Saturation means more of a given ingredient cannot be added to a given volume or fabric of activity, without spilling over, and being wasted. The fossil fuels market is saturated, in the sense that it cannot effectively capitalize on major new production investment without major new construction of productive facilities. The industry has effectively pushed … Continue reading Saturation vs. Scalability: Old & Costly vs. Clean & Efficient
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.
The new administration in Washington, DC, has taken notice: climate change is not about a mild 1º increase in temperature on any given day; it is about a sweeping destabilization of global climate patterns, which could undermine the entire layout of civilization across the world. Building the infrastructure necessary for implementing and sustaining a green … Continue reading Global Climate Destabilization is Major Security & Economic Threat
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is mounting concern the ongoing flow of oil from the damaged BP Deepwater Horizon well in the Macondo field may be the result of one or more serious structural breaches in the cement well casing below the sea bed. Statements made on 7 June by Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, suggest the well casing has ruptured, there are multiple points of seepage across the surrounding sea bed, and the well can likely only be closed from below, if or when the two relief wells connect with the damaged well.
The news is gravely important, because it would mean that 1) efforts to seal or cap the well from above will not work and 2) the cement lining of the well itself may have been structurally flawed from the outset. Firedoglake has been reporting on this issue, in an effort to bring to light information that has apparently been included in private briefings to members of Congress but never disclosed to the public.
The quest for the most fuel-efficient vehicles has entered a new phase, with major government private-sector investment in research and development for industrial-scale commercial production of a new class of gas-electric hybrid vehicles and EVs (all-electric cars). Swiss-based Solar Impulse is building the world’s first 100% solar-powered airplane, an achievement that will revolutionize the travel, industrial production, transport and fuel sectors. Now comes the news that the Chevrolet Volt will shatter the existing paradigm for fuel efficiency, achieving 230 miles per gallon (mpg).
Nissan claims to have better comparable performance for their LEAF model, and Tesla is preparing a fleet of high-performance “100% torque 100% of the time” EVs. Solar panels are creeping into automotive design, for supplemental power for commercially sold vehicles, though they have long been the subject of engineering competitions that race solar-only prototypes. Organic solar concentrators (dye-treated SV-edged windows) allow for the highly efficient use of existing window surfaces to capture solar power and generate electricity.