Daily Digest

Daily Digest 11/30 - Ireland Bail-out Fails to Calm Markets, Gold Prices Pop, Greenpeace Sues Dow Chemical

Tuesday, November 30, 2010, 1:00 PM
  • Contagion Strikes Italy as Ireland Bail-out Fails to Calm Markets
  • Chinese Selloff Intensifies As Traders Expect Imminent Rate Hike
  • Debt Crisis New Phase Striking Now! Despite Bailouts!
  • Monday Market Movement – “Like Moths to a Flame!”
  • Currency Manipulation: Two Sides to Every Coin
  • Gold Prices Pop on Safe-Haven Buying
  • GM Hires 1,000 Engineers in Michigan to Expand Electric Vehicle Offerings
  • Greenpeace Sues Chemical Makers, Alleging Spy Effort

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Economy

Contagion Strikes Italy as Ireland Bail-out Fails to Calm Markets (pinecarr)



The euro fell sharply to a two-month low of €1.3064 against the dollar, while bourses slid across the world. The FTSE 100 fell almost 118 points to 5,550, while the Dow was off 120 points in early trading. "The crisis is intensifying and worsening," said Nick Matthews, a credit expert at RBS. "Bond purchases by the European Central Bank are the only anti-contagion weapon left. It needs to act much more aggressively."

Chinese Selloff Intensifies As Traders Expect Imminent Rate Hike (pinecarr)



In a surprising reversal, the Shanghai Composite has dropped 3% in early trading following a statement by the China State Council which on Monday said it will revise penalties to crack down on price violations to tackle inflation, which has been interpreted by traders as an imminent December rate hike. Per Dow Jones: "Shanghai Composite Index down 2.5%3.0% at 2793.95, faces immediate support at 2750 level. "There has been heightened expectations for an interest rate hike soon, which exacerbated earlier weakness in the index from sovereign debt concerns from Europe as well as a stronger U.S. dollar," says Wang Junqing, analyst from Guosen Securities." More importantly key stat arb pairs such as the AUDJPY and the ESZ/NDZ are being dragged below the surface. On an indexed basis, the ES will soon take out the intraday lows per the AUDJPY. For Brian Sack's sake, we hope the Fed has its midnight crew in tow as this could get ugly fast. We will be following.

Debt Crisis New Phase Striking Now! Despite Bailouts! (johnny)



Sadly, though, even while most Americans were enjoying the holiday or hitting the malls, much of Europe was sinking deeper into a new, more severe phase of its sovereign debt crisis. This crisis is unfolding despite Herculean rescues by the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Federal Reserve. It’s striking right now. And it’s threatening to spread to all of the world’s big debtor nations, including the biggest of all — the United States.

Monday Market Movement – “Like Moths to a Flame!” (ilene)



There was no escape for Ireland this weekend as the IMF and EU pinned the country down and forced them to swallow a $130Bn aid package at (get this!) 6.7%.  $17.5Bn of this money is to come out of Irish pension funds all just to make sure Bill Gross doesn’t lose any of the money he lent to Ireland!  I honestly cannot tell you who is the more vile, despicable villain in this debacle.  Is it the banks, who started this mess with their idiotic lending practices? Is it the lobbyists and lawmakers, who turned Ireland into a tax haven for EU Corporations and destroyed the economy by funneling tax breaks to the wealthy? Is it the Irish Government, who stupidly bailed out the failing banks with guarantees that put the nation on the hook for more money than their entire GDP. Is it the bondholders, who drove up the cost of financing Ireland’s new-found debt to levels that threatened to break the National Bank or is it the EU & IMF, who are effectively playing the role of loan sharks, borrowing $100Bn at 2.5% and forcing Ireland to borrow it back from them at $5.8%.  

Currency Manipulation: Two Sides to Every Coin (joe)



Recently, currency manipulation has garnered headline attention. We have been constantly bombarded with rhetoric out of Washington: “China isn’t allowing its currency to appreciate fast enough”; “China’s exchange rate policies are stealing jobs from America”; “We’re playing fair, why can’t China?” More often than not, the more vociferous proponents come from politicians who, in our opinion, are simply posturing for votes; attempting to provide catchy sound bites they believe will resonate with their constituents, without fully grasping the underlying fundamentals at play. The situation itself is truly paradoxical – akin to a major corporation thanking its largest creditor by insulting them. The currency debate, just as every coin, has two sides. Let’s address each of the above concerns in turn, and what it means for you as an investor.

Gold Prices Pop on Safe-Haven Buying



Gold for February delivery, now the most actively traded contract, was up $14.50 to $1,382 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price Tuesday has traded as high as $1,382 and as low as $1,364. The U.S. dollar index was adding 0.73% to $81.43, a 10-week high, while the euro lost another 1.13% to $1.29 vs. the dollar. The spot gold price Tuesday was rising $17.20, according to Kitco's gold index.

Energy

GM Hires 1,000 Engineers in Michigan to Expand Electric Vehicle Offerings

The hiring will increase GM’s workforce of electric-vehicle engineers by 50 percent to about 3,000, said Rob Peterson, a spokesman for the Detroit-based company. GM, which plans to sell 10,000 Volts next year and 45,000 in 2012, is hosting a media event today to mark the start of production of the $41,000 car. The Volt, begun under former Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner, is the centerpiece of GM’s effort to position the company as innovative and environmentally friendly. Dan Akerson, who took over as CEO in September, has said he wants GM to be “at the forefront” of electric-car development.

Environment

Greenpeace Sues Chemical Makers, Alleging Spy Effort (submitter)



Contractors working for Dow Chemical and Sasol North America, a chemical manufacturer, hired private investigators to conduct a two-year corporate espionage campaign against the environmental group Greenpeace, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday in federal district court in Washington. The investigators stole documents from locked trash bins, tapped phones and hacked into computer networks, and operatives posing as activists infiltrated Greenpeace offices and meetings, the suit claims.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

25 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 4169
Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - Ireland Bail-out Fails to Calm ...

"Spain’s banks may struggle to refinance about 85 billion euros ($111 billion) in debt next year as costs surge on concern continental Europe’s fourth- biggest economy may need an Irish-style bailout.

“There’s a universal dumping of Spain going on,” said Andrea Williams, who helps manage about 623 million pounds ($968 million), including shares in Banco Santander SA, at Royal London Asset Management. “The fear is that Portugal, Spain and Italy are now in line after what happened in Ireland.” "

"MADRID (AP) - Investors sold off government bonds from Spain, Portugal and Italy on Tuesday amid worries that Europe's debt crisis has not been contained by Ireland's bailout but is putting pressure on other fiscally weak countries.

The yields on Spain's 10-year bonds jumped as high as 5.7 percent by midmorning, making for a euro-era record difference of 305 basis points against the benchmark Germany 10-year bond, which had a yield of 2.7 percent.

The spread on Italy's 10-year bond reached 210 points, also the highest since the launch of the euro, before easing back somewhat. Portugal, whose yields soared last week, saw its spread edge higher as well."

"Portugal's central bank warned in a report Tuesday that the financial system is facing "serious challenges," as foreign concerns about public, private and corporate debt have made it harder for Portuguese banks to raise money on international markets."

........................2A) Contagion crisis intensifies; Spain yield soars

"LONDON (MarketWatch) — The euro zone’s sovereign-debt crisis intensified Tuesday, with yields on Spanish, Italian and other peripheral government bonds soaring in the wake of a weekend meeting of European Union finance ministers that failed to soothe fears of the potential for future defaults.

The yield on 10-year Spanish government bonds jumped to around 5.63%, strategists said, a day after surging to 5.43%.

The move sent the yield premium demanded by investors to hold 10-year Spanish debt over comparable German bunds to more than three full percentage points.

Bond yields move in the opposite direction of bond prices.

“Ireland’s bailout did nothing to ease the euro-zone debt crisis: it might have even made it worse,” said Steven Barrow, currency and fixed-income strategist at Standard Bank. “For now the market sees a pattern emerging and the next piece of the bailout puzzle seems to be Portugal, with Spain to follow after that.”

The yield on 10-year Italian bonds also rose for a second day to hit 4.77% from around 4.64% on Monday. Portuguese, Greek and Irish bond yields also rose. And outside the periphery, the Belgian 10-year bond yield continued to climb, hitting 3.97% versus around 3.86% on Monday.

The cost of insuring peripheral euro-zone government bonds against default using derivative products known as credit default swaps also rose sharply.

The euro /quotes/comstock/21o!x:seurusd (EURUSD 1.3022, -0.0101, -0.7697%) dipped below the $1.30 level versus the U.S. dollar for the first time since mid-September and changed hands in recent action at $1.3003, a loss of 0.8% from Monday.

The recent pressure on Italian bonds is particularly worrying since the nation’s debt had been relatively immune to the most recent round of sovereign-debt fears, said Gary Jenkins, head of fixed-income research at Evolution Securities, in a note."

"Cities and towns across Michigan have seen property-tax collections plunge as much as 20 percent in the past year, the steepest drop since a 1994 state tax rewrite, forcing scores of communities to choose by March whether to borrow to pay bills or risk default on bonds.

The municipalities rely on property taxes for as much as 60 percent of their revenue, according to the Michigan Municipal League. State support that typically composes another 20 percent to 35 percent of city budgets has been slashed by almost a third in the past year, during the longest recession since the 1930s.

The end of a three-year federal stimulus worth $3.1 billion to Michigan -- a sum roughly equal to two annual budgets for Detroit -- will force “fundamental decisions,” according to a memorandum by the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency.

“This gets real bad in about 90 to 150 days,” said Robert Daddow, deputy executive of Oakland County, which is adjacent to Detroit’s Wayne County and has a per-capita income 146.8 percent of the state average, according to Moody’s Investors Service. “The question becomes whether they can secure enough cash from banks and whether banks are willing to lend in a credit-crunch situation.”"

"Corporate bond sales worldwide are tumbling on concern Ireland’s debt crisis will spread across Europe as returns on the notes approach their worst month since credit markets froze two years ago.

Issuance has slumped 31 percent since Nov. 15, compared with the same period a year earlier, after surging 34 percent in the first half of the month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Plunging returns on debt of borrowers from France’s Credit Agricole SA to Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are dragging bonds to a 1.08 percent loss in November, Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data show.

A five-month rally in company debt is foundering as an 85 billion euro ($111.5 billion) rescue package for Ireland, the second this year in Europe after Greece’s bailout in May, fails to ease concern the region’s most indebted nations will need more international help. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development cut its global growth forecast for next year, predicting a “soft spot” as stimulus dwindles.

“There’s been a lot more volatility in the high-yield and investment-grade markets here in the U.S. because of what happened in Greece in the spring and Ireland now,” said Bonnie Baha, head of the global developed credit group at DoubleLine Capital LP, which manages $6.8 billion in Los Angeles."

"PARIS — Unemployment in the euro zone rose in October to its highest level in more than 12 years, an official report showed Tuesday, underlining the pressure on governments as they try to reduce spending and bring deficits under control.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.1 percent in October, up from 10 percent in September, Eurostat, the statistics agency of the European Union, reported. For the full E.U., unemployment was unchanged in October at 9.6 percent, it said, equivalent to about 23.1 million men and women."

"The European Central Bank may have to step up purchases of Spanish government bonds and backstop its banking system if the country runs into financing difficulties, Citigroup Inc. Chief Economist Willem Buiter said.

“Once Spain needs assistance, the support of the ECB will be critical,” Buiter said in a note to investors yesterday. A Spanish crisis would “stretch the resources” of the bailout fund set up in May by European governments “perhaps beyond its current limits.” "

....................6A) 'Insolvent' Portugal Needs Loans Soon, Buiter Says

"Chile is home to Codelco, the world’s biggest copper producer. Output slipped 0.5 percent in this year’s first nine months and will be little changed from last year in 2010 and 2011, the Santiago-based company said Nov. 25. Codelco is struggling to maintain output at its aging mines as the average copper content in ore declines.

Ore Content

“Existing mines are suffering from falling ore content,” UniCredit’s Hitzfeld said. “The ore content of the Escondida mine, the world’s largest, has, for example, halved since 1996.”

The expected supply shortfall in 2011 and 2012 will reduce copper stockpiles to “near historical lows,” UniCredit said. LME inventories shrank to 355,750 tons today, daily exchange figures showed. Orders to draw metal from stockpiles, or canceled warrants, rose 1.6 percent to 32,275 tons.

World consumption of copper exceeded supply by 363,000 tons in 2010’s first eight months, almost eight times more than a year earlier, the International Copper Study Group said Nov. 23"

"Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Hungary’s bonds fell for a seventh day, extending their biggest monthly rout since February 2009, on speculation the central bank’s row with the government will prompt further interest-rate increases and drive away investors.

The yield, which moves inversely to the bond’s price, on notes in forint due February 2015 jumped 17 basis points to 8.35 percent, its highest since September 2009, as of 1:30 p.m. in Budapest. The cost of insuring Hungary’s debt against non- payment climbed to the highest since June. The forint, the world’s worst-performing currency in November, gained 0.1 percent to 284.17 per euro after tumbling 3.2 percent in the previous three days."

.........................8A) Hungary Yields Hit 14-Month High as Government Clashes With Central Bank

"(Reuters) - Portugal is likely to pay a euro era record premium when it sells Treasury bills at an auction on Wednesday, reflecting market pressure for it to follow Ireland and Greece and seek an international bailout.

The government will offer 500 million euros in 12-month T-bills in a small but closely-watched sale -- the first by one of the other euro zone countries in the firing line since Ireland asked the EU and IMF for financial aid.

Dealers say that the secondary market in Portuguese short-term debt has all but ground to a halt, making it hard to project exact prices for the tender.

Yields on still liquid 10-year bonds have risen around 40 basis points since the last bill auction on November 17. The average yield on the bills at that sale soared to 4.813 percent from 3.260 percent in early November, while demand fell."

"Fears that Ireland's financial problems will spread further afield led to more expensive short term debt auctions for Hungary and Belgium Tuesday.

For Hungary, which sold less than it had planned in Treasury bills, domestic factors also played a part. The unexpected Hungarian interest rate hike on Monday and mounting concerns over Hungarian government policy weighed on sentiment, adding to wider concerns over the possibility of more sovereign bailouts in the euro zone.

In a separate auction, Belgium also paid higher yields amid subdued demand for its three- and six-month Treasury certificates, again reflecting fears of contagion within the euro zone. Belgium's sale of Treasury certificates, or short-term debt, mirrored its government bond sale Monday when demand was subdued and the yield surged 14% on the 10-year bond on offer, compared to a month ago.

"This [Belgian auction] was better than yesterday's dismal results," but nonetheless 10-year Belgian/German bund spreads are trading wider, said Brown Brothers Harriman. At 1210 GMT Belgian/bund spread is at 1.35 percentage points, up 17 basis points on the day, according to Tradeweb.

Hungary sold 30 billion Hungarian forints ($139.9 million) of three-month T-bills compared with HUF40 billion planned. The tender followed the Hungarian central bank's surprising rate hike Monday, lifting the key rate to 5.50% from 5.25%. Rate setters cited persistently above-target inflation for the rate hike, while some analysts interpreted the move as a warning signal to the government to keep its hands off monetary policy. "

  • Other news, headlines and opinion:

Euro falls below $1.30 as debt fears intensify

IMF admits failings in predicting Irish crisis

BOJ to Double Loan Amount in Next Round of Growth Fund Deal

Mortgage Buybacks May Cost Banks $106 Billion, FBR's Miller Says

Irish Domestic Lenders' ECB Borrowings Rose 3.3% in October

Italy's Failure to Sell Barracks Damps Hopes for Planned Real-Estate Sales

EU Faces More Bailouts as Irish Contagion Spreads: Euro Credit

Germany watches with concern as euro falls despite Ireland bailout

Eurogold receives boost from currency jitters

Suburban fire and police pensions underfunded by $5 billion (Illinois)

Pa Town Facing 17.5% Property Tax Hike (Montgomery)

Broad-based Declines in Home Prices in the 3rd Quarter of 2010 According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices

Euro extends losses versus yen, falls 2 percent

Portugal banks at risk unless public spending cut

cwixom's picture
cwixom
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Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - GM hires 1000 engineers

I just love the people who buy electric cars like the Volt thinking they are somehow doing some great thing for the environment.  Just where do they think that nice "clean" electricity comes from?  In the US 45% of it comes from burning that really clean coal.  Another 25% comes from burning that really clean stuff we call hydrocarbons (natural gas primarily).  Another 20% comes from Nuclear (of course the people who by Volts are usually the same ones screaming about nuclear waste and not in my backyard when it comes to building a reactor).  7% comes from those damn salmon killing dams. And 4% comes from the renewable that the Volt buyers so love.  (Yes I know there is a rounding problem in the total)  (source 2009 data http://www.eia.doe.gov/electricity/epm/t...)  I'm not even going to try to explain the efficiency loss in each step of the process of brining electricity to your wall socket as all technical information is usually dismissed by the tsunami of emotion that surrounds this issue, but in short if you really want to reduce your environmental impact and still drive a car you might want to consider a VW diesel which has a far smaller cradle to grave environmental impact than a Volt, Prius or any of the other "greeny" cars. 

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Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - Ireland Bail-out Fails to Calm ...

New threat to global food security as phosphate supplies become increasingly scarce

29 November 2010

A new report from the Soil Association reveals that supplies of phosphate rock are running out faster than previously thought and that declining supplies and higher prices of phosphate are a new threat to global food security. ‘A rock and a hard place: Peak phosphorus and the threat to our food security’ highlights the urgent need for farming to become less reliant on phosphate rock-based fertiliser.

 

 http://www.soilassociation.org/News/NewsItem/tabid/91/smid/463/ArticleID/1435/reftab/57/t/New-threat-to-global-food-security-as-phosphate-supplies-become-increasingly-scarce/Default.aspx

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freeeeeman
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Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - GM hires 1000 engineers
cwixom wrote:

I just love the people who buy electric cars like the Volt thinking they are somehow doing some great thing for the environment.  Just where do they think that nice "clean" electricity comes from?  In the US 45% of it comes from burning that really clean coal.  Another 25% comes from burning that really clean stuff we call hydrocarbons (natural gas primarily).  Another 20% comes from Nuclear (of course the people who by Volts are usually the same ones screaming about nuclear waste and not in my backyard when it comes to building a reactor).  7% comes from those damn salmon killing dams. And 4% comes from the renewable that the Volt buyers so love....if you really want to reduce your environmental impact and still drive a car you might want to consider a VW diesel

seems like electric cars are only one piece of the puzzle. an electric car alone doesn't really help, but getting more vehicles that are energy agnostic will allow us to acquire energy from more sources... hopefully ones that are cleaner and more sustainable than oil.... and preferably ones that don't require our military to be involved in protecting the source. 

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rjs
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Posts: 445
Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - GM hires 1000 engineers
cwixom wrote:

I just love the people who buy electric cars like the Volt thinking they are somehow doing some great thing for the environment.  Just where do they think that nice "clean" electricity comes from?  In the US 45% of it comes from burning that really clean coal.  Another 25% comes from burning that really clean stuff we call hydrocarbons (natural gas primarily).  Another 20% comes from Nuclear (of course the people who by Volts are usually the same ones screaming about nuclear waste and not in my backyard when it comes to building a reactor).  7% comes from those damn salmon killing dams. And 4% comes from the renewable that the Volt buyers so love.  (Yes I know there is a rounding problem in the total)  (source 2009 data http://www.eia.doe.gov/electricity/epm/t...)  I'm not even going to try to explain the efficiency loss in each step of the process of brining electricity to your wall socket as all technical information is usually dismissed by the tsunami of emotion that surrounds this issue, but in short if you really want to reduce your environmental impact and still drive a car you might want to consider a VW diesel which has a far smaller cradle to grave environmental impact than a Volt, Prius or any of the other "greeny" cars. 

good info...

what i'd like to see is the "carbon footprint" of mining the materials, transporting & manufacturing, and building & upkeeping the new infrastructure for conversions to solar or wind power...glass and metal mfg are energy intensive, and typically that energy is coal...the reasons for the higher cost of alternative energy is largely the imbedded costs in this energy intensive activity...to convert to a low carbon economy means front loading your high-carbon, high-energy footprint...ive seen studies that show EROEI for wind power at 15-24 months, but they only took the cost of manufacturing into account...it was as if the metals had magically appeared...nor was the energy cost of building the manufacturing facility included...ive yet to see any study that takes into account all the inputs from the mining of the materials to the energy costs in the manufacture of the equipment used for that mining when talking about building a "green" infrastucture...

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rjs
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Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - Ireland Bail-out Fails to Calm ...

dont know if anyone has posted this yet:

Worst case study: global temp up 7.2F degrees by 2060s (Reuters) - World temperatures could soar by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the 2060s in the worst case of global climate change and require an annual investment of $270 billion just to contain rising sea levels, studies suggested on Sunday. Such a rapid rise, within the lifetimes of many young people today, is double the 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) ceiling set by 140 governments at a U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen last year and would disrupt food and water supplies in many parts of the globe. Rising greenhouse gas emissions this decade meant the 2 degree goal was "extremely difficult, arguably impossible, raising the likelihood of global temperature rises of 3 or 4 degrees C within this century," an international team wrote. The studies, published to coincide with annual U.N. climate talks in Mexico starting on Monday, said few researchers had examined in detail the possible impact of a 4 degrees C rise above pre-industrial levels.
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Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - GM hires 1000 engineers

seems like electric cars are only one piece of the puzzle. an electric car alone doesn't really help, but getting more vehicles that are energy agnostic will allow us to acquire energy from more sources... hopefully ones that are cleaner and more sustainable than oil.... and preferably ones that don't require our military to be involved in protecting the source.

..and instead rely on rare-earth and Lithium imports from other unstable lands, used in battery and semiconductor components used by electric cars. Chevy Volts are hybrids and still use Oil to run them. It would be more energy efficient to ditch the electronics and batteries an just use a smaller engine with a manual transmission.  Oil and Gas would still be required in all electric vehicles since they are use plastic and synthetic rubber parts made from oil and gas.

From a consumer prespective, the Volt or any hybrid will not provide a return on the investment. The cost of a hybrid is more than double the cost of the same vehicle with the the same powertrain output. From a Business prospective, the Chevy volt will never turn a profit. the production costs will be too high since the cost is to high for the average consumer. The Chevy volt is a gov't mandate since GM now (government motors) got a bailout and the gov't demanded GM make a hybrid. GM is on the road to another bust. It has 4 times as many former workers collecting pensions and other benefits than it does with employeed workers. The Chevy volt will also disappear (probably within two to three years) as the number of expected buyers fails to materialize.

All electric vehicles aren't practical in any measurable numbers because the power grid isn't capable of handling much additional load. Much of the Grid power lines are now over 40 years old. There isn't the money nor the resources available to rebuild\expand it.

 

 

 

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freeeeeman
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Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - GM hires 1000 engineers
TechGuy wrote:

seems like electric cars are only one piece of the puzzle. an electric car alone doesn't really help, but getting more vehicles that are energy agnostic will allow us to acquire energy from more sources... hopefully ones that are cleaner and more sustainable than oil.... and preferably ones that don't require our military to be involved in protecting the source.

..and instead rely on rare-earth and Lithium imports from other unstable lands, used in battery and semiconductor components used by electric cars. Chevy Volts are hybrids and still use Oil to run them. It would be more energy efficient to ditch the electronics and batteries an just use a smaller engine with a manual transmission.  Oil and Gas would still be required in all electric vehicles since they are use plastic and synthetic rubber parts made from oil and gas.

From a consumer prespective, the Volt or any hybrid will not provide a return on the investment. The cost of a hybrid is more than double the cost of the same vehicle with the the same powertrain output. From a Business prospective, the Chevy volt will never turn a profit. the production costs will be too high since the cost is to high for the average consumer. The Chevy volt is a gov't mandate since GM now (government motors) got a bailout and the gov't demanded GM make a hybrid. GM is on the road to another bust. It has 4 times as many former workers collecting pensions and other benefits than it does with employeed workers. The Chevy volt will also disappear (probably within two to three years) as the number of expected buyers fails to materialize.

All electric vehicles aren't practical in any measurable numbers because the power grid isn't capable of handling much additional load. Much of the Grid power lines are now over 40 years old. There isn't the money nor the resources available to rebuild\expand it.

i don't disagree with most of that. nonetheless, we as a society should be looking for alternatives to oil. it's really that simple. oil is amazing stuff, but not sustainable the way it's been used. obviously, we'd have resource issues if everyone had electric cars/solar panels that use rare earths. the original post seem to have the tone of "ha ha you stupid liberal" and i felt there was a valid other side to it. the volt is not the answer, but getting off of oil and starting momentum towards a energy agnostic transportation system seems like a good idea. and as flawed as it is, the volt seems like a push in that direction. i agree that having to rely on rare earths from china isn't good either.

 

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Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - GM hires 1000 engineers

<<more vehicles that are energy agnostic will allow us to acquire energy from more sources... hopefully ones that are cleaner and more sustainable than oil.... and preferably ones that don't require our military to be involved in protecting the source.>>

what your describing here is science-fiction today.  while i don't doubt that humans could discover "zero point energy" given time i am pretty sure that that time has run out.   it's funny (as in wierd) that we chose to waste oil as fast as we could rather then see it for what it was.  oil was a bridge to that wonderful free clean energy of todays science fiction. 

i believe we really messed up here and are headed for a steep decline of society and civilization.  i believe we might recover for "one more go at it" if human population doesn't fall below 2 billion or so.  i think that number is required to salvage what's left of high tech and maintain a path to persue the science of really green free energy.  meanwhile i bet we'll consume all the bio-deisel we can produce and countless alternative energy ideas while we struggle to maintain an ability to do r&d and science.

much below 2 billion humans on earth and i think we lose that ability and it all just decays and becomes folklore.

what a mess we've made for ourselves....

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freeeeeman
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Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - GM hires 1000 engineers
junkyard71 wrote:

what a mess we've made for ourselves....

so, so true. in a world where profits & power rule, this is kind of the expected outcome. absolutely no long term planning... and given our political system, i wouldn't trust any long term plans put forth by our govt or a for profit company. the next couple hundred years are sure going to be interesting...

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Actual benefits of electric cars and effects on the power grid

Critics like cwixom proclaim that EVs are simply "elsewhere emission vehicles" because they transfer emissions from the tailpipe to the smokestack. Although there are emissions associated with coal- and oil-fired power plants, smokestack emissions associated with charging EVs are extremely low. In fact, EVs can charge from zero emission sources such as nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, and wind power. (Some of which can be generated at home.)

The purpose of this paper:

http://www.electroauto.com/info/pollmyth.shtml

is to prove with data that EVs recharging from today's power plants are substantially cleaner in total impact than even the most efficient ICE vehicles. The myth that EVs are "elsewhere emission vehicles" will be put to the test with facts that clearly show EVs fueled by power plants on the grid are cleaner, more efficient and more reliable than the infrastructure that supports ICE vehicles.

Many critics ask how this country could possibly support millions of EVs on today's existing power grid. The Electric Power Resource Institute (EPRI) estimates that this country has the ability to support 50 million EVs without building any more power plants. Another study puts this number closer to 20 million.  Twenty million EVs, each with 100,000 miles on the odometer, would reduce CO2 emissions in this country by 500 million tons without building more power plants.

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Poet
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Florida's "Rocket Docket" and BofA Employee Says No Notes

 

Don't know if anyone's seen this Rolling Stone article:

Matt Taibbi: Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/232611

Retired judges are rushing through complex cases to speed foreclosures in Florida's "rocket docket". One Jacksonville judge, the Honorable A.C. Soud, even told a local newspaper that his goal is to resolve 25 cases per hour. Banks with bad paperwork or outright lies are allowed to refile again and again on the same mortgage until foreclosure passes.

Also...

BofA Mortgage Morass Deepens After Employee Says Trustee Didn't Get Notes
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-30/bofa-mortgage-morass-deepens-af...

'It may mean investors who think they bought mortgage- backed securities bought securities that aren’t backed by anything,' said Kurt Eggert, a professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California.

And one more. If you have ANY business with JPMorgan Chase, this article about Jefferson County, Alabama alone should be good enough to make you close your account and take it somewhere else:

The Real Reason America’s Cities and Towns Are Broke
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/12697/64833?RS_show_page=0

On a sewer project that was originally supposed to cost $250 million, the county now owed a total of $1.28 billion just in interest and fees on the debt.

Poet

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Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - Ireland Bail-out Fails to Calm ...

Greenpeace's Kumi Naidoo visits the tar sands:

A bit old, but I missed it before apparently.. very nice images of the destruction

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Re: Actual benefits of electric cars and effects on the ...
gmeader3 wrote:

Critics like cwixom proclaim that EVs are simply "elsewhere emission vehicles" because they transfer emissions from the tailpipe to the smokestack. Although there are emissions associated with coal- and oil-fired power plants, smokestack emissions associated with charging EVs are extremely low. In fact, EVs can charge from zero emission sources such as nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, and wind power. (Some of which can be generated at home.)

The purpose of this paper:

http://www.electroauto.com/info/pollmyth.shtml

is to prove with data that EVs recharging from today's power plants are substantially cleaner in total impact than even the most efficient ICE vehicles. The myth that EVs are "elsewhere emission vehicles" will be put to the test with facts that clearly show EVs fueled by power plants on the grid are cleaner, more efficient and more reliable than the infrastructure that supports ICE vehicles.

Many critics ask how this country could possibly support millions of EVs on today's existing power grid. The Electric Power Resource Institute (EPRI) estimates that this country has the ability to support 50 million EVs without building any more power plants. Another study puts this number closer to 20 million.  Twenty million EVs, each with 100,000 miles on the odometer, would reduce CO2 emissions in this country by 500 million tons without building more power plants.

The data that purports to prove that EVs are substantially cleaner in total impact than even the most efficient ICE vehicles is not credible. Comparing a GM EV1 with narrow, low rolling resistance tires to a mid-size sedan is hardly fair. Independent tests gave the electric drive capability of the EV1 a substantially lower rating than the quoted 69 mpg equivalent. And lots of luck running an air conditioner on the EV1.

If one compares comparably equipped vehicles, energy derived from an electric power generation plant will convert fuel to energy delivered to the vehicle drive train at about 35% efficiency. An ICE vehicle will do well to get 27%, but that is not a huge difference. Fuel efficiency aside, electric power generated at power plants probably does produce lower levels of particulates thanks to stack scrubbers, but overall SO2 and CO2 emissions are likely worse due to coal burning. As noted in the linked article, differences of pollutants produced due to processing, fuel extraction, transportation and infrastructure requirements are minor.  I have nothing aganst electric vehicles, but they are neither clearly environmentally superior nor a solution to energy problems.

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Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - GM hires 1000 engineers

Well, I'm on the waiting list for a Nissan Leaf.  It's got nothing to do with green for me.   It's the freedom to drive past all gas pumps no matter how long the lines get.  And, if generating electricity is so inefficient, as you say, then why will I be able to operate at a fraction of the cost of even a Prius, or at the equivalent of 99 miles/gallon?  Just voted best new car in Europe!

Oh, and it's green!  cwixom on that.

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Re: Actual benefits of electric cars and effects on the ...

Stan wrote:

I have nothing aganst electric vehicles, but they are neither clearly environmentally superior nor a solution to energy problems.

But then, if you install a few solar panels in the back yard to charge the electric car batteries, it does become a better solution

Jim 

 

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Re: Actual benefits of electric cars and effects on the ...
jpitre wrote:

Stan wrote:

I have nothing aganst electric vehicles, but they are neither clearly environmentally superior nor a solution to energy problems.

But then, if you install a few solar panels in the back yard to charge the electric car batteries, it does become a better solution

Jim

OK, suppose you have about 3 square meters of solar panels with about 20% energy collection efficiency exposed to about 20 kwh solar energy per sunny day. You collect 4 kwh and if you have an electric vehicle that uses about 0.3 kwh per mile, you can drive about 13 miles. How many folks will spend $40K for the car and $2K for the solar panels and batteries for that? At $0.10 per kwh for conventional electric power, it will take 5,000 sunny days to save the cost of the solar collection equipment.

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Re: Actual benefits of electric cars and effects on the ...
Stan Robertson wrote:

How many folks will spend $40K for the car and $2K for the solar panels and batteries for that?

Well, you can count me as one - I'm on the waiting list for a Leaf also. :-)  And it's actually closer to 4 square meters and $4K (pre tax credit) at least with our system.  The way I look at it there are very few alternatives to get a self-sufficient capability for a vehicle and certainly few as simple a technology from an end-user standpoint.   In our case, grid up, great plug in the car at night and use it during the day.  Grid down, well your probably not going to be needing to go to work so you'll probably use the car a lot less, charge it during the day with excess from PV panels.

So for me it's not environmental concerns but resiliency against fuel availability issues.

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Re: Actual benefits of electric cars and effects on the ...
Stan Robertson wrote:
jpitre wrote:

Stan wrote:

I have nothing aganst electric vehicles, but they are neither clearly environmentally superior nor a solution to energy problems.

But then, if you install a few solar panels in the back yard to charge the electric car batteries, it does become a better solution

Jim

OK, suppose you have about 3 square meters of solar panels with about 20% energy collection efficiency exposed to about 20 kwh solar energy per sunny day. You collect 4 kwh and if you have an electric vehicle that uses about 0.3 kwh per mile, you can drive about 13 miles. How many folks will spend $40K for the car and $2K for the solar panels and batteries for that? At $0.10 per kwh for conventional electric power, it will take 5,000 sunny days to save the cost of the solar collection equipment.

No one in their right economic mind will pay 41K for a Volt nor buy any other first or even second generation EV.  But in subsequent generations, when the price drops and the technical glitches are worked out of them, I'll consider buying one and the PV panels to charge it.  I want the peace of mind of not having to rely on gasoline for my daily commute or for short local trips.  I think the major problems I want to see worked out are battery life (or development of an effective super capacitor) and optimal climate control within the vehicle (especially in very cold climates where the heater will be a huge drain on the battery).

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EVs vs regular cars

I think it is foolish to make any sweeping judgements about one or the other.  When you plug it in for recharging (as well as where geographically) has a lot to do with what kind of emissions you are producing, why you are even driving in the first place, how you drive, etc.  It is true that too many people consider EVs (and other forms of "consumption as a solution") as somehow ethically superior, but it is also flawed to presume that everyone is like that. 

There are also people who don't realize how inefficient recycling is, and somehow think that it makes them a hero, but there are some of us who avidly do so because it is still better to recycle than to toss it.  The point is that we need to discuss it, instead of mindlessly believing what we are told.

Personally, I can't afford to even consider an EV right now, but I absolutely love that they consume zero energy waiting for lights to change, and don't get me started about regenerative braking- we are a giant step closer to Amoury Lovins' hyper car concept.

EV's are not a perfect solution- like solar and wind power; but they are a massive step in the right direction, as long as we keep our minds and eyes open.  I think we can all agree on that.

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Re: Actual benefits of electric cars and effects on the ...
ao wrote:

No one in their right economic mind will pay 41K for a Volt nor buy any other first or even second generation EV.  But in subsequent generations, when the price drops and the technical glitches are worked out of them, I'll consider buying one and the PV panels to charge it.

If we were looking at "normal" times - I would agree with you.

The problem I see with waiting is that you may not have the opportunity to buy the stuff in the future.  If your in the US, due to dollar collapse we could be looking at a prolonged inability to buy many of the things available now.  It may never be cheaper to buy these materials due to rising energy prices and loss of fiat currency magic.

Also, EVs may not be a long term viable solution.  This might be a blip in history and only ultra-wealthy will be able to have a car (of any kind) in the future.  I figure at least for the next 5-10 years (life of the batteries), you can have another tool to help during the transition from where we are today.   With ultra-low interest rates (ie. finance and let inflation take it's course), many incentives, the 41K gets whittled down quite a bit.

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Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - GM hires 1000 engineers

don't disagree with most of that. nonetheless, we as a society should be looking for alternatives to oil. it's really that simple. oil is amazing stuff, but not sustainable the way it's been used. obviously... but getting off of oil and starting momentum towards a energy agnostic transportation system seems like a good idea.

Sadly, there is no real alternative to fossil fuels. Solar/Wind do no provide the EROEI and nuclear fuel resources are too limited to replace fossil fuels. The bottom line is that the worlds population will dramatically shrink until it falls to a sustainable level. Probably around a billion people.  The Worlds population is in deep overshoot, due mostly to the abundances of cheap energy available during the past two hundred years. As the availability of cheap energy disappears, so will the population, from War (fighting over scarce resources) and diseases (caused by mal- nutrition and loss of clean water, and lack of medical care).

 

 

 

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Re: Actual benefits of electric cars and effects on the ...

The problem I see with waiting is that you may not have the opportunity to buy the stuff in the future. If your in the US, due to dollar collapse we could be looking at a prolonged inability to buy many of the things available now. It may never be cheaper to buy these materials due to rising energy prices and loss of fiat currency magic.

Your making the assumption that after a crisis that you'll be able to get your Chevy volt repaired. Since there will be very few Volts on the road it will be impossible to get replacement parts. Considering its a GM car, you can be assured that it will break down often.

Consider that normal cars can be converted to wood-gas if there is no more oil imports. Any biomass or even coal will work. Near the end of WW2 there were about 500K vehicles powered by wood gas since gasoline and diesel fuel were not available in many regions. 41K for a EV/hybrid car is just a plain waste of money.

 

 

 

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Re: Daily Digest 11/30 - Ireland Bail-out Fails to Calm ...

     No offense to those who have posted comments on the ev's.  But what I would really like to hear  is someone who actually has one and has had it for a while.  Are they satisfied.  Do they feel safe?  Is maintainence a nightmare like I have heard (I can't verify this).  What is the life span of the battery and it's cost?  If rare earth elements are controlled by the Chinese government in the near future, do you expect a dramatic increase in the cost of replacement batteries?

     After reading several books about historic events, one concept relates to this thread.  Specifically in Weimar Germany, "at the outbreak of every war and in every revolution the cars are taken at once from their owners as the very first thing and every fight for power or freedom begins...".  If you are interested in the source let me know.  I am concerned for the whole of our transportation system.  Look at the airline industry and the security issues.  What if a nation relied solely on ev's.  Stop for a moment and forget about the energy issue and look at the freedom lost.  A nation can be controlled by benevelont or dictatorial powers on the grid.  Transportation is one of the first controls looked at.  That is one of the beautiful things about the internal combustion engine.  It allows freedom.  America loves freedom!  Do you remember Stalinist Soviets wanting to build an empire based on Electricity. The Energy of the Future.  Enough of that, I just want to hear from someone who has an EV and what they think of it after having it awhile.

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Re: Actual benefits of electric cars and effects on the ...
TechGuy wrote:

Your making the assumption that after a crisis that you'll be able to get your Chevy volt repaired. Since there will be very few Volts on the road it will be impossible to get replacement parts. Considering its a GM car, you can be assured that it will break down often.

Not actually planning on buying a Volt, rather a Nissan Leaf.  It should be considerably simpler since it is only Electric.  While I do worry about repairs, a fully Electric vehicle should be easier to repair than a modern internal combustion vehicle.  The problem with both will probably be with the electronic controls. However, I'm looking only to get 5-10 years, then see what is going on in the world at that point.  It buys time to make adjustments where others will be forced into much more rapid changes.

TechGuy wrote:

Consider that normal cars can be converted to wood-gas if there is no more oil imports. Any biomass or even coal will work. Near the end of WW2 there were about 500K vehicles powered by wood gas since gasoline and diesel fuel were not available in many regions.

Cars were much much simpler then.  I'm betting you would have a very hard time converting a modern car to wood gas without someone to help program the computer to allow the car to run with very different combustion characteristics.  Yes - I suspect someone will but it's not going to a simiple process for the handy mechanic in their home garage.

TechGuy wrote:

41K for a EV/hybrid car is just a plain waste of money.

For the leaf, it looks like it will be about $26K post federal tax credit.

westpennpogo wrote:

No offense to those who have posted comments on the ev's.  But what I would really like to hear  is someone who actually has one and has had it for a while.

I don't believe any other than the very small 25mph beasts like the Zebra are on the road yet (excluding the Tesla roadster).  Those are all from at best 2nd tier manufacturers and I don't believe viable replacement vehicles.  They are most like golf carts. :-)

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