In doing so he spins the data (as we have learned to expect from our friend Jack) most beneficial to his case - ignoring all the qualifiers necessary to see a bigger picture.
The headline on an otherwise first rate story in the Post-Gazette Monday was: "Coal may hold solution to gas prices." The story was about technologies to convert coal to gasoline and diesel fuel. The Shenhua Group, a Chinese firm, will open this fall in Mongolia a plant that is expected to produce 50,000 barrels a day of low sulfur gasoline and diesel fuel by 2010. The Shenhua Group is using technology developed mostly in the United States, but we have no comparable projects here, even though coal can be converted to oil for between $60 and $70 a barrel. Oil is running about $140 a barrel.Something to notice from the very first sentence. Jack Kelly thinks the story (by Daniel Molloy) is "otherwise first rate." Jack says the story is about technologies to convert coal to gasoline and diesel fuel. That's not exactly true (more about that in a minute). The next sentence mentions a Chinese firm "The Shenhua group" and so it's easy to assume that that firm is actually mentioned in Molloy's story.
The next sentence, when compared to where Jack is quoting from, shows how far he's willing to spin. First Jack's sentence again:
The Shenhua Group is using technology developed mostly in the United States, but we have no comparable projects here, even though coal can be converted to oil for between $60 and $70 a barrel. Oil is running about $140 a barrel.And the sentence Jack's quoting:
Estimates vary widely, but Richard Bajura, director of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University, said liquid coal could be produced for $60 to $70 a barrel. Last week, oil prices approached $140 a barrel.I guess Jack just left out the "estimates vary widely" part.
He also left out a larger part of Daniel Molloy's article:
But a bigger hurdle than funding is the environmental lobby, which is vigorously attacking the technology for its greenhouse gas production. From the time it's hauled out of the mine until it leaves the tailpipe, coal-to-liquid produces about twice as much carbon dioxide as petroleum.Remember, Jack said the article is first rate - presumably that means that Jack thinks all the facts are accurate. If that's the case, then wouldn't you think he should at least make a passing reference to "produce twice as much carbon dioxide"?
In any event, even though Jack seems enchanted by the whole idea, he says that even that won't be enough.
Just to keep things interesting, he does do a little dancing:
The American Public Transportation Association estimates Americans who ride buses, subways and trains "save" 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline a year, or about 70 million barrels of oil (about 19.5 gallons of gasoline can be produced from the typical barrel of oil). That's about 191,780 barrels per day. If public transit ridership doubled, that's the additional amount we could expect to save. It's nothing to sneeze at, but the savings would be equivalent only to what four Shenhua-style CTL plants could produce.See what he did there? If you don't, ask yourself who ever said that switching to riding the bus is the only way to conserve energy?
Environmentalists who tout savings from conservation tend to dismiss the contribution drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve could make to our energy supplies. But the estimated production from ANWR (a million barrels a day for 30 years) is five times what we could expect to save from the unrealistic goal of doubling mass transit ridership.
No, no. For Jack it's increased conservation AND production. Production in the form of more nuclear power plants and drilling (of course) in ANWR and off-shore.
We've done the ANWR/Off-shore drilling argument already.