Dark Ages Redux

Dark Ages Redux—The Issue

It becomes clearer everyday that President Obama and his allies hope to kill free enterprise and substitute socialism in its place.  One of the major elements in this economic suicide plan is to impose fossil fuel use restrictions on our nation so draconian that the US economy will become third world.    Fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) are the lifeblood of our economy.   Without them, we would revert to an existence similar to that “enjoyed” in the 17th century.  But, you have heard that there are many forms of alternate fuels just waiting to replace the fossil fuels.   With the possible exception of nuclear energy, the others are just pretenders without the practical or economic ability to replace fossil fuels.

Obama has proposed that laws be set in place that will reduce use of fossil fuels to curb the carbon dioxide that results from combustion that releases the energy in these fuels.  He and his allies in Congress want to set the maximum use, in the year 2050, of these fuels to no more than 20% of that used in 1990.   These reductions will begin no later than 2012.   

Lets see what this means:

Year 1990 2007 2030 2050
US energy use Total Q btus* 86.6 101.6 113.4 f/c 125 f/c**
    Fossil Fuels Q btus* 72.3 86.2 93.1  f/c 14.5***
    Renewable Fuel Q btu*    6.2   6.8    9.0  f/c     ?
    Nuclear   Q btu*    6.1   8.4    9.4  f/c     ?
    Fossil fuels as % of Total   83.5 86.4 82.1 11.6
US Population,  millions of people^^ 249 302 375 420
Per Capita fossil fuel use, millions of btus 290 285 248 35

Actual and forecast  annual energy use from US Energy Information Administration 1990 through 2030.

* quadrillion btus;  **Author’s business as usual forecast;  ***Obama’s maximum allowable annual fossil fuel energy by 2050; ^^ Census Bureau

From the table above, in the year 1990, US consumption of energy was 86.6 quadrillion BTUs of which 85% or 72.3 quadrillion BTUs were from fossil fuels.   Calculation shows that 20% of 72.3 quadrillion BTUs is equal to 14.5 quadrillion BTUs and that would be the maximum usage in the year 2050 according to the Obama’s plan.  If that’s not staggering enough, lets consider the population effect. In 1990 the census counted 248.7 million people in the US.  The forecast by the Census Bureau for 2050 is 419.9 million people that is an increase of nearly 70%.  So the proposed plan is for 2050 use of only 20% of the fossil fuels used in 1990 despite a population that is 70% larger than it was in 1990.  This tells us that the Obama cut in fossil fuel use  is greater than 80%,. When you consider the population increase, the cut is actually 90%.   Expressed as per capita usage,  fossil fuels use would drop from  285 million btus per capita in 2007  to 35 million btus in 2050.

But that is not all that President Obama has promised.  He said in his Feb. 24,  ‘09 address to a joint session of Congress that “ we will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years.”   This is appears to be unlikely to happen.   If you break down the Renewable Fuels contribution of 6.8 quad BTUs in 2007 from the above table it looks like this :

Renewable Fuels     quad. BTUs                                2007                2012             2030

            Wind                                                                      0.32

            Solar                                                                      0.08

            Biofuels (ethanol principally)                        1.02

            Hydroelectric                                                      2.43

            Geothermal                                                          0.35

            Wood and Waste                                                2.60        

Total                                    quad. BTUs                        6.80                13.2 *              9.0     

Hydro, geothermal and wood and waste make up 80% the energy supplied by renewable fuels.  Hydro (damming rivers) has been pretty well exploited and unlikely to see much growth.  No one expects any significant growth in geothermal or wood and waste.  So a (*) doubling of total renewable energy in three years to 13.2 quad BTUs will essentially require an increase in wind, solar and biofuels from 1.4 quad BTUs to 8.2 quad BTUs ( a 585% increase).   If, of course, he restates the goal to that of just wind, solar and biofuels,  it would be from 1.4 to 2.8.  That is probably unlikely too.

The goal is unrealistic. Note that the EIA forecast for renewables is only 9.8 quad BTUs in 2030.  

But let’s talk about if we should be doing anything at all. 

First of all, the man-made global warming scare is a scam.  Yes, the globe has been warming, but this is typical of the Earth’s natural climatic cycle which has gone on for millions of years.  Ice followed by warming followed by ice, etc.   The current  cycle began at the end of the last ice age some thousands of years ago.  Gases and vapors in the Earth’s atmosphere do cause part of the warming.   But the contention that CO2 drives the temperature has been disproven by the examination of ice core samples that showing CO2 lags temperature up and down.  Hence CO2 follows temperature change.

The global temperatures have been on a downward trend since 1998.   This cooling has taken place while CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere has  been increasing.   The Sun is in a period of relative quiet which seems to validate the idea that the Sun, not man, is the primary force behind the Earth’s climate. Thus restricting CO2 emissions will not have a major effect of global temperatures

Let us also consider that eighty percent of the world’s population will not stop trying to bring their citizens up to some sort of parity in per capita consumption with the rich 20%.  These countries, such as China, India and Brazil with their vast populations have indigenous sources of fossil fuels that they will use.   China’s CO2 emissions exceed those of the United States thus making China the No. 1 emitter.  These countries with huge populations are not going to stop using fossil fuel regardless of any  treaties that we Americans, Europeans and Japanese come up with to restrict our use.  The likely outcome of restricting our use is to see our jobs sent to their nations.

Future postings will discuss these topics in detail. 


























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