Comparing apples and interstate highways

Once more into the breech rode the loony LibDem green folk.

Petrol-powered cars should be phased out within decades to help fight climate change, say the Lib Dems.

Environment spokesman Chris Huhne says cars should use alternative fuel – like hydrogen fuel cells – by 2040 as part of plans to make the UK carbon-neutral.

Now, I have nothing against the idea that something could come along and supplant petrol engines; if there is something better and cheaper that could practically replace them, I’m all for it. More money in my pocket make me a happy man. But what I’m decidedly against is the state telling me that I must switch, especially if such luminaries as Chris Huhne think that the law should be put in place without having a clue what could replacement there could be in thirty years.

That’s what pisses me off about this idea, more than most such lunacy: Mr Huhne is willing to bet the entire economy of this country, and throw away considerable freedoms into the bargain, on a breakthrough that nobody can predict. There’s lots of talk about improvements in bettery power, but where does the original power come from. Or hydrogen fuel cells: where the fuck is that amount of hydrogen going to be produced, and how the hell would it be distributed?

To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld:

The message is that there are known “knowns.” There are things we know that we can do; we can improve the efficiency and ‘cleanliness’ of existing engines. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know, like what will come after the petrol engine. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know – and this is where Chris Huhne would like to take us, with the full power of the state behind him.

It is only prudent to base laws on known knowns, and to prepare for known unknowns. But to base laws on unknown unknowns is madness, pure and simple.

And on top of that, it’s freedom crushing madness…

5 thoughts on “Comparing apples and interstate highways

  1. First let me congratulate you on quoting Rumsfeld, a fine example of a politico ignoring actual experts. Sorry, maybe you think the US is succeeding in Iraq and the so-called conservative US government hasn’t sunk the nation into unprecedented debt while the oil remains sitting in the ground because they army can’t protect a damn thing. That debt is held mainly by foreigners. Try this conservative position on for size. The Chinese have caught up to the West technologically. The Arabs, who hate our guts, hold the keys to the fuel supplies. Western political and economic dominance has historically been based on a technical superiority; we have lost that when it comes to energy. The UK is in a far more precarious position than the US when it comes to relying on foreigners (hostile ones at that) to power our civilizations. Don’t kid yourself the North Sea reserves are small relative to the consumption. Its time we changed the paradigm to patented new technologies. Even if Climate Change is bullshit, there is always peak oil( go and read about it) then there is regular old business. Changing to new technologies that enrich our economies is better than digging even bigger debts and relying on foreigners to supply everything we need to maintain our society. Just wait until Mr.Jintao wants to call in the loan, we’ll see who give a shit about who’s protestant or catholic.

  2. Mr McIsaac, a quick suggestion. Learn to love the paragraph; it is your friend. And it makes long and carefully thought out rants look so much more appealing.

    And so to a reply:

    First, let me state that I was not quoting Rumsfeld, I was paraphrasing his most ridiculed speech, and bending it into saying what I wanted to say. The two are markedly different.

    I am fully aware that things in Iraq are FUBAR; in many ways this annoys me much more than it could annoy you, because I agreed with the decision to invade. At the time, with the information available, it was the correct thing to do. Just because the information available has changed now, doesn’t make the initial decision incorrect- that is just second guessing and what-if-ery, and nothing good comes of that.

    And I am also aware of the Peak Oil theory – note the lack of capitalisation on theory there. World production may peak soon (or, depending on which moonbat you’re reading, may have already peaked), but I am fairly sure that we can cope with that, provided that the greens don’t get their way. Because there exists a very safe way to generate enough power to drastically reduce our hydrocarbon energy consumption, but the greens don’t like nuclear.

    As to your assertion re. the lovely Mr Jintao, let me leave you with this thought: a man on a street has $100 in his pocket. There exist a number of shops on the street willing to sell him goods. Who has the power in that relationship, the man or the shopkeeper?


  3. Mr McIsaac: that you don’t like Donald Rumsfeld is obvious – you remark at length regarding the decisions he has taken regarding Iraq. You have singularly failed to explain why these, in any way, relate to Ed’s point regarding personal transport.

    Your line of reasoning appears to be: 1) Donald Rumsfeld was wrong about Iraq, 2) Therefore Donald Rumsfeld is wrong always and about everything, including general abstract discussion of what is knowable. In this light, it is clear we should task someone with finding out what Donald Rumsfeld’s real name is, because clearly if he said it was “Donald Rumsfeld” that must be wrong.

    If you wish to be taken seriously, you might try a little more in the way of serious argument, and a little less in the way of hostile prejudice.

  4. Chez: say what you will about the writing and the lack of coherent argument, but you have to admit that Isaac McIsaac is a damn cool name. For a Canadian, anyway…

  5. Sorry for the delay in responding. I was off enjoying what’s left of the Canadian wilderness. I’ll admit to wasting valuable hydrocarbons transporting beer and meat over vast water with a less than environmentally friendly two stroke outboard. Thirty years on and the thing just won’t break. How British to harp on me colonial use of the language. I found the button that makes paragraphs though. Isn’t paraphrasing sloppy quoting? Maybe not, who cares?

    I agree with you in reference to the reasons laid out at the time for the US going into Iraq. Unfortunately they were, to use colonial vernacular, rat’s ass fukin’ bullcrap. The honest motivation was good old Anglo Imperialism. It would be gross hypocrisy for me to rail against that as I am sitting in one of its more successful outcomes. Canada worked out quite well in the end. So “give ‘em hell USA”. Tragically , the poor Americans believe in there own advertising. They can’t seem to do the British thing and simply take over, get the stuff and split. They want to teach the natives baseball or something. I don’t like Rumsfeld because he screwed the pooch and ignored what his military was telling him. He and his crew have also drained the US treasury. As a Conservative person I find that fact absolutely unforgivable. The US debt could crush us all and you know it. Anyhow Mr. Chez(is he French?) argument or couter argument is just silly. If Rumsfeld as the Secretary of Defense ignored the actual experts from within his own Military it is more than possible that he will downplay the opinions of anyone that challenges his views. Views that are heavily influenced by his buddies at Halliburton, who have a serious stake in keeping the petroleum flowing. Whether or not he knows his own name is well…

    Anyhow ;Alternative Transportation Energy.
    Nuclear. Sure it’ll make Ontario and Manitoba rich. Britain should buy the Canadian CANDU system. Its pretty safe. If it screws up it will only wipe out the water system its next to. I gather polluted water isn’t unusual in the UK so get in to it. I guess the advances in solar are not that attractive to a place that’s rainy most of the time. Wind turbines are annoying to look at. We could always go back to the horse then use the extra methane.
    So how is one to get all that fabulous nuclear power into the boat so we can enjoy beer and meat on the lake? Geez eh? How about converting the wads of electricity into Hydrogen so we can rip it up clean like, in the Chris Craft. Keep that lake drinkable while having lots of fun. Or check these links if you want to know how and where hydrogen will come from.

    if you think Yale is run by commies, think again.

    As for huge electrical production to make the Hydrogen;

    and the technology to go fast:

    Oh yeah, the shopkeeper and the guy with the hundred bucks, or pounds, or whatever. You left the bank and the government out of the equation. What happens if say, the shop keeper can’t open because the bank foreclosed on him because it got raped by a Government that owed too much money somewhere else and can’t secure any more for financing because its competitors cut the cash supply off because they had been planning to do so for a long time because now they owned or controlled they energy and raw materials to create their own consumer base and they don’t care about our market anymore. (don’t be a ponce, I know its not a proper sentence.)

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