19 June 2010

A History Lesson

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
An Energy-Independent Future
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10 comments:

  1. This is when he is at his best, making fun of everyone. Politicians do what politicians do. More so when they get away with it. They are a bit less full of it when puctured by comedians and when their feet are held to the fire by journalists. If we could find some journalists who do their jobs half as well as he, we might start making some progress.

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  2. Saw this episode yesterday. The message is of repeated promises to replace (foreign) oil dependency for the US. Slapping a 20billion
    charge on BP will not do that. No oil company will touch deep-water drilling after this.Ones that are, will require an endemnity, and if given, the US govt will have to hand back the majority of the 'fine' on BP ... drilling for oil is a dangerous and expensive gamble. No one wants a spill. The spill now is a duplicate of the one of 1979. Same area, same problem....
    As much as I admire Obama,his deep dislike of the Brits is obvious.

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  3. That must have been entertaining for the kids. For the rest of us, who actually remember life before Bush, it's no surprise.

    By the way - those Brits... thin-skinned nationalists. If this had happened in British waters and an American company was involved, they'd be demanding war crimes trials.

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  4. MarkB
    Try not to forget that two US companies were heavily involved. Both tried to avoid any blame:
    http://pressrepublican.com/0205_columns/x336265423/Political-posturing-has-no-part-in-spill-cleanup

    "We all know the history. Transocean operated a deep-sea oil drilling rig on behalf of BP in the Gulf of Mexico. Halliburton had just finished cementing the drill casing when the cement failed, precipitating the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Each of the three entities pointed a finger at the other. However, BP accepted full liability. It could have taken advantage of the statutory $75 million liability cap, imposed in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez disaster. Or, it could have tapped into the oil cleanup fund that is supported by a small tax on domestic oil extracted. BP instead offered to do the right thing as a gesture of responsibility for some bad decisions by a local BP manager over a short period of time."

    So the people that man up to accept responsibility get trashed for it while the gutless are given a get out of jail free card. Sure is the same old story..

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  5. ItsFairComment said:



    “The message is of repeated promises to replace (foreign) oil dependency for the US. Slapping a 20 billion charge on BP will not do that.”

    Oil dependency is really fossil fuel dependency. Those 60 million years of Coal Swamp Forests must never be used!

    Actually, the anti-fossil fuel crowd use oil dependency (fossil fuels) in an argument (debate point) that clean-renewables are a substitute.

    That we merely need to substitute.

    In the realm of economics, substitution is rarely full substitution. The concept of substitution in practice is generally "incremental substitution". With incremental substitution you have dynamics that swing back and forth from the originally substituted item. Moreover, incremental substitution is distorted when subsidies (clean energy subsidies) and distorted prices (carbon tax) are present.

    Hence if oil fell to $1 per barrel and coal fell to $1 per ton, the rational consumer or firm would swing back to oil and coal. If oil is $170 per barrel and coal is $75 per ton, then we would incrementally use more ethanol and solar/wind. If oil and coal fell in price again we would incrementally substitute. However, if we distort price or subsidize one or more of the available substitutes, then incremental substitution becomes inefficient as scarce resources are not allocated efficiently.

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  6. Just a word for Mark B "By the way - those Brits... thin-skinned nationalists. If this had happened in British waters and an American company was involved, they'd be demanding war crimes trials."

    It did happen:
    1988: Piper Alpha oil rig ablaze
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/july/6/newsid_3017000/3017294.stm

    Did the UK government demand 20 billion or equivalent in today's money?. No.
    "It is thought approximately 225 men were working on the rig owned by Occidental Oil."
    "Occidental Petroleum Corporation, a Delaware
    corporation"
    "A total of 167 people died in the Piper Alpha fire making it the world's worst offshore oil disaster.

    Most of the victims suffocated in toxic fumes which developed after a gas leak set off the blasts and sparked the fire.

    In November 1990 Lord Cullen's report into the disaster severely criticised safety procedures on the rig owned by Occidental Oil.

    Lord Cullen did not blame any individuals but after a civil action over insurance payments in 1997 two workers who died in the disaster were found to have been negligent.

    However, that finding has been contested both by relatives of the men concerned and television documentary investigations. "

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  7. W.E. Heasley said...

    "incremental substitution is distorted when subsidies (clean energy subsidies) and distorted prices (carbon tax) are present."

    The distortion in the electric power market is even worse.

    We have base load, peak load and standby power. The economics of each is quite different. Distorting one sector can make it impossible to run the other sector economically or environmentally efficiently.

    I.E. To get maximum thermal efficiency out of a thermal plant, regardless of fuel, the plant needs to run hot. The heating and cooling cycles of plants that run hot leads to metal fatigue, so to avoid metal fatigue they need to run hot 24/7.

    As soon as some windmills get thrown into the mix with a must buy requirement for the wind energy because it's politically popular, the most efficient thermal plants are out of the energy mix. So a 30% efficient thermal plant gets built instead. The different between 30% and 45% efficient is a 50% difference in CO2 emission per kilowatt.

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  8. Harrywr2 said:

    “As soon as some windmills get thrown into the mix with a must buy requirement for the wind energy because it's politically popular, the most efficient thermal plants are out of the energy mix. So a 30% efficient thermal plant gets built instead. The different between 30% and 45% efficient is a 50% difference in CO2 emission per kilowatt.”

    That is a most excellent example of the unintended consequences of distorting incremental substitution.

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  9. Trouble is, oil is what backs the petrodollar (thanks to Nixon's gold default) so they need to find something else. Mind you, China might have forced that issue via proposing IMF Special Drawing Rights as the new reserve currency. Oh the irony of the USA being dictated to by China. Default again or devalue?

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  10. @ItsFairComment,
    Thank you for the clarification.
    Since we cannot say the $20bilion is a shakedown, we can point out that BP was already committed to paying all bills. All that was accomplished by Obama demanding an escrow account be set up is to create what will hopefully be a short term delay in delivering money to the injured. Since BP's largest recipient of political funds is Obama, and since BP has been backing cap-n-trade for sometime, I have to think neither Obama or BP are unhappy about the delay or other complications that may occur. At least by choosing Feinberg to run the fund, there is a certain amount of credibility to the hope of fair settlement that was not really present before.

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