Category: Energy

If Money Taints . . .

By , January 3, 2013 8:41 am

Will these guys ever get clean?

Al Gore pockets $100 million in the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera, a broadcast entity owned by the Arab state of Qatar.

Matt Damon’s anti-fracking movie, Promised Land, financed by oil-rich United Arab Emirates.

To be clear, that the money in both cases comes from an Arab government doesn’t bother me in the least. That it comes from governments whose source of wealth is more than 80% dependent on oil revenue does. And then, that only bothers me because both Gore and Damon are so anti-carbon footprint and all that. And that only bothers me because if the print were on another foot, say, the foot of someone whose environmental research were funded by the oil industry, you know what the storyline would be.

In almost all cases, opponents/critics use the source of the money as an ad hominem and a red herring to smear the researcher or person making an argument and to distract from the real and very important question: is the research or argument sound? Yes, the source of funding may sometimes play a part in that assessment, but only a minor one.

Politics and Policy: Does it Matter Who’s Driving?

By , March 13, 2012 3:09 pm

The following paragraph in a post on caught my eye today:

This is a good time for a disclaimer-Some people might call me right of the right wing when it comes to personal views and voting. When it comes to trading, politics absolutely need[s] to be put aside. I take a pragmatic view of things and never confuse politics with policy.

Which, in turn, reminded me of one of my posts that had the following poll result:

Which brings me back to the claims in the first post I referred to: “When it comes to trading, politics absolutely needs to be put aside.” I get TheMacroTrader’s point: when creating policy, we need to operate from facts. But remove all politics from the equation? I’m not so sure about that proposition. Remove all politics, and any sane person would vote for Romney, based on the poll result I posted above. But the fact is that all kinds of considerations enter into virtually all of our decisions. In the case of Romney, many won’t vote for him because of his stand on abortion, but they’d be happy to have him managing their financial affairs. Likewise, facts can only tell us so much about oil: that we’ve probably passed peak oil; that many reasons other than Obama account for the recent rise in the price of gas; etc. But then there’s this in that post:

T Boone Pickens is not lying when he says that every President since Nixon has declared that we will be energy independent and then has proceeded to do nothing.

Is this time different? Will one of the candidates–including our current President–step up and do something? And so we’re back to politics.

Not to Pick on The Donald

By , May 4, 2011 2:27 pm

But this guy is richer than you are and apparently has the facts to back up his braggadocio. Oh, and better hair.

And he seems to have bigger things in mind than himself. A quote from the Jornal do Brasil story (translation mine):

Minha missão é mostrar a jovens brasileiros que eles podem se orgulhar do que estão produzindo. Alguém tem que mostrar que é possível. [My mission is to demonstrate to young Brazilians that they can be proud of what they’re producing. Someone has to show (them) what is possible.]

Brazil Must Be Doing Something Right

By , April 25, 2011 10:57 am

Greenpeace activists mark the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl with a puff of orange smoke in front of BNDES, Brazil’s development bank, to get it to suspend financing of the Angra 3 nuclear plant.

All the coal miners who’ve died in mining accidents were unavailable for comment.

More Walter Russell Mead on Brazil

By , April 22, 2011 9:26 am

As I say below, this time Brazil’s resurgence is for real. So does Walter Russell Mead, with lots of qualifiers. His analysis is obviously much more in depth than mine–I based mine largely on a YouTube video, for heck’s sake. An interesting read.

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Flip On the Light Switch

By , April 21, 2011 10:20 am

Hey, I have an idea!

Let’s bring back the good old incandescent light bulb.

We knew this, didn’t we? And we were already upset about burning out our last incandescent light bulb, weren’t we? There ought to be a law of (obvious) unintended consequences.

Stop the Nuclear Diet

By , February 14, 2011 11:46 am

The nation’s nuclear energy diet has to end. These modular nuclear reactors and Obama’s promise of loan guarantees to the nuclear industry are two bites out what I hope is a very large apple.

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