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If you're making a profit from your bio-fuel business because of high carbon taxes, then you continue, it's good business for you.  If the EROI is that low, it's a good indication that it is very bad business for the economy as a whole, because you are being paid to destroy energy. This would tend to undermine your assertion that a carbon tax and free market are the answer to the energy question.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jul 24th, 2013 at 07:13:00 AM EST
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Yes, both of those are quite bad deals for society: the fossil fuel is a non-renewable resource and valuable chemical feedstock in its own right. Consuming energy to turn it into fuel so that it can be destroyed and its potential usefulness as a chemical feedstock lost forever is quite insane.

And an energy source that is being subsdized on the basis of being considered as sustainable, renewable energy source that is not, in fact, an energy source but is only an energy transmission medium is a swindle, a con-game, that should be put to a halt, since the fuel provides energy that is neither sustainable nor renewable.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jul 24th, 2013 at 09:14:40 AM EST
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But still the problem is getting repeal of ethanol requirements for gasoline past Cargill and ADM. The problem is finding a way to get past powerful economic incumbents with destructive practices via our corrupted political process. Probably the only way is by mobilizing other powerful economic incumbents by convincing them that the destructive incumbents have to be forced to change so that all can survive. Meanwhile mainstream discourse is corrupted by paid shills in the MSM.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jul 24th, 2013 at 11:47:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the EROI analysis does nothing as far as working out what objectives are politically feasible, or indeed if the minimum necessary is politically infeasible how to restucture the political system so that an industrial economy remains viable.

But I don't believe in silver bullets, so I never advance any analytical tool on the premise that its a silver bullet that resolves all problems.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jul 24th, 2013 at 04:44:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The comment was certainly not intended as a criticism, but rather as a statement of a dismal fact that we have to deal with. Part of the comment derived from an observation by David Yglesias on industrial opposition to bank involvement in physical ownership of metals.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jul 24th, 2013 at 07:37:06 PM EST
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If the EROI is that low, it's a good indication that it is very bad business for the economy as a whole, because you are being paid to destroy energy

A power plant is a business operation which is paid to destroy energy. So is a refinery. Should we ban power plants and refineries and consider them examples of things which are very bad for the economy, when they are actually the very opposite of that? These are the kind of  strange conclusions you get from EROI theory.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jul 24th, 2013 at 03:22:20 PM EST
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There are plenty of questions EROI doesn't tell you anything useful about. But unless you assume the problem of energy scarcity away EROI will not be entirely useless. Certainly less arbitrary than market prices.
It doesn't matter that we wouldn't have energy scarcity for quite a while if we had started a sensible investment program in time.
by generic on Wed Jul 24th, 2013 at 04:35:02 PM EST
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Well, I do not worry that much about energy scarcity. While oil is an immensely large and important source of energy, its crucial job is as an energy carrier for the transportation sector. In other words, see my signature.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Jul 25th, 2013 at 09:43:39 AM EST
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Yes, the energy crisis is that the energy sources that we have built our industrial society on turn out to be a climate suicide pact.

It would, however, be taking on a foolish technology risk to build a system that is immune to the coming liquid fuel crisis in our transportation system that would in turn have to be shut down if opponents of Climate Kamikazes get the upper hand, when established and effective technologies that opponents of Climate Kamikazes would be fine with are at hand.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jul 25th, 2013 at 02:46:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They would be the strange answers you would get from EROI if you decided to use it as a business tool for making energy production plant investment decisions.

But as nobody proposes doing that, it seems rather a moot  point.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jul 24th, 2013 at 04:41:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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