A Few Energy Links

by Brian McGraw on May 31, 2011

in Blog

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1. Everything you’ve heard about fossil fuels may be wrong, Michael Lind (Salon):

The arguments for converting the U.S. economy to wind, solar and biomass energy have collapsed. The date of depletion of fossil fuels has been pushed back into the future by centuries — or millennia. The abundance and geographic diversity of fossil fuels made possible by technology in time will reduce the dependence of the U.S. on particular foreign energy exporters, eliminating the national security argument for renewable energy. And if the worst-case scenarios for climate change were plausible, then the most effective way to avert catastrophic global warming would be the rapid expansion of nuclear power, not over-complicated schemes worthy of Rube Goldberg or Wile E. Coyote to carpet the world’s deserts and prairies with solar panels and wind farms that would provide only intermittent energy from weak and diffuse sources.

A healthy, optimistic look at future energy supplies.

2.  Obama taps former energy CEO, green group co-founder for Commerce Chief, The Hill’s Energy & Environment Blog:

Obama praised Bryson in a statement Tuesday announcing his decision.

“I am pleased to nominate John Bryson to be our nation’s Secretary of Commerce, as he understands what it takes for America to succeed in a 21st century global economy,” he said. “John will be an important part of my economic team, working with the business community, fostering growth, and helping open up new markets abroad to promote jobs and opportunities here at home.”

As Tim Carney tweeted, (thousands of different) “Subsidies!” are apparently the answer.

3. The Streetwise Professor comments on the case brought forth by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission against oil speculators (More Reuters commentary here.):

Corner manipulation cases are hard: the CFTC has never won one.  Trade impact manipulation cases in which it is alleged that buying or selling created false perceptions of demand are even harder to analyze and prove.  Thus, just based on the nature of the allegation alone, the CFTC has filed a very challenging case.  When one looks at the evidence the CFTC presents in its complaint, the odds become even higher.  For the January episode in particular, the most straightforward interpretation of the evidence cuts squarely against the allegations.  This will be a very difficult case for the agency to win.

There’s another lesson here that has been lost in all of the hue and cry over the filing of the complaint.  CFTC has been examining the oil market with a fine tooth comb going back to 2005 if memory serves.  If this is the best case they can find after all that, the oil market must be pretty damn clean.

Remember, speculation does play a beneficial role, as explained here by Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren.

4. More Weather Deaths? Wanna Bet?, Donald Boudreaux in The Wall Street Journal

So confident am I that the number of deaths from violent storms will continue to decline that I challenge Mr. McKibben—or Al Gore, Paul Krugman, or any other climate-change doomsayer—to put his wealth where his words are. I’ll bet $10,000 that the average annual number of Americans killed by tornadoes, floods and hurricanes will fall over the next 20 years. Specifically, I’ll bet that the average annual number of Americans killed by these violent weather events from 2011 through 2030 will be lower than it was from 1991 through 2010.

If environmentalists really are convinced that climate change inevitably makes life on Earth more lethal, this bet for them is a no-brainer. They can position themselves to earn a cool 10 grand while demonstrating to a still-skeptical American public the seriousness of their convictions.

But if no one accepts my bet, what would that fact say about how seriously Americans should treat climate-change doomsaying?

Do I have any takers?

A potential acceptance by Roger Pielke Jr.

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