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#33958 - 10/23/07 06:45 PM "The Moral Equivalent Of War"
Daniel Online   content
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Registered: 05/23/01
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Interesting to go back to Jimmy Carter's 1977 speech on energy conservation. People made fun of his sweater-wearing fireside chats, but we'd be a lot better off today if he had been taken more seriously back then. Some parts of the speech show their age--I'd guess he'd rewrite some of the sections advocating greater reliance on coal, and some predictions were off--but others could have been written yesterday and are more applicable than ever now that global warming has been added to the mix. Some excerpts below.

No one can say he didn't try. Too bad too many didn't listen.
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The most important thing about these proposals is that the alternative may be a national catastrophe. Further delay can affect our strength and our power as a nation.

....

Now we have a choice. But if we wait, we will live in fear of embargoes. We could endanger our freedom as a sovereign nation to act in foreign affairs.

....

We will feel mounting pressure to plunder the environment. We will have a crash program to build more nuclear plants, strip-mine and burn more coal, and drill more offshore wells than we will need if we begin to conserve now. Inflation will soar, production will go down, people will lose their jobs. Intense competition will build up among nations and among the different regions within our own country.

If we fail to act soon, we will face an economic, social and political crisis that will threaten our free institutions.

But we still have another choice. We can begin to prepare right now. We can decide to act while there is time.

....

... we must protect the environment. Our energy problems have the same cause as our environmental problems -- wasteful use of resources. Conservation helps us solve both at once.

... we must reduce our vulnerability to potentially devastating embargoes. We can protect ourselves from uncertain supplies by reducing our demand for oil, making the most of our abundant resources such as coal, and developing a strategic petroleum reserve.

... the cornerstone of our policy, is to reduce the demand through conservation. Our emphasis on conservation is a clear difference between this plan and others which merely encouraged crash production efforts. Conservation is the quickest, cheapest, most practical source of energy. Conservation is the only way we can buy a barrel of oil for a few dollars.

....

The citizens who insist on driving large, unnecessarily powerful cars must expect to pay more for that luxury.

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#33959 - 10/23/07 06:50 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
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Conservation is the quickest, cheapest, most practical source of energy.

In the short run.
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#33961 - 10/23/07 07:34 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
Daniel Online   content
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 Originally Posted By: oenophore
Conservation is the quickest, cheapest, most practical source of energy.

In the short run.


Well, at least it's more than what our Veep called "a sign of personal virtue."

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#33962 - 10/23/07 07:50 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
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Population and industrial growth will more than nullify conservation's gains. Alas, poverty and underdevelopment do more to conserve than our meager efforts.
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#33963 - 10/23/07 08:19 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
Mike Rawdon Offline

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Loc: Poughkeepsie
 Originally Posted By: oenophore
Population and industrial growth will more than nullify conservation's gains.


It's true that growing global demand will result in greater energy use each year despite even herculean conservation. But if you're turning this around to suggest that there's therefore no reason to conserve, then you're just...(strong, insulting language withheld).

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#33966 - 10/24/07 01:09 AM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
Daniel Online   content
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Conservation is vital in that whatever energy source we use, we'll use less of it than we would otherwise, even if growth creates more demand. That means fewer nuclear plants, or hydroelectric dams, or wind turbines. Plus it would give us more time to transition away from oil. Plus if we made a concerted effort to bring down the price of oil through conservation, then we wouldn't be so beholden to an unstable Middle East (as we presently tiptoe around the Saudis and prop up the Iranian and Russian regimes which depend on high oil prices). All of these results would be good ones.

And Carter's speech did include proposals on developing alternative energy sources. If only subsequent administrations had taken them seriously, think of where we might be today.

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#33970 - 10/24/07 10:45 AM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
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That means fewer nuclear plants, or hydroelectric dams, or wind turbines.

Aren't wind turbines reputed to be our electrical energy salvation?
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#33972 - 10/24/07 02:13 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
Daniel Online   content
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If we depend on wind energy, the idea is that wise energy consumption would mean fewer wind turbines than we would otherwise require. Fewer turbines is better than more.

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#33974 - 10/24/07 02:58 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
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 Originally Posted By: Daniel
If we depend on wind energy, the idea is that wise energy consumption would mean fewer wind turbines than we would otherwise require. Fewer turbines is better than more.
Here I thoroughly disagree. Unless wind generation capacity were in excess of demand, the more the better.
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#33975 - 10/24/07 03:58 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
MarcC Offline
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 Originally Posted By: oenophore
Aren't wind turbines reputed to be our electrical energy salvation?

That's a narrow way of looking at the problem. The ultimate solution for significantly reducing or even eliminating the use of oil will involve wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear, bio-fuels, hydrogen, and other technologies, all of which will also require conservation as part of the usage model. Unfortunately, the news media and politicians keep looking for and championing a single silver bullet.
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#33976 - 10/24/07 04:19 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: MarcC]
strat Offline
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I wonder if anyone considers the fact that oil is the dominant feedstock for chemicals. Chemicals for everything. LIke the coating on the key board I'm typing on, the plastic shell of the monitor I'm looking at, the toothpaste I brush with, the toothbrush I brush with, the aspirin I take when I have a headache, etc.

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#33977 - 10/24/07 04:22 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: strat]
oenophore Online   confused
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Yes, all the more reason to evolve away from using petroleum merely for combustion.
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#33979 - 10/24/07 05:21 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
Daniel Online   content
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Registered: 05/23/01
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 Originally Posted By: oenophore
Unless wind generation capacity were in excess of demand, the more the better.


That's precisely what I'm saying. But "demand" isn't some preset number; it's determined by our use. So the lower the demand, the fewer wind turbines (or any other energy source) we'll need. The more efficient we are, the lower our demand than what it would otherwise be.

So conservation/efficiency is good. If we relied on wind energy but didn't control our demand, eventually we'd see turbines on every hillside, in our national parks, swatting migrating birds ...

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#33986 - 10/24/07 06:36 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
Mike Rawdon Offline

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Registered: 11/29/99
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Loc: Poughkeepsie
 Originally Posted By: oenophore
That means fewer nuclear plants, or hydroelectric dams, or wind turbines.

Aren't wind turbines reputed to be our electrical energy salvation?


Apparently it's not if you're a bird fancier (yea, birds get wacked cuz their simple brains can't deal with the moving blades)or own elite resort property on Nantucket.

Personally, I like seeing wind turbines. I was driving along the southern coast of Nova Scotia this summer and there is a row of really big wind generators. "Cool" was my reaction. NS also has the western hemisphere's only tidal generating installation.

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#33987 - 10/24/07 07:22 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Mike Rawdon]
MarcC Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Mike Rawdon
Personally, I like seeing wind turbines. I was driving along the southern coast of Nova Scotia this summer and there is a row of really big wind generators. "Cool" was my reaction.

A single row? Have you seen some of the large wind farms in California, like the ones near Livermore or San Bernadio, with upwards of 500 towers? The large scale installations really are rather ugly. I'm all for wind power, btw, but like any other big industry, it is a visual blight when it's large numbers.
Here's a Shell Oil farm in Wyoming.
This one is in California
Another California example.

And I can see why you might not want to live near one.
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#33988 - 10/24/07 07:37 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: MarcC]
Dillbag Offline
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Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
 Originally Posted By: MarcC


In order... My reaction to the pictures:

COOL!

Cool...

Mostly cool.

FREAKIN AWESOME!

As far as a reason not to live by one, umm how about... It's really freakin windy all the time!
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#33990 - 10/24/07 07:45 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
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Loc: 212 land
But "demand" isn't some preset number; it's determined by our use. So the lower the demand, the fewer wind turbines (or any other energy source) we'll need.

Do you really believe that, absent some catastrophe, demand, in the long run, will diminish anywhere?
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#33991 - 10/24/07 07:50 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Dillbag]
MarcC Offline
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Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: Dillbag
As far as a reason not to live by one, umm how about... It's really freakin windy all the time!

They are also surprisingly noisy. There's also the possibility of high velocity bird carcasses coming at you from random vectors! \:o

Like any other piece of technology, they do have their failure modes:

http://easthamwindtruth.com/Netherlands_10-31-06.jpg http://easthamwindtruth.com/413_crash_oct_2002_2.jpg http://www.burnham-on-sea.com/news/2006/wind-shock-2.jpg
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#33992 - 10/24/07 08:22 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
Daniel Online   content
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Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
 Originally Posted By: oenophore
Do you really believe that, absent some catastrophe, demand, in the long run, will diminish anywhere?

Well, if it doesn't, so what? If the end of civilization as we know it is inevitable, does that mean we should be energy hogs now and use everything up as quickly as possible (which would bring on that catastrophe)?

Demand will level out or diminish at some point: we'll either lean to live within our means, or we'll use up our resources and return (perhaps violently) to lower populations and older lifestyles.

I favor trying to learn to live within our means. The sooner we start, the greater chance that we'll avoid a catastrophe. Technology can help. Conservation can help. That's what Carter was talking about 30 years ago. And if people had paid more attention, I think we could have been about 25 years ahead of where we are today.

And there are a few trends towards decreasing energy consumption. Population is a big driver of demand, but many developed nations are experiencing close to zero or even negative population growth. There's little reason why we couldn't reduce our gasoline consumption if we all got more fuel-efficient vehicles over the next decade, and if we didn't have population growth we wouldn't need more cars.

I agree that near-term global demand will go up, but I don't see why it needs to go up indefinitely. And that growth will stand a better chance of being sustainable if it's done more efficiently rather than less. No outcome is certain, but I think it's worth making the effort.

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#33995 - 10/24/07 09:25 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

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I'm not naysaying what you advocate, Daniel; just expressing pessimism over the likelihood of its adoption.
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#33997 - 10/24/07 09:31 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5977
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swatting migrating birds

Here I may show my ignorance of ornithology and/or the history of wind technology.
Might wind-driven ultrasonic whistles at blade tips alert birds to the blade threat?
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#34000 - 10/24/07 11:59 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: MarcC]
Mike Rawdon Offline

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Yup, seen the ones out near Palm Springs that you pictured. The farm south of I-10 is much more extensive than your photo shows. And, sorry to disappoint you, but I get a thrill out of seeing it too. It sure beats looking at a coal pit mine or an oil refinery.

The bird killing thing? Well that just doesn't bother me.

The turbines I saw this summer were striking for their size. These were the real deal, 50meter blade jobbies. Impressive in their size. Nothing I've seen in the US was that big.

Back to the original post... I wonder what Democratic (Vice) Presidential types are preaching about THIS decade that we're going to wish we paid more heed to in, say, 2030??

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#34001 - 10/25/07 12:36 AM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Mike Rawdon]
MarcC Offline
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Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: Mike Rawdon
The turbines I saw this summer were striking for their size. These were the real deal, 50meter blade jobbies. Impressive in their size. Nothing I've seen in the US was that big.

I agree - the big ones are really impressive. See my last link above [I'll be the first to admit that it really looks Photoshopped, however the scale is accurate for the sea-borne ones].
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#34004 - 10/25/07 03:28 AM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
Daniel Online   content
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Registered: 05/23/01
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 Originally Posted By: oenophore
I'm not naysaying what you advocate, Daniel; just expressing pessimism over the likelihood of its adoption.

I agree that we generally respond to crises instead planing to avoid them. Still, we occasionally show the foresight to plan ahead. Europeans tax the hell out of gasoline and drive far more efficient vehicles than we do. New York City recognized a need for a third water tunnel in 1954, started construction in 1970, and is just now nearing completion.

But for every far-sighted project like the third water tunnel, you've got examples such as the recent massive growth in western cities such as Las Vegas with no clue how to provide water for the long term (especially if the last hundred years in the West, which we consider normal, actually have been abnormally wet).

So as Carter said thirty years ago, we have a choice. Whether we make the right ones is up to us. Short term gains often win out at the cost of long term consequences. We can at least try to convince our actual and virtual neighbors that it's important to look to the long term results this time. The attempt may fail, but why not give it a shot?

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#34123 - 11/01/07 08:43 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

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Every little bit helps

Tue Oct 30, 2:19 PM ET

ROME (AFP) - The Sicilian town of Castelbuono has replaced garbage trucks with donkeys and claims to be saving money as well as helping to beat global warming.

Since last February, six donkeys have replaced the four rubbish trucks in the town of 10,000 people.

By replacing garbage trucks with donkeys "we are making savings and making the world a better place" with less pollution, Castlebuono's mayor Mario Cicero said in a statement on the town's website.

A donkey costs around 1,200 euros (1,730 dollars) to buy, plus an about 2,000 euros a year for food and cleaning, compared to a 30,000 euros for a truck that needs 7,000 to 8,000 euros maintenance per year, he added.

The donkeys have picked up nearly 140 tonnes of rubbish, according to the mayor.

Each carrying two wooden boxes, the donkeys are accompanied by garbage men who have been renamed "ecological operators".

Several other towns in the Calabria and Tusany regions are believed to have followed Castelbuono's lead.
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