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    Daily Digest 1/22 – World’s Biggest Producer of Plastic to Curtail Its Use, Living on $738 a month: As Boomers hit retirement,

    by Daily Digest

    Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 4:57 PM

Economy

Living on $738 a month: As Boomers hit retirement, Social Security more important than ever

29% of households headed by someone age 55 and older have no pension plan or retirement savings, according to a 2016 report from the federal Government Accountability Office.
15% of Americans age 65 are older are still working, a percentage that is growing.
In 2017, less than a third of Americans age 65 or older had pension income from an employer, and that percentage is dropping.

NJ Is Set to Change a Key Assumption About Public-Employee Pension Investments

A recent study published by The Pew Charitable Trusts tracked the trend to lower assumed rates of return by looking at the returns of more than 70 state-sponsored pension systems between 2007 and 2017. None of the funds maintained a 10-year average of returns that matched or exceeded their assumption rates, according to Pew. More than half — including New Jersey’s — are in the midst of making downward adjustments…..The pension payment in the current budget is $3.8 billion. If the state pension funding were ramped up to the full amount required by actuaries, it would require a pension contribution well north of $6 billion in FY2023.

If Students Are Borrowing Less, Why Do They Owe More?

Any way you slice the data, this trend is staggering. Consider borrowers who were in school during the financial crisis (repayment obligations that started in 2010-12). About half of them made no progress in reducing their balance after five years, according to Moody’s. That aligns with a Federal Reserve Bank of New York report in October, which found a mere 36% of borrowers who were current in their loans in the second quarter made a dent in their balance over the previous year.

NY Fed accepts $58.626 bln in overnight repo bids -NY Fed website

The New York Federal Reserve on Tuesday accepted $58.626 billion in overnight bids from primary dealers in a repurchase agreement (repo) operation meant to keep the federal funds rate within the target range.

Guggenheim Says Market a ‘Ponzi Scheme’ That Must Collapse

Anne Walsh, Guggenheim’s fixed-income chief, said in an interview that 15% of the U.S. economy is already in recession. She said the Federal Reserve’s efforts to pump liquidity into markets has created “zombie companies” that may see an outflow of capital as the utility of that money continues to diminish, she said.
The longer that this market runs, the harder the fall will be when it ends, she said.

US Fed is caught in a trap – if it tries to escape all hell breaks loose

The Fed did two things in response to the malfunctioning of the repo market.
It injected and has continued to inject massive doses of short-term liquidity, providing at least $US120 billion ($175 billion) of overnight and 14-day cash each month in exchange for high-quality collateral through its own repo facilities.
It also, moreover, started buying Treasury bills at a rate of $US60 billion ($87 billion) a month.

Energy

Hydrogen Costs Could Be Set To Plunge By 50% (michael s.)

While Elon Musk and other naysayers have condemned hydrogen, the energy is expected to see a breakthrough over the new decade: a 50 percent cost reduction — making it highly competitive with traditional fuel and low-carbon alternatives.

Why Trump Can’t Retreat From The Middle East (Michael S.)

If America doesn’t need Saudi oil anymore, why is it still wooing crown princes, especially when American public opinion isn’t really on board?

A Business Insider poll from September 2019 showed that, on the best of days, only one in five Americans viewed Saudi Arabia as a U.S. ally–even fresh off an attack on Saudi Aramco oil facilities, and even when that attack was widely believed to have been orchestrated by Iran.

The “Twin Threats” Facing Big Oil (Michael S.)

The global oil and gas industry is facing the “twin threats” of the loss of profitability and the loss of social acceptability as the climate crisis continues to worsen. The industry is not adequately responding to either of those threats, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

“Oil and gas companies have been proficient at delivering the fuels that form the bedrock of today’s energy system; the question that they now face is whether they can help deliver climate solutions,” the IEA said.

Environment

After Volcano Quiets, Philippine Officials At Odds Over Residents’ Return (Thomas R.)

Scientists in the Philippines are defending their assessment of a volcano that has been spewing ash for more than a week after a local official demanded that they change their “opinion” of the danger it poses and urged people to defy authorities and return to their homes.

World’s Biggest Producer of Plastic to Curtail Its Use (suzieg)

China will curtail its consumption of single-use plastic in an effort to tackle a soaring amount of the discarded material that has quickly become one of the world’s most pressing environmental crises.

Non-degradable plastic bags will be banned in places such as supermarkets and shopping malls in major cities, as well as for the country’s ubiquitous food delivery services by the end of this year, according to a plan released by the National Development and Reform Commission on Sunday.

Gold & Silver

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One Comment

  • Wed, Jan 22, 2020 - 6:55pm

    #1

    Mots

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 18 2012

    Posts: 124

    1+

    Hydrogen Costs Could Be Set To Plunge By 50%

    This is another BS article from the oil industry, which states as a fundamental objective the oil industry’s demand for changed (more relaxed) environmental laws and for another 70 billion dollars from the public to enhance yet more fossil fuel burning to “lower the cost!” of creating hydrogen from fossil fuels by 50% (mostly by increasing scale of fossil fuel oxidation (ie. burning) and increasing scale of distribution).

    If you drill down into the details you see the new greenwash strategy of calling natural gas “low carbon!” and hydrogen from coal gasification, oil and natural gas “the low carbon alternative!”  This neglects the increased energy requirement (which causes increased CO2 emission) of having to convert (oxidize/burn) natural gas into hydrogen before having to compress the hydrogen (which wastes at least 10% of the energy) so that the hydrogen can be oxidized/burned to make heat in factories and in engines.  (ie it is easier to burn and to compress natural gas itself instead of going through a convert-into-hydrogen step: this is like money laundering to cover the source).  Of course there is no mention of the ca. 80 times higher greenhouse gas effects of natural gas spillage/leakage or the increased energy needed to compress or store hydrogen in specialty tanks.

    Hydrogen (high carbon hydrogen, actually) is made from burning/oxidizing fossil fuel for about 2$ per kilogram, as I see from searching articles on the cost.  Meanwhile, the inefficient electrolysis of water route requires 50 kilowatt hours of electricity per kilogram (as energy feedstock) before paying for the equipment and pressurizing/storage.  https://www.quora.com/How-much-does-it-cost-for-electrolysis-to-split-up-water-into-hydrogen  At 10 cents per kilowatt hour, this is 5$ for electricity and about 15$ for the remainder (need to absolutely purify water, membranes that need to be replaced, gigantic electrolysis apparatus etc.)
    Thus, hydrogen from pure, filtered or distilled water costs about 20$ per kilogram and this is the reason why it is safe for the fossil fuel companies to promote their 2$ per kilogram of “low carbon hydrogen!” by burning/oxidizing fossil fuel to make it.

    Bottom line of the referenced study, “where natural gas is cheap and CO2 storage is available, reforming and CCS offers a low-cost, at-scale source of production” of hydrogen.
    Everywhere you look these days, the burning of natural gas is called “green” fossil fuel and is the preeminent “low carbon” alternative which will save us from increasing CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans.  Here is a link to  the referred-to study (which was hard to find): https://hydrogencouncil.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Path-to-Hydrogen-Competitiveness_Full-Study-1.pdf

     

     

    /w

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