Monday, February 5, 2007

Rush Limbaugh Leans On God

Rush Limbaugh, radio talk host and Nobel Prize nominee, leans on God to support his stance that Global Warming is a hoax. He has tried logic, questioned scientific methods, spoofed posing polar bears, quoted big oil, monitored groundhogs, consulted tea leaves and alas, he ends up with the God debate. On his show today he states that God would not have created a mankind that would destroy his environment.

Once he uses God to defend his position, what does he have left in his arsenal to defend himself from a frenzied media attack? He must be preparing a trip to Rome to garner support from the Vatican. A better bet is, he says a prayer tonight for a little back-up.

I'm writing this piece after some reading I did recently on Blaise Pascal. For you in the EIB universe, he was a French Philosopher noted for his bet, "Pascals Bet". He was big on expected value when supporting arguments. He argued that it was a better bet to believe in God than not, because if there is a God, the expected value is infinite.

If there is a chance Rush is wrong, the circumstances would be dire. The expected value of stemming global warming is almost infinite. I'm not leaning on God, but the free will of man.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Road Map On Energy

The presidential race for 2008 is presently in its infancy as we see many new candidates and some retreads announcing their intentions. For the most part, the early days are filled with sound bites, present administration criticism and generalized agendas. Like the smiling potential Miss America contestants announcing their world peace agendas to the judges, they take the center stage with a talking head and proclaim their qualifications. Generalities, for the most part, are a good thing for our 30-second attention span, but as the trail narrows and the dust begins to fly, some people will actually demand some specific details on issues they warrant as important. Energy will be high on my list.

In the past, HRC has taken the middle road, touting a balanced energy policy that will lead us closer to energy independence while at the same time protecting our air quality. Her husband’s administration took the middle road but did fire a few shots across the bow of some behemoth utility companies burning coal.

Presently, her press releases have begun to mirror popular opinion and stately newspaper headlines. She wants cleaner, reliable, renewable energy that includes cleaner coal, hydrogen fuel cells, and responsible recovery of oil and gas resources that do not include the Artic National Wildlife Refuge. She is for improving our national electric transmission grid, (no more New York blackout babies), and research to improve energy efficient technologies. With the news release of Exxon Mobil’s earnings report, she stated that tax breaks for big oil should be eliminated and use the money to create a “Strategic Energy Fund”. Inline with the UN’s findings on Global Warming, she states, “Unless we act to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, the planet will continue to warm over the next century”. So far, she is looking good on energy, but she needs to fine-tune a few areas.

First leg on the map. Criticize President Bush’s attempts to weaken portions of the Clean Air Act, reducing targets set forth many years before he came into office. Voice a stronger alignment with Senate Bill 309. This bill amends the Clean Air Act, sets forth a schedule to reduce carbon emissions, and is referred to as the “Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act”. This critical evaluation of the Bush administration should not include his perceived alignment with big oil. That attack will get you mired in an issue that never ends, and no one wins. The better maneuver is to face big oil directly with solutions that make everyone win.

Second leg. Without echoing the president’s state of the union address, emphasize again your determination to see that we progress towards less dependency on foreign oil. Never use the term “energy independence”. We will not be energy independent anytime soon, and if you use that term, you will be judged accordingly. Our goal is to “lessen dependency” on foreign oil. The emphasis here should be on our imports of fuels from areas of the world that are highly unstable. Put the onus overseas, it always works.

Third leg. Renewable, organic energy sources, solar, wind, bio-mass, cellulosic, etc., are great for conversations that everyone agrees with. Do not overdue it. These sources of energy are but a tiny portion of our requirements today. 20 years from now, who knows? Lay a foundation of energy solutions. A portfolio that includes all of the above as well as clean coal, natural gas and domestic oil. We need this portfolio and your target should be on our ability to do it in an environmentally friendly fashion.

Fourth leg. Your presidency should be known for its determined effort to fund technology that improves our quest for cleaner and more efficient energy. “Cleaner and More Efficient Energy” is a win win term. It includes our efforts to clean up presently polluting sites as well as making sure future sites conform to your policies. It addresses technological research, which someday will make organic energy more viable. Research that cleans our coal. We have more coal than Saudi Arabia has oil and coal is not going away. So lets clean it up.

Home bound. History should include your energy trinity.

1. Government Mandates such as Senate Bill 309, amending the Clean Air Act. A reduction in carbon emissions will spur technology towards improving energy efficiency and performance. Here, you aim is at air quality. The market is efficient and survival of the species applies to industry as well. Never mandate fuel quantity. The market will react negatively and disproportionate.

2. Government Incentives to seed technological advances in energy production and utilization. 6-7 Billion has been set aside for new nuclear plants but that is down the road. The government needs to follow the venture capital money now.

3. Independent Oversight to monitor energy advancements and to insure that special interests and earmarks are held at bay. Organizations will not suffice. Commissions are needed. When we had a banking crisis in the early 1900’s, we set up the Federal Reserve. Well, we have a crisis now.

Good Luck Hillary. This is but a tiny portion of your burden.

Friday, February 2, 2007


Much has been written about the President's state of the union address in regards to alternative energy including yours truly. The press on alternative energy will only increase, especially since the release today of the UN Global Warming warning. But let us focus on things we can do now and not dwell on the speech. Sure he outlined goals and policy, but as a guide line. Let's take the ball and run. Move forward and discuss the issues as they warrant and not keep falling back and using his speech like a gym wall during a dodge-ball foray.

Also there has been much criticism aimed at big oil and its effort to promote alternative energy technology. Recent commercials and monetary incentives handed out by BP have been looked at with askance. It is in big oil's best interests to proceed in this direction. When looking at the very long run, they are involved in a waning industry. If we had looked at IBM in the 1950's with this same attitude, maybe we still would be communicating with an IBM Select and using message runners.

Much critique has been dealt to the use of corn in the production of ethanol. World hunger is not in jeopardy nor will we run out of cornflakes and hush puppies. The market will sift out the weaker links here as well as drive motorist to their fancy. Who cared about the droughts in the past and waning water tables that affected corn futures. Nobody in my neighborhood.

I read about motorist complaining they can't get the same fuel economy with ethanol. Ok so what. One guy wrote that he travels across state to get away from his local gas mixture so his mileage will improve. Figure that one out. One stately newspaper wrote about the use of pesticides for use in growing corn. If we had a breakthrough in more comfortable underwear would we complain about spraying for cotton aphids?

Let us concentrate on the bigger issues such as the reduction in carbon particle emissions. If we compel our government to mandate stricter emission standards, the market will work itself out. Survival of the species isn't restricted to the iguana. Give government the chance to become forward looking. And it will. Incentives given towards our technology base will allow the information flow to propagate and become integrated into industrial solutions. We also need independent oversight, and not a, but a dot.commission. If we look upon that report on global warming, as we did on bank failures in the early 1900's, we would immediately form a body of stewardship, much like the Federal Reserve, for our governance of progressive energy solutions.

So it's time to move on. I will here on this blog.

Thursday, February 1, 2007


Council on Foreign Relations adds fuel to the fire. The article speaks out of
both sides of its mouth. It states 2007 Farm Bill has no changes yet sites a
statistic that there will be cuts of 18 Billion, with a 'B', over next five years. The article is correct on farm spending but written in a way to confuse the reader. This is a slanted attempt to tie in ethanol with world wide consequences. It touches on white vs yellow corn but sounds more like a wikipedia research attempt. I hope they follow up the article after Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns unveils new proposals in Des Moines, Iowa today.