We hear recently from GOP Candidate Mitt Romney. He tells us the following:
I'm told that we use almost twice as much energy per person as does a European, and more like three times as much as does a Japanese citizen. We could do a lot better. I'd like to see our vehicles, and our homes, and our systems of insulation and so forth become far more efficient. I believe that we have a role in trying to encourage that to happen.
Mitt Romney’s lack of data can be easily remedied by referring to The Little Green Data Book which The World Bank puts out once per decade. Steven Hayward posts some results on Powerline.com. One useful metric of energy efficiency is GDP in $/Kg of Oil burned.
The world averages 5.4, the US scores 5.5. This puts us behind the Eurozone average (8.2), but ahead of Canada and Finland. This makes me wonder if the statistic is primarily a measure of two variables; the cost of energy and mean population density. Places where people live further apart (Canada and Finland) have worse efficiency ratings. Places where people live closer together (The Eurozone – Great Britain in particular), have much higher efficiencies. The US falls in between these two extremes.
Mr. Romney's statement is an exaggeration at best. No country in the survey scored twice as well as the United States on energy efficiency. Great Britain was the closest at $9.9/ kg of Oil burned in GDP. I’d also like to see our vehicles; homes and insulation do a better job. This explains why all the firms that make these things hire engineers.
Candidate Romney’s (or any other Presidential Candidate’s) role in making energy efficiency happen does not exist. American engineers and workers can both design and build cars well enough, or they can’t. Japanese cars have done better than American cars in energy efficiency for years and have far exceeded US government fleet standards. They have accomplished this with no fuel efficiency mandate whatsoever from the Japanese Government.
Mr. Romney’s tendency to position himself in the informational void, based on passé conventional wisdom, extends also to the issue of Anthropogenic Global Warming. "I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that," he told a crowd of about 200 at a town hall meeting in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Rueters, ObCit).
I believe the world is getting warmer as well. I’ll show you 32 years of satellite data that prove it. That would be a total warming +0.13 degrees Centigrade in 32 years. That’s +0.0041 degrees Centigrade per year. How much of that +0.0041 degrees Centigrade I personally contribute this year is not even a statistically relevant question.
All of this points to a much bigger question about Mitt Romney. It goes straight to the man’s intellect and work ethic. The relevant data about both US energy use and Global Warming can be had with a few short clicks on the Internet. James Hanson’s bogus allegations of scientific censorship aside, there is no legitimate excuse for a man who wants as much power as Mitt Romney to remain so abysmally uninformed.
He takes positions on these issues from The New York Times. He takes them uncritically, despite the fact that people’s livelihoods will ride on every decision he makes about these issues if he makes it to The White House. He only needs to talk to Roy Spencer or Steven Hayward for five minutes to learn about twice as much about energy and the environment as he currently knows.
Mitt Romney’s poll numbers may be ascendant. His hair may indeed look perfect. But what’s under that coif begins to bother me if he continues to remain as badly informed about energy and the environment as he currently stands right now. The next US President cannot possibly resurrect the decaying US economy if he remains fundamentally ignorant of the physical and economic realities regarding its primary source of motive power. Mitt Romney, like every other current GOP candidate, has a lot to learn before he is truly ready to serve as President.