Sunday, April 30, 2017

US energy efficiency falling, not rising

Vox : "It’s important to put this waste in context. It is not mainly about personal behavior or inefficient energy end use — keeping cars idling or leaving the lights on, that kind of thing. That’s a part of it, but at a deeper level, waste is all about system design.

The decline in overall efficiency in the US economy mainly has to do with the increasing role of inefficient energy systems. Specifically, the years since 1970 have seen a substantial increase in electricity consumption and private vehicles for transportation, two energy services that are particularly inefficient. (Electricity wastes two-thirds of its primary energy; transportation wastes about three-quarters.)"

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Raising infant survival rate causes birth rate to drop

Some of the most important means now available for reducing child deaths are also among the most powerful means of reducing births.

Exclusive breastfeeding has a demonstrably significant effect on fertility rates, and WHO studies show a clear relationship between the length of time a woman breastfeeds and birth intervals. In population groups with a contraceptive prevalence of less than 10 per cent, there is an almost linear relationship between the proportion of mothers who breastfeed for 18 months and birth intervals that are greater than 2.5 years.

Promoting knowledge about the importance of timing births and providing the means to act on it is one of the most powerful child survival strategies and also reduces birth rates. Most child deaths happen to mothers who are younger than 18 or older than 35, or who have had more than four children already, or who give birth less than two years after a previous delivery. Children born in developing countries at the end of a birth interval of less than two years are, on average, twice as likely to die in infancy as are children born after a longer interval. According to some studies, as many as a quarter of all infant deaths and a quarter of all maternal deaths could be prevented by the well-informed timing of births (see chart on the following page).

Female empowerment, particularly in terms of education, not only benefits women, but also improves child health and survival. Educated mothers are also more likely to opt for smaller families.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Infrastructure package must prioritize public transportation

TheHill: "Prioritizing public transportation is one of the best investments the federal government can make in our economic future. Not only does the transit industry account for thousands of jobs, but every dollar invested in public transportation generates approximately $4 in economic returns. A two-person household in our region can save nearly $1,000 a month by switching from driving to public transportation for their daily commute. And that’s $1,000 that can go back into the local economy through retail, restaurants and other commercial services."

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Melting permafrost shows that #heat will undo all our #emissions efforts : ""If current underwater permafrost melting trends, accompanied by large-scale methane emissions into the atmosphere, persist, this may cause even more substantial emissions. These emissions could cause hard-to-predict climatic consequences, including a hypothetical climate disaster," said Oleg Dudarev, a leading research associate with the Laboratory of Arctic Research at the Pacific Oceanological Institute of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences."

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Don't be fooled by oil 'glut,' #peakoil is real

Cheap oil peaked in 2005. Since then, a re-definition of oil to 'liquid fuel' magically increased world production by 10 million bpd. Then massive debt-fueled investment raised "production" a little bit more. Now, we are in the falling net-energy trap for oil. Every day it costs more joules to get a joule. If all the externalities of oil are included net-energy is likely negative, especially in tarsands.

Negative net-energy means that it costs more than 1 joule to get 1 joule. How is that economic? Well, it's not. But transportation, and hence the developed economy, needs liquid fuel. So debt and oilwars will increase.

Currently there is a glut because of three things.
  • price war for market share
  • debt-fueled production in difficult areas
  • weak economies in developed countries
The industry is stuck in the fallacy of composition. Each producer must maximize to keep cash flow and avoid default, or to avoid losing market share. All the agreements to cut back have failed and will continue to fail. 

Oil industry bullish on demand - electric cars no threat

ABO: "Forty years of social and political efforts to recycle packaging, for example, have only succeeded in eliminating one year of average global plastics demand growth. The growth in petrochemical demand alone is bigger than the reduction we expect to see from adding more electric cars. Taken together, this explains why, under current policies,  the outlook still sees robust oil demand growth for several years to come."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Et tu, Kos?

dailykos: "That alone would have created a big splash, but Musk was not done.  He followed up with a tweet stating that Tesla would be unveiling a pick-up truck in 18 to 24 months.  Since this has become an ever more important segment of vehicle sales and auto industry profits and is a segment currently devoid of production electric vehicles, this could have a huge impact and would, once again, place Tesla far ahead of the competition."
Autosprawl is collapsing because of falling net energy in oil. It costs more joules to extract and produce liquid fuel than joules gained. One way to extend the life of sprawl is to generate electricity from natural gas and run cars on electricity. This will keep sprawl going a few more years -- years that we desperately need to reduce sprawl and growth. Electric vehicles simply make more certain the arrival of heat disaster.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Once elected, Trump turns against #publictransit, standard US operating procedure

TheHill: "But somewhere between the campaign trail and the White House, President Trump’s understanding of the importance of public transportation got lost. 

Rather than investing in public transit, his proposed 2018 budget slashes support for transit projects in communities across the country."

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Oil still in the driver's seat

Oil is still the blood of capitalism. Though you are being flooded with news of "alternatives" and "renewables," there is really nothing else that can keep the trillions of dollars of infrastructure going. 

It might have been possible to make a gradual change if we started 30 years ago, but now affordable oil is running out (yes, running out) and the current system is already unsustainable. 

Americans are living in a dream world where they can have both cars and democracy.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Americans are confused, angry

The rise of the internet and social media has not reduced the power of corporate propaganda in the US.

Too many Americans cannot make the connection between the traffic jams in their town and the bombing in the towns of others.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Are you ready for panic selling over sea-level rise?

The New York Times: "she was paying nearly $6,000 in flood premiums on top of her mortgage every year, nearly always more than she could make in rent. “I decided to cut my losses and get out,” she said. “The flood insurance kept going up, and I was drowning in it.” A real estate agent she consulted told her that she’d be lucky to sell the house for $180,000, barely more than half of what she paid for it and significantly less than what she still owed on the mortgage. Everyone looking at places near the river, the agent said, asked about flood insurance first. It wasn’t the risk of high waters that spooked buyers; it was the certainty of high premiums."

Monday, April 17, 2017

Biggest threat to humans is wishful thinking

The current economic system is racing us toward biosphere destruction and mass death. Those who profit from this system are still exuding optimism and easy solutions.

We humans would like to believe that there is a technology solution to global warming. We are being fooled, and we are going to pay a heavy price.

Thermodynamics tells us there is a limit to how much heat can be released into space. Currently we are generating heat faster than that. Negative CO2 emissions would help, BUT NOT SOLVE, the problem of heat.

What is worse, many people accept renewable energy as the way to reduce CO2 emissions. But renewables promote economic growth. Growth means more heat. Heat means more natural release of carbon. So renewables actually lead to more emissions.

Only by reducing human activity -- degrowth -- can we reduce heat. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sumatra -- 6.5M acres of peat and wildlife in danger. #methane

Alternet : "The Leuser Ecosystem (pronounced low-sir) is a vast tropical landscape on the island of Sumatra. Spanning over 6.5 million acres of lowland jungle, montane rainforests and teeming peat swamps, Leuser’s forests are among the most ancient on earth. This is a realm where volcanic eruptions, fluctuating sea levels and species migrations over uninterrupted millennia have enabled one of the most biodiverse landscapes ever documented to evolve.

... But today, Leuser’s forests are under constant and escalating threat. Despite being protected by Indonesian law, the Leuser Ecosystem is under siege for short-term profits. Corporate interests such as industrial pulp and palm oil plantations, mining and logging operations, energy projects, and all the roads and infrastructure that are built to support them, are eating away at every corner of the Ecosystem."

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Banality of the Anthropocene

ENTITLE blog: "Iowa is objectively one of the most ruined landscapes in the United States, but its ruination garners surprisingly little notice. Less than 0.1 percent of the tallgrass prairie that once covered much of the state remains. ... Between 1830 and 1910, Iowa lost a whopping 97 percent of its prairie acreage. At one time 85% of Iowa was covered by tallgrass prairie. Source:

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The reorientation of Iowa’s landscape toward capitalist agricultural production has resulted in the obliteration of worlds that once occupied it. The American Indians who carefully tended the prairie through burning and bison management have been forced out of the state. Nearly every acre has been privatized. Today Iowa ranks forty-ninth out of the fifty U.S. states in public land holdings."

Friday, April 14, 2017

Permafrost more vulnerable than thought: scientists : "Even stabilising the world's climate at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels -- the daunting goal laid down in the 196-nation Paris Agreement -- would melt more than 40 percent of permafrost, or an area nearly twice the size of India, they reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.

That could take centuries or longer, but would eventually drive up global temperatures even further as more gases escaped into the air."

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Cars mostly just sit, and in the city, don't fit

Cities Today : "Political winds are also evolving to reflect citizens’ concerns about air quality and health, meaning a gradual shift away from car-focused urban development to policies favouring active transport.

For cities with long-established infrastructure, increasing space for cars is simply not an option. On average, private cars are parked 95 percent of their lifetime and when they are driven, are much less space-efficient compared to public transport, walking and cycling."

No progress on #climate. None.

25 years since the global summit on climate in Rio, there has been no progress. Not one bit. Car sales are up, air travel is up. CO2 levels are up. World governments have done nothing but make promises for you to believe while they fight wars to get and burn more oil.

Only 3 EU Countries Pursuing Policies In Line With Paris Climate Agreement | CleanTechnica: "Despite all of the fanfare that went on at the time, it seems that there are currently only 3 European Union countries pursuing climate policies that put them in line with the agreements made at the Paris Climate Change Talks, according to recent reports."
It is up to us. We can take action on the local level. To decide what is good action to take, ask some questions. What will reduce sprawl, growth, and energy demand? What things cause birth rates to fall?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ending Energy Povery

Energy is unfairly used. A small percent of humans uses much more than their share. Reducing their use would be the most effective way to reduce heat and its damage to the biosphere.

So what is the plan of world leaders? They want to put roads and solar panels throughout undeveloped areas to eliminate "poverty."

Don't fall for this. Our problem is heat. It is caused by wasteful suburban autosprawl, the lifestyle of a relatively small percentage of world population. 

A lot of money being bet on Kirkuk oil and demise of Islamic State

Rosneft said to prepay about $1bn for Iraqi Kurdistan oil: "The Russian state-run producer’s trading arm will buy Kurdish oil from now until 2019, Rosneft said in February, without specifying how much crude it would take. At $1bn, Rosneft would account for about a third of the prepayment deals the Kurdish Regional Government negotiated with oil traders.
Rosneft’s press service didn’t immediately comment when contacted by phone on Thursday. An adviser to the KRG’s Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami didn’t immediately respond to a call and e-mail seeking comment.
The KRG is selling oil in advance to help finance government spending, including the military campaign against Islamic State, during a period of relatively low oil prices. For Rosneft, the deal brings a guaranteed flow of crude into its expanding trading business and is another example of its expansion into the Middle East following deals in Libya and Egypt.
Rosneft chief executive officer Igor Sechin said in February that the company will be “developing new markets worldwide for Kurdish crude oil.” Rosneft hasn’t previously worked with the KRG, which in recent years has struggled to maintain payments to international producers shipping oil from the region.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Overpopulation Denial

un-Denial: "If I am right, it is ironic that economic growth slowed due to the overpopulation related depletion of non-renewable resources which then required a further population increase to maintain some economic growth to avoid collapse. It’s analogous to the positive feedback loop of rising temperatures causing ice loss and methane release."

Friday, April 7, 2017

Thousands Of Trees Around The World Threatened By Extinction

Science World Report : "The researchers discovered that about 9,600 types of trees all around the world are at risk of extinction. Scientists blamed deforestation and global warming as the cause of the extinction."
Solution. Reduce human population. How. Falling birthrates.

What factors cause birth rates to fall?
  • education - studies show consistently that education drops birth rate
  • urbanization - people discover education more important than more farm hands
  • health - child survival has immediate impact on birth rate
Make cities #carfree. Invest in education and health.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

US attack on Syria a sign of weakness

The whole world wants the oil in Kirkuk, Iraq. It is the last major reserve of easy-to-get oil. The Islamic State stands in the way, hence the 60-something coalition attacking them.

Only problem, Syria is ripe for IS takeover. It almost happened in 2014, but Russia and the US intervened along with their clients and proxies.

The world powers cannot defeat IS. The more they bomb it, the more it grows.

The US wants to turn up the heat, but the 9-11 lie is wearing thin. Russia has already openly called it out a few times in their media. Fortunately for the US, Russia's credibility is low. So the US, after ignoring Syria regime atrocities for six years, now is playing up the latest one to create cover for more forceful intervention.

This plan will go on the pile of failed previous plans.

There is another way. While the world fights over oil, the clathrates are melting, the peat is drying out. The biosphere is in great danger. Why not leave MENA and focus on getting off oil?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

People, including Trump voters, want #publictransit, Trump does not

theringer: "Together, these moves offer a window into the types of projects that the Trump administration may put on the chopping block. This matters now because at the same time Trump is choking off transit projects, urban dwellers are voting for some of the most ambitious public transportation expansions in memory. Seattle passed a $54 billion expansion to its light rail system, one of the largest local transit projects in U.S. history. Los Angeles voters agreed to a tax hike that will generate $120 billion for transportation projects. Around the country, voters in Atlanta, Charleston, and Raleigh also approved mass transit expansions. As cities swell with more people, urban dwellers are demanding more efficient transportation options, and are even willing to open their wallets to pay for them. “If you see a plethora of new transit initiatives, then that’s a reflection of what the sentiment is,” says P.S. Sriraj, director of the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago."

The United States Is Bombing First, Asking Questions Later

Wow. 9-11 is the legal basis of all the US killing in Syria and Iraq. What a wake-up call when people apply basic physics to the 9-11 event.

Foreign Policy: "All U.S. military strikes have been carried out under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress just days after the 9/11 attacks. The Pentagon says the same is true of the anti-Islamic State campaign, even though the group broke with and has fought al Qaeda. In Syria, the United States makes use of an expansive definition of so-called associated forces of al Qaeda — a phrase that was not included in the AUMF, but that has been adopted by the Pentagon and successive U.S. administrations. More than 15 years after 9/11, it could now apply to thousands of fighters in the Syrian civil war, many of whom may care little about striking the West."
In case you ask "what physics?" There is not enough potential energy in a building to bring it down and crush it into powder. Not even close.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

All wars are for energy

Humans have fought each other over the years for power. But power for what? Power to control energy -- food, labor, resources -- all these are needed to provide joules for life.

Economists talk about energy as just a commodity but energy is actually above economics.

Today, many people are being killed, jailed, tortured, starved, and chased from their homes so that a few people can waste energy.

The system of cars and sprawl wastes energy by spreading things out and requiring a lot of running back and forth and individual heating and cooling of buildings.

Wouldn't it make more sense to stop the waste before killing to get more?

We have been taught that human tribalism was brutal and modern life is civilized. But can you imagine a tribe throwing all its food in the river and then attacking a neighbor to take theirs?

A hundred reasons for #freetransit

There are at least 100 reasons why you should advocate fare-free public transit/transport in your town.

First of all, your town saves money. because free is cheaper. It is currently spending a lot of money managing autos and supporting sprawl development. When buses are fare-free these costs can be reduced. Combined with heath savings, the money saved is much more than the lost fares.

Cities can become free of cars. This will attract people and as they urbanize birth rates will fall. When people move to the city, they find that education is more important than creating more farm hands.

To get started, eliminating fares would cost about $100 per person per year for a medium-size city in the US. A family that could reduce by 1 car could save $7,000 per year. Those who cannot sell one car would still benefit by the reduction of congestion.

It's really an obvious solution to problems of city budget, over population, and congestion.