Friday, August 23, 2019

Falling net energy, capitalism, and harsh degrowth

Economists have not understood the connection between physics and the economy. There is a need for a sufficient quantity of affordable energy products every moment of every day. In fact, we seem to need a vastly increased quantity of inexpensive-to-produce energy supplies right now if we are to fix the world economy’s problems from an energy point of view. The “lower interest rates and more debt” way of hiding problems seems to be reaching an end point. If nothing else, interest rates today are close to as low as they can go.

Since 2005, when conventional oil peaked, we have been in a situation where energy prices are too low for producers and too high for consumers. A normal biological reaction to less energy input is to reduce growth. But because of capitalism, the human species tries to violate this principle and continue growing. This can only be temporary until the laws of physics enforce harsh degrowth.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

City planners and urbanists must oppose #freepublictransit or lose their jobs

According to Vincent Kauffmann, a professor at University of Lausanne and one of key figures in sustainable mobility, “free public transport does not make any sense.” Getting rid of tickets in mass transit is judged “irrational,” “uneconomical” and “unsustainable.” 
However, if we turn to commentators from outside the field of transport, the perspective on fare abolition changes radically. Social scientists, activists, journalists and public officials—often speaking from cities where fare abolition has actually been put to the test—fervently defend the measure. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Salt Lake residents favor #freepublictransit by 3 to 1

 US city the same size as Dublin on the verge of making public transport free
A US city roughly the same size as Dublin is on the verge of eliminating fares for public transport.
Jim Dabakis, a candidate for the mayoralty of Salt Lake City, is currently leading the polls - thanks in no small part to his promise to do away with fees for public transport. A recent poll by the Salt Lake City tribune found that residents of the city favour the idea by a ratio of three to one.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Fare-free public transit. Why is that so hard?

Every day your town exports money for gasoline. Every day you pay taxes to support cars and sprawl.

People are calling for revolution to address climate change.

But the simple obvious step of fare-free buses still struggles for attention.

Some people understand, for others, their salary depends on them not understanding.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Shale-oil investors lose 80% over a decade via @kurtcobb

We skeptics said that investors would at some point realize that shale oil was a long-term money loser. A former industry CEO did the math and calculated the damage as minus 80 percent for investors in the industry as a whole since 2008. Lately, investors seem to be reacting to facts rather than the hype. 
Will shale oil rise again from the dead as it did after the 2014-2016 price decline? That will happen only if two things occur: 1) The oil price rises significantly and 2) investors have a serious bout of amnesia. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Non-profits to pay 21% tax for providing transit passes to employees

Tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations across the country may be shocked this year to discover that, possibly for the first time, they must pay taxes simply for providing employees with access to transit and parking.

Specifically targeted within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in early 2018, these employee benefit programs are now subject to a 21-percent tax costing the average charity $12,000 in 2018, according to a recent survey conducted by Independent Sector. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

#freepublictransport in Turkey for 4 day holiday

Travelers on highways and bridges managed by the General Directorate of Highways will be exempt from paying tolls and municipality-run public transportation will be free during the upcoming Qurban Bayram holiday (also known as Eid al-Adha) in Turkey, according to a decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Is #freetransit a threat to capitalism?

When they get in office, city mayors soon understand the benefits of fare-free urban buses and trams.

Most cities spend quite a lot on things like parking, collisions, police, health, congestion, and pedestrian infrastructure. A reduction in vehicle-miles traveled would bring immediate relief and reduce costs more than the amount of lost revenue.

Mayors from many cities have suggested making urban public transit fare-free:

  • San Francisco
  • New York
  • Paris
  • Houston
  • Dayton
  • Durham

We try to document them here.

Then they get that phone call. Suddenly they go quiet.