Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz

Steve Janke at Angry in the Great White North has been following the European policy debate over controlling automotive Greenhouse Gases and notices that while "EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas acknowledged that the regulations could add 1,300 euros ($1,874) to the price of a car ... Manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini, which make high-end luxury racers and sell fewer than 10,000 cars a year, would be exempt."

George Orwell in his parable Animal Farm observed that when self-appointed revolutionaries take control of our lives the principle that "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" applies. This means that a department store floorwalker who's saved these five years for a vacation to Bali is a "climate criminal", while a UN delegate to the Bali conference who arrives in a private jet is Saving the Planet. The same principle seems to apply to motorists too. If you're a Spokesman for the Earth driving a Lamborghini, of course you should be exempt from Greenhouse Gas penalties.

Nothing follows.


Blogger PierreLegrand said...

Consensus of scientific opinion, making policy based on consensus is not brilliant…hmm

Global Warming one more tool in the bag of bureaucrats intent on controlling us all.

1/02/2008 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I think the Yurps are wrestling with all this environmental yadda-yadda because it gives them the feeling that they're actually doing something while their boat is sinking from holes Muslims are poking in it.

By the time the hole is finally poked in the ozone (or whatever it is all the tree huggers are so concerned about) everyone in Europe will either be beheaded or wearing a burkha or will be breathing radioactive isotopes, so it won't matter any way.

One wonders what would happen if the bureaucrats in Belgium spent one-half the amount of time on their Muslims problem as they do trying to force square pegs into round holes of environmental political correctness.

1/02/2008 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

nahncee has a point. When the real problems are intractable, the tendency is to invent a phony problem that you can pretend to fight. If you can blame the phoney problem on the U.S., even better!

The air in U.S. cities has improved significantly in the past few decades. Airborne lead has decreased by 89%, carbon monoxide by 37%, sulfur dioxide by 26%, and ground level ozone has dropped 21%, from 1984 to 1993. The Environmental Protection Agency, however, has pushed through more stringent air quality standards that even includes "dust," and will soon be addressing carbon dioxide!

The EPA, like OSHA, is in the business of "finding" problems.

1/02/2008 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

I think this carbon enforcement thing is going to fall apart.

NY Times: Global Warming Claims Bogus
Tuesday, January 1, 2008 4:38 PM
Critics are calling it clear evidence that the climate of opinion on alleged global warming is shifting in favor of skeptics, especially since it comes from the New York Times, until now a fervent acolyte of climate change guru Al Gore and his doctrine of ongoing and disastrous climate change.

See the NY Times Article Here

I think the NY Times reversal is not about turtle bay blue boys having second thoughts about having their flatulence metered but rather Nanosolar's collapse of the cost of solar. Nanosolar is now producing solar cells for about $1 a watt. That's their sales price. Their manufacturing cost is $.30 @ watt. It costs another $1@watt to plug in all the pieces for the solar panel. However, the cheapest way to produce electrical power currently is by coal and that comes to $2.1 a watt--plus transportation and clean up. Once the factory they built in San Jose is up to full production capacity, it will be cranking out more solar panels than every other U.S. plant combined -- 430 megawatts worth. That's just the first plant--and other companies are getting into the game. The NY Times posted this article on Nanosolar less than two weeks ago.

The meaning of this is that the US position is correct; that carbon emissions-- whether they are the source of global warming--or not--can be better tamped down by changes technologies.

I think within 5 years the last coal plant will be built in the USA. Going forward it will be solar.

1/02/2008 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Apropos of nothing:

Oh Lord, won’t you find me a new set of friends?
The Rhinos don’t love me and I must make amends.
Worked hard through two terms, no help from the Dems,
So Lord, won’t find me a new set of friends?

Oh Lord, won’t you back my surge Iraqi
The Shiites and Sadr, just won’t let me be
I wait for civilians to finally back me
So oh Lord, won’t you back my surge Iraqi

Oh Lord, won’t you fry me, Ahmadinejad
I’m counting on you Lord, Tehran’s gone worse to bad
Prove that you back me, clear Shat al Arab
Oh Lord, won’t you fry me, Ahmadinejad

Oh Lord, won’t you find me a new set of friends?
The Rhinos don’t love me and I must make amends.
Worked hard through two terms, no help from the Dems,
So Lord, won’t find me a new set of friends?

1/02/2008 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Janis Joplin - Mercedes Benz

1/02/2008 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Sloat said...

Charles, your stats on solar are missing one key point - a coal plant can produce power 24/7 pretty easily. The wattage totals for solar power are if you assume mid-day in the tropics with nary a cloud in sight and the sun immediately overhead. Counting watts is nice publicity, but it's all about the gigawatt-hours, and solar sucks for those. It's also a space hog, and has some real problems with producing enough to cover peak hours(~5-8 PM), especially in the winter. There's also load-balancing concerns, which basically dictate that a good portion of the grid's supply *must* be fossil fueled in many parts of the world.

None of this should be read as saying that solar is bad, or that it's not the wave of the future. It's juts not as close a future as some people would like to think.

1/02/2008 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Isn't the basic problem being that the United States can gussy ourselves up to be all clean and shiney and solar and green, but we still have to breathe the air that India, China, Russia and the South AMerican Amazon are creating ... and they all refuse to do ANYthing about it at all, whatsoever.

Has anyone even ever approached China about the calamatous ruin they are inflicting on an enormous portion of the global habitat?

Not to mention Russia and its strip mining and belching rusting factories AND that little incident with Chernobyl.

Bali was ridiculous. The Japanese are killing whales to eat bits and pieces of them. And the two main groups of individuals pushing these ideas are the United Nations and the European Union, neither of which has EVER managed to do anything for humanity on their own.

I just cannot take global warming seriously as long as it's being pushed by the horrible people who have adopted it as a casue celebre, and as long as it's being ignored by the ginormous 2nd tier countries who are trying to claw their way into some form of global power and, oh by the way -- to maybe become a little bit civilized.

1/02/2008 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

The exemption issue is a product of poor economic analysis. The luxury car may, for all we know, be cost-effective in terms of greenhouse gases. We have no idea what it is being used for. Maybe it is used to woo investors for a greenhouse reduction technology.

The only right way to do this is to assess the true externalities at the place of greatest variable impact. This means taxing carbon, taxing the fuel itself. The revenues can be used to cure the economic side-effects. Since the political externalities are completely aligned with the environmental externalities, they should be applied at the same place. If you want to be energy independent, impose tariffs on imported oil. That would work for the environment too.

If you can't stomach that solution, then how about requiring increasing percentages of ethanol. That will have a similar effect while at the same time keeping fuel prices predictably high, so that alternatives can be profitably developed.

1/02/2008 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

The French seem to be generating a large carbon footprint by burning so many cars over New Years (Various burning rubber, plastics, fabrics and lubricants tend to really dirty up the atmosphere).

See: French Calm As Cars Burn

I a somewhat surprised the French have not cracked down on this on going Car-B-Q.

One wonders if there is some monetary reward for burning cars (ie., insurance fraud).

Who pays for the dousing, towing and clean up of these burned out cars?

I know somebody has to foot the bill.

1/03/2008 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...


As to solar being a space hog-I think that the deserts will become major solar energy producers. As to load balancing I think that Citizenre's net metering might be the answer. They're looking to turn the electrical grid into a giant battery. There's already a solar thermal plant in Nevada that's working to store electrical energy in thermal salt.

So stuff is happening. But the difference between our takes might be the difference of 10 years vs 5 rather than 25 years vs 5.

1/03/2008 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Janis Joplin's song is funny because its theology is bass ackwards.
She came from a texas town that understood something about theology. So she understood the humor. Trouble is most people who enjoy Joplin don't know anything about theology--much less live by it. So Joplin's words are gospel. But this is what Jesus said.

The Sign of Jonah
38Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you."

39He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

1/03/2008 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

"Mercedes Benz"
Janis Joplin

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?
Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me.
I wait for delivery each day until three,
So oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town?
I’m counting on you, Lord, please don’t let me down.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends,
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

1/03/2008 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

For some years I have thought these two quotes from 2 Chronicles and Matthew 6 were two ways of saying the same thing.

2 Chronicles 1:7-12 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."

8 Solomon answered God, "You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?"

11 God said to Solomon, "Since this is your heart's desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have."

Matthew 6:27-33 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)

27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[a]?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

1/03/2008 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Charles, you gonna do a pompous analysis of "Marsey Doats" for us next? Otherwise also known as "Mares Eat Oats" for those seeking hidden hexish messages.

So Joplin's words are gospel. But this is what Jesus said.

Can you tell me how your literal adherance and interpretation of the Bible is any worse or better than a jihadist's interpretation of the Koran? In both cases, they're re-re-re-interpretations and translations of an oral history handed down over generations.

If *you* want to claim it's the one and only truth that YOU choose to live your life by, fine. But leave Janis and the rest of us heretics alone, please. Thank you very much.

1/03/2008 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

So Joplin's words are gospel. But this is what Jesus said.

Can you tell me how your literal adherance and interpretation of the Bible is any worse or better than a jihadist's interpretation of the Koran?
Hey I love Janis. I listened to her in high school & college.

But what happens when envy turns bitter ....between cousins say.... who kill people as cheerfully as farmers kill chickens. 100 years ago the Waziris and the Mehsuds were one tribe but they split apart. The Waziris were dominant so the Mehsuds joined with the pakistani government and sent their sons to the gulf where they repatriated a lot of money to their families in Waziristan. This wealth and power tipped the balance in favor of the Mehsuds so the Waziris raised up a leader who called the Mehsuds apostates and cut them down to size. Now both are more and/or less on the side of Al Qaeda. This is what bitter envy does.

Janis envy is charming.

But this guy's version of janis's tune is not quite so charming.

Here's a Mercedes commercial that takes off on Janis's tune that I think is pretty good commercial

1/03/2008 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

Solar, wind, wave and tidal energy are all inconsistent. With solar and tidal you can at least predict some of the variation. But this means all of them absolutely require energy storage to smooth out the fluctuations.

And they are all diffuse, so large collectors are needed. Vinod Khosla recently claimed that "Three percent of the land area of Morocco could support all of the electricity for Western Europe,". What he didn't mention is that would be the same area as a square 115 km on a side.

1/03/2008 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Bottom line is that so-called "renewable energy" is not green -- not if adopted on a large enough scale to make a difference.

To get 24/7 power out of variable solar & wind would require (a) very large energy storage, and (b) much expanded transmission. Talking about the grid as "a giant battery" is simply dreaming.

Useless snippet -- since the dawn of the nuclear age, more human beings have been killed in dam collapses than in nuclear power plant problems. Relevant because pumped water storage is the only large-scale commercially-proven energy storage system.

What would be the environmental impact of taking TeraWatts of energy out of the wind? Remember, wind is climate. The topic has received little study, but preliminary indications are that it would have a significant effect.

We should use the proven post-fossil technology we have today -- nuclear fission -- while continuing research into other sources of energy which might eventually be competitive.

And no, we cannot artificially stimulate competitiveness by taxing the successful energy sources highly enough.

1/03/2008 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

For some reason, my husband subscribed to Conde Nast recently. The first issue we received was a big old thing on "ecotourism," which immediately made me want to go to every place with a big red X rating - the pomposity of the piece was astonishing. Calling up a little hotel somewhere in Africa (oh, by the way, fly to Africa during the day, not at night - nighttime contrails create more clouds, which are bad, dontcha know) and asking them if they're "green," and if so, in what way(s) they're green, lest you withhold your vacation dollars... My mind boggled, at any rate.

1/03/2008 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Vinod Khosla has invested in NanoH2O and Quos two companies which are set to chop the cost of desalination in half or more. I think costs of desalination & transport will drop to 1/10 current costs in under 10 years. The consequence of this will be that it will become economically feasible to turn the deserts of the world green & double the size of the planet.
This stuff is baked into the reasearch tools currently available.

The real dreamers are the guys at NASA talking about terraforming mars and building the space infrastructure to go there.

1/03/2008 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Solar energy is not the complete answer but with the prices coming down and technology improving it holds promise.

The Empress and I are in building a house. I looked at photo-voltaics. The new class of thin film material do not require reinforced roof structures and can be made to mimic traditional shingles, they roll out and fasten on. They do not require direct light.

When analyzing the payback period I discovered such a system would payback in about seven years or so and I am going on insolation data from Milwaukee WI (I live about an hour-1/2 north of Milwaukee). I assume 25% conversion in that and some of the papers out there assume 35%, I could not find the specific number for the material we would likely go with. Also, such estimation does not include a few other things (grid interface, PV substrate), so I would guess at most to add another three years, still it is getting close.

Now, does solar have inherent problems, sure solar will not make the need for coal and nuclear go away, but it would make a huge dent if every house was pumping out a KWatt or two during the daylight.

1/03/2008 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Charles' interpretation of scripture is spot on. Do what is right for right's sake, do what you love for the love of it and material rewards will follow.

Too many people think doing what is right is a fool's thing and scripture is only for Sunday mornings (if even that). Doing what is right pays in the end everywhere and at all times.

Doing wrong may be expedient but in the end it comes back to haunt one.

1/03/2008 06:29:00 PM  

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