Daily Digest

Daily Digest 9/16 - Poor Still Getting Poorer, Inflation Slowed In August, Grid Bottleneck Spawned Western Blackout

Friday, September 16, 2011, 10:44 AM
  • How Rich Are Poor People?
  • Poor Are Still Getting Poorer, but Downturn’s Punch Varies, Census Data Show
  • Austere Italy? Check the Traffic
  • Inflation Slowed in August, Reflecting a Weak Economy
  • 5 Central Banks Move to Supply Cash to Europe
  • Employment: Defending Jobs
  • Notorious Grid Bottleneck Spawns Western Blackout
  • Watch Out for Lethal Branches: Bats, Too

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Economy

How Rich Are Poor People? (jdargis)

In the late 1950s, annual per capita caloric consumption reached a low point (PDF) for the 20th century. While food choices and the availability of fresh food in certain areas are major concerns, undernourishment is rare in the United States today. More than 92 percent of poor households always have enough food to eat, and poor children get about the same quantity of nutrients as middle-class children. Rector points out that poor children now "grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II."

Poor Are Still Getting Poorer, but Downturn’s Punch Varies, Census Data Show (jdargis)

The Midwest is battered, but the Northeast escaped with a lighter knock. The incomes of young adults have plunged — but those of older Americans have actually risen. On the whole, immigrants have weathered the storm a bit better than people born here. In rural areas, poverty remained unchanged last year, while in suburbs it reached the highest level since 1967, when the Census Bureau first tracked it.

Yet one old problem has not changed: the poor have rapidly gotten poorer.

Austere Italy? Check the Traffic (jdargis)

The auxiliaries, who earn a respectable 800 euros a month, or $1,100, to work 20 hours a week, are among about 64 Comitini residents employed by the town, the product of an entrenched jobs-for-votes system pervasive in Italian politics at all levels.

Inflation Slowed in August, Reflecting a Weak Economy (jdargis)

The Labor Department said the Consumer Price Index rose 0.4 percent last month, a slight deceleration compared with the 0.5 percent rise in July. The index, although it reflects just one month of data, is a closely watched indicator that guides analysts in assessing the economy. Other reports released Thursday showed weakness in the jobs market and an uncertain outlook for manufacturing.

5 Central Banks Move to Supply Cash to Europe (jdargis)

The central bank action came as European finance ministers and other policy makers were gathering in Wroclaw, Poland, for meetings on Friday and Saturday. The United States Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, who was scheduled to attend, was expected to urge European officials to act more aggressively to contain the sovereign debt crisis, which has already begun to undercut growth in Europe.

Employment: Defending Jobs (jdargis)

One of the biggest headaches for policymakers in many rich countries has been how to create jobs during a period of fiscal austerity and anaemic growth. The private sector has been slow to generate jobs, and government-spending cuts usually end up cutting jobs. And governments employ a lot of people: in our chart of the ten biggest global employers, below, seven are government-run.

Energy

Notorious Grid Bottleneck Spawns Western Blackout (guardia)

The blackout that squelched power flows to nearly 5 million residents of Arizona, California and northern Mexico last night and shut down California’s San Onofre nuclear power plant may be the latest sign of strain in an outdated U.S. power grid. The incident began during maintenance at a substation in Yuma, Arizona that lies at the center of a sclerotic section of the grid between Phoenix and Tucson—one long recognized as critically congested and thus at heightened risk of failure.

Watch Out for Lethal Branches. Bats, Too. (jdargis)

I realize now that doing my homework about the risks in the Maine woods was not enough. Years of urban and suburban living have changed how my mind assesses risks. I am attuned to the urban risks from bad drivers, traffic jams, and A.T.M. security — risks that come from other people. Here in the woods, the day-to-day risks are less about people and more about unfamiliar tools, adverse weather and being alone. Self-reliance and taking time to think about even a simple task matter much more now.

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."

17 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
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guardia
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Greece is on fire! (repost..)

According to tonight's NHK (Japan's BBC) News broadcast, Greece is on fire:

Greece on fire

LOL

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DRHolden
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EPA delays its greenhouse-gas rules

environmentalists are particularly sensitive to the possibility that the Obama administration is wavering — particularly because, at this point, EPA regulations are the only viable option for tackling global-warming pollution in the United States.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/epa-delays-its-green...

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heffe
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EPA Regulations = Weaker Economy
DRHolden wrote:

environmentalists are particularly sensitive to the possibility that the Obama administration is wavering — particularly because, at this point, EPA regulations are the only viable option for tackling global-warming pollution in the United States.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/epa-delays-its-green...

 

Interesting article, considering how any efforts to promote sustainable, non-ecocidal actions are taken lightly, but anything to do with 'saving' giant corporations is handled immediately.

Even more interesting, is that the second stage of these regulations are focused on mercury in coal fired power plants, and if they are in place within the year, we can expect severe shortfalls in energy production. Several comments with links similar to the one below.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff has preliminarily estimated that up to 91 gigawatts of existing generation nationwide (8 percent of the total) are "likely" or "very likely" to be retired as a result of the new EPA rules. www.newsandopinions.net 

Never mind that cities like this one produce over 300% more energy then they need via renewable methods - http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCwQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Finhabitat.com%2Fgerman-village-produces-321-more-energy-than-it-needs%2F&ei=K4dzTuqTBKijsQKfuuyLBQ&usg=AFQjCNFj5ZnzuOaqdqvr0cY4jQLuLwYlvg&sig2=k7Flw_yS6wjKuiDjw4Vxvw 

I guess it makes more sense to buy scarce, finite resources from major corporations that will severly impact our environment and our economy, all the while buying those resources with scarce, centralized, debt based fiat currency....

rhare's picture
rhare
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Small heavily subsidized projects are not sustainable
heffe wrote:

Never mind that cities like this one produce over 300% more energy then they need via renewable methods

Only because of massive unsustainable subsidies by everyone else in the country.  Many countries heavily subsidize renewable energy which allows those who take advantage of it to prosper at the expense of everyone else.  The same is true in the US.  My solar installation is absolutely not cost justified without heavy subsidies by all other taxpayers.  Don't confuse the ability of this small village to prosper from government largess as a sustainable system.

heffe wrote:

I guess it makes more sense to buy scarce, finite resources from major corporations that will severly impact our environment and our economy, all the while buying those resources with scarce, centralized, debt based fiat currency....

Are you talking about the renewable energy projects or fossil fuels? - I would say it applies to both equally....

DRHolden's picture
DRHolden
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Peak Oil and the Unsustainable Growth in Oil Demand

An interesting number in all this is the production rate of 92 million b/d, for if a few of the better known peak oil analysts are correct, that could turn out to be the all-time peak of global oil production. If demand growth continues at its present or even somewhat reduced pace, demand should be pushing up against 92 million b/d by the end of next year. Any further increase in demand would come from stockpiles at much higher prices and probably much economic disruption.

http://www.thestreet.com/story/11251207/1/peak-oil-and-the-unsustainable...

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FNKRoue
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Becareful putting too much

Becareful putting too much glory on that german city's achievements.  Give me unlimited funding and no requirement for a project to be financially profitable and I can design any city to produce 300% more than it consumes.

Alot of the green technology saturation in europe, especially with these poster child green cities, is a product of massive subsidization on the part of the government.  Now that is not to say that it isn't good that it produces an excess, or that if every city did we would be upset.   But in my opinion it is more of a marketing ploy than a representation of modern engineering.

Afterall, is combating energy excess with fiscal excess a fair trade?  Or at what ration of future monetary debt vs future energy debt is it acceptable to make these manuevers?

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dave s
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Rare Earth "tussle" continues

China is clearly weaning the world off its in-ground stock as part of what is no doubt a larger domestic energy plan.  Of course, it is a country still far too late to the ubiquitous energy party to avoid very big problems.  But you can't blame 'em for trying...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/business/global/china-consolidates-control-of-rare-earth-industry.html

China Consolidates Grip on Rare Earths

***

General Electric, facing complaints in the United States about rising prices for its compact fluorescent bulbs, recently noted in a statement that if the rate of inflation over the last 12 months on the rare earth element europium oxide had been applied to a $2 cup of coffee, that coffee would now cost $24.55.

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heffe
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Subsidies and Monetary mechanics
FNKRoue wrote:

Becareful putting too much glory on that german city's achievements.  Give me unlimited funding and no requirement for a project to be financially profitable and I can design any city to produce 300% more than it consumes.

Alot of the green technology saturation in europe, especially with these poster child green cities, is a product of massive subsidization on the part of the government.  Now that is not to say that it isn't good that it produces an excess, or that if every city did we would be upset.   But in my opinion it is more of a marketing ploy than a representation of modern engineering.

Afterall, is combating energy excess with fiscal excess a fair trade?  Or at what ration of future monetary debt vs future energy debt is it acceptable to make these manuevers?

I here what you and rhare are saying regarding subsidies. First, have you ever looked at the subsidies in the US?  Subsidization for oil is somewhere around $700 billion dollars a year. Subsidies for solar and wind are about $2 billion a year. Take all the subsidies from the oil conglomerates, spread those to every community and I bet 90% of the country would be on renewable energy within a year. Legalize hemp for bio-diesel and end the subsidies for sugar and corn, using the billions of dollars for a more efficient, environmentally friendly plant.

And second, you are basing these monetary assumptions on contemporary fiscal policies, which are scarcity-debt based, fiat currencies printed via centralized for-profit banks. This is an old, outdated, unsustainable monetary system, and can be replaced by more functional systems, such as Energy Accounting Units. Essentially it would be EAU's rather than IOU's.

These currency units can be created locally, and represent physical energy extraction, and can be globally accepted without exchange rates. Inflation and deflation are countered as the currency reflects existing energy,  and would be produced in abundance as the goal would be maximum energy creation for every community, rather than maximum growth in consumption and money flow. The biggest problem with contemporary currencies is that they are not tied to resources. Gold standards are based around scarcity, and create constant deflationary cycles. An abundance based currency centered on energy extraction has many benefits.

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Math - such a valuable tool.....
heffe wrote:

Subsidization for oil is somewhere around $700 billion dollars a year. Subsidies for solar and wind are about $2 billion a year.

Where did you find those numbers?  While the $2B might be right, your $700B appears to be way way off.  This link from the Environmental Law Institute estimates fossil fuel subsidies to be about $10.3B per year and renewables to be $4.1B per year (2002-2008).  So lets do a bit of math:

US Oil Consumption:  18,690,000 bbls/day

Energy in barrel of oil: 5,800,000 Btu = 1,699.812 kWh

Oil subsidy = 10,300,000,000 / (18,690,000 * 365 * 1699.812) = $0.00089 / kWh

Solar & Wind % of US Energy Consumption: 0.8% (solar 0.1%, wind 0.7%)

Total US Energy Consumption: 94,900,000,000,000,000 Btu

Wind & Solar Energy = 222,499,566,470 kWh

Wind & Solar Subsidy = $4,100,000,000 / 222,499,566,470 = $0.0184 /kWh

So it looks renewables had 20 times the subsidies per kWh.  Doesn't look so lobsided when you look at it that way does it?  I'm also pretty positive that $2B is not correct, at least for our home system the subsidies are $0.24 / kWh (REC & Tax Credits).  Way above the 2 cents the calculation shows.  We can even see the $2B is quite wrong since the recent Solyndra news shows more than 1/2 billion to them alone!

heffe wrote:

Take all the subsidies from the oil conglomerates, spread those to every community and I bet 90% of the country would be on renewable energy within a year.

Hmm, if I send you $85 ($10.3B / 120M households) your telling me you will be 100% renewable energy in a year?

heffe wrote:

Legalize hemp for bio-diesel and end the subsidies for sugar and corn, using the billions of dollars for a more efficient, environmentally friendly plant.

Are you sure your not smoking a bit too much of that hemp? If your going to give numbers (the $700B) please back them up with links to the source.  Also, please do some math to validate your statements.  This has been hashed out before, the US is NEVER going to replace our energy usage with solar (note this includes your hemp bio-diesel - since that's just solar in another less efficient form), and probably not wind.  Here is a link to an old posting showing with current high efficiency solar, it would take an area the size of California to replace our current energy usage with solar based solutions. 

 

 

 

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EPA Regulations = Weaker Economy
heffe wrote:

[snip]

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff has preliminarily estimated that up to 91 gigawatts of existing generation nationwide (8 percent of the total) are "likely" or "very likely" to be retired as a result of the new EPA rules. www.newsandopinions.net 

Never mind that cities like this one produce over 300% more energy then they need via renewable methods - http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCwQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Finhabitat.com%2Fgerman-village-produces-321-more-energy-than-it-needs%2F&ei=K4dzTuqTBKijsQKfuuyLBQ&usg=AFQjCNFj5ZnzuOaqdqvr0cY4jQLuLwYlvg&sig2=k7Flw_yS6wjKuiDjw4Vxvw 

I guess it makes more sense to buy scarce, finite resources from major corporations that will severly impact our environment and our economy, all the while buying those resources with scarce, centralized, debt based fiat currency....

How about the cost/benefit analysis?  190 homes.  How much did the windmills, solar panels, installation, and maintenance cost?   How much did the financing cost and who shared in providing the captal?  Once you find these numbers you won't quote this story-ad again.

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KugsCheese
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Inflation

From latest SGS commentary regarding inflation:

"August CPI.  The seasonally-adjusted CPI-U rose by 0.37% for the month, up 3.77% year-to-year (versus 3.63% in July), while the seasonally-adjusted CPI-W rose by 0.42% for the month, up 4.26% year-to-year (versus 4.11% in July).  The SGS-Alternate Consumer inflation measures in August were 7.1% (1990-base) and 11.4% (1980-base).

As was seen last month, despite a seasonally-adjusted boost to otherwise weak gasoline prices, August CPI reporting reflected an ongoing spread of inflationary pressures well beyond the energy and food sectors, with the annual “core” inflation rate picking up at an accelerating pace, nearing 2.0%, as shown in the graph that follows.  This circumstance has to be distressing to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who has taken official refuge in the “core” inflation concept, ignoring food and energy inflation.  Keep in mind that rising “core” inflation still reflects upside pricing pressures from the spreading effects of higher oil prices (driven by the Fed’s dollar-debasement policies), not from economic demand.  The Fed’s primary function remains keeping the banking system solvent.  Containing inflation and boosting economic activity are secondary goals.  The Fed, however, has not had much success in any of these areas, recently."  (Copyright John Williams)

See: www.shadowstats.com/commentaries

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The $10B for oil and gas

The $10B for oil and gas subsidies seems absurdly low.  It must exclude the tens of billions of dollars we expend in military costs  to keep oil fields flowing around the world.   Second, it must write off the expenses associated with policing and accomodating the environmental costs of  the oil gas gas  industry.  For example, the cleanup of contamination in abandoned oil fields in one location in Indonesia alone that I am familiar with runs into the hundreds of millions, if not billions.  Finally,  the tax breaks given to oil companies for E&P must be added to the subsidies column of the accounting ledger.  I don't presume to know how much the subsidies  are but my guess is more in the range of hundreds of billions. 

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Assumptions...... You know the saying....

[quote=Lightimpact]

I don't presume to know how much the subsidies  are but my guess is more in the range of hundreds of billions. 

[/quote]

Well I think you need to find some facts somewhere to back up your assumption.  But lets take your "hundreds of billions" in subsidies and compare it to the total cost of oil the US uses in a year. 

US Oil Consumption: 18,690,000 barrels/day

Average cost of oil 2010: $71.21 (WTI), $79.03 (Brent)

So total cost of all oil consumed in the US in a year: (18,690,000 x 365 x $79.03) = $539,130,805,500

Since the total cost of oil consumed in the US was about $540B. I have a hard time seeing the subsidies being in the hundreds of billions.

Don't misunderstand, I think subsidies for oil and renewables should be eliminated completely - including us getting our troops out of everywhere.  Only then will we be able to see the true costs and make sound decisions.  However, for us in the US, the $ as the reserve currency is probably the largest subsidy for both oil and renewables....  Those windmills and solar panels are going to get mighty expensive when we have to actually pay for them with something other than paper.

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heffe
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Response to rhare's inquiry regarding stats
rhare wrote:

Where did you find those numbers?  While the $2B might be right, your $700B appears to be way way off.  This link from the Environmental Law Institute estimates fossil fuel subsidies to be about $10.3B per year and renewables to be $4.1B per year (2002-2008).  So lets do a bit of math:

US Oil Consumption:  18,690,000 bbls/day

Energy in barrel of oil: 5,800,000 Btu = 1,699.812 kWh

Oil subsidy = 10,300,000,000 / (18,690,000 * 365 * 1699.812) = $0.00089 / kWh

Solar & Wind % of US Energy Consumption: 0.8% (solar 0.1%, wind 0.7%)

Total US Energy Consumption: 94,900,000,000,000,000 Btu

Wind & Solar Energy = 222,499,566,470 kWh

Wind & Solar Subsidy = $4,100,000,000 / 222,499,566,470 = $0.0184 /kWh

So it looks renewables had 20 times the subsidies per kWh.  Doesn't look so lobsided when you look at it that way does it?  I'm also pretty positive that $2B is not correct, at least for our home system the subsidies are $0.24 / kWh (REC & Tax Credits).  Way above the 2 cents the calculation shows.  We can even see the $2B is quite wrong since the recent Solyndra news shows more than 1/2 billion to them alone!

you $85 ($10.3B / 120M households) your telling me you will be 100% renewable energy in a year?

Are you sure your not smoking a bit too much of that hemp? If your going to give numbers (the $700B) please back them up with links to the source.  Also, please do some math to validate your statements.  This has been hashed out before, the US is NEVER going to replace our energy usage with solar (note this includes your hemp bio-diesel - since that's just solar in another less efficient form), and probably not wind.  Here is a link to an old posting showing with current high efficiency solar, it would take an area the size of California to replace our current energy usage with solar based solutions. 

 

Sorry for the lengthy response time, had a great weekend but now that Im back let me provide those stats. There was a typo with $700 billion, supposed to be $70 billion, however, the chart provided illuminates how well renewable energy could provide for our needs. One great stat was referencing Germany's solar availability compared to the US. The US has 3,900% more sunlight than Germany, though we have 6,000% less solar infrastructure.

http://holykaw.alltop.com/what-if-solar-got-fossil-fuel-subsidies-infog

And again, we must never forget that our fiat currency system, printed via centralized banks and fractional reserve commercial lending practices, that is centered around debt monetization, is both scarcity based and guaranteed to produce default and/or severe inflation. We as a species need to approach our monetary problems with revision our traditionalized methods, and seek more sustainable, abundant economic systems.

Here's a talk from Douglas Rushkoff on Web 2.0 detailing contemporary monetary policies and potential alternatives.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBkQtwIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DOHMvknT_uk4&ei=X813TqDWNIrKiAL5wPn1Cg&usg=AFQjCNGHP2QLFrThtvMMHVNzl7m5XYDmBA

Regarding the hemp bio-diesel, there many articles http://www.google.com/#pq=douglas+rushkoff+web+2.0&hl=en&sugexp=gsis%2Ci18n%3Dtrue&cp=20&gs_id=4d&xhr=t&q=biodiesel+from+hemp&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&source=hp&pbx=1&oq=bio+diesel+from+hemp&aq=0sx&aqi=g-sx1g-msx1&aql=&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=d791de531381e396&biw=1024&bih=661 that talk about the drawbacks of hemp compared to other crops for bio-diesel, and really it boils down to its scarce production. If it were mass produced, the benefits of diesel produced via hemp compared to other plant crops is staggering.

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Solar (or bio-fuels) will not replace our energy needs
heffe wrote:

Sorry for the lengthy response time, had a great weekend but now that Im back let me provide those stats.

Glad you had a great weekend.  It's important to enjoy them....

heffe wrote:

There was a typo with $700 billion, supposed to be $70 billion, however, the chart provided illuminates how well renewable energy could provide for our needs.

Sorry but it doesn't show how it will provide for our needs.  Please check out my post here.  Note, having to build a plant the size of CA will never ever happen.  The only solution will be reduced use or some other power source.  Solar will not be the solution.  You do understand that fossil fuels are simply stored solar energy?  The same way bio-diesel is.

heffe wrote:

We as a species need to approach our monetary problems with revision our traditionalized methods, and seek more sustainable, abundant economic systems.

I do agree that the monetary system we have distorts the economics of energy dramatically.  We already have systems that work and have been proven over thousands of years (gold/silver/commodity based currencies).  I think Douglas Rushkoff is a bit whacked on his ideas on money however.  Anything that doesn't work without technology will not work with technology.  I do agree with him that we need competition in currency, but I don't believe it must be technology based.

heffe wrote:

If it were mass produced, the benefits of diesel produced via hemp compared to other plant crops is staggering.

Even if hemp were the best plant ever, I doubt it will be significantly larger than other crops for bio-energy production.  Ceres thinks they can get to about 2000 gals/acre of ethanol production.  This is a significant step above the current top crop switchgrass or sugarcane which yields about 1000 gal ethanol/acre.  But assume 2000 gals/acre is doable:

2000 gal ethanol/acre * 77,500 Btu/gal ethanol = 155,000,000 Btu/acre

With the US using 94,900,000,000,000,000 Btu / year, we would need 612,258,064 acres to replace US energy needs with bio fuels.

However, the US only has about 408,000,000 acres of arable land, it's not looking so good for getting our energy from any crop.

In the link to the Germany versus US solar statistics, it states we need to increase subsidies for solar.  I think that is the wrong approach. Instead we need to end subsidies for all fuels and let prices reflect their true costs.  Only then will we be in a position to evaluate the various approaches.  Also, once the true cost of energy becomes apparent, entrepreneurial spirit will certainly take over to work on finding a better solution.  If we simply pick solar we may be overlooking better alternatives - nuclear, geothermal, etc.

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heffe
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Solar, Currencies, and Subsidies

 

 

Sorry but it doesn't show how it will provide for our needs.  Please check out my post here.  Note, having to build a plant the size of CA will never ever happen.  The only solution will be reduced use or some other power source.  Solar will not be the solution.  You do understand that fossil fuels are simply stored solar energy?  The same way bio-diesel is.

I should have made it clear that solar wasnt my only thought as an approach to our energy dilemma. Geo-thermal, wind, tidal, wave, and bio-mass are very useful as well, in fact, all my home energy comes from blue sky, which is combination of wind, solar, and biomass.

And yes I understand that fossil fuels are stored energy, what needs to be considered is how much energy there is hitting our planet at every moment. Thermal Decouplers are system of springs and capacitators built within housing, that collect energy as the house expands from the heat of the day.  Expand ideas like this along with numerous others (Earthship housing), and we can both reduce our useage while increasing extraction.

I do agree that the monetary system we have distorts the economics of energy dramatically.  We already have systems that work and have been proven over thousands of years (gold/silver/commodity based currencies).  I think Douglas Rushkoff is a bit whacked on his ideas on money however.  Anything that doesn't work without technology will not work with technology.  I do agree with him that we need competition in currency, but I don't believe it must be technology based.

Even precious metal currencies are technology based, as they require fabrication, extraction and scaling.  Not to mention, there are several faults of these systems, the most evident are the deflationary cycles that are produced via gold standards.  For example, in the 1st depression, due to severe contraction in money flow, millions were starving on the streets, all the while dairy farmers were dumping milk to raise the price (if this is not the definition of a backwards economic model, Im not sure what is).

I dont agree with Rushkoff on his money views either, but the important part of that video was the discussion on how contemporary currencies came to be and how they function. My view on a credible alternative currency would be based around energy accounting credits. These can be locally produced, and universally accepted as they are mathematical computations on watteage, amperage, volteage, human energy contribution. etc.  and can be produced in abundance, rather than debt.

I dont agree with you on competition in currency, at least if you are referring to competition among humans to acquire a scarce resource. If you are referring to local currencies competing on the global market, I guess I would also disagree. It seems more sensible to by-pass exchange rates and all the confusion based around rates when working in foreign currencies.  Energy accounting would be global, created out of energy extraction thus represents a commodity in which we depend on, therefore would maintain dynamic equilibrium.  

Even if hemp were the best plant ever, I doubt it will be significantly larger than other crops for bio-energy production.  Ceres thinks they can get to about 2000 gals/acre of ethanol production.  This is a significant step above the current top crop switchgrass or sugarcane which yields about 1000 gal ethanol/acre.  But assume 2000 gals/acre is doable:

2000 gal ethanol/acre * 77,500 Btu/gal ethanol = 155,000,000 Btu/acre

With the US using 94,900,000,000,000,000 Btu / year, we would need 612,258,064 acres to replace US energy needs with bio fuels.

However, the US only has about 408,000,000 acres of arable land, it's not looking so good for getting our energy from any crop.

Again I am not stating any of these options as the only route towards energy abundance, rather we combine them in extensive, locality based solutions, so that cities are self relient as possible, foregoing the massive blackouts we see on grids of millions. There is also the issue of transportion being centered around bio-diesel; electric powered cars have been a feasible option for decades, however, oil conglomerates have purchased numerous patents on car batteries and mothball them.

Market efficiency at its best; your a powerful corporation that's filled a vital need for decades, now your existence is threatened by new technology, so buy that technology and keep it downplayed as it is less profitable then gas powered transportation

In the link to the Germany versus US solar statistics, it states we need to increase subsidies for solar.  I think that is the wrong approach. Instead we need to end subsidies for all fuels and let prices reflect their true costs.  Only then will we be in a position to evaluate the various approaches.  Also, once the true cost of energy becomes apparent, entrepreneurial spirit will certainly take over to work on finding a better solution.  If we simply pick solar we may be overlooking better alternatives - nuclear, geothermal, etc.

Seems like you are saying we go the fundamentalist free market avenue, and again portraying my opinion as solar being the only route. I was merely posting that to convey how our political structures are purchased into siding with corporations, and if the deals that major corporations got was transferred to other sources like wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, our energy dilemma would be greatly reduced. The free market approach frightens me, as it allows for further exploitation as well as hindering any motive to create abundance, as scarcity is the need for profit based industries to fill, even if they have to maintain that scarcity artificially.

Also consider how subsidies for sugar operate; basically the government pays the corporations to grow too much, and then pays them to throw it away. There's several billion dollars for just one crop subsidy that doesn't need to exist. Lets also consider how much money is invested into the military, of which is used to secure oil fields in the Middle East as well as the world. If we took the billions invested into the military, cut it in half, and then used the leftovers for renewable energy initiatives, we would see fully renewable energy for every city within a few years.

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