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U.S. Biofuel Boom Running on Empty

As nations around the world begin to plan for Copenhagen to discuss the next generation Kyoto treaty, it is increasingly obvious that they will be ineffective.

Chief among the reasons for this ineffectiveness is that with the price of oil at its current state, it is simply not cost effective to use alternative fuels that will dump less CO2 into the atmosphere. The oil producing nations are probably not maintaining crude at this level to doom the planet to disaster, they are simply smart business people that are providing their “drugs” to the “addicts” at a price and in a way that will insure that no one can ever move off.

Cap and Trade is here

Let me start by explaining that I am not a lover of cap and trade.  The systems that have been proposed to date are simply taxes on certain types of energy so that other forms seem to be more competitive.  They also tend to reward industries that can have a flexibility in energy sources while punishing industries that have to purchase high BTU energy sources.  Finally, they can reward industries and organizations that did nothing to improve their energy use – they were just lucky enough to use less carbon.  To make cap and trade look better, you may also see it referred to carbon trading or carbon offsets but a rose is a rose, regardless of its name (or in this case – a tax is a tax, regardless of its name).

Nuclear war would cause more global warming

I don’t understand why this study was commissioned. Isn’t the death and destruction of nuclear war bad enough to deter pushing the button? Does anyone really believe that a leader of a nuclear power or a terrorist would be about to start the holocaust and then pause because they were concerned about the environment?

I guess when you work at Stanford though, such thoughts cross your mind. Or maybe it is just the constant pressure within acedemia to “Publish or Perish” to keep your job. Or maybe it has some deeper and political purpose.

Gore Delivers Remarks on Energy and the Climate

Washington Post – July 17, 2008

Mr. Al Gore recently gave a speech in Washington DC regarding energy.  While many in the blogosphere will call Mr. Gore “Pope Gore” and refer to environmentalists as a religion, in this case, I don’t think that Mr. Gore makes many of the outlandish comments which I have chastised him about. Most of his comments are regarding energy independence, the status of the technology of alternative fuels, and the balance of power.

He does make a few global warming references which are a little hard to defend. He implies that the fires in California are caused by manmade global warming – this is probably not true since California has been enjoying an unusually wet climate for several decades and it appears that this current drought is simply going back to status quo.

Schwarzenegger slams Bush administration on global warming – calls Bush efforts bogus

Crooks and Liars – July 13, 2008

This story is all over the web right now but the best coverage that I found was on Crooks and Liars as they include the video as well as a transcript of the interview. Other versions of the story only include a snippet of the actual interview (a lot like what I have done).

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STEPHANOPOULOS: How much of that is due, do you think, to global warming, to climate change?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, its very hard to say. I mean, one thing we know for sure, and that is we have had a drought for two years in a row now.  … And I think that we just have to be aware of those changes. Im sure, partially, that it has something to do with global warming, also, because we have just now broken a record.

I can’t resist showing this Dilbert cartoon

I think that Dilbert cartoons are incredibly funny most of the time. Maybe it is because I have spent much of my life in corporate America and therefore I can relate to many of the story lines.

This episode is on-target with this site. Enjoy. Laugh. Go read other Dilbert cartoons. Have a good weekend.

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Diesel-powered Loremo promises to hit 150 miles per gallon

Engadget – February 21, 2008

I realize that there has been a lot of discussion on automobiles lately but I also know that a good number of my regular readers are concerned with the automotive industry and its impact on the environment.

Some people believe that switching to diesel for our liquid fuel would be a more appropriate and cleaner alternative to using gasoline.  I am not sure that the chemistry really works out but I hope that the industry continues to evolve.

I originally found this article on Engadget but the original story comes from MSN and that is where the following excerpts come from.

Toyota Will Offer a Plug-In Hybrid by 2010

The New York Times – January 14, 2008

Toyota is not going to be out-done by GM.  Yesterday, I discussed that GM is spending a lot of effort and money to develop alternative fuels and alternative propulsion options. This article shows that Toyota is not going to stand still in that important competitive battle.

Toyota will offer the first plug-in hybrid in 2010. Plug-in hybrids are important because it is far more efficient to produce electricity at an industrial power utility plant than it is to burn gasoline in your car in the form of a “traditional” hybrid vehicle.

Duke in solar-development talks with BMW

Charlotte Business Journal – December 20, 2007

It will not be easy to break the US economy reliance on fossil fuels to generate energy. Regardless of goals and caps that are discussed at a political level, the reality is that the economy needs fuel to thrive and sustain itself.

Duke Energy is trying to diversify its portfolio of energy production. As one of the largest producers of electricity in the US, it is also one of the largest users of fossil fuels. Staying on the cutting edge of alternative fuels is critical for a company like this and their experiences are important for the nation and the world at large.

Chevy Fuel Solutions: The View from Thailand

GMNext – December 18, 2007

Regardless of your stance on global warming, I am sure that we can all agree that using our resources appropriately is very important. GM Chevrolet has introduced a vehicle to the Thailand market that will use natural gas as a fuel and this seems to be exactly what is needed in today’s evolving marketplace.

Obviously, one of the problems that needs to be solved is a distribution model for the fuel. One of the benefits to our current fuel sources is that there are only 3-5 major fuels (several octane levels and diesel) and they are all handled in approximately the same way from a transportation and storage viewpoint. Adding another fuel that is shipped and stored with entirely different technology would complicate supply chain issues.