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How Will Global Warming Concerns Change The Vehicles We Drive?

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  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    "As an aside - didja know that Tejas and CA are by far the biggest wind energy producers with Tejas currently generating 2768 MW (with another 1013 MW under construction) and CA generating 2361 MW (with another 565 MW under construction)."

    Well gee, just look at two shmoes who live there...
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    "What I found interesting was that Iowa was #3 on the list of wind producers."

    Hey, c'mon, what else is there to do in Iowa?
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Hey, c'mon, what else is there to do in Iowa?"

    Make ADM rich? ;)
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Well gee, just look at two shmoes who live there..."

    Cheers to my fellow shmoe..... :blush:
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,348
    Well, I guess it's flat enough.

    I do think that in the end you will see not A solution to energy (both carbon problems and oil being in the worst places problem - no offense to any Norwegians) but multiple solutions. It doesn't have to be wind OR sun OR tidal OR hydroelectric. You'll see different solutions where different local strengths are. Heck, look at Iceland for geothermal.

    There is not only a bundle to be made by the folks who bring this stuff to where it's priced competitively but a ton of national strength to the country that leads the way.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    "Make ADM rich? ;) "

    Had to go there, dinya?

    Grrrr...
  • Exactly! Humanity rely on cabonaceous fuel only because it's the cheapest source of energy that we are aware of (including the cost of mining and distribution); otherwise, we'd never have given up burning firewood and twigs; talk about the original renewable energy source :-) As soon as we find something else cheaper, we will switch over in a New York minute.
  • both carbon problems and oil being in the worst places problem

    Neither are co-incidental problems. The second one is easy to tackle so I will address that one first: if there were top quality pure oil reservoir (no sand, wax or water to deal with like most normal oil wells) right under my back yard here in New England, do you think it will turn into a producing well? Nope. At $1 million per acre, even XOM would run out of money before buying out enough neighbors to put together a functioning oil well. Oil is a primary resource, just like farming and mining; it takes land, lots of it, and denude it in the process. Places that are not "the worst places" usually demand a high price on allowing their land to be exploited like that, so to speak. In reality, we'd rather someone else' backyard half a world away to be drilled than our own gets the shaft. And in a way, that's for a good reason: because the natural scale of economy and land claims involved, oil/mineral extraction is highly land/government-centric. That usually lead to repressive governments because normal free market competition is crowded out by the government hand-outs from oil/mineral revenue. It is no co-incidence that almost none of the rapidly democratizing nations of the late 20th century is natural-resource rich; on the contrary, those that are natural-resoure rich, be it oil, gold, diamond, cobolt or practically anything else, are almost always chronically bedevilled by repressive governments. Why? Because the people get used to fighting over the big prize pie through political intrigues instead of wealth-creating entrepreneurship.

    Nowadays, if one looks through the balance sheets of the oil companies, it's easily discernable that the leading cost of oil production is not exploration or drilling cost, but the fees and taxes that they have to pay to the governments holding the master deed to the land that their wells sit on. The fees used to be miniscule in the immediate post-WWII era. Then anti-colonialism and nationalism were promoted so that the local elite can exact a heavy tax on the energy trade; eventually repressing and exploiting the local people even worse than the erstwhile evil colonialists. Over time, that tax becomes bigger and bigger as per centage of the cost of energy. That leaves the governments of the energy consuming states out of the loot. So the Carbon Problem was invented as a justification for a whole new breed of taxes can be justified on the consumption end in addition to the extraction end.

    Given that neither problems are co-incidental, IMHO, regardless what form of energy we resort to, the two "problems" of consumption tax and production site political monopoly will always follow us, so long as energy distribution is centralized because there is inherent economy of scale.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Nothing's cheaper than the sun, wind, tides, geo-thermal, etc. all energy sources that nature provides us freely. No government can lay claim to these sources. The only obstacle is developing cost effective conversion and storage devices. A lot of venture capital is currently being poured into finding a way to overcome these obstacles. I have a lot of confidence that in a relatively short time, 3-5 years, technologies will advance that completely change our mindset when it comes to how we will deal with our energy needs. It's really kind of exciting, albeit in a very disruptive way to the entrenched interests.
  • I certainly hope any and all forms of energy source emerge competitive to what we have. That being said, I'm somewhat more sanguine to that the real cost of energy is in storing and readying for use. Otherwise, lightening alone can keep some parts of the world in business :-) Tides and geothermal probably involve substantial land use and right claims. Wind only works in some parts of the world, and there is still zoning law concern that prevent average consumer from installing a windmill. A century and half human history dealing with energy distribution has pretty much proven that so long as the distribution is centralized, it ain't gonna be cheap, in money terms and in human lives. Congo/Zaire fought decades of civil war over hydrolic electricity distribution. What can be inherently cheaper than water going from high place to low place, pulled by gravity? ;-)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Hey folks, Kyoto was an outgrowth of a major global conference in 1992 (anybody remember the less-famous Rio talks? Oh well). At that time, China was a LOT less developed and prosperous than it is now, and therefore was tossed in with the third-world countries that have much less stringent goals. This is just a legacy of how old this treaty actually is. When the first milepost year comes around, 2012, they will meet to assess and modify the treaty and you can bet China won't get such a favorable treatment then. In the meantime, the Chinese expect to adopt European-style emissions standards in their country by the end of the decade - they are not slouching on this one, as they also realize the urgency. Heck, there was just an article in the paper TODAY on this. Given that commitment, the huge snag they face is of course a rapidly industrializing economy with enormous and mushrooming energy requirements, and no good cheap way to produce it except by burning coal.

    Which is why when you consider China, and its auto industry increasing in size by a factor of ten practically every year (exaggeration alert! But you get my point I hope), it becomes crucial to come up with CO2-reducing automotive technologies, so that when the Chinese fleet grows to the size of ours, it will be made up of clean efficient machines, not yestertech.

    Hey check it out, since Y2K Californians have reduced their energy use per capita by a whopping 40% just by conservation measures alone. Imagine if we could all do that with our vehicles. People talk about the impact on the economy, but just THINK how much money we would save with that kind of reduction in fuel use.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • In a country that lacks transparency like China, or for that matter the overwhelming majority of Kyoto signatories, what they promise and what they actually deliver are two entirely different stories. Just like the Tsunami and earthquake reliefs, many NGO decried how little the US promised compared to what other governments promised. It turned out that one year after the disaster, the worldwide delivery rate on promises was only 15% compared to 80+% in the case of promises made by the US government.

    since Y2K Californians have reduced their energy use per capita by a whopping 40% just by conservation measures alone.

    In energy-purchasing power parity terms, the CA economy shrank by about 70% (oil and gas more than quadruppled in price since Y2k). Nothing make conservation a success like poverty itself :-) As much as myself being a advocate of "living below one's means" as a general philosophy, it's hard to find converts to the cause ;-)
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    In energy-purchasing power parity terms, the CA economy shrank by about 70% (oil and gas more than quadruppled in price since Y2k). Nothing make conservation a success like poverty itself

    That is a grossly misleading statement. For one thing the price of oil may have quadrupled but we don't buy oil, we buy gasoline. That price has maybe doubled. Natural gas is not 4x as expensive as it was in 2000 and even if it was natural gas is only one of CA's sources for generating electricity and like oil, is only a component in the final energy cost. Anyway the cost per kWh for the average Californian in 1999 was 10 cents. It is currently around 15 cents. When you factor for inflation and wage increases for the past 7 years it doesn't seem to me that these higher energy costs would have resulted in poverty induced conservation.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    Great post nippon....... :)

    Rocky
  • Reading this forum again affirms to me how much emotion is involved in this discussion. We need technical solutions that force down carbon pollution and allow for renewables. But remember, renewables (sun, wind) are very expensive compared to Nuclear. Plus the energy density just doesn’t cut it. Sorry, those are facts. I am not against a tax credit here and there for the private citizen, but please, let us spend our real (big) money on what will most help the environment the quickest and fastest! Reduction of coal and gas fired power plants should be one of our first goals. The nuclear waste issue can be solved if we just focus on the technical scientific details and don't get too emotional about it. Previous attempts at solving nuclear waste involved too much emotion and politics.

    PS I have no vested political or monetary interest in Nuclear Power

    Just the facts. Lee
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I agree that nuclear power has some significant advantages over coal and gas from an environmental perspective. However my prediction for the future is for smaller, more localized, community grids. Large nuclear powerplants don't fit into that picture. In addition to safely disposing of the waste I see these nuclear plants as potential terrorist targets, so you'll have an ongoing security issue to deal with Whether or not solar, wind electricity is cost competitive has to be viewed from the perspective of the buyer/user of this energy. If a coal, gas, nuclear powerplant can generate electricity for 3 cents per kWh then 20 cent per kWh solar energy doesn't look too appealing. On the other hand if the consumer is spending 12 cents per kWh for grid electricity then suddenly the cost of solar doesn't look that far out of the question. If solar prices can come down by 50% through increased conversion efficiencies and reduced manufacturing costs then solar becomes cheaper for the user. It still isn't anywhere near being cost competitive for the producer but who cares?
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    that nuclear should be part of the solution.

    Unfortunately, nuclear needs some solutions of its own to be truly viable, IMO.

    Emotion over the waste and thermal by-products aren't the problem. The facts and logistics are. Digging a big hole in the ground (or mountian) is an awfully myopic solution for something that may well outlive our civilization. That's a heady responsibility, and the answer isn't yet there as far as I know. There's also the process of obtaining and readying the fuel before ever getting it into a reactor. And of course there's the security, as tpe points out, but I think that's true of a number of our systems.

    As far as cost-efficiencies go, I think one has to factor in likely R&D progress (ambiguous as that might be) to really determine downstream viability. We're judging emerging technologies against infrastructures that have mostly been in refinement for many, many decades. Given how fast tech evolution has beccome, a little nudge today can equate to quite a lot of old R&D done on existing systems. I hope I phrased that well enough. :blush:
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    that nuclear should be part of the solution.

    Unfortunately, nuclear needs some solutions of its own to be truly viable, IMO.

    Emotion over the waste and thermal by-products aren't the problem. The facts and logistics are. Digging a big hole in the ground (or mountian) is an awfully myopic solution for something that may well outlive our civilization. That's a heady responsibility, and the answer isn't yet there as far as I know. There's also the process of obtaining and readying the fuel before ever getting it into a reactor. And of course there's the security, as tpe points out, but I think that's true of a number of our systems.

    As far as cost-efficiencies go, I think one has to factor in likely R&D progress (ambiguous as that might be) to really determine downstream viability. We're judging emerging technologies against infrastructures that have mostly been in refinement for many, many decades. Given how fast tech evolution has become, a little nudge today can equate to quite a lot of old R&D done on existing systems. I hope I phrased that well enough. :blush:
  • My bet was that technology would become available that improved on current rebreather technology used in some underwater applications today. I can see a CO2 scrubber cutting emissions some day on vehicles. I haven't heard anything about advancements in this field lately, which probably means it's sitting on a shelf until we need a near miracle.
  • We have got to demand an end to oil dependency. How is it possible that we spend billions to send people into space but not one clean/green car has been invented in the U.S. The car companies are holding us hostage and we are too stupid to demand better. Why is there no clean diesel/hybrid car yet? Global warming is here. It would even be worse if not for global dimming (google - BBC global dimming). At this point the life of the earth is in our hands and we are at a tipping point. The government had done nothing. The large automobile companies have done nothing. We as consumers must lead the way. Hybrids are only a drop in the bucket and they are still spewing CO2 into the atmosphere. We should have clean/green vehicles available to us. What is going on here?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Yours is just another variation on a tired conspiracy theory about the big, bad auto companies, mihertz. Most conspiracy theories are wrong. If it were as easy as you make it appear to produce affordable green cars, with the features and the performance that people demand, they would be on the market already. Who's stopping an innovative company from introducing the models that would please you? And please tell us, mihertz, what kind of vehicle(s) do you own?
  • There is no conspiracy. It all boils down to oil and oil=money. Consumers are stopping the innovative company from introducing green choices. It is time for people to wake up from their greedy stupers and stop buying gas guzzling tanks. Yes, it is simple we don't buy, they won't make. I drive a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid and a 2007 Mercury Mariner Hybrid. They are the best I can do for the moment. The problem is they still produce CO2. They are not good enough.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    I'm all for saving the environment and improving air quality but the guy replying to your posts has good intentions but is wrong on how to handle the issue. It shouldn't be solved with car company's products but rather at the fuel source its self and until our government gets serious and builds the infrastructure necessarily the car company's need to sell the products that are popular or go belly up. ;)

    Rocky
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    of us who at one time or another have bought into the "market-driven" solutions theory, the involvement of the the government, or rather the taxbase corporeal, is usually necessary to implement any viable full-scale infrastructure. Prior to Ike's Interstates, the railroads were implemented with huge amounts of public capital, albeit more from the States involved than the Feds.

    Simple fact of life in the industrial age and beyond now is that without substantial government (tax) involvement in funding development, progress on real viability slows to a snail's pace. Interesting sidebar, though, is that historically (as with the railroads) if the funding is more focused at the State level with the Feds supplying the (more or less) precise parameters to be met and some incremetal assistance, the spirit of competition apparently speeds development substantially.

    So, yes, the government has to be involved quite a bit, and yes, with regard to energy development and conservation, it has in the past. The name most auto mfrs love to hate? Jimmy Carter. ;)

    To suggest that lobbying from the former Big Three has not been successful in retarding progress from Reagan's Administration forward, including George I, Bubba and Shrub, seems a little off-base to me.

    But public sentiment has to flow in a specific direction for goverment to follow. I believe that flow is sincerely evident right now, and that government actions will follow to some degree. I think it will be regulation first, and maybe ambitious funding later (there are some other bills to pay just now).

    Be prepared for reduced-emissions regulations regardless of climate considerations, I think. It's already law for CA, where we stand at something like 13% of all vehicle sales in the country. Last I read, at least eight other States were either considering or had passed similar legislation, among those NY IIRC. No mfr can ignore that kind of pressure.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    I being politically left as many of you know can't understand how one state puts in regulations to reduce emmissions without the infrastructure to support those emmissions. i.e. Ethanol, bio-diesel, hydrogen, etc, etc, ?
    What's going to happen when all these truck owners are forced to buy something else ? I smell a backlash brewing. ;)

    Rocky
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    No, you make the requirement pertain to new units to be placed in service after a certain date in the future, and then incrementally notch the levels down in subsequent years. Units already in service are given a bye.

    I remember my '65 Olds 98 convertible was exempt from smog certification here in CA, as are all production vehicles built prior to 1975. Idea was (and the theory is more valid now than when introduced) that past a certain service duration, these units would naturally be retired at an ever-increasing rate until their numbers were effectively inconsequential.

    The intent is clear, at least in the CA law's implementation: to curb the consumption variable, and force the mfrs to engineer the solutions, whatever those might be. In effect, it's a slap at the White House for failing to effectively update CAFE and remove certain Kenworth-sized loopholes, that were intended for farming and certain other professions that rely on trucks, but were instead eventually exploited by mfrs seizing on a then emerging truck-conversion market known as SUVs.

    The reason the law focuses on greenhouse gasses is simple: the trend of awareness (for better or worse) made it easier to pass.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    CA is in a position to actually drive national policy. I believe the people in DC realize this and resent it; almost like their authority is being usurped. I think its great because CA is typically more progressive than the braintrust in DC. BTW, I don't consider "progressive" to be synonymous with "liberal". I grew up in CA so I might be a little biased.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    I agree with you, that if consumers were to demand greener cars, and buy fewer gas guzzlers, the auto companies would respond. I respect your choice of vehicles, even though they wouldn't be what I would choose. Unlike many of those who profess to be concerned about the environment, your choice of vehicles is consistent with your beliefs. Good for you!

    I'm for a gradual increase in the gasoline tax, say 15 cents per year, and a corresponding decrease in the income tax. This would dampen demand for gasoline, while being revenue neutral. It would provide an incentive for buying fuel efficient cars, including hybrids and diesels, and reduce unnecessary driving.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    I'm for a gradual increase in the gasoline tax, say 15 cents per year, and a corresponding decrease in the income tax. This would dampen demand for gasoline, while being revenue neutral. It would provide an incentive for buying fuel efficient cars, including hybrids and diesels, and reduce unnecessary driving.

    Lets say I'm just glad you aren't in office.

    Rocky
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Rocky, do you think energy conservation should be encouraged, and, if so, how would you do it? By making the gradually increasing gasoline tax revenue neutral, overall taxes would be unchanged, although the effect wouldn't be even. But that's the idea; to encourage heavy fuel users to use less. CAFE hasn't done this. I don't think that mandating higher fuel standards, through more stringent CAFE standards, is the best way to go, because it distorts product offerings and consumer choices more than higher fuel costs do.

    Doing nothing has high social costs associated with it, although they're not as evident as implementing measures to reduce consumption. I advocate a gradual change, to give motorists ample opportunity to adjust.

    Incidentally, I've got serious reservations about E-85, because I think it's use is more politically motivated than rational. The price of corn has gone through the roof since ethanol has been promoted as the salvation to our energy problems. The problem, for now at least, is that it takes a lot of petroleum to convert corn to gasoline. So, unless or until more efficient conversion technologies emerge, it's preferable to continue importing petroleum, only less of it, through more efficient usage.

    One of the benefits of reducing the demand for gasoline, besides the environment, would be the positive effect on the demand-supply balance. It would result in more dollars in the pockets of American consumers, and fewer dollars being exported to petroleum producing nations.
This discussion has been closed.