Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Can Economic Growth Last?

World economic growth for the previous century, expressed in constant 1990 dollars. For the first half of the century, the economy tracked the 2.9% energy growth rate very well, but has since increased to a 5% growth rate, outstripping the energy growth rate.

Do the Math: " I have used physical analysis to argue that sustained economic growth in the long term is fantastical. Maybe for some, this is stating the obvious. After all, Adam Smith imagined a 200-year phase of economic growth followed by a steady state.  But our mentality is currently centered on growth. Our economic systems rely on growth for investment, loans, and interest to make any sense. If we don’t deliberately put ourselves onto a steady state trajectory, we risk a complete and unchoreographed collapse of our economic institutions."

The private auto is a war on the poor, a killing machine in so many ways

The Washington Post: "Traffic fatalities in the United States have been plummeting for years, a major victory for regulation (strict drunken driving laws have helped) and auto innovation (we have safer cars). But that progress obscures a surprising type of inequality: The most disadvantaged are more likely — and have grown even more likely over time — to die in car crashes than people who are well-off."

Monday, October 5, 2015

Brookings Institution sums up the growth position very succintly

Brookings Institution: "With the world’s population forecast to rise by 1.6 billion people by 2035, do we really think global oil demand won’t continue to rise? While I recognize that we must do everything to limit the growing use of fossil fuels to attack climate change, do we really have no moral obligation to help countries emerge from poverty, which will almost certainly involve continued use of fossil fuels?"
This is the growth position well stated:
  • We need more oil to "help poor people"
  • The fact that our system wastes oil is not worth mentioning
And later on, a key point
  • If US doesn't drill in the arctic, Russia will
  • Also not worth mentioning... encourage falling birth rate
The article is right about one thing. With business-as-usual, liquid fuel shortages are imminent.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

First 'car-free' day in Paris sees massive drop in pollution and noise

road.cc: "Airparif, which measures city pollution levels, said levels of nitrogen dioxide dropped by up to 40% in parts of the city on Sunday 27 September - and there was almost one-third less nitrogen dioxide pollution on the busy Champs Elyées than on a similar Sunday.

Bruitparif, which measures noise, said sound levels dropped by half in the city centre.

...City mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter: “We might envisage days without cars more often … perhaps even once a month.”"

Friday, October 2, 2015

How much would #freetransit cost the US?

To replace revenue lost by ending fares would be about $100 per year per person in areas served added to current public transit budgets. A one-percent saving in a handful of areas such as health costs, collisions, and traffic congestion would more than cover this amount. See free-is-cheaper.

The benefits would start immediately with reduced traffic congestion, cleaner air, fewer collisions, more exercise, etc. See 100 reasons.

Ridership would increase, so this number would go up to pay for more equipment and service. At the same time the benefits would also increase.

What is the cost of NOT removing fares, in other words, continuing to restrict use of public transit? More spent on cars leads to more cars--an increase in public cost, with no benefit to the public. A subsidy to private profit.

Think of it this way. Adding insulation to a poorly insulated house in a cold climate gives the immediate benefit of comfort, lower costs, and public benefits from reduced waste of energy. But encouraging more cars is like ripping out the insulation that you already have, increasing costs and waste.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

All world powers now united in the cause of wasting energy on cars

UN summit gathers all the kings horses and all the kings men. They have been terrorizing people for years to steal oil. Now they are getting a little pushback and can't handle it. The irony is, when they get the oil, they waste in on cars. Human progress? It's pathetic. How about just stop the waste first?

Monday, September 28, 2015

The collapse of Saudi Arabia is inevitable - via @nafeezahmed

Middle East Eye: "....They were right. From 2005 to 2015, Saudi net exports have experienced an annual decline rate of 1.4 percent, within the range predicted by Brown and Foucher. A report by Citigroup recently predicted that net exports would plummet to zero in the next 15 years.

...About a quarter of the Saudi population lives in poverty. Unemployment is at about 12 percent, and affects mostly young people – 30 percent of whom are unemployed.

Climate change is pitched to heighten the country’s economic problems, especially in relation to food and water.

...Yet the Saudi government has decided that rather than learning lessons from the hubris of its neighbours, it won’t wait for war to come home – but will readily export war in the region in a madcap bid to extend its geopolitical hegemony and prolong its petro-dominance."

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Falling net-energy, money-printing cannot stop its fall

Resource Insights: "But hidden from the view of most is the role that increasingly expensive energy has played since the beginning of this century in slowing economic growth. The shorthand way of understanding this is that in the last century we extracted all the easy-to-get fossil fuels. Now we are going after the hard-to-get remainder which are costly to extract. That takes resources away from the energy-consuming part of the economy and creates a drag on economic growth. Hence, a dramatically slower economy in 2015 after four years of record or near record average daily prices for the most critical fossil fuel, oil. (The recent drop in oil prices is primarily a reflection of slowing demand that comes from a slowing economy.)"

Saturday, September 26, 2015

How corporate media spin works with #publictransit

Just a quick look at this article and the spin is obvious. The theme is: oh, if only poor people could have more buses, they could "escape poverty." As if poverty were some sort of disease that mysteriously appears from nowhere and traps people. Actually, what traps people is the subsidized autosprawl system that was forced upon them and for which they are forced to pay. The article goes on... but alas! there is no money for public transit. Meanwhile the US spends billions terrorizing people around the world to keep the oil flowing so suburbs will not become cement wastelands.

Here is a better title: People have been trapped with no buses and forced to support a wasteful autosprawl system that destroys the biosphere. Read for yourself and see the bias.
The Road out of Poverty Is Paved With Better Transportation | TakePart: "Transit access is the No. 1 factor in escaping the cycle of poverty"

The cause of global warming has been standard science since 1970's, Exxon included.

Democracy Now!: "A new report by InsideClimate News reveals how oil giant ExxonMobil’s own research confirmed the role of fossil fuels in global warming decades ago. By 1977, Exxon’s own senior experts had begun to warn the burning of fossil fuels could pose a threat to humanity. At first, Exxon launched an ambitious research program, outfitting a supertanker with instruments to study carbon dioxide in the air and ocean. But toward the end of the 1980s, Exxon changed course and shifted to the forefront of climate change denial. Since the 1990s, it has spent millions of dollars funding efforts to reject the science its own experts knew of decades ago."