Friday, October 30, 2015

Even ignoring externalities, cars are heavily subsidized

Planetizen: : "Perhaps more commonly understood is that the direct costs of vehicle use—namely, the maintenance and construction of roads—is covered by gasoline taxes. A new report from the Frontier Group—in partnership with the U.S. PIRG Education Fund—cracks this myth wide open. The price paid by car drivers does not come close to covering even the direct costs of road use."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Corporations Undermined Public Transportation

Dissident Voice: "But the biggest automotive scandal was much worse than the smog alliance. It was a conspiracy that changed the face of urban landscapes across North America. In 1922, Alfred P. Sloan, head of General Motors, created a working group charged with undermining and replacing the electric trolley. The group’s first act was to launch a bus line that arrived a minute before the streetcar and followed the same route. The trolley line soon shut down. At the time, there were hundreds of trolley lines in Los Angeles so it was not particularly noteworthy when one shut down. But it was a harbinger of things to come."

Saturday, October 24, 2015

World set to lose fifth of remaining natural habitat

Dev.Net: "The world could lose a fifth of its remaining natural habitat by 2050 through population growth if current trends in land use continue unabated, a study warns.

The effects of population growth on land use will be particularly dire in Africa and South America because of increases in agriculture, mining and urban sprawl, according to an analysis published this month (7 October) in PLOS One.

The world’s population is predicted to soar to 9.6 billion by mid-century, increasing demand for resources, the study says. “This is an issue that is global in nature and potentially rivals other global conservation issues like climate change,” says Joe Kiesecker, an ecologist at US charity the Nature Conservancy and one of the study authors."

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cheap-oil party is over, and the bill is now due

By @kurtcobb Resource Insights: Goldilocks and the three prices of oil: "Now, oil demand actually went up somewhat in the face of recent lower prices. But if Tverberg's thesis is correct, then demand won't hold up when the economy sinks into a recession or stalls close to zero growth. If the world economy shrinks or merely stalls, as it now appears to be doing, we may be in for a long stagnation for other reasons as the world works off debt built up previously in a long 30-year credit boom.
...Of course, we could rework our infrastructure and daily practices to use less oil or even to begin to phase it out altogether...."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Want #degrowth? Good #publictransit and low fertility rates go together

Cities with good public transit are more attractive. When people move to the city they don't need more farmhands in the family, and good education is more important than many children. Lowest fertility rates in the world associated with urbanization and good public transit.

These areas have the lowest fertility rates in the world. They also have some of the most extensive public transit coverage. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Malta studying #freetransit proposal to fight traffic congestion

MaltaToday : "Piscopo told MaltaToday that “it is an interesting proposal that Transport Malta will actively look into”.
Parliament had recently discussed the ever increasing traffic problem and the lack of traffic management, following a motion filed by the PN.
According to the PN, daily traffic congestions – both in the morning and afternoon – were the source of inconvenience for businesses, and was reducing competitiveness, increasing environment, social, health, logistical and mobility problems."

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Replace the suburban dream with #carfree cities

You can't tell people not to want a better life. But you can show them one. If cities were carfree, there would be more room, less noise, and better air. People would want to live there.

When people move to the city, they find that having more farmhands is no longer an issue. Education, they find, is the way to a better life.

Voila, falling birth rates. Degrowth.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Renewables promote growth, do not replace fossil fuels

The problem is growth. Renewable energy sources are just more fuel on the fire. They do not reduce fossil-fuel use.

carbonbrief: "The rapid rise of renewables has been somewhat overshadowed, though, by huge increases in global energy demand in recent decades (chart, below)."

Friday, October 9, 2015

Continued growth impossible - REGARDLESS of energy source

Do the Math: "...Let me restate that important point. No matter what the technology, a sustained 2.3% energy growth rate would require us to produce as much energy as the entire sun within 1400 years. A word of warning: that power plant is going to run a little warm. Thermodynamics require that if we generated sun-comparable power on Earth, the surface of the Earth—being smaller than that of the sun—would have to be hotter than the surface of the sun!

...Chiefly, continued energy growth will likely be unnecessary if the human population stabilizes. At least the 2.9% energy growth rate we have experienced should ease off as the world saturates with people. But let’s not overlook the key point: continued growth in energy use becomes physically impossible within conceivable timeframes. "

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Can Economic Growth Last?

World economic growth for the previous century, expressed in constant 1990 dollars. For the first half of the century, the economy tracked the 2.9% energy growth rate very well, but has since increased to a 5% growth rate, outstripping the energy growth rate.

Do the Math: " I have used physical analysis to argue that sustained economic growth in the long term is fantastical. Maybe for some, this is stating the obvious. After all, Adam Smith imagined a 200-year phase of economic growth followed by a steady state.  But our mentality is currently centered on growth. Our economic systems rely on growth for investment, loans, and interest to make any sense. If we don’t deliberately put ourselves onto a steady state trajectory, we risk a complete and unchoreographed collapse of our economic institutions."

The private auto is a war on the poor, a killing machine in so many ways

The Washington Post: "Traffic fatalities in the United States have been plummeting for years, a major victory for regulation (strict drunken driving laws have helped) and auto innovation (we have safer cars). But that progress obscures a surprising type of inequality: The most disadvantaged are more likely — and have grown even more likely over time — to die in car crashes than people who are well-off."

Monday, October 5, 2015

Brookings Institution sums up the growth position very succintly

Brookings Institution: "With the world’s population forecast to rise by 1.6 billion people by 2035, do we really think global oil demand won’t continue to rise? While I recognize that we must do everything to limit the growing use of fossil fuels to attack climate change, do we really have no moral obligation to help countries emerge from poverty, which will almost certainly involve continued use of fossil fuels?"
This is the growth position well stated:
  • We need more oil to "help poor people"
  • The fact that our system wastes oil is not worth mentioning
And later on, a key point
  • If US doesn't drill in the arctic, Russia will
  • Also not worth mentioning... encourage falling birth rate
The article is right about one thing. With business-as-usual, liquid fuel shortages are imminent.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

First 'car-free' day in Paris sees massive drop in pollution and noise "Airparif, which measures city pollution levels, said levels of nitrogen dioxide dropped by up to 40% in parts of the city on Sunday 27 September - and there was almost one-third less nitrogen dioxide pollution on the busy Champs Elyées than on a similar Sunday.

Bruitparif, which measures noise, said sound levels dropped by half in the city centre.

...City mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter: “We might envisage days without cars more often … perhaps even once a month.”"

Friday, October 2, 2015

How much would #freetransit cost the US?

To replace revenue lost by ending fares would be about $100 per year per person in areas served added to current public transit budgets. A one-percent saving in a handful of areas such as health costs, collisions, and traffic congestion would more than cover this amount. See free-is-cheaper.

The benefits would start immediately with reduced traffic congestion, cleaner air, fewer collisions, more exercise, etc. See 100 reasons.

Ridership would increase, so this number would go up to pay for more equipment and service. At the same time the benefits would also increase.

What is the cost of NOT removing fares, in other words, continuing to restrict use of public transit? More spent on cars leads to more cars--an increase in public cost, with no benefit to the public. A subsidy to private profit.

Think of it this way. Adding insulation to a poorly insulated house in a cold climate gives the immediate benefit of comfort, lower costs, and public benefits from reduced waste of energy. But encouraging more cars is like ripping out the insulation that you already have, increasing costs and waste.