Just Words – again

I did not listen to The Speech last night. I did not read the whole thing. I did search the text for a few phrases and hit upon these examples. Obama’s words in italics.

“Not because I believe in bigger government – I don’t.”

-National health care, Porkulus, tax increases, gun restrictions, promoting the “Employees Free Choice” Act, toying with the “Fairness” Doctrine, deciding how American cars will be built, preventing drilling for oil within America, classifying CO2 as a pollutant, telling States they can’t refuse Porkulus dollars, and talking about mandatory national service. I wonder what Obama thinks Big government is?

“[I]t is no longer an option to drop out”
of school.
-That was an easy fix for Chicago schools. Why did he wait so long?

Obama “[W]on’t allow terrorists to plot against us.”
-That was even easier than fixing the graduation rates.

“Nobody messes with Joe”

-Except, perhaps, Crazy Joe himself.

“Double the supply of renewable energy”
– In 2006, about 18% of global energy consumption came from renewables. 13% from traditional biomass, such as wood-burning. So 13% of renewable energy is off the table immediately because it produces CO2.

This is also true of biomass sources such as ethanol and biodiesel, neither of which can survive without massive subsidy and tariff protection. Even with such benefits, the ethanol producers are going bankrupt.

It is true that the feedstocks for producing liquid biomass fuels (plant and animal material) are, to one degree or another, carbon sinks and could form part of a cycle where some of the carbon is re-sequestered. Still, all these technologies have energy inputs; many of them use as much or more to produce liquid fuel as the fuel produces when used. With current technology these fuels are only self-sustainable using waste feedstock. The supply of waste feedstock (corn stalks and used cooking oil, for example) probably represent the limit to growth of use for these biofuel. Algae may slightly change this equation.

In any case, even assuming a perfect carbon cycle, there isn’t enough biomass.

Hydroelectricity, the next largest renewable source, provided about 3% (15% of global electricity generation), followed by solar hot water/heating, which contributed 1.3%. Modern technologies, such as geothermal energy, wind power, solar power, and ocean energy together provided some 0.8% of final energy consumption. The high tech contribution, then, represents a tiny fraction of the demand. Nearly twice as much hot water and space heating is generated from directly heating water from the sun as is created by geothermal, wind, photo-voltaic and tide energy combined. i believe in passive solar power and designed, and lived in, a house on that basis. Unfortunately, you need large, unobstructed, south facing windows.

After the tiny energy contributions Obama promises to double there remains a large cost differential. We’ve been working on improving the price/performance of photo-voltaics since 1970 and, under laboratory conditions, have reached approximately 40% efficiency. Making solar-cell grade silicon from sand is a very high energy process. It takes one to two years for a conventional solar cell to generate as much energy as was used to make the silicon it contains. Not break even on cost: Generate as much energy.

The cost of production, installation, distribution and maintenance remains uncompetitive in solar and wind. Surely, solving those problems is worth billions of dollars to industry. With Obama’s getting the government further entrenched, NOT solving it any time soon is worth billions.

If we are generous and assume the cost of the 0.8% of energy generated by non-CO2 producing technologies (excluding hydro, which is pretty much tapped out) drops by 50% and that Obama has underreached by 100%, his promise means that the world will get 3.2% of its energy at only double the current price. This is not even enough to handle projected growth in demand. The research must go forward, but doubling the output in a short time is not going to happen without serious waste and “unanticipated” environmental damage. Like 1,500 ton concrete windmill platforms and ethanol production being the largest source of industrial man-made CO2 in Iowa.

The word “nuclear” appears once in the speech, just before the word “proliferation.” “Atomic” does not appear.

“Market based cap on carbon based energy”
-All the money which Obama will divert from private use into doubling “renewable” energy is here combined with another economy killer.

Nuclear power is infrastructure, it produces no CO2 and it provides part of a long term answer to energy needs. He didn’t mention it.

“…voluntary charity”
-An redundancy to anyone but a statist and a clear indication he does believe in Big government. Where else do you get “involuntary charity,” the oxymoron, except from government?

Healthcare costs “cause a bankruptcy filing every 30 seconds”
-Give it a reasonableness check. Bankruptcies from all causes have been under 1 million for years. Hint: There are approximately 31,500,000 seconds in a year.

I’m sure there is more. I’m sick of it. I have to go hear about the $400 million spending bill that got out of the House today with 9,000 earmarks. It was held over from 2008 because the Democrats thought Bush would veto it.

Update: 7:50PM
Worth reading this whole thing:

FACT CHECK: Obama’s words on home aid ring hollow

On the energy question (I was using 2006 World figures):

In 2007, the U.S. produced 8.4 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, including hydroelectric dams, solar panels and windmills. Under the status quo, the Energy Department says, it will take more than two decades to boost that figure to 12.5 percent.

If Obama is to achieve his much more ambitious goal, Congress would need to mandate it. That is the thrust of an energy bill that is expected to be introduced in coming weeks.

Interesting Big government angle there, too.