Sunday, June 30, 2013

U.S. has 4.5% of world's people, 16.8% of carbon dioxide emissions

Resource Insights:: "The proposed decline in the rate of U.S. emissions would only reduce the overall rate of world emissions by just 1.6 percent based on 2011 emissions figures (using carbon dioxide as a proxy for all greenhouse gas emissions). Of course, other countries will have to do their part if we are to succeed as a species in addressing climate change. But it is worth noting that while the United States is home to just 4.5 percent of the world's population, it currently produces 16.8 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. (The 2011 emissions were 5.49 billion tons for the United States and 32.58 billion tons for the world.)"

Friday, June 28, 2013

Don't expect urban planners to support free public transit

Public transit is a battleground in a war for the biosphere.

The mayor of Toronto let it slip, when upon election, he announced the "war on the car is over" and promptly canceled Transit City, a project to improve public transit that had been many years in planning and development.

The government of Brazil also made it plain that this is war when they brought out the riot police to defend a 10 cent fare hike.

Anyone who has been a public transit advocate for long has seen the outright hostility and secret maneuvers behind the scenes. Lou Gambaccini found the Carter administration secretly hostile to public transit.

Most people think that oil companies are awash with money and just greedy for more. This is not the case. Oil is on a knife edge. The cheap oil has peaked. Every day the mix is more expensive. To keep pace, more capital is needed. If investors realize that most of the valuation of oil companies is based on reserves that can never be used, they may panic and sell. On another front, many resources, such as water and sand for fracking are becoming more scarce and/or expensive. Eventually prices will not support production since their rise destroys demand.

This is not a matter of greed or morals. This is a war for survival, the oil industry vs the biosphere. We will either have a fair society that protects the biosphere, or we won't.

Anyone of high profile in a war is subject to attack. Transport experts and pundits must keep heads down. It is up to political activists to carry the day.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

In the U.S., since 2000, more than 70% of local ballot measures for #publictransit have passed.

Winning a transit referendum ballot in B.C. will be challenging | Georgia Straight: "The Orange County measure was one of the 13 out of 19 local-public-transit ballot initiatives approved across the U.S. on November 6, 2012, a passage rate of 70 percent. All in all, 46 out of 58 pro-transit initiatives in the U.S. passed in 2012, a rate of more than 79 percent, according to the American Public Transportation Association. The APTA, a group formerly chaired by Diridon, notes that these reflect a long-term trend since 2000 wherein more than 70 percent of public-transit ballot measures have succeeded."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Media Overlooking 90% of Global Warming

skepticalscience: "However, over the past week or two there has been a spate of articles from the New York Times, Washington Post, The New Republic, and Der Spiegel, all of which get many details right (including noting the warming of the oceans), but that all begin from the premise that “global warming” has slowed.

It would be more accurate to say that global surface air warming has slowed, but the overall warming of the Earth’s climate has sped up.  Only about 2% of the planet’s overall warming heats the atmosphere, so if we focus only on surface air temperatures, we miss 98% of the overall warming of the globe. "

'via Blog this'

Why #degrowth is inevitable. The only question, how painful.

Energy Products: Return on Investment is Already Too Low | Our Finite World: "Commenters frequently remark that such-and-such an energy source has an Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROI) ratio of greater than 5:1, so must be a helpful addition to our current energy supply. My finding that the overall energy return is already too low seems to run counter to this belief. In this post, I will try to explain why this difference occurs. Part of the difference is that I am looking at what our current economy requires, not some theoretical low-level economy. Also, I don’t think that it is really feasible to create a new economic system, based on lower EROI resources, because today’s renewables are fossil-fuel based, and initially tend to add to fossil fuel use."

'via Blog this'T

Saudi Arabia preparing for the end of oil. Will the U.S.?

Zawya: "The Ministry of Transport is seriously considering bringing about major policy changes not only to encourage people to use public transport but also streamline various modes of transportation available in the Kingdom.
The Undersecretary for Transport Affairs, Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Ohali, speaking at a workshop to highlight the ministry's objectives and functioning, said the initiatives essentially pertained to two major policy changes that would rein in violators as also increase use of public transport system. "These moves are still in the initial stages, and the actual implementation would come after completion of the studies undertaken by the ministry," he said.
"We realize that to encourage people to use public transport, there is need for two policy changes. Firstly, there has to be an incentive through low pricing of tickets as also introducing long-term tickets. "

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Brazil Free Fare Movement: Public money should be for public, not private, transport

Free Fare Movement - Brazil: "Although prioritising public transport is part of the government's discourse, in practice Brazil invests eleven times more in individual transport, via road projects and loans for purchasing cars (IPEA, 2011). Public money should be invested in public transport!

...Tax exemptions, a measure that historically has been defended by transport companies, go in the opposite direction. Forgoing taxes means losing power over public money, blindly freeing funds for transport mafias, without any transparency and control. To meet the peoples' demands for transport, it is necessary to build instruments that put at the heart of decision making those whose needs should be met: commuters and transport workers."

Monday, June 24, 2013

Around the world the message from the oil industry is the same:

1. You will NOT have #freetransit.
2. You will NOT have inexpensive public transit.
3. You will NOT get good service from public transit.
4. If you protest, we will send our trolls to social media and our goons into the streets.

Get back in your car. Now!

If you don't have one, go buy one. And be quick about it.

Why did the government of Brazil bring out the riot police to defend a 10 cent fare increase?

Are they stupid? Were they unaware of what they might provoke?

No, not at all. Have you ever worked in the corporate world? Politicians are just doing a job. They serve in fear of their bosses. Who are their bosses? In most of the world it is the oil industry in coalition with other corporate giants.

In Brazil, oil companies are starting up massive fixed-capital investment for drilling in deep water. Low prices of oil would be devastating. They desperately need to keep demand up. One way, as recently done by Petrobras is giving away USD 8 billion of taxpayer money cheap gasoline, essentially forcing the taxpayer to buy gasoline.

They cannot afford to make public transit free. It might lower oil prices and all the deepwater oil would change from "reserves" to "resources." Reserves are oil that can be extracted at current market and may be counted as assets. Resources are just stuff in the ground for which the technology may exist to extract, but the money does not. Resources are not supposed to be carried as assets. Oil is in a delicate balance. As long as investors have faith, they can reach the deepwater oil, but a drop in price could wipe out billions of investment.

Free transit would result in a culture change away from the private auto. This is the Achilles heel of oil. They will fight it tooth and nail--but they are few, and we are many.

Friday, June 21, 2013

How to read the corporate media on Brazil uprising

Backlash grows against Brazilian protests after riots | Reuters: " A backlash against Brazil's nationwide protests took hold on Friday"

Backlash - paid and unpaid goons unleashed to beat up leftists and create terror

"after widespread rioting"

Riot - a peaceful protest, viciously attacked by riot police

"...There may be no easy response to the unrest"

No easy response - the people cannot be allowed to win

"...vandalism...masked youths looting stores, setting fires and defacing buildings"

Vandalism - agents-provocateurs, usually off-duty police, creating feelings of chaos

Yes, there are bad elements among the people, but history has shown that they usually have a connection to right-wing politics, organized crime, law-enforcement, or all three. 

Brazil protest organized by the Brazil free public transport movement

"We remain peaceful and happy, but now we are not dreaming anymore": Rio's rude awakening: "The protest had been organized in part by the MPL – Movimento Passe Libre, the Free Pass Movement – which seeks to make public transport free through subsidies to transport companies. After the State of São Paolo raised fares in early June from R$3.00 to R$3.20, people acted on calls to join demonstrations on the streets. The first passed peacefully on 6 June. By the third demonstration on 13 June, the mood had changed. The Government attempted to quell the growing movement, and police responded to protestors with heavy force, as Paula confirms."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

China recession will be disaster for oil industry

As China slips into recession (less than 7% growth), oil demand will drop. Low oil prices are more a threat to the oil industry than high prices. Billions of dollars in hard, fixed assets are tied up in the chase for unconventional oil. These assets would be stranded. In addition, reserves are defined as recoverable oil at current market prices, these would drop as well, reported or not.

This means the oil industry is desperate to keep demand up. They need public transit to suck, and fares to be high. They need you in a car.

When demand falls in China this will get even worse. There will be more government subsidy of oil, leases allowed to easier oil, wars, pipeline approval, direct subsidy, the works.

We can fight back. Move to town. Sell your car. Ride the bus, walk, bike, use carshare. Join a transition group.

Join the fight for free public transit. Free transit will break the critical mass of the autosprawl system and set us on the path to the post carbon world. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Free, not cheap, public transport. That is the goal.

Protests In Brazil: A Popular Demand That Makes Perfect Sense - All News Is Global |: "Not just cheap -- but *free* public transport -- deserves a proper public hearing. "

Free Fare Movement - Brazil - Movimento Passe Livre

Brazil: "Here we have a shared responsibility: Inside the movement, we must keep fighting to neutralize the right wing conservative stupidity, defining a series of clear goals for the struggle and shouting chants related to them, as well as writing and spreading information about them. In different spheres of the government, the goals of the movement must be heard immediately, as short, medium and long term plans that include democratizing mechanisms for access to the city are created, such as FREE FARE."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cars or food. Choose. Now.

Peak soil: industrial civilisation is on the verge of eating itself | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | guardian.co.uk: "Last week, a new World Bank report examining five different food commodities - corn, wheat, rice, soybean, and palm oil - confirmed that oil prices are the biggest contributor to rising food prices. The report, based on a logarithm designed to determine the impact of any given factor through regression analysis, concluded that oil prices were even more significant than the ratio of available world food stocks relative to consumption levels, or commodity speculation. The Bank thus recommends controlling oil price movements as a key to tempering food price inflation.

The oil-food price link comes as no surprise. A University of Michigan study points out that every major point in the industrial food system - chemical fertilisers, pesticides, farm machinery, food processing, packaging and transportation - is dependent on high oil and gas inputs. Indeed, 19% of the fossil fuels that prop up the American economy go to the food system, second only to cars."

'via Blog this'

"We have a big problem" because policymakers have done little to prepare for #peakoil

Science Omega: "Do you think that sufficient measures are being taken by policymakers to plan for our transition to the second half of the age of oil?

[Kjell Aleklett] No. It is clear that in this respect, we have a big problem. It is very difficult for any politician to admit that something is wrong, and that we might need to do something about it. If they were to do this, another politician would come along and say, ‘There’s no problem; vote for me and we can carry on as we are’.

This is the democratic dilemma. Drastic action is necessary, but it is very difficult to achieve. Education will be crucial if we are to succeed in implementing the required measures. Alternatively, it might take a crisis to precipitate change."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Imagine there's no cars, I wonder if you can, no more wars for oil, a brotherhood of man

Americans in landslide numbers want their taxes spent on #publictransit. OK, Congress, what about it?

Rail News: "The survey, released at the APTA Rail Conference being held in Philadelphia this week, showed the number of respondents who supported the use of tax revenue for public transportation increased to 74 percent from 69 percent in a survey taken a year ago.

"We are experiencing this surge in support because citizens can see, touch and feel the economic impact of investing in public transportation," said APTA Chairwoman Flora Castillo during a press conference to announce the survey results.

"We look forward to sharing these great results with Congress," said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy. "In most political circles, receiving nearly 74 percent in favor of increased investment would be considered a landslide."

The survey also found that 80 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that public transportation can help create jobs and boost the economy. In addition, when asked about affordable transportation options, nearly 88 percent agreed that public transit expands opportunities and provides access to jobs and careers, as well as medical care, schools and colleges, APTA officials said in a press release."

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Forbes writer spills the beans on coming oil industry disaster - introduces RROI - Resource Return On Investment

Dangerous Times As Energy Sources Get Costlier To Extract - Forbes: "the industry’s capital expenditures for oil and gas have grown by about 12% annually over the last decade. Oil and gas production grew less than 2% a year in the same period. Clearly the more money and resources needed to maintain adequate production of oil and gas, the less money and resources available for other endeavors.

...the more general concept of resource return on investment, or RROI, would probably find the U.S. in a lot worse shape than as measured only by EROI, or the amount of energy required to get more energy."

The crisis in European finance | End of More

The crisis in European finance | End of More: "European wealth, and now the lack of it, isn’t something that can be ‘fixed’; it’s because cheap energy has now become expensive energy. We can no longer afford to burn it to power our machines. That’s why jobs are vanishing and food costs are rising.
We called global industry ‘GDP’, when what we were doing was digging up fossil fuel and setting fire to it. The more we dug up and burned, the richer we got. The faster we burned it, well…wasn’t that a higher percentage growth?
Face it, there’s no more cheap energy to fire our economic system. The same applies to the USA and the rest of the developed world with ‘western’ style economies. Exceptions prove the point : Australia and Saudi Arabia have booming economies, and what do they have in common? They export energy. The UK boomed when it exported North Sea oil, now it’s in decline.
We were all promised utopia, but now the demand for infinite growth has hit the wall of finite resources."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Oil drilling costs: 800 rigs now needed to match what 35 used to do

Greentech Media: " For example, it takes just 35 rigs operating in conventional fields in Kuwait to produce 2 million barrels a day of oil, while in Texas, where tight oil production from the Eagle Ford formation is all the rage and contributing to the "impressive" reversal Smil touts, it now takes 800 rigs to produce the same amount."

'via Blog this'