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1607Re: [hreg] suggestions for quantifiable elements of renewables

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  • Joseph Phelan
    Jul 10, 2002
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      As an extreme example, Buckminster Fuller, in the book Critical Path, calculates the cost to create the BTUs in oil by adding up all of the pressure over time required by nature to "cook" it up so to speak, then assigns a retail equivalent value of 10 cents per kWh resulting in a whopping $1 million per barrel of oil.  Clearly there's an externality limit of common sense that starts before 300 million years ago.
      For more on externalities see the work of economist Herman E. Daly.  Marx worked in the 19th century on economic ideas which affected the 20th century in the negative, hopefully Daly's work will have as much influence on the 21st century but to the positive.
       - JP
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2002 10:50 AM
      Subject: Re: [hreg] suggestions for quantifiable elements of renewables

      In a message dated 7/10/02 9:39:42 AM Central Daylight Time, cjerko@... writes:

      Subj:[hreg] suggestions for quantifiable elements of renewables
      Date:7/10/02 9:39:42 AM Central Daylight Time
      Sent from the Internet

      Ok, this may require a thinking cap.

      As i mentioned before, i will try to get my company to invest in renewables
      once my homework is complete.  Currently, any way i slice it, i cannot come
      close to a 9% return on the investment.  There is no way Tractebel nor Suez
      would invest out of the goodness of their hearts...share holders - you know.

      So, have you ever heard of a companies stock value increasing (maybe
      Ex-RON's)from going green or making green announcemetns?  Can you think of
      any other extrinsic values from investing in renewables that are

      Any help would be much appreciated,


      One of the major problems here is that the fossil fuels industry (as an example) has done such a good job of hiding their true costs and passing them on to others and the general public as externalities that it is hard to explain to the public what the true costs are and therefore to calculate true economics, since the system does not give much value for intangibles such as long-term social benefits.

      Our entire economy is based on the wasteful consumption of cheap energy, so for openers, you might try explaining the real cost of gasoline at the pump. It is not $1.50 or so - it is more like $5 to $15 per gallon, depending on how far you want to follow the money. There have been attempts to quantify these costs, and you will find one very good example entitled The Real Price of Gas by the International Center for Technology Assessment at the following website:


      Of course under our present system of corporate capitalism that is focused on short-term profit (next quarter earnings) it is hard to justify spending present dollars for future gain, especially "intangibles" such as social benefits. Such things as preventive maintenance suffer from the same handicap (present costs for future benefits) but at some point in the near future we are going to have to recognize the basic fact that such a system is not sustainable and try to change the way the system works. That is a real problem. Good luck, and please let me know if you find a way to do it.

      Charlie Mauch

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