Posts Tagged ‘waste’

King Wastes Euros, Elephants; CO2 Denier Blames Cows!

April 17, 2012

THOSE WHO TEACH WASTE OUGHT TO BE TAUGHT A LESSON.

Five millions Spaniards are unemployed (out of 40 million). And now the king broke his hip. How? He was in a safari. It turns out that the good king loves to assassinate elephants in Bostwana. Each time the king reaches ecstasy by killing one single elephant it costs 37,000 euros ($50,000) to European taxpayers (and even to the American ones: globalization, remember?) But there is no money for the 35% of Spanish youth who are unemployed. Each time the king presses the trigger, it’s more than two median family incomes in Spain, which go to pierce flesh. It’s highly symbolic: you earn it not, while the king penetrates a terrorized victim with it.

King Juan Carlos loves to pose with elephants he perforated with bullets. It makes him feel mighty, he has got to feel completely empty inside.

The truth is that this assassin of elephants was put in power by a fascist, the treacherous general, Franco, who killed more than a million Spaniards, while overthrowing the republic, and even more for years after that. With the crucial help of Texaco, and other American plutocrats, Mussolini and Hitler. Franco and his subalterns were even engaged in child trafficking (killing the parents to get the children; no wonder the Catholic church who has had an obsession with abusing children ever since Abraham, was all behind Franco: Opus Dei!)

The latter two, Mussolini and Hitler, were punished, but they were only the puppets of the former, a worldwide conspiracy of plutocrats, whose heirs are doing better than ever, thank you. We are moving in a new phase, where their role and tastes are becoming obvious, in part for an extremely sinister reason: they don’t feel they have to hide anymore.

Starve millions of Spaniards, kill the elephants. Hopefully they all suffer very much, pleasing Juan Carlos to no end.

After one more scandal too many, should one want to improve matters for the commons, Juan Carlos and his family ought to be removed from their influential position. We have seen enough of his kind. Juan Carlos, a Bourbon, that is a descendant of a family that made France suffer so much, is there because his ancestor, the sectarian criminal, Louis XIV of France, put him there. OK, first France had to win a war, the War of the Succession of Spain, an enormous world war that lasted more than 13 years, devastating all of Europe, and even America, but especially Spain, France and Germany.

The main reason why Spain could be democratized is that admiral Duke Carrero Blanco, Franco’s confidante and successor was thrown, still in his armored vehicle, into a ballistic trajectory by ETA. After overflying the church where he had attended mass, Prime Minister Blanco was in for a rude landing. He died later, after contemplating his crimes.

It’s high time for Spain to become a republic again, a generation after the fascists killed millions to make sure it was not. The fact that several members of Carlos’ family have been stealing Spain in full sight makes Spanish, hence European, recovery difficult.

We have seen that problem in Italy with Berlusconi. Now that Berlusconi is gone, a great cleaning has started. As much as 35% of Italy potential tax base is evaded, one now hears. Italians are poor, Italian political parties, are filthy rich. It turns out that some in one of the parties, the Ligua Norte, stole in excess of ten billion dollars. The son of the founder had never seen an expensive sport car the Ligua did not buy for him.

That reminds one of the Chinese Princelings who all go to Harvard, to live like princes. Plutocracy is a world phenomenon and Harvard is a crucial link of this somber conspiracy of unprecedented reach. Harvard profs wrote Saif Al Islam Qaddafi’s PhD thesis, passed in London at the urge of George Soros (another plutocrat multi billionaire). Bo, the son of Bo, famous for his extravagantly expensive lifestyle was in Harvard, but now that his mother has been accused of being an assassin, he has disappeared. Don’t worry: the daughter of the coming Chinese president is also in Harvard.

Some Harvard supporter told me that 60% of student there receive scholarships. Paid by American taxpayers? and does that mean we are left with 40% heirs of plutocrats, and 60% future sycophants? Plutocrats need servants. The latter can go to Harvard, and get acquainted to their masters, who are, conveniently enough, in the same locale.

Spain’s problems mostly arise from a conspiracy of the bankers with the politicians. Bankers, backed up by taxpayers, engaged, thanks to politicians into projects that could not bring a profit, but would just force the People of Spain (hence Europe) to pay them rent.

Time for the clean-up. It has to start with the symbols.

Just as there is a worldwide banking mafia feeding its pet politicians, academic and media, there is a worldwide fossil fuel mafia feeding the same sort of critters.    

Paul Handover from the excellent Learning From Dogs site has detected a new angle of the fossil fuel mafia. I thought that I saw I read everything from the CO2 deniers, but this reaches new heights of perversity! Thanks to Paul to bring this to light.

Arizona State University Professor Darnall claims that:

“Livestock generates more greenhouse gases than all the planes, trains and automobiles on the planet. In part, that’s because the methane from, well, the other end of cows, has 21 times the greenhouse gas warming effect as carbon dioxide.”

Whatever. Good trick to utter a lie, and then explain it with something true. Yet, Prof. Darnall does not even know her own propaganda well. The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of methane, CH4, over 20 years, is actually seventy-two times that of CO2, and twenty-five times over 100 years. However its global Global Warming effect may be as little as 25% that of CO2.

Methane from herding may have spared us a re-glaciation, 7,000 years ago, some scientists have suggested. The good professor rides on that notion all the way to hell.

There is crushing evidence that what the good professor says about cows is NOT just incorrect, it is outright absurd. And the absurdity is easy to demonstrate. Why? Because the CO2 went from 280 ppm (1800 CE) to 395 ppm, but only up to 460 ppm in CO2 equivalent (see Radiative Forcing, below).

As Paul Handover points out: Darnall’s solution? Meatless Mondays — to start curving that scary trend line.”

Just to visualize, that’s a lions’ diet. Once a week, lions at the zoo are NOT given meat, for better health. So prof. Darnall suggests that Americans, who, as Homo Sapiens, are omnivorous, should actually eat just like lions at the zoo, with “Meatless Mondays“.  

So even if all the supplementary CO2 like gases were all methane, CH4 (and they are not), one would get a methane contribution of only 30%, over the 1800 base.

The good prof. should have said that one could cut off all greenhouse gases of industrial origin. Some have 32,000 times the Greenhouse Warming Potential of CO2. One easy way to mitigate the greenhouse would be to outlaw them all. Their Radiative Forcing is about two-third that of methane, itself a third of CO2.

 So I would dare to say that the good professor’s discourse is corrupt. She looks cute like that, young and smiley, but she is out to seduce the big industrial interests of the fossil persuasion, or to seduce on their behalf. Obviously. It’s all about small people not doing enough, she says. They just eat too much of the bad stuff. Let them eat arugula instead.

This is typical: those who don’t want to change anything claim it’s enough to change a few little things: put the cardboard in the green container, eat grass, don’t shampoo, etc. In truth, the real problem is energy. Energy has to be made expensive. Why? Because it is. At this point, it is kept cheap by big armies, and an exploitative mentality. Even if there was no greenhouse and CO2 poisoning, fossil fuels will run out soon.

Whereas I say: rise energy taxes colossally, force professors, bankers and politicians to video-conference, instead of jetting around. I am myself jetting around right now, but it’s for (literally, vital family reasons). I have known professors who go around the world all the time, as if frequent flier miles were all they were really after, thanks to taxpayers’ ever more colossal generosity (does not beat Obama sending an army around his 13 year old to play solo student in Mexico, or Sarkozy recovering his bad belly adult son in Ukraine with one of the French republic’s fast jets).

I have not eaten much meat in my life (last time was a few months ago), so my defense of meat is altruistic. I know that in vast swathes of the planet, meat is the ONLY source of protein. Lack of proteins is a huge problem in Black African children, cattle and bush meat their salvation. We are far from arugula salad there. Cattle is also an important export and source of livelihood in the Third World.

There is probably more cattle in Africa than in the Americas. So not so good prof is saying millions of African children should go around with enormously distended bellies, and the poor there, getting poorer.

I am presently generating lots of CO2 myself, as I travel around the planet. But I am no hypocrite: I admit to it.

Plus, I have to do this for family reasons. I minimize air travel as much as possible. Out of dozens of flights, I remember just one for pure “tourism”. I may be somewhat hypocritical though, as my destiny was sprawled over three continents plus one archipelago. Thus I was condemned to conflate sightseeing and common decency. There are no free trips.

***

Patrice Ayme

WASTE IS THE MAIN PROBLEM OF THE US ECONOMY, IT CAN ONLY BE DISCOURAGED BY CHANGING THE TAX SYSTEM ALONG LINES LONG IMPLEMENTED IN EUROPE.

February 22, 2008

Abstract: To save the planet while allowing most people to become richer, new technologies have to be invented and made mandatory. The EU has played that game, but the USA has obstinately kept on sticking to its old addiction of mindless waste and deliberate consumption. This created imbalances in the US economy leading to the credit crisis, the collapse of the US dollar, a probable recession, poverty, bad health care, and, some will say, invading another country for oil… Besides, interfering destructively with all good-natured attempts at modifying for the best the sorry trajectory of the world’s ecology. To domesticate the reticent Americans, taxes on the European model should work miracles, as they did in Europe. That is part of what change really means. Not just words.
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The esteemed Paul Krugman (Princeton, NYT) compared the percentage of GDP of diverse sectors of the economy in 2007 versus the average over the period 1980-2000. He found that “the main thing at this point is high consumption is offset by a high trade deficit”. (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/16/defining-the-macroeconomic-problem).

In other words, the USA wastes too much, lives above its means from the charity of foreigners, and does not export enough. Countries that have got in this predicament did not end up well. It happened to many in the 20C, Argentina being a spectacular example. It could be argued that this combination of waste and dependence upon foreigners is part of what happened to the Roman empire.

Krugman then wondered what to do. We present here a necessary part of the solution. It is not very original. There are many countries in Europe, and a few are large, and they have encountered similar problems in the past, and they hit on that same basic solution, which is a mix of Added Value Tax (AVT, a French invention), which strikes down exaggerated consumption, and high taxes on energy (another French invention which has been imitated all over Europe). 

US citizens may feel an existential void if threatened with a dearth of stuff, so one should be careful, lest they have a fit, like the spoiled children they are proud to be. But they may consent to make the US economy more efficient, and more able to export. By doing this, a useful change for the better, their psychological condition should improve, and they should open their minds to another way to experience life more compatible with the survival of the biosphere.

In 2004, the USA emitted per capita 20.4 ton of carbon dioxide per year, and France 6.2 (yes, less than three times less!). Since then the difference has got worse, France reducing its emissions, according to the Kyoto Treaty, while the US has enjoyed a rampage of waste. Meanwhile, to ensure future supplies of ever more CO2, the USA chose to invade the country with the largest oil reserves (except maybe for Saudi Arabia). Whereas the most controversial French energy activities have been to build two nuclear reactors of the new third generation (one in Finland), and to push with the European Union for ever stricter carbon emission restrictions, worldwide. France having the world’s best health care system, and armed forces in combat in even more countries than the USA, and an industrial variety as large as the USA, EFFICIENCY PAYS (with the sort of lifestyle US citizens love).

Thus, clearly, its present system having turned into a dismal failure, the USA should follow the European way and capitalize on its know how and great universities to invent and develop futuristic energy procurement and conservation systems, instead of dispatching storm troopers to fetch oil.

But this is easier wished than done. The entire US economy has been manipulated for generations to serve powerful corporations such as car manufacturers rather than public transportation, with giant metastatic suburbia, and car drivers, or frequent fliers, taking subsidies for their birth rights, screaming loudly when a penny goes to railroads. All too much of the US economic activity is directed to plane companies and car companies. So great have been these subsidies that these sectors became addicted to them, fat, lazy, numbed out.

Just two examples. In the fifties, General Motors bought the San Francisco Bay Bridge, tore down the railroad that occupied one of the decks, to replace it by a freeway going the other way, and, thus, mission accomplished, sold it back to government. Ever since the San Francisco Bay transportation has been a big traffic jam, as intended. Now for airlines: after 9-11, the US government gave billions to US airlines, whereas the EU allowed no subsidies to its airlines, which were left to mind their business more efficiently. Consequence: Air France and Lufthansa are now by far the largest airlines in the world, many smaller European carriers are even more profitable, all operating efficient new planes. Meanwhile Europe is building thousands of miles of ultra efficient very high speeds train lines (so fast they could cross the USA itself in half a day).

Hence to develop new, more efficient energy sources and usage in the USA, ASAP, one will have to manipulate a full arsenal of government guided activities, removing some, adding others. And not just words. One will have to use tax incentives as carrots, while using a carbon tax and an energy tax as sticks: greed and fear, that’s how to do it. The enormous taxes on energy in Europe, give both an incentive to be ever more efficient, and a safety reserve if an energy supply catastrophe strikes energy taxes are huge not only in the UK, a net energy exporter, but even in Norway, one of the world’s largest energy exporters).

The history of man is the history of energy usage, and especially of Western civilization. By 1,000 CE, Western Europe had the highest energy usage per capita in the world. This energy opulence allowed to free man from slavery (to lords and nature).

But now energy is getting tight, and there is a huge amount of waste (as said above, the USA is three times more wasteful than France, per head). This has to stop: there is no justice in having the USA with 4% of the world population, using 25% of the energy, a lot of it taken from abroad, and most of it polluting the entire planet. The way out is not to economically shrink, but to technologically grow, as the EU is already doing (in 2008, Germany, although as north as Canada, was the number one solar energy nation!).

Of course the economic switch to greater efficiency through higher technology has to pay for itself (otherwise it would not be self propelled). First one has to be conscious of the enormous subsidies old industries profit from (it’s not just from distribution of money, but of laws; e.g., ethanol from corn is mandated, although it’s an ecological horror, while less ecologically incorrect ethanol from sugar cane is barred by tax barriers), Those subsidies are protected by armies of paid lobbyists (nearly half a million of them in the USA alone). By removing those subsidies for an unsustainable past, one makes it so much easier to pay for the future.

The Europeans have found a strategy to make planet-saving and riches-spreading new technology more profitable quicker. The EU imposes new standards onto itself, and then the world, to fight the greenhouse effect. Thus it forces itself to develop new technologies (for example carbon emission which are above 300 mg per kilometer in the USA, have been lowered by law in EU to 185 and now 135). Then the EU sells its newly fanged wares (That only more advanced European technology can develop first). It’s good for European jobs, and good for the world. Strenuous EU emission standards for cars have been adopted by China, making it illegal to buy inefficient US cars (!).

This European way is not new. It is one of the greatest European superiority strategies of all time: USE ETHICAL PROGRESS TO FORCE TECHNOLOGICAL PROGRESS, ALLOWING ECONOMIC SUPERIORITY. In other words a process which starts with better manners, ends with a chicken in every pot.

That BETTER ECONOMY FROM BETTER ETHICS TRICK was clearly used by the Franks when they outlawed slavery around 660 CE (they understood its importance at the time: from the German point of view, ethics and economy were tied up by family farming, and they looked down on Roman fascism and its giant agribusinesses). The abolition of slavery forced Europe to chose the high technology route that the Roman empire had given up on.

Now the entire planet has found useful to integrate more and more of the ideas that allowed Europe to take off during the last 15 centuries. Democracy is just one of those ideas, and, clearly, it was preceded by strength and technology (the Franks destroyed the Arabo-Berbero-Syrian armies in a series of battles and wars in 8C Francia, accompanying economic lift, and requiring new, very heavy taxation to pay for the high tech armies of the Franks).

China and India, among others, have understood this, and their success has not escaped notice. The most successful developing countries opt for developing new high tech. For instance, South Africa is inventing “pebble bed” nuclear plants, a completely new technology designed specifically for exports all over the developing world (they are super safe, and never stop). India, having little uranium but lots of thorium, is developing a uranium-thorium breeding scheme which is entirely appropriate to its precarious energetic circumstances.

Sweden has been using a carbon tax for more than a decade, and it’s just a matter of time before the entire EU follows suit. To limit senseless addiction to consuming and reduce fraud, the Europeans use the mighty AVT. The USA has no choice, but to follow what has worked well in dozens of advanced industrial nations.

But, all too often, per the nature of the USA as a big island, and a long settled habit to compare itself to various derelict dictatorships (instead of comparing itself to what’s comparable to itself, the most advanced democracies), Americans often find hard to learn from the outside (something a future president Obama should be able to remedy).

Presented with these solutions, Krugman evoked Saint Augustine to justify doing nothing for now (“Make me without sin, oh Lord, but not yet”). Well, that was a very telling example. Saint Augustine was one of the worst anti-intellectuals and anti-Judaists of all times, in truth one of the greatest criminals against mankind, and this statement of his reflects how he could live with himself so well. His hypocrisy allowed him to do so, conveniently blinding him, and made him the scourge he became for civilization. The hardest in a new task is often just to get started, to make the first step.

The massive energy and consumption taxes the USA needs could be, and would have to be, staggered very progressively. They will allow to reduce taxes in some other areas (say on capital, and the poor, as the EU has done).

The bubble economics, its hedge fund managers, and the tail of the financial sector wagging the entire economy, a sorry mess (engineered by Rubin, Clinton, Greenspan and Bush) weakened the USA. Only taxes reflecting the new (for the US) philosophy of reducing waste and changing the future towards efficiency will allow the USA to join the world, reduce the imbalances, and develop in a sustainable way. It’s a necessity, because the rest of the world cannot be expected to work hard and sacrifice, while the Americans are having an orgy, and burn the house down. A related point is that, as justice spreads and six billion people from the developing world get to enjoy some of the amenities Americans take for granted, grave ecological damage to the entire planet will only be mitigated by using technologies that, at this point, are still in the domain of science fiction.

In conclusion: reducing US consumption and carbon emission, while boosting US exports and efficiency, and providing more jobs and security, can be viewed as one problem which will need a change in the US tax system. Against waste, towards a more economic future. That is part of what change means, or it will be more of the same. Americans are getting intoxicated on the idea of change, but change means changing their own behavior, ultimately a change in the law of what is proper and what is not, and the easiest such change is in the tax law.

***

P/S: So far, to reduce the lending crisis, which came from too much lending, the US president and congress have decided to make it easier to lend some more. So let’s not overestimate the capacity of US decision makers to understand the universe. In a related show of selfishness, the US (through the IMF and the World Bank), forced South East Asian countries, which were experiencing a bout of over-investment (thus diminishing returns, leading to a confidence crisis), especially in real estate (thus comparable to the present US crisis), to rise interest rates sky high. That was supposed to invite foreign investors to come back, and stop the collapse of the currencies. Instead it collapsed the South East Asian economies. Following once again Saint Augustine (id est, I will not do as I preach, but just the opposite, the fundamental saying of priests, and one of the reasons why religion is so big in the USA), the USA, although now in a very similar crisis, is acting according to the exact opposite strategy, namely collapsing interest rates. As we try to explain above, this very short term alleviation of symptoms will not change much. Ultimately, US citizens have to relate to the world in a different way, because the transactions they have among themselves have impacts on third parties (this is the set up for pigovian taxes (after Arthur Pigou, 1877-1959, a Frenchman); theory has proven such taxes more efficient than regulation or markets (the carbon emission trading has turned silly)).
***

Patrice Ayme.
Patriceayme.com


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