Monday, October 30, 2006

Schwarzenegger: BMW to Bring in Hydrogen Car in 2007

This is a clip from the only debate which was held between Phil Angelides and Arnold Schwarzenegger in which the governor was asked, "As gasoline prices rise, what policies do you think are most important to address California's transportation problems and how would you pay for them?" . Phil Angelides accepted eight invitations to debate. Arnold Schwarzenegger accepted one. This clip makes it obvious why.

Schwarzenegger's response is intellectually derisible. "We must do exactly what we've been doing for the last three years which is to come up with alternative fuel." In the radically car dependent metropolis of Los Angeles, out of the thousands of fueling stations which exist, I don't know of a single one which dispenses an alternative fuel. Nor can this vast lack of supply be expected to change soon.

He then claims that BMW, Honda, and Toyota will have hydrogen cars in California in 2007. It is not clear if he is claiming that these cars will be commercially available or exist as prototypes to test the technology. "Honda and Toyota is working on an engine for 2007, they will have cars in here."

Such manufacturers are already leasing prototypes in the U.S., cars which cost $1 million to make, and California is in the process of building 100 hydrogen fueling stations by 2010. However, these efforts will help very little as a solution to the transportation needs of 38 million Californians over the next several years.

Schwarzenegger states that it is "inexcusable that people have to pay up to $4.00 a gallon." If indeed we are trapped in a relentless cycle of rollercoaster, yet inevitably escalating gas prices as the data suggest, Californians will be paying $4.00 per gallon of gasoline within the next two years. According to a survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California in the middle of July when gas hovered around $3.25 per gallon, 67% of Californians claimed that gas prices had caused them or their household financial hardship.

What can we say to the millions of Californians who will see themselves economically challenged by the inevitable surge in gasoline prices? Buy a hydrogen car!

Angelides was far more comprehensive and reality based in his response. He called for clean fuels, like Arnold, but also discussed a smart growth plan that would enable Californians to commute less, with jobs near housing, walkable, transit oriented neighborhoods, and a strong land use policy.

The follow up question posed by the moderator concerning high speed rail was completely ignored by Schwarzenegger, but his final comment is revealing of the transformation which he has recently undergone from right wing activist to a nearly middle of the political spectrum politician who is leadable. Given more time to learn as a governor and to grow as a person he may eventually become as good or as mediocre(your choice) as Gray Davis once was.

"There's a difference between Arnold Schwarzenegger and me," claims Angelides. Yes, one candidate is way smarter than the other one.

Proposition 1B which Schwarzenegger discussed, provides a modest sum of $4 billion for mass transit, with an additional $1 billion going to improve security and disaster preparedness of mass transit systems.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The BP Statistical Review of World Energy: Levels of Perception Beyond CNN

For 55 years British Petroleum has been publishing a "detailed analysis of the world's energy market." It is a highly reliable source which can be used to verify general statements people make such as, the U.S. population consumes 25% of the world's oil. Beyond this, the reader will gain insight and depth of perception which will allow him to formulate his own conclusions. The Wall Street Journal has referred to the report as "an industry bible."

According to Lord Browne of Madingley, Group Chief Executive, "China accounted for more than half of global energy consumption growth." Yet, their consumption only grew 2.9%, which is a slowdown from the previous year when it jumped 15.8%. Despite these facts and that China contains more than 20% of the world's population, it's population still only consumes 8.5% of the world's oil. India, which contains another fifth of the world's population only consumes 3.0% of the world's oil.

Here is a picture that illustrates world oil consumption per capita.

This picture illustrates the distribution of the world's proved oil reserves. Proved reserves are defined as reserves that have a 90% or greater probability of being retrieved.

It is somewhat misleading to state that the U.S. is dependant on the Middle East for oil. It depends upon the resources of the entire world to sustain itself. In 2005 it imported more oil from both South America and Africa than it did from the Middle East. Canadian and Mexican imports combined far surpass Middle Eastern imports. However, as suggested by the graphic, the U.S. would eventually need to consume a greater share of Middle Eastern oil in order to sustain this voracious pattern of consumption, which is illustrated in the following picture.

I have seen these trade movements illustrated in previous editions with much bolder arrows which dramatically illustrated that the United States is indeed an empire. These arrows merely suggest it. Of course, the U.S. is not an empire in the traditional sense, but it would be a denial of reality not to acknowledge that the direction of these little arrows is influenced by the American military and the undermining of the self-determination of people of numerous countries. The U.S. military maintains bases in dozens of countries. The U.S. is holding terrorism suspects in Cuba of all places.

Of much media attention lately is the Venezuelan/U.S. beef. The statistics from this report bring this controversy into sharp focus. Venezuela, with 79.7 billion barrels of proved oil reserves, has more proved oil reserves than the United States, Canada, and Mexico combined. The next country in South America with the most proved oil reserves is Brazil with 11.8 billion barrels.

In a recent interview with Amy Goodman, Chavez declared, "The U.S. people must come to understand, how this country with only 5 percent of the world population, consumes 25 percent of the oil and the energy of the world. I mean that type of consumption is totally unbearable and this planet cannot stand it any more."

"Yesterday morning, we were coming from the airport for instance, it was the traffic jam time, it was very packed in the highway coming from the airport here. I talked to the people in my car, looked outside, looked at the cars surrounding us. Out of a hundred cars, ninety-nine were occupied by a single person, the driver only. Cars occupying the highways, and burning fuel, how many gallons of fuel were burned yesterday morning, polluting the environment? That's the extreme of individualism."

May the real knowledge spread so that more people may laugh at these whiney, complaining, soft, chumps who project ignorance either because they're ignorant, or it is their job to mislead the population. "You are a very wise man Tony."