Energy and Jobs

As long as energy is expensive and less abundant we will be harming our ability to compete on the world market, and decreasing jobs at most local levels. It’s a steady static downward spiral that we cannot afford to stay in.
One party has blocked new sources of energy steadily for thirty years, and during that time we’ve seen steady offshoring jobs and decreasing expectations in America. It’s time to put a stop to that, it’s time to build America anew. But ignoring reality will not gain us any relief.

There are new technologies for solar, wind, and geothermal that show a great deal of promise, but they are not ready today and cannot do the job. We must continue to use coal over the next thirty years, and we must find ways to make it cleaner while doing so. We must expand our use of nuclear energy as well to fill the gap of burgeoning energy needs.
Remember when energy prices go up, so too do food prices. While that’s a discomfort here in the US, in many countries it’s the difference between having flour or soy protein for a meal, or eating grass or foraging in the woods for food daily in poor countries. We must make energy abundant for our children and grandchildren, as well as relieve this dire pressure for the rest of the world, but we must first immediately increase our energy production capabilities across the board in our own country if we are to maintain the ability to solve the future energy problems. 50-70 Petawatthours of electricity will be needed by 2050, and we are in the 12-15 petwatthour range now. That’s a huge task and challenge, and it will take Americans working together and using an “all of the above” approach to solve.

The other impact to jobs of importing so much energy is that it’s money we send offshore – if we send the money offshore, it’s not here anymore working in our economy, which also leads to fewer jobs. The wealth of the future lies in energy creation, and it’s about time that the US started leading that new wave energy sources as we have all others. Here you see John McCain speaking in Ohio on the extreme import of extending the energy base we have now to create jobs and security while building the path to our energy future.

This topic might seem a bit dry, but it’s actually critically important to our future, especially now in this time of economic downturn. Please give it your attention.

Wind Builds Dependency on Gas

NEI has an update on what happens when you build wind turbines — you end up using gas. I’m an “all of the above” guy, it’s blue sky for all forms of energy for the next two decades, I don’t know why the pundits aren’t seeing that. 50-70 Petawatt hours of electricity will be needed worldwide by 2050, and who fills that need will be the leading economy of the future. So the T. Boone Pickens plan is ok as long as they aren’t opposing nuclear, which both the wind and natural gas lobbies tend to do.

The energy and environmental lobbies need to all put the knives away and work together to meet that growing demand as robustly and cleanly as possible, this isn’t simple and there’s not one solution. That’s why a great deal more nuclear energy capacity needs to brought online pronto.

From the study NEI cites:

Wind power is clearly not reducing the dependence on imported fuel, contrary to the frequent claims of its proponents. In fact the experience from Germany and Spain shows that it is increasing the dependence of imported natural gas. And that’s not energy security.

Who Produces the Oil and Who Uses it

There’s an interesting new Chart at Gapminder of who produces, and who uses world oil supplies. Notice the steady slip leftwards from the US from 1972 onwards, when we were at our peak in oil production. Interim that capacity has been replaced by other sources, mainly coal and imported oil. That is not a good thing, but on the other hand it’s better than what would be if we had not kept our energy use high. Imagine where the economy would be, and where the world would be if we were not using that energy to produce food, goods, cleaner water, sewage treament, medical products, and other assorted boons to mankind.

If we had replaced the oil production shortfall with nuclear energy over the past thirty years our economy, and the world’s would both be in better shape. Another interesting dot to watch: Iran around 1980.

Obama is Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense

Most Americans would not recognize the acronym “BMD” or understand its meaning, but Ballistic Missile Defense is a keystone to our strategic defense systems as well as those of NATO.

Russia, China, and a raft of third world thugs and dictators are as openly and adamantly opposed to the program as Obama is.

James Lewis at American Thinker has an article up about this, and I will take a moment here to completely underline one of the key effects of BMD for Geo-political strategy. To help you understand this effect I’m going to explain what I call the “Snapshot Bully Scenario.”

While nuclear war would be unthinkable with either Russia or China, and Ballistic Missile Defense at present isn’t designed to cope with their large arsenals, BMD does prevent the “snapshot bully” scenario. A single nuclear shot or threat of one by Russia or China against a neighbor they were trying to coerce would be unlikely, but it’s also unlikely that the response would be nuclear in return if they were given slight pretext and only one nuclear device were used or threatened. The opposition would be world wide, but it probably wouldn’t be military since that would initiate WWIII at a nuclear level. The precedent for limited nuclear weapon use was already set by the US when we used them against Japan.

What’s more likely is that Russia or China could threaten through proxy – a nuclear armed North Korea, Pakistan, India, or Iran backed by a tight alliance with either Russia or China could use the snapshot bullying tactic of a single shot or threat of a single shot to gain compliance, and that would be more likely than the direct threat scenario outlined above. Not to mention that if Iran gets nukes, it’s likely they will share the awful bounty with people like Hugo Chavez to threaten our allies in this hemisphere. Without BMD it’s likely that the Eastern European or South Asian country threatened would knuckle under to whatever demand was made under coercion from snapshot nuclear blackmail.

The current BMD program (once in place) completely removes that threat, since it makes it highly unlikely that a single shot would succeed in reaching target. Japan is already protected from snapshot scenarios, as are others in the area by their BMD batteries and ships.

China and Russia’s strategic nuclear forces also make the conventional armies of countries in East Europe and the Sub-continent of Asia somewhat useless in defending against an ally of either Russia or China, and there are many other scenarios you could imagine where the ability to defeat a single nuclear shot becomes extremely important beyond just that of the madman with a nuclear ICBM scenario most people think of.

Barack’s opposition to BMD and the space program is clearly a disaster in the making for the US and our Allies. Please write or join here and let your support of BMD be known. ( Please note that I am conservative, and oppose Barack Obama and the Democrats in general, but the MDAA is Non-partisan and supports the concept of BMD in general without lobbying for any particular technology.)

Say What Barack?

This is hilarious.

[editor: Well it was hilarious, but now they’ve pulled the air gauge vid. Here’s the latest McCain ad as a poor substitute.]

McCain Calls on Congress

John McCain is a realist – he has the foresight to look ahead at the nine billion souls who will soon populate this planet, and what they will need. They will need energy in quantities undreamt of, and the only way to solve that dilemma is an “All of the Above” approach. We need every energy source working if we would not have the planet plunged into poverty, misery, filth and despair. The first step on that path is making energy cheaper and more abundant in America so that we may continue to feed the world.

In this video you see Senator McCain call on Congress to come back and work on the energy problem.

Former CIA Asset in Iran Writes at PJM

This is a must read article, please stop by Pajamas Media.

Baitullah Mehsud Calls on Pakistan to Use Nuclear Arsenal “to Defend Against the Enemies”.

In this brief interview you will see Baitullah Mehsud, leader of TTP, or Pakistan’s Taliban, deny the assasination of Benazir Bhutto (methinks he doth protest too oft and too much…) as well as praise Bin Laden. He states that Bin Laden is not “in this region”, but they would do whatever he asks.

Then he goes on to exhort the Pakistan government to use their Nuclear power against the enemies, later he identifies the enemies of their Jihad as Christians and Jews.

Watch here at Memri.

Keep in mind that Baitullah is a well practiced liar and manipulator — way back during the putsch of Uzbeks in his region he had me hoping that he was actually anti-AQ. That hope was false, and like the rest of the Neo-Takfirist Pashtun Jihadis in Pakistan, he is their lapdog.

Our Bright Future

It’s easy to accept convential wisdom that we are someway doomed to energy poverty, and in the current environment of over-regulated energy and the impacts to food production I can see why some folks go there. I refuse to because history demonstrates that humanity almost always figures a way to muddle through — that “almost” deserves some consideration, but I won’t dwell on it.

Jerry Pournelle is waxing a bit apocalyptic which is fair given current energy situation, political environment, and the wave of populist pseudo-science sweeping the nation. However as the survivalists of the ’80’s discovered scarcity only gets to pinch middle america so long before there’s a response. Jerry has re-opened discussion on burning food here, and here, both are worth reading.

Jerry’s making a lot of sense in his stance – e.g. if we can’t develop our own sources of energy due to political ennui, then ethanol in all of its ugliness is preferrable to sending our billions to tyrants. Even then Ethanol’s not enough, and we must continue to investigate Hydrogen and other means.

Worst come to worst, we do have energy solutions – if the situation gets to the point where it starts affecting Little League and soccer, then it will get taken care of. We have plenty of inelegant, ugly sources of energy if we choose to use them. Coal use could be ramped up, coal gas could be ramped up, we could drill offshore. We could drill ANWR, we can go after oil shale, we can damn more rivers and creeks – the energy is available given the will and the want.

On the other hand we could remove some prohibitive regulation to build 80-100 new generation Nuclear reactors and plug this gap quickly, cheaply, and cleanly.

Whether it’s food to fuel our bodies or fuel to move our cars, everything comes back to energy availability — and given sufficient cheap energy all things become possible. Whether it’s cleaning our environment or saving the rainforest energy abundance is the key.

The conventional concern over liquid or gaseous fuels is habitual thinking – burning hydrocarbons is how we move our vehicles now but it doesn’t have to be. We really don’t need to burn anything to get our cars to move – we could electrify the major roadways and our cars if we had sufficient energy and zero gas or liquid fuel to burn.

Before you say that’s crazy, electrifying roadways and putting whips and electric meters on cars requires a lot less labor, capital, and infrastructure than paving the roads did during the 1940’s-1980’s, prior to that most roads were unpaved. If we implemented electric roadways on a large scale backed by next generation reactors, then efficient ways to do it would be discovered because that’s just human nature. Our freight could transport on mag-lev rail, and our ships would move with the proven technology of naval nuclear reactors.

The real challenge given zero combustable gases would clearly be aerospace, not ground or sea transport.

Meanwhile there is hope for improved cheap nuclear and enough to satisfy our needs. Huffpo gets math and assumptions egregiously wrong here, but please note that McCain is the only candidate fully backing nuclear energy.

The challenge this year and next is to get congress off their duff – they need to make it less prohibitive to build nuclear energy plants, they need to allow some more drilling as a stop-gap, they need to create a transcontinental high speed rail right-of-way with a power intertie and OC128 Fiber routes in it for kicks.

Solar and wind need more maturing before they replace the proven technologies, and we are about to hit the wall where fuel scarcity starts affecting middle class lifestyle in America in a big way.

Meanwhile the strange bedfellows alliance of global warming activists, greenpeace anti-nuclear groups, ethanol lobbies, and coal lobbies continue to really drive energy policy in this country. You’ve seen the results of that dark cabal of collective political interests over the past 30 years, and you see it echoed in Obama’s speeches on how we have to give up some things. Obama is the candidate of of entropy, ennui, and a low-energy future. It’s time to drive these energy stasists out of politics, it’s time to take your children’s future back from them.

Video Details Features of the Syrian/NK Plutonium Creation Facility


Hat Tip Hot Air