Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Newly discovered or newly accessible sources of oil in Canada, the US, Brazil, Colombia, and other countries may make the Americas a larger source of petroleum than OPEC. http://nyti.ms/n41K2a If that results in lower prices and fewer wars to protect oils fields, will we still care about energy conservation and the environment? http://amplify.com/u/a1d5v4

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New evidence suggests that Iran is making progress towards nuclear weapons capabilities. http://nyti.ms/oVbAyI http://amplify.com/u/a1d0re

Friday, September 16, 2011

Vince Lombardi famously said, "Some people try to find things in this game that don't exist but football is only two things - blocking and tackling." David Brooks has similar advice for President Obama today: Don't get fancy trying to solve a problem that needs to work itself out. All you can do is block and tackle. Create jobs now with basic infrastructure spending. See The Planning Fallacy http://nyti.ms/oRtw1M http://amplify.com/u/a1cxcj

Monday, September 12, 2011

75% of emerging infectious diseases originate when microbes jump from wildlife to humans. http://nyti.ms/pkaihJ If we don't start paying attention to Mother Nature, she knows how to get our attention. http://amplify.com/u/a1cqlg

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Oil and coal get billions of dollars in direct and indirect subsidies, so renewable energy cannot compete unless we provide more subsidies for wind, solar, etc., and now there's a plan in the UK to subsidize the importation of timber so it can be burned as a "lower carbon alternative" to coal gu.com/p/3xz9c/tw All of this serves only to distort the price signals necessary for rational decision-making in a free market, pushing citizens and governments into financial ruin, while multinational energy companies laugh all the way to their (offshore tax haven) bank. http://amplify.com/u/a1cplt

Friday, September 9, 2011

Th head of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill panel says that the U.S. should plan to aid Cuba in case of an oil spill off the coast of Florida: http://nyti.ms/p5s2OY Not sure whether to be optimistic that we now have the relevant expertise, or depressed that Cuba could be drilling so close to our shores. http://amplify.com/u/a1cndg

Thursday, September 8, 2011

An interesting op-ed in today's New York Times argues that all of our individual actions (such as buying carbon offsets for our airplane flights, or not using plastic bags) will have little impact on global carbon emissions, and that we need macro solutions. See Going Green but Getting Nowhere http://nyti.ms/rcOeDV Agreed. But only to a point. All those individual actions create an awareness that ultimately lead to changes in public opinion, which lead to changes in public policy. Macro solutions start with individual choices. http://amplify.com/u/a1cm8o

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

We all know that there is a difference between spending and investing. The same holds true for governments. Spend money on one time benefits, and the money is gone. Invest in new infrastructure, and you build an asset that can continue to create value for decades or longer. Which is why debt-ridden Greece is proposing a huge solar power expansion http://bit.ly/mS0tjb Sounds like spending now. But when Greece is paying nothing in fuel costs for a big % of its energy, it will look like an investment. http://amplify.com/u/a1cjcr

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

GM wants to build electric cars here in the US and export them to China, but China wants GM to reveal its trade secrets first so Chinese companies can copy them. See http://nyti.ms/pewAo9 #EV It is time we restructured our trade and economic subsidy laws to deal with this job killing nonsense. http://amplify.com/u/a1chdl

Monday, September 5, 2011

In the debate over job creation vs environmental regulations (see http://nyti.ms/n7Yf4n) we sometimes lose sight of comparative advantage. If we eliminate environmental regulations (i.e., we eliminate higher environmental standards), then everyone competes based on the lowest price. That puts us at a competitive disadvantage with low-wage countries. When we set high standards, then the competition is not based on price alone but on quality as well (i.e., the ability to manufacture to those higher standards) where we can develop a comparative advantage. Now this is not a binary concept. But it is one factor to consider. http://amplify.com/u/a1cggn

Sunday, September 4, 2011

New energy efficiency regulations for refrigerators will save enough electricity to power 3.4 million homes -- equal to all the homes in the State of Virginia. http://bit.ly/nlxtiM http://amplify.com/u/a1cfba

Saturday, September 3, 2011

President Obama has abandoned proposed air quality rules, bowing to pressure from Republicans and business interests. http://nyti.ms/qisjq9 He also believes the fallacy of "clean coal", approves Arctic ocean drilling, and endorses a pipeline fro Candian tar sands through environmentally sensitives areas in the US. Bottom line: Environmentalists would have been better off voting for McCain. http://amplify.com/u/a1cek3

Friday, September 2, 2011

While we lose jobs and debate whether climate change is real, China is building new industries for the 21st century such as solar. See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/business/global/us-solar-company-bankruptcies-a-boon-for-china.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha25 http://amplify.com/u/a1cbzs

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Solyndra, a solar energy company that was started with half a billion dollars in federal government loans, has announced that it is shutting down. See http://nyti.ms/nzv5ey This points out a critical difference between the energy policies of Teddy Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter. Roosevelt created the most competitive energy industry in the world by using the antitrust laws to restructure the energy markets. Carter tried to promote renewable energy by picking the best synfuels technology. http://amplify.com/u/a1c9n2