Carbon Fee and Dividend: to Spur Job Creation, Industrial Boom

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Carbon → Fee → Dividend → Simple

  •    Fee on carbon-emitting fuels, at the source (mine, well, port of entry)
  •    100% of revenues returned, in equal shares, to every household, every month
  •    Non-protectionist border adjustment, to ensure level playing field
  •    Power over energy economy returned to consumers
  •    Major energy-sector investment flows to clean, renewable resources

The conventional wisdom on action to reduce carbon emissions is that it must be expensive, harmful to the economy, and result in less productive power generation. This is a blatant falsehood based on the outmoded idea that combustion is the most favorable way to harvest energy. All systems of carbon taxation or carbon emissions capping operate on the principle that applying economic pressure in a targeted way can inspire markets to change their behavior. This is the very logic of market-based economic systems.

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Snowflake Solar Cells 100 Times More Efficient than Standard Solar Cells

The Sandia National Laboratories have achieved a landmark breakthrough in solar-voltaic power-generation technology. The snowflake-like “solar glitter” uses 100 times less material to produce the same amount of electricity as today’s standard 6-inch square solar cells. This achievement of ultra-miniaturization now has the potential to move solar-voltaic power generation to the forefront of the clean energy revolution, and help speed the transition away from carbon-based combustible fuels.

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The super-reduced size of these snowflake solar cells means they can be used to create more dependable power-generation solar arrays. As reported by Inhabitat (‘green design will save the world’), when a large solar cell fails, it has a serious impact on the overall productivity of the solar array, already limited by the space it takes up, while these tiny snowflake cells, just 14 to 20 micrometers thick and 0.25 to 1 millimeter in diameter, can fit so much more productivity into the same space, the failure of one flake will have negligible overall impact on output.

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New Development of Carbon Fuels May Be Drag on Economy

high-risk, low-yield hydrocarbon fuels not fit to compete over long term

Opportunity cost is a serious, long-term stress on economies hampered by rampant governmental corruption, or by severe productive resource deficits—in consumer capital, infrastructure, or long-term reliable energy flows. With the ongoing boom in development of shale gas drilling and tar sands oil recovery, there is now massive investment, into the tens of billions of dollars of public and private money, in high-risk, low-yield ways of extracting carbon-based fuels, with the explicit purpose of extending old-fashioned combustible fuel technologies beyond what would otherwise be economically viable.

Massive new investment is flowing to these resources, because existing incentives and the influence of entrenched interests make it more efficient for major investors to pour money into these resources. They are not attracting investment by being inherently more economical than other options. In fact, as a direct result of dedicating such massive investment to new, untested and riskier schemes for carbon fuel extraction—including ultra deepwater drilling—the most efficient means of investment in future energy technologies are being choked off.

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The Usership Society: Decentralized Energy Next Stage for Democracy

Ownership is liberating only if it liberates; the new paradigm has to be a participatory society

In order to push his 2004 bid for re-election, and his radical and untenable economic ideology, George W. Bush touted the need for an “ownership society”. In theory, this meant ordinary people could have access like never before to capital for home-buying, and the paradigm of a privately owned individualist property would be firmly rooted in the democratic ground of American society.

“In theory”, because that never really was the case. There was a massive new flow of capital from financial institutions to home-buying, but much of the capital was illusory, and the motivation was to gather more wealth to those institutions, not to leave it in the hands of homeowners. In practice, most borrowers were in fact falling into a dangerous situation in which they were in effect owned —their homes, their wages, their working lives and recreational time— by the lenders.

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ClimateTalk #3: Utopia or Oblivion

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Global solutions to a global crisis: climate justice & the science of viability

Date: April 7, 2011 @ 2:30 pm
Location: First Floor Lounge, Falvey Memorial Library

For the third ClimateTalks roundtable event of the academic year, two faculty members will present advanced analysis of the climate crisis, from the historical, ethical and scientific points of view, and we will moderate a policy debate among students working on environmental issues.

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Nuclear Crisis, the Folly of Drilling & How to Build a Clean Energy Future

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Last Thursday, Citizens Climate Lobby‘s Villanova group held a meeting to discuss the nuclear crisis unfolding in Japan and how this impacts future energy policy in the United States. The Villanova group leader also explained the usefulness of personal testimony in letters to Congress, in support of the Million Letter March.

The question of how nuclear power, or its deep fallibility, will affect the clean energy future is crucial, because the conventional policy response to a reduction in nuclear power investment is the expansion of interest in carbon intensive fossil fuels. We now have the technology to shift to a clean energy economy, and the responsibility to move our nations policy in that direction.

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Climate, Energy & Ethics Roundtable (video + recap)

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we held the first of our series of Climate Talks, to explore with more depth and more detail some of the intricacies of the climate crisis, including social, philosophical and political, dynamics, and the way we frame our perception of global-scale phenomena. It was a construtive conversation, from four points of view, each of which was able to benefit from a kinship of interest, so that whether we were discussion environmental justice, political solidarity, economics and collaborative politics or Villanova’s ongoing commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, there were ways to deepen and broaden our understanding of each facet of the problem from each of the different perspectives.

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California Could Build Renewable Resource Export Economy

One solution for California would be the expansion of its efforts across the region and the nation, to spur the creation of a full-scale renewable resource-based power grid, to optimize both generative capacity and distribution. The question is, now that the decision has been made to shift toward renewables, how can California go beyond the 1/3 threshold and build a strong renewable-energy export economy?

Part of California’s renewables build-up process might well be, as Gov. Schwarzenegger suggests, a dynamic market in which renewable resourced energy is imported into the state. But part of California’s goal in doing this, admittedly, is to depend less on the volatility of imported energy. So there will have to be a major shift in the investment of public funds toward renewables infrastructure, within the state.

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