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Re: permanent energy crisis

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  • mauk_mcamuk
    That areticle is typical fearmongering. Completely unproductive. There are vast amounts of usable resources still in and on the Earth. We are on the verge of
    Message 1 of 19 , Feb 12, 2006
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      That areticle is typical fearmongering. Completely unproductive.

      There are vast amounts of usable resources still in and on the Earth.
      We are on the verge of moving from one energy source to another.
      There is nothing exceptionally unusual about this. We already shifted
      from wood to coal, and from coal to oil, and I'm sure there was lots
      of angst those times as well.

      We'll just shift to something else. Likely, a mix of wind, hydro and
      nuclear, with various "new" hydrocarbons tossed in around the edges.

      If we want to make Carfree Cities attractive, we need to present them
      as a better option than cars, not attempt to scare people. The paper
      from the Brookings Institute I recently posted was a gold mine of
      positive, very Carfree facts from a non-biased source.

      We should be presenting Carfree Cities as BETTER than our current
      cities, and be able to cite facts and figures as to WHY.

      Just because they also may save the world should be gravy. :D


      >--- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
      >wrote:
      >
      >
      > Hi All,
      >
      > I've only skimmed this, but it looks interesting:
      >
      > http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0210-20.htm
      >
      > If anyone spots any real bell-ringers, please advise
      > on the list. (I suspect that this is mostly old news.)
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • J.H. Crawford
      ... Well, yes, but the total capacity of the system is likely to be quite a lot less than what we have become used to. ... exactly ... J.H. Crawford
      Message 2 of 19 , Feb 12, 2006
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        >We'll just shift to something else. Likely, a mix of wind, hydro and
        >nuclear, with various "new" hydrocarbons tossed in around the edges.

        Well, yes, but the total capacity of the system is likely to
        be quite a lot less than what we have become used to.

        >We should be presenting Carfree Cities as BETTER than our current
        >cities, and be able to cite facts and figures as to WHY.

        exactly


        ----- ### -----
        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
      • mauk_mcamuk
        Hmmm. An interesting discussion here, I think. :) ... Well, maybe, but I think that quite unlikely. A lot of this revolves around what you call the system,
        Message 3 of 19 , Feb 17, 2006
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          Hmmm. An interesting discussion here, I think. :)


          >--- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
          >wrote:
          >
          >
          > >We'll just shift to something else. Likely, a mix of wind, hydro
          >and
          > >nuclear, with various "new" hydrocarbons tossed in around the
          >edges.
          >
          > Well, yes, but the total capacity of the system is likely to
          > be quite a lot less than what we have become used to.
          >

          Well, maybe, but I think that quite unlikely. A lot of this revolves
          around what you call the system, you see. :)

          Americans right now use very large amounts of energy, but part of
          that is due to the rise of the car culture, something that is really
          only about 40-odd years old. Another large part is the sheer SIZE of
          the place: America, despite our huge population, is a pretty sparse
          place. It takes a good, flexible long-distance travel system to keep
          the place running, and highways with trucks on them are surprisingly
          efficient at it.

          But in many ways, America's situation is an aberration. Europe also
          has high energy usage, but much lower than America's, due mostly to
          the fact that Europe is quite a lot smaller and more densely
          populated than the USA is.

          Denser = less cars needed.

          However, a VERY large part of the worlds population is forced to
          subsist on VERY little energy at all, with the worst being in Sub-
          Saharan Africa and such places. If we are serious about making the
          world a better place, I think we should strive to make ALL the world
          a better place. Massive inequities in energy are the root drivers of
          much of the conflict in the world today, and put simply, it doesn't
          have to be that way.

          Wind power is nearly proliferation-proof and ubiquitous. Hydro-power
          is far more limited, unless you accept very large infrastructure
          costs. Nuclear power is hugely abundant, but is saddled with decades
          of lies, propaganda, and misconceptions (more due to Cold War
          hysteria than fact) that will take some time to reverse.

          Those three power sources, used together and tied to a massively
          upgraded grid, could provide at least European levels of energy usage
          to pretty much the entire world. The total capacity of such a system
          would be LARGE, but is quite doable.

          Indeed, one hopeful step toward such a system is the recent GNEP
          initiative kicked off in the US:


          http://www.gnep.energy.gov/


          The task that faces us is how to take this inevitable sea-change (the
          end of cheap oil and the associated societal changes it will drive)
          and ensure that car-free concepts get included in the new, better,
          cleaner ways of doing things.

          Thus, why I write my Congress-critters on a fairly regular basis. :D



          > >We should be presenting Carfree Cities as BETTER than our current
          > >cities, and be able to cite facts and figures as to WHY.
          >
          > exactly
          >
        • J.H. Crawford
          ... and a small town named Chernobyl ... The supply of fissile material is quite limited in terms of supplying most of the world s energy for more than an
          Message 4 of 19 , Feb 18, 2006
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            >Nuclear power is hugely abundant, but is saddled with decades
            >of lies, propaganda, and misconceptions

            and a small town named Chernobyl

            >Those three power sources, used together and tied to a massively
            >upgraded grid, could provide at least European levels of energy usage
            >to pretty much the entire world. The total capacity of such a system
            >would be LARGE, but is quite doable.

            The supply of fissile material is quite limited in terms
            of supplying most of the world's energy for more than
            an interlude of a couple of generations.

            Then there's the minor problem of nuclear waste.

            So, no solution here. And the GNER thing is really only a
            concept, not proven technology. And there isn't yet a new
            generation of proven technology.

            I agree that we'll probably see quite a few more nukes built,
            but I don't think it's going to change very much.



            ----- ### -----
            J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
            mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
          • Doug Salzmann
            ... Exactly right. There is not nearly enough fissionable uranium available in the Earth s crust to power a world of 6.5-billion-and-growing humans out of our
            Message 5 of 19 , Feb 18, 2006
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              On Sat, 18 Feb 2006, J.H. Crawford wrote:

              > The supply of fissile material is quite limited in terms
              > of supplying most of the world's energy for more than
              > an interlude of a couple of generations.

              Exactly right. There is not nearly enough fissionable uranium available
              in the Earth's crust to power a world of 6.5-billion-and-growing humans
              out of our energy shortage.

              Of course, fast-breeder reactors could produce an unlimited supply of
              fuel, along with an unlimited supply of that Pu element. Imagine hundreds
              or thousands of such facilities tucked away in every corner of the world,
              including, oh, say, Liberia.


              > Then there's the minor problem of nuclear waste.

              Which minor problem continues to be utterly intractable after, literally,
              generations of grappling with it.

              > I agree that we'll probably see quite a few more nukes built,
              > but I don't think it's going to change very much.

              Yep. Nukes will be stop-gap measures in certain times and places (and
              will continue to be extremely dangerous), but nuclear power generation is
              not a long-term solution.


              -Doug
            • J.H. Crawford
              ... Well, except that the amount of U238 is also limited, although there is a LOT more of it than U235. Even with unrestricted breeding, we still run out of
              Message 6 of 19 , Feb 18, 2006
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                >Exactly right. There is not nearly enough fissionable uranium available
                >in the Earth's crust to power a world of 6.5-billion-and-growing humans
                >out of our energy shortage.
                >
                >Of course, fast-breeder reactors could produce an unlimited supply of
                >fuel, along with an unlimited supply of that Pu element. Imagine hundreds
                >or thousands of such facilities tucked away in every corner of the world,
                >including, oh, say, Liberia.

                Well, except that the amount of U238 is also limited,
                although there is a LOT more of it than U235. Even with
                unrestricted breeding, we still run out of Uranium in
                a century or so, presuming that people look on this as
                one more inexhaustible resource, i.e., just the way we
                have treated every other energy source we have stumbled
                upon. Supposedly, the GNER proposal keep the Pu out of
                the hands of terrorists, but there would be an awful lot
                of it slinging around in the world, and it isn't all
                that difficult to separate it from used fuel rods, esp.
                if you have a plentiful supply of suicide volunteers
                willing to do the work and die of radiation sickness
                a few days later.

                Why, oh why, can't we ever seem to talk about doing more
                with less? It's just not all that difficult. Must be bad
                for friends of Bush.




                ----- ### -----
                J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
              • Doug Salzmann
                ... See, *even I* can be overly optimistic -- about nuclear power, no less. Now, there s a scary thought ;^) -Doug
                Message 7 of 19 , Feb 18, 2006
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                  On Sat, 18 Feb 2006, J.H. Crawford wrote:

                  > Well, except that the amount of U238 is also limited,
                  > although there is a LOT more of it than U235. Even with
                  > unrestricted breeding, we still run out of Uranium in
                  > a century or so, presuming that people look on this as
                  > one more inexhaustible resource

                  See, *even I* can be overly optimistic -- about nuclear power, no less.

                  Now, there's a scary thought ;^)


                  -Doug
                • mauk_mcamuk
                  Hmmmm. ... LOL! Okay, let s discuss Chernobyl then. I have studied the accident at Chernobyl, a LOT. (Simple rule: Never try to burn your way out of a
                  Message 8 of 19 , Feb 18, 2006
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                    Hmmmm.


                    >--- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
                    >wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > >Nuclear power is hugely abundant, but is saddled with decades
                    > >of lies, propaganda, and misconceptions
                    >
                    > and a small town named Chernobyl
                    >

                    LOL! <sigh>

                    Okay, let's discuss Chernobyl then.

                    I have studied the accident at Chernobyl, a LOT. (Simple rule: Never
                    try to burn your way out of a Xenon well.) By far the most accurate
                    account of what really happened, and the real after-effects, is a
                    massive UN report called UNSCEAR 2000. I have read the whole thing,
                    which can be accessed here:

                    http://www.unscear.org/

                    While I don't expect anyone on this list to read it as well (it takes
                    a person of truly oddball interests such as myself to do that) I
                    provide the link to back up what I'm going to say, because the truth
                    about Chernobyl is hugely different from the propaganda.

                    I'm not making this up. If you don't believe me, yell at the UN. :D

                    Chernobyl has to date killed not more than 55 people. Bad, yes, but
                    certainly no worse than many other major accidents.

                    The huge majority of those 50-odd casualties could easily have been
                    prevented with a little good sense. For example, 40-odd guys
                    essentially cooked themselves trying to put out a burning nuclear reactor.

                    You CAN'T put out a burning nuclear reactor, folks! There's a reason
                    nobody but the USSR was crazy and stupid enough to build an RBMK style
                    reactor! The sensible thing to do would have been to set up some
                    hoses, pump water on it, and get the heck away from it. Nobody would
                    have been killed in the immediate effects if they'd just done that.
                    let the thing burn itself out, keep folks under the plume indoors, and
                    let the mess settle.

                    The rest of the casualties have come from a large number of childrens
                    thyroid cancer cases, over a thousand, caused by drinking contaminated
                    milk. Yes, a dozen children have died, which again, is bad, but
                    hardly worse than many other accidents that have had far less
                    propaganda spread about them.

                    Worse, even those deaths and cancers could have been completely
                    prevented if the old Soviet government had just TOLD PEOPLE not to
                    drink milk downwind.

                    Now, I note that folks on the list immediately mentioned Chernobyl.

                    Why?

                    Because it's famous.

                    Why?

                    Because it was a terrible disaster?

                    But it WASN'T. It was a disaster, yes, but we have disasters as bad
                    or worse all the time!

                    For example, has anyone here ever heard of Buffalo Creek?

                    http://www.wvculture.org/hiStory/buffcreek/mem.html

                    That was a coal-waste flood in West Virginia in 1972, killed 118. I
                    would lay odds no one here has ever heard about it. How many people
                    were killed at Three Mile Island?

                    Why not? Why are Chernobyl and Three Mile Island so famous, when far
                    worse events that were caused by coal are forgotten?

                    Buffalo Creek isn't the only coal waste disaster, either. Have you
                    ever heard of Aberfan?

                    http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/politics/aberfan/home.htm

                    That's another coal disaster.

                    How about the massive fertilizer explosion at Toulouse, France?

                    http://www.safetynet.de/Seiten/2ndSymposium/kersten.pdf

                    That was only five years ago! Killed 29, wounded 2500! Yet most
                    folks have never heard of it.

                    How about Bhopal? Or the Chinese "Iron Dam" failures?

                    Why is Chernobyl so famous?

                    Lies, propaganda, and misconceptions. The lie is, nuclear is
                    different, and more dangerous, somehow.

                    In fact, it just isn't. Really. :)

                    <sigh> Why is it I always wind up having to defend nuclear? Hydro is
                    much more deadly than nuclear is.

                    On another front, did you know that 2005 was the largest year on
                    record for wind-power installations? The average windmill size is
                    also increasing nicely. All good signs! :D


                    > >Those three power sources, used together and tied to a massively
                    > >upgraded grid, could provide at least European levels of energy >usage
                    > >to pretty much the entire world. The total capacity of such a >system
                    > >would be LARGE, but is quite doable.
                    >
                    > The supply of fissile material is quite limited in terms
                    > of supplying most of the world's energy for more than
                    > an interlude of a couple of generations.
                    >

                    ???

                    Er, sorry, but while fissile material (u235) is merely hugely
                    abundant, fertile material (U238 and Th232) is much, much more common,
                    and quite simple to burn once we stop being afraid of it. (Here's a
                    dirty secret: EVERY commercial nuclear power plant is a breeder
                    reactor, that's where the plutonium for MOX fuel comes from. Breeding
                    new fuel is very easy to do these days.)

                    Even failing that, there is far more fissile material (u235) than most
                    people think there is. In deposits that are feasible to mine once the
                    price gets high enough there are many millions of tons of the stuff.
                    The Alum Shale in Sweden, for example, or phosphate fertilizer beds,
                    or the Chattanooga Shale in the USA.

                    If we decide to use it wisely, there is enough to last us at least
                    many thousands of years.

                    > Then there's the minor problem of nuclear waste.
                    >

                    This is a very complicated topic, but suffice to say, the "nuclear
                    waste problem" was mainly created by President Carter with one
                    executive order, and it can be fixed quite readily.

                    There is no component of nuclear waste that cannot be destroyed,
                    recycled, or sequestered with technology we now have available. Since
                    the 70's, scientists have not been idle on this topic. :)

                    All we need do now is start using all this nifty tech we've figured
                    out. :D


                    > So, no solution here. And the GNER thing is really only a
                    > concept, not proven technology. And there isn't yet a new
                    > generation of proven technology.
                    >

                    Are you stating that nuclear is unproven?? There are hundreds of new
                    nuclear plants planned right now, you'd better tell the industry! :)

                    More importantly, yes, the technologies proposed for the GNEP closed
                    fuel cycle are indeed proven. The UREX-1a reprocessing scheme is a
                    simple enhancement of the PUREX process France uses to reprocess their
                    waste, and pyroprocessing has been tested to DEATH in the USA and
                    Japan. It definately works. :)

                    > I agree that we'll probably see quite a few more nukes built,
                    > but I don't think it's going to change very much.
                    >

                    Time will tell. :D Even people in the US nuclear industry are
                    astonished at how fast momentum is moving toward nuclear right now.
                    Oil at 60+ dollars a barrel is a MASSIVE incentive for change.

                    Carfree lifestyles need stable power supplies even more than car using
                    societies. if there is a huge blackout now, people can at least go
                    listen to their car radios, possibly leave the area of the blackout,
                    etc. If a carfree city loses power, the residents are by-and-large
                    stuck there. So, it behooves us to ensure we have abundant, safe, and
                    reliable power.
                  • mauk_mcamuk
                    Hrrrrm. ... I am terribly sorry, but this is a common misconception that is, fortunately for our grandkids, wrong. Uranium is actually quite a common metal in
                    Message 9 of 19 , Feb 18, 2006
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                      Hrrrrm.

                      >--- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Doug Salzmann <doug@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > On Sat, 18 Feb 2006, J.H. Crawford wrote:
                      >
                      > > The supply of fissile material is quite limited in terms
                      > > of supplying most of the world's energy for more than
                      > > an interlude of a couple of generations.
                      >
                      > Exactly right. There is not nearly enough fissionable uranium
                      >available
                      > in the Earth's crust to power a world of 6.5-billion-and-growing
                      >humans
                      > out of our energy shortage.


                      I am terribly sorry, but this is a common misconception that is,
                      fortunately for our grandkids, wrong.

                      Uranium is actually quite a common metal in the crust, due to the odd
                      chemistry of the actinides, which tends to concentrate it in the
                      granitic rocks of the crust. The same also applies to thorium, the
                      "other" nuclear fuel, the one nobody ever hears about. :)

                      For example, let's look at one fairly well-studied resource, the
                      Chattanooga Black Shale.

                      The Chattanooga Black Shale contains roughly 50 parts per million
                      Uranium. Properly burned in a closed nuclear fuel cycle (which is
                      what the GNEP is moving towards) that means that every ton of shale
                      mined contains as much energy as 500 barrels of oil, or about 100 tons
                      of high-quality coal.

                      There are roughly 600 BILLION tons of shale in the Chattanooga Black
                      Shale, counting just the easy-to-mine parts. That equates to 60
                      trillion tons of coal, or 300 trillion barrels of oil.

                      Today, the world uses about 30 billion barrels of oil a year (yes,
                      that's a lot.)

                      That means the Chattanooga Black Shale can supply the entire world for
                      10,000 years at current rates of usage.

                      And the Chattanooga Black Shale is only ONE resource! There is far
                      more uranium in phosphate rocks that we'd be mining anyway for
                      fertilizer, for example.

                      If you don't like the idea of burning the uranium efficiently, then
                      reduce the above amounts by a factor of about 100.

                      Here's a very good website that works to debunk a lot of these
                      misconceptions as well:

                      http://www.nuclearinfo.net/Nuclearpower/WebHomeEnergyLifecycleOfNuclear_Power


                      >
                      > Of course, fast-breeder reactors could produce an unlimited supply of
                      > fuel, along with an unlimited supply of that Pu element.

                      Er? I'm sorry, but plutonium IS reactor fuel, and a very good one.
                      Indeed, EVERY element, and almost every isotope, in the actinide
                      elements sequence (Uranium, Plutonium, Neptunium, Curium and
                      Americium, mainly) makes excellent reactor fuel if you just build your
                      reactors to burn them.

                      In the GNEP proposal, the "Advanced Burner Reactors" are designed to
                      do just that. Once the burners are finished with the stuff, there is
                      no plutonium left to worry about, aside from the amount that cycles
                      around in the system.

                      More importantly, this is kept commingled. IE, the plutonium is kept
                      mixed with the Uranium and the Curium and the Neptunium, etc. This
                      makes it very, VERY hard to divert it or make it into a weapon.
                      Seperating and purifying this stuff is non-trivial under ideal
                      conditions, and when you deliberately mix it up, well, it is quite
                      proliferation resistant. :D


                      >Imagine >hundreds
                      > or thousands of such facilities tucked away in every corner of the
                      >world,
                      > including, oh, say, Liberia.

                      No, imagine thousands of very small reactors with 20 year cores tucked
                      away like so. When a core burns out, the whole thing is shipped back
                      to maybe five or six central reprocessing plants, likely one each in
                      the USA, Japan, France, Russia, and China. That's the whole point of
                      the GNEP: New nuclear countries get free or discount fuel for ensuring
                      a closed fuel cycle.

                      The total volume to be shipped would be amazingly tiny, too, about as
                      much as one coal train a month, worldwide.

                      >
                      >
                      > > Then there's the minor problem of nuclear waste.
                      >
                      > Which minor problem continues to be utterly intractable after,
                      >literally,
                      > generations of grappling with it.
                      >

                      Heh. If you call "grappling with it" "sticking it in a hole and
                      waiting" then sure. :)

                      As I said before, President Carter created the whole nuclear waste
                      issue with one executive order, and the problem can be untangled about
                      as quickly once we decide to stop fiddling around. :)


                      > > I agree that we'll probably see quite a few more nukes built,
                      > > but I don't think it's going to change very much.
                      >
                      > Yep. Nukes will be stop-gap measures in certain times and places >(and
                      > will continue to be extremely dangerous), but nuclear power
                      >generation is
                      > not a long-term solution.
                      >
                      >

                      Er, you DO know the Sun is powered by nuclear power, right? Nuclear
                      power is THE long-term solution, period. In a very real sense, wind
                      and hydro are both nuclear powered. :D

                      We will embrace nuclear power, or learn to love the cold and the dark
                      once more. :(
                    • J.H. Crawford
                      Hi All, OK, this is not a nuclear energy site, let s can this. I DID say that I thought that we were likely to build new nukes notwithstanding public
                      Message 10 of 19 , Feb 19, 2006
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                        Hi All,

                        OK, this is not a nuclear energy site, let's can this.

                        I DID say that I thought that we were likely to build
                        new nukes notwithstanding public opposition and known
                        issues about nuclear power. (And did anyone read the
                        note in Carfree Cities on page 113?.)

                        Regards,


                        ----- ### -----
                        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                        mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                      • J.H. Crawford
                        Hi All, After my last message, I happened to read today s Wash. Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/18/AR2006021801059.html
                        Message 11 of 19 , Feb 19, 2006
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                          Hi All,

                          After my last message, I happened to read today's Wash. Post:

                          http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/18/AR2006021801059.html

                          which seems to be an even-handed summary.

                          Regards,


                          ----- ### -----
                          J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                          mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                        • Ian Fiddies
                          Why, oh why, can t we ever seem to talk about doing more with less? It s just not all that difficult. Must be bad for friends of Bush. In Sweden there have
                          Message 12 of 19 , Feb 19, 2006
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                            "Why, oh why, can't we ever seem to talk about doing more
                            with less? It's just not all that difficult. Must be bad for friends of
                            Bush."



                            In Sweden there have been several houses built without heating systems. By
                            use of improved insulation and heat exchange systems coupled to ventilation
                            and wastewater you get sustainable buildings with low running costs. The
                            constuction cost is about the same as a conventional building as the savings
                            made by not having to install central heating offsets the other costs.



                            Most new building in Sweden however doesn't take advantage of this
                            technique. In fact not only is a heating system usually needed but also a
                            cooling system for the summer months in most cases. Why cooling systems are
                            necessary in Sweden is entirely due to architects designing (and winning
                            prizes for) structures that are essentially more suitable for growing
                            tomatoes than as offices and homes.



                            "if there is a huge blackout now, people can at least go
                            listen to their car radios"



                            Back to the business of cars. I can't take the radio in a power cut argument
                            as a serious reason to own a car but it leads to an interesting point. When
                            I'm discussing carfree with caroholics they always have a long list of
                            reasons why just they need their car (denial). I'm sure I'm not the only one
                            who's noticed this. Common reasons for needing a car are; I've got kids, I
                            don't have time, I've got a dog, the bus service doesn't work, my spouses
                            needs to regularly visit the hospital.

                            What they don't dare to say is; I like speeding, I'm too lazy to even think
                            of walking to the bus stop, I look like I'm really something behind the
                            wheel.



                            My point is that people are generally defensive of their cars while being
                            well aware of the damage they're doing. Even in a city with an excellent
                            public transport system, people will find an inaccessible corner they need
                            to get to and can only use a car as an excuse. I'm afraid that the only way
                            to stop some people driving is to wait for them to die. In the way drug
                            addicts are given methadone it would be reasonable to give carohoics low
                            environmental impact cars.



                            Most people find paying heating bills and buying petrol unpleasant
                            activities. The savings made in not heating houses goes into the pocket of
                            the user instead of the builder. This means there's little fiscal incentive
                            for the builders to embrace energy efficient techniques. At the same time
                            there's no financial disadvantage in building energy efficient. A parallel
                            can be drawn with the auto-industry.



                            Why is it case that house and car builders are not producing low energy
                            products? It could be explained by conservative attitudes and a refusal to
                            change but this I feel can only be a partial answer as most profitable
                            companies nowadays are defiantly more innovative and dynamic than
                            conservative.



                            If you give someone a choice of two alternatives of achieving the same thing
                            and the choice has no effect on the chooser, they will usually make the
                            choice that is ethically best. It you have the choice of stepping on a snail
                            or not on the way to the bus, most people will choose not to crush the
                            snail. What would make someone a snail crusher would be if they got a euro
                            for every squashed invertebrate.



                            I know it's dangerous place human ethical values on capitalist corporations
                            but I think it's quiet reasonable to assume that some of the profits from
                            selling energy is somehow getting into the pockets of builders and car
                            makers. Finding proof of this theory would make a very nice scandal indeed
                            wouldn't it?



                            Ian Fiddies
                          • Mike Neuman
                            ... friends of ... (snipped) We are told from day one that more is better, that s why. Most people will not accept the notion that less of anything (of
                            Message 13 of 19 , Feb 20, 2006
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                              --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Ian Fiddies" <v03fiia@...>
                              wrote:
                              >
                              > "Why, oh why, can't we ever seem to talk about doing more
                              > with less? It's just not all that difficult. Must be bad for
                              friends of
                              > Bush."
                              (snipped)

                              We are told from day one that "more" is better, that's why. Most
                              people will not accept the notion that "less" of anything (of value)
                              is better. That's why they will always want and therefore use, more.

                              To break this line of thinking, you have to offer them something else
                              if they use less. Money is what most people respond to most
                              readily. So offer them monetary "rebates" if they use significantly
                              less energy (per capita) over the month/year than others.

                              Just as individuals and families should be paid for driving and
                              flying less (Message #9547), households should be paid for using
                              significantly less energy per capita in the household than average
                              household energy use today.

                              Utilities need to be more highly regulated by the government than
                              they are now. Economists have argued for this for decades, since
                              utilities are monopolies. The utilities should be forced to offer
                              positive financial incentives to encourage people to use less energy
                              in heating, cooling and lighting their homes, and for minimizing uses
                              of other forms of electricity in their daily lives. This would
                              reduce cumulative power demands, reducing the need to build more
                              power plants, transmission lines, fuel lines, and thus reduce all
                              other expenditures and environmental costs associated with satisfying
                              increased energy capacity demands.

                              Depending on the amount of the reductions, significant cutbacks in
                              global greenhouse gas emissions might be possible from power plants
                              that burn fossil fuel for electricity, or from other utilities that
                              distribute fuel and natural gas for direct burning in household
                              furnaces.

                              Households using low per capita annual energy amounts would be
                              eligible to receive monetary returns at the end of the year for
                              conserving on energy. The money "earned" could be used to supplement
                              family income, rewarding families who consumed the least amount of
                              energy over the year with a financial "rebate" for the year.

                              The methodology used for computing the incentives for low energy use
                              can be found in the paper: "Conserve, NOW!: Reducing Greenhouse Gas
                              Emissions and Other Environmental Costs by Offering Financial
                              Incentives that Reward Less Driving, Flying and Home Energy Use",
                              along with the methodologies to reward less driving and less flying
                              by the public. (Flying is also a significant contributor to
                              greenhouse gas emissions in U.S. - see Conserve, NOW!...)

                              "Conserve, NOW!" ... can be now be accessed as a file document at:
                              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ConserveNOW/
                            • dubluth
                              I agree with the use of financial incentives to achieve many environmental benefits. However, rebates come at a cost -- revenues to fund the rebates must come
                              Message 14 of 19 , Feb 20, 2006
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                                I agree with the use of financial incentives to achieve many
                                environmental benefits. However, rebates come at a cost -- revenues
                                to fund the rebates must come from somewhere. Also, allocating
                                rebates accurately also requires a LOT of administrative effort and
                                complexity. We must somehow accurately account for energy non-use in
                                order to reward potential energy users.

                                Why not tax carbon emmissions to achieve the financial incentive? I
                                think you answer "political acceptability". Can carbon taxes achieve
                                political acceptability? Because it costs less and guides behavior
                                towards energy conservation rather than detection avoidance, it should
                                be more acceptable.

                                We could use the revenue from carbon taxes to fund other desirable
                                aims like reducing other taxes, funding schools, or providing services
                                to the needy.

                                Bill

                                --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Neuman" <mtneuman@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Ian Fiddies" <v03fiia@>
                                > wrote:
                                > >
                                > > "Why, oh why, can't we ever seem to talk about
                                > > doing more with less? It's just not all that
                                > > difficult. Must be bad for friends of Bush."
                                >
                                >
                                > . . . Money is what most people respond to most
                                > readily. So offer them monetary "rebates" if
                                > they use significantly less energy (per capita)
                                > over the month/year than others.
                                >
                              • Mike Neuman
                                Public surveys suggest that people respond more favorably to positive incentives (rebates) than to negative ones (increased taxes). But if the revenues from
                                Message 15 of 19 , Feb 21, 2006
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                                  Public surveys suggest that people respond more favorably to positive
                                  incentives (rebates) than to negative ones (increased taxes). But if
                                  the revenues from the taxes could be used to fund the positive
                                  incentives (rebates), then that might help to overcome some of the
                                  opposition to the higher taxes. But I'd put the increased taxes on
                                  gasoline purchased at the pump, aviation fuel and therms of energy
                                  used, rather than a carbon tax, for simplicity's sake.

                                  My other comment is that your assertion that issuing
                                  rebates "requires a LOT of administrative effort and complexity" is
                                  unsupported. It would not be that terribly difficult to monitor
                                  things like annual vehicle miles of travel, airline travel and
                                  electricity and natural gas burning. Insurance companies,
                                  transportation agencies and utilities have already been tracking this
                                  kind of information. It would not be an insurmountable task to
                                  gather this information for individuals who apply for the rebates.
                                  The only other thing left to do would be to issue them a check at the
                                  end of the year if they stayed under the identified threshold levels
                                  for miles driven, flown and energy consumed per capita in the home.

                                  Mike

                                  --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "dubluth" <dubluth@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > I agree with the use of financial incentives to achieve many
                                  > environmental benefits. However, rebates come at a cost -- revenues
                                  > to fund the rebates must come from somewhere. Also, allocating
                                  > rebates accurately also requires a LOT of administrative effort and
                                  > complexity. We must somehow accurately account for energy non-use
                                  in
                                  > order to reward potential energy users.
                                  >
                                  > Why not tax carbon emmissions to achieve the financial incentive? I
                                  > think you answer "political acceptability". Can carbon taxes
                                  achieve
                                  > political acceptability? Because it costs less and guides behavior
                                  > towards energy conservation rather than detection avoidance, it
                                  should
                                  > be more acceptable.
                                  >
                                  > We could use the revenue from carbon taxes to fund other desirable
                                  > aims like reducing other taxes, funding schools, or providing
                                  services
                                  > to the needy.
                                • Randall Hunt
                                  ... It s all in the definition of value. One might frame the argument as a discrimination between standard of living and quality of life -- there is no direct
                                  Message 16 of 19 , Feb 22, 2006
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                                    >...Most people will not accept the notion that "less" of anything (of value)
                                    >is better. That's why they will always want and therefore use, more.

                                    It's all in the definition of value. One might frame the argument as a
                                    discrimination between standard of living and quality of life -- there is
                                    no direct correlation.
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