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RE: [hreg] Re: Any reports on Dr Hansen's talk

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  • Robert Johnston
    Sounds like an interesting talk; I wasn t able to attend. Thanks, Alyssa, for the brief summary. I think if we must have it, a form of carbon tax such as F&D
    Message 1 of 16 , Dec 11, 2009
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      Sounds like an interesting talk; I wasn’t able to attend.  Thanks, Alyssa, for the brief summary.

      I think if we must have it, a form of carbon tax such as F&D is preferable to a system so prone to corruption and special interest lobbying as C&T.   I’m all for eliminating artificial controls on pricing via subsidies (or variable allotments of carbon credits) and letting the consumer/markets decide which are the most valuable applications for carbon fuels.  For instance, I work in the plastics industry, and I think that the market would at some point decide it is preferable to use hydrocarbons for materials than just burn them up (at least as an intermediate stage in the consumption of carbon; plastics could be burned later).  But the consumers should decide that, not some government bureaucrat or congressional lobbyist-inspired politician.  However, I agree with Jay that F&D itself sounds socialistic.  Jay explained why clearly and succinctly so I can’t add much to that.  I’d be interested to hear why Alyssa thinks it is not.  (By “socialism” I’m simply referring to redistribution of wealth from those who earn it to those who do not).  I suppose if one views everyone on earth as entitled to an equal share of “carbon output” as a birthright, then one might be able to build up a case for this.  It would certainly involve a huge transfer of wealth, though, not only within US but between nations.  But then wouldn’t it be encouraging population growth by subsidizing additional bodies, i.e., create incentives for the poor to have more children so they can have a larger rebate?  It would create a new sort of “welfare mom” problem.  And encouraging population growth hardly seems a way to go about reducing global carbon dioxide output, not to mention a host of other issues like shortages of water, agricultural land, etc.

       

      Robert Johnston

       

       

      From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jay
      Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2009 8:56 AM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [hreg] Re: Any reports on Dr Hansen's talk

       

       

      I know a little about the two systems and in my opinion both are workable. I think Dr Hansen calls it "fee and dividend" (F&D), vs "cap and trade" (C&T).

      The F&D approach taxes carbon. This would be a net tax increase, so in order to be tax neutral, the tax is then refunded to everyone equally. The "average" carbon user will not see any changes in his lifestyle, but if he can reduce his usage, his tax bill will go down while his refund remains constant.

      The essential difference is that F&D fixes the price of carbon and allows the quantity emitted to bounce around a little. C&T fixes the quantity and allows the price to bounce around instead. In the long run the carbon output is the same.

      The big advantage of C&T amongst the carbon-hating crowd is that it sets a hard upper limit. F&D has most of the other advantages.

      C&T creates a tradeable instrument, similar to an options contract or futures contract. These then get sent to Wall Street. A lot of people hate it for that reason alone. That means you will have speculators, and because the demand for energy is inelastic, you will have very severe short-term price fluctuations.

      Since the purpose of both plans is to reduce carbon, C&T operates (roughly speaking) just below last years level, creating a slow reduction year after year. The problem is, what do you do when there is one permit left? The answer is "bidding war". In reality it means prices go up by a factor of anywhere from 3-10 times. When the last credit is gone, the lights shut off, even if you were still using them, no excuses, and no crying.

      F&D doesn't have that problem Prices keep going up year after year, but it is slow and mostly predictable, there is never that crisis potential, no speculators, and no Wall street profits being added on. I am all for profits, but in this case it's just an added layer of accounting inefficiency.

      F&D is also easier to administer. You basically tax carbon fuels when the enter the country or as a sales tax when they are first sold. You monitor every shipping port and every coal/oil/gas mine/well, and tax them assuming everything they pump will be burned. Of course this tax gets passed on, but changing consumption patterns is the whole point. This system is very difficult to game or cheat.

      However, I will say that it is my opinion that there is a socialist element to F&D. People with more money tend to consume more of everything, and everything requires energy. Since refunds are flat, this has the net effect of income transfer from high income to low income. Any income/incidence graph will clearly show that, complicated hand-waving explanations not-withstanding.

      So that is my take on the two major programs, I would be curious to hear what everyone else thinks.

      Take care guys!

      --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, mkewert@... wrote:

      >
      > Also, he strongly supported a carbon tax over cap and trade with allowances.
      I don't understand the details, but the problem seems to be with the 'allowances'.
      >
      > And he said that ice sheets are melting faster than expected the last few
      years.
      >
      > He was convincing that he believes what he says and that he feels it a
      moral obligation to speak up.
      >
      > Mike
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "Alyssa Burgin" <aburgin4peace@...>
      > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Wednesday, December 9, 2009 8:38:42 PM GMT -06:00 Guadalajara /
      Mexico City / Monterrey
      > Subject: Re: [hreg] Any reports on Dr Hansen's talk
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > I was there, and got to speak with him privately before the event as well
      as hear him speak.
      >
      >
      > He gave a detailed, but not particularly rousing, presentation on climate
      change, complete with a lot of the details we've all heard again and again. He had a powerpoint with excellent graphs and pictures--particularly with the latest data on this having been the hottest decade yet--and then he took pre-submitted questions in a sit-down format with Randall Morton.
      >
      >
      > The questions ranged from skeptical/denial questions to questions on
      specifics about climate change. He handled them all well. I was concerned about his well-publicized advocacy of nuclear power, but he insists that he is talking about a fourth-generation nuclear power that does not have the waste and half-life issues of the past. I don't really see the evidence that that is here yet, so I will remain skeptical on that issue.
      >
      >
      > In person, he was much warmer than I had thought he would be, and he
      looked vigorous and strong. He also has a sense of humor.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Alyssa Burgin
      >
      >
      > On Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 8:21 PM, Chris Boyer < boyer.chris@... >
      wrote:
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Can anyone who went give a report on Dr Hansen's talk?
      >

    • Alyssa Burgin
      Focused solar (with mirrors) that tracks the sun does indeed use water. I couldn t tell you how much, because I m neither advocating them or working against
      Message 2 of 16 , Dec 11, 2009
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        Focused solar (with mirrors) that tracks the sun does indeed use water. I couldn't tell you how much, because I'm neither advocating them or working against them. The nuclear power threat to our water was and is still very real, since the San Antonio city council situation with Toshiba and NRG remains in limbo, as they still consider building two more reactors in Bay City.  
         I've worked with the organization opposing it, as has a member of my advisory board who is an expert on the use of water to procure energy. She's a civil engineer. My information regarding nuclear power plants comes directly from her, actually.

        Jeremy Rifkin talks about distributive power systems a great deal in his lectures and his work. It would make sense to me, Evelyn, to have individual power systems attached to individual buildings--i.e., one's own solar panels, one's own geothermal, perhaps even one's own wind turbine of some sort. Rifkin says that eventually, a building won't be built unless it can power itself. I don't think that's unrealistic.

        Alyssa Burgin
        On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 8:30 AM, evelyn sardina <evelynsardina@...> wrote:


        As far as the water issue isn't that the same issue with the commercial solar power plants and the fact that they need to use water to cool them off also? Like always...aren't  things in moderation (solar panels installed on top of roofs) compared to massive corporate production of anything (like biodesiel) ends up more of a problem than a solution when it goes corporate? This is a question  not a put down..... Evelyn

        --- On Thu, 12/10/09, Alyssa Burgin <aburgin4peace@...> wrote:

        From: Alyssa Burgin <aburgin4peace@...>
        Subject: Re: [hreg] Re: Any reports on Dr Hansen's talk
        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Thursday, December 10, 2009, 8:21 AM

         

        Nuclear power may work great in France, but they're still not considering the waste factor, which, let's face it, is inevitable given the current technology. Maybe that will change, but it's not changing fast enough to avoid leaving the next hundreds of generations a serious issue, even a deadly issue. We need a new nuclear technology. Part of Dr. Hansen's spiel was that we are being left behind in that research and that China is far ahead of us. I can't say, because I don't have Chinese scientific contacts, but it certainly sounds like they are far ahead in a search for fourth-generation nuclear technology.


        But that's not the point for Texas. I don't know if you have followed the contentious debate over the water uses of the lower Colorado River, but it's boiling over--and I don't mean the water. Between urban users upstream, and rice farmers downstream, there is, in drought-stricken times, no water left to fuss over. And certainly no water for the cooling of power plants. If added to, the nuclear power system in Matagorda county--one of the most extreme (stages 3 and 4) drought-stricken areas of the state in the previous drought, and one of the last areas to show improvement- -would consume 220 Olympic sized swimming pools of water a day. It's significant that the drought was there for one reason---evaporatio n. With the extreme heat, the evaporation rate was at a level previously not even considered. When others are fighting over that water, it makes no sense to watch it disappear every day in those amounts.

        And by the way, the reason the questions were pre-selected, I'm guessing, is partially because it was offered as a "plus" for those who bought the patron tickets to be able to offer a question. That's a big incentive to sell tickets in any forum.

        Alyssa Burgin
        Director, the Texas Drought Project

        On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 8:14 AM, Jay <txses@mailbot. transcendent. us> wrote:
        I am going to say, I have a very dim view of pre-selecting questions.

        I think nuclear power is great. I don't want to belabor the point here too much, but you know France has a great history with it and it is very popular there. People are just so resistant to changes.

        Never mind CO2, which it does not produce, it also doesn't produce any smog, SO2, NO2, and ozone. The small amount of waste it does produce is contained, rather than vented into the atmosphere near heavily populated areas. It also promotes energy independence and drives new technology.

        So cheers to Dr Hansen for that.






        --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, Alyssa Burgin <aburgin4peace@ ...> wrote:
        >
        > I was there, and got to speak with him privately before the event as well as
        > hear him speak.
        >
        > He gave a detailed, but not particularly rousing, presentation on climate
        > change, complete with a lot of the details we've all heard again and again.
        > He had a powerpoint with excellent graphs and pictures--particula rly with

        > the latest data on this having been the hottest decade yet--and then he took
        > pre-submitted questions in a sit-down format with Randall Morton.
        >
        > The questions ranged from skeptical/denial questions to questions on
        > specifics about climate change. He handled them all well. I was concerned
        > about his well-publicized advocacy of nuclear power, but he insists that he
        > is talking about a fourth-generation nuclear power that does not have the
        > waste and half-life issues of the past. I don't really see the evidence that
        > that is here yet, so I will remain skeptical on that issue.
        >
        > In person, he was much warmer than I had thought he would be, and he looked
        > vigorous and strong. He also has a sense of humor.
        >
        >
        > Alyssa Burgin
        >
        > On Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 8:21 PM, Chris Boyer <boyer.chris@ ...>wrote:
        >
        > >
        > >
        > > Can anyone who went give a report on Dr Hansen's talk?
        > >
        > >
        >




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