Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Warner-Lieberman Bill

I have signed a petition to ask that Congress not pass the Warner-Lieberman bill. It's not that I'm against trying to do something about global warming, it's that I do not think the bill goes far enough.

Here are four suggestions that would have an immediate impact on the energy problem and carbon emissions. I would appreciate comments telling me if there is a fatal flaw in these suggestions.

1. MAKE SOLAR ENERGY MORE AVAILABLE. When we lived in New Jersey, the gas company loaned us the money to upgrade our heating/cooling system to be more efficient. The loan was at a very low interest rate and the savings probably paid for the system within 5 years. If our energy company, or the state, or the federal government would provide a low-interest loan (not another damned tax break - we retired folks don't pay any taxes anyway!) to help pay for the installation of solar panels, the savings on our electric bill (maybe $100/month) would encourage more people to purchase these systems. The government may even have to subsidize solar energy for a while, just like they subsidize mass transit. If more people wanted to buy solar panels, more companies would get into the business, more jobs installing these systems would become available, and innovation would eventually mean that the cost would go down. We just need to get the ball rolling.

2. DON'T DO ANYTHING TO ARTIFICIALLY LOWER THE PRICE OF GASOLINE. In Europe, the price of gas has always been about twice what it was here, and guess what? They have lots of public transportation, trains that run everywhere, people staying healthy riding bicycles, etc. If there were more demand for mass transit, there would be more incentive for communities to supply it. But if gas is cheap, people will drive. Auto makers will provide a product if everyone stops buying those gas-guzzlers. We saw lots of Smart Cars in Europe 18 months ago!

3. INSIST ON SCRUBBERS FOR COAL-FIRED PLANTS. I don't know very much about this, but Ron says that coal-fired plants can be made to run clean and the carbon they emit can be captured and stored or a use can be developed for it rather than it being released into the atmosphere. The Warner-Leiberman bill is supposed to be about global warming, but they don't even mention things like this.

4. TELL CONGRESS TO MAKE IT EASIER TO BUILD NUCLEAR PLANTS. I've heard that it takes something like 15 years to get all the approvals to build a nuclear plant. That's simply ridiculous! Scream and yell to fix that problem!

Here's a quote from an article about the bill:

"Both reports also say a climate bill could lead people to drive less, which would lower demand and therefore the price of gas." The present price of gas is leading people to drive less and perhaps we'll see some effect in a few months. At the very least, there won't be as many trucks and SUVs on the roads.

I hope that our presidential candidates are watching shows like the recent CNN special about countries that freed themselves from dependence on foreign oil many years ago. It's hard to believe that we didn't see this coming and do something a long time ago.

But all the news is not bad. Here's an article I found that may give us a little hope.


By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Last Updated: 1:23am BST 25/05/2008

The perfect storm that has swept oil prices to $132 a barrel may subside over the coming months as rising crude supply from unexpected corners of the world finally comes on stream, just as the global economic downturn begins to bite.

The forces behind the meteoric price rise this spring are slowly receding. Nigeria has boosted output by 200,000 barrels a day (BPD) this month, making up most of the shortfall caused by rebel attacks on pipelines in April.

Why oil could soon come barrelling down

Keep the motors running: increased oil production from countries such as Brazil, Sudan and Azerbaijan is helping satisfy rising global demand for the fossil fuel

The Geneva consultancy PetroLogistics says Iraq has added 300,000 bpd to a total of 2.57m as security is beefed up in the northern Kirkuk region.

"There is a strong rebound in supply," said the group's president Conrad Gerber.

Saudi Arabia is adding 300,000 bpd to the market in response to a personal plea from President George Bush, and to placate angry Democrats on Capitol Hill - even though Riyadh insists that there are abundant supplies for sale.

I came across this. too, and thought it worth passing on.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

--William J. H. Boetcker, 1916
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