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    Where Do You Buy Windmills And Other Energy Trivia
    By Randall Mayes | March 31st 2013 09:50 PM | 2 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Randall

    Randall Mayes is a policy analyst specializing in biotechnology. His areas of expertise include technology based economic development and public...

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    So you want to be in the energy biz. Do you have what it takes? It’s April Fools' Day--- test your energy IQ and find out where you belong in the dynamic energy sector.

    Prefabricated Housing
    1) Is prefabricated housing cheaper and/or greener than stud built construction?
    2) Did a Chinese developer build a prefabricated 30 story hotel in 15 days?

    Oil Pipelines
    3) Canada has a glut of oil and gives the United States bargain pricing. So, why does the United States buy oil from Venezuela?
    4) For the Keystone XL Pipeline, what does the XL stand for? Hint, don’t confuse pipelines with men’s boxer shorts.
    5) Several decades ago, Canada sued the United States over acid rain caused by coal fired electric plants. As a condition for the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, did Secretary John Kerry suggest that Canada not sue the United States over any resulting greenhouses gases?

    Greenhouse Gases
    6) What is the second most abundant greenhouse gas after CO2?
    7) After problems with ratifying cap and trade, the United States relies on the Massachusetts v. EPA decision which provides EPA authority to regulate carbon emissions. Some legal scholars feel this ruling is flawed and advocate carbon taxes as an alternative. Why do they think that the Court’s decision was bogus?

    Politics
    8) I have reinvented myself as a futurist and now read all things futuristic. I recently reviewed Al Gore’s new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. According to Albert, two of the six drivers are related to consumption, energy, and sustainability. In the review, I wrote, “Gore has championed technology while living in his large Tennessee estate and flying on private jets, both large emitters of greenhouse gases, while simultaneously gaining notoriety as a spokesman for reducing our carbon footprint and sounding the alarm on the fallout from climate change.” Is Al Gore mentally homeless?

    9) Markets assume consumers make knowledgeable and rational buying decisions. However, according to numerous behavioral economics studies this assumption is not true. Consequently, this phenomenon justifies government intervention (nudges) for our own good, I suppose. Irrational behavior is a major challenge for libertarian and conservative economists. Do they have an answer to get the government off our backs and let markets determine consumption?

    Windmills
    10) Where do you buy windmills? A- From a guy named Luigi in New Jersey B-From a guy named Swifty Lazar in Chicago C- The Whole Earth Catalog D- None of the above

    Answers
    1) You can make prefab housing as green and cheap as you wish. It is a tradeoff between your budget with quality materials and green features. Compare the Chinese built trailers used after Hurricane Katrina, which emitted VOCs from the sealant in the cheap laminated walls, later determined health hazards, with the million dollar homes in California inhabited by the Whole Foods eating, Prius driving, and save the manatees crowd.
    2) Yes. See Wired and New York Times coverage of Zhang Yue.
    3) Canada already has a pipeline that serves parts of the upper Midwest and the Northwest. Other parts of the United States are currently served by ports in the Gulf. The proposed Keystone XL Pipeline would serve other portions of the United States. This decision is a balancing act between numerous factors--- the environment, energy security, economic prosperity, etc.
    4) Export Limited. Life does not always make sense.
    5) No, I just made this up.
    6) Methane. Created by cow flatulence and Democratic Congressmen. [Source protected by law that protects sources]
    7) Under the Clean Air Act, EPA has authority to regulate toxins that directly affect humans. Carbon affects humans indirectly through climate change.
    8) Yes. Keep that electric meter spinning and the ranting going Al. It’s just a matter a time until you receive a Pulitzer to go along with those other worthless awards you have.
    9) TBD. I have contacted several libertarian economists, but cannot get a satisfactory answer. Apparently, this is a bugger.
    10) D- None of the above. Look in the phonebook under windmills.

    Correct Answers and Career Placement
    8-10   VP material. You can refer to Mr. Pickens as Boone
    6-7    Join the Special Forces and capture Al Gore
    4-5    Windmill procurement executive for T. Boone Pickens
    2-3    Windmill repairman
    0-1    Technician measuring cow flatulence and greenhouse gases

    Comments

    Thanks for the article.

    I don't see a challenge to pro-libertarian economists as they explicitly reject the rational behavior theory. They see markets more as learning /communication mechanisms, and governments as diseased markets when coercive.

    For more info on actual people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues worldwide, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ http://www.Libertarian-International.org ....

    randallmayes
    This is the answer I am used to receiving.  But, I guess what I do not understand is the ideology of pure Austrian economics. To say pure Austrian/ conservative economists reject rational behavior, is to say economic models and theory are not based on some type of predictable market mechanisms. As far as I know Austrian economics is at this point economic theory. Can you name one town, state, or country that uses Austrian economics? If so, you could show me rather than tell me about an alternative future scenario to deal with world problems. As a policy analyst, I like to deal with specific situations rather than philosophical discussions and theories. Perhaps we are in that Schumpeterian cycle awaiting for synthetic biology to emerge to make renewable energy and conservation subsidies a moot point.

    Although I am a libertarian, I am a pragmatic libertarian in that I believe in regulated markets when necessary. In marketing a product you have "pull" sales, for example, low home interest rates and people lining up for refinancing.  When interest rates are high, you have "push" sales. The same mortgage brokers are on the streets tap dancing to sell refinancing to pay their own mortgages. For some reason, people are attempting to enter the US on lifeboats and by digging tunnels. Even Austria does not use Austrian economics. Why do think that is?

    I will read over the Int'l. Libertarian website. In the mean time, if you can give specific examples of voluntary behavior relating to energy and biotechnology, perhaps we could discuss how exactly that would work.
    Randall Mayes