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On Could Congress's Lifting the Crude Oil Export Ban Threaten U.S. Energy Security?


A few months ago the Obama Administration stated they oppose Congress passing a bill to lift the export ban.  The primary justification was that “it’s the Commerce Dept.’s job, not Congress’s”.  It sounds like Obama is more concurred with U.S. energy security than Congress.


October 3, 2015    View Comment    

On FASTER Carbon Pricing Mechanisms


Perhaps a more accurate carbon pricing acronym would be UNFAIR


  • U – Universally unaffordable to Developing Countries.

  • N – Not achievable with existing costly & inefficient renewable energy technologies.

  • F – Far from fair to all Middle and Lower Class individuals in Developed Countries.

  • A – Acceptable primarily to the Upper Class Rich, Bureaucrats and Dictatorships.

  • I – Increasing the costs of fossil fuels will create more burdens on most weak economies.

  • R – Reducing the relative costs of renewables vs. fossil fuels thru taxing and wasteful subsidies has a small probability of achieving the promised benefits.


October 3, 2015    View Comment    

On How Shale Reduced U.S. Energy Risks from Hurricanes


No argument that the amount of heat available in our oceans is enormous.  The problem is the relatively small heat gradients and the enormous cost to capture the heat and convert it into usable energy to displace existing higher energy intensity sources beginning with fossil fuels, and currently available hydropower, wind and solar, and possibly developing hydro-current power generation technologies.


October 3, 2015    View Comment    

On The Problematic Governance of Climate Engineering


What do you mean that climate engineering won’t fix climate change problems such as ocean acidification?  We could seed and fertilize the oceans to grow substantially increased levels of bacteria and algae that would feed off the ocean’s increasing carbonic acid levels and convert it into organic biomass.  Increased oceans biomass could then feed a growing saltwater fish populations, which could in turn feed a growing world human population.  This strategy could be more feasible and cost effective compared other climate engineering proposed solutions such as to installing some form of umbrellas or light diffusers above the upper stratosphere;  .  Of course the major issue could be the growing world human population and growing energy/food consumption.  But this issue is obviously too politically sensitive for organizations such as the UNFCCC or most Countries to seriously consider.  Only China has ever actually addressed this excessive population growth issue;


October 1, 2015    View Comment    

On Low Oil Prices: Why Worry?


Low energy prices definitely and historically impacts the economy and level of affordable/sustainable oil production.  Shell temporarily discontinued their Arctic production project is because market prices don’t support this higher cost development project.  US domestic production is in decline since low market prices don’t support many more costly and less efficient hydraulic fracturing projects in the lower-48.  Somewhat surprising is the fact that lower cost energy’s impact on the economy’s performance or growth has been insignificant thus far.  Obviously there are other factors that are constraining a more healthy economy and its growth.  Perhaps increased and excessive government regulations that make developing new and the growth of existing companies less attractive today than existed before the most recent US and World economic recessions.


October 1, 2015    View Comment    

On Change Ahead: Cutting Carbon from U.S. Highways


Obviously the solution to reducing U.S. on-road carbon emissions is consuming less petroleum motor fuels.  What this article and referenced study over look is the fact that cellulosic biofuels have negative NEV’s or consume more fossil fuels energy than is produced in the biofuel finished product, EV’s are hardly carbon free including the full lifecycle emissions and power generation sources, and the fact that the behavioral change begins with substantially reduced vehicle usage, or VMT’s.  What’s the odds of U.S. residents largely getting out of the vehicles and staying at home most the year in the future?  If social media is the center to your life, maybe not a big change.  If you must commute to your job, like to take vacations to see the country/world, or need to access most goods and services (food, medical care, clothing…) more than a few blocks from where you live, the assumptions used in this reduced highway carbon study may not be very feasible. 


October 1, 2015    View Comment    

On Study: Electric Vehicles Can Dramatically Reduce Carbon Pollution from Transportation, and Improve Air Quality


Yes, on a total-overall vehicle fleet basis.  But total plug-in EV sales thru August of this year was about 72,000 vehicles  out of total vehicle sales of 5,300,000 purchased by consumers during the same period.  At this rate of EV sales, including relatively slow annual increased sales in recent years, it might take more than 35 years to replace the existing 250,000,000 on-road total registered U.S. vehicle fleet.


September 20, 2015    View Comment    

On Why Carbon Pricing Matters


Perhaps another question is: What matters most?  The world’s population and level of average living standards?  Or the belief that we can tax our way to someday to reducing the population’s ability to access the carbon based energy sources that have historically enabled the world’s population growth and current average living standards?  Before the significant access and use of fossil fuels, or about 1800, the world population was limited to about a maximum of 1.0 billion.  Over the past 200 years the availability and use of fossil fuels has enabled the population to grow to over 7 billion and it is predicted to grow by another 3 billion in the next 50 years or so.  Are you suggesting the solution to climate change is reducing the world’s total population?


September 19, 2015    View Comment    

On Study: Electric Vehicles Can Dramatically Reduce Carbon Pollution from Transportation, and Improve Air Quality


As usual what’s missing from this analysis is the full lifecycle carbon/environmental impacts and the total costs.  Replacing a couple hundred million vehicles, LD-HD, with electric vehicles will only cost roughly about $20 Trillion +/- for the EV’s plus another $10-20 Trillion for the recharging infrastructures.  Not quite equivalent to the total U.S. GDP today, but double the current Federal debt.  So, who’s going to pay for this transition and how fast?  And, did I forget to mention the environmental impacts of mining all the materials need to fabricate these EV’s, their batteries, and recharging station equipment and the fossil fuels energy required to convert the needed raw materials into new EV’s-infrastructures?  Also, realistically it will probably take well beyond 2050 to replace about half the ICE fleet with EV’s vs. the NRC/NRDC very rough estimate.


September 19, 2015    View Comment    

On California Makes Clean Energy History with Passage of SB 350


Excellent point Mr. Meinetz.  What’s obviously missing from this so called green energy & efficiency bill is a reasonably thorough and accurate cost-benefit analysis.  Despite the somewhat weak feasibility of California meeting these new clean energy targets, who really benefits the most?  This article makes it sound like California cities have made no environmental progress since the 1950’s and the elderly and children are dying everyday from the smog that the evil Commercial and Industrial interests continue to emit at deadly levels.  Unfortunately if one actually did some reasonable analysis they might find that the greatest health hazards today are lifestyle decisions, smoking/poor diets-overweight/lack of exercise, and the benefits will be directed to those special interests who have become enormously rich at the general public’s expense with these perpetual-questionably effective green energy policies.  Hopefully the public will wake-up or get their heads out of the less than educating social medias’, and take notice that their politicians may be actually putting their future life style standards and financial well being at substantial risk, and, with no significant benefits to their health or the environment.


September 19, 2015    View Comment    

On Three Technologies that will Keep Energy Costs in Check


There is another action that will substantially reduce consumer power usage and costs: efficient, behavioral changes or optimizing ‘home energy management’.  This means not over-cooling a residence during the summer (high 70’s oF vs. low 70’s) and not over heating (high 60’s oF vs. mid 70’s) during the winter.  This of course means wearing lighter cloths indoors during the summer and sweaters during the winter.  These are the standards that existed when cooling was unavailable or very expensive and heating was much more expensive than today.

September 8, 2015    View Comment    

On Nuclear Firms see Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel as a Money Making Proposition


Another parallel option to these proposed storage facilities would be to reprocess the spent fuels.  This would not only generate additional fuels for future nuclear power plants, but also substantially reduce the volume and hazard levels of the current and growing on-site spent uranium fuels found at most plants across the U.S.

September 8, 2015    View Comment