Sunday, August 21, 2016

Climate heat wave, caused by carbon released by cars

TreeHugger: "We have reached the point where transportation, 80% of which is in cars, is the single biggest source of carbon dioxide in the country. We can talk about making our buildings more efficient and buying LED bulbs, but it is our cars, and our car oriented planning, and our car culture that is killing us all."

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Belief in renewables biggest threat to human life

Human activity generates heat. Heat can only leave the earth at a known fixed rate. So changing from one energy source to another will not have any effect.

It is impossible to replace joules of energy from fossil-fuel with renewables. Fossil-fuels will be more cost-effective for too long of a time. That means every joule from a renewable source will free up a joule of fossil-fuel for use somewhere else.

Human demand for energy and the consequent heating of the biosphere are a threat to humans and all life. There is a chance we will do something about it. But first, we have to head in the right direction. The only solution is to cut back on human activity - degrowth.

Here is a simple plan for degrowth.

  • make cities and towns car-free
  • educate all children
  • provide free health-care

This plan will speed-up urbanization and falling birth rates.

The belief in renewables is stopping people from implementing degrowth. This mistake is deadly.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Country full of bus lovers, congress full of oil trolls. Democracy?

masstransitmag : " the public's support for expanded access to public transportation. Its analysis showed that more than 73 percent of Americans support using tax dollars to create, expand and improve public transportation in their communities."
How is this possible. Over seventy percent of Americans want their tax money spent on public transit, but in the congress one can't even get support to maintain existing  transit.

Here's how. The people who profit from the auto and sprawl are many. The oil companies, the auto companies, the sprawl home builders, home heating and cooling energy suppliers, electricity suppliers, furniture and durable consumer good suppliers, ... etc. But even so, there is still a majority that wants public transit. So how do the anti-transit people get in power.

Led by the oil companies, this has been their strategy for years. Cobble together an alliance based on racism, religion, guns, patriotism, etc. That way people are never actually "voting for oil," they are voting for some other issue. They don't realized they are stabbing themselves in the back. So the autosprawl profiteers have 90 percent of one party. To get the other party, they promote "development." More roads, more suburbs, more economic growth. They only need about 30 or 40 percent of the second party.

The issue is never debated on the question: "Are cars killing us?"

Friday, August 5, 2016

What's wrong with solar?

If solar energy projects could replace fossil-fuel use, and growth could be stopped, and per-capita energy use could be reduced, that would slow, or stop, the increase of carbon emissions.

  • stopping growth - no one in power is even discussing it
  • reduced energy use - no one in power is even discussing it
  • replacing fossil-fuel - fossil-fuels have higher return on energy invested, as long as there is demand, every joule of fossil-fuel saved in one place by solar will be burned somewhere else
  • stopping carbon emissions is too little too late
Which leaves a big problem. Many people believe that humans can convert to solar energy and save our species. These people are not getting involved in real solutions. They are waiting for a technological breakthrough. This is deadly.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Poor people in US pay over 15% of income on transportation

truth-out: "Given the impact of transportation costs, cities should look more closely at supporting options, in both the short and long terms, to make cities more equitable and conducive to lower-cost transportation. Paramount among the considerations should be walking, which has very few direct costs, although it is not feasible for those who live far away from where they work, which is the case for many poor people right now. After that, public transportation, which can save many people a significant amount of money per month over using a personal vehicle, and is heavily relied upon by poorer city residents. Cities could do a far better job of serving the transportation needs of low-income people if they made public transportation free and extensive. This is very desirable from an equity perspective and likely only possible on a large scale for public systems. Lastly, cycling is also a low-cost option that cities should accommodate better, even though it suffers from some of the same downsides as walking, at least in most cities as they are currently laid out."

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

US winning friends and influencing people in Iraq

There is no need for this. The US is spending billions in Iraq to try to get control of oil sources, especially Kirkuk oil which is plentiful and easy to extract.

But what will happen if they succeed?  It will quickly be burnt up in traffic jams and we will be on another economic crash.

Why not, instead, spend this money not on  bombs, but on buses -- start solving the problem instead of extending it.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

War on cars

Not a clever social media meme, the war on cars is real, the victims are real, and destruction of the biosphere is a possible result.

On one side, the billionaires, working through the banks, controlling governments and media.

On the other, the people of the world, just trying to survive.

Cars cause sprawl, sprawl causes growth, growth threatens all life. Cars kill directly by collisions, and indirectly by dirty air. Cars waste energy, leading to economic collapse. Car dependency leads to shooting wars. Cars require expensive infrastructure.

As with any war there are divisions on both sides. The people are divided by nation, "race," gender, and many other ways.

The billionaires are divided by capitalist competition. Some want to preserve the system, others willing to risk collapse for short-term gain.

The difference between the billionaires and the people is that the billionaires know it's a war.

The most effective weapon against the cars is the fare-free bus. Every little victory counts. When critical mass is reached the car subsidies will be seen as unnecessary. We will eventually get back to walking and biking in cities.

Do not expect hi-profile urbanists, politicians, celebrities, environmentalists, etc to lead this fight. Because they are hi-profile, they are easy victims for the carrot and stick. We have to do this ourselves at the local level.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Gas and Oil Party wants to destroy #publictransportation

masstransitmag: "Also, the platform position against any increase in the federal gas tax is not supported by APTA.  The federal gas tax has not been increased since 1993, and consequently, its purchasing power has gone down by more than 37 percent."

Saturday, July 16, 2016

#IslamicState causing constipation for captialism

Led by the US, governments of the world, representing the top banks, are trying desperately to get to the oil in Kirkuk, Iraq. They have some access to it, but need a secure environment to pump it like they want.

Kirkuk is the last big reserve of easy-to-get oil. Capitalism is clogged with debt and heavily dependent on expensive liquid-fuel infrastructure. Every day a joule of oil costs more joules to produce. In some cases it is costing more to produce than it yields, but they continue at a net-energy loss and create more debt.

Getting the Kirkuk oil will only extend their system another 20 years or so, but they don't think long-term. They have destabilized the entire MENA region and brought great pain and suffering to the people there. Their strategy has been reduced to creating anarchy, leveling cities, and building huge tent cities for civilian refugees. Even Turkey may not escape them.

Even with all their power, a small state, barely two years old, will not let them have relief.

The solution is simple. Get off oil. The quickest and least painful way is to make urban buses fare-free and respond to the people's demand for more buses.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Half of all US food produce is thrown away, new research suggests

The Guardian: "...In more than two dozen interviews, farmers, packers, wholesalers, truckers, food academics and campaigners described the waste that occurs “upstream”: scarred vegetables regularly abandoned in the field to save the expense and labour involved in harvest. Or left to rot in a warehouse because of minor blemishes that do not necessarily affect freshness or quality.

When added to the retail waste, it takes the amount of food lost close to half of all produce grown, experts say.

“I would say at times there is 25% of the crop that is just thrown away or fed to cattle,” said Wayde Kirschenman, whose family has been growing potatoes and other vegetables near Bakersfield, California, since the 1930s. “Sometimes it can be worse.”"

The US food industry requires a lot of energy and resources. What is the benefit of reducing waste? By allowing the sale of imperfect vegetables and fruit, what is the Sustainability Return on Energy Invested? #SRoEI.