Re: Energy and "the Clash of Civilizations" -- a policy thought problem

Date: Mon Oct 01 2001 - 14:33:19 MDT

In a message dated 10/1/01 2:58:48 AM, writes:

>As I mentioned in this or another posts you would convert the
>cars and trucks (at least) to electric, fuel-cells and so on.
>We already pretty well know how to do this now. We just need a
>bit of incentive. Getting out of dependence on Arab oil about
>now might be incentive enough. The nuclear plants generated
>electrical power.

Incentive for whom? If I pay $10,000 more to drive a 2-seater
fiberglass shell containing hundreds of pounds of lead and acid
which doesn't even have the range for my routine day-trips
without recharging, the benefits of reducing dependence go to
the entire world. I'd be nuts to buy one, and so would anybody else, and
that's why only a few hundred of those electric cars got sold.
Likewise nuke plants haven't been profitable for their builders.
There are great reasons to use gas/oil - they're cheap, portable,
have excellent infrastructures, and are well-tested. At current
prices, current use is pretty rational.

>If the market was so efficient there would be no need for
>screwing around with these taxes.

The market is efficient, but it doesn't necessarily capture all
costs correctly. If our oil money goes to fund fundamentalist
Islamic proselytizing (which it does) which generates committed
well-educated suicidal terrorists, that's a major cost of oil/
gas which isn't showing up at the pump/gas meter. Somehow
you've got to get that externality into the prices or we will
bad decisions because we're getting bad information (inaccurately
low prices).

>I would also point out that you aren't going to reach a lot of
>extropian dreams without much more economical, clean, available
>and sustainable power than you have today.

I disagree. AI, IA, immortality, better access to information,
more open societies - none of these require any more energy
than we've got today. Space exploration, yes, but that's about
it, and what we need to replace oil and gas won't help much
with the propulsion issues that limit us in space.
>There are more than
>sufficient incentives without slapping huge tariffs on.

I will confidently say my Malibu is superior even to the decade-off
concept cars. I've yet to see any alternative fuel
vehicle I would even briefly consider trading in my car for.
My gas range and heater are far cheaper and more convenient
than electric alternatives. And I certainly don't want to
fly in a battery-powered plane!

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