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On Ozone Pollution from Oil and Gas Linked to More Health Clinic Visits

Nice - I haven't heard that much about the ozone connection. Will be looking into it more.

May 7, 2013    View Comment    

On Reaching Energy Limits in a Finite World

As always, awesome stuff. Glad to see the journals, research, publications, and so on - it's nice to see that patiently putting together all the different pieces can lead to something usefl, and that people do want to hear about it, get it published. Gives me hope.

May 7, 2013    View Comment    

On What Nuclear Energy Can Learn From Spectra Natural Gas Pipeline Campaign [VIDEO]

Eh, not sure Indian Point is really an ideal location, however you want to cut it. Seems like a curious choice for an ailing Nuclear PR campaign.

May 6, 2013    View Comment    

On Reaching Oil Limits: New Paradigms are Needed

This is great stuff, Gail - perhaps one of the best summaries of where we are in today's world on some of the biggest macro level issues we're facing. This is the kind of stuff we have to be aware of, the more complete picture, when making other decisions - policy or personal.

“We are facing a financial collapse scenario that is likely to wreak havoc on all energy sources at once.”

Indeed, and I think this situation is only going to further 'wreak havoc' on many of the conventional ways of talking about and discussing 'important issues' of our time; the way people are trained (including academically), or news is delivered, that kind of context is far and wide not there. Or if it is, it is alarmist and defeatist, usually.

This post touches on some of my motivations for what I strive to do - and I'm glad to see the subject material covered reasonably, and with proper respect.

Finally, the closing section I find particularly refreshing and appropriate.

"We have come to believe that we can and will fix all of the problems of tomorrow. Perhaps we can; but perhaps we cannot. Maybe we need to simply take each day as it comes, and solve that day’s problems as best as we can. That may be all we can reasonably accomplish."

At this point in my understanding of the world we're in, it's clear that there is a Heisenberg/observer effect at play - there is only so much we can know or see at a given time, and while grand strategies are important, understanding where headway can be mead in the more near or medium terms is just as, if not more, vital. There are some unknowns that will only be revealed as the present evolves.

... I think a lot of discussion, 'energy' (mental, emotional, enthusiasm, etc), time, and words are wasted on arbitrary or highly contingent states - in large part because they are easier to deal with than all of the moving parts that compromise actual reality.

But that's the nature of the beast; that's the challenge we have if we are looking seriously at this world.

So thanks for sharing more substance, more good things here. 

May 2, 2013    View Comment    

On Stepping Forward on Offshore Drilling

Unpacking how energy security is used by various groups and interest includes understanding 'economic security' of those making suggestions; what is good for utilities, what is good for a well-established organization, what is good for different segments of a country's population, and what is good for an individual - these are all very different things, subjectively.

But I more or less agree with you, David - if someone was benevolently guiding a country to prosperity, getting them out of volatile dependency & markets while boosting their own ability to be self sufficient would seem like a path to security. 


May 2, 2013    View Comment    

On Learning the Right Nuclear Energy Lessons: A New Paradigm for the Future

Yes; with all the talk of renewable energy taking a hit from the develpment of shale gas & tight oil, nuclear is only further put on the back burner. Where are the APA, Energy Tomorrow, Vote4Energy 's for the nuclear energy sector? I think it will be very hard for nuclear innovation or even generic advancement here in the US - yet is there a lot of potential in the US? Absolutely. 

May 2, 2013    View Comment    

On Banks Reluctant to Finance Energy Efficiency

This is one of the most curious paragraphs I've read in a while: "The lack of education and demand surrounding energy efficiency is one problem, but so is the lack of data and the resulting difficulty in securitizing the loans. “We’re trying to sell Kool-Aid, but people won’t drink the Kool-Aid because there’s insufficient information to make decisions on it,” said Jeff Pitkin of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which issues tens of millions of dollars in energy efficiency loans."

Kool-Aid, hmm...

Lack of education, yes. Lack of general prioritization of energy, you bet. 

May 2, 2013    View Comment    

On Hydraulic Fracking & Water Pollution

Also, "After all, effective risk management is an entirely different animal to prior restraint." Yes - and, as much as this is what I always say... I'm more concerned about human folley and awkward political/economic inhibitors, rather than the actual science. 

And I'm still not entirely settled on the health and full-spectrum safety of fracking, in any case. But I'm attemptiong to keep an open mind and find more sound data, case studies. The trouble is finding a good report and a good example, positive or negative, involved the tedious task of really checking out who did the report, who supported it, and what their collective leanings are. So it takes time, especially in this world of data saturation. 

April 30, 2013    View Comment    

On Hydraulic Fracking & Water Pollution

Out of fairness to TEC, Mr McDermott, and Siemens, I think it's not exactly on point to suggest that Shell is essentially pimping out cronies to write stuff here. The Future Energy Fellows program is a fairly legit idea to try to engage young/er, involved people in the discussion. I support that idea, and even, generally speaking, how TEC goes about fostering discussion here. It is mostly laissez faire - there posts from APA  propaganda outlets as well as super liberal greenies, but that's more or less how it goes in any field ot study, especially when there is supposedly serious discussion on the internet. 

I'm sure Mr McDermott will come into things more so over time, but, I more or less am set to trying to encourage and challenge people, especially my generation, to participate in more debate, discussion, and so on - so I don't find much fault with him. I think this is a good post, if my opinion is of consequence.

There are only so many things and so many ways you can write about things, which is part of the frustration - at least personally. But where else, and how else are we going to talk about things? It's part of the process. 


April 30, 2013    View Comment    

On Bill McKibben Gets the Math Wrong on Fracking

Good points Adam

April 5, 2013    View Comment    

On Will the Oil Spill in Arkansas Impact Keystone XL?

Will it affect KXL? Probably not. This spill got very little coverage from the non-anti-KXL crowd. 

April 5, 2013    View Comment    

On For New Energy Sources, Unlocking Technological Energy Innovation

Important words in this article... more or less getting at why I've stepped away from writing so much opinion articles about this topic, actually. After a while, there's only so much you can say, and it becomes rehashing things, or just dropping new ideas and names into the bigger scheme of things - but that's not so much a response to Mark, as it is to 'the community'. 

"In short, governments will have to reorient their economies, their societies, their political systems, and their institutions towards new models that encourage rather than inhibit innovation; that approach innovation as a complex but feasible sociotechnical process; and that marshal levels of resource commitment commensurate to the scale of the challenges they’re addressing. Let the hard but necessary work begin."

Yes, so what does this really get at? 

The worlds best thinkers on energy and climate are ever-more having to deal with the reality of this transition, either from a international, national, state, or local level - and most of all from a personal level. Governments, unless maybe the most brutal totalitarian regimes, can't simply say "we're going to change how everyone lives", so it then becomes a much broader issue.

Dealing with 'broader issues' is nothing new at TEC, indeed. How to facilitate new developments that don't exist yet while mitigating the pressing challenges of 'now'. Big, abstract topics, which do indeed call for rolling up sleeves and getting to work. 

This, in my opinion, is where energy policy and climate policy talk in and of itself 'ends', and the myriad interfaces with other fields of study, public policy, and getting the engineers going, begins. 

So what are the questions or challenges here?

There's a whole lot to say on this. I think its important to look at who or what groups will be most resistant to changes in how energy is used, among other things. But in another light, how are we training ourselves and others to deal with the boundless informaiton and ideas that are coming to us now? How do we discern the info and opinion overload? How do we view our self images and relation to others?

It quickly becomes a matter of how the world functions and humans operate within it. 

It's no easy task to facilitate that kind of awareness while at the same time managing what is going on. But here we are. 

April 5, 2013    View Comment