Comments on: ‘Energy independence’ is a farce Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: ronwagn Fri, 26 Oct 2012 02:25:46 +0000 The writer is overlooking the fact that natural gas can replace diesel and gasoline. It will moderate gasoline and diesel prices, it is already, though not yet perceptible.

Natural gas is the future of energy. It is replacing dirty, dangerous, expensive coal and nuclear plants. It is producing the electricity for electric cars. It will directly fuel cars,pickup trucks, vans, buses, long haul trucks, dump trucks, locomotives, aircraft, ships etc. It will help keep us out of more useless wars, where we shed our blood and money. It lowers CO2 emissions. Over 2,300 natural gas story links on my blog. An annotated bibliography. The big picture of natural gas. Ron Wagner

By: jtfane Mon, 22 Oct 2012 22:06:27 +0000 @Gordon2352,

I’m guessing that you don’t see the irony in making Armageddon predictions like “The die off would make the Black Death in Europe look like a mild cold.” and “renewable energy would certainly cause the death of billions of people that are currently surviving solely by this mechanized society.” and that efforts “to shut down whatever energy systems currently exist (e.g. coal), which will only hasten Judgement Day for the human race” all the while accusing your environmentalist foes of “quasi-religious … theology.”

This was mostly just humorous from my perspective as I’ve grown accustomed to the ideologues calling each other ideologues and the zealots calling each other zealots. The next part is a bit embarrassing though and I must say that I almost hesitated to bring it up as you seem a reasonably rational person (at least until someone mentions environmentalists). You see, before you cite a source you should always be sure not just to read it but to actually understand it. The problem here is that you claim that EROEI “is a physical law of nature that limits how much energy can be obtained as an output from various energy sources, and renewable energy is TERRIBLE in terms of EROEI. So bad, in fact, that it CANNOT be used as a substitute for oil/nuclear.” and regardless of the fact mentioned by @jer8877 that EROEI is not in any way, shape or form a “physical law of nature” and despite your flawed definition, the very source you cite states that the EROEI for wind energy (18) is higher than that for both oil (12-14.5 for conventional oil, 5 for shale oil and 3 for tar sands) and nuclear (10). The figure of 6.8 for solar referenced in the Wikipedia article is an average from a study performed in 2005 and since that time EROEI as high as 23 have been actually measured for operating commercial PV systems. And while the EROEI for both solar and wind has been steadily increasing, that for all fossil fuels has been consistently decreasing. In fact the EROEI of 10 cited for natural gas is from 2005 before fracking became a source of any significant amounts of gas, and fracking is far more energy intensive than previous extraction techniques so natural gas would likely have an EROEI lower than 10 today. I would be very interested to know who introduced you to the concept of EROEI and, particularly, what other rubbish they’ve been feeding you.

The really interesting thing to me will be how you, as a self proclaimed pragmatist, will react to the realization that the only meaningful support that you presented for your argument, EROEI, proves the exact opposite of what you were trying to argue. My guess is that, like any typical ideologue, you’ll dig in your heals and double down. As the old adage goes “it’s not easy to teach somebody something they don’t already know.” Why all the envirohate anyway? Did a hippie steal your girlfriend back in the ’60’s, or maybe your mom backed over your puppy with the Prius?

By: trevorh Mon, 22 Oct 2012 18:48:49 +0000 @Gordon2352

I understand your points, I just disagree with them.
Anyway, let’s just stop here because it looks like this heated up too much now.

Have a nice day.

By: rikfre Mon, 22 Oct 2012 17:29:07 +0000 since 1973, nothing has been done or achieved to gain energy independence. this points to some kind of influence by an unseen hand which directs action toward a status quo and allows those in there to achieve wealth at the expense of the common good. Could you lend me ten million or so….then I can run for office, my constituents will pay the interest rate you seek.

By: Gordon2352 Mon, 22 Oct 2012 14:42:17 +0000 @ trevorh —

I understand your viewpoint, but I don’t think you remotely understand the point I was making.

BOTH (1) “renewable energy” and (2) “reducing demand” are NOT POSSIBLE for the reasons I stated above.

Please go back and read what I said again very carefully.

As to some of your other comments, which I ignored because they are unrelated to either renewable energy or demand:

(3) You stated “US products now focus more on superficial values, no longer the technologically superior in the world market”, which are really two unrelated issues:

(3a) The issue of “US products focusing on superficial values” is a function of the free market system and there is nothing than can be done about it.

(3b) The US is “no longer technologically superior in the world market” because of our free trade, banking and tax policies, ALL of which encourage investment in emerging nations rather than the US.

The reasons are many and complex, but basically investing in the third world requires a lot less capital, the labor costs are minimal, and there are no environmental regulations to worry about than if US companies invested in the US economy.

The “bottom line” is the US economy has been using the emerging nations, especially China, to create the maximum amount of profit with the least in investment.

The “bad news” is that, while this policy has enriched the wealthy class, it has subtly created an inflationary environment in the US. THIS is the reason why the US economy crashed in 2007 (housing) and 2008 (markets).

The “worse news” is that it has encouraged “job outsourcing”, especially of our critical manufacturing jobs to the third world, which has reduced our national income (i.e. GDP) to the point where we are now forced to “print money” to survive. It doesn’t take a degree in economics or a genius, to figure out that this CANNOT last much longer.

AND by bailing out the wealthy — with no strings attached at taxpayer expense — it has allowed them to continue the same capital investment pattern as the last 30+ years.

To stop this economic decline we must force a reversal of the free trade, banking and tax policies of the last 30+ years.

(4) The thumbnail sketch in (3b) above is the reason for much of what you said earlier about the economy, but the problem is you relate the “solution” for these things to reducing demand, which will literally only make things much worse because it will force the US economy to collapse.


In summary, the REAL problem is the liberal free trade policies, the unregulated banking industry, and tax laws that reward the wealthy class for investing just about anywhere in the world except here where we need it most.

“Renewable energy” and “reducing demand” is IMPOSSIBLE, and focusing on them will serve only to exacerbate our economic problems and force the collapse of the US economy, which I believe is what the environmentalist movement really wants.

PLEASE go back and read what I said, because by your reply, I don’t think you understand the critical points I was making.

Without understanding that the environmentalist movement is nothing more than a quasi-religious organization whose “solutions” are NOT POSSIBLE, and that they are nothing more than a “red herring” being used by the wealthy class to take our focus off of the real problems caused by free trade, banking and tax legislation, we are condemning ourselves to financial collapse.

By: jer8877 Mon, 22 Oct 2012 02:22:17 +0000 Gordon 2352–

Your argumentation primarily relies upon the “all or nothing” fallacy: since renewables are too expensive to replace all forms of energy now they therefore should not be developed at all. Likewise, you argue that since we cannot bring all people in, e.g., China, to the OECD standard it is not worth bringing any of them to the OECD standard. These conclusions do not follow. Surely it would be a good thing to bring SOME people in China, India, etc. to the OECD standard, even if all of them cannot be, especially if it would require simple measures such as improving insulation on our buildings. People who employ the all-or-nothing fallacy are usually invested in the status quo or have personal reasons to resist any change at all. You appear to be motivated by distaste for environmentalists (whatever that term means these days). While I agree with you that that movement often has a religious-like quality, but I think that local sourcing and conservation can be important, relatively easy first steps in an energy program. Your claims about the wealthy and enviro groups controlling food supply and preventing coal usage that somehow would delay “Judgment Day” strike me as bizarre and lacking evidence.

With a PhD in Chemical Engineering, I view the renewable energy field as extremely promising from the perspective of both research and industry. For example, using non-food biomass (no one is talking much about corn these days) represents a huge untapped resource for both bio-based energy and products. I agree with you that natural gas is also an important opportunity, and will have the benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (as would nuclear).

EROEI is not a “law of physics” but rather an economic rule of thumb that, incidentally, will be the reason for the decline of the fossil industries. In fact, the whole purpose of research and development is to increase EROEI by decreasing EI — as demonstrated by the current natural gas boom due to hydraulic fracking technology. The fossil industries went through the process of increasing EROEI over the course of a century with significant help from governments worldwide. It seems to me that a diversified energy policy will move toward energy generation from natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, hydro, and biomass to the greatest extent possible, while retaining oil supplies for the production of valuable products such as plastics and pharmaceuticals (rather than burning it in our cars).

By: jer8877 Sun, 21 Oct 2012 18:31:13 +0000 Gordon2352:

Your arguments contain incomplete and/or misleading information. As a PhD in Chemical Engineering I can tell you that renewable energy is a viable economic enterprise from both the perspective of research and industry. For example, non-food biomass (FYI, no one is talking about corn anymore since it is known to be a limited feedstock) is an extremely promising feedstock for both fuels and chemicals.

EROEI is not a “law of physics” as you state, but rather an economic rule of thumb that actually eventually will be the undoing of extractive petroleum industries. While you have a point that currently renewable energy production is expensive, it is only expensive compared to cheap fossil energy. Moreover, the purpose of research and development is to reduce EROEI (and look at the successes in this regard in the renewable energy field over the past 30 years). The fossil fuel industry went through the same process of reducing EROEI over the course of several decades about a century ago and with significant government support. Germany may be feeling a cost-pinch, but remember that that they are feeling that pinch at 20% renewable energy, which is impressive compared with the percentage used in the U.S.

Much of your argumentation amounts to an “all or nothing” fallacy that seems to be motivated by your dislike of environmentalists. I share your impression that some environmentalists have a theological perspective and I agree that it is not now possible to get to 100% renewable energy use in the U.S. But it does not follow that therefore we should not pursue and develop renewable energy at all; if we could get to anything close to 20% in the U.S., it would certainly improve our energy security and perhaps have an impact on climate change (as would shifting to natural gas use or nuclear). The all or nothing fallacy is usually employed by people resisting any change at all, so it makes one wonder why you seem personally invested in resisting a viable energy industry that may have a positive effect on the world economy.

I agree with you that it will be difficult to bring China, India, Africa to OECD standards. In fact, in my opinion it is unlikely to happen, despite the fact that it is not a morally defensible position to say that they should be prevented from trying. Once again, however, just because we cannot bring the ENTIRE developing world to OECD standards does not mean that NOTHING should or can be done (all or nothing fallacy, again), especially if it would require just relatively simple lifestyle changes on our part–e.g., better building insulation. Your statements regarding control of the food supply by the wealthy class and tree huggers and your notion that the non-use of coal somehow will hasten “Judgment Day” strike me as bizarre, paranoid, and without evidence.

By: trevorh Sun, 21 Oct 2012 18:23:58 +0000 @Gordon2352

I brought up the environmentalists’ view point mainly because I know that:
For the US to continue to rely massively on imported energy, the US will have to either offer/export superior products again(compared to what the world can offer which is harder and harder now since the world is not that dumb and backward anymore)
using military strength to somehow bribe, coerce an unfair trade deal or take the energy resources away. And this is terrible.

I’m well aware of the stupidity of some of the renewable energy, so that’s why I only mentioned solar energy.
The root of the planet energy income, thus the ‘theoretical’ source of ultimate efficiency.

Those are my lines of reasoning

By: Gordon2352 Sun, 21 Oct 2012 16:39:14 +0000 @ trevorh —

You state, “I won’t want to criticize people so they get angry at me thus I just say this. US products now focus more on superficial values, no longer the technologically superior in the world market.

The weaker dollar and more oil demand in the world will lead to higher gas price. The only things they can do to slow the increase rate are:
– Make superior products again to strengthen the dollar (hard)
– Reduce demand by having more efficient technology with both oil and perhaps solar energy (also hard)
– Reduce demand by reduce consumption by changing lifestyle. Hard as well since Americans will refuse to live in the inner city and close to work like the Canadians, Japanese and Europeans for several (sensitive) reasons. (transportation consumes about 70% of petroleum in the US)


I’m not angry with you for stating the standard environmentalist position, which really has no basis in reality. I am going to use your comment as an example to illustrate the barrier of bullshit spread by environmentalists before we can come to grips with what is a very serious problem.

(1) I suggest you read the posting by “skteze” above because it is clear from his comments that he understands the issue of renewable energy and its place in society. Even Germany at the spearhead of renewable energy has hit a wall in terms of affordability and is rethinking its plans to expand their renewable energy programs. It is NOT cost effective.

You should also read up on a law of physics called EROEI. It is a physical law of nature that limits how much energy can be obtained as an output from various energy sources, and renewable energy is TERRIBLE in terms of EROEI. So bad, in fact, that it CANNOT be used as a substitute for oil/nuclear. That is a physical fact of nature that CANNOT be changed, so the whole idea of renewable energy is nothing more than a scam my a quasi-religious group of people who would have us live in a past that never existed. Plus renewable energy would certainly cause the death of billions of people that are currently surviving solely by this mechanized society.

Basically, renewable energy as an alternative fuel is NOT POSSIBLE.

(2) “Reducing demand” is not possible either, given that that we live in a global economy.

Mathematically, it is IMPOSSIBLE for the US — everyone’s favorite target for egregious consumption — to reduce its demand (i.e. energy consumption low enough to offset, say, the growth in the Chinese economy.

Do the math: How much of a reduction in US lifestyle do you think it would take for 300 million people to offset the energy needs of China with (per Wikipedia) “the world’s most populous country, with a population of over 1.3 billion” to bring them up to European or Japanese living standards?

That means you would have to hold steady the energy use for both Europe and Japan — assuming they are living as efficiently as possible right now and do not need to reduce their consumption — and take it ALL from the US energy consumption.

On a per capita basis the population difference alone (ignoring all other factors) is a 4:1 ratio — meaning for each person in the US there are the energy equivalent of 4 people in China who must be supplied with US energy to bring them up to roughly OECD standards — thus EACH person in the US would have to reduce their energy consumption (i.e. demand) by roughly FOUR TIMES THE AMOUNT WE ARE USING NOW.

The ugly truth is that there simply isn’t enough energy on the planet available for the Chinese population alone to attain anywhere near the level of OECD living standards — much less raise the living standards of those living in Africa or other parts of Asia.

The really ugly “inconvenient truth” the environmentalists don’t want you to understand is that it is the present “population overreach” of 7 BILLION people that is the real problem. We have achieved this level of overpopulation solely through the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the subsequent advances in technology, especially large-scale agriculture.

ANY disruption of the underlying global distribution system WILL cause the excess population to die off immediately, and probably generate global warfare.

The die off would make the Black Death in Europe look like a mild cold.

THAT is what the environmentalists CANNOT admit to people. Thus they offer the quasi-religious bullshit of reduced demand by “localizing” and using renewable energy.

What we are really talking about is a human population die off to equal that of the dinosaurs.

And we are so far out on the technology limb that we cannot back up at this point.

THAT is the real truth about the environmentalist movement and their total bullshit theology.

What is truly dangerous about these people is that they prevent any real, substantive actions being taken to find alternative energy sources (i.e. natural gas as a transition fuel, which would buy the human race some time). In addition, they work actively to shut down whatever energy systems currently exist (e.g. coal), which will only hasten Judgement Day for the human race.

Worst of all, they justify using food (e.g. corn) as a fuel substitute (a VERY poor EROEI) energy source, and offer it as hope of an alternative energy source. What they are really doing is condemning millions of people to starvation, and destabilizing the global economy.

At this point the wealthy class and the once-discredited “tree hugger” movement have joined forces for common cause — the wealthy class, which controls the global food distribution systems to make more profits by starving people to death, and the former “tree huggers” to force humanity to live in their twisted version of a world that can never be — so that we now have a major global food crisis.

These people — the wealthy class with their insane ideas of only the “fittest should survive” and the environmentalists who argue we can “reduce demand” and “localize” to avoid a massive die off of the human species (which they know will happen, but refuse to acknowledge) — are the real problem

We need to stop listening to their propaganda — both groups — before it is too late (if it isn’t already).

Now, aren’t you glad you brought up the “environmentalist” viewpoint?

By: edlodo Sun, 21 Oct 2012 15:59:19 +0000 Great article. The only thing left out is that the international oil market is not really a “free market” since OPEC still controls enouph of the market to effect the international price. This leads me to the question why is it that we always seem to talk about China’s unfair trade practices but we never seem to apply the same standard to OPEC.
The solution is simple, tax gasoline, tax imported oil (at least from opec) and decrease the payrol tax in exchange. Efficientcy and decrease use will happen automatically.