Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Myron talks through his hole

Why do people keep calling on this guy? He's not funny, yet what he says doesn't pass the laugh test. And he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about. This so-called energy expert used his high school knowledge to determin that methanol, a popular alternative fuel that Exxon happens not to manufacture in vast quantities, was too poisonous to use to drive cars. Like we're going to drink gasoline either. The radio show host, Chuck Harder, pointed that the substance is widely used in car races and model airplanes without any problem.

Then Ebell got on to the technology issue:
Ebell:You know, Amory Lovins, this energy guru, says they could produce cars to get 100 miles per gallon, or 500 miles per gallon, but they just won't do it. Well that's true. [And] the car would cost a couple million dollars. General Motors, Ford, and the Japanese, they have technologies that will get almost unlimited amount of miles out of a gallon of gas, but the question is how much does it cost to produce the automobile.

Harder: (long silence) The first [question] is... how much if they made a million?

Ebell: (pause) They made a million of them?

Harder: Yeah

Ebell: ...One of the things that Amory Lovins talks about is that we have all these ultra-light materials available, like titanium, which we use on jet fighters. But that stuff costs so much that there's no way that a car could be produced [which] anybody could afford to buy.
This is of course forgetting how the CEI has for years litigated and advised people to buy large, heavy, fuel-inefficient cars on the basis that the occupants of such vehicles are fractionally safer per mile driven.

No matter. It's a health issue. Apparently, encouraging people to drive less and walk more isn't.

There are measures that could be taken to build the capacity for the generation of other energy sources, but Ebell rightly says that they are more expensive now and require the mechanisms of subsidy and regulation, which is he against, in order to make them happen. The market, and the corporations which operate within it, are structurally incapable of preparing for the future, because prices are set by the lowest supplier, who can veto any investment. At the same time, the consumers have no say as to how the profits which they have generated are spent, especially when they get spent on things that are against their own interests, like on lying corporate front groups and political intervention.

All the consequences are utterly predictable. Yet we are not supposed to discuss it because the known cures to this disease, of which the CEI is a symptom, are not allowed on the table. The rich person's table. Playing roulette with the environment on which we depend is preferable to making any concessions on the way they make money. That is human nature, apparently.

Or so they tell us.


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