West Suburban Patriots

an independent Tea Party group in DuPage County, IL

Wheaton college discussion: Energy Markets and Politics: Responsible Stewardship of God’s Resources

meeting notice for the event at Wheaton College on 10/30/2012 

Energy Markets and Politics: Responsible Stewardship of God’s Resources

From follow-up emails:

---- sent from Jan S. October 31, 2012 10:50 PM ---
As for my impressions:
Well over 100 people there mixture of students and adults.
Three professors asked questions.  First two were reasonable, the third a female econ prof (did not catch her name) sounded like a lefty.
Bob Inglis was as predicted.  Used conservative lingo, claimed to be conservative, but said things like decide with your "heart" rather than your head.  Said he believes in free markets, but ALL costs must be associated with a product implying that production that pollutes should be charged extra to cover the cost of pollution. At one point he offer $20 to anyone who would cancel their homeowners insurance for year - take a chance that nothing will happen... most years that is true... tied it to global warming, that it is worth spending money just in case.  I thought he was fear mongering and a bit obnoxious.
the other two panelist shot him down on some of it.
E. Floyd Kvamme is a scientist.  He presented quite a few facts.  He acknowledged that scientist have not come to a consensus on global warming.  Said they run the whole spectrum  from it is nothing to it is destroying the planet, to folks in middle who believe there is something here, but no big deal.  He seamed to think that innovation, especially the "low hanging fruit" of being more energy efficient will be the wave of the future.  Mentioned a couple things that are already helping like electronics, re-chargers no longer get warm (heat is a wasted by product) more fuel efficient cars.  An interesting fact I wrote down is that if 2005 is your base year, scientist had predicted that energy use would go up continually and that by 2030 we would be using 150% of what we used in 2005.  However we now use only 97% of what we used then.  
The oceans have gone up about 9 inches in the last 140 years, however they fell about an inch last year.  
Carbon-dioxide was once 270 ppm (parts per million) - did not catch the year.
In 1990 it averaged 360 ppm
now is 393 ppm.
For some reason he said many think that 360 ppm is optimal - but he does not know why.  Also mention that elevated levels of CO2 result in faster growing plants.
Denny Haster was surprisingly conservative.  He disagreed with Mr. Inglis on spending money to combat Global warming.  With what he knows now, he thinks Kyoto was a bad idea.  Mentioned visiting Germany.  They were capturing CO2 in trucks in order to reduce Germany's CO2 emissions, then driving the trucks to Poland where there is no limit on CO2 to release it.  He mentioned Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a fuel of the future (I have read that it is already used in other countries- so there is no technological reason not to use it here).  
On nuclear power, all three seamed to think it would be fine.  However, Mr Hastert said he would be surprised if no oone would build any plants soon because the American people are afraid of them and we need a plan for the spent nuclear fuel.  They did mention changing the permitting process.  It used to be one permit to build and another to operate.  The environmentalist stopped some plant that were built from ever opening.  Very expensive!  NO one would construct a new plant after that.  Changed the law to one permit for both. 
Overall thought is that Mr Inglis is on a left wing mission.  The other two presented facts to dispute his.

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--- sent Jan November 1, 2012 10:44am --
Two other things, I think Hastert mentioned:
- Installing and maintaining the grid is very expensive.  That is why wind in IL where the grid already exists is possible, but wind or solar in the dessert, where it would produce the most is cost prohibitive because the grid is too far away.  
- New factories or large computer servers (high energy users) consider the cost of electric every bit as much as taxes and regulatory environment. when deciding where to locate.
From Pete (retired nuclear engineer)
The guy you were most worried about, Inglis, came off more as an idiot. I think he is no big threat to convince anybody on anything. The other two were fine on just about everything. It was like a debate to some extent. All were positive about nuclear power. Kvamme was the technical expert. He put down global warming as a bunch of nonsense. There was definitely no apparent, common goal between the three.  

 

I felt no need to challenge anybody on anything. I believe the only thing all three agreed on was the benefit of nuclear power. Kvamme told of how the alternative energy actions in Europe were a disaster.

 

Hastert told about how Germany tackled the problem of CO2 sequestration years ago. They loaded up trucks with the stuff and dumped it over across the border in Poland. I don't think that program lasted long.

 

Overall, I felt good about the panel. There was no pandering to the Christian college crowd - as maybe some of the college people had hoped.

 

Now, in their private lives, they may be scheming up some dark activities but nothing apparent to get alarmed about - except Inglis.
Energy Panel at Wheaton College
Coray Alumni Gymnasium
October 30, 2012
Notes and Observations
This event was held in a very controlled environment. Questions were only allowed by handing in a card with written questions. Selected ones were hand-picked.
As far as Inglis, he did not get any traction all night. He kept getting shot down by Hastert and Kvamme. To ask him any questions would have been pointless.
Kvamme was the scientist, between two politicians, that had a wonderful grasp of the energy situation, of the impact of alternative energy programs around the world, and was “spot on” in most respects of the discussion as far as I was concerned. Below are my thoughts on the question sheet Carol put together for us:
Wind Watch:
Inglis suggested pricing based on free market principles. But, considering coal for instance, he wants “true costs” to be reflected in pricing that would include the costs of early deaths due to coal pollution, etc. Bottom line, I see him in the group that wants to make wind and solar competitive by raising the cost of traditional energy sources. He says he does not want “Cap and Trade.” He does like the thought of taxing energy. The other two want none of it. Taxing energy was particularly well shot down by both Kvamme and Hastert.
I cannot take Inglis seriously. Everything he proposes and his reasoning behind it is screwed up.
Pete Wohld’s Questions:
Kvamme pretty much covered every one of my questions satisfactorily, basically on the right side of things. He made strong cases for the importance of low cost energy and how alternative energy projects in Europe are a disaster. I had no problem with Hastert’s answers and pretty much ignored Inglis. Inglis covers the map of everything we do not want to do.
Americans for Limited Government
Neither Kvamme and nor Hastert pushed wind or solar at all. The other questions were for Inglis - to bring out the errors of his ways. Nothing further was needed beyond what he already did to himself. But the other two still managed to grind him up further.
Jan Shaw’s Questions
Kvamme was the obvious expert, blending good science with common sense. He is against any regulations that are not well considered. He particularly addressed the ocean level changes, atmospheric temperature changes, their causes, and how the changes are not coinciding at all with CO2 generation. He feels that the global warming issues are a very much overblown and disagreed sharply with Inglis in this area.
Inglis indicated that the National Academy of Science supports global warming issues, indicating we should accept their views and that Art Laffer wants to tax anything but income - so why not “tax pollution.” This got nowhere with the other two.
Final comment
I found the whole panel discussion very interesting and took detailed notes. It was particularly interesting to hear that many audience questions were about using nuclear energy. All three on the panel had positive things to say in this area, putting much of the current situation in perspective. Fukushima was discussed by Kvamme and how the reluctance to start up the good nuclear plants in Japan is hurting their economy terribly. Thirty-five percent of their electricity is unavailable by current policy and they are basically not manufacturing anything right now.
There may have been an interest by the program planners in connecting Christian beliefs and responsibility with “Responsible Stewardship” of the planet. That was brought up only briefly, almost unnoticed. I have no idea what the audience attitude was on all this.
Pete W

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