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Old 12-13-2009, 12:15 PM
ctcboater ctcboater is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8
Default Re: Science Saturday: Climategate and Beyond

Originally Posted by piscivorous View Post
I am amenable to a steady predictable rise in the cost of energy (not just gasoline) through a direct tax. The rate you advocate for gasoline is probably too steep for much of the population to absorb as replacing cars, appliances is a heavy expenditure for much of the population.
We've experienced a 50 cent change frequently in the last few years. It was just not consistent or predictable. We can absorb the change as long as the tax is deficit-neutral.

Me: Re Europe
I see this argument made time and again but it is really not a valid comparison. Take a look at the population density of Europe and compare it to America's population density. You will find them comparable for much of the East coast, southern west coast and within a 50 mile radius of the larger cities but for most of the interior the population density of America will be much less than is found in Europe. Simply living outside these population centers dictates higher much higher "fuel per-capita" ratings.
A high proportion of the US population is in or near cities. The application might not be universal, but is good for a lot of areas. Typically, our poorly designed houses use more than twice what a German dwelling uses, and that would be applicable everywhere in the US. Same poor efficiency (in comparison) with our industrial production. Transportation is really only a small proportion (~20%) of our total energy consumption, but we could reduce that by half in 15 years.

Yes but solar is only good when the sun shines and the wind when the wind blows within the rather narrow range. Not enough wind the turbines produce no energy to some fraction of it's rated capacity. You get the same effect when the wind speed is above the the rated range. My recollection is that wind farms on average produce some where about 1/3 of their rated capacity. This makes neither very good candidates for producing a constant predictable base load of power generation with out building enormous excess capacity in multiple locations and the infrastructure to route power to those areas that are under producing due to local whether conditions. Not that I don't think they have their place and usefulness but for base load generation they are not really good candidates.
We need an integrated system of storage like Denmark and Israel are developing. It can be done. And there are other thermal storage methods being developed for solar energy towers.

This is probably the best argument as to why we should be doing everything we can to replace these imports with local sources and drill baby drill. Not to mention the thousands of high paying jobs it would create.
The good part is if we can drive the basic price of a barrel of oil low enough, we can use all that petroleum to produce useful products rather than wasting a non-renewable resource by burning it.
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