Bill Nye, the Science Guy, was online Friday, May 28, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss the Gulf oil spill and the latest efforts to cap the well, including the “top kill” maneuver.
Chantilly, Va.: Why is the oil still gushing out after more than a month? I always assumed they need pumps and other equipment to get the oil to the surface. Where is the pressure coming from to continue to let the oil out of the well?
Bill Nye: The pressure driving the huge flow came or comes from ancient bacteria that fed on ancient sea plants or plankton. The bacteria gave off natural gas, also called methane. It’s trapped in a cavity under the seafloor. This gas is under about 460 atmospheres (6,800 psi) of pressure. That’s plenty to spew oil for years, or even decades.
Sarasota, Fla.: BP has not been clear about the quantity of mud versus oil coming out of their gushing pipe. There seems to be uncertainly interpreting the video. But couldn’t they determine the relative quantities from a quick, simple analysis of the fluid they are pumping to the surface? —
Bill Nye: The head BP guy this morning made the extraordinary, and probably not quite accurate, claim that no oil has been coming out, while the mud is flowing. He probably just meant the flow of oil is way down. Such an estimate is very hard, because most of the oil doesn’t make it to the surface. It becomes neutrally buoyant goo. Yikes.
Please follow the link for the rest of the Q&A. It is pretty basic.
Nicholas Pousey (spelling uncertain) and Matt Simmons were on the Dylan Ratigan Program 2 days ago and they claim that the REAL Oil gusher is several miles away and is gushing at a rate of 50,000 barrels of oil a day. They say that PB was probably right in saying that the riser is probably only gushing 5,000 barrels as they predicted. The discrepancy between the oil that is seen and the predicted oil is this second leak. It has been reported that this is BP’s second borehole on this lease. The last one had to be abandoned…Did that drill hole blow out? If so the gulf is doomed. They also reported as I did weeks ago that a supertanker could be sucking all this stuff up and trans shipping it. What screw ups. I am terrible at putting up Video but here is the link to the Youtube recording.
I just finished watching this video — and I hope every American sees it.
Philippe Cousteau, grandson of famous explorer Jacques Cousteau, went underwater off the Gulf Coast to see first-hand what the Deepwater Oil Disaster looks and feels like. And the answer he came back with: “This is a nightmare.”
We’ve seen the oil start to wash up on shore, and we’ve seen satellite images of the slick. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg: Take a look at the underwater impact of the oil geyser and the dangerous chemicals BP is using to “disperse” it — effects that could last for decades, even if today’s risky “Top Kill” maneuver to plug the well works.
It’s never been clearer: The consequences of our dependence on oil, from the Deepwater Oil Disaster to the climate crisis, are completely unacceptable.
It’s been over a month and the oil catastrophe caused by British Petroleum in the Gulf isn’t even close to being contained, much less cleaned up. To make it worse, even as we await the results of the latest attempt to stop the flow of oil gushing from the well, BP continues to not allow anyone other than themselves the ability and access to fully investigate the extent of the problems.
Why won’t BP share the full information needed to assist in the emergency response and complete understanding of the severity of the disaster? Because, as it stands right now, they have a lot of incentive to never let us know the full truth. It’s likely the smaller the official estimates of how much has spilled, the lower BP’s liability could be when it comes time to pay for cleaning it up.
Clearly, BP’s bottom line is more important to them than stopping and cleaning up the damage they’ve caused. Enough is enough. It’s time to speak to BP in a language they will understand.
Pledge to buy your gas from anyone but BP until the disaster is cleaned-up.
As you can imagine, BP is extremely sensitive to public pressure right now. So when you join the campaign, we’ll ask you how much money per week you spend on gas so we can alert the media and BP of the financial impact as it grows each day. And of course, we’ll also share this information with candidates who understand the enormous extent of this environmental disaster and will work to support our efforts.
A large-scale Boycott Campaign targeted specifically at making sure BP does everything they can — as fast as they can — is the perfect way for us to create economic pressure they understand.
By taking matters into our own hands, we’re not waiting around hoping for BP to do the right thing or for Washington to take action. We’re doing something right now — as individuals — that has an immediate impact on BP’s bottom line.
This is too serious and too big to sit around and just let it continue to happen. It’s up to us to take every action we can to have an impact.
Thank you for everything you do,
Jim Dean, Chair
Democracy for America
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Top Kill may be working…at least for now…more tomorrow
How could you possibly continue to call that thing a Blowout Preventer? It is just too sick to contemplate. Drilling mud is pretty toxic so here is hoping very little of it has to be pumped in to the Gulf itself.
BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Causes “Summer Of Tears” For Louisiana Bayoukeeper
We would like to share with you a reflection on the personal impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster written by our colleague and friend Mike Roberts of Louisiana Bayoukeeper. Mike has made a life for himself and his family fishing the waters of the Louisiana coast. Now BP’s disaster is threatening an entire way of life.
Summer Of Tears
by Mike Roberts
The boat ride, out, from Lafitte, Louisiana, Sunday, May 23, 2010, to our fishing grounds was not unlike any other I have taken in my life, as a commercial fisherman from this area. I have made the trip thousands of times in my 35 plus years shrimping and crabbing. A warm breeze in my face, it is a typical Louisiana summer day. 3 people were with me, my wife Tracy, Ian Wren, and our grandson, Scottie. I was soon to find out, how untypical this day would become for me, not unlike a death in the family. This was going to be a very bad day for me.
As we neared Barataria Bay, the smell of crude oil in the air was getting thicker and thicker. An event that always brought joy to me all of my life, the approach of the fishing grounds, was slowly turning into a nightmare. As we entered Grand Lake, the name we fishermen call Barataria Bay, I started to see a weird, glassy look to the water and soon it became evident to me, there was oil sheen as far as I could see. Soon, we were running past patches of red oil floating on top of the water. As we headed farther south, we saw at least a dozen boats, in the distance, which appeared to be shrimping. We soon realized that shrimping was not what they were doing at all, but instead they were towing oil booms in a desperate attempt to corral oil that was pouring into our fishing grounds. We stopped to talk to one of the fishermen, towing a boom, a young fisherman from Lafitte. What he told me floored me. He said, “What we are seeing in the lake, the oil, was but a drop in the bucket of what was to come.” He had just come out of the Gulf of Mexico and he said, “It was unbelievable, the oil runs for miles and miles and was headed for shore and into our fishing grounds”. I thought, what I had already seen in the lake was enough for a lifetime. We talked a little while longer, gave the fisherman some protective respirators and were soon on our way. As we left the small fleet of boats, working feverishly, trying to corral the oil, I became overwhelmed with what I just saw.
I am not real emotional and consider myself a pretty tough guy.You have to be to survive as a fisherman. As I left that scene, tears flowed down my face and I cried. Something I have not done in a long time, but would do several more times that day. I tried not to let my grandson, Scottie, see me crying. I didn’t think he would understand, I was crying for his stolen future. None of this will be the same, for decades to come. The damage is going to be immense and I do not think our lives here in South Louisiana will ever be the same. He is too young to understand. He has an intense love for our way of life here. He wants to be a fisherman and a fishing guide when he gets older. It is what he is, it is in his soul, and it is his culture. How can I tell him that this may never come to pass now, now that everything he loves in the outdoors may soon be destroyed by this massive oil spill? How do we tell this to a generation of young people, in south Louisiana who live and breathe this bayou life that they love so much, could soon be gone? How do we tell them? All this raced through my mind and I wept.
We continued farther south towards Grand Terre Island. We approached Bird Island. The real name is Queen Bess Island, but we call it Bird Island, because it is always full of birds. It is a rookery, a nesting island for thousands of birds, pelicans, terns, gulls etc. As we got closer, we saw that protective boom had been placed around about two thirds of the island. It was obvious to me, that oil had gone under the boom and was fouling the shore and had undoubtedly oil some birds. My God. We would see this scene again at Cat Island and other unnamed islands that day. We continued on to the east past Coup Abel Pass and more shrimp boats trying to contain some of the oil on the surface. We arrived at 4 Bayou Pass to see more boats working on the same thing. We beached the boat and decided to look at the beach between the passes.
The scene was one of horror to me. There was thick red oil on the entire stretch of beach, with oil continuing to wash ashore. The water looked to be infused with red oil, with billions of, what appeared to be, red pebbles of oil washing up on the beach with every wave. The red oil pebbles, at the high tide mark on the beach were melting into pools of red goo in the hot Louisiana sun. The damage was overwhelming. There was nobody there to clean it up. It would take an army to do it. Like so much of coastal Louisiana, it was accessible only by boat. Will it ever be cleaned up? I don’t know. Tears again. We soon left that beach and started to head home.
We took a little different route home, staying a little farther to the east side of Barataria Bay. As we approached the northern end of the bay, we ran into another raft of oil that appeared to be covering many square miles. It was only a mile from the interior bayous on the north side of Barataria Bay. My God. No boats were towing boom in this area. I do not think anyone even knew it was there. A little bet farther north, we saw some shrimp boats with boom, on anchor, waiting to try and protect Bayou St. Dennis from the oil. I alerted them of the approaching oil. I hope they were able to control it before it reached the bayou. We left them and started to head in.
My heart never felt so heavy, as on that ride in. I thought to myself, this is the most I’ve cried since I was a baby. In fact I am sure it was. This will be a summer of tears for a lot of us in south Louisiana.
It’s now been over a month since the Deepwater Oil Disaster began — and not only has BP failed to stop the flow of oil so far, but we still don’t even know how big the spill is — because BP won’t allow anyone else to investigate the extent of the problem.
The secrecy must stop.
BP is refusing to share information — data it’s already tracking — that would assist in the response and public understanding of the scope and severity of the Deepwater Oil Disaster. And they have every incentive in the world to keep doing so — news reports say that the smaller the official estimates of the spill, the lower BP’s liability could be in court.1
We don’t let criminals investigate their own crimes, and this shouldn’t be any different. It’s time for BP to get out of the way and allow access for independent scientists and engineers to determine the real size of this catastrophe.
Independent reviews by scientists across the country are suggesting that the oil leak may be as much as 19 times worse than the original estimates — but BP refuses to provide them with the data required to make their estimates more precise. All we know for sure is that the oil just keeps on gushing.
BP is extremely sensitive right now to public pressure — so let’s tell them that we won’t stand for them hiding the truth. We’ll deliver copies of the petitions and any comments you submit to the CEO of BP, as well as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Maggie L. Fox
Chief Executive Officer
Climate Protection Action Fund
P.S. This disaster is a painful reminder of how dangerous our addiction to oil really is – and how critical it is that our elected officials in Washington pass strong climate and clean energy legislation that weans us off of dirty fossil fuels as soon as possible. We must make sure that Americans and our leaders understand the true cost of oil. We simply can’t afford a BP coverup. Sign the petition now demanding full transparency.
Eleven oil workers are dead. One of the largest oil spills in U.S. history continues to worsen. BP’s oil gusher at the floor of the Gulf of Mexico may be 100 times worse than BP first estimated (and 20 times worse than the company presently claims). 100 times!
BP’s oil gusher is now threatening coastal lands in Louisiana and is almost certain to destroy fisheries and the livelihoods of people who fish and shrimp in the Gulf, or rely on the Gulf for tourism business. The giant plumes of oil deep underwater will exact an unknown toll on sea life. And the spreading oil may even wind up in currents that eventually take it to the U.S. Eastern shores.
BP CEO Tony Hayward is sanguine about the whole problem. The Financial Times quotes him saying, “I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest.”
A boycott will send a message to BP that its shoddy oversight of this project and its history of environmental and worker safety violations is unforgivable. Take the BP Boycott Pledge, and commit not to buy gas from BP for at least three months. Go here: www.beyondBP.org
Please read the entire article. This guy is pissed off. And if you click on the link you go to these guys.
Take the Beyond BP Pledge! Drive a car? Like the occasional fountain drink? Send a clear message to BP by boycotting its gas and retail store products. Don’t spend a cent of your hard-earned money to feed the bottom line of a corporation that has a sordid history of negligence, willfully violates environmental regulations, and is spewing thousands and thousands of barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico.
Kirk Stewart Lager If they cap the leaking well, they can no longer harvest profits from it…… The government is letting them keep trying all these attempts to control it right now (oil recovery system over the well head, a smaller containment dome – dubbed a “top hat”, and now the collection tube that is half ass in place)…… Cap…ping the leak means capping the profits, and apparently we can’t have that.
Boycott BP stations until the spill is cleaned up!…FOREVER. BP brands to boycott include Castrol, Arco, Aral, am/pm, Amoco, and Wild Bean Cafe. http://twitter.com/bayoulee. HEY MEDIA WE WANT AN “OJ COVERAGE” CHANNEL DEVOTED TO THIS BP OIL DISASTER AND WE WANT IT NOW! Boycott des stations. Boicot estaciones. Tankstellen boykottieren. boykot BP stationer. boikotti BP.?????? BP.Bojkot BP. bojkott BP. BP stasies boikot.Bojkot stacji BP.boykot BP. bojkot BP stanice.boicottare le stazioni BP. boykote BP estasyon. ?????? BP. boicot gorsafoedd BPsniðganga BP stöðvar til hella niður er hreinsað! boykot BP. boicot estacións BP. Boicotul sta?ii BP.?????? BP. BP kususia vituo mpaka spill ni kusafishwa up!????????? ???????? BP. ???? BP ????? ?? ????? ??? ????! BP t?y chay ?ài cho ??n khi ???c làm s?ch tràn lên!???????? ??.??. ???????? ?? ??? ??? ??!BP????????????????? ! ????????????????????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ???! !?????? ????? ?? ?? ??? ??? ????? ???? ???!????? ?????????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ??? ???? ????! (read less)
Boycott BP stations until the spill is cleaned up!…FOREVER. BP brands to boycott include Castrol, Arco, Aral, am/pm, Amoco, and Wild Bean Cafe. http://twitter.com/bayoulee. HEY MEDIA WE WANT AN “OJ COVERAGE” CHANNEL DEVOTED TO THIS BP OIL DISASTER AND WE WANT IT NOW! Boycott des stations. Boicot estaciones. Tankstellen boykottieren. boykot BP stationer. boikotti BP.?????? BP.Bojkot BP. bojkott BP. BP stasies boikot.Bojkot stacji BP.boykot BP. bojkot BP stanice.boicottare le stazioni BP…. (read more)
There is only one problem with this. BP owns so much other crap that putting a dent in their gasoline sales will only amount to a sneeze. Did you know that BP owns Arcoa and a Solar Panel manufacturer? More tomorrow…much more.
The problem with this Economist Mentality is that it is ungoverned. Any income issue that constantly rises, crashes under its own weight. Another issue is the dramatic increase in population in the last 100 years. Over all America’s consumption is down in the last 20 years and that is a fact jack. But environmentalists waffle…
It is an article of faith within the sustainability movement that resource efficiency improvement must be the main response to Peak Oil and Climate Change. The recurring mantra in our culture is that technological silver bullets will save the day. It is widely believed that increased resource efficiencies coupled with widely deployed renewable energy technologies will rescue the earth from catastrophe and salvage Western civilization from ecological and societal collapse. Furthermore, such a strategy will usher in a new relationship with nature that secures her for generations to come. As with most articles of faith, belief in them is a difficult thing to shake even in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary.
In the early eighties, an old debate within economics resurfaced surrounding something called Jevons’ Paradox, or the more descriptive term rebound effect. Many well-known minds, such as Amory Lovins, piped in on the new meaning of this old, obscure argument buried in 19th century classical economics. First coined by the economist W. Stanley Jevons in The Coal Question (1865), the paradox he noted was in regards to coal consumption and efficiency improvements in steam engines: “It is a confusion of ideas to suppose that economical use of fuel is equivalent to diminished consumption. The very contrary is the truth.”
As with most articles of faith, belief in them is a difficult thing to shake even in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary.
In the 1980s, Jevons’ observation was revisited by the economists Daniel Khazzoom and Leonard Brookes. In their analysis, they looked beyond the relationship between energy resources and the machines that convert them to useful work to consider the overall effect of technological improvements in resource efficiencies on the energy use of a society as a whole. They argued that increased efficiency paradoxically leads to increased overall energy consumption. In 1992, the economist Harry Saunders dubbed this hypothesis the Khazzoom-Brookes Postulate and showed that it was true under neo-classical growth theory over a wide range of assumptions. Since the appearance of the Khazzoom-Brookes Postulate, numerous studies have weighed in on the debate arguing a range of impacts of the rebound effect.
…increased efficiency paradoxically leads to increased overall energy consumption.
In January 2008, Earthscan released Jevons Paradox: The Myth of Resource Efficiency Improvements as the latest and most comprehensive review of the paradox in economics literature. Prefaced by anthropologist Joseph Tainter (The Collapse of Complex Societies, 1988), the book reviews the history of the debate, current findings and includes the latest multi-disciplinary studies regarding the existence of the rebound effect. The book clearly supports the proposition that the rebound effect is present in the US, Europe and most other economies and that strategies to increase energy efficiency in themselves will do little to improve the energy or the ecological situation. In fact, they may well worsen it as the historical impact of resource efficiency improvements shows that increasing the efficiency in the use of a resource in turn increases the consumption of that resource.
The devil is in the details
The crux of the argument lies in the fact that when you save money through improvements in efficiencies, such as with gas mileage or heating costs, invariably that savings has two effects. First, it decreases demand for an energy resource, which reduces the price of the resource. This then reveals a new layer of demand that, in turn, increases consumption of that resource. Such behavior can be found most everywhere in the economy. In analyzing homes over the last 50 years we see their energy efficiency improved dramatically but the square footage more than doubled and the number of occupants more than halved. Even though the heat load of today’s homes may be less than that of 50 years ago, the total embodied energy and operational requirements per occupant home is far greater due to size, composition, occupancy and lifestyle – all predicated on resource efficiency improvements.
Word processing is another example of the Paradox at work. Before the advent of personal computers, producing a professional typewritten document was quite arduous, time consuming and expensive. Once computers, printers and networks came onto the scene, there was widespread hype that we would no longer need paper and the “paperless office” was bandied about as one of the great resource conserving aspects of technology. Everyone knows what happened – paper consumption skyrocketed because the cost per word to print plummeted.
The same thing happens with highway improvements. Every increase and improvement made to the carrying capacity of highways invariably leads to an increase in traffic congestion, housing development and maintenance regimes. Efficiency improvements in battery storage technology and the energy efficiency of micro-circuits along with efficiency improvements in production and infrastructure have fueled the explosion in digital technologies, all of which increase demand for energy and resources. The paradox is everywhere.
The second effect resulting from efficiency improvements is that when you save money you usually spend it somewhere else in the system of production, and that translates into increased energy and resource consumption. The worst thing you could do is save it in the fractional reserve banking system where the multiplier effect can compound your savings to recycle it into the economy at 10 times what it would have been if you had just spent the money yourself.
Even those who argue for the “sackcloth and ashes” approach to sustainability through lower consumption, simplicity, and reduced reliance on fossil energy are haunted by Jevons ghost. As the ecological economist Blake Alcott notes in The Sufficiency Strategy: Would Rich-world Frugality Lower Environmental Impact?
However, given global markets and marginal consumers, one person’s doing without enables another to “do with.” In the near run the former consumption of a newly sufficient person can get fully replaced. And given the extent of poverty and the temptations of luxury and prestige consumption, this near run is likely to be longer than the time horizon required for a relevant strategy to stem climate change and the loss of vital species and natural resources.
The claim of reducing material standards voluntarily as a means to reduce environmental impact may be sound at the local or regional level, but in the global marketplace such claims are demonstrably false. As countries like China and India work their way through the late stages of primitive capital accumulation, they are stepping into the consumptive paradigm full force with over two billion consumers anxious to take up any slack. India’s boast of the Tata, the world’s cheapest automobile, and the prospect of a billion new cars on the road by the middle of the century haunt the Western world as the ghosts of Prometheus and Pandora reappear before our eyes.
…China and India…are stepping into the consumptive paradigm full force…
If they are not saying it is inevitable then they are saying the only way around it is to unplug.
Household appliances provide the best example that efficiency gains really do stick. Take refrigerators (which can use as much as 14 percent of a household’s total energy). Until the late 1970s, the average size of our refrigerators increased steadily and then began leveling off. But, during the same period, the energy those refrigerators used started to decline rapidly. Today’s Energy Star refrigerators are 40 percent more efficient than those sold even seven years ago. After all, there is a maximum size to the refrigerator you can easily put in a kitchen and a limit to the number of refrigerators you need in your house. In short, improvements in efficiency have greatly outpaced our need for more and larger storage spaces.
One problem in applying Jevons’ Paradox to today is the fact that back in 1885, coal was getting cheaper every day. The authors
“suggest that taxes could make up for any savings introduced by efficiency improvements, thereby avoiding the paradox. In the United States, at least, this approach is politically infeasible, but the general principle is sound.”
Holladay suggests an alternative: voluntary simplicity.
I’m calling instead for the voluntary adoption of a simpler lifestyle: one with less work, fewer possessions, and more leisure time. A graceful transition to such a lifestyle would be the greatest possible gift to our children and grandchildren.
Certainly TreeHugger territory, but not an easy sell. However we are in a very temporary bubble of reduced consumption; many are living lives of involuntary simplicity now and when oil prices come back, will have an even harder time. It is a smackdown between Adam Smith and William Jevons; when stuff is expensive, people use less of it. And prices are going to rise, whether we tax them or not.
Or maybe even Jevons’ Excuse. See if the Industrialists and the Elite can say, “Look it doesn’t matter whether we save energy or not. Someone else will just use it”. Kind of like Marx’s army of the unemployed. The is the army of the underenergized. As we pointed out last time this is called a rebound theory because after the efficiencies are introduced the consumption never quite makes it back to the same level. That is because once people see that they can save a lot of money by paying less, their ways stay changed so to speak. Much of that rebound can also be explained by human kinds relentless population growth. But he also assumes the total fluidity of the market. Not everyone can access a nuke in Savannah like if they are in Nigeria.
Jevons paradox (also known as the rebound effect) is the observation that greater energy efficiency, while in the short-run producing energy savings, may in the long-run result in higher energy use. It was first noted by the British economist W. Stanley Jevons, in his book The Coal Question published in 1865, where he argued that “it is a confusion of ideas to suppose that the economical use of fuel is equivalent to diminished consumption. The very contrary is the truth.” The Jevons paradox is an observation based on economic theory and long-term historical studies, and its magnitude is a matter of considerable dispute: if it is small (i.e., the expansion of fuel using activities is less than 100% of the improvement in efficiency) then energy efficiency improvements will lead to lower energy consumption, if it is large (i.e., the expansion of fuel using activities is greater than 100% of the improvement in efficiency) then energy consumption will be higher. A key problem in resolving the two positions is that it is not possible to run ‘control’ experiments to see whether energy use is higher or lower than if there had been no efficiency improvements—there is, after all, only one future. A further problem is that the rebound effect has differing impacts at all levels of the economy, from the micro-economic (the consumer) to the macro-economic (the national economy), and its magnitude at all levels of the economy has not yet been determined. Nonetheless, there is mounting evidence that at the national level it is not uncommon for total resource consumption to grow even while efficiency improves, suggesting at least that improvements in efficiency are not necessarily sufficient for curtailing consumption (although, once again, this does not necessarily demonstrate that resource consumption grows because of improvements in efficiency).
Is the push for greater energy efficiency a good policy choice to address energy scarcity after Peak Oil? Here’s a bold answer: NO, at least not in a vacuum. Efficiency is not a standalone solution, but part of the much more complex problem of reducing total energy consumption that must address Jevon’s Paradox and the Rebound Effect.
Jevon’s Paradox tells us that when we increase the efficiency of the use of a resource, we initially decrease the demand for that resource, but that ultimately this lower demand reduces price, which causes a “rebound” of increasing demand. When applied specifically to energy efficiency, this is commonly referred to as the “Rebound Effect.”
Here’s a real-world example. Let’s magically double the average fuel economy of America’s cars and trucks. Gasoline demand would drop immediately by 50%. This would affect the supply-demand equilibrium of gasoline, reducing its price significantly. However, with dramatically lower gas prices, many people would choose to drive more than they had in the past—this is the “rebound,” where some of the energy savings provided by gains in efficiency are negated by the corresponding effect on energy prices. Clearly, a 50% drop in gas prices won’t result in the average American doubling their driving, as would be required to completely negate the efficiency gains in this scenario. Even if gas was free, there would be some limit to how much we would drive. So this “rebound effect” doesn’t negate the entirety of energy savings due to efficiency. Studies suggest that it erases perhaps 10%-30% of the gains.
Please read more of this highly informative article and find out about PEAK OIL too.
Energy conservation refers to efforts made to reduce energy consumption in order to preserve resources for the future and reduce environmental pollution. It can be achieved through efficient energy use (when energy use is decreased while achieving a similar outcome), or by reduced consumption of energy services. Energy conservation may result in increase of financial capital, environmental value, national security, personal security, and human comfort. Individuals and organizations that are direct consumers of energy may want to conserve energy in order to reduce energy costs and promote economic security. Industrial and commercial users may want to increase efficiency and thus maximize profit.
Electrical energy conservation is an important element of energy policy. Energy conservation reduces the energy consumption and energy demand per capita and thus offsets some of the growth in energy supply needed to keep up with population growth. This reduces the rise in energy costs, and can reduce the need for new power plants, and energy imports. The reduced energy demand can provide more flexibility in choosing the most preferred methods of energy production.
By reducing emissions, energy conservation is an important part of lessening climate change. Energy conservation facilitates the replacement of non-renewable resources with renewable energy. Energy conservation is often the most economical solution to energy shortages, and is a more environmentally benign alternative to increased energy production. Another method is switchingto the user friendly SM energy. This is produced at Swan Energy Savers, envirmental helpers.
dot dot dot as they say…
Issues with energy conservation
Critics and advocates of some forms of energy conservation make the following arguments:
Standard economic theory suggests that technological improvements increase energy efficiency, rather than reduce energy use. This is called the Jevons Paradox and it is said to occur in two ways. Firstly, increased energy efficiency makes the use of energy relatively cheaper, thus encouraging increased use. Secondly, increased energy efficiency leads to increased economic growth, which pulls up energy use in the whole economy. This does not imply that increased fuel efficiency is worthless, increased fuel efficiency enables greater production and a higher quality of life. However, in order to reduce energy consumption, efficiency gains must be paired with a government intervention that reduces demand (a green tax, cap and trade).
Just the shear arrogance of this guy makes me vote for the truth side.
Well… the doomers love Jevons Paradox. For them it is, above all, a reason not to conserve (or a reason why conservation “won’t help”). After all, why should anybody conserve gasoline? If they do so, it will (by Jevons Paradox) just cause consumption of gasoline to increase.
Now, we may not be able to refute Jevons Paradox as an empirical fact, but we certainly can refute the way doomers are using it. We can do it with a single example:
In a vast parking lot ruled by cars and low-slung superstores, Stacey Harper delivers the unlikeliest of travel alternatives: mass transit.
The 41-year-old nurse wheels a white minivan into a rain-dappled parking spot to pick up a couple more co-workers. It is 6 a.m. on a Wednesday in South Hill, and Harper is driving a van pool to work at Western State Hospital.
A year ago, Harper thought nothing of driving 36 miles from home to work alone. That was before the price of a gallon of gasoline began its steady march upward, ultimately costing her $180 to $200 per month.
Please see the rest of the blog AND comments, but his point is that people that conserve energy make money. Once they do that they will rarely ever go back to wasting money. That is Jevons failed to take true consumer behavior into account.
We’ll eventually kick our fossil fuel habit. We have no choice. If peak oil doesn’t dictate the terms and timing, then climate change will force our hand. And recent events in the Gulf of Mexico reveal more immediate dangers.
Yet our response to these threats remains tepid, insufficient by any measure. Serious action is aggressively opposed by those who hold out an irrational hope that business-as-usual might continue. We seem content to let nature decide the terms and conditions on which we kick the habit. Why?
I believe there is an assumption, often implicit, that underpins the North American energy debate: clean, renewable energy is just not up to the job. For the lights to stay on, and factories to hum, we need coal and oil. This assumption is why Stephen Harper talks up the tar sands as Canada’s contribution to North American energy security. This assumption is why Canada plays possum on climate change.
Clean energy – mainly solar, geothermal, hydro, wind, and unconventional biofuels – is perfectly capable of powering our economy. It can be made reliable, large-scale, and cost-effective. But that’s true only if we commit to build clean energy infrastructure on a scale comparable to the fossil-fuel apparatus built over the past century. That scale is enormous.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency estimates we need to invest more than $45 trillion in our energy infrastructure over the next 40 years to meet future demand. That’s the kind of money we invest in fossil fuels. It’s only fair then to ask how clean energy might perform with similar levels of capital. What do you get for a trillion dollars?
That’s just the question I’ll ask in a series of 10 articles on The Mark about clean energy over the coming weeks. The answers may surprise you. Some clean technologies scale up, bringing costs down. Others hit supply constraints and can’t substantially displace fossil fuels. But make no mistake – clean energy performs if given a fair shake.
At that scale of investment, giant solar plants produce energy well after the sun goes down, at a lower cost than melting tar. Unconventional bio-fuels grown in the desert replace half the world’s oil supply. By drilling for heat instead of oil, we use enhanced geothermal energy to replace North America’s entire coal infrastructure. Our aging grid is replaced by a new continent-wide energy internet, which connects multiple, distributed energy sources.
We’re kidding ourselves if we think we can escape peak oil or move the needle on carbon emissions for anything less than trillions. Spending that much may sound absurd. But what’s the cost of the war in Iraq? According to economist Joseph Stiglitz, it’s about $3 trillion. The liquidity injected to save North American banks was more than three times that much.