Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Murdoch, May 4, 2010.

  1. Sander

    Sander This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Jul 5, 2003
    TheWesDude: the assumption you're making is that energy conversation is economically profitable. However, I don't think it is in a lot of cases - otherwise there would need to be no push to conserve energy.
  2. TheWesDude

    TheWesDude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 25, 2005
    conserving energy and resources on the micro level is profitable. it saves you money and allows you to spend that money on other goods.

    but in the act of conserving resources on the micro level, you create a greater use on the macro level.

    and there is a push to conservation. through laws and regulations to things like energy star appliances, higher MPG on cars, flourescent lights for home use, things like that. they all make conservation easier on the macro scale.

    here is an example of how it makes a difference.

    lets say that a power company has the infrastructure and ability to provide say 50 kwh of power in a steady stream in 2005 in a housing development that only uses 35 kwh during peak. now if that housing development gets bigger by say 35% between 2005 and 2010, but because all the residents implement energy conservation methods, that housing development increasing by 35% only increases their energy usage by 10% so they now use say 40 kwh.

    that power company does not need to increase and upgrade their infrastructure due to that growth and can spend their money in other areas or else use it as profit.

    now lets take development B which has that same 50 kwh potential, 35 kwh usage in 2005, and grows that same 35% by 2010. their residents do not employ conservation measures, and their power usage goes up by 35% and now instead of using 35 kwh peak, they now use 47.5 kwh peak. to keep up with growth in that area, that same power company would have to upgrade their infrastructure spending money to do so. which results in less profit as they have to reinvest income to upgrade and place new infrastructure rather than spending it somewhere else via upgrades or expanding into new areas.
  3. Arr0nax

    Arr0nax A Smooth-Skin

    Oct 30, 2009
    Actually what TheWesDude is arguing makes sense to me.
    The only way to globally decrease our power (and other resources) consumption would be to change our behavior on a global level, which is incompatible with our current capitalist growth-oriented model. You would need the state to interfere in the overall consumption. If you don't, your savings in one field will always go in another field. We know pretty well how to create new forms of consumption every day to ensure growth.

    Another solution would be to keep all your money under your bed.
    Or to create an alternative bank supporting degrowth.

    But what this consideration doesn't take into account is that we have one "free" source of energy which is the sun. Our global energy consumption keeping going up would not be a bad thing if we could guarantee it was durable and did not impact the biosphere. (-> harvest it directly from the sun)
  4. Sander

    Sander This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Jul 5, 2003
    Well, does it? Because conserving energy costs money to begin with. Insulation, more efficient lightbulbs, buying green products - those things all cost more money than not doing anything and just continuing to use as much energy as possible.
  5. TheWesDude

    TheWesDude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 25, 2005
    actually sander that is one of the arguments against cars like the prius vs things like mustangs and others...

    the prius uses hybrid technology, but consumes more energy to make than the mustang does. on the overall scale, the mustang is cheaper to make and sustain energy wise than the prius.

    yes, conservation on the micro level does save money, although due to technical restrictions and ability, they do save money, but its not a lot. it does garner more savings than the comparison of florescent vs incadescent. there are certain circumstances in which moving to "eco-friendly" goods/products does save money and more than the price comparison. and even when you figure over the long run not only for manufacturing costs and energy use vs energy/resource consumption.

    but there still exists the problem... if you use all these eco-friendly products, what do you do with the savings?
  6. Blakut

    Blakut Vault Senior Citizen

    Jan 9, 2008
    Actually, saving money doesn't make the world more energy efficient or clean. Making less money would, because if you save money by driving a bike instead of a car, or insulating your home, you will spend it on something else, fueling an economy that is not really that eco friendly. The best thing to do is not to save money, but to make less money, thus spending even less. But who would wanna be poor just to save the planet?
  7. Sephis

    Sephis It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Mar 29, 2010
    But you can save money and use money saved to buy things that are more expensive (many times things are actually cheaper) but better for the environment. OR just purchasing more environmentally friendly products. (If I save enough money by doing things that are economically friendly and I buy a hybrid am I putting my unspent money into something bad later on?

    Fueling an economy can be essential to being eco-friendly
    (More money into eco friendly products increases demand for more eco friendly products to be made and developed)
  8. TheWesDude

    TheWesDude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 25, 2005
    seph, which of course makes those businesses expand and hire more people which results in a net increase in energy/resources used.

    being "eco-friendly" is just another method of saying more effecient. they become more effecient at alternate methods of production. which leads to a net increase.
  9. UncannyGarlic

    UncannyGarlic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 6, 2008
    You are working off of two premises, neither of which you have proven to be true.

    First, you are only considering short-term profits/savings. In the long run, assuming that growth continues, the power company will still likely have to upgrade it's infrastructure even with more efficient customers, it will simply happen later. The company will generate more revenue if the customers do not become more efficient and even if the increased revenue only goes to upgrading infrastructure, those upgrades consume a lot of money and energy.
    Second, you assume that money spent by the power company's customers uses more money than that spent by the power company and it's shareholders.

    Again, working off of observations made during a transition period during which society uses very little electricity to one where electricity is more affordable and in which products which use it are more affordable does not really work in modern society, where pretty much everything currently uses electricity and electricity costs are rising.

    Ah but so does buying less efficient products. You assume that the more expensive, more efficiency products use a larger amount of energy than the less expensive, less efficient products. Then there are the questions of what is done with the savings and what is the net energy use overtime? Again, it's a very complicated problem and you have failed to address the complexities of it. You are speaking in extremely general terms using observations from the mid 19th century (where circumstances were extremely different) and a postulate (not a theory) from the 80's, which has had plenty of time to have been proven and made into a theory, which it has not.

    EDIT: You also fail to note that efficiency upgrades are designed to pay for themselves over a certain period of time, only after which is there extra directionally money.
    EDIT2: The rule of thumb is that average energy use increases by 2% a year. Of course efficiency has also been increasing but the question is whether it's a purely correlative relationship or a causal one? Does the paradox or the postulate actually prove causation or merely assume it due to correlation?

    Do you have any links that show that either the paradox still applies or that the postulate has been proven? A starting point would be showing that the current energy market has elastic demand for work and not an inelastic demand for work.
  10. Arr0nax

    Arr0nax A Smooth-Skin

    Oct 30, 2009
    Actually, I would.
    I've calculated I don't need much more than 800€ a month to be happy... (broke student FTW) (and this sum is artificially high due to the absurd prices of housing)
    Being rich is so 1999
  11. TheWesDude

    TheWesDude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 25, 2005

    with their residents becoming more effecient it means they can provide the same service without spending money to upgrade their infrastructure. means they are making money without investing more money. results in more profit, and rather than having to spend that profit in upgrading existing infrastructure, they can use it to expand into new areas which will generate a higher profit amount.

    less investment in existing infrastructure and instead investing in new infrastructure means higher profit amount. yes they will have to upgrade existing infrastructure, but they can delay using revenue from upgrading and instead expand.

    by forcing the company to NOT upgrade, they are allowing investments in infrastructure to not be used on existing and rather place new infrastructure.

    if they had to invest revenue into existing infrastructure, it would mean lower profits as they would be removing existing and placing new in existing placements rather than creating new placements and then placing new equipment. its a lower return on investment for the power company.


    ok, lets take an example company that makes clothes hangars.

    lets say they make and sell plastic hangars. they sell them in packs of 5, and sell them for $5 and it costs them $2 to make.

    now they research some new method that allows them to make them cheaper and instead make those same 5 hangars for $1. huge improvement!

    now the company has 4 choices.

    a) keep the price of those same 5 hangars at $5 resulting in a $1 profit per set of hangars. no net benifit to the consumer, only to the company. that allows them to pay their employees more to spend on more things which creates a higher demand of other items resulting in increase of energy/resource usage because these hangars became cheaper to make.

    b) pass part of the savings to the consumer. they sell these packs of 5 hangars not for $5, but rather $4.50 passing half the savings to the consumer. that means for each consumer that purchases these hangars saves .50 and the company makes an extra .50 which they pass to their investors/employees. the consumer has extra money to spend on other goods/services, and the employees/investors have extra money to spend on other goods/services which means they create more demand for other goods/services resulting in an increase of energy/resource usage.

    c) they pass the entirety of the savings for the new method to the consumers. rather than selling these hangars for $5, they sell them for $4. this creates extra money for the consumer only, which again lets them spend the extra money on other goods/services which creates a demand for those which would result in an increase in other areas for energy/resources.

    d) they keep the price the same of $5 for those hangars costing them $1. they do not increase the pay of the employees or the investors. instead they decide to keep that extra money in their bank account as liquid cash. that bank now has extra money on their "float" giving them extra money to invest in money market accounts or to give out in loans.

    which results in an increase in energy/resource usage elsewhere.
  12. UncannyGarlic

    UncannyGarlic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 6, 2008
    But not necessarily a net increase in energy use. That argument is more one of transferring the energy use elsewhere rather than increasing net energy use. In fact, when it comes to the company, as production becomes more energy efficient, a larger portion of the cost is the raw materials. Depending on the efficiency increases, it's quite probable that it will be a net reduction in energy use for the company even with increased production. Also note that if expansion is to happen, it will happen regardless of savings (again though, for a company it doesn't reap immediate benefits from the savings, it uses the savings to pay off the equipment (which it must invest in) over a number of years). While some conservation is minimal cost (behavior changes), upgrading efficiency has a cost associated with it.

    You also haven't answered my correlation is not causation question. Have either observations proven that it's a causal relationship and not just a correlative one?
  13. TheWesDude

    TheWesDude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 25, 2005
    everything costs money which is the common "barter" mechanisim for resources and energy.

    lowering the amount of money you pay for any 1 thing allows you to spend your money in other things.

    by allowing you to spend money you gain/save by increasing effeciency or through conservation efforts, means you are increasing demand for other good/services.

    by increasing demand for other goods/services, you increase the amount of energy/resources they use to create/provide those goods/services.

    as a creator/provider of goods/services sees their demand increase, they can pocket the profit, spread that profit to their employees/investors/clients, or exand.

    all allow for an increase in energy/resource usage.

    again, i am waiting for someone to provide an example where this cycle cannot be demonstrated.
  14. UncannyGarlic

    UncannyGarlic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 6, 2008
    My point is that you haven't proven that more energy is used and that if the price of energy is stable or increasing while efficiency increases, the portion of spending that goes towards raw materials increases.

    Your example of the hangers, for instance. Let's say that $.50 of the cost is the raw materials with the rest being energy. The ratio of energy to raw material cost is very different when the cost to produce those 5 hangers is $2 (4:1) then it is when it is $1 (2:1). If extra discretionary income is spent on items like that the energy use will decrease with efficiency improvements whereas if you're talking about electronics, you have a more complex argument.
  15. Murdoch

    Murdoch Half-way Through My Half-life

    Nov 24, 2003
    Not to derail the two derails already present...

    Horizon Oil leak is probably closer to 50,000 barrels per day.

    Corexit, the dispersant used by BP (and developed by Exxon via Nalco) is an environmental pollutant.

    BP cleanup teams preventing journalists from viewing or visiting oiled beeaches. Because BP owns them, or something?

    Gulf seafood is safe right? right?

    One small glimmer of hope in keeping BP, Halliburton and TransOcean on the hook for damages: Civil court.

    Someday soon this will sink in how monumentally screwed the Gulf Coast is. Maybe oil has to end up in the Florida Keys before the federal government makes this a priority?
  16. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    well they mentioned quite lot of this BP stuff around here in the news lately. So must be pretty bad. Some call it already the worst eco catastrophe in the US history.

    *le sigh*

    maybe sometimes it would be better if humans just dissapeared.
  17. UncannyGarlic

    UncannyGarlic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 6, 2008
    It's already a priority for the federal government but the amount of direct involvement they can take is limited for various reasons, the biggest being liability. If they take charge of the cleanup then they are liable for it. Besides which, the people who come up with ideas for solutions are all incredibly incompetent (none of these are new ideas by the way and they have always been this poorly effective) and the Feds would probably being relying on them just like the BP is and they would still be using mostly BP's equipment (or rent it from another oil company). The Feds do need to ride BP's ass about getting in independent scientists to measure the flow rate and require BP to allow independent scientists full access. Also they needed to not allow BP to use the dispersant, certainly not under the surface.

    What would you have them do differently exactly?

    That's ridiculous that they turned away the CBS reporters under threat of arrest but CBS really should have forced them to arrest them (would have made it a bigger story).

  18. Loxley

    Loxley Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Apr 11, 2003
    According to norwegian newspapers US coastguard say that the last attempt seemed successfull and that oil and gass is no longer leaking out from the well.
  19. Murdoch

    Murdoch Half-way Through My Half-life

    Nov 24, 2003
    Indeed. Last I heard oil had stopped gushing, replaced with mud injected to stem the leak. If the mud stops flowing they'll know the well is stable enough to pump concrete and close it semi-permanently. Or, so I understand.

    @Uncanny Garlic

    In the past few days the government as been much more forthcoming about explaining their involvement, culminating in Obama's press conference today. From what I've heard I'm much more content with the job it's done and the explanations given after the recent media offensive. I'm willing to give them it benefit of the doubt that what it says is what it's actually doing and that it's not just recently made up window dressing.

    edit: misquote
  20. alec

    alec White heterosexual male Orderite

    May 21, 2003
    I think that, by now, it's pretty clear we're all doomed.

    This is yet another one of them global catastrophes that will make an end to all that is and ever was.


    Nature does not give a damn about you.


    (faint sounds of salvation)