Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bush and ethanol nonesense.

Charles Krauthammer gets it right:

The President's SOTU energy segment (mainly about ethanol) was nonesense. Bush probably knows it (Cheney sure does), and why he beleives that talking nonesense is good politics is beyond me.

Krauthammer proposes 3 steps:
1. Drill in ANWAR.
2. Nuclear power.
3. A gas tax.

The first two will be adopted sooner or later, as there is no way around them. But - from adoption (implausible, politically impossible at the moment) to maturing - that is to bearing fruits - there is a 10-20 years gap. They won't help reduce oil imports or consumption in the next 20-30 years. Nevertheless - they need to be done - the energy problem won't go away until then, and there won't be better solutions.

As to the gas tax - it will have an immediate impact - but what impact?
It will reduce consumption some - how much is not clear - I guess a few percentage points. Not that much. And it will have a negative impact on economic growth; how much is not clear - maybe not catastrophic.
It might be worth giving it a try, though I doubt it.

One thing is obvious to me - we must not increase the overall tax burden, so if a gas tax is adopted, it must be offset by reductions in other taxes. Fat chance for that !

Friday, January 26, 2007

Race blind racial preferences

In the NY Times:

Colleges Regroup After Voters Ban Race Preferences
Many public universities are scrambling to find race-blind ways to attract more blacks and Hispanics.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Renewable energy funding.

Federal lab for renewable energy

The NY Times article complains that the federal lab for renewable energy doesn't receive enough funding.

Some people think that science can perform any miracle, and if you throw at it enough money (preferably other people's money, like federal funds) it will produce anything you may wish.

It ain't so. There are physical restrictions. There are those pesky laws of nature.

Maybe some completely new and unexpected renewable, nonpolluting and cheap energy sources (like John Galt's motor) will be discovered in the future. The chances are slim, and the chances it will happen in the Federal Lab - slimmer still.

The Energy department projects that renewable energy will not be available in significant amounts until 2030. I would hazard the prediction that they will not be available even in 2060.
Get used to the idea and stop dreaming.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

$15 billion - what we got for it.

From the white house release of the SOTU:

Including The 2008 Budget, The Federal Government Will Have Spent $15 Billion Since 2001 To Develop Cleaner, Cheaper, More Efficient, And More Reliable Energy Sources.

Ok. $15b spent and what has been achieved ? Where are the "cleaner, cheaper, more reliable energy sources" ?
There aren't any. Not any significant quantity. Nothing. All we got for those 15 billion bucks is hot air, rhetoric. They have joined all those billions spent by presidents Clinton, Bush 1, Reagan, Carter for "new" energy- down the drain.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Energy policy

Cliff May writes on NRO:

Coffee Talk [Cliff May]

The president needs to talk, in more depth and detail than he has in the past, —
about measuring success in Iraq, the consequences should we fail there, and the
connections, which too many people still can't see, between Iraq and the broader
conflict. Also: how we begin, finally, to craft an energy policy that reduces
the economic/political/military power of Middle Eastern oil.
Reliable sources tell me he will do all of the above.

It's ok to talk about "an energy policy that reduces the economic/political/military power of Middle Eastern oil.". Talk is cheap. Talk makes people feel good. Bush should talk about this, absolutely !

There is an "energy policy that reduces the economic/political/military power of Middle Eastern oil." : start drilling like mad on the continental shelf, and in Alaska (for oil). Build nuclear power plants. But I bet Bush won't say this. It is not PC. He's got lately into the habit of parroting more and more of the nonesense that is fashionable, and less of the truth.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

20$ a barrel of oil.

Won't happen.
Victor Davis Henson writes:
...and collapse the world oil market though conservation, more exploration, alternative fuels, and nuclear power. 20 -dollar-a-barrel oil will take immediately nearly $500 billion a year out of the coffers of Middle East exporters—and with that loss, floating petrodollars for weapons and terrorists.

Get real people ! 20$ a barrel oil won't happen. Not in the next 30-50 years (probably never). All alternate energy sources known to us cost about $100 per barrel, equivalent. Oil is cheap, nothing comes near that.
As much as we would love to deprive those terrorism mongering nuts of their income - it won't happen. You need to think up some other terror fighting, planet saving, strategy.

Nuclear is the most promising energy source, but there won't be a new reactor going on line for at least 30 years, even in the unlikely scenario that someone decides to build one today.

Here I go

This is to anounce my new blog. I heven't really decided to start one, but i might.