[FoRK] "What did the president know and when did he know it?"

Stephen D. Williams sdw
Thu Jul 7 13:59:40 PDT 2005

Does it truly make sense to artificially force capital investment before 
it is needed?
Probably not, unless there is a dangerous tipping point lurking nearby.

Ian Andrew Bell (FoRK) wrote:

> The world won't make the capital investment until they have to, 
> indeed.  One way to make it economically viable is to artificially 
> inflate the cost of burning oil and natural gas (fossil fuels in 
> general) by placing limits on their emissions, and by creating a free 
> market for the exchange of what are effectively emissions rights.  
> This is what the EU has done, this is what they have been asking Bush 
> to do in fulfilling the intent of the Kyoto accord.
> The result of the EU's system, which comes directly from a book called 
> "The Ecology of Commerce", is a hell of a lot of real-world technical 
> innovation in diversifying their power generation infrastructure, not 
> to mention reducing their industrial emissions.  Bush says that 
> "technology" will come along to solve this problem in America and yet 
> little has occurred in this area precisely because the US provides no 
> incentive for innovation.  Ergo, Bush is a hypocrite (revelation!) and 
> SDW is guilty of blindly buying into his line of bullshit.

I don't buy into Bush's explanations at all.  It's obvious that 
premature optimization is a possible problem here.

> Oil isn't just used to produce energy and power SUVs.  It fertilizes 
> soil, produces plastics and synthetics, and probably is a key 
> ingredient in McDonald's milkshakes.  Oil should be conserved for uses 
> where it has unique value and we should have weaned ourselves off of 
> fossil fuels for common power and transport long ago.  Assholes like 
> Bush stand directly in the way of this.

Frozen yogurt is based on crude oil?  You're out there.

> It might surprise this crowd to learn that I'm actually in favour of 
> safe, accountable nuclear power generation facilities combined with 
> effective waste disposal.  Combined with Hydrogen-powered transport 
> the combination makes for a pretty potent emissions-free punch.

Nuclear hysteria is probably the saddest development of the last 50 years.
Now that we can treat most cancers reasonably well, we should be good to 
go.  ;-)


> -Ian.
> On 6-Jul-05, at 10:12 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> Another solution would be found that fit the new economic profile.  
>> Hydrogen windmills off the coast, etc.
>> As I commented recently, running out of oil will probably be the best 
>> thing that could happen from the energy perspective.  We're stuck in 
>> the local minima of oil-based energy.  Nothing else is cost 
>> effective.  Even with massive cashflow from productivity-based (i.e. 
>> from human labor) to inert natural resource based (and indirectly 
>> funding terrorism), oil is still the cheapest source for many kinds 
>> of energy and chemicals.
>> The world/US won't make the capital investment in other solutions 
>> until they have to.  It won't be a calamity if we "run out of" oil, 
>> just a period of a little turmoil.  (heh)  The oil producing 
>> countries won't turn off the spigot because as soon as they do, they 
>> sow the seeds of their obsolescence.
>> The high cost of European fuel doesn't cause capital investment 
>> because nearly all of the cost is tax which won't go away even if the 
>> fuel cost were zero.  I would argue that having a high tax on fuel 
>> (and even trains) is like having a metered Internet connection: it 
>> inhibits usage, effectiveness, and value of the infrastructure.  It 
>> is argued that inhibiting usage is good, but is this really always 
>> true?  What about learning, living, entrepreneurialism, research?

swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw

More information about the FoRK mailing list