Re: [asa] A greener way to get electricity from natural gas

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Mon Dec 07 2009 - 13:51:14 EST

Heya Rich,

Some replies below.

That's the wonder of cap and trade. Any CCS will be more expensive than
> without just as scrubbers are more expensive than when utilities belched out
> acid rain. When the George HW Bush administration introduced the concept of
> cap and trade they came up with a great idea of influencing the free market
> to "do the right thing". In that case, it made reducing SO2 emissions
> profitable and Shazam! companies found a way to do it under budget and ahead
> of schedule. If BP makes money reducing CO2 emissions using domestic fuel
> sources instead of making money from selling oil to us from hostile
> countries I say good for them.

Influencing the free market to "do the right thing". So that's what the
government is for nowadays? That's good to know, because there's just so
many "right things" I think should people should be doing. That government
is clearly in the business of strongly encouraging people and markets to
make the right decisions opens up so many doors for myself and others.

Incidentally - "hostile countries"? Interesting choice of words, considering
at times those are also the "developing countries" we're supposed to be
-helping- when it comes to environment-related questions. I wonder if, when
it comes to those agreements, we'll be giving money to "hostile" or
"developing" countries.

> Being quite familiar with patents, particularly within the corporate
> environment, I am very, very curious who the assignee is. It won't be the
> individuals but how it's apportioned between MIT and BP could be problematic
> as other patents have been in industry/academia collaborations. This could
> be even more intense than usual because most patents don't have the profit
> potential this one appears to have. *Randy, when IBM collaborated with
> universities how were the patent agreements dealt with?* Companies aren't
> charities and I know the company I work for doesn't sponsor such research
> unless we get some consideration. That's why our CEO, realizing that we
> still need basic research but no one will sponsor it, was behind the
> increased funding of basic research in the stimulus package.

"Companies aren't charities", yet many of them still manage to give to
charity, self-regulate, align themselves with political and social causes
they support, and more. "Individuals are not charities", and yet many of
them manage to do the exact same thing, even without the precious hand of
government. Acting as if those who lead companies are A) concerned about
nothing but profit, and B) that this is completely fine and should be
accepted is reasoning if they do think that way, I cannot get behind. Just
as I can't get behind the idea that the solution to so many problems should
be "the government gets involved".

What's more, you talk about how "companies aren't charities", and use this
to justify why your CEO apparently lobbied for additional government funding
in the "stimulus package". Again, that's not capitalism. But more than that,
let's go with your reasoning about what motivates a company, and that
(apparently) that should just be accepted. Then here's something worth
considering: A company with that sort of reasoning will never spend a penny
on something, *regardless of its profit potential*, if those leading it
think another party (particularly the government) will provide funding with
either no or at least acceptable strings attached. In fact, they'll many
times be more than willing to research an utter and obvious dead end if the
money is laid out.

Believe it or not, companies in the past were more than willing to engage in
speculative research - just as they're willing to take other risks in the
marketplace. Running a company does not mean that you only do what's
absolutely certain to turn a profit, and avoid anything where uncertainty

I'm skipping over the ID talk because it's a non-sequitir. Though I find "I
reject ID because it conflicts with my theological beliefs" to be reasoning
similar to many YECs. Big fan of Aquinas that I am, I realize other
Christians (even other Catholics - Duns Scotus) may disagree with him. And I
don't think the government should be in the business of always making sure
people "do the right thing" - though perhaps I should reconsider that.

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Received on Mon Dec 7 13:51:51 2009

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