Democracy Has Prevailed.

June 30, 2008

Jack Kelly Sunday

Jack Kelly tackles the nation's energy problems this week - oil, coal and nuclear. All in one column.

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.

He begins:
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.

It isn't.

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.

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.
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?

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.


Anonymous said...

John K.: And exactly how did that criticism add one barrell of oil to the supply? Or how did that criticism help in moving to alternative energy?

Anonymous said...

It's not that we don't appreciate your humor, John. But if you would just read the post you're replying to, you could mock yourself in a more realistic and funnier way.

It's just not as weird when your comment has nothing at all remotely to do with the original post.

Just a suggestion to help you own this blog even more than you do.

Anonymous said...

John K: Come on shitrock, step up here. Answer how that added one barrell of oil to the supply? And then explain how Reid/Schumer/Pelosi campaigned on lowering the price of gas and have done nothing. Then explain why there have been 14 hearings on oil and all that the Democrats can produce is threats and a really funny threat by Maxine Waters to nationalize the oil industry. Comeon shitrock, your an intellectual. You can step up and do it. Don't be afraid. LMAO You make it to easy shitrock. Now go get some facts.

Anonymous said...

John, you're blogging in your sleep again! Wake up, John, wake up! You're going to be so embarrassed when you wake up and realize what you've been saying on this blog.

EdHeath said...

John K, I find that when I compose a comment in Word, it cuts down on (though not completely) the spelling errors.

How did Jack Kelly’s column add one barrel of oil to the supply of extracted oil? How does Dave’s post or John S.’s comment remove one barrel from the supply available to be extracted? Yes, the Democrats foolishly ran in ’06 on a platform of reducing oil prices, and have not (really could not) kept it. Alert the presses, a politician didn’t keep a campaign promise! George Bush has not kept his promise to get Osama Bin Laden.

I actually tend to agree (roughly) with Jack Kelly’s projected numbers. In five to ten years we could (and really should) cut our imports of foreign oil in half. That takes into account most SUV and pickup drivers getting rid of them and replacing them with cars or minivans. Also people moving back closer to or back into cities, taking buses or riding bicycles, increased use of solar and wind power, recycling, etc. But what Kelly fails to note is that *another* five to ten years should enable us to go the rest of the way and eliminate our dependence on foreign oil.

Except that I think people like you, John K, will argue against both more drilling and more conservation. I think we will get lazy and complacent and prefer to hear that climate change is a hoax. We will want to listen to institutions in Oregon which distribute papers that are not peer reviewed, and solicit signature from anyone with a bachelors of science, although they certainly accept signatures from PhD’s, regardless of field.

Have you heard George Stephanopolis’s suggestion that we vote as if we are a godfather or godmother? In other words, whether we have kids or not, we take the future of our collective children into consideration. Don’t you want to leave them some domestic oil, rather than pulling it all out of the ground now just so we can have cheaper gas today?

By the way, does John K = Jack Kelly? Or has someone already asked?

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or is the Republican/conseravtive answer to our energy problems caused by the finite nature and environmentally deleterious effects of coal and oil an enthusiastic cry for "More coal and oil?" Maybe it's just me...

And why is it that, sooner or later, the modern conservative mind focuses it's attacks on the very heart of democracy - debate and dialogue? They did it when they maniputed the 2003 AUMF for political gains; they've done it every step of the way as they exercised their twisted vision of peace & prosperty upon the American people these last 8 years. They paint themselves as the greatest of patriots, yet are always the first to assail the speaking of one's mind, unless of course it is their own, in which case their is no limit to the machinations they will employ to ensure that their will is enforced upon all of us.

As to the issue at hand, I for one second Maxine Waters call to nationalize not just oil but the majority of the nation's natural resources. The unjust and disproportionate capitalization and profit by a few off the necessities of the many stands without reason; it's defense is no more than the defense of the most wicked and wreckless form of selfishness and greed. It is hard to see how a truly free and open market can exist under such conditions. It's certainly no way to promote the general welfare of our republic.

Anonymous said...

Socialism is theft. To take from one who has to give to another who lacks is theft. For one who haves to voluntarily give to one who lacks is charity.

Besides, if you think corporations are thieves, just wait until you see what the thieves in DC do with natural resources. I wouldn't trust the federal government to nationalize a fast food chain, let alone necessities.

Anonymous said...

John K: Yepper nationalize the oil industry and more according to jaywillie. The govt does such a good job of running things that the left never complains about govt services. Nothing like a liberal to determine who gets access to the natural resources. Then we can all reside in misery.