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Vaughn

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The Keystone Pipeline
« on: February 25, 2013, 08:11:33 AM »
There is posting going on on Facebook about how stopping the Kestone Pipeline is an attack on American jobs.  I hadn't seen much about it here so I am just bringing it forth, so please don't shoot the messenger.  There is a link to this letter that appears to be signed by a few members of the US Congress to President Obama supporting the project:

All 25 Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are urging the president to approve the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline. LIKE if you agree blocking Keystone is an attack on American jobs.
http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/sites/republicans.foreignaffairs.house.gov/files/02.06.13%20-%20POTUS%2C%20Keystone%20XL%20Pipeline.pdf


In response to this I posted the following rant...probably pretty useless but it does express my feelings >:( :

This has nothing to do with right wing or left wing. The keystone pipeline is suicidal. We cannot keep dumping poisons into the environment like what is happening in Canada where this oil is being mined. We cannot keep dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere without undergoing the expense of removing it. In fact, I now believe it is far cheaper to not dump any more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than to do so. As the Arctic ice disappears in summer over the next two or three years and in winter in probably 10 more years after that the rate of sea level rise alone will negate any benefits of this pipeline. Temperature increases and weather changes during this time will likely make a number of cities in the world uninhabitable during certain times of the year. Consider this: It is 125 degrees in Phoenix, AZ and the power goes out due to equipment failure and there is no hope of restoring power until the temperatures cool off. i am not going to continue but you see my point. This is a suicidal project.
Vaughn

Jim Hunt

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 04:30:39 PM »
John Kerry doesn't seem to be 100% behind the proposed pipeline?

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/02/20/kerry-climate-change-warning.html
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

TerryM

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 05:13:15 PM »
Vaughn

125F in the desert is livable. The humidity index is what will kill you.

Former Desert Denizen
Terry

Vaughn

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 03:30:15 AM »
Terry, I realize 125 F in the desert is livable.  However there is a lot I left out:  big city, no power, no water, fires start, people panic and try to leave.  Wrecks clog the roads; people are left to fry in their cars...you see where this is going....
Vaughn

StuartC

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2013, 04:01:10 AM »
News from ClimateProgress that's not at all good:

"The State Department released an environmental impact assessment on the Keystone XL pipeline Friday afternoon, concluding that the project is environmentally sound and “is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands, or on the amount of heavy crude oil refined in the Gulf Coast area.” A 45-day comment period will now begin for the public to weigh in on the project. The State Department will respond to the comments, before finalizing the environmental impact statement, and “conduct a separate analysis of whether the project is in the national interest, a question on which eight other agencies will offer input over 90 days.” Obama is unlikely to make a final decision until “mid-summer at the earliest.”"

The author thinks Kerry is a climate-hawk and likely to approve the pipeline:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/03/01/1661221/state-department-report-keystone-xl-is-environmentally-sound/#more-1661221
The earth was made to be a common Livelihood to all, without respect of persons.

Edheler

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2013, 04:14:02 AM »
Let them build the pipeline. The oil is going to get here somehow regardless. Isn't the pipeline a more environmentally friendly way to move it than if they have to use trucks?

ghoti

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2013, 05:27:56 AM »
Right now without the pipeline there is a glut of tar sand oil stuck in Alberta. This makes the price for it low enough that some companies have put off investing in extracting more. The main reason for a pipeline is to increase the price so that more companies can invest more in extracting more.

It does make a difference.

TerryM

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2013, 05:34:39 AM »
Let them build the pipeline. The oil is going to get here somehow regardless. Isn't the pipeline a more environmentally friendly way to move it than if they have to use trucks?

No!

Without a cheap means of transporting the crap it wouldn't pay to dig it up. Keystone allows it to be cheaply transported off the continent and sold in foreign markets. Otherwise it just lowers fuel prices in a small American market.

Terry

Edheler

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2013, 05:50:51 AM »
No!

Without a cheap means of transporting the crap it wouldn't pay to dig it up. Keystone allows it to be cheaply transported off the continent and sold in foreign markets. Otherwise it just lowers fuel prices in a small American market.

Question:

If the price of oil rises high enough won't the oil be produced anyways if it overcomes the cost of transport? My contention is that it will be produced over a longer period of time regardless of the costs of transport. Thus, if we can transport it now in a more ecological manner it saves emissions over the long term.

Charles Longway

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2013, 06:05:22 AM »
Keystone is a move to prolong the fossil fuel age by using progressively lower grade and more polluting sources for oil. I understand that Canada has 2X the oil in their tar sands as is/was in Saudi Arabia. To burn all of this fuel will destroy the earth through positive feed-backs. Perhaps we cannot stop the pipe, but we can stop the flow of oil in the pipe simply by no longer being a customer. I went solar on my house last year because of Neven’s blog. When he did a feature on Methane, it was a tipping point for me. I had to take some kind of personal action, so I delayed a year in buying a car and did solar. This year I am looking get a car, but it will be a plug-in or electric model. I expect to get a positive return on my renewable investment. So I am with you, let them build the pipe, but let’s do all in our personal power to prevent the oil from flowing to customers on the other end.

Edheler

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2013, 06:23:39 AM »
Charles,

Unless the world economy collapses permanently how do you propose that we not exploit all of the Canada tar sands? If the price of oil rises high enough the oil will be extracted. I do realize this may lead to an awful situation. I just don't see any way to really stop it from happening.

I don't want the end results of AGW any more than you but wishes and rainbows aren't going to stop that oil from being produced. I personally am doing more for the environment regardless of my positions than most environmentalists I know. Most of that information is in the introduction thread I wrote.

I can think of a nearly a dozen ways to produce the power the world wants right now without sacrificing the environment. Many of them are also economical but are mostly blocked by the environmental movement for other reasons. We can't have our cake and eat it as Marie quipped. Shall we choose the more environmentally acceptable sources of energy to save what we have?

StuartC

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2013, 06:47:52 AM »
Charles,

Unless the world economy collapses permanently how do you propose that we not exploit all of the Canada tar sands? If the price of oil rises high enough the oil will be extracted. I do realize this may lead to an awful situation. I just don't see any way to really stop it from happening

You're making the assumption that our present economic system is an inexorable and unalterable force of nature - but fortunately, it isn't! We could introduce a rational gradually increasing carbon tax as proposed by James Hansen and many others. This would allow market forces to select the most efficient alternatives and wean the economy off fossil fuels.

If we do burn all the fossil fuels we're toast, and tar sands are not the thin end of the wedge. They represent a chilling escalation in our attempts to grab every last bit of carbon in the ground irrespective of the lousy EROEI.
The earth was made to be a common Livelihood to all, without respect of persons.

Edheler

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2013, 07:00:31 AM »
You're making the assumption that our present economic system is an inexorable and unalterable force of nature - but fortunately, it isn't! We could introduce a rational gradually increasing carbon tax as proposed by James Hansen and many others. This would allow market forces to select the most efficient alternatives and wean the economy off fossil fuels.

What you are effectively suggesting is prohibition. It worked so well for alcohol that we decided to do it again for drugs and are now trying to propose it with guns. I hate to tell you that your strategy won't work. All you will achieve is the creation of a black market for oil products if they are more economical to produce than the alternatives.

StuartC

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2013, 07:12:57 AM »
You're making the assumption that our present economic system is an inexorable and unalterable force of nature - but fortunately, it isn't! We could introduce a rational gradually increasing carbon tax as proposed by James Hansen and many others. This would allow market forces to select the most efficient alternatives and wean the economy off fossil fuels.

What you are effectively suggesting is prohibition.

No I'm suggesting a tax. You know, one of the things that have been working so well for thousands of years that the proverb says they're as easy to avoid as as death . . .
The earth was made to be a common Livelihood to all, without respect of persons.

dreater

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2013, 03:50:22 PM »
You're making the assumption that our present economic system is an inexorable and unalterable force of nature - but fortunately, it isn't! We could introduce a rational gradually increasing carbon tax as proposed by James Hansen and many others. This would allow market forces to select the most efficient alternatives and wean the economy off fossil fuels.

What you are effectively suggesting is prohibition.

No I'm suggesting a tax. You know, one of the things that have been working so well for thousands of years that the proverb says they're as easy to avoid as as death . . .
A carbon tax would require an active role for government, and edheler has made it clear he has an aversion to such a governmental role. Thus his dilemma.

The trouble is, in the absence of an active role for government, he's right; fossil fuels will continue to be produced and consumed until changes to the environment force the process to stop.  This will occur when our ability to produce, ship and sell/trade fossil fuels falls apart - when enough people starve to death, or die of thirst, or are killed in resource wars that our technological civilization collapses.

There is at least a possibility that an activist government - even a government that suffers from some level of corruption and inefficiency - might be able to forestall such a collapse.  I find it unfathomable that some people object so strongly on "principle" to the idea of activist government that they would rather confront the death of our civilization than allow for serious governmental attempts to prevent that death.  But that seems to be what confronts us - anti-government ideologues whose fear of government is so strong that, even if they acknowledge the inevitable result of the basically unregulated path we're on, aren't willing to concede that serious governmental regulation might just be an acceptable option.

I'm nearly 60; I will die from natural causes before our addiction to fossil fuels kills me.  But I fear for my children; I fear for my grandchildren.  I cannot understand how anybody can prefer civilizational collapse to EPA regulation.  But some folks apparently do.

dreater

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2013, 03:57:21 PM »
What you are effectively suggesting is prohibition. It worked so well for alcohol that we decided to do it again for drugs and are now trying to propose it with guns. I hate to tell you that your strategy won't work. All you will achieve is the creation of a black market for oil products if they are more economical to produce than the alternatives.
edheler - I somehow don't see illegal, clandestine tar sand strip mining operations being set up in Wyoming, somehow hidden from federal enforcement.  You can ferment corn mash in a trash can in the garage, and distill it in a still in your woodlot.  You can cook up methedrine in your basement from commercially-available materials.  You can smuggle guns in suitcases and small boxes from offshore producers.  But how do you propose to smuggle and distribute significant volumes of illicit tar sands bitumen, even if some benighted foreign government (as for instance, Canada under the Harper government) insists on producing them?  Folks sneaking them over the border in five-gallon cans?   You don't really think that people are going to successfully build clandestine pipelines, or slip tankers full of bitumen into places like Port Charles or Bayonne, without the authorities noticing?

crandles

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2013, 04:49:36 PM »
dreater,

So you do want to ban them as opposed to tax them into reduced use??? Are you saying flying should be banned until we can fly on biofuel or hydrogen or something?

Yes I wouldn't argue it as Edheler did, that prohibition doesn't work. However I strongly favour a tax solution to a prohibition solution. FF use needs to be reduced not eliminated at least for a while. Banning FF use before there are enough electric tractors and sufficient sustainable electric generation for things like food production is a recipe for a disaster far worse than GW.

A tax to build in costs of a waste disposal problem as opposed to it being an externality reduces use of the product; it does not eliminate it or make it unlawful.

Edheler

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2013, 05:26:57 PM »
No I'm suggesting a tax. You know, one of the things that have been working so well for thousands of years that the proverb says they're as easy to avoid as as death . . .

You're entirely correct and I am sorry for that. I should have went to bed as clearly I wasn't reading very well.

Edheler

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2013, 05:39:07 PM »
I somehow don't see illegal, clandestine tar sand strip mining operations being set up in Wyoming, somehow hidden from federal enforcement.  You can ferment corn mash in a trash can in the garage, and distill it in a still in your woodlot.  You can cook up methedrine in your basement from commercially-available materials.  You can smuggle guns in suitcases and small boxes from offshore producers.  But how do you propose to smuggle and distribute significant volumes of illicit tar sands bitumen, even if some benighted foreign government (as for instance, Canada under the Harper government) insists on producing them?  Folks sneaking them over the border in five-gallon cans?   You don't really think that people are going to successfully build clandestine pipelines, or slip tankers full of bitumen into places like Port Charles or Bayonne, without the authorities noticing?

The key is if you can make money doing it. If it is profitable by itself then people will do it clandestinely if the activity were outlawed. So, yes, I believe that they would use all of the methods you mention and probably some that would astonish everyone. I doubt that the tar sands themselves would be traded due to the higher weight and volume but I can imagine clandestine miniature refineries being setup. I never would have expected drug dealers to get into the business of digging tunnels to bypass border security but it happens.

By the way, you can make diesel at home. I know a few people who do it. It's about as complicated a process as making moonshine.

Just in case you didn't notice, I apologized to the person I was replying to because I misread his message.

Lucas Durand

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2013, 05:55:46 PM »
Edheler,
I am skeptical that there could ever be a "black market" in synthetic crude from tar sands.

One look at the scale of capital investment, logistical supports, and enabling inputs from other sectors of the economy should be enough to make anyone skeptical that it could be done in a clandestine manner.

TerryM

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2013, 07:11:30 PM »
I think that at some point the tar sands will be found to be too damaging to the environment or Alberta will start refining the goop at home. Either way Keystone will become a gigantic polluting albatross that nobody will be willing to cleanup and dismantle.

If it succeeds it will generate funds that can be used to build a local refinery which will make it obsolete. If it doesn't the mess still needs to be cleaned up.

I can't think of any scenario that works out well.

Terry

dreater

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2013, 03:23:57 AM »
dreater,

So you do want to ban them as opposed to tax them into reduced use??? Are you saying flying should be banned until we can fly on biofuel or hydrogen or something?
That's not what I said.  I was simply pointing out that the idea that clandestine, black-market bitumen production could emerge on anything within several orders of magnitude of the Alberta operations was an absurdity.

I support a carbon tax.  But I don't believe that a carbon tax - a wedge in the marketplace - is sufficient.  We need direct policy solutions as well.  We need a responsible federal government that makes responsible choices.  These choices include regulations concerning permissible emissions, and required cleanups/sequestration of CO2, etc.  These choices include responsible judgments about whether to grant permits for things like Keystone XL, or drilling in the ANWR, or off the Arctic coast of Alaska, etc.  "Leaving it to the market" - even a market that is skewed in a better direction by a carbon tax - isn't going to be good enough.

Some folks are convinced that government cannot possibly do this effectively (or in some cases, folks believe that government cannot do anything effectively).  I could be wrong, but I think these people are mistaken.  But one thing I know; if responsible, activist governments, in the US and abroad, cannot effectively address these challenges, we are in very deep trouble - because nobody else is going to address the problems.  The market will not "take care of it"; the private sector is not suddenly going to put the national, or international, public good ahead of their own bottom lines.

ghoti

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2013, 07:07:04 PM »
Meanwhile California's cap and trade continues to show signs that it is working okay. See http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2013/03/california-cap-trade-passes-second-test.html

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2013, 07:28:30 PM »
I think that at some point the tar sands will be found to be too damaging to the environment or Alberta will start refining the goop at home. Either way Keystone will become a gigantic polluting albatross that nobody will be willing to cleanup and dismantle.


Oil from the tar sands and Arctic will be our most expensive oil.  If we cut demand those activities will be the first to go.  The economics of EROEI make that happen.

The best way, IMO, to stop tar sands and Arctic oil extraction is to get more people into electric cars (EVs and PHEVs) and onto public transportation.  The large increase in CAFE standards that President Obama arranged will help a lot to lower consumption.

We need to figure out how to shift more travel away from oil and let market forces stop the dirtiest of extractions.

Lucas Durand

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2013, 12:05:31 AM »
We need to figure out how to shift more travel away from oil and let market forces stop the dirtiest of extractions.
Bob,
I won't hold my breath...
While I agree that the idea of "free market" economics is powerful, I don't believe that the market is really that "free" in practice.

I think the only thing that'll keep the bitumen in the sand is if the price of oil declines to somewhere south of $70-$80/bbl.
From a climate perspective, the upside of recession is demand destruction for enegry supplies.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 01:32:32 AM by Lucas Durand »

Mike Fliss

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werther

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2013, 11:06:39 AM »
 I'm aware this Keystone project is profiling as an internal political issue in the USA.
As a European, I consider there's enough questionable happening over here to be careful in my attitude as an outsider.
Following my posts in the 'monkey wrenching'  thread, I'd like to add my point here.
As we are at the decisive moment in time to choose for renewables (and a different society), any choice to prolong FF use by investing in infrastructure to distribute it is the wrong choice.

I can imagine why anyone with a realistic knowledge of AGW would make this a symbol.

For me it's clear that any resistance should not take the form of 'terrorism'. Use any form of legal obstruction, organise a Gandhi-like,announced raid on building in process if the Administration approves the project. Much like the people of Berlin chopping, painting and ridiculising the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Whether it will be succesfull is to be doubted. But in my opinion it is not enough to make personal green choices.

Jim Hunt

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2013, 04:14:10 PM »
I was arguing the toss over this issue with Andrew Neil (a prominent UK political pundit) last week. According to him not only are "windmills" (as he called them) a waste of space, but also the good ol' US of A will be pumping as much oil and LNG as it possibly can, as soon as it possibly can:

http://www.v2g.co.uk/2013/03/andrew-neil-tilts-at-windmills/
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2013, 06:33:59 PM »
We need to figure out how to shift more travel away from oil and let market forces stop the dirtiest of extractions.


I think the only thing that'll keep the bitumen in the sand is if the price of oil declines to somewhere south of $70-$80/bbl.


Yes, that is the point.  A massive move to electric vehicles (EVs and PHEVs) would lower demand for oil to the point at which the more expensive to extract/refine would be pushed out of play.

A 200 mile range EV with <20 minute rapid recharging and selling for not much more than a similar-featured ICEV would destroy the liquid fuel vehicle market.  A PHEV with a 40 mile range and selling price close to that of an ICEV would do the same.

But as long as electrics stay significantly more expensive than ICEVs we will continue to burn oil and more efficient ICEVs will make more expensive oil affordable.  And as long as we continue to burn large amounts of oil I don't think there will be the political will to halt the Keystone or Arctic drilling.

OldLeatherneck

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2013, 07:39:51 PM »
While I am a fan of increasing the use of EVs, I am concerned about what will happen with the ICE vehicles that are traded in.  My concern is that I suspect most of these vehicles will be shipped to third world nations, where they will not be properly maintained and just to continue to spew CO2 into the atmosphere.  While the developed world will be able to brag about having transitioned to emission-free transportation, they will have done little to solve the global problem if these same vehicles are spewing CO2 elsewhere.

As an example, when I finally sold my last gas-guzzling pickup truck, I sold it to a rancher in Mexico, where I'm certain it is being driven many, may more miles per year than I ever did.
"Share Your Knowledge.  It's a Way to Achieve Immortality."  ......the Dalai Lama

gfwellman

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #30 on: March 07, 2013, 08:26:48 PM »
Well, look at it this way.  Every ICE engine will eventually die.  The average lifespan of a car is about 200,000 miles or so.  A massive switch in popularity to EVs and PHEVs in the nations where new cars are purchased will mean we build many fewer new ones - that should be our goal.

A Carbon Tax is what would really kill the tar sands.  To the extent the transportation market is elastic, it would immediately reduce ICE miles driven, reducing overall demand for oil right away, then by making EVs and other efficient vehicles more attractive it would reduce demand further over time.  Tar sand oil would also be taxed higher than other sources because it's more carbon intensive, but that would be a smaller effect than the overall reduction in demand I suspect.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2013, 10:25:39 PM »
EVs are cheaper for everyone to drive.  And there is no reason why EVs should not become cheaper than ICEVs.  EVs do not contain lots of expensive materials nor is the manufacturing of batteries complicated or energy/labor intensive. 

If you've ever torn down and rebuilt an ICEV you will be familiar with the hundreds of carefully designed and manufactured parts that have to be assembled in exactly the precise order.  EVs have lots and lots of batteries, all alike.

Ship off your Camry or hopefully your Prius when you get an EV.  Your trade in will likely get better mileage than the car it replaces.  And your used EV will replace your last ICEV when it's time for you to get a shiny new ride.

About half of all US driving is done with cars which are five years old or newer.  Getting electrics into the hands of those higher mileage drivers will make a quick impact in the amount of oil burned.


Lucas Durand

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #32 on: March 07, 2013, 10:37:38 PM »
Yes, that is the point.  A massive move to electric vehicles (EVs and PHEVs) would lower demand for oil to the point at which the more expensive to extract/refine would be pushed out of play.
Bob,
Again, I won't hold my breath.
Keystone is a commitment to American buyers, but Northern Gateway will (if it gets built) open the tar sands up to the world where there is plenty of demand from growing economies, and it'll fetch a higher price to boot.
For the Canadian government and tar sands producers, it's all about creating "demand security".

That EVs will be manufactured on a scale that will substantively affect demand for oil is in my opinion a bit of a red herring at this point.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #33 on: March 08, 2013, 04:11:05 PM »
Lucas - were you in the market for a new car would you buy a $20k model that cost you 10 cents a mile to drive or a $20k model that cost you 3 cents a mile to drive?  All features being equal....

Lucas Durand

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #34 on: March 08, 2013, 07:05:15 PM »
Bob,
I'm not arguing that EVs can't be cost competitive with ICEVs.

What I am arguing is that it isn't practical to assume that EVs will be manufactured on a scale large enough that it causes the price of oil to fall to the point that it puts tar sands producers out of business.

No doubt some people will buy EVs, but replacing millions and millions of ICEVs is just not the same as replacing old toasters with new toasters, or black and white TVs with a colour version.
There is a very large web of "ifs" between what is now and what you suggest will happen.

gfwellman

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2013, 07:09:55 PM »
Put the right price on carbon, and the transition will happen pretty rapidly.  Not overnight, but rapidly.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #36 on: March 10, 2013, 07:46:18 PM »
Rapidly is relative.  Once EVs/PHEVs are almost as cheap as ICEVs we should see the annual sales market flip very rapidly.  Few people are going to pay more just for the privilege of stopping at a gas pump.

People who drive the most will switch the soonest.  Why pay more for gas than what the payments for a new electric would be?  Within five years of market shift our oil usage should drop by at least 50%.

It will take time to get all the ICEVs off the road, at least 20 years after the market switches.  But if we get the majority of driving moved to grid power the lowest EROEI fuel sources will go out of business.

Lucas Durand

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #37 on: March 10, 2013, 08:51:42 PM »
Bob,
You seem quite certain about your vision of the future.
Can you adress some of the concerns I have about why we may not see EVs and PHEVs manufactured in the kind of numbers you are claiming?

- When will the grid be expanded and upgraded to accomodate millions of "plug in" vehicles?
- Will the extra demand for electricity caused by a national fleet of EVs be "clean", or will this demand growth be met by burning more fossil fuels?
- Given all the other "clean" infrastructure priorities, will we be able to afford to maintain all our existing roads and highways?
- What about the CO2 footprint of manufacturing millions of EVs or PHEVs?
- When will battery technology finally provide the required performance to compete with ICEVs?
- Are there sufficient rare earth elements available on planet earth to manufacture all the batteries and technology this would require?
- Will incomes be high enough in the future that so many people will be able to afford to finance new vehicles?

ghoti

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #38 on: March 11, 2013, 07:19:13 PM »
I don't know of a car manufacturer that isn't introducing hybrid and plugin hybrid models now or in the near future. VW says they are introducing 6 PHEV models starting in 2014. Subaru is showing one at Geneva. Toyota's best selling models are hybrid/PHEV. Too late for me cause my 15 year old Honda (we thought it got decent mileage) had to be replaced but the Toyota hybrid I purchased gets twice the gas mileage. I know that I'll be able to get a BEV in 15 years when this one needs replacement.

The grid doesn't need expanding to accommodate PHEVs they are generally charged during off peak hours when the naysayers complain there is "excess" wind power. They help smooth out the load. (The grid needs replacing and expansion now because of decades of neglect)

Even if renewable electricity isn't what is used for EV charging the fact remains EVs are so massively more efficient than ICE vehicles the total amount of energy required is substantially reduced. Combine this with the fact that utility energy generation is way more efficient than the most efficient ICE.

CO2 footprint for manufacture of plugin vehicles is not higher the for ICE vehicles.

Battery performance for PHEVs is already more than sufficient for 90% of drivers 90% of the time (made up numbers but you get the idea). Most people don't drive much more than the EV reange of their PHEVs each day.

There isn't really a shortage of "rare earth" metals. They were just way cheaper to buy from China than to use local sources up until now. All these metals are recyclable and are being recycled.

All vehicles have a limited life. Eventually all cars get replaced..


Bob Wallace

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #39 on: March 11, 2013, 09:22:58 PM »
There have been multiple studies which find the US has ample capacity to charge about 80% of all our vehicles were they to magically turn into EVs overnight.  Remember, the grid is built to provide power on those few peak-peak days in the hottest part of the summer.  A very large amount of our capacity sits idle much of the time.  We have a lot of late night spare capacity when most people would want to charge.

Then, new clean capacity.  EVs and wind turbines are great friends.  US onshore wind tends to be stronger at night when demand is lower.  Put a bunch of EVs on the grid, hook them up with smart meters/chargers.  When the wind howls and other demand is low then charge the EVs.

This will create a new profit source for wind, even if they sell at moderate (nice for EV) prices.  Making more profits will bring more investment to wind.  That will build more wind farms and make more cheap, clean wind power available during peak hours.  It's an all-around win.

We can build EVs without rare earth minerals.  Toyota already does, and I think Tesla might as well.  Lithium is absolutely no problem.  And it is not expensive, there is some bad information floating around because people did some faulty math using non-bulk purchase price.

There are a lot of interesting battery developments, but nothing outstanding has yet to come to the market.  I think we'll see a much better battery in the next couple of years, but there is no way to guarantee it. 

Realistically many people could do quite well with a 100 mile range EV.  They just have to get comfortable with the idea.  And for the others, there are PHEVs.  Prices will come down as production volume increases.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #40 on: March 11, 2013, 09:42:57 PM »
Continuing...

What destroys our highways are large trucks.  The smart thing would be to build high speed rail and get a lot of the 18 wheelers off the road.

The price of EVs should  become less than that of ICEVs.  The cost of driving is much, much lower. 

We  can have a thriving economy in the future.  There is absolutely no shortage of clean electricity.  Labor certainly won't be a problem.  We will need to switch to sustainable feed stock.  Metals will be no problem, we can extract, refine and recycle with clean energy.  We will need to move to plant-based plastics.  There's no reason that we can't keep on living "a good life" from here on as long as we make some changes in where we get our energy and some of our basic materials.

That's not to say that we aren't going to experience some hurt.  We've already given ourselves a major dose of pain with the GHG we've added to the atmosphere.  It's going to kill a lot of us.  Not billions, but perhaps a few million.

My generation (I'm almost 70) and the one before me had to deal with all sorts of deadly diseases that just don't strike us anymore.  The younger generation and those to follow will have to deal with some nasty weather problems that we've left them.  We're going to have to move some of the world's population to areas with ample water.  We're going to have to move back from the coasts and out of the flood planes.  We're going to have to toughen our buildings against stronger storms.  We're going to have to get a lot more clever about how we grow food and we're going to have to stockpile more against especially bad years.

Luckily we're seeing the likely peak of population coming before long.  If we're smart we will make education for women and access to birth control technology a priority.  With not much effort we could get the population to peak sooner and lower.  Long term we need to greatly reduce the number of people on the planet.  We're stressing our resources and we've lowered the quality of life for most.  (I'm posting this from the very crowded Medina of Fes, Morocco.  People should have more open area.) 

We're so much 'smarter' than we used to be.  We're so advanced in our knowledge and computers/internet have given us an amazing ability to share information and solutions.  It's going to be an exciting time to be alive, the next 50 or so years.  Challenges, yes, but ones we can meet.


Lucas Durand

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #41 on: March 12, 2013, 02:54:33 AM »
ghoti,

CO2 footprint for manufacture of plugin vehicles is not higher the for ICE vehicles.
Maybe not, but that's not really my concern.
My concern here is that in order to avoid crossing any arbitrary threshold of atmospheric CO2 concentration, then our global civilization must put itself on some kind of "carbon budget".
We must set absolute limits on and ration out the amount of CO2 we are allowed to emit to the atmosphere, for all activities, that will allow us to adhere to our objective (whatever that is).
In other words, the CO2 emitted by manufacturing millions of EVs will be at the expense of some other industrial activity - like manufacturing wind turbine components; repairing, upgrading and extending electric grids; consumer items; etc.
I believe there are other, better ways to address transportation issues without having to perpetuate the "happy motoring" culture.

There isn't really a shortage of "rare earth" metals. They were just way cheaper to buy from China than to use local sources up until now.
I'm not so sure that there won't eventually be one.
China had the "low-hanging fruit".

idunno

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #42 on: March 12, 2013, 01:14:28 PM »
While the Keystone pipeline may be very ecologically suspect, I think it is important to note that some of the obvious alternatives (i.e. Gulf War III) don't look that pretty either.

As I understand it, "avoiding Gulf War III" is euphemistically referred to in US political parlance as "reducing our dependence on foreign oil"; and from this point of view, Keystone, even Arctic drilling, would be a good thing.

Had Romney won the election, he would probably already have approved Keystone, and green flagged Arctic drilling. He also wanted a 25% in the US military budget.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #43 on: March 13, 2013, 02:08:08 PM »
"I believe there are other, better ways to address transportation issues without having to perpetuate the "happy motoring" culture."

Certainly there is. 

Now, go down to your local shopping mall/wherever and see how many people you can get to sign a pledge to drive no more.

People in crowded cities with adequate public transportation can be somewhat talked out of their cars.  Most of the rest of the people, not.

We could move to a very low CO2 culture very quickly were people willing to radically change their lifestyle.  Most are not.

Our only option, IMHO, is to develop clean energy ways to supply what people want and do so in a manner that seems transparent and costs no more.  It will cost us some up front money to move off of fossil fuels for electricity but once we're past the initial costs electricity should be cheaper.  EVs cost more now (and are range limited) but that should be a short term problem.  EVs should cost less to manufacture than do ICEVs and are definitely less expensive to operate.

An efficient large screen TV can be functionally equivalent to a non-efficient model.  Same for refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners.  We need to get more efficient 'things' into the hands of people who want 'things'.  I don't think the fear of higher oceans 100 years from now will change much consumer behavior.

Lucas Durand

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #44 on: March 13, 2013, 03:57:25 PM »
Bob,
Thanks for your thoughtful replies.
I meant to reply earlier, but haven't had the time.
This is a comlicated discussion, as it is almost impossible to define its boundaries (our present predicament being the result of no one single issue).

I have to say I'm not convinced of your perspective.

I agree with you that getting people to individually change their behaviour will be difficult and will probably not result in much substantive change.
But I don't agree with you that the solution then is to promote a lassez-faire transition to a more efficient and cleaner version of what has gotten us to where we are now.
So, in my opinion the only real option is to try to convince people that some radical changes to their way of life may be innevitable.
To make an analogy, we have made some very big "grown up" problems for ourselves, and we (as a species) are going to have to "grow up" in a hurry to address them, otherwise we will be stuck dealing with the "grown up" consequences.

We're so much 'smarter' than we used to be.  We're so advanced in our knowledge and computers/internet have given us an amazing ability to share information and solutions.  It's going to be an exciting time to be alive, the next 50 or so years.  Challenges, yes, but ones we can meet.

I would argue that we aren't actually any "smarter" than we've ever been, we just benefit from the accumulated knowledge of the past.
I would also argue that we aren't actually as "smart" as we think and that our "smartness" and hubris are actually root causes of the predicament we're presently in.
If anything, we're in over our heads with respect to the complexity in the world we've created.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #45 on: March 14, 2013, 08:13:39 PM »


1) I agree with you that getting people to individually change their behaviour will be difficult and will probably not result in much substantive change.

2) But I don't agree with you that the solution then is to promote a lassez-faire transition to a more efficient and cleaner version of what has gotten us to where we are now.

3) So, in my opinion the only real option is to try to convince people that some radical changes to their way of life may be innevitable.


When you get to point three (I added numbers) you find yourself defeated by your point one.

A small percentage can be talked into doing things a better way,  IMO the majority cannot.  Unless climate change gets so bad that it's probably too late.

Far too many people have a "I've got mine, screw you" attitude.  Far too many are living from check to check  and can't afford to make significant change.  Far too many just won't get around to it.  (Look at the number who continue to smoke or overeat when they know it is likely to shorten their lives.  Look at how few start saving for retirement until the last few years of work.)

Put a big gas tax on US fuel and those politicians will be driven out of office.  Same with a large carbon tax that raises utility costs. 

The solution pretty much has to be painless.  We've made refrigerators more than 2x more efficient over the last 20 years and no one has complained.  We've moved people from CRT TVs and computer monitors which are 4x or more efficient and not one has complained.  We've even made cars more fuel efficient and no one has complained.

We've done those things successively because they didn't change the function or drastically increase the initial cost.

We've decreased the amount of coal we're burning (in the US) by 40% and added significant amounts of renewables without complaint because the grid continues to function and prices have jumped.

That's our best hope.  Transition over to renewables and electric vehicles without people taking notice.  We'll have to spend government money "behind the scenes" but that's easier to get away with than taking money directly out of people's pockets or asking them to sit in the dark at night.

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #46 on: March 14, 2013, 08:19:14 PM »


I would argue that we aren't actually any "smarter" than we've ever been, we just benefit from the accumulated knowledge of the past.
I would also argue that we aren't actually as "smart" as we think and that our "smartness" and hubris are actually root causes of the predicament we're presently in.
If anything, we're in over our heads with respect to the complexity in the world we've created.

I put smart in quotes because, as a society, we are smarter.  Our scientific knowledge is more extensive, our ability to communicate (the web) is immensely improved.  We can share information and problem-solve in real time, not snail mail time.

We've done a lot of the intellectual/technical work that we need to do.  We've created solar panels that are cheap enough and efficient enough.  We've created wind turbines that are cheap and efficient.  We've made significant progress with electrified transportation, energy storage, and efficiency.  We've done the basic brain work, what we need to do now is implement.

And, of course, improve as we implement.

Lucas Durand

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #47 on: March 16, 2013, 03:31:50 PM »
1) I agree with you that getting people to individually change their behaviour will be difficult and will probably not result in much substantive change.
2) But I don't agree with you that the solution then is to promote a lassez-faire transition to a more efficient and cleaner version of what has gotten us to where we are now.
3) So, in my opinion the only real option is to try to convince people that some radical changes to their way of life may be innevitable.
When you get to point three (I added numbers) you find yourself defeated by your point one.
Bob,
Defeated in what way?
The idea is to try to create awareness of the precariousness of our situation.
Some people will listen, but most people will probably not - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try...
A change in perspective doesn't cost any money so anyone can do it.

That's our best hope.  Transition over to renewables and electric vehicles without people taking notice.  We'll have to spend government money "behind the scenes" but that's easier to get away with than taking money directly out of people's pockets or asking them to sit in the dark at night.
I remain unconvinced.
There are simply too many loose ends to this theory for me to get excited about it.
Climate change is possibly the most overarching issue of our times, yet we also appear to be approaching many other significant limits as well - all of which will have an impact on whatever plans we might have.
Frankly, I don't see how it's possible to predict the likelyhood of any future scenario, which is why I like to focus on awareness and resilience.

I put smart in quotes because, as a society, we are smarter.  Our scientific knowledge is more extensive, our ability to communicate (the web) is immensely improved.  We can share information and problem-solve in real time, not snail mail time.
I disagree.

The architecture of our brains is essentially the same now as it was when our ancient ancestors used it to hunt mammoth on the steppe.
I think you're overestimating our ability to "know what is actually going on" in this hyper-complex world, and underestimating our perceptual limitations.
What may seem like "real-time problem solving" is still just reacting to events after the fact - ie, after the damage is already done.

If we are as "smart" as you are making us out to be, we would not have had a near "global financial meltdown" in 2008.
The reactors at Fukushima would never have been built as they were.
The Iraq war would have actually been "mission accomplished" in 2003 and would not have carried on until 2011.
The field of medicine would not have had to develop the terms "iatrogenic effect" or "iatrogenesis".
And the transition to a renewables based economy would have started a long time ago.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2013, 03:36:59 PM by Lucas Durand »

conrad

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350.org CO2 graph
« Reply #48 on: March 16, 2013, 04:32:37 PM »
somewhat off topic:
I'm impressed with McKibbon and his Keystone stance, so I just checked out 350.org. Prominently displayed on their home page is a graph showing CO2 rising to 392 ppm (historical) and falling, starting now, at a much faster rate, to below 350 ppm. Everyone understands that this is politically impossible, but isn't this also physically impossible, even with geo-engineering? If CO2 emissions were stopped now how long would it take to get to 350 ppm without geo-engineering?

Bob Wallace

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Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2013, 04:33:41 PM »
Lucas, I do not believe that there is any possibility getting people to change their behavior significantly enough to adequately reduce our CO2 levels unless we make it easy and cheap for them to do so.  We have to invent our way to more efficient "stuff" and better clean energy technology.

We're just about there.  If we had 40, 50 years to get our CO2 levels under control I think we would have no problems. 

We're reaching the point at which new renewable electricity is cheaper than new fossil fuel and nuclear energy.  If nothing else, as coal and nuclear plants wear out they would naturally be replaced by renewables because the electricity would be cheaper.

We've learned how to make safe, comfortable, responsive vehicles which use far less fuel than did those in the past.  All things being equal, people will be the more efficient car or truck.  EVs should soon be as usable as ICEVs and since they cost far less per mile to operate, the market will almost certainly switch.

Fossil fuels are going away simply because they will be priced out of the market.  The energy needed to bring them to market and the inefficiency at which they are converted to movement makes them too expensive.

The big problem, IMO, is that market forces aren't likely to operate fast enough to avoid very problematic climate change.  We will need government's thumb on the scale to swing us over to renewables faster than would otherwise occur.

I think people will tolerate and support that thumb as long as they don't perceive it as costing them too much.  This is where, I think, outreach to the greater public works best.  People need to understand the danger and understand the things we can do to minimize the danger.  That will make them more responsive to government action which is needed for the heavy lifting.

Now, you don't like the idea that we have become smarter.  I'm not talking about the individual, but society as a whole.  The human ant colony.

We are operating off a much advanced knowledge base.  We are moving ideas and information much, much faster and more reliably than has ever been dreamed about.  We, as the body human, are a greatly advanced organism than the societies which proceeded ours.