Friday, April 27, 2007

James R. Woolsey's Congressional Testimony

Below is the text of James R. Woolsey's April 18 testimony to
the U.S. House of Representatives Select
Committee on Energy Independence and Global
Warming Hearings on Geopolitical Implications of
Rising Oil Dependence and Global Warming. He gave
similar testimony April 19 to the Senate Finance
Committee Hearings on Grains, Cane and
Automobiles: Tax Incentives for Alternative Fuels
and Vehicles, representing the National Commission on Energy Policy.

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee it is
an honor to be asked to testify before you today
on this important subject. I represent only my
own views and not those of any institution with which I am affiliated.

There are many aspects of our dependence on oil
for 97 per cent of our transportation needs that
affect both our national security in a
traditional sense and, via oil's contribution to
global warming, our security in a broad sense as
well - oil contributes over 40 per cent of the
global warming gas emissions caused by fossil fuels.

I do not believe that we will reach a sound
energy policy if we ignore any of three key
needs: to have a long-term supply of
transportation fuel that is as secure as
possible, as clean as possible (in terms of
global warming gas emissions as well as other
pollutants), and as inexpensive as
possible. Today oil meets none of these three
criteria. The reason this is important to us is
that oil is a strategic commodity today insofar
as we are in near-total dependence on it for
transportation - not merely a commodity. Until a
little over a century ago salt was such a
strategic commodity as well (I am indebted to
Anne Korin of IAGS for pointing out this
analogy). Wars were fought and national
strategies driven in part by salt, because it was
the only generally-available means of preserving
meat, a major portion of our food supply.

Today we haven't stopped using salt, but no part
of our national behavior is driven by the need
for it - it has a market and is shipped in
commerce. But because it has affordable and
effective competitors for meat preservation --
refrigeration, among other technologies - its
dominant role is over. No nation sways world
events because it has salt mines.

For a number of reasons we must strive for a
similar path of decline in influence for oil -
away from being a strategic commodity and toward
being simply a commodity. Oil will still be
useful and valued for its high energy content and
its relative ease of shipment for a long
time. It will be used in heating and in the
production of some chemicals as well - in those
uses it is already, in a sense, no longer a
strategic commodity because it has
competitors. Doubtless it will be used for many
years to produce transportation fuel as
well. But in the interests of our national
security, our climate, and our pocketbooks we
should now move together as a nation - indeed as
a community of oil importer nations - to destroy,
not oil of course, but oil's strategic role in
transportation as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.

National Security

The national security reasons to destroy oil's strategic role are substantial.

Over two-thirds of the world's proven reserves of
conventional oil lie in the turbulent states of
the Persian Gulf, as does much of oil's
international infrastructure. Increasing
dependence on this part of the world for our
transportation needs is subject to a wide range of perils.

Just over a year ago, in response to bin Laden's
many calls for attack on such infrastructure, al
Qaeda attacked Abcaiq, the world's largest oil
production facility, in northeastern Saudi
Arabia. Had it succeeded in destroying the
sulfur-clearing towers there through which about
two-thirds of Saudi crude passes -- say with a
simple mortar attack -- it would have succeeded
in driving the price of oil over a hundred
dollars a barrel for many months, perhaps close
to bin Laden's goal of $200 a barrel.

Royal succession in Saudi Arabia could also bring
major problems. King Abdullah is a sponsor of
some reforms in the Saudi system and sometimes
works toward cordial relations with us and other
oil importers, but he is in his eighties, as is
Crown Prince Sultan. Prince Nayef, the Interior
Minister, is one possible successor to the
throne. His views are famously close to those of
the extremely reactionary Wahhabi religious
movement in the Kingdom. It was he, for example,
who decided not to inform the US before the
Khobar Towers bombing when "… a few months
earlier Saudi authorities had intercepted a car
from Lebanon that was stuffed with explosives and
headed for Khobar." (Wright, The Looming Tower,
2006, pp. 238-39). Cordial relations with the US
may not be at the top of his agenda.

Iran's President is part of a circle, the
Hojateih, around Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi that is
radical even by Iranian post-1979
standards. Indeed Mesbah-Yazdi was exiled to a
school in the city of Qum by Ayatollah Khomeini
because the latter thought Mesbah-Yazdi too
radical. The Hojatiehs' views center on the
importance of encouraging the return of the
Twelfth Imam from the 10th century (the Mahdi) so
that he may begin the battles between good and
evil that they believe will end the world. The
efficacy of deterrence and containment in dealing
with Iran's nuclear weapons development program
is not clear when Iran's leaders talk of the
desirability of Iran's becoming "a martyr nation"
and shrug at the possibility of millions of
deaths by saying "Allah will know his own."

In response to Iran's nuclear program, this past
winter six Sunni Arab states, including Egypt and
Saudi Arabia, announced that they too would have
"peaceful" nuclear programs. But since a number
of these states have very plentiful supplies of
oil and gas it seems unlikely that all these
programs will be limited to electricity
generation. We may be seeing the beginning
stages of a nuclear arms race in the Gulf region between Sunni and Shia.

The US now borrows from its creditors such as
China and Saudi Arabia over $300 billion per
year, approaching a billion dollars a day of
national IOU-writing, to import oil. This
contributes heavily to a weakening dollar and
upward pressure on interest rates (our annual oil
debt is well above our trade deficit with
China). For each of these daily billions of
dollars that we can avoid borrowing and can
figure out how to spend productively producing
domestically for our transportation needs we
create 10,000 or more jobs in the US. Another
interesting perspective is that net farm income
in the US is in the range of $80 billion
annually. So by replacing about a fourth of our
imports with domestically-produced alternatives,
we create value in this country about equal to a doubling of net farm income.

If these IOUs we send abroad put a strain on the
world's wealthiest economy, think what they do to
the economies of developing countries in, say,
Africa that have no oil themselves. Debt is the
central inhibitor of economic development -
importing expensive oil is helping bind hundreds
of millions of the world's poor more firmly into poverty.

A share of our payments for oil, along with
others', find their way to Saudi Arabia. The
Saudis provide billions of dollars annually to
their Wahhabi sect, which establishes religious
schools and institutions throughout the
world. Lawrence Wright in his fine work, The
Looming Tower, states that with about one per
cent of the world's Muslim population the Saudis
support via the Wahhabis "… 90 per cent of the
expenses of the entire faith, overriding other traditions of Islam." (p.149)

These Wahhabi teachings, if one reads the fatwas
of their imams (see Shmuel Bar, Warrant for
Terror: Fatwas of Radical Islam and the Duty of
Jihad, 2006), are murderous with respect to the
Shia, Jews, homosexuals, and apostates and
horribly repressive with respect to everyone
else, especially women. They are essentially the
same basic beliefs as those expressed by al
Qaeda. The Wahhabis and al Qaeda do not disagree
about underlying beliefs but rather, a bit like
the Stalinists and Trotskyites of the 20's and
30's, about which of them should be in
charge. The hate-filled underlying views of
both, however, point in the same overall
direction. Many Wahhabi-funded madrassahs,
world-wide, echo and perpetrate this hatred and
thus promote its consequences. Thus, as has
often been said, when we pay for Middle Eastern
oil today, this Long War in which we are engaged
becomes the only war the US has ever fought in which we pay for both sides.

Finally, as Tom Friedman of the New York Times
puts it, "the price of oil and the path of
freedom run in opposite directions". Work by
Collier at Oxford and other scholars has pointed
out the link between commodities commanding huge
amounts of economic rent, such as oil (or the
gold and silver brought from the New World by
Spain in the sixteenth century) and political
autocracy. Such a commodity, unless it is
acquired by a mature democracy such as Norway or
Canada, tends to concentrate and enhance the
power in the hands of a ruler. "There should be
no taxation without representation" says Bernard
Lewis, "but it should also be noted that there is
no representation without taxation." If a
country is so oil-rich that it doesn't need taxes
it does not need, and often does not have, any
real legislative body to levy them - and thus no
alternate source of power in the State. And as
for enhanced power from oil wealth, note the
behavior recently of Messrs. Ahmadinejad, Chavez and Putin.

So the national security reasons to move against
oil's role as a strategic commodity are substantial.

Carbon Emissions

Most of the attention regarding climate change
has centered on reducing CO2 emissions from coal
because of its central role in many parts of the
world, including the US, in electricity
generation. This testimony will not deal with
these particular emissions except to note that
oil use in transportation is only lightly
affected by the steps that may be taken, such as
carbon taxes or carbon cap-and-trade systems, to
limit CO2 emissions from coal. An increase in
price of many dollars per ton of CO2 will have
only pennies' worth of effect in the price of
gasoline. So while such methods of limiting
emissions from coal combustion have much to
commend them, they have little to do with
reducing the over-40 per cent of CO2 emissions
that come from oil, especially in its
transportation uses. Other tools must be found.

Replacing gasoline with corn-derived ethanol
provides a start, but only a start. As a general
proposition, fuels made from renewable resources
merely recycle differently the CO2 that is
already in the atmosphere and that will stay
there in any case, e.g. by unharvested grasses
(which have fixed CO2 in the photosynthesis
process) dying and decaying in the field. Thus
compared to fossil fuels, which introduce into
the atmosphere CO2 that could otherwise remain
sequestered below-ground, renewable fuels
typically exhibit much lower net CO2 emissions on
a well-to-wheels basis. When ethanol is made
from corn, however, the process may use enough
natural gas in producing fertilizer and,
(depending on the fuel used to fire the ethanol
plant), on ethanol production that its use
reduces global warming gas emissions perceptibly
but only modestly compared to those from gasoline
(although even corn ethanol of course reduces oil
use). Also, beyond the range of replacing
approximately 10 per cent of gasoline, use of
corn-derived ethanol for transportation fuel
begins to create problems with land use. Other
fuels (see below) need to be utilized

In my judgment it is important to limit the CO2
emissions from oil used for transportation
(somewhere around a quarter of our fossil-fuel
CO2 emissions), but I find much of the current
debate, couched in terms of belief, to be less
than enlightening. Belief in a scientific
theory, even one that has been accepted by many
reputable scientists for many years, should
always be held tentatively and, Karl Popper
taught us well I believe, a theory should always
be regarded as a candidate for refutation. Such
refutation may be total - the late senior Saudi
imam Ben Baz to the contrary notwithstanding, the
sun doesn't rotate around the earth. Or it may
be partial: Newton wasn't so much proven wrong
by Einstein but rather his theories were shown to have limitations.

Today the clear weight of scientific opinion -
e.g. the views of the US National Academy of
Sciences -- is on the side of the proposition
that global climate change is in part
anthropogenic and that it is related to the
release of CO2 and other gases such as
methane. And although critics are right to point
out that earlier predictions by others have not
occurred - global cooling, massive famine from
population increase - this should not affect our
judgment about CO2 and global climate change
(except to give all of us a reasonable reminder
about the importance of scientific theories
always needing to be held tentatively).

I find most congenial the approach to these
issues adopted by Nobel-Prize-winning economist
Thomas Schelling, who points out that we insure
against many phenomena which we are not certain
will occur, but which we nonetheless take
seriously. It is a question of the insurance
premium's appropriate size. With respect to
coal-fired electricity there is a major debate
because most steps to abate CO2 emissions have
cost - e.g. moving toward carbon capture and
sequestration - but no major benefits other than
limiting CO2 emissions, at least none (e.g.
pollution abatement) that can't be dealt with more cheaply.

But breaking oil's strategic role in
transportation, I would maintain, is
different. As discussed below, such an objective
has modest costs (some of them indeed are
negative) and substantial other benefits. Oil
should thus be an early candidate for public
policy decisions to speed its strategic demise.


We have made some substantial mistakes with
regard to affordability in the past. Ignoring
cost in attempting to destroy oil's strategic
role in transportation is not only expensive, it
is self-defeating. For example, in the aftermath
of war, revolution, and oil crises in the Middle
East in the 1970's the US initiated the very
expensive Synfuels Corporation. It promptly went
bankrupt in 1986 after the Saudis increased
production from their reserves and drove the
price of oil down to near $5/barrel. Something
similar happened to various expensive petroleum
alternatives in the late 90's when, for a number
of reasons, oil prices sank to around $10/barrel.

Our most recent mistake has been investing so
heavily in hydrogen fuel cell technology for
passenger vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cells have
real utility in many fixed applications, in the
space program, and perhaps, once their cost has
been adequately reduced, for some types of fleet
vehicles. Hydrogen production for chemical use
may also be one reasonable way to utilize
stranded electricity (electricity produced at a
site for which no, or inadequate, transmission is
available). But to install an adequate number of
hydrogen fueling stations in our neighborhoods to
support family cars driving on hydrogen would
require a huge investment in infrastructure, by
some estimates nearly a trillion dollars.

And then one needs to answer a few questions
about creating hydrogen from either natural gas
or electricity. Why reform natural gas into
hydrogen for fuel cells and not just put the
natural gas into internal combustion engines in
the first place, especially since the conversion
wastes about a third of the original
energy? Many cities have natural-gas-powered
buses and Iran is even modifying its existing
automobile fleet to be dual-fuel vehicles of a
sort that can use either gasoline or natural
gas. Or why convert electricity (via
electrolysis of water) into hydrogen and then via
a fuel cell into electricity again, losing about
three-quarters of the energy in the process? Why
not put the electricity into the vehicle's
battery, as with a plug-in hybrid, in the first place?

If we insist on expensive single solutions such
as hydrogen - a platinum (not just silver) bullet
- and ignore cost and the utility of building on
existing infrastructure, we will fail. This is
in part because in addition to oil's being a
strategic commodity for transportation from the
point of view of us, the importers, it is also a
strategically manipulable commodity from the
point of view of those who control it. Chinese
and Indian demand, and the possibility that the
peak oil theory will prove out and the major
Middle Eastern fields will see declining
production capability, may keep oil prices
high. But many investors will still be worried
about a repeat of the sharp oil price drops of
the mid-eighties and the late nineties. The
world changed in important ways in the early
1970's when the Railroad Commission of Texas was
in effect replaced by OPEC as the arbiter of the world's oil prices.

We need to convince our investors and ourselves
that our economy is not subject to being
manipulated by others based on their perception
of whether we are being too aggressive in
developing alternatives to oil, or supporting
Israel's existence too determinedly. Instead we
should develop a portfolio of approaches to
breaking oil's strategic hold on us, building on
existing transportation capabilities wherever
possible and keeping in mind cost, carbon emissions, and national security.

Toward a Portfolio


As modern battery technology has developed in
response to the markets for electronics,
communications, power tools, and a host of other
uses, it has brought with it opportunities to
substitute electricity for oil products in
transportation. Hybrid gasoline-electric cars
have now been provided with these advanced
batteries -- such as lithium-ion - with improved
energy and power densities. Dozens of vehicle
prototypes are now demonstrating that these
"plug-in hybrids" can more than double hybrids'
overall (gasoline) mileage. With a plug-in,
charging your car overnight from an ordinary
110-volt socket in your garage can let you drive
20 miles or more on the electricity stored in the
topped-up battery before the car lapses into its
normal hybrid mode. If you forget to charge or
exceed 20 miles, no problem, you then just have a
regular hybrid with the insurance of liquid fuel
in the tank. And during those 20 all-electric
miles you will be driving at a cost of between a
penny and three cents a mile instead of the
current 10-cent-a-mile-plus cost of gasoline.

Utilities are rapidly becoming quite interested
in plug-ins because of the substantial benefit to
them of being able to sell off-peak power at
night. Because off-peak nighttime charging uses
unutilized capacity, DOE's Pacific Northwest
National Laboratory estimates that adopting
plug-ins will not create a need for new base load
electricity generation plants until plug-ins
constitute more than 84% of the country's 220
million passenger vehicles. Further, those
plug-ins that are left connected to an electrical
socket after being fully charged (most U.S. cars
are parked more than 20 hours a day) can
substitute for expensive natural gas by providing
electricity from their batteries back to the grid
to aid in stabilization of the grid's frequency
and voltage, and "spinning" reserves to help deal with power outages.

The economic savings that can result from these
vehicle-to-grid (V2G) connections are very substantial.

First of all, V2G takes advantage of the fact,
surprising to most people, that today's light
vehicle fleet has twenty times the power capacity
of our electric power system and less than
one-tenth its utilization. A relatively few
vehicle batteries can thus store much larger
amounts of energy relative to the grid's needs
than most people realize. Vehicles that are
fully charged can be left plugged into electric
outlets and serve useful, and profitable,
purposes. I would refer the Committee to experts
on this matter - particularly Professor Willett
Kempton of the College of Marine and Earth
Studies at the University of Delaware who,
together with his colleagues there, has published
widely on this subject. But one example is that
if only 3 per cent of the nation's light vehicle
fleet were plug-in hybrids, plugged into the
grid, they would alone be able to handle the grid
stabilization market, on which utilities today spend about $10 billion.

Second, major infrastructure changes are not
needed in order to use V2G. Forty out of fifty
states today have net metering laws which let
homeowners sell power they generate, such as from
rooftop photovoltaics, back to the grid - those
who have solar systems on their roofs can
literally watch their electricity meters run
backwards. V2G's flexibility will improve as the
grid gets "smarter" but it can be done
today. Professor Kempton's work thus suggests
that utilities can save a great deal of what is
now spent on fossil fuels by substituting V2G
connections and that this in turn can benefit
consumers quite substantially. In his models the
credits a consumer obtains from connecting his
plug-in hybrid to the grid, after it has been
fully charged, for several hours a day cover a
substantial share of the consumer's monthly car
payments. It seems too good to be true that both
consumers and utilities could make money while
together they reduce fossil fuel emissions, but
such seems to be the clear logic of the economics of plug-in hybrids and V2G.

Once plug-ins start appearing in showrooms,
(company announcements now make it seem likely
that we will see the first production models
within 2-3 years), it is not only consumers and
utility shareholders who will be smiling. If
cheap off-peak electricity supplies a portion of
our transportation needs, this will help insulate
alternative liquid fuels from OPEC market
manipulation designed to cripple oil's
competitors. Indian and Chinese demand and
peaking oil production may make it much harder
for OPEC today to use any excess production
capacity to drive prices down and destroy
competitive technology. But as plug-ins come into
the fleet low electricity costs will stand as a
substantial further barrier to such market
manipulation. Since OPEC cannot drive oil prices
low enough to undermine our use of off-peak
electricity, it is unlikely to embark on a course
of radical price cuts at all because such cuts
are painful for its oil-exporter members.
Plug-ins thus may well give investors enough
confidence to back alternative liquid fuels
without any need for new taxes on oil or subsidies to protect them.

Environmentalists are joining this march, and
over time with increasing enthusiasm. The
Environmental and Energy Study Institute has
reported that, with today's electricity grid,
there would be a national average reduction in
carbon emissions by about 60% per vehicle when a
plug-in hybrid with 20-mile all-electric range
replaces a conventional car. Further studies are
underway on this important subject, but it seems
clear that replacing a conventional vehicle with
a plug-in hybrid will show substantial reductions
in carbon emissions today in clean-grid areas
such as the West Coast and some reductions on an
average basis nation-wide (coal fuels about 51
per cent of our overall electricity
generation). In states where coal-fired
generation dominates the electricity market there
may still be some reductions in carbon emissions
on a net basis by moving toward plug-in
hybrids. In any case, if other public policies
such as cap-and-trade lead to electricity's
increasingly being generated from less
carbon-emitting sources -- such as renewables,
nuclear power, or coal with carbon capture and
sequestration - this process will further reduce net vehicle emissions as well.

And as far as infrastructure investment is
concerned, some is indeed needed for plug-in
hybrids: each family with such a vehicle would
need an extension cord. Period.

Renewable Liquid Fuels

Because, as discussed above, renewable liquid
fuels hold the promise of very substantial CO2
reductions on a well-to-wheels basis I will limit
this discussion to them. It is of course
possible that technological innovation will make
possible a sufficient degree of carbon
sequestration from other alternative fuels - from
oil sands, oil shale, coal-to-liquid - that they
will meet relevant CO2 emissions requirements.

In my view, even if the nation moves toward
plug-in hybrid gasoline electric vehicles, and
even with expected battery improvements, there
will be a substantial market for liquid
fuels. This is because in order for a driver not
to be concerned at running out of electricity I
believe there will be substantial motive to have
liquid fuel in the tank. Liquid fuel will be
necessary for road trips in a plug-in hybrid
beyond the battery-charge range. And although
over time we can probably expect battery
performance to improve and the need for liquid
fuel to decline, battery cost today (perhaps
$500-600/kilowatt hour) substantially limits
battery size for moderate-cost vehicles to the
plug-in hybrid ranges rather than
all-electric. In addition to battery cost
reductions, wide availability of quick-charging
could reduce the demand for liquid fuels over
time, but those renewable fuels with a
substantial cost advantage may prove particularly durable in the public market.

Cost advantages can accrue from a number of sources.

For example, the ability to grow feedstocks such
as switch grass on many types of land effectively
removes the land limitations frequently
associated with corn-derived ethanol. We found
on the National Energy Policy Commission in our
2004 report that, with reasonable assumptions
about improvements in vehicle mileage and yield
per acre of feedstocks, enough switch grass could
be grown on the amount of farm land equivalent to
the soil bank (about 30 million acres, or around
7 per cent of US farm land) to replace over the
next twenty years about half of US gasoline.

Further, over time cellulosic ethanol and
cellulosic methanol may exhibit cost advantages
over corn-derived ethanol; for example,
cellulosic ethanols' production is likely to be
simplified by the perfection of consolidated
bioprocessing (so that hemi-cellulose and
cellulose may be processed together). Its
production costs may be lowered by rapid yield
improvements using new genetic techniques,
possibly but not necessarily including the
genetic engineering of the feedstocks themselves
- e.g. to simplify the breaking down of the
grasses' or other feedstocks' lignin. And its
shipping costs may be lowered by locating small
facilities near markets - switchgrass will grow
in more parts of the country than corn.

Bio-butanol may exhibit the above advantages and
also profit from the fact that it is both more
energy-intensive and more pipeline-friendly than ethanol.

Renewable diesel, made by thermal processes from
many types of carbon-based waste -- from turkey
offal to hog manure to used tires - and P-Series
fuels, made from waste and biomass, may both
exhibit cost advantages from environmental
cleanup. Conversion of only a portion of
industrial, municipal and animal wastes-using
thermal processes now coming into commercial
operation-appears to be able to yield several
million barrels a day of diesel, or with modest further processing, methanol.

In Europe the negative costs ("tipping fees")
that a fuel producer can obtain while making fuel
from such clean-up processes are substantial -
approximately $100/ton in some cases. We may be
about to see some of these processes that
simultaneously clean up the environment and
produce fuel leave the United States and migrate
to Europe, particularly since the executive
branch has recently decided to extend to oil
refineries the $1/gallon "renewable diesel"
credit previously focused on cleanup renewable
fuel-producing technologies. (See IRS Notice 2007-37)

And one or more of the above processes may also
find cost advantages in the production of
high-margin niche products in biorefineries that
do not produce only fuel. For example, today
polylactic acid, a major ingredient in many
plastics that is ordinarily made from
hydrocarbons, is being produced from
carbohydrates (corn) in Nebraska. In relative
short order we may see other such products moving
us in a transition from hydrocarbon to
carbohydrate feedstocks for a range of chemicals.

In short there is a good deal of promise that we
may be able to shift our liquid fuel consumption
toward renewable fuels that radically reduce our
reliance on oil products. A key policy step to
enabling liquid fuel choice is to ensure that
most new cars are flexible fuel vehicles, cars
that can run on any combination of gasoline and
alcohols such as ethanol and methanol. Every car
sold in the U.S. is required to have seatbelts
and airbags; similarly, every car should enable
fuel flexibility, a feature which adds less than
$100 to the manufacturing cost of a vehicle and
provides a platform on which fuels can compete.

Materials and Other Fuel Efficiency Steps

There are a range of fuel efficiency steps that
can be undertaken. I will mention here only one:
constructing vehicles with inexpensive versions
of the carbon fiber composites that have been
used for years for aircraft construction. This
can substantially reduce vehicle weight and
increase fuel efficiency while at the same time
making the vehicle considerably safer than with
current construction materials. This is set forth
thoroughly in the 2004 report of the Rocky
Mountain Institute's Winning the Oil Endgame
("WTOE"). Aerodynamic design can have major
importance as well. Using such composites in
construction breaks the traditional tie between
size and safety. Much lighter vehicles, large or
small, can be substantially more fuel-efficient
and also safer. Such composites have already been
used for automotive construction in Formula 1
race cars and BMWs, Corvettes, and other
high-end automobiles. Adoption by automobile
manufacturers for wider use is underway. The goal
is mass-produced vehicles with 80% of the
performance of hand-layup aerospace composites at
20% of the cost. RMI's investigations suggest
that such construction is expected approximately
to increase the efficiency of a normal hybrid
vehicle by something in the range of 70 per cent
without increasing manufacturing cost. (WTOE 64-66).
A Portfolio of Programs and Criticisms Thereof

None of us is wise enough to be able to tell
today how quickly and affordably, say, battery
improvements will occur compared with progress in
the production of bio-butanol, or when it will be
more economic to produce family cars from carbon
composites than to spend the marginal dollar on
improving consolidated bioprocessing for
cellulosic ethanol. This sort of decision is
best made by the market, once access to it has
been made possible. Indeed, as with the family's
investments, the nation is better off putting
stock in a portfolio of approaches rather than
looking for any single solution. The search
should not be for a platinum bullet such as
hydrogen fuel cells but rather for a number of
pieces of silver-plated buckshot.

Indeed I believe that the principal effort of the
federal government on these issues should be to
remove market barriers to entry for
transportation programs such that oil, as a
strategic commodity, sees vigorous competition.
These steps will, if undertaken wisely, help
introduce Americans and others sooner rather than
later to practical alternatives in their daily
lives - the ability to choose rather than the
requirement to take what OPEC decides to give us.

Critics of Moving Away From Dependence

Broadly speaking there seem to be four main types
of critics of developing a portfolio to move away from oil dependence.

The first, more or less characterized by a r

1 comment:

Marjean said...

Well said.