published Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Mr. Clean Coal

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about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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sandyonsignal said...

Great depiction. Nothing clean about him. Thank you for this cartoon.

January 27, 2011 at 4:15 a.m.
trburrows said...

CLAY one of the funny cartoons from you. thanks

January 27, 2011 at 5:29 a.m.
woody said...

Can anyone say "oxymoron?" Sounds like something a conman would offer.

I am "smirk/frowning", Woody

January 27, 2011 at 6:14 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

Woody's right: clean coal is an oxymoron. There is no such thing as clean coal even though the coal industries advertise it. Clay did a realistic visual for all of us.

I was disheartened during the SOTU speech when President Obama spoke about his vision for our future. Then proceeded to talk about dirty energy like coal and oil. When he mentioned "clean coal" that undermined everything in his speech. There is no such thing as clean coal and he knows it. Hard to be inspired by the rest of it after that. Here's his words:

"But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. (Applause.) It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. (Applause.) It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. "

January 27, 2011 at 7:01 a.m.
EaTn said...

This would make a great depiction to put on our state border welcome signs, with East Tennessee being ranked high in the nation for air pollution and related illnesses. Adding a filter mask would make it more appropriate.

January 27, 2011 at 7:31 a.m.
fairmon said...

Clean coal technology is still a concept and does not address the mining and transportation safety and health issues. Nuclear and natural gas are currently the only two viable energy alternatives but not without their own unique issues. Solar becomes more competitive when gas reaches $5.00 or more per gallon which it will do in the not too distant future. Increased gas prices are a severe tax on those in the middle and lower income brackets. Jim Rogers has become wealthy investing on the premise that the U.S. government will not act until there is a major crisis. He is currently predicting rising prices and investing in food commodities and oil.

The government advocates government funded and controlled R&D through grants and other throw money at it concepts they call investing. Grants provide an incentive to keep working on something and getting more tax money to continue being employed working on a concept. The government would be better served if they provided incentives and offers of fast track patten protection on break through technology by private and publicly owned entities. Why not encourage R&D by M.I.T., Harvard, Yale and other scholars and industry to get to work on energy technology with rewards of pattens and protection for low cost viable alternatives. The potential of becoming mega wealthy will give these entities plenty of incentive to invest in R&D in the energy arena.

Eliminate all oil company subsidies and tax loop holes then provide them significantly reduced tax rates on lower cost, domestically produced clean energy alternatives. They have the money and manpower, give them the incentive.

January 27, 2011 at 7:42 a.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Well, Well, Well, Amazing how we all have a gas tank and we all have an electric meter. But somewhere in between turning then on and paying the bill we have suddenly discovered that there is a price to pay well beyond the upfront cost. The genius of the American Public is non existent. Perhaps, just perhaps if the Trillion dollar stimulus was spent to help Americans properly insulate homes, adding heat pumps to every home and demanding the end to gas guzzlers on the road now, not tomorrow, we could see a speck of light at the end of the tunnel. I can hear the 80 IQ folks screaming now. I don't want government telling me what to drive or what to do. Well the thruth is some Americans need to be protected from themselves. It should be very obvious that many lack the skills needed to plan and balance a checkbook. Our government resembles that remark also. It's no wonder students lack these basic skills. The people in Washington lack this very skillset!! Dirty, filthy, nasty coal is here to stay. Find a way to use less. Much less!! Big business is not your friend, but coal is.

January 27, 2011 at 7:48 a.m.
Francis said...

replace coal and oil with what?....oh, it's all so dirty and evil...if not for oil we'd be walking around barely clothed eating berries. 'dirty energy"...what a joke. you libs are ingrates...

what do you propose...what are you going to replace them with....stupid "green energy"....idiocy.

you want less waste and better standards...fine.. who doesn't...but to try and portray oil and coal as evil is absurd and typical of liberal whining.

January 27, 2011 at 8:15 a.m.

Francis, you are the only one who has mentioned "evil". I think your argument could also be made for the idiocy of portraying coal as "clean". Your name-calling and sensational rhetorical devices undermine your argument and are typical of your whining.

Just because "dirty energy" helped us in the past and continues to do so, does not mean we shouldn't investigate alternatives. Investigating alternatives does not make us ingrates.

January 27, 2011 at 8:57 a.m.
fairmon said...


You are right. Oil and coal are not evil and they are the reason we experienced the industrial revolution, middle class America and the prosperity of many. Oil and coal are what we have now and government will not be the source of alternative energy sources. Government can provide incentives and not interfere with those that will discover safe, clean and cheaper made here options.

I wonder if some people realize how their food, clothing and shelter is manufactured, transported and made so convenient for them. Until other alternatives are viable we better conserve and use what we have wisely.

January 27, 2011 at 8:58 a.m.
trburrows said...

harp, francis both are right on. oil and coal has given us everything we have that we like and it will not change anytime in the long future/till it runs out.

January 27, 2011 at 9:41 a.m.
bret said...

I'm surprised nobody has commented yet on the Jared Loughner similarity.

January 27, 2011 at 10:37 a.m.
blackwater48 said...

Trburrows wrote, "both (harp and francis) are right on. oil and coal has given us everything we have that we like and it will not change anytime in the long future/till it runs out."

People burned a lot of wood before o & c and there was probably a lot of talk back then about about how oil and coal could never replace wood. That fossil fuel sources were novel but impractical and too expensive. They were just another whacked out liberal fantasy aimed at expanding the power of the federal government. But oil and coal eventually DID replace wood as a viable energy source and helped power the industrial revolution.

Doesn't make it clean, but it does mean that the future is in alternative fuels, conservation, and innovation.

January 27, 2011 at 10:47 a.m.
alprova said...

Without naming names, it's kinda clear to me anyway, that some people are not smart enough to understand that there are such things as sources of energy that will never replenish themselves, and the time to be looking for alternative sources that are far kinder to Mother Earth, is now.

When our current sources of energy do start running out, it will be too late. The world will be screwed, unless we are ready in all ways to convert to alternative sources of energy.

Permit me to be a little harsh, but you geniuses who endorse coal and oil, for reasons that they have served this nation well in the past are among the short-sighted. Neither are under the ground in infinite supply.

People and private enterprise over the years have produced viable ideas and products that were clear solutions and alternatives, only to be shut down just about every time, bought out and their ideas and products shelved, because those who produce energy products now are not going to sit still and allow anyone to cut into their bottom line, for so much as a penny.

The GM EV-1 is a perfect example. That nearly perfect solution as a viable transportation alternative was yanked from the market for many reasons, the main one in my opinion, being that it was so good, that little money could be made on the vehicle after the sale.

Coal is cheap, but nuclear energy is clean and it has served this country well for six decades. Despite that simple fact, and a relatively safe record, nuclear energy accounts for only 19% of the world's electricity.

I could easily adopt a non-caring attitude, for I will be dead and gone when all of this will come to a head. But like most people, I will have descendants who will have to deal with the fallout by some rather selfish interests, who care not one bit who suffers, so long as they can make lots of money for as long as possible before those two energy sources are all taken from underground.

I say screw them and their supporters too. Stand aside all you people with tunnel vision. Some of us have 180 degree peripheral vision and know well what needs to be done for this and all other nations.

January 27, 2011 at 10:48 a.m.
trburrows said...

When our current sources of energy do start running out, it will be too late. The world will be screwed, unless we are ready in all ways to convert to alternative sources of energy.

this is sooooo stupid. no one knows when or IF it will run out. crazy a ss liberal thinging. proved my point again didn't you alprova/bs

January 27, 2011 at 10:57 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

"this is sooooo stupid. no one knows when or IF it will run out. crazy a ss liberal thinging. proved my point again didn't you alprova/bs"

Actually, trburrows, it's your stupidity that's showing.

January 27, 2011 at 11:25 a.m.
trburrows said...

your just like alprova, bs, now backup, no proof.

January 27, 2011 at 11:29 a.m.
Clara said...

Ikeithlu, And HOW! Cripes!

Do you think some of these people have crawled out of the coal mines and oil fields, and not caught on that 100 years have passed?

January 27, 2011 at 11:36 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

trburrows, you think God is going to poof some more fossil fuels into the earth's crust? The biggest reserves are in the Middle East, and even they will run out some day. Since they formed over millions of years, they are not being replenished.

January 27, 2011 at 11:45 a.m.
Clara said...

Woody, I agree that it is an oxymoron! I'm old enough to remember coal stoves, coal chutes, boilers, stink, ashes that had to be carried out in garbage cans, etc. That was on a personal level.

Not to forget the horrible working conditions of the miners that still exist.

Wind, Wave, and Solar!!!! Huzzah!

January 27, 2011 at 11:46 a.m.
trburrows said...

says who

January 27, 2011 at 11:46 a.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Alpo, your correct as to the limits of everything. Nuclear is a very viable source of electricity. We enjoy it right here at home. I don't know how much more we can support here year round with limited cooling sources and the restrictions on them. I believe our president missed an opportunity to go down in history among the greats. If sitmulus money was combined with unemployment and welfare funds and these people were given jobs to build and maintain infrastructure and alternative energy sources we would be well on our way to providing our children a future. Social Security would still have funds to continue, tax revenues would be up and the country would be at a comfortable hum. Paychecks instead of handouts. You don't work, you don't eat. Insteat we chose to allow people to sit and be paid without purpose or a real chance to return to an American Dream. Also the reason we still use coal is because it is cheap. Remember the big stink over installing scrubbers on coal burners. It was that stupid Bush guy. Wasn't it?? Clean diesel has made a big difference in air quality also. We are doing better. We still have to compete with the rest of the world and they are not concerned with their air or water at the moment. So help us all with your accounting knowledge and tell us where is the money going to come from. I'm still waiting for a response from a few about our Social Security Insecurity. Please coddle me in your brilliant arms and tell me everything will be OK. I love fairytales. Especially at bedtime. Perhaps you could bring me a Hot Toddy too.

January 27, 2011 at 12:11 p.m.
pmcauley said...

Just a question... if some of the posters, not mentioning any names, held their breath; would they be anoxymorons?

$0.02 PM

January 27, 2011 at 12:33 p.m.
trburrows said...


you nailed it. if obama had used the trillions on us instead of cars and sally mays and real estate and banks and wall street we would be in great shape. but he is a stupid socilist sec and cant see past today. bush is not the problem. its the congress not the pres.

January 27, 2011 at 12:36 p.m.
EaTn said...

As dirty as coal is I still appreciate the electricity it generated this cold winter to help me stay warm. Most of the so-called renewable energy like ethanol is a joke-- consumes food producing land and fossil fuel to convert to the end product. Other modern countries have fared well with nuclear energy but seems like it can't get past politics in this country. Wind and solar are dependent on the weather but may be good supplemental energy sources. As long as energy is a political football we will never have a sensible energy policy.

January 27, 2011 at 12:45 p.m.
pmcauley said...

trburrows: you seem to forget that

a: all this corporate plundering occurred on Bush's shift and

b: Obama carried on the bail-out that Bush started for Bush’s corporate bed-mates.

While my antipathy towards banks is boundless, had the bail-out not happened the ramifications would have been unbelievable? The banks made reckless loans with foolishly unrealistic mortgages and we, and the rest of the world, has to pay for it. While they putter off in their Yachts, when they are not flying to the congressional meetings in their private jets, we are paying the checks.


January 27, 2011 at 12:55 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Hey pm, just grow a sack and name some names!! Or are you one of those who bets on a loser and then goes and wants to blame everyone else. You see them at the racetrack,Vegas and the counter next to the lottery machine. Oh, thats right. Those are the losers that tell you how they always win. The others are seldom seen returning to the polling place after the fact. Your in the south. Your supposed to say "I'm just sayin." What is this 2 cent chump stuff?

January 27, 2011 at 12:59 p.m.
trburrows said...

a: you are wrong and stupid. it did not happen on bush's shift. it started on clintons shift. o is the reason we are here today. end of story

January 27, 2011 at 1:04 p.m.
hambone said...

What's in the future?

When I look into the future I see

a Lexus pulled by four Alpacas!

January 27, 2011 at 1:11 p.m.
pmcauley said...

trburrows: Irrefutable counter argument. I concede.


January 27, 2011 at 1:11 p.m.
hambone said...

Six if you get the delux model!

January 27, 2011 at 1:15 p.m.
pmcauley said...

whatsthefuss: curiously defensive.

The race track betting references are too esoteric for my little mind.

$0.01 (I don't want to waste the extra penny) pm

January 27, 2011 at 1:17 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Most of the word's coal and oil has been/is being consumed by about 1.5 billion people. Now we have several billion more people breaking out of a low energy existence. Demand is soaring at several percent a year just as existing sources are peaking in production capacity. New oil discoveries have not kept up with consumption growth for three decades.

The worlds biggest oil fields,often called elephants,have almost all passed maximum production and are producing less each year. No new elephants have been found that can be reasonably accessed. Growth in synthetics like Canada's and Venezuela's syncrude combined with energy negative ethanol have been able to mask the extent of the shortages we face in the immediate future.

Production of conventional oil peaked in 2006 and is in a bit of a plateau and then...

US debt and the diminishing US dollar are giving the emerging economies an opening to compete favorably for the the world's oil supplies. Only a recession/depression suppressing demand can avoid strong up-moves in price.

Coal to liquid,while a long known technology,will never fill the gap from diminishing oil availability. It won't happen.

Natural gas offers promise,but we are just learning about the ecological downside to fracking. That may well limit availability of natural gas.

Concentrated solar and nuclear,at this point,seem the most hopeful souces for electricity over the long haul. For liquid fuels we simply have to use less.

Alprova will face the oil delemma during his lifetime unless he is near death now.

For over a hundred years oil has powered an amazing period in industrial and population growth. The question before us is how we adapt to a world with reduced availability and higher priced oil. It is here,it is now.

The Chinese have horrid coal caused pollution,but to their credit they are moving full speed ahead with wind,solar,and nuclear power. They are preparing for the future as we should be.

Clean coal is but a chimera.

January 27, 2011 at 1:23 p.m.
alprova said...

trburrows wrote: "you are wrong and stupid. it did not happen on bush's shift. it started on clintons shift. o is the reason we are here today. end of story"

The true end of the story is that arguing with people like you, who have no inclination to do any research to get to the truth or to learn the facts surrounding anything that interests them, is a complete waste of time.

You're far more comfortable being ignorant, for whatever reason. Enjoy!!

January 27, 2011 at 1:24 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

pm, I guess if you have never been taken to the track by a faithful follower of "I'm going to hit it big" and wandered into their territory by betting $20 to win on the 4 horse in the 4th race and coming up short it may elude you. I remember wondering what happened while my friend boasts of his huge rewards. I guess it's like a fisherman always catching the big one unless you are along for the trip. Then the weather, wind or tide seem to suddenly come into play. Go listen to the SOTU speach one more time and let me know if you hear about any fishing stories. I'm BETTING even you can wrap your little mind around one or two.

January 27, 2011 at 3:18 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Oh I forgot. I'm just sayin!

January 27, 2011 at 3:20 p.m.
woody said...

Pm, I believe you meant to say..if some of the posters here held their breath long enough would that make them oxygen-deprived morons??

And the answer is most assuredly yes. Just trying to help..Correct me if I am wrong....

An aside to Alprova..back in my insurance peddling days I was taught one really valuable lesson..It is possible to overcome anything but ignorance. God help them....

Breathing deeply, Woody

January 27, 2011 at 3:22 p.m.
steve_smith_tn said...

Just go ahead and outlaw fire. Its dirty.

January 27, 2011 at 3:26 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

woody got his feelings hurt. AAWWWWW

January 27, 2011 at 3:30 p.m.
woody said...

Hey there WTF..I haven't a clue to what you are talking about, but I can state for the would take someone with more 'know-how' than most here to hurt my feelings or anything else for that matter.

Unflappable, Woody

January 27, 2011 at 3:49 p.m.
nurseforjustice said...

I have to say that this cartoon is really a good one.

And it is really scarry to say that I agree with quite a bit of you (espeically Alprova) regarding this issue. It would be ridiculous to assume that our natural resources (c&o) will last forever. Or even if they could replenish themselves, could they do it at the pace we are consuming them. I too am for the R&D of alternative sources of energy and get excited when I see new developments.

I do find it hard to imagine there would be such a thing as "clean coal." If there is, I would be very interested to see the process and its results.

And I have a geological question, maybe one lkeith could answer, or anyone else for that matter. If we do deplete the underground wells of oil and natural gas, would it or could it cause a seismic shift destroying the surface?

Just pondering

January 27, 2011 at 3:55 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

It's a good question nurse. Although subsidence varies with local geology and the resource being extracted, it is an issue. In some cases oil (which is found in porous rock) is replaced by water, often pumped in to float the oil higher and make drilling deeper unnecessary. Geologists are interested in this issue for lots of reasons:

January 27, 2011 at 4:04 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Finally someone writes WTF. Applause, Applause!! This has to be a first. An unflappable woody. Your a better man than me. Hey, here is a clue. My wife accuses me of showing signs of Alzheimer's. Perhaps you are moving in that direction too. Go back and read your 3:22 post. And to think you hawked insurance. I had you pegged for a used car salesman. Please just check one more time and see about that unflappable thing. You could be the envy of all men!!!

January 27, 2011 at 4:15 p.m.
pmcauley said...

Wow whatsthefuss, really angling for a fight.

I don't remember who first said it but...

"Never mud wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and only the pig enjoys it."

Just sayin’, oh anoxic one.

January 27, 2011 at 4:15 p.m.
nucanuck said...


I,ve read several articles contending that real damage has been done under the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. The contention is that the pressure is so great at depth that disturbances may have severe unintended consequences,and,yes,domes could collapse. Supposedly there is a lot of ooze going on now that is probably man made/caused and over time will endanger all life in the Gulf and beyond.

True or not,I don't know. That's above my pay grade.

January 27, 2011 at 4:15 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Come on pm, Put em up. Put em up. You must be getting the Alzheimers like woody. Don't you remember, You said it first. Listen kids, my boys just got off the bus so it's time to jump on the trampoline and play Star Wars with the kids. See you in the sandbox tomorrow. Remember what Thumpers dad said. If you ain't got nothin nice to say, shut the __ up. I'm still having a hard time imagining an unflappable woody though. But that's my problem, now isn't it. Where is my Social Insecurity??? Anyone.

January 27, 2011 at 4:24 p.m.
pmcauley said...

Have a good time with the boys. Same sandbox, same place.


January 27, 2011 at 4:29 p.m.
steve_smith_tn said...

Don't just outlaw fire and dirty coal. Outlaw geologists too. They are also dirty. They put holes into the bosom of Mother Earth. She doesn't like to be drilled. She doesn't like exploratory shafts and long probes. It isn't "clean." lol

Its funny. Dirt and dirty are words actually foreign to coal combustion and mining. Geologists call the stuff you move out of the way "overburden." Likewise, the combustion products of coal do not include mud or silt or soil or "dirt."

I guess we want to think of the world as a Pottery Barn store. Everything must be beautiful, clean, trendy. There used to be a backlash against the "Norman Rockwell whitewash" of society. I see old Norman is still alive and well though. Every energy company and car commercial and non-profit 501(c)(3) group incorporated in Oregon and California is awash with images of polar bears, crystal clear waterfalls and dew covered, green leaves.


Most every thing you touch is either mined from the Earth by big dirty machines that belch diesel fumes or grown on an industrial farm out of dirt covered with organo-phosphate fertilizers and pesticides. Everything, including your body, is covered in bacteria, fungi and/or synthetic chemicals.

Because of that "dirtiness," you have a life expectancy and standard of living that is incomparable to any other society past or present. You have the time to pine away about some mythical "lost cleanliness" on a website instead of nervously hunting wild game or digging woodland tubers and tree roots in an effort to avoid starvation.

So stop whining about "dirty." I like it. Life is more interesting because of it. More "dirty" please.

January 27, 2011 at 4:51 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Nucanuck said: "The Chinese have horrid coal caused pollution,but to their credit they are moving full speed ahead with wind,solar,and nuclear power. They are preparing for the future as we should be."

The States of Texas and Iowa are also moving right along with wind-generated power – with the State of Texas being number one. I've read that they broke the 10,000 megawatt barrier last year, and that wind-generated power now accounts for approximately 8 percent of the power on the State’s eletric grid, which is three times the national average.

Apparently, wind-generated power could be moving even faster in Texas, but there is not enough room on the wires to move the power to some of the big cities. The Texans don’t have any problems with the wind turbines, but some of its residents are complaining about the high voltage lines:

“Texas’ current infrastructure doesn’t allow for the wind market to expand and without the installation — or expansion — of high voltage lines, they’ll probably have to relinquish their spot as the state with the most wind power generation. Texas residents have vigorously fought almost every new proposed high voltage power line, stating that new transmission lines will ruin the state’s natural beauty — so will the pollution from coal fired power plants and drilling for oil, but you pick your battles, right? The powerful once-oilman, now turned green energy advocate, T. Boone Pickens was even thwarted, his $12 billion wind farm in the panhandle had to be cancelled after residents blocked his ability to install new transmission lines.

January 27, 2011 at 4:56 p.m.
fairmon said...

It is very likely the best future energy sources are not yet known. Today's wind and Solar technology may be supplemental at best. Nuclear is the current best source but the sudden death potential scares people more than the slow death from fossil fuel emissions.

The disagreement I have with Alprova and others is their contention that the government should fund and control the R&D. The government and people would be better served to encourage and reward those with the resources and ability to create and develop better alternatives usable in an efficient and effective manner. Provide those scholars with the right incentives and avoid government interference and the next generation will not be dependent on fossil fuels or use their food for fuel.

Politicians are very much like those of us here. Just enough knowledge about energy sources and alternatives to be dangerous. Our congress is embedded with idiots through out that think they have some super intelligence and they will opine on any subject as though their utterances were divine knowledge.

Can anyone here name one thing the government does well at a reasonable cost? My experience with the government is they would screw up a two car funeral and hold it up for days. The military is an exception, they do what they are supposed to do very well but at an extremely high cost.

January 27, 2011 at 5:11 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

"Limits of Growth" by the Club of Rome circa 1972.

Gold deposits will be depleted by 1981. Silver and mercury deposits be depleted by 1985.
Zinc will be depleted by 1990. Peak oil production by 2000.

Did anyone notice any of these things actually happen?

I must have missed 'em.

We have a few hundred years worth of coal right here under the U.S.

Peak oil is wildly over hyped. We aren't even close yet. There are potentially huge untapped resources being explored, and new technologies to exploit them coming on line constantly.

I wonder, do all the whiners here quit eating food out of your fridge when the fridge is still more than half full, and start paying outrageous prices for food substitutes?

When the fuel tank in your car reaches 1/2 tank do you start pushing it by hand to conserve the rest?

When drinking a glass of milk do you set it aside when it is half gone, to save it for future generations?

The stone age did not end due to a lack of stones.

The bronze age did not end due to a lack of copper and tin.

The use of whale oil did not end due to the extinction of whales.

In all these scenarios, something better was discovered, invented, and/or exploited.

When someone comes up with a better way to power our society, we will leave the fossil fuel age, and move onto the next, better, technology.

Nuclear technology is the best we've come up with to date, but the greenie scaremongering of the '70s and '80s has hamstrung that course of action.

Solar and wind will only ever amount to a tiny fraction of energy production. It is too diffuse, terribly expensive to collect, and consistently intermittent to boot.

Just my $0.003 worth. (Inflation, ya know)

January 27, 2011 at 6:03 p.m.
Clara said...
January 27, 2011 at 6:35 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Steve_Smith_TN said: “Every energy company and car commercial and non-profit 501(c)(3) group incorporated in Oregon and California is awash with images of polar bears, crystal clear waterfalls and dew covered, green leaves.”

And, then, there are the real life images created by the for-proft coal industries - the kind of reality images resulting mountain top removal coal mining, for example.

Of course, there is nothing pretty about poisoned streams and groundwater, toxic blackwater spills, sludge dams, sludge flooding, and poisoned ecosystems. Nope, they're just dirty and deadly.

January 27, 2011 at 6:39 p.m.
fairmon said...

Therefore ml your solution is? I am glad to know you are not a user of energy that requires the burning coal or oil and causing all that mess you very accurately described. How will we go about resolving the issue? Will we just look to government to do the research and development or will we insist they incentivize those with the resources and wisdom to get on with it? The offer of patten protection and a return on investment is a tremendous motivator. People with the knowledge, skill and ability will invest and take risk if they are confident they can recover and benefit from their efforts.

January 27, 2011 at 6:53 p.m.
Clara said...
January 27, 2011 at 7:08 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Scottym,many seems to have their own interpretation of peak oil. I believe it to be when conventional oil depletion rates cause conventional oil production to hit a maximum daily figure that is not subsequently exceeded. Many oil people believe that figure was reached in 2005-2006,but several more years may go by before we know for sure. US oil production peaked about 1970 and world production was projected to peak by King Hubbert in 2000. He was roundly laughed at,at the time. It now seems that he was pretty close. If you have seen his projected bell curve and read Matt Simmons "Twilight in the Desert",you will see a compelling case for the peak oil concept.

It has nothing to do with running out of oil and everything to do with a peaking in production capability. Well flow rates slow over time and even if they still hold lots of oil,it will flow slower and slower as the well field ages. In addition,most of the newly discovered fields,while exciting, are much smaller than the elephant fields from the easy days of oil. Much of that oil will be so expensive to extract that it is not yet practical to drill. We aren't finding easy oil.

Because the US is more dependent than any other country on oil,our economy is the most at risk.

Oil availability and price may rival debt for the biggest obsticle to a long term economic recovery.

January 27, 2011 at 7:26 p.m.
nucanuck said...


If we wait until the price of oil is high enough to warrant alternatives,we would almost certainly be in crisis before new technologies came on line. There has to be a transition period when uneconomic pursuits must be funded and some,maybe many,will fail. That seems a worthy investment for tax payer dollars.

January 27, 2011 at 7:36 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...


The U.S.'s oil availability problems are directly due to government restrictions.

Right now, as I write, oil production is almost completely shutdown in the Gulf of Mexico by executive fiat.

Millions of square miles of national lands and millions more offshore are placed "out-of-bounds" by greenie stupidity.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government "loans" billions to Oblabla's buddy Soro's favorite investment, Petrobas, to exploit Brazil's offshore reserves.

The only "oil problem" we have, is those, like you, who believe in silly Malthusian ideas choking off the supply.

I do agree that petroleum is NOT an inexhaustible resource.

When we see oil prices dramatically rise without some definable influence, then we'll know we may be half way to the end. It hasn't happened yet. I've seen no evidence to show that is will happen anytime soon.

One could always hedge and purchase gobs of XOM.

The U.S. is more dependent on oil than any other country simply because our national economy is three times the size of the next largest national economy.

January 27, 2011 at 7:57 p.m.
steve_smith_tn said...

There have always been those with a crusader mentality. What bigger damsel in distress than the whole Earth. What we have are fairy tale heroes in a make believe struggle with the rest of us "exploiters." If people really, truly believed that our collective conduct, or even certain individual conduct was "destroying" the Earth, maybe they should emulate Ted Kaczynski. Thankfully, deep down, the green movement doesn't take its own hyperbolic rhetoric seriously. I wonder why they believe the rest of us will.

January 27, 2011 at 8:12 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

We also consume more energy per capita than any other country. Bigger cars, bigger houses, less public transport, goods transported from central locations by truck, more electrical gadgets, more streetlights, more stores open overnight, you can go on and on.

January 27, 2011 at 8:30 p.m.
blackwater48 said...

America has an insatiable thirst for petroleum and we do not have enough available in our domestic reserves. I suppose a lot of you believe Bush was right to go after the Iraqi oil fields.

Here's a real Sputnik moment: some of the billions of dollars we are sending to the middle east for oil is ending up in the hands of terrorists who want to kill us. I don't know how to state that any more plainly.

Too many yahoos gripe and complain about the tree huggers undermining our economy, but they see no problem in funding al-qaeda. If we all demand an end to the importation of middle east oil, we would have an instant market for alternative fuel technologies.

Innovation leads to creation which leads to manufacturing which leads to more employment and this Country starts to turn around.

Why are you guys backing a bunch of rag heads? We could be leading the world if we all made it loud and clear that we're sick of importing Arab oil.

Not in 20 years, right now.

January 27, 2011 at 8:45 p.m.
Clara said...

In previous comments at 6:35 p.m. and 7:08 p.m., I offered possibilities for the future.

Most of you seem stuck in going in circles in your own arguments and not listening or reading.

Either that or you find it too difficult to assimilate what is offered.

As another aside, it has been revealed, and some of you have already read, vast improvement in the fabrication of Solar Panels has resulted in less power loss and more efficiency.

As always in new concepts, R&D takes time and money, and the oil and coal organizations are wanting every drop and chunk of their resources and gains to stay within their grasp.

It happened with HARP. Oh go look it up!

January 27, 2011 at 9:14 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...


"Thankfully, deep down, the green movement doesn't take its own hyperbolic rhetoric seriously. I wonder why they believe the rest of us will."

They think we are all stupid.


Most of that sounds like a higher standard of living and greater freedom to succeed to me. We've no need to apologize for that.

FWIW, my car and my house are both quite small, though I could have bigger ones if I wanted. I can't stand the way big cars drive, and I HATE to clean house, it has nothing to do with eco-guilt.


"I suppose a lot of you believe Bush was right to go after the Iraqi oil fields."

Doesn't seem to be what actually happened, eh?

The majority of our imported oil comes from Canada. I don't think there are many terrorist up there. (Present company included, nn.)

Next up, Mexico. Now there are some bad guys down there, but they just want to sell us drugs to go along with our oil habit.

Next up, Saudi Arabia, the king of which your guy Odumdum bowed before when they first met.

"If we all demand an end to the importation of middle east oil, we would have an instant market for alternative fuel technologies."

And lacking greater domestic production, a fully crashed economy. Not a mid-size recession hyped up to end of the world scenarios like the last one, a real honest to goodness crash of the entire works.

"rag heads"

Nice. Racist much?

January 27, 2011 at 9:21 p.m.
hambone said...

Nuclear powerhouses are like prisons, everybody says we need them.

But they all say NOT IN MY BACKYARD!

January 27, 2011 at 9:32 p.m.
steve_smith_tn said...


That is the best argument against doing nothing. The reason to do something has nothing to do with trees or pansies or saving whales. Its about defunding an arab horde bent on spreading sharia. Simply by ending oil subsidies (a market based solution) private parties will innovate. And there is no such thing as domestic oil. Every drop is sold on an international market. Continued participation in that market funds the spread of sharia law.

But this cartoon is about coal. That is an energy source that makes the same power as hydroelectric dams and solar panels. It powers light bulbs and electric cars just like nuclear plants. Its readily available. It is on property owned by Americans. It employs Americans. Of course there are byproducts to its combustion. Those byproducts can be minimized to whatever extent the public is willing to pay. Carbon offsets and sequestration, particulate capture, sulfur dioxide minimization are all technologies that can be forced upon the industry and concomitantly upon the consumers electric bill.

And taking your argument a little further - I don't think a coal executive has ever taken down an airliner. But heck, its so much fun to buy into this "clean" mantra. We all know how "clean" the manufacture of photovoltaic cells is. We all know how "clean" nuclear waste is. We all know how clean giant wind turbines make our rural skylines.

Again. I like dirty. Give me more dirty. You can clean up dirt easier than something with a half life of hundreds of thousands of years. You can clean up dirt easier than radical muslim fundamentalism. Dirt is much easier to deal with than the ruination of an entire Gulf of Mexico. Give me dirt. Besides, Mr. Clean has that strange earring and smile that gives me the creeps.

January 27, 2011 at 9:35 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...


If you dig into the numbers you'll find that the secret to the green fantasies of 100% renewable energy rest solely upon reducing energy use by approximately 75+% and spending double+ the money.

Try it at your house and see how it goes. Be sure to end the experiment before you freeze to death and/or go completely broke, 'cause we all love you.

We've poured billions of dollars down the renewable energy drain over the last 30+ years and have nothing to show for it but a few fancy solar farms and wind farms which produce a fraction of the energy they are rated for and are abandoned in situ as soon as the government subsidies end.

From the linked article: "Using pricing to control peak demands, a tool that is used today, would also help."

This is what Odumdum was talking about when he said that under his plan power rates would "necessarily skyrocket".

If we can't afford the energy we need to heat our houses, there will be less demand for energy. TA-DA, Energy problem solved.

January 27, 2011 at 9:37 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...


I vote for Clara to be the “Energy Czar” on this thread. She’s provided us with a couple of excellent links with some good ideas:

“ScienceDaily (Jan. 27, 2011) — If someone told you there was a way you could save 2.5 million to 3 million lives a year and simultaneously halt global warming, reduce air and water pollution and develop secure, reliable energy sources -- nearly all with existing technology and at costs comparable with what we spend on energy today -- why wouldn't you do it?

According to a new study coauthored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson, we could accomplish all that by converting the world to clean, renewable energy sources and forgoing fossil fuels.

"Based on our findings, there are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources," said Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering. "It is a question of whether we have the societal and political will."

He and Mark Delucchi, of the University of California-Davis, have written a two-part paper in Energy Policy in which they assess the costs, technology and material requirements of converting the planet, using a plan they developed.

The world they envision would run largely on electricity. Their plan calls for using wind, water and solar energy to generate power, with wind and solar power contributing 90 percent of the needed energy.

Geothermal and hydroelectric sources would each contribute about 4 percent in their plan (70 percent of the hydroelectric is already in place), with the remaining 2 percent from wave and tidal power.”

January 27, 2011 at 9:46 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

hamboner says,

"But they all say NOT IN MY BACKYARD!"

Not me! I'd love to have a mini-nuke in my back yard.

I'd have more energy than I could ever use, and I could sell the surplus to 19,000+ of my best friends.

It would also be a lot safer than driving to the grocery store, just like all the full size nuclear plants we already have in place here in the U.S.

January 27, 2011 at 9:47 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...


It's a farce. Full of magical thinking, human suffering, and really bad math.

January 27, 2011 at 9:57 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Steve_Smith_TN said: "But this cartoon is about coal. . . Its readily available. It is on property owned by Americans. It employs Americans."

And what about wind-generated power? It’s on property owned by Americans and employs Americans. And it’s working so well in Texas it’s impacting natural gas on the grids. Texas does plan to continue taking full advantage of its abundant natural gas supplies as it is phasing out its old dirty coal plants, but for now wind-generated power is doing great on those grids:

"Obviously the wind is impacting gas," said John Fainter, the president of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas. Wind goes onto the grid before natural gas because the "fuel" of the wind is free, unlike that of natural gas plants — so it costs nothing to add more wind to the grid, when the wind is available. Gas units are also relatively easy to turn on and off — making it a good complement to the vagaries of wind power. In recent years, too, "A number of natural gas plants have been retired or mothballed," said Smitherman of the utility commission. For example NRG, a large energy-generation company that also owns Reliant Energy, said it had recently mothballed some of its natural gas units from the 1950s — meaning that they will stay turned off unless summertime demand spikes."

January 27, 2011 at 10:26 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

From the article linked by Clara and Mtnlrl,

"Aircraft would run on liquid hydrogen."

Lockheed Skunkworks tried that, it didn't work, and Kelly gave the money back to the government. They built the Blackbird instead.(Still holds the title of fastest air-breathing airplane) If Kelly Johnson and Ben Rich couldn't make it work, you can bet the farm that it's unworkable.

"The actual footprint required by wind turbines to power half the world's energy is less than the area of Manhattan."

"The Roscoe Wind Farm in Roscoe, Texas,...with 627 wind turbines and a total installed capacity of 781.5 MW...spans parts of four Texas counties and covers nearly 100,000 acres, several times the size of Manhattan.

"In 2008, total worldwide energy consumption was... equivalent to an average power consumption rate of 15 terawatts"

Oops! Missed that one by about six orders of magnitude.

Maybe they need to yank the windmill off their calculator and put a battery in it.

So much idiocy in such a small space. I'm surprised they haven't formed a black hole.

January 27, 2011 at 10:29 p.m.
steve_smith_tn said...


Texas has wind. And boy does it. Windmills are great. . . in Texas. . . and Kansas and Eastern Colorado. We don't have enough wind here and we can't transmit AC power from Texas all the way to Tennessee. We have to have regional power. Thus, coal. It isn't sexy. It isn't new fangled and glitzy. But it heats and pumps water to your shower. It powers operating rooms and classrooms. Is it without drawbacks, down sides and dangers? Of course not. But there is no miracle energy source that is harmless. Windmills are great. Solar cells are great. Green architecture is wonderful. But until we quit subsidizing oil with tax dollars and military troops, none of those things will amount to much more than trivialities. In the meantime, we've got coal. Nasty, dirty, black, wonderful, full of BTUs coal.

January 27, 2011 at 10:44 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

ScottyM Said: "So much idiocy . . . I'm surprised they haven't formed a black hole."

Since you are this thread's number one coal advocate, I'd say you're the one who is contributing to the formation of a black hole . . . along with the other dirty things that coal brings forth like poisoned groundwater, toxic blackwater spills, sludge dams, sludge flooding, and poisoned ecosystems.

January 27, 2011 at 10:50 p.m.
Clara said...

Scotty, why so negative? I don't see any human suffering, magical thinking or any math at all.

Thanks for your Hyperion site. I'd have room for it in my side yard but supplying 22,000 houses probably has a cost which is a bit much and not needed on my SS check.

How about a unit supplying around 30 houses. That would prevent a large area of failure in case it did go out.

I think Hyperion is thinking commercial and not private.

January 27, 2011 at 10:59 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...


"Simply by ending oil subsidies (a market based solution) private parties will innovate."

I agree with a lot of the things you post, but let's go ahead and kill this "oil subsidies" meme.

"over the past 25 years, oil companies directly paid or remitted more than $2.2 trillion in taxes, after adjusting for inflation, to federal and state governments—including excise taxes, royalty payments and state and federal corporate income taxes. That amounts to more than three times what they earned in profits during the same period, according to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and U.S. Department of Energy."

So government, at various levels, collects three dollars for every one dollar the oil companies make in profits. A 300% tax rate on the underlying commodity. That doesn't sound like a subsidy to me. It sounds like a business arrangement in which the oil companies (and we, the consumers) are getting hosed.

When we pay $3.50/gallon for gas, the oil company collects ~$0.35 in profits and various levels of government collects ~$1.05 in taxes.

Compare this with Evergreen Solar which recieved $43 million from the state of Mass. and then moved their factory to China. Nice.

January 27, 2011 at 11:02 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

There are a lot of people in this country who get rich on oil and coal. When those dollars begin to run out, they will find a new way to make the buck. However, why end a good thing if it makes a person a billionaire.

The sad thing is that most people don't even realize how they are being led around by the nose.

January 27, 2011 at 11:16 p.m.
nucanuck said...


If all the US restricted access were opened up,the worlds oil supply needle would barely move. At this point,demand does not drive supply. The remaining supply is either flowing more slowly (aging wells) or getting very expensive to access. The warning light is flashing.

Reduced availability and increasing price are already cooked into the books. Throw blame where ever you want,but that's a done deal. We don't know how high and how fast,but we know it will happen before we can develop substitutes. A reasonable guess would be an approaching crisis by 2016 or before.

Our houses,our cars,our sprall all combine to make it difficult for the US to reduce consumption enough to avoid pain. Canada has an evironmental nightmare with the oil sands. The US should not assume that Canada can or will ramp up production at will. Mexico is depleting so rapidly that they will only be able to supply themselves within a couple of more years. Other exporting nations are likely to begin to control exports to protect their long term supplies. We are entering a whole new energy environment and failure to recognize it and prepare for it will come at a dear price for the whole country.

You are way behind the curve on this issue.

January 27, 2011 at 11:23 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...


"Since you are this thread's number one coal advocate..."

1? Are you using the same math as those idiots in that article you linked?

I do like it when I flip the switch and the light comes on, whether it is sunny, or windy or NOT. Also, I have zero ethical problems pointing out farcical ideas when I see them.

Getting access the raw materials to construct windmills, solar voltaics, and fissile materials for nuclear plants is just as messy as getting access to coal. Millions of acres of habitat are flooded to form the reservoirs behind hydroelectric dams, too. The only difference being that no one is making an issue of it as those are all PC, more or less.

January 27, 2011 at 11:27 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...


"Scotty, why so negative?"

I'm not being negative, I'm being realistic.

Physics isn't like sociology or psychology where the right answer is whatever the authority figure says is the right answer.

Reality is a cold, hard bee itch.

"I don't see any human suffering..."

No you don't, because there are still a few folks around who understand that without reliable energy sources, many millions would die.

"...magical thinking..."

The idea that we can power our economy with wind, waves and sunshine is magical thinking. i.e. not reality based.

"...or any math at all..."

Because if the watermelons laid the math out for everyone to easily examine, they would be laughed out of town. You have to run the numbers down for yourself.

"I think Hyperion is thinking commercial and not private."

I agree, I was being hyperbolic and silly.(It would be cool though.)

January 27, 2011 at 11:41 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Steve_Smith_TN said: “We don't have enough wind here . . . We have to have regional power. Thus, coal. It isn't sexy. It isn't new fangled and glitzy. But it heats and pumps water to your shower.”

Sounds to me like you’re promoting mountaintop coal mining. . . Are you promoting mountain range removal, Steve_Smith_Tn? . . . Come on. . . spit it out. . . be honest.

And how many people do you figure will be taking showers with our regional coal? Last time I checked American coal had turned into a hot global commodity and domestic buyers were competing with buyers from a lot of other countries.

It seems to me the only thing your dirty coal advocacy has given us is accelerating electricity prices, poison groundwater, poisoned streams, toxic blackwater spills, sludge dams, sludge flooding, and poisoned ecosystems. . . such a deal for this region.

January 27, 2011 at 11:43 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

nucanuck | On: January 27, 2011 at 11:23 p.m.

So why aren't oil prices a lot higher than in the past?

The price of supply constrained resources ramps up at a pretty good clip.

I don't see that here:

Just lots of volatility due to outside influences.

Just looking at the linked chart, I see an approximate 200% increase in price over the last 54 years, with spikes to as much as 500%.

I wish housing and food costs were only 200% higher than they were 56 years ago.

January 28, 2011 at 12:11 a.m.
SCOTTYM said...


"Last time I checked American coal had turned into a hot global commodity and domestic buyers were competing with buyers from a lot of other countries."

This is bad how?

Don't we want to increase our exports, and provide jobs for U.S. workers?

Oh wait, I forgot you were an "progressive", never mind.

Maybe we could sell our moonbats to other countries, we most assuredly have a surplus.

January 28, 2011 at 12:18 a.m.
steve_smith_tn said...

Mountain Laurel

I am not for mountaintop removal. The world is not so black and white that I can't be both a realist in regard to coal as a resource and also against the wholesale destruction of wide swaths of the Appalachians. I hope that you might get past your emotional reaction to the use of coal. We have it in abundance. It is simply stored sunlight.

Surely you would admit that despite the awful legacy left by coal companies here on Walden's Ridge that our streams are not "dead." Even absent any effort at remediation, the natural processes of erosion and deposition have nearly erased any trace of the coal mines that dot our valleys and ridges. While acid mine drainage ("AMD") heavily impacted streams coming down into our valley, there is no question that fish are returning. Just like the coal, the sulfur bearing pyrite that causes AMD is finite too. It can't leach out forever.

Past poor performance of our regulatory agencies in terms of the environmental degradation associated with coal pales in comparison to the death and destruction caused by our addiction to Saudi oil. Let's first eliminate foreign oil to the extent possible and next let's close down the coal fields. We can't do both at the same time.

President Obama gets it. He said he would end subsidies to multinational oil companies. We'll see. If he would pull the troops out of Iraq, S. Korea, Germany, Afghanistan, Cuba, and everywhere else, we could build coal gasification plants, solar arrays, windmills, harness the tides, invent more efficient ways to use power and do all the various things to help replace our dependence on oil. Coal can help us so long as it isn't demonized. Its just a rock. A rock that burns.

January 28, 2011 at 1:16 a.m.
blackwater48 said...

Scotty, referring to something I wrote in an earlier post, said: "rag heads" Nice. Racist much?"

I'm not a racist. Since you don't know the definition allow me to enlighten you: "A racist has the bias or prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races."

I wasn't calling all Muslims or all Arabs or all Saudis rag heads. I was referring to terrorists, and rag head is the nicest thing I could use in a public forum. I apologize if I offended your prissy sensibilities. Maybe you're one of those people who call terrorists misunderstood youth crying out for help from a culture of religious intolerance and abject poverty. (It must suck being you.)

Besides, if I really were a racist do think I'd be offended by that?

Why are we the only country without an energy policy? Every other nation on earth has a policy but we do not? (that's a figurative expression before you all go rushing off to google global energy policies)

We import 13 million barrels of oil per day and 5 million comes from OPEC. Remember, 2/3 of our trade deficit comes from oil importation.

That's why we desperately need an energy policy going forward. Two years ago, like many Presidents before him, Obama promised to get America off Middle East Oil. Nothing's happened.

By the way, on November 23rd, 2010, T. Boone Pickens announced that even though his energy strategy called the “Pickens Plan” was adopted by China, the U.S. Congress turned it down. He advocates using natural gas as a transportation fuel and expanding the use of solar and wind for power generation.

Critics point out that Pickens is heavily invested in both natural gas and wind power and stands to add billions to his mammoth wealth. Even if that's true, however, it could still be a good idea.

January 28, 2011 at 1:26 a.m.
woody said...

Good morning BW48 and everyone else. I was truly interested in "The Pickens Plan" as he presented it back in November. I believe I heard him speak of it on "This Week" one Sunday morning.

It should be incomprehensible that congress couldn't see the merit in his notion..until you factor in..there probably wasn't anything in it for them.

Sure Pickens is rich..and so what if his plan made him richer long as it solved our long term energy requirements.

Full of that is, Woody

January 28, 2011 at 6:44 a.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Good morning to you Woody and the thought is also extended to the group. Wishing everyone a happy and productive day. BW, thank you for pointing out the proper use of the word racist. I experienced the same accusation last week and tried to define the word. You seemed to do a much better job. After a little thought I came to this easy way to tell if a statement is racist or if it is bigoted. Think of Hitler as a racist and James Earl Ray as a bigot. Hope this helps in the future. Something else came to me last night. Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again. If anyone else finds themselves in this situation please feel free to use this as best practice. The one comment on here that stands out to me is the fact that coal can be a very clean fuel source and the comment of how much are you willing to pay is the correct point. So do what your mothers and fathers told you to do. I still hear it clear as day, turn off the lights, close the door, were you born in a barn, get out of the refrigerator and turn down the thermostat. I find myself repeating these same words to my children with little results. So I do it myself. With over half of our electricity being generated by coal it seems to be here to stay. We still have Goldman Sachs and such but we don't have any money to move forward with energy independence. Don't forget the new slogan for the USA brought to us by Thebama. W.T.F. Winning The Future. I guess it's to late to get a copyright.

January 28, 2011 at 9:31 a.m.
nucanuck said...


Oil pricing hasn't gone parabolic yet because we have just reached the top of the supply bell curve for conventional oil. Substitutes and conservation can forestall the inevitable shortages and price spikes for a while before trouble sets in,but if we haven't prepared by moving into alternatives and reduced consumption,we will face a period when our economy is starved for energy.

It's that simple,and it's that serious.

January 28, 2011 at 9:49 a.m.
Clara said...

Will all of you with enough money to buy an electric car do so at once so we that can't will still get enough of the gas to run their second hand clunkers until ALL prices come down and we can buy second hand Electric cars.

I'm deciding between a used LEAF or a VOLT.


January 28, 2011 at 10:18 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Boy this is just what we need! We have a country with no intelligent energy policy and a President that has tunnel vision on expensive green energy while our economy is trapped in a down cycle. What we should be talking about is a plan that uses coal, oil and natural gas to bridge to more sustainable technologies in a rational way. The type of simple minded anti-coal sentiments our little minded cartoon artist would encourage only makes it harder to develop a rational energy policy as it puts emotions in front of reasoning.

The liberal (bennett) thought process is driven by feelings, not logic.

January 28, 2011 at 10:18 a.m.
blackwater48 said...

BRP said, "The liberal (bennett) thought process is driven by feelings, not logic." Actually, I think his cartoons are driven by opinions. Not sure there's a BIG difference from what you said, but opinions are driven by logic. Aren't yours?

BRP also said, "our economy is trapped in a down cycle."

Well, according to that liberal rag the New York Times today, "The U.S. economy grew at a rate of 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to new statistics out Friday from the Department of Commerce. The rate was up from 2.6 percent in the previous quarter, and the growth was attributed to revitalized consumers and a narrow trade deficit. Though the new growth is good news, it is slightly less than analysts predicted. Americans saved less of their paychecks, allowing consumer spending to nearly double from 2.4 percent in the third quarter to 4.4 percent in the fourth. Payroll tax cuts and the extended Bush tax cuts are expected to give consumer spending a further lift in 2011."

I bet I caught your attention with that 'extended Bush tax cut' reference, but here's another take on tax cuts from Reuters: "Moody's Investor's Service warned Thursday that the lack of government action on the budget deficit puts the U.S. at risk for a ratings downgrade. The report came hours after Standard & Poor's downgraded Japan, and the IMF reiterated warnings about both countries issued last year. Moody's said in December that EXTENDING THE TAX CUTS (my emphasis) would make the outlook negative for the U.S. to keep its AAA rating."

January 28, 2011 at 10:48 a.m.
nucanuck said...


We have seen this problem coming since the 1970s and the oil embargo. How much bridging time do we need? We have already had several energy mini-crises,will it take a catastrophe for us to do what we must?

We have lost the luxury of time for a gradual transition.

And that's consevative thinking.

January 28, 2011 at 11 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Username: nucanuck | On: January 28, 2011 at 11 a.m.

Who ever the "we" is, they have never come up with a real energy policy. I guess we need an eternity as long as the Dems and Repubs continue to be dysfunctional together!

You get the Republican's ignoring green energy and the Democrats ignoring conventional energy.

All you really need to do is get out of the energy subsidy business, phase in a huge tariff on non-NAFTA oil, open access to our own resources and put adequate environmental controls on conventional energy. The market will figure it out in a flash. The politicians will never figure it out. They don't know enough about the issues and will be too easily misdirected by lobbyists.

January 28, 2011 at 11:31 a.m.
nucanuck said...


Your formula has good points,but would of course raise US prices for oil dramatically...needs to happen...hard for the economy to swallow. Further,any tarriffs will be met by counter tarriffs...count on it...the law of unintended consequences. Still not a bad jumping off place for discussion.

Another way to look at US restricted drilling areas would be as wealth storage for future generations...not a bad thought...more of that conservative thinking.

January 28, 2011 at 11:51 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

ScottyM said: "This is bad how?Don't we want to increase our exports, and provide jobs for U.S. workers? Oh wait, I forgot you were an "progressive", never mind."

The answer is in the details, ScottyM. . . I know . . a foreign concept for you . . . but it's something that progressives do . . . they like to examine the details of any deal.

And only a dirty greedy coal advocate would think a deal giving the natives accelerating electricity prices, poisoned groundwater, toxic blackwater spills, sludge dams, sludge flooding, and poisoned ecosystems in exchange for their mountain ranges and coal was a good deal.

How does that song go? . . . He got the coal mine and the natives got the shaft?

January 28, 2011 at 12:11 p.m.
Sailorman said...

Given what's going on in the middle east, any discussion of oil prices might be a moot point anyway. Maybe we would be better off trying to figure out how to stuff coal in a gas tank!

January 28, 2011 at 12:12 p.m.

SCOTTYM is one of the few sane people in this conversation.

Our air and water is cleaner today than it was 10, 50, or 100 years ago. Sure, let's develop cleaner, more renewable energy sources. But for now, oil and gas are the best sources and they are still affordable and plentiful.

January 28, 2011 at 12:18 p.m.
nucanuck said...


South Africa developed coal to liquids before WW II,in fact,that was the technology used by the Germans during the war. It's not cheap and really not all that clean,but it is doable.

January 28, 2011 at 12:32 p.m.
Sailorman said...


Indeed it has but, as usual, we're behind the curve.

Interesting info:

January 28, 2011 at 1:04 p.m.
acerigger said...

Maybe Dick Cheney should re-convene his secret energy panel, I'll bet they could fix it for us!

January 28, 2011 at 1:17 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Username: nucanuck | On: January 28, 2011 11:51 a.m.

By announcing the phase in of a tariff, say $10/barrel/year up to say, $100/barrel, you would put the energy industry on notice that they can plan on at least $100/barrel for imported oil and proceed with confidence developing new resources knowing that cheap oil will not come back and idle their investments. You have to phase it in to avoid the shock and allow the market time to serve the vacuum created. Maybe 10 years is too fast.

Think about it. What is the real cost of importing oil from the Middle East and protecting that supply? By putting the tax burden on that particular part of the problem you make that oil into a source of government revenue instead of a security resource drain.

I also like the idea of temporarily driving the global price of oil down by effectively making non-NAFTA oil out of reach for the US and bringing more domestic oil on line. I bet the price of oil would drop dramatically just on the announcement of such a plan. That would help take the financial legs out from under regimes that wish harm to the Western world.

Do we sell anything to the non-NAFTA countries we buy oil from? It is hard to imagine being hurt very hard by tariffs imposed on US goods imported to Saudi Arabia.

I hear the wealth storage argument, but the world has a legitimate argument when they say the US is consuming the world’s energy reserves while we sit on our own domestic reserves. It seems like it would be wise to silence that argument as the world goes into a prolonged energy crisis. We only stand to become viewed more and more as the great satin if we continue to exhaust the world’s energy.

January 28, 2011 at 2:01 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Username: mountainlaurel | On: January 28, 2011 at 12:11 p.m. ". . . but it's something that progressives do . . . they like to examine the details of any deal."

Yeah, right. Like the "stimulus" package and health care "reform". Keep drinkin' the coolaid!

January 28, 2011 at 2:12 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Bookieturnersghost said: “ScottyM is one of the few sane people in this conversation. . . water is cleaner today than it was 10, 50, or 100 years ago.”

Guess you ghosts haven’t taken the time to speak to anyone living in regions where the coal industry is blasting mountain ranges. I suggest you do, and, then, take a look at the water.

And . . . I’m curious . . . what criteria do ghosts use to measure sanity? ScottyM rambles on and on about faulty logic without establishing a premise. He advocates for dirty coal policies that are essentially self-destructive for humans along with the earth's ecosystems.

But maybe this is exactly what appeals to you. . . Scotty’s dirty coal preferences are destructive and deadly, which I suppose would increase the ghost population.

January 28, 2011 at 2:33 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Steve_Smith_Tn said: "I hope that you might get past your emotional reaction to the use of coal. We have it in abundance. It is simply stored sunlight."

No, it’s my pragmatic nature that is driving my anti-coal position, Steve_Smith_Tn. And I also believe the United States should have an energy policy that is moving us forward not backwards. The only people who are being driven by their emotions in this matter are the politicians who are terrified of losing their campaign contributors from the coal mining industry and dirty coal industry executives who are afraid of losing profits and competing with legitimate clean energy opponents.

January 28, 2011 at 2:42 p.m.
blackwater48 said...

Both sides of the 'clean coal' argument should agree that today's cartoon is spot on. Anti-coal advocates like it, and the pro-coal contingent say it might be dirty but it's plentiful and cheap etc.,

Heck, the coal cabal should use today's cartoon for their new Logo.

January 28, 2011 at 3:59 p.m.
nucanuck said...


The US imports about 13M barrels of oil per day,probably 8M non NAFTA. To avoid undue pain on the 150M people who live on the edge in the US,the upcharge in gasoline should probably be revenue neutral for the government by reducing payroll taxation by a similar amount.

Because oil is fungible.I don't think the tarriff would have much of an impact on world oil prices unless US consumption dropped dramatically or US production soared.

As I have said before,the US does not have enough untapped reserves to even come close to filling our own needs. That's a persistent myth that we need to forget about. Our real choices are developing all alternatives as quickly as possible and implementing every possible means of conservation,also quickly. We can't expect to continue to consume 5X our fair share of the world's oil. We can wish and we can hope,but deep down we know that can't last.

The over-arching point is that the time for this change is beginning to press on several fronts,supply,price,environmental,and political. It's time to move.

January 28, 2011 at 4:21 p.m.
InspectorBucket said...

Dear Clay:

I am glad to see that you have not lost your spirited following here.

But our neck of the woods has just lost Charlie Louvin. Charlie and Ira Louvin's time here was temporary. Their mark was indelible.

I suggest that a recognition should be made.

With thanks --

High & Lonesome --

Insp. B

X {his mark}

Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Louvin dies at 83

January 28, 2011 at 5:48 p.m.
canarysong said...

It's been a long time since I lived in Tennesse and I don't know how things are there now, but here in Colorado it is VERY common to see homes sporting solar panels on their roof or in their yard. We haven't been able to set up a solar installation yet, but some of our friends have had them for years. SCOTTYM is under the impression that solar-powered electricity is only available when the sun is shining, but any decent system includes either storage cells or some other means of supplementing power. I really don't know that much about the details, but our friends produce enough power that the local utility company buys their excess electricity and then sells them the electricity that they use at night and during cloudy weather at a hugely reduced cost. Their monthly electric bill is practically nothing!

Installation is expensive, but it eventually pays for itself, at least in this climate. It also adds to the resale value of a home. Colorado offers many residential and commercial incentives for adding solar, including tax rebates, 0% interest loans, and the energy buy-back programs that I mentioned earlier.

A growing number of schools, government offices, and businesses here are powered not only by solar, but also by wind. Wind power for individual residential use is not practical or affordable here, ironically, because it is TOO windy here! It really takes only a breeze to operate a modern turbine.

Colorado's commitment to invest in alternative energy has continued throughout the recession and has not seemed to be a financial burden. It is expected to add 4000 more jobs to the state in the near future and the state has fared much better than most during the terrible economy of the last few years. It may be one of the reasons that Colorado cities consistently show up on lists of the best US communities in which to live.

The entire front range area( the plains and foothills abutting the eastern side of the Rockies in CO) is subject to frequent temperature inversions, resulting in days of horrible air pollution. This has begun to improve with emissions regulations; electric, hybrid, and "cleaner" hi-tech diesel city buses; woodburning bans on high-pollution days; and a focus on cleaner energy. Business have continued to come to Colorado because they know that prospective employees will want to live here.

If investment in alternative energy reduces dependence on foreign oil, improves air and water quality, reduces pollution related illness (asthma, etc.) creates job opportunities, and helps attract business, then it seems sensible to make it a priority now. the sooner the better!

January 28, 2011 at 6:25 p.m.
fairmon said...


I admire your analysis and appreciate your objective comments. I at times fail to remain objective and let out the sarcasm out of frustration with the blind party loyalty when neither party appears to be objective and acting in the best interest of the countries future.

In my opinion there should be significantly increased coal and oil taxes with the revenue accumulated in a separate fund, not the general fund. This money would be for rewarding those that achieve technology breakthroughs on clean domestically produced cost effective alternatives.

The government doesn't need to and can't afford to fund the R&D. The government's allocation processes and favoritism is way too political and costly. A plan or process that gives incentive to those with the resources to develop new or further develop currently known alternative energy sources will yield better and quicker results. Again, patten protections and profit opportunities consistent with investment and risk would yield results much quicker than any government controlled or sponsored R&D.

Anyone ever dealing with any government entity and trying to navigate the government processes for contracts to provide a service, access information, participate in any program will understand. Even though successful it was the most difficult, frustrating, inefficient activity I have ever been involved in. It is amazing how different entities don't communicate or share information with each other and require duplication of information in a different form. There are people that make good money just completing and navigating the grants system for cities and states.

The energy issue and resolutions needs to be moving like a racing boat not a cumbersome aircraft carrier. Do you recall the charge the DOE was given during the Carter administration? An analysis of how well they have fulfilled it would be interesting. Would a senate committee hearing be in order?

January 28, 2011 at 7:38 p.m.
nucanuck said...


I don't know what,if anything,will help government process. We're all sick of it,but change seems impossible.

It's amusing to to see the partisans here casting blame as though one party has the answers. It's the partisanship that ruins the sausage,but how do we change?

January 28, 2011 at 8:24 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

"Clara | On: January 28, 2011 at 10:18 a.m."

That's a novel view. You're quite a card. :)

January 28, 2011 at 10:15 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...


"Oil pricing hasn't gone parabolic yet because we have just reached the top of the supply bell curve for conventional oil."

I've heard this one before, I think it was, oh about for the last 80 years.

Technology marches on. Join in or get out of the way. You don't have to play if you don't want to.

When it becomes more efficient to do something else, we will. Until then, we'll get better at fossil fuel recovery technology.

January 28, 2011 at 10:24 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

"All you really need to do is..." BigRidgePatriot | On: January 28, 2011 at 11:31 a.m.

That makes way too much sense.

/It can't possibly work because the ( folks won't get a cut./

January 28, 2011 at 10:40 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...


"The answer is in the details, ScottyM. . . I know . . a foreign concept for you . . . but it's something that progressives do . . . they like to examine the details of any deal."

Do you mean like the article you linked to that was talking about liquid hydrogen airplanes, and half the world's power from windmills with a footprint the size of Manhattan?

Yup, you're really paying attention to the details of the B.S. you are swallowing and regurgitating.

Do you have any more stories to share?

January 28, 2011 at 10:50 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

Sm at 12:12 p.m.

January 28, 2011 at 10:56 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...


"Our real choices are... (1) developing all alternatives as quickly as possible (2) and implementing every possible means of conservation (3) ,also quickly."

What was that again?

January 28, 2011 at 11:08 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...


"SCOTTYM is under the impression that solar-powered electricity is only available when the sun is shining, but any decent system includes either storage cells or some other means of supplementing power."

I had no idea that you could store energy in batteries or draw power from the grid!

"Colorado offers many residential and commercial incentives for adding solar, including tax rebates, 0% interest loans, and the energy buy-back programs that I mentioned earlier."

Oh yes!!! Free money from the government.

"It is expected to add 4000 more jobs to the state in the near future..."

Want to make a five digit dollar denominated bet on that one? Hell, I 'll give you two to one.

"If investment in alternative energy...then it seems sensible to make it a priority now. the sooner the better!"

You're very welcome to invest your dollars in these things if you want to. Just get your hand out of my pocket. I already understand thermodynamics enough to know you may well be giving your money to

January 28, 2011 at 11:23 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...
January 28, 2011 at 11:24 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...


"It's amusing to to see the partisans here casting blame as though one party has the answers."

It's amazing to see one side actually thinks Will save the day.

January 28, 2011 at 11:31 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

A perfect carpet bomb.

January 28, 2011 at 11:32 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Alas,in your mind only.

January 29, 2011 at 12:45 a.m.
fairmon said...


Thanks. patent I knew but spelled it incorrectly for sure.

January 29, 2011 at 10:33 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

ScottyM said: “Do you mean like the article you linked to that was talking about liquid hydrogen airplanes, and half the world's power from windmills with a footprint the size of Manhattan? Yup, you're really paying attention to the details of the B.S. you are swallowing and regurgitating.”

I see once again you appear to be omitting facts in your role as advocate for the dirty coal industry, ScottyM. But I suppose anyone who is low enough to ignore the deadly and destructive facts associated with mountaintop coal mining - poison groundwater, poisoned streams, toxic blackwater spills, sludge dams, sludge flooding, and poisoned ecosystem - will stoop to anything.

In your latest attack on energy alternatives, you suggest that hydrogen powered aircraft is essentially a ludicrous concept. Needless to say, your statement appears to be less than truthful and/or accurate. The truth is that a number of manufacturers in several countries are, indeed, developing hydrogen-powered aircraft. In fact, Northrop Grumman just successfully tested a liquid hydrogen version of their X-47B this past year. It can fly for 5 to 7 days without refueling. As such, it seems to me the authors of the ”Science Daily" article originally posted by Clara are providing us with more truth, facts, and details than you are in TFP posts, ScottyM.

As to your complaint about the article’s reference to the footprint involving windpower energy, I’m not sure what you’re referencing – perhaps, you misunderstood, ScottyM. In the article, the authors point out that one of the criticisms of wind power has been that wind farms require large amounts of land to prevent interference of turbulence from one turbine on another. What they are suggesting is that the “footprint” would be less if the lands between the turbines were made available for other uses such as pastures and farming. If this were done, they believe "the actual footprint required by wind turbines to power half the world's energy is less than the area of Manhattan."

January 29, 2011 at 5:05 p.m.
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