Tuesday, October 30, 2018

IS, MbS, and US shale oil, and ....debt.

Why is the capitalist world backing every conceivable thug and bombing the Islamic State like crazy. The answer is simple. A huge oil crash is looming:
Only nine of 33 shale oil exploration and production companies reviewed in the report cited above had positive free cash flow for the first half of 2018. This is even though prices had risen all the way from a low of around $30 in 2016 to the mid-$70 range by the middle of this year.

Forecasts for world oil supply depend on a sharp increase of production from the Kirkuk, Iraq fields. But the IS has made drilling there unsafe. So while waiting for their defeat, the US has ramped up shale oil. But US oil is being pumped with borrowed money. [see linked article]

MbS will stay, they need him. Fascism will be needed in the US. As for the IS, they cannot defeat it with bombs, because each bomb brings ten recruits.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Modern economics violates thermodynamics

More importantly, the traditional treatment of additive capital and economic consumption appears to violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Although sometimes overlooked, perhaps the most profound implication of the Second Law is that it forbids the existence of isolated systems, either in space or time. By necessity, everything is connected through dissipative flows, even if the connection is very remote.
Assuming the Second Law applies equally to human systems, it would seem problematic to treat something like physical capital as being purely mathematically additive, as is presumed in traditional treatments. A better perspective might be that the magnitude of civilization wealth lies in its connections or a network, insofar as network elements allow for the dissipative flows that sustain it.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Physics rules over economics

Climate change is a two‐way street during the Anthropocene: civilization depends upon a favorable climate at the same time that it modifies it. Yet studies that forecast economic growth employ fundamentally different equations and assumptions than those used to model Earth's physical, chemical, and biological processes. In the interest of establishing a common theoretical framework, this article treats humanity like any other physical process; that is, as an open, nonequilibrium thermodynamic system that sustains existing circulations and furthers its material growth through the consumption and dissipation of energy. The link of physical to economic quantities comes from a prior result that establishes a fixed relationship between rates of global energy consumption and a historical accumulation of global economic wealth. What follows are nonequilibrium prognostic expressions for how wealth, energy consumption, and the Gross World Product (GWP) grow with time. This paper shows that the key components that determine whether civilization “innovates” itself toward faster economic growth include energy reserve discovery, improvements to human and infrastructure longevity, and reductions in the amount of energy required to extract raw materials. Growth slows due to a combination of prior growth, energy reserve depletion, and a “fraying” of civilization networks due to natural disasters. Theoretical and numerical arguments suggest that when growth rates approach zero, civilization becomes fragile to such externalities as natural disasters, and the risk is for an accelerating collapse.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Dunkirk, France, fare-free buses increase ridership by 50 to 80%.

Studies have shown that in addition to reducing air pollution within the port city limits, free public transit has increased mobility amongst older and younger residents and increased feelings of freedom.
“I never used the bus before,” one passenger told The Guardian. “It was too much bother getting tickets or a pass. Now I leave the car at home and take the bus to and from work. It’s so easy.” 
The news outlet goes on to say that passenger numbers have increased between 50% to 85%, depending on the route. Passengers have also taken advantage of the public spaces by having more conversations with strangers.


Friday, October 19, 2018

Why MbS will stay in power

A lot of people are engaging in wishful thinking. They are hoping that cutting up one's critics while still alive would cross a line that even the world's elites would not tolerate.

The opposite is true. This is just what they want. They love thugs. Then they can be "horrified" but benefit from the terror that the common people will suffer.

There is at least 50 trillion in cash and 150 trillion in debt.

Except for Kirkuk and what remains in KSA, cheap oil is gone. This cuts profits. So wealth is stored in cash and bonds. But debt just takes money out of what's left of productive economy and hastens the advent of default.

Hence the furious gas and oil wars. Well, not so much wars as civilian massacres. Because nations aren't fighting nations, it's the world elites, and the ten percent of people using 50% of resources, together against the worlds lower classes.

To keep their educated support in line, fascism is required. This is why MbS will remain.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

How can it be cheaper not to charge a user fee [fare] for urban buses and trams?

We show in our spreadsheet how reducing the externalities [hidden costs] of cars more than compensates for the lost revenue if fares are removed.

We call this a work-in-progress because there are many externalities we have not listed. Costs of #climate among them.
The first column is the total cost in the category to be examined. For example for a US city of 1M, public healthcare costs are calculated at 7,290,000,000, shown in the second column. Then the 3rd column is an assumption. For example, assume that free transit reduced health costs by 9 tenths of 1 per cent. Actually you may find studies that show that number could be much higher. So we took a low number, and still the savings are significant: 65,610,000, shown in column 4.

So on with the other categories until all the fare revenue lost is recuperated by savings in "car" costs.

Our sources are listed in another page of the spread sheet which can be found here.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

#climate to sharply increase poverty

...the world faces extreme weather events, food shortages, wildfires, dying coral reefs, droughts, floods and poverty for hundreds of millions.
To avoid this outcome, the world economy needs a transformation of unprecedented speed and scale, involving far-reaching changes in society. We have only 12 years, they say, to achieve it by making huge strides towards eliminating greenhouse gases arising from fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. The report underlines the qualitative difference between the 1.5- and 2-degree reductions previously seen as less stark. The case for radical action is reinforced by its finding that on present trends we are heading for more than a 3-degree increase by 2100 – catastrophic territory.

Why Russia and Saudi Arabia get away with murder

All projections for oil supply include a big boost from Iraq's Kirkuk field. However, in spite of incessant bombing, the area is not secure. The above film is shows the Islamic State is alive and well.

This means that oil shortage is a constant threat. This is what makes Russia and Saudi Arabia so powerful. They can destroy the US economy with the turn of a valve.

The US has trillions of dollars in liquid-fuel infrastructure. These are hard, fixed, assets. Roads, highways, bridges, suburbs, pipelines, tanker trucks, ports, ocean tankers, refineries, gas stations, parking lots, bureaucracy, car debt, car insurance, and on and on.

The US dependency on cars and sprawl is deep, wide, subsidized, and expensive. Above all, it is unsustainable. Unsustainable means: Can. Not. Continue.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

KSA message to the world: our critics are not safe anywhere

Regardless of the outcome of the Khashoggi situation. Even if it is a hoax. It makes little difference. The message to the world from KSA is plain: There is no safe haven for our critics.

KSA is getting shakier every day. Their three pillars are all wobbling.

1. Oil - running out
2. US Military protection - overstretched
3. Fake Islam - exposed

They are hanging by a thread and getting more desperate.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

#Autosprawl #meltdown

The US system of autos and sprawl has never been sustainable. Now the people of the US are learning what that innocent-sounding word means. It means cannot continue.

Cheap oil is over. The liquid fuel system is heavily subsidized. There are trillions of dollars of fixed infrastructure: roads, highways, suburbs, bridges, pipelines, refineries, road tankers, rail tankers, ocean tankers, military hardware, and much more.

Unsustainable. Can. Not. Continue.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Candidate calls for #freepublictransit in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Jurisdictions with free transit have seen increases in ridership, reduced commuting times, lower greenhouse-gas emissions and better service. A free system also offers savings through decreases in fare enforcement and collection costs; imagine what could be done with the millions the city spends each year on the Presto system.
Those who take a narrow view of public transit ask how we can possibly pay for transit without squeezing the riders. This question is never asked when we talk about expanding road infrastructure, for which we pay $50 million a year.
We don’t ask our roads to make profits. Why treat public transit differently?
Free transit would make our city safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Accessible public transit would increase access to employment, and participation in the social, political and cultural life of the city. Equitable and reliable public transit is a public good.
Changing the old ways at City Hall won’t happen overnight. We can start with free bus routes along Bank Street. We can start by guaranteeing free transit to those who need it the most but can’t afford it.
I have promised to fight for our city and that fight must include a move to a truly free and a truly public transit plan.

Shawn Menard, a former senior staffer for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, is a candidate in Capital ward for Ottawa city council. Follow him at @Shawnmenard1 or https://www.shawnmenard.ca

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Physics controls economics which controls politics

The underlying energy problem represents a conflict between supply and demand, but not in the way most people expect. The world needs rising demand to support the rising cost of energy products, but this rising demand is, in fact, very difficult to produce. The way that this rising demand is normally produced is by adding increasing amounts of debt, at ever-lower interest rates. At some point, the debt bubble created to provide the necessary demand becomes overstretched. Now, we seem to be reaching a situation where the debt bubble may pop, at least in some parts of the world. This is a very concerning situation.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Waste not, want not

On the free lunch of cheap oil, capitalism has triumphed in the US. After dismantling the urban streetcar system, a wasteful sprawl orgy of growth generated profits for decades.

Now, the people of the US are learning what that innocent-sounding word "unsustainable" really means.

Americans work all day Monday to feed the government, all day Tuesday to feed their cars, all day Wednesday to feed the bondholders, all day Thursday to feed their over-priced housing. Then they have Friday to catch up where they are behind on health, education, and repairs.

This all could be sharply mitigated by unwinding the sprawl machine. Start with fare-free urban buses. This will start a culture change with more room in the city, more political support for buses, and above all, falling birth rates that go with urbanization.