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The New Sputnik

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Posted on May 10, 2011
AP / Ng Han Guan

Another front in the green fight: The EK-2 electric car from Chinese automaker Geely is displayed at the Beijing Auto China 2010 show.

By Juan Cole

(Page 2)

The anxiety did not stop with concern that Americans were not very good at mathematics and science. Rather, Washington suddenly realized that the United States needed a cadre of academics and officials who knew the languages and cultures of the societies over which capitalism and communism were competing. Congress therefore passed the National Defense Education Act (NDEA), providing funds to universities for the study of world areas such as China, India and Eastern Europe. The language of the act later became Title VI in the Department of Education, which supports nearly 120 National Resource Centers at universities across America, studying everything from Afghanistan to Brazil.

In contrast to the strenuous efforts of 1958 to expand Americans’ horizons, the House of Representatives in 2011 is full of politicians who actively despise science and higher education, hate environmentalism, deny global climate change and are in the back pocket of Big Oil. They have delivered themselves of a budget that increases funding for the Department of War, implies long-term and deeper cuts in taxes for the super-wealthy, and devours the seed corn of America’s K-12 and higher education programs. America has already fallen behind Macao and Latvia in math and science skills and ranks only ninth globally in the percentage of its youths who are college graduates. (It used to be first.) Instead of increasing funding for Title VI and the area studies centers (the descendants of 1958’s NDEA), governmental agents of the proudly monolingual tea party in their wisdom have cut that program by half

The U.S. won the space race that was kicked off in earnest by Sputnik. Now, this Congress, full of climate change contrarians, hasn’t even gotten up off the couch or laced up its sneakers in reaction to China’s solar challenge. It would be as though the 1958 House not only ignored Sputnik, but also denied that the Earth is round or could be orbited. Since Congress has halved the federal money for Chinese studies centers, American young people won’t have the opportunity to study Mandarin in the same numbers, and won’t even be able to understand the scientific papers of Chinese scientists or get jobs in the mailrooms of the burgeoning Chinese solar corporations. The original Tea Party kicked off the independence of the United States from a hegemonic power. This one seems intent on delivering us into the hands of a new one.

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By pete, May 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You had me until you started into the right wing bashing. Truth seekers on both sides of the aisle despise big corporate influence. Those on the right just happen to have made the astute observation that our government is bankrupt and needs to cut spending, everywhere. That and adding more federal dollars to education spending hasn’t increased the quality of the education. The problem in our education system is not in how much is spent but how it is spent.

But you also missed the deeper questions. No doubt we need to drop nuclear and eventually coal and other non-green sources. But we have lots of coal. But we don’t have lots of rare earth metals for these green energy things. But China does. In that respect it may very well be that this issue is China’s equivalent of the Star Wars Program. We can try to compete, but it will only guarentee our quicker demise.

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By Cliff Carson, May 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

I completely agree with you ICW.  I was under the impression that you believed only wackos didn’t believe in

Human Caused Global Warming

My stance is that HCGW is minuscule and therefore not a driver of what will or will not happen.  Last time I checked the amount of CO2 increase cause to be from Human activity was about 2.7%.  Here is a good site to read about Global Warming from a neutral point of view.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html


By the way those Vostok Ice Cores show the amount of “dust” in the atmosphere and those curves lie alongside the CO2 and Temperature.  Gives one a fairly good picture.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 16, 2011 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Cliff,
And you are laboring under the impression that I think global warming means we cannot have an ice age.  I don’t.

While I don’t know enough about fluid dynamics, I do know that GW can set off a see-saw of unstable weather and temp changes (Gee….sounds familiar).  Clearly this can lead more than one way.  For example, the greenhouse effect may put SO much crap into the upper atmosphere that the sun’s warming rays are blocked and energy lost to reflection becomes too great to sustain the greenhouse warming… and the great chill begins.

If the great ice caps melt enough to fall into the sea, then they can lower the ocean temps…and guess where that takes you.

It is simplistic to think that global warming can ONLY lead to a hotter planet, when the REAL danger is of a disrupted planet.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 16, 2011 at 2:40 am Link to this comment

For whatever reason I found Cliff and ITW’s discussion very interesting,... aside from the gapping lack of insults.

As for the existence of global waring, warning and warming, I am aware of the first two, but have no opinion on the existence of the last.  Guess that would make me an agnostic on the existence of global warming? 

Well in the short run, yous guys don’t need to worry,... because the world as we know it will end on May 21 according to a very unreliable; and actually to me unknown source…. But I have seen the bill boards and wonder who these dooms day folks are?

Before these dooms sayers do something rash, I would like to get in touch with these dooms day folks and have them send me their money, ...well you know for my important dooms day tequila stash.

5 days left until 5 days end?

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By TDoff, May 15, 2011 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

Juan may be right about this. If the new Sputnik challenge is going to be the Chinese sending a whole bunch of compact electric autos into orbit around the earth as part of the Green Movement, the US will have to respond.

So the US DOD will call it’s favorite MIC corporations, and get them to lobby Congress to legislate a multi-trillion $ ‘Car Wars’  program, to develop nuclear missiles that will destroy the Chinese electric autos as they start to fall from orbit.

That will be the US contribution to the Green Movement, to prevent US landscapes from being littered with falling electric Geely’s.

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By Cliff Carson, May 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment

ICW

First thanks for going to the site.  Many don’t ever go where a link takes them.
Secondly I agree with you concerning the Bloomberg Link.  Although I couldn’t find where you picked it up I did click on the link and read what you provided.  You probably noticed that your Link cited William Chamiedes , the author of the Article I sent a link for you to follow.
Thirdly, I sent that particular link because Chamiedes is very pro “Human Caused Global Warming” and therefore when I quoted someone saying there were many other Scientists with different opinions I wanted it to come from someone Pro Human Caused Global Warming.  That way I couldn’t be accused of “Cherry Picking”
Remember you had challenged me to provide a link to agree that there are other opinions - not of the 100 variety you mentioned.  So I copied Chamiedes statement about varying other opinions and if you read his article I sent you, I think you will agree that his article was about varying other opinions - not about a 100 Scientific group bought off to support Republicans with an agenda.

You see, I too agree that there are those out there- on both sides of the argument.  Chamiedes’ article even addresses the possibility of going into an Ice Age.  Anyway here is a paragraph of what Bill Chamiedes wrote in the link I sent you.  You will note he speaks of other Scientific opinions:

“This is the fourth and final post in a series on the connection between the sun, sunspots, and climate.
Where is the climate headed? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts continued warming [pdf]. But others proclaim that an ice age is just around the corner (like this editorial from the online paper the Australian). Who’s right?  Predicting the future is a bear. Predicting climate change is especially uncertain. But given global warming’s potential consequences, we ignore an educated look ahead at our own peril. And let’s face it, models serve us well in all sorts of areas in the modern world.”

The following link will take you to a graph of the change in Temperature of the atmosphere over the last 80 or so years and after that link is an excerpt I copied from the Australian Editorial that Chamiedes mentioned in his article above.

http://icecap.us/images/uploads/uah7908.JPG
 
All four agencies that track Earth’s temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

The good news ITW is that you have now started on a journey to draw your own conclusions about whether Human caused Global Warming is real or inconsequential.  Be sure and look carefully for the reasons and the data given to support the given conclusions of any of the positions both pro and con.  You may have noticed that your Bloomberg link was almost void of data.  To follow the data supporting the pro conclusion of that article you had to follow the links within the article itself.  This is where you can find the most valuable information.  What I used to do was start a spreadsheet and list a Pro position with data , then find an opposite opinion and list it with that supporting data.  Often you will find that the same data is interpreted differently by different people to support their own different conclusions.

And be sure and visit those who predict a coming Ice Age and the data they use to support support their decision.

This might open up a whole new world of adventure for you.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 15, 2011 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Cliff, I went to the Duke Nichols web site and under news from Thursday clicked on this:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-12/public-doubts-on-climate-change-delay-urgent-action-report-says.html

This seems to shoot down your hypothesis that this is a legit source challenging artificially induced climate change.

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By Cliff Carson, May 15, 2011 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

ITW

If you will think about what I wrote and what you wrote our only disagreement is within the statement “Climatologists disagree”.  Since I believe you are sincere in your question I am sending you a link to get you started on the Scientific disagreement about Global warming.  You will find in this link that the disagreement goes so far as to other scientists predicting an oncoming Ice Age.  This is only a minutia of information so I suggest you go from this site and expand your reading until you are satisfied one way or another.  ICW Scientists do disagree and always have about just everything

http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/thegreengrok/futureclimate


I am as Anti-Republican as you can get.  But I try not to let Political disagreement get in the way of the facts as I see them.  And I think the Democrat Party strives mightily to outdo the Republican Party in catering to the Rich and Powerful.  If you have read any comments I have written you should realize that I think these two Political parties are much more dangerous to the American dream than climate questions.  But that’s another question.  I believe: 

The Oil Companies are like leeches sucking the National economy dry.  Their excessive greed is limitless.  Keep in mind that International Corporations have no Nationality or soul.

And Global Warming is occurring, but the cause of the warming is what is under question, not the fact that it is occurring.

As to polluting the Earth, you might recall that my position was that mankind will die off from pollution long before Human caused Global Warming gets to a danger point, if it ever does.  You and I won’t be around to say “I Told you so” in any event.

So the only point of contention is whether Scientists honestly disagree about whether Human caused Global warming is going to destroy the Earth.  And to answer this I have given you a link as a starting point.

I believe that the Al Gore type claim is hokey, not because I agree with the Oil Companies - I am not a fan of those leeches, I am simply pointing out that the facts do not support the CO2 argument of doom and destruction from Global Warming.

And yes I do believe Scientists disagree on just about all manner of subjects including the CO2 based theory of Global Warming.

Remember that the Kyoto Treaty had a political basis for the GW claim.  The Oil Companies fight it because of the profit loss cost it would bring to them.

You might recall that I got into this researching what was happening because of the specie die off events that was and still is occurring and that was back before the Global Warming debate, as a matter of fact it was during the Global oncoming Ice Age Debate.

Do you remember that in the 60’s and 70’s there was great debate about whether there was a coming Ice Age caused by Industry?

As to whether there are Scientists who disagree, one of the leading Scientist who was predicting the coming Ice Age later became a leading proponent of Global Warming.  Can’t remember his name but if you search productively you will find him.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 15, 2011 at 5:37 am Link to this comment

Y’know, Cliff, a statement like “climatologists disagree” is critical to your argument.  If you can’t support THAT statement, the rest of you argument is meaningless.  And, as far as I know, that statement is unsupportable, unless you cite the “100 Scientists” list. And THAT list, I’ve shown is suspect.

The only “climatologists” I’ve seen who disagree, work for oil companies or the GOP right wing.  The oil companies have been buying off scientists in an attempt to muddy what are very clear waters, with a very clear conclusion: Pollution is changing the Earth, and not for the better.

The oil companies are some of the richest, most profitable, and most powerful corporations on Earth.  The other day, they argued before Congress that cutting oil subsidies and tax breaks for them, the richest and most profitable, was “UnAmerican”!  Yeah, they argued for continued corporate welfare.
They’ve pushed the admin to authorize drilling where it’s environmentally hazardous.
And they’ve been funding “research” to challenge Global Warming for 30 years.

So…who are your climatologists who disagree? If they are paid by Exxon et al, it’s “game over”.

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By Cliff Carson, May 14, 2011 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment

No ITW, I didn’t get anything from anybody as far as a written Commentary or Article.  I am not a Climatologist nor is my Profession concerned with the Environment.

What I did ITW was do a little research of my own.  In fact that is how I derive most of the data when I write a Commentary or Article.  I have written several Articles about so called Global Warming, Specie Die-Out, Poisoning the Atmosphere, and other related topics.

As to the Global Warming I think I had about 30 source documents plus what I found by googling.

I did my first research on Temperature change in the early eighties, I don’t think Global Warming was a big topic then.  My first interest was the die off of Frog populations and other Fauna and Flora.  This led me to examine the Vostok Cores I mentioned, plus I also looked at the Heinrich data curves that also show the rise in CO2 trailing the rise of Earth’s Temperature.  I am going to copy an excerpt from an article I wrote about Global Warming.  If you would like to read the entire article, give me an address of where to send it:

Argument number 1.  What causes the rise in CO2 levels is not agreed to by the climatologists.  Many scientists think it is caused by the pollutants, just as many others claim that the warming itself is what releases the extra CO2.  In other words the rise in temperature itself releases the extra CO2 , not the opposite argument that the rise in CO2 levels cause the temperature to increase.  A study of Heinrich effects would seem to support that the CO2 rise follows warm-ups ( more CO2 is released by the warming earth ) and the supporters of Global Warming are unable to find any way to show that a rise of CO2 levels precede a temperature increase.  They seem to be content to show that there is a rise of both temperature and CO2, and of course they are right about that.  But it is more important to the argument to be able to show which occurs first, in other words which causes which.

Argument number 2.  Shouldn’t there be an increase in Earth’s temperature following the end of the Little Ice Age, which by the way occurred about the time the CO2 levels began to rise?  Isn’t that they way Ice Ages end-the Earth warms up and melts the ice?  The increase in CO2 has not been directly proportional to the temperature rise and this should also be expected since the equilibrium and saturation levels would become more distant due to the natural temperature rise ( kind of like trying to pound more sand into a decreasing volume, the work increases exponentially with each added shovel of sand).  The important thing to remember is that the level of CO2 has risen only 100ppm (.01% ) over the last 280 years and every last ppm could be the consequence of natural warm up from the ice age.

“I stated earlier that the Earth contains about 2 Trillion tons of CO2.  How many tons of pollutants does industry pour into our atmosphere each year and what happens to it?  I looked up these data and find that about 600 million tons of CO2 is introduced each year, of which 95% is natural production of CO2.
That in percent to total CO2 in the earth is 600 million / 2 trillion = .0003 or about .03%.  That’s pretty close to the ppm of CO2 currently comprising the atmosphere, so do we double the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere each year?  Obviously not since the increase in our atmosphere over the last 280 years is just a fraction of the total amount.  So what happens to the yearly input from us humans?  Seems to me the obvious answer is that it is recycled, and in fact that is what occurs.  That being the case, the additional increase over these 280 years is an indication that a warmer earth “gives up” more ( the natural CO2 released by the Earth each year accounts for 95% of all CO2 placed into our atmosphere)”.

The point ITW is that CO2 is continuously recycled and when the oceans warm up they hold less CO2.

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By Cliff Carson, May 14, 2011 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

ITW

No ITW, I didn’t get anything from anybody as far as a written Commentary or Article.  I am not a Climatologist nor is my Profession concerned with the Environment.

What I did ITW was do a little research of my own.  In fact that is how I derive most of the data when I write a Commentary or Article.  I have written several Articles about so called Global Warming, Specie Die-Out, Poisoning the Atmosphere, and other related topics.

As to the Global Warming I think I had about 30 source documents plus what I found by googling.

I did my first research on Temperature change in the early eighties, I don’t think Global Warming was a big topic then.  My first interest was the die off of Frog populations and other Fauna and Flora.  This led me to examine the Vostok Cores I mentioned, plus I also looked at the Heinrich data curves that also show the rise in CO2 trailing the rise of Earth’s Temperature.  I am going to copy an excerpt from an article I wrote about Global Warming.  If you would like to read the entire article, give me an address of where to send it:

Argument number 1.  What causes the rise in CO2 levels is not agreed to by the climatologists.  Many scientists think it is caused by the pollutants, just as many others claim that the warming itself is what releases the extra CO2.  In other words the rise in temperature itself releases the extra CO2 , not the opposite argument that the rise in CO2 levels cause the temperature to increase.  A study of Heinrich effects would seem to support that the CO2 rise follows warm-ups ( more CO2 is released by the warming earth ) and the supporters of Global Warming are unable to find any way to show that a rise of CO2 levels precede a temperature increase.  They seem to be content to show that there is a rise of both temperature and CO2, and of course they are right about that.  But it is more important to the argument to be able to show which occurs first, in other words which causes which.

Argument number 2.  Shouldn’t there be an increase in Earth’s temperature following the end of the Little Ice Age, which by the way occurred about the time the CO2 levels began to rise?  Isn’t that they way Ice Ages end-the Earth warms up and melts the ice?  The increase in CO2 has not been directly proportional to the temperature rise and this should also be expected since the equilibrium and saturation levels would become more distant due to the natural temperature rise ( kind of like trying to pound more sand into a decreasing volume, the work increases exponentially with each added shovel of sand).  The important thing to remember is that the level of CO2 has risen only 100ppm (.01% ) over the last 280 years and every last ppm could be the consequence of natural warm up from the ice age.

“I stated earlier that the Earth contains about 2 Trillion tons of CO2.  How many tons of pollutants does industry pour into our atmosphere each year and what happens to it?  I looked up these data and find that about 600 million tons of CO2 is introduced each year, of which 95% is natural production of CO2.
That in percent to total CO2 in the earth is 600 million / 2 trillion = .0003 or about .03%.  That’s pretty close to the ppm of CO2 currently comprising the atmosphere, so do we double the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere each year?  Obviously not since the increase in our atmosphere over the last 280 years is just a fraction of the total amount.  So what happens to the yearly input from us humans?  Seems to me the obvious answer is that it is recycled, and in fact that is what occurs.  That being the case, the additional increase over these 280 years is an indication that a warmer earth “gives up” more ( the natural CO2 released by the Earth each year accounts for 95% of all CO2 placed into our atmosphere)”.

The point ITW is that CO2 is continuously recycled and when the oceans warm up they hold less CO2.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

Hey, Cliff.  You get that from the “100 Scientists” who question global warming?  I know I can specifically and categorically show that one of them isn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, qualified to judge, as a scientist, the quality of the science of global warming. He’s a medical doctor, running a clinic for a hospital. And I knew him when I was a kid.  He’s turned into a total teabagger, when he was all for civil rights and getting out of Viet Nam in the 60’s.  Now he’s a rich Republican doctor, signing on as one of the “100 Scientists”.

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By ocjim, May 14, 2011 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

I certainly like China’s chances for promoting green energy more than our own. Apart from a miserable record on individual rights, China has an enlightened leadership in terms of investment in their future. In contrast our leadership only has light shining through their ears, the putty of power and greed in their hearts, and ideological clutter in their dense brains. It is a condition conservatives won’t let loose of and the money is behind it.

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By rbrooks, May 14, 2011 at 10:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In the back pocket of Big Oil? You mean ... like our fearless leader, the battling dude who took out a fake bin Laden double in the most ridiculous and mismanaged doofus CIA cockup in years - now there’s a high bar - the staunch warrior for Wall Street who fights rising oil prices with more offshore drilling?

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By Cliff Carson, May 14, 2011 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

I need to correct my last post on the Global Warming issue.

I wrote this in the the comment:

“Anyway as to the CO2, I noticed that these data curves reveal that the change ( rise) in CO2 levels precede the temperature rise and follow the Temperature fall”.

What I meant to write was:

“Anyway as to the CO2, I noticed that these data curves reveal that the change ( rise) in CO2 levels FOLLOW the temperature rise and follow the Temperature fall”.

Left alone the original comment presented an ambiguous statement.

The Little Ice Age began sometime after 1400 and ran to the mid to late to 1800’s.  I always use the year 1870 as the bench mark if for no other reason than that Al Gore chose then to show the rise in temperature over the years. 

To Al Gore:  Dear Mr. Gore, can you guess what might happen as the Earth comes out of an Ice Age?

My guess is that it doesn’t take a Genius or a Climatologist to realize THE EARTH WILL WARM UP FOR A COUPLE OF HUNDRED YEARS!!

Other than that you might could write a book about Global Warming.

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By Cliff Carson, May 14, 2011 at 4:25 am Link to this comment

Without going thru thousands of words and spending hours reading all the various insults to each other, I went looking and pulled up the Vostok Ice Cores data and looked at the curves of the periodic Earth Temperature cycles for the last 400,000 years, since I don’t think civilization was pumping CO2 into the atmosphere back then.

What I saw was that this natural fluctuation (that happens with perfect cyclical rhythm ) is not likely caused by anything modern day industry is doing.

It happened before today, and it will happen after we are all gone, because it is a natural function of the Earth and its position in the Universe.

Anyway as to the CO2, I noticed that these data curves reveal that the change ( rise) in CO2 levels precede the temperature rise and follow the Temperature fall.

To me that meant that the CO2 rise and fall has more to do with the change in the heat sinks than anything attributed to mankind.

As we come out of the Little Ice Age ( something Gore forgot to mention in his diatribe ) the heat sinks ( the oceans being the largest), because of the rising temperature of the oceans ( coming out of the ice age) was less able to contain the amounts of CO2 ( because a heated liquid will give up gas such as CO2) and wonder of wonders, the Vostok Ice Core data is once again repeated.

There are two types of Global Warming - Natural and Man Made made - and the important thing to know is that Man Made is real except its contribution to the total is something around 3% of the total.  Gore and others have looked at the total as opposed to looking at just the Man Made portion.

While we should strive to reduce the human fouling of the atmosphere, the reason is not because of the danger of the overheating, it is much more likely that we are poisoning ourselves out of existence. 

Do some reading about specie die-offs.

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John M's avatar

By John M, May 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

OOps NASA goofed

New NASA model: Doubled CO2 means just 1.64°C warming
‘Important to get these things right’, says scientist

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/08/new_model_doubled_co2_sub_2_degrees_warming/

 

It now appears, however, that the previous/current
state of climate science may simply have been wrong
and that there’s really no need to get in an
immediate flap. If Bounoua and her colleagues are
right, and CO2 levels keep on rising the way they
have been lately (about 2 ppm each year), we can go a
couple of centuries without any dangerous warming.
There are lots of other factors in play, of course,
but nonetheless the new analysis is very reassuring.

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John M's avatar

By John M, May 13, 2011 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

@By Samson,

Put away your Exxon boogie man and watch what GE is
doing.

“Typical bs.  For instance, he says wind isn’t
conceivable because it currently only provides a
small percentage of power.  Look closely, he uses
present tense.”

Guess you can’t follow links My point is that no
matter that we have pumped billions of dollars down
the renewable energy rat hole for 30 years and still
only get less than one percent of it from wind. Which
is a good thing because it’s neither cost effective
or reliable.

“This is science from the sort of person who’s never
heard of a battery to store power.  He acts like its
impossible, so thus we have to keep all the big power
stations running because you can’t always get power
directly from wind.”

I have heard of batteries. have you ever heard of a
power grid able to store power in them for later
release back into the grid? You haven’t because they
don’t exist. Renewable energy is a great fairy tale,
and attracts many rent seeking corporations looking
for a government handout to claim as profits but it
is not cost effective and if the snake oil they are
offering is wind power it will never be cost
effective because you do need real 24/7 power
stations up and running because wind is not reliable.


“He also apparently hasn’t heard of the electric grid
which can transfer power from one place to another.
Say, from an area where the wind is blowing to
another area where the wind is not.”

Thank you you just made my point, you need other real
power plants operating on the grid to back up wind.
You are transferring it from a plant you have running
that has no load. Otherwise you need to turn off
power to customers (as they did in Texas when the
wind quit and the 5% of the grid lost from wind took
the whole grid down) to send it to other customers.
follow the links I posted previously.

“The people getting rich off of energy today will
always try to convince you that there is no
alternative.” 

Exactly, the corporations such as GE that are getting
rich off of windmills and paying no taxes because of
the government green energy handouts are telling you
there is no alternative. They need the handouts to
keep coming because the windmills are not and never
will be cost effective.

Pay attention and follow the money. It’s flowing from
the government to rent seeking corporations for snake
oil energy. Dress in green, hire lobbyists and rake
in the profits.

http://theamericanfreedomcrisis.blogspot.com/2011/02/ge-biggest-of-many-hogs-at-public.html


Wind subsidies aren’t working, they’re just
subsidizing big business
One stimulus subsidy for wind was the “Investment Tax
Credit.” Unlike the “Production Tax Credit,” the ITC
enables GE to get its wind subsidy just for building
a windmill—even if it never spins. Also, the “tax
credit” is payable up front, in cash from the
Department of Energy. In other words, it’s not really
a tax credit, but it’s corporate welfare—build a
windmill, and the taxpayers cut you a check. So here
we have the government already paying for 65% of a
project that doesn’t even meet its normal cost-
benefit test, and then the White House has to referee
when one of the largest corporations in the world
(GE) importunes the Administration to move faster by
threatening to find a private financial substitute
like any other business. Remind us again why
taxpayers should pay for this kind of corporate
welfare?

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John M's avatar

By John M, May 13, 2011 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

@By Samson,

Put away your Exxon boogie man and watch what GE is
doing.

“Typical bs.  For instance, he says wind isn’t
conceivable because it currently only provides a
small percentage of power.  Look closely, he uses
present tense.”

Guess you can’t follow links My point is that no
matter that we have pumped billions of dollars down
the renewable energy rat hole for 30 years and still
only get less than one percent of it from wind. Which
is a good thing because it’s neither cost effective
or reliable.

“This is science from the sort of person who’s never
heard of a battery to store power.  He acts like its
impossible, so thus we have to keep all the big power
stations running because you can’t always get power
directly from wind.”

I have heard of batteries. have you ever heard of a
power grid able to store power in them for later
release back into the grid? You haven’t because they
don’t exist. Renewable energy is a great fairy tale,
and attracts many rent seeking corporations looking
for a government handout to claim as profits but it
is not cost effective and if the snake oil they are
offering is wind power it will never be cost
effective because you do need real 24/7 power
stations up and running because wind is not reliable.


“He also apparently hasn’t heard of the electric grid
which can transfer power from one place to another.
Say, from an area where the wind is blowing to
another area where the wind is not.”

Thank you you just made my point, you need other real
power plants operating on the grid to back up wind.
You are transferring it from a plant you have running
that has no load. Otherwise you need to turn off
power to customers (as they did in Texas when the
wind quit and the 5% of the grid lost from wind took
the whole grid down) to send it to other customers.
follow the links I posted previously.

“The people getting rich off of energy today will
always try to convince you that there is no
alternative.” 

Exactly, the corporations such as GE that are getting
rich off of windmills and paying no taxes because of
the government green energy handouts are telling you
there is no alternative. They need the handouts to
keep coming because the windmills are not and never
will be cost effective.

Pay attention and follow the money. It’s flowing from
the government to rent seeking corporations for snake
oil energy. Dress in green, hire lobbyists and rake
in the profits.

http://theamericanfreedomcrisis.blogspot.com/2011/02/
ge-biggest-of-many-hogs-at-public.html


Wind subsidies aren’t working, they’re just
subsidizing big business
One stimulus subsidy for wind was the “Investment Tax
Credit.” Unlike the “Production Tax Credit,” the ITC
enables GE to get its wind subsidy just for building
a windmill—even if it never spins. Also, the “tax
credit” is payable up front, in cash from the
Department of Energy. In other words, it’s not really
a tax credit, but it’s corporate welfare—build a
windmill, and the taxpayers cut you a check. So here
we have the government already paying for 65% of a
project that doesn’t even meet its normal cost-
benefit test, and then the White House has to referee
when one of the largest corporations in the world
(GE) importunes the Administration to move faster by
threatening to find a private financial substitute
like any other business. Remind us again why
taxpayers should pay for this kind of corporate
welfare?

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By Inherit The Wind, May 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

Actually, Dr Quack, I haven’t said any of that stuff. You’ve made it all up out of your cognitive dissonant neuroses, the ones that made you go into psychology in the first place.

Isn’t that some form of projection, when you accuse someone of doing and saying things you WISH they had done but haven’t?

You’re not the first anti-semitic pseudo-left-wing tin-foil nutter to invent and post shit about me.  I’ve outlasted a whole slew of your fore-bears here and I’ll outlast you, too.

Like I said, a person would have to be CRAZY to trust his precious psyche to a quack like you.

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Samson's avatar

By Samson, May 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

Wow, I see Exxon has weighed in.

Typical bs.  For instance, he says wind isn’t
conceivable because it currently only provides a
small percentage of power.  Look closely, he uses
present tense.

Of course the US hasn’t possibly come anywhere near
to tapping its potential for generating power from
the wind.

So, essentially Exxon’s argument is since it doesn’t
provide all our power today, then it can’t in the
future.

This is science from the sort of person who’s never
heard of a battery to store power.  He acts like its
impossible, so thus we have to keep all the big power
stations running because you can’t always get power
directly from wind.

He also apparently hasn’t heard of the electric grid
which can transfer power from one place to another.
Say, from an area where the wind is blowing to
another area where the wind is not.

The people getting rich off of energy today will
always try to convince you that there is no
alternative.

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John M's avatar

By John M, May 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

And we keep finding other things that effect the
climate: 
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/21/rao_cosmic_ray_climate_forcing/
 
The influence of charged particles on climate is
controversial, not least because it’s based on
observation and physics experiments, rather than
trick cycling computer modelling. GCRs have been
demonstrated to “seed” cloud formation, and small
variations in cloud cover are known to have
significant impacts on surface temperature.

And again I’ll point out Wind is not a reliable power
source. And since it’s not even reliable enough to
count on handling 5% of the grid it’s not worth
investing in…

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/2/28/1303/48225/299/465497

Wind is ‘boutique power’ because it fills a very
small niche of the generation demand because it is,
uhmmm “unreliable”. See above. It can function to
lower the ‘burn rate’ of fossil so long as that
fossil is available to raise load when the
wind…uhmm…the wind stops blowing

Meaning you have to have conventional power plants up and running while counting on wind.. You might as well use the conventional power plant since it’s already running and save the cost of building windmills - unless you think you are Don Quixote.

Renewable energy is not much more than a shell game enriching the connected at the expense of the technically uneducated.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/local-opinion-zone/2011/05/renewable-energy-shell-game-md

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By John M, May 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment

By mlb, May 12 at 8:31 am
“There are millions of rabid climate change deniers
in the US.  The only reason these people question the
science at all is because corporate stooges on TV
have put them up to it.  They haven’t bothered to
understand even the most basic science, like the
difference between weather and climate, or the
mechanics of the greenhouse effect (greenhouse gases
absorb infrared energy emanating from the Earth and
convert it into heat energy, thus preventing it from
escaping into space).  Yet these 7th grade science
flunk-outs all imagine they’re smarter than the
thousands of PhD climate scientists around the world. 
They think they’re dropping a bomb on scientists by
saying “I think climate change is due to natural
cycles”, unaware that Paleoclimatologists are the
people who discovered those cycles in the first
place.  Never having read any science, they just
assume that it has never occurred to those stupid
scientists to factor in other than anthropogenic
effects on climate.  Most pathetic of all, they buy
the line that climate scientists working
independently all over the world for all sorts of
institutions with differing constraints and goals are
nonetheless all in cahoots, conspiring to perpetrate
the climate change “hoax”. “

I question the science and no corporate stooge has
put me up to it. In fact there are quite a few
scientists that don’t agree.
http://theamericanfreedomcrisis.blogspot.com/2011/04/epa-hushgate.html

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By John M, May 12, 2011 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

In fact that great guru Paleoclimatologist Michael
Mann and his hockey stick have been ridiculed as
junk. And the climate history debunks him too. There
WAS a mid-evil warm period though his hockey stick
says there couldn’t be.

The simple fact is water vapor is far and away more
important to the “greenhouse effect” than CO2 ever
can be (by percentage CO2 is insignificant by
comparison). No computer model can predict the
climate with any accuracy. we have been coming out on
an ice age for thousands of years and it is getting
warmer although even the stooge from the CRU Phil
Jones admitted in testimony there has been no warming
(as his models say there should be) since the late
1990’s. And of course even after his admission of no
warming we hear every year for the last 10 that this
is one of the warmest years on record warmer than
last… How can this be? It can’t.

Of course the educated climate experts like yourself
look down on any disagreement with the “scientists
who survive on the government teat, who would never
disagree with “policy” for fear of loosing their
livelihood like Alan Carlin, Ph.D. was threatened
with.  There are countless scientists that disagree
with fools like Phil Jones who conveniently threw out
all the base data so his numbers can’t be checked and
verified by mathematicians like Stephen McIntyre who
says the numbers don’t add up (no one has shown his
calculations to be wrong btw) Jones can’t even work
his mystery formula backwards to reproduce the
original data because he has no idea how to do that.
Amazing. 

As for you “independently working scientists, they
all seem to have one thing in common, they all get
paid to substantiate global warming. And if they
don’t? Phil Jones and Michael Mann will see that any
scientific journal that published them was destroyed.
So much for independence.

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By John M, May 12, 2011 at 10:57 pm Link to this comment

As for wind - follow the link if you dare

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/07/wind_power_actually_25_per_cent/

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By M Henri Day, May 12, 2011 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Thank you, Professor Cole, for your speedy and courteous reply to my comment below. I certainly agree that the United States should invest resources in order to remain competitive in the energy field (although I must admit I find your use of the word «overdetermined» odd) - any contributions that researchers in the US can make in this area would benefit not merely residents in that country, but all of us (presuming the powers that be do not use the results of such research to devise ever newer methods of killing people, a risk, alas, which I regard as not inconsiderable). My intervention in the debate was caused by (what I regard as) the degree to which it lends itself to a Manichean Weltanschauung, in which China represents the forces of Darkness and the United States the forces of Light (surprise, surprise !). This view of the world is dearly beloved and strongly defended not merely by so-called neoconservatives, but also by the bomb liberals which dominate what passes as the establishment «Left» in the United States (and its satellites), despite - or perhaps rather due to - the fact that it corresponds so poorly to the historical record….

Let me take this opportunity to thank you for your article - and for your blog, which I frequently read with great pleasure and profit….

Henri

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By drbhelthi, May 12, 2011 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

Well, well ! The AIPAC cubicle is occupied today by “inherit the
wind,” the person who spews hate on all who do not worship at the
israeli totem pole. If you could word your venom a bit more
intelligently, it might be elevated to the “pathetic” level.  However,
that would require an improvement in your reading comprehension –
which isn’t likely.

You keep the israeli chant, “woe is us, give us a break” alive up
front, while your co-conspirators are slipping the wallet out of the
pocket at the back. Interesting how the per-capita income of “Israel”
increases as more Palestinian property is stolen and the inhabitants
murdered.

Of course you need help.  But neither more nukes nor dollars will do
what is needed.  A basic human value transplant might help.  Believing
what israeli prophets and scribes have been writing for seven thousand
years, and what modern-day, Hebrew scholars have more recently written
about your dishonesty, and your genuine origin, would be a start. 

Meanwhile, I am pleased to have the accurate value of my blogs
validated by your hate-pukes.  Fortunately, you do not represent the
folk who practice genuine, Jewish belief.

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By mlb, May 12, 2011 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

Solar gets all the attention, but wind power is way ahead.  A few hundred bucks will get you a couple of solar panels that produce less than a 100 watts, or a little wind turbine that produces several hundred watts.

A kilowatt wind turbine can be built for under $1,000.  The $50 billion that Obama and Congress want to hand over to the moribund/morbid nuclear power industry could buy 50 million 1 kilowatt wind turbines.  That comes to 50 gigawatts and it’s doable now, no technological advances necessary.  With economies of scale and the right incentives, those numbers would surely improve.

...

Funny how the people who hate science have no problem using the many technologies that science has made possible.

...

There are millions of rabid climate change deniers in the US.  The only reason these people question the science at all is because corporate stooges on TV have put them up to it.  They haven’t bothered to understand even the most basic science, like the difference between weather and climate, or the mechanics of the greenhouse effect (greenhouse gases absorb infrared energy emanating from the Earth and convert it into heat energy, thus preventing it from escaping into space).  Yet these 7th grade science flunk-outs all imagine they’re smarter than the thousands of PhD climate scientists around the world.  They think they’re dropping a bomb on scientists by saying “I think climate change is due to natural cycles”, unaware that paleoclimatologists are the people who discovered those cycles in the first place.  Never having read any science, they just assume that it has never occurred to those stupid scientists to factor in other than anthropogenic effects on climate.  Most pathetic of all, they buy the line that climate scientists working independently all over the world for all sorts of institutions with differing constraints and goals are nonetheless all in cahoots, conspiring to perpetrate the climate change “hoax”. 

...

I really enjoyed reading this well written and informative Juan Cole article on a subject that’s a bit outside his usual focus.

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By Virginia777, May 11, 2011 at 10:25 pm Link to this comment

felicity:

“The de-funding of education may be prompted by,
motivated by, with the same end in mind as pre-Civil
War days when teaching a slave to read was declared
illegal in several states.”

That may be a part of it, but also, the Right does not care for the education of ALL children. They are working to defund public education as part of their organized racist drive. They also do not care for Unions, and so they are attempting to kill two birds with one stone.

It is working. Public education is being defunded all across the country with pathetically few voices speaking out about it.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 11, 2011 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

drbhelthi, May 11 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

“ - but unless I am much mistaken, no humans from any country have travelled
further than low earth orbit since 1972,-“ M Henri Day, May 11 at 2:30 pm

Increasingly, numbers of people disagree with this idea.
“Ben Rich, Lockheed Skunk Works director, admitted in his Deathbed Confession
that Extraterrestrial UFO visitors are real and the U.S. Military travel
among stars.”

*****************

You are truly inane. (not “insane”, tho you may be that, too). How dare you take it on yourself to treat people’s pains and mental disorders when you believe the most absurd bullshit but if the Government says it’s snowing you’ll insist it’s warm and sunny even as you are shoveling snow—and then blame Jews for it.

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By Jricole, May 11, 2011 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

Hi, Henri.  I’m not sure why you think there is a contradiction.  Some phenomena are over-determined, i.e. caused or conditioned by more than one factor.  The US needs to stop pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere because that will endanger us all.  But it also needs to remain competitive in world technology and trade if it is to remain a prosperous country.  It is slacking off with regard to both considerations.

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By drbhelthi, May 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

“ - but unless I am much mistaken, no humans from any country have travelled
further than low earth orbit since 1972,-“ M Henri Day, May 11 at 2:30 pm

Increasingly, numbers of people disagree with this idea.
“Ben Rich, Lockheed Skunk Works director, admitted in his Deathbed Confession
that Extraterrestrial UFO visitors are real and the U.S. Military travel
among stars.”

http://www.ufo-blogger.com/2010/08/ufo-are-real-ben-rich-lockheed-skunk.html

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By M Henri Day, May 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

But Professor Cole, does the United States need to get cracking on less polluting forms of energy (to which you refer as «green energy») due to environmental concerns or only because the Chinese are heavily involved in the field ? And is it really the case that the US «won the space race» ? Yes, indeed, the United States did manage to put humans on our moon - the only country so far to do so - but unless I am much mistaken, no humans from any country have travelled further than low earth orbit since 1972, and we are very far from overcoming the limitations that Earth’s gravity well and other impediments to space travel impose upon us. One of the things the US government has, however, managed to do is to prevent the Chinese from participating in activities on the International Space Station, which thus remains a sad misnomer. Perhaps that is what you mean by «winning the space race» ?...

Henri

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By Tom Mauel, May 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Juan Cole supports US and Nato involvement in the war in Libya. Why is his opinion printed at AntiWar? Unless he were explaining his pro war Libya stand what sense does it make? I guess being a war monger is not a requirement for publication at AntiWar.

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By Jricole, May 11, 2011 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

Pay no attention to the Big Oil trolls here. Portugal now gets 45% of its electricity from green energy.  The UN’s IPCC has just shown that renewable sources can power the whole world.

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By felicity, May 11, 2011 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

The de-funding of education may be prompted by,
motivated by, with the same end in mind as pre-Civil
War days when teaching a slave to read was declared
illegal in several states.

And, wasn’t there a book-burning scene in “Farenheit
451.”  And, didn’t Jefferson etal say that a democracy
required an educated populace to protect it from the
built-in excesses of the power hungry?

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By lasmog, May 11, 2011 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

I agree that green technology is a critical industry of the future and the US should not allow China to dominate this field.  But whenever we discuss China I think it is important to mention that US corporations use China as their manufacturing subcontractor.  In this sense, China is not taking business away from the US but rather US corporations are shipping US jobs to China with the full cooperation of our corporate owned government.

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By prosefights, May 11, 2011 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

Tuesday May 10, 2011 15:10

http://www.prosefights.org/pnmratehearing/pnmratehearing.htm#glick


Hello Ms Glick,

Published statement

In addition, the parties to the stipulation agreed not to oppose PNM’s planned rider to recover renewable energy costs — most of which are related to PNM’s plans to add 22 megawatts of solar energy to its system ...

concerns some of us AARP members for reason of accusations that large-scale solar generation of electricity may be a fraud.

Suspicions that large-scale solar generation is, in fact, a fraud are heightened because
Electric Power Research Institute CEO Michael Howard’s non-response to questions about solar generation of electricity.


New Mexico electrical engineers Frank Currie and Greg Nelson, a PNM, employee insistence that Heat Rate only applies to generation of electricity when combustion is involved.

EPRI/PNM foil reports that Heat Rate applies to geothermal and nuclear generation of electricity so their assertions may be in error.


Non-response of Director of NM Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources, Peter A Scholle to respond to similar questions.
If it turns out that, in fact, large-scale solar generation of electricity is a fraud in the sense it is unable to produce the electric power advertised measured in kWh, uneconomical, and polluting

Alexander Braun points out in the April 2010 issue of SEMICONDUCTOR International

Since 2002, photovoltaic production has doubled roughly every two years, increasing at a yearly average of 48%, making it the fastest growing energy technology. By 2008, PV installations worldwide had surpassed 15 GW and the end is not in sight. However, as Obi-Wan might paradoxically put it, “There is a Dark Side to sun power.”

Eventually, existing installations will reach the end of their useful lifetimes, requiring replacement. One of the seeming contradictions of producing the means to generate clean renewable energy is that you must manufacture them using stuff that can be pretty deadly to the environment such as ammonia, arsine, cadmium sulfate and diborane. And when you discard these installations, effluvia such as arsenic are released during solar cell decomposition, and then there is all that chromium in screws and frames.

and

But there is more to PV manufacturing than just recycling. According to the SVTC’s white paper, “Toward a Just and Sustainable Solar Energy Industry, although the solar PV boom is still in its infancy, what it describes as “disturbing global trends” are emerging. It goes on to say that a considerable amount of the polysilicon feedstock material - the refined silicon used as crystalline silicon solar cells’ basic material - is produced in countries like China, “where manufacturing costs and environmental regulatory enforcement are low.” It also quotes a March 2008 Washington Post report that at least one plant in China’s Henan Province regularly dumps silicon tetrachloride, a toxic waste product of polysilicon manufacturing, on nearby farmland. The Post quoted Li Xiaoping, deputy director of the Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences: “Crops cannot grow on this, and it is not suitable for people to live nearby.”

then the stipulation may be a lawyer/PRC ploy to force electric rate payers to subsidize New Mexico large-scale solar generation of electricity industry which would otherwise go out of business for economic and pollution reasons?

Response by qualified and honest engineers to questions posed to Mr Scholle should determine whether the stipulation should be removed.

Do you and the PRC hearing agree or not?

Please ack if you receive this message.

Regards,

bill

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 11, 2011 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

Politicians remind me of hogs running to the trough, only difference is hogs have absolutely no use for troughs full of money!

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By DavidByron, May 11, 2011 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

The false conceit is a big problem, but basically that’s just a facet of the brainwashing to make Americans go along with imperial crimes.  Other facets include patriotism (jingoism), an inability to look to the examples of other countries successes, and despising international norms of law and morality.

It is said that travel broadens the mind.  The flip side is the American condition.  But it goes further than nationalism.

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By John M, May 11, 2011 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

Since Jimmy Carter created the Energy Department to
get us off of foreign oil in 10 years (snicker) we
have been pumping tax dollars down the rat hole of so
called “Green Energy” ever since. The result? None.
Windmills don’t work, if anything they are 25%
efficient and usually when demand is low. Solar will
never work until a space based collector can stay in
the sunshine 24/7 and microwave the power back to
earth - way too costly to be practical. Solar here on
earth won’t work at night meaning a separate power
plant has to be running in the background because you
can’t just fire up and use a coal or gas plant at 6pm
every night and expect to get power out of it in a
few hours. (same problem with wind)Waste to energy
showed promise but the enviros didn’t want to see the
ash buried anywhere. Natural gas is suddenly abundant
with chemical companies looking to relocate back to
the US from Dubai now that prices might be cheaper
and more stable but the enviros are trying to shut
down drilling in the Marcellus. the enviros want the
dams taken out of the north west for the sake of the
fish - good by hydro. Cina is building coal fired
power plants at an amazing rate. The enviros don’t
want coal burned here so the Chinese buy our coal and
ship it from a new port they built in the pacific
north west and burn it in China, may as well burn it
here and at least scrub the exhaust. Nukes have
fallen from favor again after reactors designed for a
never going to happen 8.0 earth quake were hit by a
9.1 and survived but couldn’t withstand the resulting
tidal wave.  Although in japan as in Chernobyl the
reactors were housed in steel buildings unlike in the
US being housed within reinforced concrete domes, the
domes like the one at three mile Island prevent the
radiation releases we saw in Japan and Russia a
matter of building cost. Also another legacy of Jimmy
Carter was the closing of spent fuel reprocessing
(recycling). Harry Reid has effectively shut down the
spent fuel depot in Nevada causing the government to
be in contractual default to the power companies
expecting to have their spent fuel stored since it
can no longer be recycled. the bills from the lawsuits could easily go over the cost of building
and maintaining the depot. Hydrogen shows great
promise as a fuel being both portable and non
polluting except for the vast amounts of electricity
needed to extract it from water - see hatred of power
generating facilities above. leaving us with oil. An anathema to the enviros, it is abundant and when
supply is not artificially restricted by government
fiat cheap.

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By Charley James, May 11, 2011 at 7:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dr. Cole makes a valuable and valid point: The US Congress and the Republican/Tea Party is filled with people who know nothing, hate science, distrust education (and people who are educated) and don’t want the next generation of Americans to have a chance at competing in the world. As long as these yo-yo’s are taking up space on Capitol Hill, not much will change.

If our country put as much effort into developing wind and solar energy as it does arguing “Nukes - No Nukes” we would be able to convert massive amounts of our energy consumption into renewables, at costs that would drop markedly year after year.

A good example is a hand-held calculator. When they first appeared on the market, they cost several hundred dollars and couldn’t do much more than add and subtract. Within five years, the cost was under $20 and the capacity to do complicated calculations had grown exponentially.

With a concerted effort funded by Washington to develop commercially viable solar and wind projects the same thing will happen. Moreover, people will be put to work, new companies will get started and we will again become a leader in technology innovation.

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By Lockweed, May 11, 2011 at 7:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with Gerard and Virginia777.  The USA has been conceited for a long
time and while we have been patting ourselves on the back, others have been
working harder than us.  You can pinpoint the year this conceit started.  It was
1945.  With the rest of the world destroyed and the US blessed by two oceans
that prevented even one bomb from being dropped on the US (Hawaii was not
a state yet, it was a “possession” or colony as we refer to it when another
country does it), the US was flying high and only in the last 3 years has the
wind been taken out of our sails.  You can pinpoint that date too - 2008 when
the stock market crashed.  Several major American companies went bamkrupt
(Lehman Brothers, General Motors, Chrysler) and GM and Chrysler are now a
fraction of their former size.

The US will never hold the position it did before.  Conceit may have helped
bring us to this point, but stop being conceited won’t give the US its former
position.  By the way, China isn’t the USA’s only competitor.  Much of the
research behind the “green revolution” is done in Germany and Volkswagen is
positioned to become the biggest automaker in the world within eight years.

But the biggest signal the US has fallen is within five years the Chinese
economy will be bigger than the American economy (according to the IMF).  The
US is not in the same position the USSR was in 1991 when that superpower
collapsed.  The US won’t go down as hard.  We still lead in certain crucial areas
and have many nobel prize winners in science, but these relatively few areas (in
proportion to the rest of the country) won’t be able to stop the US from falling
further behind.  And the government is paralyzed, the only thing they can agree
on is which Muslim country we should drop bombs on next. 

The biggest problem is education.  Over the long run, this will determine how
successful a country will be and the US is way behind here too.  Filling our
universities with bright foreign students won’[t make up for the fact that our
own high school students are performing below most other countries.

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By Cos, May 11, 2011 at 5:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ugh, I remember why I’ve been avoiding truthdig recently.  Nasty pop-ups that
use CSS to avoid popup blockers.  I start reading and then a popup covers up what I’ve started to read, and then when I figure out how to make it go away (which
always takes long enough to distract me from what I was reading), the page
scrolls back to the top.  Is this site brainstorming ways to annoy and drive away
readers?

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By Kaiwen, May 11, 2011 at 12:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Young westerners will never have “jobs in the mailrooms of the burgeoning Chinese solar corporations” regardless of Mandarin ability.  Bilingual English/Chinese speaking grads from the PRC are much cheaper to employ, and would be considered trustworthy in such a strategic industry.

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By Virginia777, May 10, 2011 at 11:25 pm Link to this comment

gerard:

“It’s fairly clear that our main problem is national conceit, the pervasive notion that we are superior to others.  At one time that may have been partially true, but unfortunately, self-satisfaction results in the end of wisdom and improvement.”

so true.

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By drbhelthi, May 10, 2011 at 11:15 pm Link to this comment

While I agree with many of the ideas put forward, a few underlying
details might provide additional clarification.  The in-fighting of
leaders of profit-making mega-companies, establishing a pecking-order
of who gets first dubs, etc., all of which was woven into politics or
vice-versa, became goal no. 1, instead of progress.  Basically
underlying the national economy were the few families who derailed the
U.S.-wide, public transportation system, intended to have been
affordable by families of socio-economic strata 5, 4 and 3, at least. 

It was transplanted with a system of highways and roads that lead to
everywhere three times, when one route suffices.  Which roads are
pursued in private vehicles that roll on derivatives from oil, whose
engines run on derivatives from oil, which engines churn out noxious
gases that have created that which some of the same politicised CEOs
have developed into a “climate change,” profit-engendering conundrum. 
Which conundrum grinds out profits for these wealth-addicted, while
permeating the insolvable problem artificially called climate-change. 
None of which wealth any of these individuals will take with them when
the spirit departs.  However, the wealth provides them a socio-
economic status which can be flaunted on inhabitants of five socio-
economic strata below theirs, and passed on to progeny, re-creating
the problem for their progeny to fight over.

In which other nation has the profit motive, with dishonesty, been so
prominent?  While Lyndon B. Johnson is not a favorite of mine, he can
be credited to have made at least one accurate statement during his
life-time: “ no one can get rich being honest.”  Which, he had learned
from experience.

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By JimBob, May 10, 2011 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment

I/we know all this.  The question is, what’s the solution short of all-out armed revolution?

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By Cliff Carson, May 10, 2011 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

WE not only have lost the space race, we are likely to be so far behind that we can’t even see the leader.

China is currently planning their Mars trip.  They have developed their own space Industry both for exploration and for Military uses.

The have put their men in orbit on rockets and capsules that they developed along with the Telemetry to run the missions.

They have developed the fastest and most powerful Computer in the world.

They are predicted to surpass the U S as the Worlds leading manufacturing Industry by 2015 and are on course to becoming the Worlds Leading economy within the next 20 years.

Our Empire quest is driving other Nations to side with China.  Pitifully we are on a steep decline and don’t even realize we are going down hill.

But all is not doom and gloom, we can right the ship if we will suck it up and get rid of the Democrat and Republican Parties.  What to replace them?  Anything better.  We have to strive to find their replacement and we need to start now.

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By gerard, May 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

Inherit the Wind:  Love it!  Join the Club!

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By James, May 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It would be nice to strike some fear into our politicians to get them into action but I don’t for a second believe China is going green. They have enough coal to keep their economy going for another 150 years at far cheaper a price than green energy will be able to accomplish any time soon; thats why you still have 1 new coal power energy plant firing up every 7-10 days. By 2030 most estimates have China producing twice as much CO2 as America more than negating any emissions cuts made in other parts of the world. Furthermore, by 2014 China will surpass the EU in emissions under the per capita measure making China’s carbon intensity cut goals look foolish.

Despite China’s massive green funding there’s little evidence that it’s doing much to curb actual emission rises. China’s green drive seems more motivated by green exports to countries with generous subsidy programs than seriously cutting emissions, we’d be wise to consider that when developing and if necessary protecting our own green industries.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

They’ll never beat us in chip technology!  Never!!!!!

Not as long as we have Doritos and Pringles!

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By California Ray, May 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Cole’s underlying assumption is that the U.S. must be first in everything. In light of the fact that the U.S. is an enemy of peace, truth, international law, and human dignity, that assumption seems to lack adequate factual justification.

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By super390, May 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hi Juan, just coming over from your blog because comments are closed there.

I think Kevin Phillips’ book “American Theocracy” is a good outline of the problem of imperial senility and decline, which he associates with religious mania and financialization in Spain, the Netherlands and Britain.  Ambitious states look outside their borders for ideas they can steal to improve themselves, as we once stole Germany’s public education system.  Top-dog states become inward-looking, obsessed with their own greatness and fearful of any changes anywhere at home or abroad.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that China can lick its ecological problems, it’s just revealing that the Chinese don’t have to embrace global warming concepts to justify these sorts of investments.  Either they’re hedging their bets on climate, or they’re taking advantage of a business opportunity, just like they do in genetic engineering when they offer to set up emigre Chinese scientists with their own companies to come home.  But in America, these futuristic business opportunities seem more entangled in the alignment of investors with GOP ideology than with legitimate public and governmental concerns over safety.

Or maybe it’s just that as an arrogant ruling elite, the investor class is far more willing to throw trillions at insanely risky derivatives and other Ponzi gimmicks that they think they understand, than learn about new technologies or trust scientists to understand the risks involved there.  After all, if you’re so smart, Mr. Professor, why aren’t you rich already?

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By SteveK9, May 10, 2011 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

China will not slow it’s development of nuclear power, which
will take over from coal as their primary source of energy
within a few decades.  They mostly build ‘green’ stuff for
idiotic Westerners who will continue to subsidize these
inadequate technologies until the painful truth becomes
evident.  Nuclear is the only way to get off coal. 

The real Sputnik moment will come when China announces
they have built a working prototype of the thorium molten salt
reactor, which is the first of their ‘strategic leader in science
and technology’ projects.

The project is being led by the PhD, Case Western educated
son of Jiang Zhemin, former President of China.

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By gstoddard, May 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

Here we go again. During the seventies we were given a clear warning by OPEC
that continued reliance on imported oil would leave us vulnerable in the future.
President Carter made what was in many ways a prescient speech that was
relegated to the dust heaps and became labeled the “malaise speech.”

Thus began the “Drill here, Drill now” mantra that continues to this day as our
dependence on imported oil increases unabated.

Now once again we are being warned and the same ideology that led us in the
wrong direction is doing it again. I won’t be around four decades from now, but
my grandchildren will be and I wonder what their judgment of our current
behaviors will be as they are buying green energy components and supplies form
China?

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By gerard, May 10, 2011 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

It’s fairly clear that our main problem is national conceit, the pervasive notion that we are superior to others.  At one time that may have been partially true, but unfortunately, self-satisfaction results in the end of wisdom and improvement. 

Hopefully, articles like this will help us
“get unstuck”—but there is also another danger on
the road to the future—that we will limit our motivation for changes to mere competition rather than base it on common sense.

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DavidByron's avatar

By DavidByron, May 10, 2011 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

Nice article but a big error at the end:

The US lost the space race.

I guess Americans were told different (and never question what they are told of course).  The space race was not to the moon.  That useless hunk of sterile rock was never revisited and has absolutely no value.  It was a PR stunt put on by the US to obscure their loss.  The space race was over rocketry, satellites and perhaps to get humans into orbit, which the Soviets easily won, and to this day hold the records for longevity of time spent in space.

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By rend, May 10, 2011 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I work at a very reputable technical institute and it is full of chinese and indian students who
come here for 4/ 6 years study significantly harder than any of the US kids then and head
back home. With a really good look into our brain trust.

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By Myronh, May 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

It is apparent that the Chinese Comunist government is vastly superior to our present Republicanized form of government.

65-years ago my Uncle, an American born caucasian who was a WW-2 Veteran, said that Communism was needed for China to become modernised. He said a democracy, such as the US has, is too slow to make needed social and technical changes.

it is obvious he was smarter that our present Republican Poiticians and the average American Voter.

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