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Sunday, November 13, 2005

NYT Energy Analysis Ignores The Solution

The NYT provides us useful means of conserving energy at home to reduce demand for oil and gas. Anna Bernasek in Real Energy Savers Don't Wear Cardigans. Or Do They? describes how we have improved fuel efficiency any time the price of fuel increased enough to make it economically prudent to conserve. This is Econ 101. She focuses largely on fuel used in driving, where from 1979 to 1985 efficencies such as Americans eschewing driving "gas guzzlers" reduced our demand for gas and led to a worldwide decrease in oil prices.

However, it is only at the end of the article we learn that vehicles are only 40% of total domestic oil consumption. The other 60% represents involves industrial and home electricity needs. She suggests turning off or unplugging computers when not in use though this kills computer drives that are quite costly( Econ 101 tells us to choose the fuel expense over the expense of a new computer).

Why does Bernasek (and the NYT) promote insignificant changes to consumption of fossil fuels when there is a major change that could reduce such demand permanently? Given that greater impact can be made by changing the fuel dynamic of the 60% used in electricity, the solution is an increased use of nuclear power.

Peter Huber in the City Journal explains that electricity has taken over as the energy source of many industries formerly powered by oil. We use fossil fuel to create this electric energy. Writes Huber:

So today we use 40 percent of our fuel to power the plug, and the plug powers 60 percent of GDP. And with the ascent of microwaves, lasers, hybrid wheels, and such, we’re moving to 60 and 80 percent, respectively, soon. And then, in due course, 100/100. We’re turning to electricity as fuel because it can do more, faster, in much less space—indeed, it’s by far the fastest and purest form of power yet tamed for ubiquitous use. Small wonder that demand for it keeps growing.

And while the Greens protest the use of nuclear, nuclear is the most environmentally sound energy source. Writes Huber:

Nuclear power could do it—easily. In all key technical respects, it is the antithesis of solar power. A quad’s worth of solar-powered wood is a huge forest—beautiful to behold, but bulky and heavy. Pound for pound, coal stores about twice as much heat. Oil beats coal by about twice as much again. And an ounce of enriched-uranium fuel equals about 4 tons of coal, or 15 barrels of oil. That’s why minuscule quantities contained in relatively tiny reactors can power a metropolis.

The NYT conveniently ignores a solution to a problem it portrays. But the NYT is a proponent of the Greens. And the Greens are hypocrites. The NYT and the Greens use scare tactics from out-dated modes of nuclear technology (featured in movies starring out-dated actors-see The China Syndrome) to deny citizens cheaper energy costs. They maintain the dependence on foreign oil by denying the construction of oil refineries and drilling in the continent. And it is done for the benefit of whom?

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