Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Free public transport is the future

Could public transport in the UK ever be free? - News & Advice - Travel - The Independent: "... Taavi Pukk from Savisaar's Centre Party: "There's no doubt that free public transport is the future." Pukk points out that 75 per cent of respondents in Tallinn's referendum on the issue voted "yes", though turnout was low, just one-fifth of those eligible actually voted. Savisaar claims he's set on turning Tallinn into Europe's greenest city and tells us that, as well as helping the poor, the free transport move will get drivers out of their cars. Something for nothing is a compelling proposition: a spike in public transport use of 15 per cent is predicted.

Neighbouring Lithuania and Latvia are looking on eagerly – both their capital cities, Vilnius and Riga, are considering following Tallinn's lead. Rich Helsinki, across the chilly Baltic, is reportedly interested, too."

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Monday, November 26, 2012

If there is plenty of oil, why are the oil wars heating up?

Russian expert warns of possibility of large-scale war in Middle East: Voice of Russia: "In an interview with the Voice of Russia, Russian analyst Konstantin Sivkov said: “Deploying these missiles in Turkey will be dangerous for Syrian military planes – this is obvious. A lesser obvious thing is that Turkey is getting ready for a war against Syria. If an attack on Syria from the territory of Turkey does take place, this will most likely be an attack not of the Turkish army, but of NATO’s forces.”

“The Middle East is getting ready for a large-sale battle which will very likely affect the Russian part of the Caucasus, and this, in its turn, will be reflected on the entire Russia,” Mr. Sivkov added."

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Energy conservation and the Jevons principle

The Jevons principle is simple. If demand for energy is strong, efficiency is subsumed in greater use.

Currently fossil fuel energy is constrained mainly by price. So what is the effect of conservation measures such as insulation, and fuel efficiency? Both appear to affect demand, but in fact, they do not challenge autosprawl, a main source of the strong demand for energy. Consequently they simply facilitate more consumption by relieving price pressure.

Free transit, however, would begin a process of culture change. Cities would become more attractive. The critical mass of the auto would be broken. Sprawl would become more expensive. Autosprawl subsidy would be seen as a burden instead of a necessary expense. If the savings were used for education and health, the birthrate would fall. The suburbs could be converted to organic farms.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Oligarchy Sends Signal to Usher in the Illusory “Green Economy” | Wrong Kind of Green | the NGOs & conservation groups that are bargaining away our future

Oligarchy Sends Signal to Usher in the Illusory “Green Economy” | Wrong Kind of Green | the NGOs & conservation groups that are bargaining away our future: " One can safely assume that the ruling elite, in tandem with the non-profit industrial complex and the corporate-media complex having been working on rolling out the “green economy” onto the world stage since the Rio summit. What we witness now is the strategy being released, in waves in order to resonate.

What we are about to witness will be the greatest psyops of the 21st century.

Capitalism and humanity. Till death do we part."

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UN report says we are doing less than nothing on climate

Slow pace of carbon cuts brings catastrophic climate change closer: UN | Environment | "The world is straying further away from commitments to combat climate change, bringing the prospect of catastrophic global warming a step closer, a UN report said on Wednesday. The warning came as nearly 200 governments prepare to meet in Qatar for international climate negotiations starting next Monday."

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tallinn prepares for free public transport in 2013

Tallinn to Buy 40 New Buses | Society | News | ERR: "The capital's public transport operator, Tallinna Linnatranspordi AS, has announced a purchase tender for 40 new buses which, if all goes according to plan, should be cruising Tallinn's streets by December 2013."

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bakken shale oil another bump on a downward slope

Petroleum Truth Report: "After production peaked in 1970, not even the discovery of Prudhoe Bay, the largest oil field in the U.S. (12.8 billion barrels produced to date), brought production back to the 1970 peak. Including the recent increase from shale oil, the gap between production and consumption is approximately 9 million barrels of oil per day, almost as much as 1970 peak production."

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Response of capitalism to #climatechange, increase fossil-fuel subsidy

Fossil fuels get billions more in subsidies than renewables: IEA - "The same IEA report also said fossil fuels attracted about $523 billion in government subsidies in 2011, up by 30% from 2010.  That compares to $88 billion for renewable energy.  The heaviest subsidies typically take place in parts of the Middle East and Africa, the study said."

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Petrol prices spark uprising in Jordan

(AFP Photo / Khalil Mazraawi)
US not impressed with Arab spring reaching Jordan? — RT: "With more than 158 people arrested, 71 injured and one killed since the start of Jordanian protests on Tuesday, tonight Amman saw the escalation of the unrest in a way Jordan has never seen. Angry crowds have been shouting out Arab spring slogans and demanding King Abdullah go.
“Freedom, freedom, down with Abdullah,” protesters chanted, despite public insults of the Jordanian King being punishable with time in jail."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bill McKibben, an advocate for free public transit - #dothemath

Activist in Residence: Bill McKibben — Plenty Magazine: "Now consider a much-discussed alternative, proposed by famed New York labor mediator and environmental advocate Theodore W Kheel: Double that fee for cars driving into Manhattan south of 60th Street (and raise it to $32 for commercial vehicles). And then use the extra revenue to make subways and buses free for everyone in the five boroughs. Drivers might howl twice as hard, but at least there’d be someone howling back on the other side—someone who wanted to ride the bus for no charge.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Free Public Transit a better solution than #carbontax

OK, show of hands: how many people really think that a carbon tax will be implemented quickly, simply, and in a fair manner. Hmm. Thought so.

Free public transit is a solution that is working now. It is transparent. Everyone can see the benefits. As it gains critical mass, people will see more and more benefits. Even the corporate media will jump on the band wagon. The reduction in collision and congestion costs alone will replace the "lost" revenue. Then the alleviation of parking problems, pedestrian danger, and stress will be front page in the "today" press. There will be "human interest" stories about how people who never ride a bus benefit greatly.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Support #occupysandy, many people still without lights, heat, or clean water

Resource – Recent Coney Island Press/Media | Occupy Sandy Recovery: "Countless residents have been living in appalling conditions – stranded in high rise projects without lights, heat or clean water. Many are elderly or infirm and are stranded because they cannot navigate the pitch-black stairwells of their darkened buildings. They feel completely forgotten. There’s been barely any coverage of Coney Island in the mainstream media, so PLEASE distribute these pictures as widely as possible."


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Campaign for Free Public Transportation in Serbia

(9) Campaign: Free Public Transportation - Bus Stop Plus - 99% of Serbia: "Independent Citizen's Initiative for building high-quality, sustainable, energy-rational, environmentally clean, and accessible to all public transport"

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's the demand, stupid

Billions of people want to live in U.S.-style car-dependent sprawl. As long as this is true, the fossil-fuel industry will have power, lots of power.

Currently, the autosprawl system of human shelter and transport has critical mass. Because most people travel by car, the massive public investment in autosprawl infrastructure is seen as necessary.

We can break that critical mass. But only by addressing demand. A carbon tax would address demand. But it would be easy oppose. People would rightly expect it to be corrupt.

Instead, we should make public transit fare-free. The payback is immediate and greater than the "lost" revenue. Free transit is simple and easy to see. There are no complicated carbon-pricing indexes to be manipulated. And the myriad benefits are out in the open for all to see: less noise, less congestion, less parking problems, fewer collisions, lower medical costs, etc.

More importantly, fare-free transit would break the critical mass of the auto as transport. Autosprawl public "investment" would be seen for what it really is, subsidy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

While we dither about the fiscal cliff, we sleepwalk to a carbon cliff

Mankind Approaching 'Carbon Cliff', Report Warns - AlertNet: "UXBRIDGE, Canada, Nov 06 (IPS) - A new international business report warns fossil fuel use is pushing humanity towards a catastrophic overheating of the planet, with temperature increases of four or even six degrees Celsius. No major developed or developing country is doing anything close to what's needed to prevent large parts of the planet from becoming uninhabitable, the report found."

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Free public transit is affordable

When public transit is fare-free, immediate savings begin. First, the transit authority need not have expensive turnstiles and ticket machines. People who were accounting for fares may now be engaged in improving service, security, or cleanliness.

Ridership will go up. That lowers unit cost on both capital and operations.

Those are just the direct benefits. There is a long list of indirect benefits which amount to much more than the lost revenue. City parking costs are reduced. Less community money is exported out of the city for auto fuel. There are fewer collisions. There is less demand for policing auto traffic. Urban neighborhoods are more attractive with fewer cars, raising property value. There is less noise. There is less stress. Workers have more options to get to their job.

People will demand more buses. That will increase frequency. More will ride. A virtuous circle will be started -- one that cannot be stopped.

Soon the "necessary" costs of the private auto will be seen for what they are: burdensome subsidy.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Occupy Sandy Relief | InterOccupy Hub #occupysandy

Occupy Sandy Relief | InterOccupy Hub: "Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources & volunteers to help neighborhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. We are a coalition of people & organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. Members of this coalition are from Occupy Wall Street,, and"

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Poll: 3 of 4 Americans want more public transit options - News - METRO Magazine

Manhattan traffic image by ILMRT via Wikimedia Commons.

Poll: 3 of 4 Americans want more public transit options - News - METRO Magazine: "According to the nationwide public opinion poll results, two out of three support government investment to expand and improve public transportation and twice as many people favor new transit — buses, trains and light rail — rather than new highways as the best way to solve America’s traffic woes."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Climate-changing methane 'rapidly destabilizing' off East Coast, study finds - U.S. News

Climate-changing methane 'rapidly destabilizing' off East Coast, study finds - U.S. News: ""We may approach a turning point" from a warming driven by man-made carbon dioxide to a warming driven by methane, Jurgen Mienert, the geology department chair at Norway's University of Tromso, told NBC News.
"The interactions between the warming Arctic Ocean and the potentially huge methane-ice reservoirs beneath the Arctic Ocean floor point towards increasing instability," he added."

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