Friday, January 31, 2014

Why Are Louisiana's Forests Being Sacrificed to Fuel Europe's Biomass Boom? "The white domes aren’t the pellets' final destination. After being packed into containers the wood is shipped to Europe, where power companies will burn them in an effort to meet the European Union’s stringent renewable energy requirements.

This is known as biomass energy. The problem is, not everyone thinks burning wood is green.

Environmentalists in Louisiana are crying foul over European corporations using Louisiana’s forests for their profit, and perhaps polluting the planet in the process."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Minimum wage is wrong fight

We should choose our battles carefully. Just because a goal is justified does not mean that a direct path to it will get you there. Why are wages low? Simple. High unemployment. But no responsible company will hire people unless they have orders for their product or service. But demand is low.

There is a lot of offshore cash, and a lot of unsustainable debt. The debt principle mostly will never be paid, and the cash will never be taxed. So default is good but only affects which billionaire gets hurt, not the system itself. And demanding fair taxation is good, but the federal government is too easy for billionaires to control.

But there is a pot of gold that no one is looking at. Waste. Yes, waste. The auto and sprawl system wastes money and energy like there is no tomorrow. Here is where we should put our efforts. And we can work locally.

Join your local public transit advocacy group. Call for public transit to be fare-free. This is not a radical idea. Pumping more carbon into the air is the radical idea. Free transit is like a minimum-wage hike, but better. It addresses the economy, energy, and climate all at once. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Thermodynamics: Why Technology Won't Save Us

csrwire: "The idea that technology will allow us to do ever more with ever less is a delusion.

It is vital to understand that technology is not a source of energy. That is, it is not a fuel in its own right, only a means for putting fuel to work or for transforming one resource into another.

Thus, for example, coal can be converted into gasoline—but at a high thermodynamic price, because much of the potential energy in the coal is lost in the process. Or technology can make the conversion of energy more efficient—but, as we have seen, only up to a point. Similarly, technology can make new energy resources available—but only by first expending energy to find and exploit them."

'via Blog this'

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Solar car will burn coal and oil and extend the life of sprawl

Ford to Show Solar-Powered Hybrid at CES - Digits - WSJ: "Ford Motor plans to roll out a solar-powered version of its C-Max hybrid compact car during next week’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas."
  • Burns coal when battery is recharged because that's what creates electricity
  • Burns oil because the oil it doesn't burn goes to China with less price pressure, so more used
  • Extends the life of sprawl by keeping the subsidized road/suburb system alive

In addition, you will probably subsidize the buyers with your tax dollars. Poor people will not be able to afford them even though they will pay for subsidy and any infrastructure development or maintenance. In other words, no change to current system.