4. In one sentence, why does Peter Huber argue that wasting energy is not always a
● HUBER- It is only by throwing most of the energy away that we can put what's left to
How does he illustrate the 'energy waste' inherent in the product of a 10-watt laser
● Energy Waste - A 10-watt laser beam doesn't deliver more power than the bulb or the
skylight--to the contrary, it delivers less, and we waste huge amounts of ordinary light
○ The laser burns light to generate light and tosses away most of its fuel in doing
○ After taking 6600 kilowatt-hours of energy from fossil fuels, only 20 of these
kilowatt-hours end up in the laser beam’s output.
9. What were the main causes of deforestation in the past?
● demand for wood for
○ construction timber
○ countless objects
○ clearance from cultivation & grazing
Forests (or at any rate, wooded areas) are currently expanding in more than 50
countries.What are the main reasons behind this positive trend?
● Positive trend of expanding forests
○ Development of coal & coke from 1600s...
○ replaced firewood/charcoal in
■ baking of bricks
■ drying of meat
■ making of glass
■ iron making
○ fossil fuels
○ other wood substitutes
○ modern agriculture
■ productivity in forestry ■ productivity forest products
14. In two words each, what are the upstream, midstream and downstream segments of
the oil industry?
segments of oil industry
○ Upstream - exploration & production
○ midstream - transportation & trading
○ downstream - Refining & marketing
What is the difference between 'sweet' and 'sour' crude?
Sweet & Sour Crude
○ term refers to sulphur content of crude oil
○ sour >1% or sweet <1%
Why does this matter from an economic point of view and what other factor matters in
this respect (and why)?What does this matter economically, & other factors?
○ heavier & > sour were more difficult to obtain & expensive
○ because sulfur is corrosive, light crude causes less damage to refineries and
thus results in lower maintenance costs over time
○ sweet commands up to $15 premium per barrel over sour
○ other factors: danger and health concerns:
○ at moderate concentrations, hydrogen sulfide can cause respiratory and nerve
○ at high concentrations it is instantly fatal
List two of the three most important benchmark crudes.
● Geography: Petroleum benchmarks (about 177)
○ West Texas Intermediate (WTI)
○ Brent Blend
21. What is the difference between associated gas and non-associated gas?
Associated Gas (Wet gas)
- by-product of the production of crude oil, pays for field development cost, produce at peak
levels for a few years then declines
Non- Associated Gas (Dry gas)
- to produce natural gas, may or not may be condensate production together with gas, profitable
market to deliver gas List two of the main sectors that consume most of the natural gas used in US industries.
2: Electric Power
List three common critiques of shale gas.
1: hydraulic fracturing / “fracking” : pressurize rocks with pressurized liquid to extract shale gas
2: huge financial burden due to high costs
3: environmental pollution, especially underground water
List three of the five shale gas/fracking myths discussed by Matt Ridley.
1: Shale gas production has polluted aquifers in the US
2: it releases more methane than other forms of gas production
3: uses large amount of water
4: uses hundreds of toxic chemicals
5: causing damaging earthquakes
In a few words (I do not need numbers), why does Bjorn Lomborg argue that shale has
proven to be this decade's green solution?
- solar and wind technology only plays a small part in energy, not sustainable to be used as a
- idea of using candles actually produce more CO2
Which famous American general and politician set a river on fire in Pennsylvania in
- George Washington
22. What are the main differences between direct current (DC) and alternating current
Main difference between DC and AC
DC : Current of constant magnitude , pure and pulsating, one direction “forward”, frequency is 0,
cant travel far
AC: Safe to transfer far, frequency is 50/60 hz, reverses direction, current magnitude vary with
time, electrons switch with time
What did AC make possible?
alternator, motor, transformer
What are rolling blackouts? Why are they used?
- Load shedding, intentional shutdown where electricity is stopped for non-overlapping periods
of time over different regions
- Used to prevent complete collapse of the electricity system
List three (3) of Portney's four main liabilities of nuclear power.
1: expensive to build
2:concern for plant safety
3: spent fuel from nuclear plant could be stolen and diverted into making dirty bombs/
4: spent wastes; where will they be stored 23. List five (5) stages in the historical development of the electric grid.
Historical development of electric grid
-Construction of larger stations in or near large cities
-development of high voltage links to transmit electricity from remote hydroelectric
-gradual replacement of remote power plants by central power stations
-transmission lines interconnected to form grids
-Interconnections of smaller systems
-Creation of large regional grid systems
List 3 advantages and two problems of hydroelectric dams.
Advantages of hydroelectric dams
-Reservoirs are sources of irrigation and drinking water
-Protection against floods
-Resources for aquaculture = recreation
-< operation and maintenance costs
-not subject to market fluctuations
-longer life expectancy than other alternatives
-best energy payback
-unscheduled breakdowns relatively infrequent
Problems of hydroelectric dams
-Flooding large areas of land
-Trapping pollutants produced upstream
-Reduction in sediment/nutrient flows downstream
-greenhouse gas emissions
24. What are the main characteristics associated with "base load" and "peak load"?
Which power sources are most convenient for each type of load (list 3 for each)?
Base load - most convenient = coal, nuclear, gas, hydro
-minimum amount you need running at all times
-low cost generation
Peak load – most convenient = hydro, gas, oil
-can be lower output
According to Bjørn Lomborg, why does "Earth Hour" have no effect or might even
increase CO2 emissions, both in terms of electric power generation and candle use?
Bjorn Lomborg, Earth Hour
-drop in electricity demand will reduce CO2 emissions, but will be offset by the surge of
firing up coal or gas stations to restore electricity supplies afterwards -candles, seemingly environmentally friendly, are fossil fuels which are also 100 percent
less efficient than an incandescent bulb. Using a candle evens out the CO2 emission saved by
shutting off one light bulb.
-Earth hour increases CO2 emissions.
25. a) According to the US EIA, what are the five broad (i.e., do not list the details)
renewable energy sources used most often?
o Wood and wood waste
o Municipal solid waste
o Landfill gas and biogas
2. Water (hydropower)
b) What are the three main ways through which biomass is used in the energy sector of
modern advanced economies?
· production of heat and steam for industrial purposes
· space heating and cooking, mostly in homes.
· Biomass also includes biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, used for transportation.
c) What are energy crops and opportunity crops?
· Energy crops: crops grown specifically for energy purposes
· Opportunity crops: residue or waste materials; byproducts or residuals
26. a) What is ethanol?
Ethanol is a clear, colorless alcohol fuel made from the sugars found in grains, such as corn,
sorghum, and barley, as well as potato skins, rice, sugar cane, sugar beets, and yard clippings.
Ethanol is a renewable fuel because it is made from plants. There are several ways to make
ethanol from these sources.
b) List 2 of its advantages over gasoline.
· Less emissions of green house gases
· Relatively low cost
· Burns cleanly
· Does not generate waste c) List 5 drawbacks its production and use.
1. More expensive to produce
2. Requires a lot of cropland
3. More flammable than gasoline
5. Degrades some polymers/metals
6. Cannot be moved through pipelines
7. Ethanol-fuelled vehicles more expensive
8. Pollutes more than petrol per mile
27. a) List 3 advantages of wind power generation.
1. No emissions
2. Short construction times
3. Small individual units
4. Cheaper than solar
5. Can be tailored to specific uses and locations
6. Compliment to solar power
b) List 4 problems associated with wind power generation
1. Intermittence (no steady supply)
2. Unpredictability (can it ever be forecasted?)
3. Variability (not constant when it is there)
4. Breakages/flying debris
5. Noise (annoyance)
6. Kills birds and bats
28. Summarize 3 of the 5 main myths of green energy according to Robert Bryce.
1. Solar and wind power are the greenest of them all
- large land demand for low energy return
- disruption of natural habitats
- wind energy (when not produced) relies on gas or coal-fired generators
2. Going green will reduce our dependence on imports from unsavoury regimes
- Reliance on various countries for oil will not be offset by battery operation because we will
become increasingly reliant on China, as it is the producer of rare earth elements which are used in products from high-capacity batteries and hybrid-electric vehicles to wind turbines and
oil refinery catalysts
- adopting the technologies needed to drastically cut U.S. oil consumption will dramatically
increase America's dependence on China.
3. A green American economy will create green American jobs
- high domestic labour costs (compared to China competition)
- China controls the market for a critical ingredient in turbine magnets, Neodymium.
- China willing to lose money on solar panels in order to gain market share.
- subsidies make for poor job market. not a real economy driven by ‘green’ jobs
4. Electric cars will substantially reduce demand for oil
- unreliability of battery run vehicles
- gas has better energy return by weight
- batteries are notoriously finicky, short-lived and take hours to recharge
- lack of outlet access for charging the vehicles at home
5. The United States lags behind other rich countries in going green
- The US has improved its energy efficiency as much as or more than other developed
- average per capita energy consumption has dropped 2.5% from 1980 to 2006, which is a
greater reduction than any other country except for Switzerland and Denmark.
- US is among the best at reducing carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption
- America’s move to service-based economy makes it less dependent on heavy industry and
- technology innovation has been key in ensuring that the US works more efficiently.
29. According to Kevin Bullis, what are the main factors that have enticed venture
capitalists to back away from clean energy?
Bullis believes without a good way to store electricity on a large scale, solar power is useless at
night. One promising storage option is a new kind of battery made with all-liquid active
materials. Prototypes suggest that these liquid batteries will cost less than a third as much as
today's best batteries and could last significantly longer.
According to Ben Sills, why do many Spaniards regret their decision of putting up solar
panels on their property (explain the basic problem. You do not need to throw in specific
Sills - the government offered subsidies which made the project worth investing in. It was
enough to cover payments for loans for the initial building costs, as well as offered a small profit.
However, now the government is saying that they will no longer be offering those subsidies
which made them decide to switch to solar energy in the first place.
Why did the Spanish government's promise of creating green jobs in the solar sector fail
to materialize? The spending didn’t achieve the government’s aim of creating green jobs,
because Spanish investors imported most of their panels from overseas when domestic
manufacturers couldn’t meet short-term demand.
Why does Paul Driessen argue that the Georgia bat study action is akin to obsessing
about a cut finger, while ignoring cancer? Driessen - discusses the large amounts of money being put into investigations whether state
highway improvements will harm the bat population. He argues that this waste of government
money seems to reflect ideologies, agendas and politics, rather than science or actual risks of
harming a species. He says that the real enemy to the bat population are wind turbines.
Turbines are especially busy at night, when bats are everywhere but electricity demand is at its
lowest, so the turbines hit and kill bats regularly, creating an incredibly high death toll. He relates
it to the cut finger-cancer scenario because we’re focusing on the small problem while ignoring
the real threat.
30. In a few words, what is the Malthusian hypothesis?
· Malthusian hypothesis: argues that population tends to increase faster than food supply,
with inevitably disastrous results, unless the increase in population is checked by moral
restraints or by war, famine, and disease.
According to the Encyclopedia of the Earth, what is the basic point made in the Jevons'
Paradox? · Jevons’ Paradox: is the observation that greater energy efficiency, while in the
short-run producing energy savings, may in the long-run result in higher energy use.
According to George Monbiot, where did environmentalists go wrong in their assessment of
the oil problem? What is the real problem in his opinion?
o When switching from fossil fuels energy needs to be filled with something else leading to
people to “grasp as much for ourselves as we can”
o Those who advocate for off-grid, land-based economy have made no provision for
· The energy required to make bricks, glass, metal tools and utensils, textiles, ceramics
and soap: commodities that almost everyone sees as the barest possible requirements
· An honest environmentalism needs to explain which products should continue to be
manufactured and which should not, and what the energy sources for these
manufactures should be.
· The problem we face is not that we have too little fossil fuel, but too much. As oil
declines, economies will switch to tar sands, shale gas and coal; as accessible coal
declines, they'll switch to ultra-deep reserves (using underground gasification to exploit
them) and methane clathrates. The same probably applies to almost all minerals: we will find
them, but exploiting them will mean trashing an ever greater proportion of the world's
What is Fred Pearce worried more about than overpopulation? Why?
o Rising Consumption is a threat to the planet
o Why: a small proportion of the world’s people take the majority of the world’s resources
and produce the majority of its pollution
§ A woman in rural Ethiopia can have ten children and, in the unlikely event that those
ten children all live to adulthood and have ten children of their own, the entire clan of
more than a hundred will still be emitting less carbon dioxide than you or me. It is
over-consumption, not over-population that matters.
31. What were Harold Hotelling 3 postulates in his analysis of exhaustible resources? Hotelling’s 3 main postulates (1931)
1) Extraction low cost resources before high cost resources -> costs over time
2) Greater scarcity –> price increases
3) Price Increase –> demand & production decrease over time
What were his main arguments and conclusion?
- So selfish interest (profits) insures that depletion is gradual
- If we run out of oil, not so bad
- Because gradual switch over to other fuels
- Will lead to “soft landing” to alternative sources
32.(a) What was Julian Simon's take on Malthus and Hotelling?
Malthus is wrong:
- population increased at all kinds of different rates historically,
- food production increased at least as fast, if not faster
Hotelling is wrong:
- no discernible trend towards higher prices, just the opposite
- only exception: human capital
(b) What were his main arguments against the fear of resource exhaustion?
(1) Humans are not like other animals
- Don’t just consume resources, but also create resources
“Both the Jayhawk and the man eat chickens, but the more jayhawks, the fewer chickens, while
the more men, the more chickens. “
Henry George (1839-1897)
(2) Resources created by the always renewable resource of the human intellect
- people don’t buy resources, but services/
- there are always new ways to do things.
(3) With price system, resource scarcity ~
- people look for more of it
- people use it more efficiently
- people develop substitutes
33.(a) What are the key insights or arguments of "Peak Oil" theorists?
The New Depletionists
World is not running out of oil, but of cheap oil…
~ will still be cheap to produce, but will be expensive to buy because
- increasingly scarce
- controlled by the Middle East Main arguments
- symmetrical exhaustion curve
Some New Urbanists
1. Fuel prices will soon be unaffordable for auto drivers
2. For cars, no substitute for oil
3. Higher prices ~ less driving
4. Less driving ~ higher density (new urbanism)