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January 31, 2008

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There's also a concern that some of the major oil exporters aren't particularly friendly toward America and/or trustworthy.

"[They] are taking advantage of this collective memory to trick us into thinking there are legitimate conservative (as opposed to liberal) reasons for using less petroleum."

Yeah. I have to agree. "Energy independence" is probably a bait and switch. Of course, this election, like many of the recent elections is bigger than just what conservatives want. The independents and undecided are going to be important voters.

I will second Peter's comment. "Energy Independence" is a polite way of addressing the problem that a large percentage of the money we spend on imported oil heads off to Muslim countries that are avowedly hostile to U.S. interests, and that use the money to fund terrorism against us.

But its a fair question as to whether or not "energy independence" is the proper solution

phi: "a large percentage of the money we spend on imported oil heads off to Muslim countries"

Not true. Most of our imported oil comes from the Western Hemisphere, and then from western Africa.

Most Muslim oil heads to Europe and Asia.

When I hear politicians talking about "energy independence," I am always reminded of Nancy Pelosi's wonderful quote that we need to achieve it so the price of gas will come down. And soon!

Actually, there's nothing wrong with energy imports from friendly democratic countries such as Canada (#1 in US imports) and Mexico (currently #3 but very close to #2 Saudi Arabia). The problems come with imports from undemocratic, anti-American countries such as most of those in the Persian Gulf, Venezuela and Nigeria. Not only are these sources unreliable because of embargoes and political instability, but the funds sent to them in payment go to subsidize terrorism (Saudi Arabia, Iran), anti-Americanism (Venezuela) and thuggery ((Nigeria). Needless to say, corruption and totalitarianism flourish in these lands.

So, while complete energy independence for the US is a foolish and impractical goal, independence from imports from hostile, undemocratic regimes is both necessary and doable. If we had started down this path 35 years ago with the Arab oil embargo, we would be there now.

As for China, I don't perceive her as much of a threat, at least for now. First, China is surrounded by enemies, real or potential - just look at a map. Second, the Chinese military, though growing, has little ability to project power beyond its borders. Third, since the inception of the PRC, Chinese foreign policy has been rather conservative and inward-looking and has not been characterized by the global adventurism of the US (or USSR). And, yes, although the US and China were opponents during most of the Cold War, historically the two countries have not been enemies. Of course, in the long run, this could change, but, as Keynes said, in the long run we are all dead.

Most of our imported oil comes from the Western Hemisphere, and then from western Africa.
Most Muslim oil heads to Europe and Asia.

Venezuela has fairly hostile relations with the United States, while Nigeria is very unstable.

"The only energy source we are dependent on is petroleum,..."

Only?

"which is a fungible resource which means that any country with excess petroleum production can supply us with it...."

Fungible? Eh, pass. The any country with excess production can supply us idea is a problem. Although facially true and valid, it implies a bit of optimism regarding currently exporting nations, future exploration, and decline trends. In short, as the populations and economies of exporting nations grow, they tend to keep more of their oil at home. Or at least that's what I've read. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/business/worldbusiness/09oil.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

"We also have a Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which means that if the supply is suddenly cut off, we have a reserve that gives us time to resolve the issue."

Per Wikipedia, that would be just under two months time to resolve the issue. Thus, 57 days + (the not insubstantial amount of oil we use here x however we might ration/stretch it out) as against the fact that we use oil (gasoline) for a substantial part of our transport economy. Perhaps I'm being overcautious, but I think we need more numbers before we depend on the time buffer the strategic oil reserve gives us. Seems too casual a response.

Apologies: That formula should read: "Thus, 57 days + (the not insubstantial amount of oil we have here (e.g. Texas, The Gulf, Alaska) x however we might ration/stretch it out) as against the fact that we use oil (gasoline) for a substantial part of our transport economy.

Energy independence cannot happen.

We use 20 million barrels per day of oil. The US produces 8 million bpd. Thus, there's a 12 million bpd shortfall that needs to be imported.

You simply cannot cut oil use by 60%. It just can't happen. Even if it were the #1 goal of an administration, you couldn't get that much new oil produced nor could you convert to nuclear power. About half of oil is used in automobiles. Not that much is used for generating electricity, which would be the easiest to replace. Then you've got the Northeast reliant on heating oil. Funny that the most liberal region of the country is the Northeast, which is also the most heavy user of heating oil, which is refined from crude oil and thus is largely imported.

Let’s step back and ask the question, should America be (a) an island completely self-sufficient and independent from the rest of the world with no foreign trade; or (b) part of a global economic community?

There's a certain contingent who feels that self-sufficiency is a better virtue than depending on other nations for imported goods, and many bring up defense concerns as their primary cause. Others feel the export of dollars is simply bad economic policy especially since those dollars aren't used to purchase American goods, and others contend that giving industrial jobs to poor, low-skilled (read: low IQ) workers is cheaper and more effective in the long term than giving them welfare and cheap products.

I'm sympathtic to the last argument, but if we're dealing with peaceful nations, the first two really aren't of any concern. Mind you, I'm highly concerned about the current increasing might of the PRC, and I'm highly concerned with the increased spending within the PLA as well. I personally don't trust them, and while this may come off as racist, but the Chinese have the personality of robots, and that certainly doesn't lead one to believing that they want a peaceful world.

We also have a Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which means that if the supply is suddenly cut off, we have a reserve that gives us time to resolve the issue.

IIRC, it's only 90 days worth of unrefined petroleum in the reserve.

In light of the above, exactly what benefit does being “energy independent” bring when we are dependent on so much else for our well being?

Most people presume that oil only comes from Saudi Arabia, and thus, the idea is to get people to reduce their oil consumption to reduce importation from de facto terrorist state.* Most people are unaware of the fact that our oil is mostly imported from Canada and Mexico. IMHO, I'm more fearful of peak oil and supply and demand issues in regards to the oil supply.

Not true. Most of our imported oil comes from the Western Hemisphere, and then from western Africa.

Most Muslim oil heads to Europe and Asia.

Finding an alternative source of fuel would presumably benefit Europe and East Asia as well. It would be detrimental to the petro-economies of the Mideast and Venezuela.

It would be detrimental to the petro-economies of the Mideast and Venezuela.

I don't mind Chavez. He may be an autocrat, but at least he attempts to take care of his citizens, and his Bolivarian Revolution doesn't involve hijacking planes, bombing buildings, and killing Westerners.

Please stop the ad hominem attacks on Ron Paul. Even if he is an anti-semite (I don't know one way or another.) that doesn't mean that his policy positions are incorrect. As often noted, just because Hitler thought Aryans had higher IQs than blacks doesn't mean that you should deny that fact today.

I agree with many of Paul's positions even if he is an anti-semite. Please argue on the merits.

Or just say that you won't vote for him because he is an anti-semite.

There is plenty of oil to be had right here in the US, off the East and West coasts, Alasko too. Lord knows why, but we aren't allowed to drill for it. It may have something to do with ruining a certain Senator's view from their beach house though.

DA, you are right about the ChiComs. They are a cruel people and they are training their kids to be cruel:

http://anepigone.blogspot.com/2008/01/barbaric-animal-cruelty-is-recreation.html

They have threatened to nuke the US (Los Angeles specifically) more than once. These people are not our friends. When war breaks out with them, it is going to be nasty, nasty stuff. They have no problem losing people, lots of people(my uncle used to regale me with stories of the Korean War) just to make a point, to freak out Americans and to show that they mean business. I used to think I was stupid for joining the army. But it could be worse, I could have joined the Navy. Poor bastards:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-802

The lame Argentinines pulled this of in 1982:

http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/9/95/Sheffield_onfire.jpg

I can only imagine what a Aegis cruiser hit by multiple C-802s will look like.


Talk about fighting the last war! Forget the communist crap, they're quite capitalist and dangerous. The Rooskies are, also, quite capitalist and dangerous.

DA: yeah, if I were Venezuelan, I would totally dig Chavez. I'm American, though, so his interests obviously do not dovetail with mine. A patriotic, competent leader of another country may well be very dangerous to America; countries' interests don't always coincide.

DA: yeah, if I were Venezuelan, I would totally dig Chavez. I'm American, though, so his interests obviously do not dovetail with mine. A patriotic, competent leader of another country may well be very dangerous to America; countries' interests don't always coincide.

He acts like an idiot at home and in Latin America, and he sells oil to us at market prices, and he uses the revenues in a populist intent to help poorer Venezuelan citizens which in turn decreases (low-IQ) immigration from there. Where is the downside in any of this? As long as we keep paying him and we don't invade, he'll continue to sell to us without much trouble. All this talk of Chavez is simply fear-mongering by oil companies fearing nationalizations. Now if you want to talk about the economic issues that Chavez is causing by nationalizing and subsidizing the price of petroleum, that's an entirely different situation...

We could probably become "energy independent" if we would get off our butts and develop the Green River shale formation. Drilling the OCS and ANWR wouldn't hurt either.

But the popular thing to do right now is suggest we can be energy independent by buying more fuel efficient cars and installing wind mills, or some other such nonsense. That's the kind of ineffective solution you get when politicians and most of the U.S. population are convinced that the Earth is warming due to big, bad fossil fuels. (Not that the gigantic yellow fusion furnace at the center of our solar system would have anything to do with it.)

China and India are growing by leaps and bounds while world oil production is stagnate and many major fields are in decline. It would take a good decade to bring our shale resources fully online, IF the government backed it and IF no environmentalists sued to stop it.

And those electric and fuel cell vehicles you keep hearing about? They might actually have decent power, range, and sales prices...in a decade. At which point we will need another decade or two to transition our vehicle fleet.

Get ready for higher gas prices and the receding economy they will bring.

While I'm at it...who told all the global warming alarmists that fuel cell vehicles would solve the problem? They emit their exhaust, water, as vapor out the tail pipe. Water is a greenhouse gas. The #1 greenhouse gas by far. Earth would be a ball of ice if it wasn't for the water vapor warming our atmosphere.

They're going to give up gas cars for millions of little humidifiers on wheels? What's that going to do to local, and global, weather patterns?

I would laugh at the stupidity if it wasn't so sad and likely to hit me in the pocketbook in the form of higher and higher gas prices.

"politicians and most of the U.S. population are convinced that the Earth is warming due to big, bad fossil fuels"

blank:

So are most climate scientists, several of them at the top universities on the planet. Are you a climate scientist at one of the top universities on the planet? Have you run any supercomputer simulations of how fossil fuels are affecting global climate? Do you have an alternative climate model which you use to predict climate patterns?

If not, then what exactly is your credibility in this matter based on?

"Climate models" programmed around the assumption that more CO2 causes higher temperatures will just, in circular fashion, confirm their programming.

Actual experiments show that there is enough CO2 in the atmosphere to already absorb all the IR being emitted from the surface, so adding more won't result in any change.

HS:

"Actual experiments show that there is enough CO2 in the atmosphere to already absorb all the IR being emitted from the surface..."

Which experiment are you referring to?

The earth's climate is a highly nonlinear system. I do not believe there is anyway to get around the nonlinearity without simulations. There is no equation you can just plug in some numbers and get a definitive answer. (In order to do the simulation you do need some assumptions.)

Vim, read the paper by Heinz Hug.

If human released CO2 is the primary driver of climate change, then why the -0.588 global temperature anomaly for Jan 08? Human CO2 output has never been higher, so why have temperatures remained flat since about 2000, with the last year witnessing a downward trend?

Human CO2 is a bit player in climate. Anyone familiar with temperatures and CO2 levels over the 20th century can figure that out.

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