Mike O’Hare of the Goldman School gives the Prez an A for style and an F for substance. He wants to know whether the Bushites understand (1) the difference between an energy-storage medium and an energy source and (2) the slope of a demand curve.
In the disconnected string of hopes and opinions that passes for a “major policy address” these days, the president yesterday rearticulated what the White House is calling an energy policy.
The fundamental question was, rhetorically, do we want to continue to grow more dependent on other nations for energy supplies? (Of course we don’t). The thematic language was to increase domestic “production” and decrease consumption. And the tool of choice was technology.
At that soundbite level, it was a fine speech. As it unfolded, however, it was almost entirely an inconsistent and flatly misleading mishmash of wishful thinking and deceptions.
Update The net energy balance of ethanol remains a controversial question and I shouldn’t have been so flatfooted. The most recent studies range from a 34% gain in ethanol energy over the energy in its inputs(Shapouri et al 2002 to an 85% loss. I think the more pessimistic study (Patzek,
2005) is substantially more sophisticated and its methodology more thermodynamically realistic.