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Partly because too big to fail international corporations OWN US federal government and partly because reason for needing to replace fossil fuel with renewable energy is entirely a matter of maintaining commons for benefit of everyone who would benefit more from a climate more stable and conducive to agriculture than what we seem headed for, federal government needs to make a deal with energy industry to tax all energy regardless of carbon footprint including energy embedded in imports and divide revenue 50/50 between buying remaining fossil fuel reserves as mineral rights at a price per ton of carbon generous for coal but inadequate to insulting for natural gas and petroleum AND buying parts for national smart electric grid and all renewable energy generators (wind, solar, geothermal, waste to energy). Equipment must be sold to utilities on 30-year mortgages and mortgage payments divided 50/50 between buying fossil fuel reserves as mineral rights and reinvesting in more renewable energy. Still need R&D to settle on a renewable energy replacement for petroleum that our too big to fail oil firms can mass produce and market.  That can come from 50% for renewable energy. Since our military leaders want renewable energy more than weapons, it should be possible to divert some funds from weapons to renewable energy for civilian economy IFF renewable energy equipment is made by MIC firms. Maybe we should also ask Michael Bloomberg and hedge fund pals what they can contribute to solving problem.  Maybe they can invest in something that will help.

1 month, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.greenbiz.com/article/state-green-business-stranded-assets

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Maybe an ultra light EV with solar panel top and a kite mounted wind turbine and a rugged enough to be seaworthy inflatable raft with electric outboard motor could do it?

1 month, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.greenbiz.com/article/great-sustainable-race-around-globe-without-fossil-fuels

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@JanetWilliams1 @GraceAdams830 @clockp Actually, you can't prove that there has been zero net change worldwide since 1998 any more than I can prove that there has been warming over that interval.  What is actually happening is that if you look at just  means, 2014 is the warmest year since 1880 (when modern weather record keeping began) by about 0.1 degree Centigrade compared to 1998.  1998 was a record warm year.  2005 broke that record and 2010 tied 2005.  If you look at 95% confidence intervals, the overlap in those is several times the differences in means.  If you look at probability statements of scientists where they come off sounding like bookies offering odds on a horse race, they say there is 1 in 6 chance of only 2C warming by early 2100s, 4C is mean (most likely) expected warming, and there is 1 in 6 chance of 6C or more warming by then compared to now (2014).  Most people who care about future events try to buy insurance against major adverse events with as little as 1 in 1000 chance.  6C warmer than now is what Tyrannosaurus rex had in its day, with mostly palm trees at bottom of food chain.  Earth's carrying capacity for humans at such temperatures would be about 2 billion.  I doubt that it would be possible to reduce population that much in that time span without war like Armageddon of Biblical prophesy--which would pretty much kill the 2 billion which otherwise could be supported.  We do NOT have a free market economy.  Our economy is dominated by too big to fail firms.  Our RULING CLASS consists of high officers and major stockholders of our too big to fail firms including over a dozen too big to fail fossil fuel firms. And they have bought of government.

3 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@clockp  I live in Connecticut, a very blue state.  And I am more afraid of global warming killing today's children's grandchildren prematurely than I care what happens to me at my age (71 years old now) and most likely in my dotage.  I never had any children so there won't be any descendants of me around when global warming **** really hits the fan.

3 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@JanetWilliams1 @GraceAdams830 @Tom Joad @Roger DeCoverley  I did NOT say to retire the coal or natural gas plants--merely to idle them for weeks or months during times of year with least demand.  Wind and solar are intermittent, so we do need both plenty of smart grid electronics and plenty of energy storage to integrate them into the grid.  It should be possible to get about 90% of electricity from wind and solar cost-competitive with wind and natural gas with smart grid electronics and plenty of energy storage to store energy from times with more supply than demand and to return that energy to the grid in times of more demand than supply.  Geothermal, and waste to energy both produce dispatchable energy to fill in when energy storage is not enough to bridge the gap between supply and demand.  We should be able to get at least 10% of our electricity from geothermal and about 5% from waste to energy. 

3 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@JanetWilliams1 @GraceAdams830 @Tom Joad @Roger DeCoverley Taxes-yes always taxes.  Don't NEED landscaping much less lawns.  Not likely to be much snow to plow.  With luck same site can hold wind turbine on very tall pole, lots of PV solar all over roofs and on poles over parking, utility size batteries or hydrogen fuel cells (really big battery) and a cluster of geothermal wells all going straight down to 4 to 10 kilometer where there is enough heat for geothermal then fanning out to assigned heat reservoir locations, and the old coal plant.  Workers will have to accept being trained for two or more seasonal jobs for same utility employer--do most of maintenance on fuel-fired generator during mild weather idle season, tend fuel-fired generator while generating, monitor and do whatever else needs to be done for wind and solar, geothermal and bio-gas from organic waste material are dispatch-able so year round.  


3 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@johnwerneken @GraceAdams830 @Tom Joad @JanetWilliams1 @Roger DeCoverley  Nazi Germany winning WWII I would consider a bag end rather than convincing evidence that the ends never justify the means.

3 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@JanetWilliams1 @GraceAdams830 @Tom Joad @Roger DeCoverley Between batteries, hydrogen fuel cells (really a type of battery), hydro, pumped storage, geothermal (we should be able to develop enough to replace at least 10% of our present electric generating capacity), and waste to energy (both methane from anaerobic digestion of wet wastes and wood pellets from forestry wastes)  we should be able to manage to at least turn off at least some coal plants for several weeks in fall and spring (too mildest and least energy demanding times of year).  Electric utilities always keep more generating capacity in their stables than they believe they will need.  We should be able to at least REDUCE fossil fuel use a lot, if not retire all our fossil fuel equipment.  The same equipment used for natural gas-fired generators  is used for methane waste to energy.  And I suspect wood pellets can substitute for coal to some extent.

3 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@JanetWilliams1 @GraceAdams830 @Tom Joad @Roger DeCoverley Wind turbines, solar power both PV and thermal, and energy storage and smart grid electronics needed to integrate wind and solar do exist.  They are close to but not quite cost-competitive with natural gas and coal.  It will take subsidies to make them cost-competitive--but just accounting for the externalized costs of pollution should be enough justification for at least some subsidy to help level the playing field.  A piece of the action to give to our RULING CLASS too big to fail fossil fuel firms to buy their acquiescence to the use of clean renewable energy is something federal government will have to conjure out of the imagination of a computer in the bowels of the Federal Reserve System.  At this point all money (other than antique coins) is a figment of the imagination of that computer.

3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@TheSteelGeneral Petroleum is used mostly as liquid fuel for transportation.  Wind is good mostly for generating electricity.  So I doubt it would be feasible to substitute wind turbines for petroleum.  What United States really needs is a cost-competitive renewable energy substitute for petroleum--which must be liquid fuel to put in fuel tank of vehicle to use for transportation.

3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120694/democrats-counter-gop-keystone-bill-environmental-amendments

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@JanetWilliams1 @GraceAdams830 @Tom Joad @Roger DeCoverley If they were able to do the work (not everyone is physically strong enough to do low-skill construction work) and the only two choices were to take the job offered and be homeless and hungry and likely to be arrested for vagrancy if they don't take the job and make an honest effort to do the job--I suspect they would at least try.  I remember a man who was both president of the board of directors of the local franchise of the YMCA and a job coach at Project Genesis which worked under contract to the state vocational rehabilitation agency trying to guide those who had applied for help from voc rehab their first few weeks on the job.  Some of them succeeded well enough to get if not better at least similar jobs in the private enterprise sector; some of them were such clods that the best the job coach could do was to document what was wrong with them such that they could not be placed in a private sector job.  I was placed there as a bookkeeper.  I stayed on there until the Y finally collapsed due to problems it had before I ever was placed there.  The next job I had was a community service employment program job for those over 55 years of age, where I was paid by the federal government through Easter Seals (the non-profit the federal government hired to run the senior CSEP in that local area) and placed with another smaller, even more local non-profit.

3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@johnwerneken @GraceAdams830 @Tom Joad I would like for the safety net to be an employer of last resort program as much as possible for everyone sufficiently able of body and mind to be able to do some sort of useful work.   Save disability pensions for those who are really NOT able to do any useful work.  If the safety net is a minimum wage job for anyone able and willing to work at such a job--that should make it direct and per capita.  For working age adults that are NOT the custodial parent of any child, the "half-way house" with those living in it bused to jobs (that they have to accept and succeed at training for in order to enter) five days a week promoted by Knights of Malta as part of prison reform, might be an efficient way to house feed and socialize with useful work the poor IF the poor could be allowed to enter one voluntarily as the alternative to homelessness and hunger.

3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@JanetWilliams1 @GraceAdams830 @johnwerneken @Tom Joad I never had any children--at least partly because I could not see how I could afford any.

3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@JanetWilliams1 @GraceAdams830 @Tom Joad @Roger DeCoverley I said if.  It is too bad that we have merely extended unemployment benefits instead of contracting for improvements to our infrastructure.  There is a place for hiring the unemployed for low-skill work--but it is not until after contracting with businesses for repairing, replacing, or improving infrastructure that needs it.

3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@Tom Joad @JanetWilliams1 @Roger DeCoverley Keynes was right--monetary policy doesn't work when interest rates are at zero already.

Unfortunately, going back on free trade alliances would be a beggar thy neighbor policy and would cause other nations to beggar they neighbor right back at us.

3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@Tom Joad @JanetWilliams1 @Roger DeCoverley 

How does Germany do it?

I agree with Nicolo Machiavelli that it is better to see the world as it is than to assume that it is the way it is supposed to be.  I also agree with him that results--both intended and unintended are more important that observing conventional morality about the means to the end.  I hope that our capitalists are more interested in the profits of the firms they run or hold stock in than they are determined to stick with the means to make those profits.  That way it ought to be possible to make a deal with them (they have more political power than anyone else) to buy their cooperation on such things as pollution controls.  It should even be possible to buy their remaining fossil fuel reserves as mineral rights as long as you make sure they also get a piece of the action on the renewable energy harnessing technology that will need to replace those fossil fuels.

I must admit that so far, Free Trade Alliances have not worked out well for the USA.  One theory is that now that there is one world market for everything including labor and American labor must compete with labor everywhere in the world including all the low income nations and with robots, now American labor is not going to be able to earn a decent living until labor everywhere including in all the now low income nations earns a decent living.


3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@TheSteelGeneral Probably get more jobs installing wind turbines and solar power systems and the energy storage and smart grid technology needed to integrate the intermittent power sources into the grid than installing the pipeline.  

3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120694/democrats-counter-gop-keystone-bill-environmental-amendments

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@johnwerneken @Tom Joad As long as big businesses that employ a lot of minimum wage labor believe they are better off with a social safety net paid for with deficit spending than either paying taxes themselves or paying their workers enough to not need a social safety net, that will continue.  WalMart benefits twice--its minimum wage workers are also many of its customers.

I agree that a liberal arts college education should at least not be the ONLY answer for job training.  There might be something to be said for some liberal arts training--at least literacy and numeracy and some semblance of cultural literacy about both social studies and natural science--as citizen training.

If neither family size nor income matter--how can anything other than a head tax (like the Union of South Africa had during the days of apartheid) be justified?  For the sake of the children--it might be better to confiscate and put up for adoption the third child of a low-income mother than to allow it to be raised in poverty, if you refuse to recognize family size in calculating taxes owed.

3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@OdinsGaze @clockp At this point the United States is neither a democracy nor a republic.  It is a fascist state with government of by and for BIG BUSINESS--because our politicians sold out to our CEOs of large international corporations a long time ago.  Because greenhouse gases mix so thoroughly with our atmosphere, global warming and climate change ARE world issues--not local, state, or national issues.  There is a correlation between air pollution and respiratory health problems--maybe enough to justify trying to reduce air pollution in an effort to save on health care costs.  Saudi Arabia still has cheap to produce petroleum.  If they manage to drive competitors out of business with a price war, that oil will be expensive for those in other nations to buy.  Americans are likely to be better off with higher but more stable oil prices.  With peak oil fairly well within sight, it might be worthwhile for federal government to sponsor R&D seeking a renewable replacement, and then once they find a winner, tax imports to subsidize the winner through its infant industry phase--both because being renewable rather than a dwindling finite natural resource price should be more stable and because since it would involve likely involve extracting carbon from CO2 captured from the air and recycling it in a hydrocarbon fuel the process should help some in controlling CO2 concentrations.

3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@Tom Joad @SilverSmurfer I don't.  I feel Republicans want government as non-functional as possible so the rich can either be left alone by government or use government to pick on the poor.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@razzo1952 @USDemocrat I would much rather federal government fund a pilot plant for each of two or three leading candidates for a renewable energy replacement for petroleum and subsidize whichever seems most-competitive after that enough to get our too big to fail oil firms to mass produce it, so we can avoid shipping toxic crude oil in any means of transportation likely to either leak or spill.  What could be a friendlier source of oil than something renewable right here in the USA?

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120694/democrats-counter-gop-keystone-bill-environmental-amendments

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@JanetWilliams1 @Tom Joad @Roger DeCoverley If deficit spending goes for repairs and replacements for worn out infrastructure that we need anyhow, we at least have some improved infrastructure to show for the money--so it should be at least less inflationary than just extending unemployment benefits or SNAP which helps both farmers and poor consumers who get the benefits.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@USDemocrat  I would rather NOT have either Keystone XL pipeline or Homeland Security.  I suspect World Trade Center plane demolition was a false flag operation to get excuse to attack Iraq and that Homeland Security is counterproductive.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120694/democrats-counter-gop-keystone-bill-environmental-amendments

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@USDemocrat I feel that if government gets something constructive out of deficit spending--like repairs or replacements for worn-out infrastructure or R&D to develop renewable energy, that is less inflationary than just dumping money in the economy, whether with corporate bailouts or with unemployment insurance extensions.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120655/grover-norquist-wrong-austerity-has-helped-economy

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@USDemocrat @GraceAdams830 OK JMK would be John Maynard Keynes.  Deficit spending is so much more fun than paying down the national debt that governments forget that whenever the economy is doing well enough for current policy to produce government surpluses, the right thing to do is to realize that that is the flip side of deficit spending in Keynesian economic theory.  I guess Republicans have a bias towards imposing austerity on the poor to middle class so the rich can make out like bandits, and Democrats have a bias towards deficit spending for everything from relieving poverty to replacing worn-out infrastructure.  It ought to be possible to figure out what is a good balance for unemployment vs inflation and high interest rates and manage to run balanced budgets when the economy is balanced, deficits when unemployment is hurting the nation more than inflation and high interest rates, and run budget surpluses used to pay down national debt when inflation and high interest rates are causing more pain than unemployment.  John Maynard Keynes surely advocated for having the government average balanced budgets over decades and avoid getting hung up on balancing budgets each year.  The major disadvantage of high income inequality is that it destabilizes the business cycle.  Keynes would say that using contra-cyclical spending to keep the economy on a more or less even keel is part of taking care of the commons.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120655/grover-norquist-wrong-austerity-has-helped-economy

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@Bob Lee1 @GraceAdams830 The conference in Rio and then later Paris to negotiate some sort of agreement to curb emissions is not over yet.  As far as I could figure out looking at Joule Unlimited 's website,  they are at the working prototype stage and begging for an angel to fund a pilot plant for them to prove that it is feasible to scale their technology up enough to achieve economy of scale.  Looking at only the fossil-fuel fired generator, natural gas emits less greenhouse gas emissions than coal.  Unfortunately, we have natural gas leaks that have to be stopped to make gas a good substitute for coal.  Methane is not only a very potent greenhouse gas, it also comes mixed with something that sickens and even kills humans and livestock and wildlife where it leaks from fracked natural gas fields.  That something might be carbon monoxide or it might be something else.  A lot of people protest fracked gas wells because they and their livestock get sick from the fumes.  It would take ten years to build the rest of that pipeline once given permission.  

I suspect our MIC firms could be just as happy making wind turbines, solar power system parts, ans smart grid parts, as making military pork and our military has some pork they would like to trade in for more renewable energy.  We also have chicken hawks agitating for more money for more weapons to go fight terrorists.  I suspect that also is more about profits for our MIC firms than any realistic fear of terrorists.  Also Pres. Obama has somehow set aside $30 billion for first a pilot project and then some infant industry subsidies for enhanced geothermal systems which are both renewable energy and dis-patchable electric power. That should help both provide renewable energy and appease greedy capitalists in the fossil fuel part of the energy industry. 

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120694/democrats-counter-gop-keystone-bill-environmental-amendments

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@razzo1952 @GraceAdams830 @Nusholtz I was suggesting taxing petroleum in US to raise price of petroleum products --just in the US -- not world wide, and using  1/2 the revenue to buy low grade tar sands deposits (polluting to extract and process) as mineral rights to get them off the market and other 1/3 of revenue to sponsor R&D to develop a renewable energy replacement for petroleum and/or its products.  Once such a product is developed and our too big to fail oil firms get started on mass-producing it (or them if it is various finished products that are renewable replacement rather than a single product to process further to replace hydrocarbon fuels).  Once our oil firms are making renewable energy energy hydrocarbon fuels, that should put some sort of ceiling on world price of petroleum--the same as the tax petroleum and use revenue to subsidize replacement product by giving our oil firms starter kits for making the replacement would put a floor on US price of petroleum products.

It is probably a long day for both of us. 

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120694/democrats-counter-gop-keystone-bill-environmental-amendments

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@USDemocrat Keynes advocated for contra-cyclical government spending: government should run a deficit when there is high unemployment and relatively low inflation and interest rates (economy is sluggish) and pay down the national debt when inflation and/or interest rates are causing more pain than unemployment is. (the economy is overheated) 

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120655/grover-norquist-wrong-austerity-has-helped-economy

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@tbergerson I remember when it was big news that the top marginal rate on the personal income tax was being lowered to 50% on earned income.  That limit was extended to investment income a few years later.  For a while the top rate on investment income was 70% while it was 50% on earned income.  The best argument I ever heard for high top marginal rates was that the prohibitive tariff effect of the tax forced capitalists to invest in things that were exempt from tax as legitimate business expense--like wages and raw materials and machinery for making stuff. 

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120655/grover-norquist-wrong-austerity-has-helped-economy

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@GlobalT @OdinsGaze There are actually 3 economic sectors: public, private enterprise, and private philanthropy.  Public sector usually handles national defense, law enforcement and court system, and maintaining the commons for the benefit of all.  Private enterprise usually handles what they can make a profit doing without being unfair and mean to a captive audience or captive work force.  For profit prisons are a major loophole in 13th anti-slavery amendment to constitution and unfair and mean to a captive work force. privatized schools can be unfair to a captive audience of children.  If kids get the 3Rs in school whether public or private, they can one hopes get the rest of their education from reading.  Lately it seems that private philanthropy is called on for maybe more than its share of maintaining the commons or at least maintaining a social safety net to house the homeless and feed the hungry.  I worry about waste disposal from our energy system damaging the commons. 

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120655/grover-norquist-wrong-austerity-has-helped-economy

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@OdinsGaze @3StarJohn @GraceAdams830 both approaches--1) employer of last resort with non-profits and state and local governments getting use of low-skill low wage labor for providing supervision and work to do  while private enterprise employers of low skill low wage labor get only a discount--maybe make up difference between expected production for minimum wage labor and actual production and 2) avoid taxing free enterprise firms at all and thus rely entirely on trickle down economics.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@Nusholtz @GraceAdams830 And if US had gotten its too big to fail oil firms started on mass-producing a renewable replacement for petroleum by then, our too big to fail oil firms would be in a position to compete in world market instead of just being protected is US domestic market.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120694/democrats-counter-gop-keystone-bill-environmental-amendments

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@Bob Calgary With the fuss from IPCC about global warming, we might need to get to net zero emissions for USA by 2025 due to some treaty.  We need a renewable energy replacement for petroleum and its products.  If we start with whatever seems most promising of various high-tech start-ups in the field, maybe Joule Unlimited, by funding pilot plants for whatever seems most promising, we might be able to get a viable replacement product by then.  Whatever it is, we must make mass-producing it at least as profitable for our too big to fail oil firms as business as usual to make it politically feasible.  It will probably need a tax or user fee or even a "fair-traded item" rule like New York State used to have on certain items that were likely enough to need repairs that the manufacturer wanted it sold only by full-service department stores willing and able to make repairs--to get the price of crude oil at least within the United States back up high enough to make the replacement cost-competitive for domestic consumption.  Split revenue 50/50 between buying otherwise stranded inventory of fossil fuel reserves as mineral rights to keep fossil fuel firms from being stuck with them and getting a renewable replacement for petroleum and/or its products in place.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120694/democrats-counter-gop-keystone-bill-environmental-amendments

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@miamorphos @SeanDFerris I suppose Canadians need more money too.  And our too big to fail oil firms are very much international.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120694/democrats-counter-gop-keystone-bill-environmental-amendments

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@Nusholtz Yes, I wish we would get a renewable substitute for oil.  It should be less messy than fossil fuel.  I realize entire energy sector of our economy is even more about profits for too big to fail firms than it is about energy to do work we want to do.  Whatever renewable replacement for petroleum we get would have to be made even more profitable for our too big to fail petroleum firms to mass produce than extracting and processing petroleum with business as usual is.  Joule Unlimited with hopes for $1.20/gallon = $50.40/barrel ethanol, gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel seems to be the leading contender last I looked.  I would like user fees or taxes to bring price of crude oil just within the United States back up to somewhere nearer what they were near the beginning of 2014--maybe up to $80/barrel for now, and divide revenue 50/50 between buying least profitable to extract and process tar sands deposits from too big to fail oil firms as mineral rights to get them off the market and first sponsoring a pilot plant for all four of Joule Unlimited products, then if successful, more plants like the pilot plant to assign too big to fail oil firms to use to mass produce those products with capacity divided among firms in proportion to their current market share, and try to meet domestic demand for petroleum products with this.  Air and water pollution are more immediate problems than climate change, but recycling from CO2 through GE microbes to hydrocarbon fuels should also help with climate change.  Electric power is a separate issue.  There we are much closer to already having the technology needed to replace fossil fuel--needing only to figure out how to pay for both replacing old fossil fuel fired generators and buying political feasibility by buying reserves of both coal and natural gas at a fair price to get it off the market.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120694/democrats-counter-gop-keystone-bill-environmental-amendments

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@ThomasMacso1 I messed up and put the comment I meant for you down a little lower under 3StarJohn.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@3StarJohn Work is such an important socializing factor that it is better to help working age, able to work citizens with an employer of last resort program than to have a guaranteed minimum income with no work requirement.  Part of the problem is that since about 1990, American workers have had to compete in a global market for labor with Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Pakistani, etc. low-wage nations' workers for jobs, and now even against robots.   The federal government would not have to use the labor directly in an employer of last resort program.  It could farm out to state and local governments and non-profit organizations, and even to employers of minimum wage workers in the private enterprise sector of the economy the job of supervising and providing constructive work to do to the minimum wage workers in the program.  It already does in several community service employment programs.  It would be just a matter of scaling up those programs to make a minimum wage job available to everyone willing to work at the minimum wage.  It would take some subsidy to place workers who can't find a job on their own in jobs in the private enterprise sector--maybe making up the difference between the employer of last resort program workers measured productivity and the minimum wage (what regular workers produce in such jobs).  Non-profits and state and local governments should continue to get free labor and the most marginal workers.   

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120693/mitch-mcconnell-regulations-slowed-economic-recovery-hes-wrong

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@razzo1952 1) Pipelines and especially other pipelines in the same general area run by the same pipeline firm leak messy toxic dilbit. That part of the problem could be solved by shipping tar sands just the way they come out of the pit mine--looking like broken chunks of macadam pavement in hopper cars or box cars by rail to the refinery. 2) The supply of oil even including tar sands is finite--and it seems that the further down into this finite supply we go, the cruddier the crude oil gets.  So far, most of the social cost of carbon is for health care cost and time lost from work over health problems from air and water pollution from extracting and using fossil fuel.  I want federal government to sponsor R&D maybe with Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration funding to develop a sustainable replacement for petroleum and/or its products.  I can think of three attempts so far: 1) Algae Systems had just about gotten down to $10/gallon algal bio-diesel when US Navy ran off pursuing 2) Sun Fuel, purely chemical engineering approach using CO2 from ocean and both electric power and otherwise waste heat from large nuclear power Navy ships to make synthetic diesel at $6/gallon which was less than the $8/gallon it cost US Navy to get conventional petroleum diesel delivered to where needed. 3) Now Joule Unlimited claims on its website to have GE microbes that live in clear tubes on a site in our desert SW and produce ethanol, gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel (aka kerosene) and it hopes to get the cost down to $1.20/gallon = $50.40/barrel if it can get enough demand to achieve economy of scale.  On the basis of cost alone, Joule Unlimited seems to be the leading contender so far.  I would like for federal government to sponsor a pilot plant for each of their four products.  If they can really do it for $60/barrel even, then I would like for federal government to get each of our too big to fail oil firms started on mass producing one or more or even all four products and buy some tar sands as mineral rights to get it off the market.  It would take a tax on oil, like to bring price back up to near what it was first half of 2014 before Saudi Arabia started what looks like a price war, selling good crude oil for something like $40/barrel, and divide revenue from that tax 50/50 between sponsoring the R&D and buying tar sands as mineral rights.


3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120694/democrats-counter-gop-keystone-bill-environmental-amendments

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@Bob Lee1 @JanetHinch Given two really big batteries--one in the car and one in the garage where the car is parked between trips--wind and or solar can provide quite a bit of the energy needed for a private passenger vehicle--maybe not all, but at least enough for most short trips--which is maybe 80% of private passenger vehicle use.  If we must ship tar sands, lets ship it as chunks like it comes out of the mine in box cars or hopper cars and wait until the chunks get to the refinery to dilute them.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120694/democrats-counter-gop-keystone-bill-environmental-amendments

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Great Plains could really use water piped down from Alaska.  Pipelines like fracking do increase the risk of leaks and really messing up the environment.  If the pipeline fans would settle for a pipeline to carry water from Alaska to the Great Plains, that I could live with.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120694/democrats-counter-gop-keystone-bill-environmental-amendments

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Couldn't those 8 scientists manage to grow enough veggies or herbs or something to both capture CO2 and feed the scientists?

1 year, 5 months ago on Help Us Shape a Vision for a Healthy Planet

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Burning a gallon of diesel emits 25 pounds of CO2; so burning 88 gallons of diesel will emit a ton of CO2.  88 gallons = 1.6 barrels.  $25/ton times 1/88 tons = $0.29/gallon.  If the social cost of CO2 is greater than the $25/ton cost to capture CO2 to fill enhanced geothermal system, then it might make sense to subsidize the transition from petroleum to having our too big to fail oil firms mass produce algal bio-diesel.  Maybe we could swap some algal bio-diesel for them to test market for enough tar sands deposits to make an equal amount of regular diesel.  Keep repeating until cost to make algal bio-diesel is down cost to make petroleum diesel.  Then expect oil firms to start investing in their own Algae Systems algal bio-diesel production modules.

1 year, 5 months ago on Help Us Shape a Vision for a Healthy Planet

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With our too big to fail oil firms scraping the bottom of the barrel with tar sands oil, we really need to replace petroleum with already carbon-negative algal bio-diesel that US Navy and Algae Systems expect to get cost-competitive with petroleum in 2016 at about $10/gallon.   We also need to clean up past emissions of CO2.  Global Thermostat can capture CO2 for $25/ton of CO2 = $91.67/ton of carbon, which seems to be more than the price of carbon in coal but less than the price of carbon in natural gas.  Enhanced geothermal system is good place to store CO2, using it as fracking/hydraulic/heat-transfer fluid.  It would cost an average of $1.625 trillion a year for 100 years to capture enough CO2 for one 150MW enhanced geothermal system.  That is almost 10% of US GDP.   Over that 100 years it would capture about 6.5 trillion tons of the 36.67 trillion tons of CO2 that we need to capture.  I suspect bio-char byproduct of algal bio-diesel contains about the same amount of carbon as the bio-diesel.  So how much help algal bio-diesel is in cleaning up past mess depends on how much share of the total energy market bio-diesel as a substitute for petroleum manages to hold after the almost doubling of price of oil til bio-diesel is cost-competitive with petroleum. 

1 year, 5 months ago on Help Us Shape a Vision for a Healthy Planet

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Yeah for Rutland and its solar power programs.  They should be able to sell any surplus power wholesale to electric utilities elsewhere.

1 year, 7 months ago on Rutland Herald Editorial: A solar city  : Rutland Herald Online

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Since too big to fail firms very much including fossil fuel firms own the USA, any national settlement very much needs to include the purchase of fossil fuel as reserves.  Since they own the place, they MUST get theirs.

1 year, 8 months ago on Climate action  : Times Argus Online

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 @gamoen I tried it this morning.  Now it works.

1 year, 8 months ago on Help Us Shape a Vision for a Healthy Planet

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 @Paul Lauenstein I doubt very much that it is possible to repeal Citizen's United.  What I want is:  phase in an excise tax on all energy limited to a 10% increase in retail price each year until it gets high enough to cover buying both fossil fuel as reserves and renewable energy equipment including storage and smart grid electronics needed to integrate wind and solar into the grid.  Buying fossil fuel as reserves is both necessary because fossil fuel CEOs have more political power than politicians do and only fair because when government wants land to erect a public building like a school, it has to exercise its right of eminent domain to buy land at a "fair" price.   Buying equipment and having utilities use it is necessary because given half a chance utilities would want to deposit the money in an interest bearing escrow account and sit on it there as long as possible.  Forcing utilities to spend the money on renewable energy and/or efficiency the same year they collect it gives their rate payers some benefit from the money as better electric service and/or cleaner air.

1 year, 8 months ago on Help Us Shape a Vision for a Healthy Planet

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 @gamoen

 Discover magazine in May 2003 and again in July 2004 featured an invention--much resembling a mini oil refinery for converting all sorts of organic waste material (including plastic) to something resembling crude oil plus other energy products.  I suspect there is one in that North Pacific Gyre already--but the plastic is still gaining on it.

1 year, 11 months ago on Help Us Shape a Vision for a Healthy Planet

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 @TimUpham  @Phyl12 It is not growing rice in and of itself that is a problem, so much as using flood irrigation of rice fields to control weeds.  Using flood irrigation once to get the baby rice plants off to a good wet start makes sense, but most of the growing season, it should be possible to hoe weeds instead of drowning them.

2 years, 1 month ago on Help Us Shape a Vision for a Healthy Planet

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 @Robin99

 U S Navy has contracted since about 2006 with Algae Systems for engineering R&D to bring their now already CARBON_NEGATIVE bio-diesel from algae down in price to make it cost-competitive with petroleum.  I believe they have every intention of licensing the technology to all the too big to fail American oil firms as soon as the cost of bi0-diesel comes down enough and/or the cost of petroleum toes up enough for the two prices to meet in the middle.  Once this becomes a commercial product, it will be a big help in controlling the greenhouse gas content of both the atmosphere and the ocean.

2 years, 1 month ago on Help Us Shape a Vision for a Healthy Planet

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