Friday, February 09, 2007

Carbon Nation

It really makes me nervous when 40 out of 47 Wall Street Journal type economists agree on something. And it makes me really double super nervous when I agree with them.

Is It Time for a New Tax on Energy?
Wall Street Journal
Economists Say Government Should FosterAlternatives – But Not How Bush Proposes
Phil Izzo
February 9, 2007

The government should encourage development of alternatives to fossil fuels, economists said in a survey. But most say the best way to do that isn't in President Bush's energy proposals: a new tax on fossil fuels.

Forty of 47 economists who answered the question said the government should help champion alternative fuels. Economists generally are in favor of free-market solutions, but there are times when you need to intervene," said David Wyss at Standard & Poor's Corp. "We're already in the danger zone" because of the outlook for oil supplies and concerns about climate change, he said.

A majority of the economists said a tax on fossil fuels would be the most economically sound way to encourage alternatives. A tax would raise the price of fossil fuels and make alternatives, which today often are more costly to produce, more competitive in the consumer market. "A tax puts pressure on the market, rather than forcing an artificial solution on it," said Mr. Wyss. (clip)

In the survey, which was conducted Feb. 2-7, just two economists recommended regulations that require energy companies use more alternatives, one of the keys of the Bush plan, while six advised subsidies for producers of alternative fuels. "With subsidies, the government chooses the market solution," said Diane Swonk at Mesirow Financial. "I'd favor taxes in this area." (more)

Yesterday, I visited with some businessmen who were beginning to invest in clean energy rather than brown energy. From the high rise bank tower we were meeting in, we could see an "energy in transition" sculpture exhibit.

On the horizon, you could see our carbon nation's aging petrochemical towers rise from the coastal refineries.

But there below us, on the off loading areas of this seaport, we could see dozens of giant white glistening wind turbine blades, larger than any wing you would ever see at any international airport. On another dock, you could see the giant tubular towers that will hold these blades some 260 feet in the air.

We talked about how the scene below us was, yes, I think I even said it, "poetic".

Later in the conversation, I talked about the global move towards a global carbon fee or emission permit that actually puts the cost of carbon into the market and out of the hands of regulators.

I think they were nodding.

We talked about carbon and carbon dioxide and how one way to sequester the carbon from a 500 MW coal plant is to plant about 500 square miles of trees to absorb it.

I talked about how one train load of coal in,

Is 3 1/2 train loads of carbon dioxide out. (44/12)

We talked for about 3 hours.

My 450 mile trip put another 500 pounds of CO2

into the blanket of air we call the atmosphere.

This time,

I think it was worth it.


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art courtesy of John Clark and Jose Luis Di Gregorio



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop the Coal Rush

If it bothers you that our government has opted to spew up to 4.657 tons of mercury/yr to into the Texas skies from coal plants through 2017 (1), or maybe you've got asthma and it's the NOX, sulfur dioxide, and the particulates that make you wheeze. 
How about the massive amount of CO2…
Yes, Texas is Estado Numero Uno in the country on CO2 emissions.  These plants would add 124.5 million tons to our current output (2).
Or maybe its just the groundwater contamination or the wasteland left after strip mining?  (Right now we ship Powder River Basin Coal from Wyoming, but later they plan to mix it with dirty high sulfur lignite from Texas)

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do Something! Sunday!
Stop the Coal Rush!

Maybe you do want to participate this Sunday. If so, join us, wear a helmet, bring your camera, march, speak up. Help us rally against the construction of over 19 coal plants in Texas!

The Plan:
We'll meet at the Hike and Bike Trail parking lot under the Mopac Bridge(Located on Stratford Drive in Zilker Park) at 2:30 pm and depart together to the capitol. If you want to help make banners, I will be working on some starting at 1:00 pm, the same day. Email me if you want to help. The rally starts at 3:00 p.m. on the South steps of the capitol building.

If you are far away a gifted writer and would still like to contribute, we need some good slogans and maybe a little moral support.

DISCLAIMER: You are entitled to your opinion according to the first amendment BRAVO FOR THE 1ST). I recommend you support the coal industry in
some other way than bothering me about your opinion. PEACE - Nemaste - Tranquillo


We will dress like cavers with our headlamps, hiking boots and caver type gear, but you don't have to dress up to participate. We will identify ourselves as Cavers against Coal (or if you have something better....) We
will not affiliate ourselves with any other group.

If you want you could ride your bike over from the hike and bike trail (3 miles from capitol) or if its raining and you want to help make banners, we'll load up in cars and ride over. Let's meet at the corner of 17th and
Congress, (free parking on weekends). We will walk towards the capitol at 3:00 p.m. sharp and disband at 4:30 or thereabouts.

I don't know what it all means, Thanks for your time.

Aimee, (no last name given)
a la Charlie Loving, aka caver

8:05 AM  

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