Re: Kyoto, Driving our car

Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin (
Mon, 8 Dec 1997 21:38:51 -0800

> From: "John Dickson" <>
> The important thing that no one is addressing

I'll disagree with this. In my opinion there are a pair of reasons
that the investigation into alternatives is not more apparent:

(1) The problem is not pressing at present.

(2) It seems the most critical question regarding any possible new
energy source is not how well it works, but how efficiently it can be

> is that
> the fossil fuels we are burning represent the end result of millions
> of years of solar energy concentrated into these highly energetic
> substances. I don't think anyone will argue that we are burning
> this stuff at an extremely accelerated rate,

I won't argue with that.

> and the fact is, when
> they are gone, that is it.

Probability near zero. We HAVE, today, a passable SUBSTITUTE for
gasoline that can be made by relatively low-tech, low-energy means,
strictly from an extremely renewable resource -- agricultural
wastes. (It's ethanol. Not gasohol -- just ethanol. About 180
proof. We know how to make solar-powered distillers that deliver
this purity, out of ordinary construction materials. Your carburetor
must be adjusted because you'll consume about twice as much of the
stuff per mile as you do gasoline.) We also have a number of
non-fossil sources of oils. The hypothesis that we cannot come up
with satisfactory artificial petrochemicals is untenable.

> I happen to believe they might be
> important, and I would rather not run out of them any time soon.

That, I can agree with. What we most desperately need to avoid is an
artificially maintained low price when the supply situation calls for
a price increase -- it is precisely this price increase that will
inspire the work on developing and deploying alternatives, so that we
don't hit a crisis.

So if we can arrange for governments to NOT formulate energy policies
and NOT act to protect people from rising energy costs, we don't have
a problem.

> It's not so much about the atmosphere, but rather how limited a
> resource they represent. I think fossil fuels have better uses than
> being inefficiently combusted when I commute to work.

I won't argue with this one either.
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