# News Obama aims for oil independence

1. Jan 26, 2009

### phyzmatix

The man keeps going!

I know nothing about this topic other than what is available in mainstream media. Was wondering if those of you in the know could comment on the possibility and viability of these goals and policies?

Obama aims for oil independence

2. Jan 26, 2009

### The Dagda

Sure if the US radically alters it's policies; pours money into its transport infrastructure; starts weaning the US off it's love of cars; forces businesses to clean up their act; creates incentive for people to be more efficient energy use wise, publicises recycling and energy efficient/saving devices. Perhaps it could sell petrol for a price to support such measures; and of course the majority of people have to be on board; assuming they also use more options like Nuclear and or renewable energy sources. Then it might just be possible. It would help if the fusion geeks would get the lead out and produce something worthy. It's a dream, but it's one worth aiming for I think. Give it 30 years and who knows?

3. Jan 26, 2009

### mgb_phys

4. Jan 26, 2009

### The Dagda

Bush is out remember.

5. Jan 26, 2009

### LowlyPion

Sounds like a plan.

6. Jan 26, 2009

### mgb_phys

7. Jan 26, 2009

### phyzmatix

8. Jan 26, 2009

### CRGreathouse

(yes, I recognize this wasn't serious)
Not nearly. Mexico produces 3.71 Mbbl and Canada 3.23 Mbbl per year. The US net imports are 12.22 Mbbl... so even if the US conquered Canada and Mexico and stopped their citizens from consuming oil (!), it would still be a net importer -- in fact, still the largest oil importer!

Further, I don't think this would be trivial. Iraq's military expenditures were 1.3 billion USD before the US invasion; Canada's were 7.9 billion USD. Canada's current military expenditures (adjusted for inflation by the GDP deflator as estimated by the St. Louis Fed -- this should be a more reasonable measure than the CPI for this sort of expense) are 14.7 billion USD.

So ignoring the vast differences in size, technology, and wealth (Canada could more effectively increase military output than could Iraq, which was already overtaxed), Canada is still be 11 times stronger than prewar Iraq.

Last edited: Jan 26, 2009
9. Jan 26, 2009

### mgb_phys

For Nov 08 in 1000 barrels/day - total is 9.8 Mbarrels/day

SAUDI ARABIA 1,461
MEXICO 1,296
VENEZUELA 1,071
NIGERIA 775
IRAQ 452
ANGOLA 438
ALGERIA 381
BRAZIL 280
KUWAIT 272
COLOMBIA 157
RUSSIA 152
UNITED KINGDOM 117
EQUATORIAL GUINEA 114
http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/...ons/company_level_imports/current/import.html

I had thought Canada was higher, figures I remembered were >60% Canada, 20% mexico and <20% ME - might have been when the price was high and tar sands were more viable.

Figures for gasoline are about the same for top importers but less from tiny countries.

10. Jan 26, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
If we quit screwing around and set some goals we can certainly do much better than we are now. And I do think that energy independence is achievable; esp with people like Chu on the job. Between high efficiency solar cells, advanced wind and water turbines, biofuels technologies [esp algae], and ocean [wave and tide] power, the number of available options increases by the day.

And no, bicycles are not the answer. This may be practical for some, but for most people this is not an option.

Last edited: Jan 26, 2009
11. Jan 26, 2009

### mgb_phys

Not sure energy independence is actually achievable (at least in the next few decades) but it is an excellent goal.

Just persuading America that it's more patriotic to drive sub-compacts or take transit than buy a V8 truck that is built 'American tough' - but runs on Arab oil would be a start.
Compared to Europe there are huge savings to be made in energy usage - if you can put a man on the moon you can certainly invent double-glazing!

12. Jan 26, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
High effiency windows are now common in new homes.

The key is to keep the price of fuel high - that is what finally forces people to change. So I think a floor should be set for the price of gas and diesel. Unfortunately, the Republican economic collapse will slow the progress substantially. About the last thing we would want to do now is triple the price of gas [where it was last July].

13. Jan 26, 2009

### mgb_phys

But not this level of energy efficiency http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/27/world/europe/27house.html?_r=1 (have you tried to open a window in Europe - it's like a hatch on the space station!)

The trouble is you have to make fuel really REALLY expensive for people to change.
When gas here went from $0.80/L to >$1.5/L over the summer, transit use did go up by 10-15%.
The government then introduced a 3c/L 'air quality' tax to encourage transit use but since gas also fell back to >$1/L it's hard to see how that can have any effect - so it looks just like another tax grab. 14. Jan 26, 2009 ### Ivan Seeking Staff Emeritus We begin to see real change at about$3 a gallon. At 4$per gallon we began to see drastic change. I would like to see a floor of$3 once the economy recovers a bit.

One problem with air-tight homes is that they can be unhealthy. One of the bigger problems in new homes is outgassing from synthetic materials. A somewhat related example: Some may recall the FEMA trailers used for Katrina victims. People had to move out due to the toxic air. Apparently it's not safe to live in a trailer for extended periods of time.

But we have many examples of low-energy homes in the US - passive and active technolgies. In fact, many people here have been pursuing and developing this stuff for decades now.

IIRC, Binzing lives in a hay-bale home - very efficient.

Last edited: Jan 26, 2009
15. Jan 26, 2009

Ive noticed parts of Europe use excessively concrete, clays, masonry for home building, which seem to be more insulating then wood, but i don't know the difference between cost.

I don't think this is the time do dedicate resources to large scale alternative energy projects. I don't think the argument that it will make million of jobs is a true assessment, I personal don't think the industries have the capacity to increase supply by such a degree in a short time frame.

It has to be a gradual, thought out decision with no emotions involved.

16. Jan 26, 2009

### mgb_phys

Generally houses are smaller, it's a more densely populated environment so land is expensive compared to building cost, that and a feeling that houses should last for 200years explains the building materials. Most of the insulation comes from extra material that is added - it doesn't really matter if the shell is brick or wood, it's the required insulation in building codes that are important.

You mean this isn't the time to do research because oil is cheap this month so it's not a problem anymore?
If you mean that you can't rely on solar/wind/wave to suddenly replace fossil - you are quite correct, nuclear is the only thing in the next half century that is going to make a dent.

Actually it's all about emotions. What is needed is a change in people's attitude so that they feel wasting energy is like throwing litter out of the car window or pouring waste engine oil into a stream.
Instead of a god given right because it's cheap.

17. Jan 26, 2009

### Staff: Mentor

Could you point me to the plan, please? I seem to have missed it. Obama has a [rough] goal, not a plan. And right now, the ideas that Obama has do not include the one component that makes such a goal achievable: nuclear power.

There are a number of countries that have similar goals, but only one that has achieved such a goal: France. And they did it the only way it can be done: with nuclear power. Some other countries have set the goal to do it without nuclear power (see: Germany) and it will either ruin them or they will just accept failing to meet the goal.

Here's a list of per capita carbon emissions for 206 countries: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions_per_capita

Note where some big, developed countries are:

USA: 10 (20.4)
UK: 37 (9.8)
Germany: 38 (9.8)
France: 63 (6.2)

What is interesting about Germany is that they are currently 20% nuclear, but have vowed to get completely off it by 2020. So they have an enormous amount of work to do to make up that 20% in the next 11 years - and no viable way to do it. So assuming they stick to the plan to eliminate their nuclear power, they'll either build more coal plants, build more natural gas plants, or buy the extra power from France's nuclear plants.... with a very small fraction of the power being provided by their own renewable sources. The net effect:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Germany
And that will only get worse.

Last edited: Jan 26, 2009
18. Jan 26, 2009

### Ms Music

I can remember as a kid driving down the California coast and seeing wells all over the place. And then of course, Beverly Hillbillies. Why did the US stop pumping its own resources, and what are we capable of pumping? I have heard several stories, and none seem to "gel" with me as being factual.

19. Jan 26, 2009

### mgb_phys

Their solution is simply to burn the coal in Poland and ship back the power.
Germany's problem is that it has lots of coal but it it's really nasty sulfurous brown stuff.
Burning it hasn't really been a problem upto now because the winds blow east, East Germany was hardly likely to complain and Poland wasn't in a position to.
Now that Poland is in the EU - Germany can mine coal in Poland more cheaply, burn it in Polish power stations and ship the power back cheaply, while at the same time claiming huge environmental improvements. The rest of the power is going to come from Russian natural gas - which is expensive (economically and politically) but lower in CO2

Last edited: Jan 26, 2009
20. Jan 26, 2009

### mgb_phys

The small local wells in most of the US aren't worth the extraction cost for the big producers - especially when you factor in the cost of trucking it to the refinery.

The resources that matter are in the Gulf of Mexico and some off shore bits of Alaska (good luck getting those - not the bits the pipelines currently go to in the preserved wilderness but the ones in deep ice bound water off the Russian coast! )

http://www.mms.gov/revaldiv/Assets/Photos/758Syms2006OCSMapWithPlanni.png [Broken]

Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017

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