Sunday, January 07, 2007

A new year - time for an "energy diet"?

Whilst not wishing to endorse CEI literature I think the economics behind this article by Marlo Lewis writing for the CEI are worth reading.

Energy Diet for a Starving World?

The argument revolves around the "development/growth and energy use" trade off.
Whilst the West wants the rest of the world to grow (to alleviate poverty) and to provide new consumers for Western goods, the West is also attempting to persuade developing countries to use less energy.

As always the arguments are pushed too far to create a headline but it provides food for thought. What is interesting is that the CEI and others at least appear to admit that climate change is actually happening and are now resorting to the argument that "even if climate change is happening, there is nothing we can do about it in the US so let us carry on as normal".

Carbon dioxide emissions derive from energy use, which derives from, and fuels, economic activity. Controlling atmospheric CO2 levels is not remotely possible unless China, India and other high-growth developing countries restrict use of carbon-based energy.

But demand for fossil energy is growing, especially in developing countries. For example, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects global energy consumption will rise by 71 percent between 2003 and 2030, with three-quarters of that growth in developing countries. Fossil fuels account for the lion's share of the increase in consumption.

The real inconvenient truth is that nobody knows how to meet current, much less future, global energy needs with low- and non-emitting technologies. Indeed, the only proven "method" for making deep emission cuts is that of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe: economic collapse.

Energy poverty is a scourge, shortening the lives and impairing the health of untold millions of people around the globe. An estimated 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity, and some 2.4 billion people still rely on biomass wood, crop waste and dung for cooking and heating. Daily indoor air pollution in energy-poor countries is much dirtier than outdoor air in the world's most polluted cities, and kills about 2.8 million people a year, most of them women and children. Reliance on biomass also takes a heavy toll on forests and wildlife habitat.

There is no known way to meet the developing world's energy needs without increasing use of CO2-emitting fossil fuels. Forcing developing countries to go on an energy diet would condemn them to decades of continuing poverty, backwardness and misery.

"But Lewis," Al Gore might object, "the Kyoto Protocol exempts developing countries from binding emission limitations. It only restricts energy use in rich countries, like the United States." That is correct—for now. But the developing-country exemption is a classic bait-and-switch ploy. Developing countries would not have ratified Kyoto unless it exempted them from carbon controls during the first compliance period (2008-2012). But Kyoto is doomed unless the exemption is repealed, and every insider knows it.

Kyoto supporters consider the treaty just a first step in a series of carbon-suppression agreements, each more stringent and inclusive than its predecessor. Even under favorable scientific assumptions, Kyoto would avert only 7/100ths of 1 degree Celsius of global warming by 2050—too little for scientists to detect. Taking the first step makes sense only if you are prepared to restrict energy use globally.

More critically, most European countries are not on track to meet their current Kyoto targets. They will surely miss the much tougher targets proposed for the second, post-2012 period unless they can buy large quantities of cheap emission permits from outside the European Union. China and India could provide these permits but only if they first agree to limit their carbon emissions. Expect increased European pressure on developing countries via trade penalties and foreign aid bribes -- to limit their emissions.

Even in the United States, high energy prices inflict hardship on low-income households. Millions of families already feel pinched by the high cost of gasoline, natural gas, and home heating oil. A Kyoto-style system would push energy prices even higher. Does the new Congress really want to take credit for pushing U.S. gasoline prices to record highs?

Many members of Congress professed outrage in late 2005 when gasoline prices spiked above $3 a gallon. Many European consumers pay twice as much for gasoline, due to high motor fuel taxes. Yet, despite higher fuel prices, European Union transport sector CO2 emissions increased almost 26 percent during 1990-2004 and are projected under current policies to be 35 percent above 1990 levels in 2010. How much higher than European-level gasoline prices does Al Gore think Americans should have to pay?


Jay Draiman said...

Kicking Our Foreign Oil Addiction
January 8th, 2007
If America ever wants to achieve true national security, we must wean ourselves off our dependence on foreign oil. It’s that simple.

At the moment, the U.S. imports more than 60 percent of its oil, with consumption continuing to rise. At the same time, over sixty percent of the world’s oil reserves are held in the Middle East, handcuffing our foreign policy.

As a nation, we need to accelerate the development and use of clean, domestic renewable energy. That is why I have continually worked over the years to increase the use of ethanol, reduce our oil consumption and give us an environmentally friendly, domestically produced source of fuel.

It is also why I introduced the Biofuels Security Act, together with Senator Dick Lugar and some other colleagues, the first day the new Congress opened. It was a signal that creating real energy security will be an important goal as we move forward this session.

This bill charts a clear path forward toward increasing our national use of renewable fuels, reaching a total of 30 billion gallons per year by 2020, and 60 billion gallons per year by 2030.

It also calls for increasing the number of gasoline stations that carry blends of 85% ethanol (E85) and directs automakers to gradually increase flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) production until nearly all vehicles sold in the U.S. are FFV’s within 10 years. Right now, flex-fuel vehicles – those able to use both regular gasoline and E85 – make up only about two percent of vehicles on the road.

I have also co-sponsored a bill with Senators Obama and Lugar, The American Fuels Act. This legislation would help decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil by increasing production, distribution and consumption of renewable fuels. The bill would increase production by mandating an increase in the creation of biodiesel, and by providing tax credits to spur new investment in cellulosic biomass fuels, which are considered the next generation in renewable fuels. The bill will work in concert with Biofuels Security Act.

For too long, we’ve depended on importing oil to meet our energy needs. But we are creating a roadmap to a long term ramp-up in domestically produced renewable fuels. I believe if we are to attain national and economic security for our nation, we can and we must achieve these aggressive goals.

Jay Draiman said...


In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy sources must change.
"Energy drives our entire economy." We must protect it. "Let's face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy." The American way of life is not negotiable.
Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.

The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects with the use of energy efficient material, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, etc. The source of energy must by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, etc. including utilizing water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption.

The implementation of mandatory renewable energy could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy.

In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer), including the promotion of research and production of “renewable energy technology” with various long term incentives and grants. The various foundations in existence should be used to contribute to this cause.

A mandatory time table should also be established for the automobile industry to gradually produce an automobile powered by renewable energy. The American automobile industry is surely capable of accomplishing this task.

This is a way to expedite our energy independence and economic growth. (This will also create a substantial amount of new jobs). It will take maximum effort and a relentless pursuit of the private, commercial and industrial government sectors commitment to renewable energy – energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, energy storage (fuel cells, advance batteries), energy infrastructure (management, transmission) and energy efficiency (lighting, sensors, automation, conservation) in order to achieve our energy independence.

Jay Draiman, Energy Consultant
Northridge, CA. 91325

P.S. I have a very deep belief in America's capabilities. Within the next 10 years we can accomplish our energy independence, if we as a nation truly set our goals to accomplish this.
I happen to believe that we can do it. In another crisis--the one in 1942--President Franklin D. Roosevelt said this country would build 60,000 [50,000] military aircraft. By 1943, production in that program had reached 125,000 aircraft annually. They did it then. We can do it now.
The American people resilience and determination to retain the way of life is unconquerable and we as a nation will succeed in this endeavor of Energy Independence.

Solar energy is the source of all energy on the earth (excepting volcanic geothermal). Wind, wave and fossil fuels all get their energy from the sun. Fossil fuels are only a battery which will eventually run out. The sooner we can exploit all forms of Solar energy (cost effectively or not against dubiously cheap FFs) the better off we will all be. If the battery runs out first, the survivors will all be living like in the 18th century again.

Every new home built should come with a solar package. A 1.5 kW per bedroom is a good rule of thumb. The formula 1.5 X's 5 hrs per day X's 30 days will produce about 225 kWh per bedroom monthly. This peak production period will offset 17 to 24 cents per kWh with a potential of $160 per month or about $60,000 over the 30-year mortgage period for a three-bedroom home. It is economically feasible at the current energy price and the interest portion of the loan is deductible. Why not?

Title 24 has been mandated forcing developers to build energy efficient homes. Their bull-headedness put them in that position and now they see that Title 24 works with little added cost. Solar should also be mandated and if the developer designs a home that solar is impossible to do then they should pay an equivalent mitigation fee allowing others to put solar on in place of their negligence.

Installing renewable energy system on your home or business increases the value of the property and provides a marketing advantage.

Francis Bell said...

REALLY GREAT NEWS!!! You can now not only heat and cool your home the clean and renewable geothermal way-but also your POOL!This is information well worth looking into-Francis