply Like
  • Robert Wagner
    , contributor
    Comments (2212) | Send Message
     
    John, you may enjoy this:
    http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    I'm glad to see other SA writers taking a stand on this issue.
    20 Sep 2013, 01:11 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Thanks Robert.

     

    I'm still devoutly agnostic on the topic of whether AGW exists, but there's no doubt in my mind that we're already screwed if the thesis is right because nothing that is being or can be done can overcome the laws of extremely large numbers.
    20 Sep 2013, 02:28 PM Reply Like
  • Robert Wagner
    , contributor
    Comments (2212) | Send Message
     
    Good point, if the world is going to end and there is nothing you can do, don't worry about it and make the best of the time left.
    20 Sep 2013, 04:19 PM Reply Like
  • bangwhiz
    , contributor
    Comments (2248) | Send Message
     
    Since I can't do anything about it I like your plan. Hurricane party anyone?
    18 Jan, 09:36 PM Reply Like
  • Robert Wagner
    , contributor
    Comments (2212) | Send Message
     
    "Activists love to blame the CO2 emissions on the industrialized west and big oil, but the simpler reality is the population of the planet quadrupled over the last century and the sheer mass of humanity is generating more CO2 than the planet can process."

     

    That is nonsense, CO2 used to be 8,000 PPMs, we have 1/20th the peak level of historical CO2. More CO2 means much more plant growth, the oceans also absorb more CO2. CO2 is essentially unrelated to temp in a causal manner, so why even focus on CO2?
    27 Feb, 03:04 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30188) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I may be agnostic on the subject of climate change but many SA readers are not and they're using flawed assumptions as the basis for investment decisions. That makes the rational analysis of cause and effect for rising CO2 levels an important issue for discussion regardless of what I choose to believe the impact of rising CO2 levels might be.
    27 Feb, 03:18 PM Reply Like
  • Robert Wagner
    , contributor
    Comments (2212) | Send Message
     
    " I may be agnostic on the subject of climate change but many SA readers are not and they're using flawed assumptions as the basis for investment decisions."

     

    Yep, that is why I wrote these articles to address just that:
    http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...
    27 Feb, 03:24 PM Reply Like
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