The short answer is “too big”.
I found this report (via Political Irony), from, of all places, the International Monetary Fund, discussing the size of the
gravy train subsidies given to fossil fuel industries. Among its findings:
- Almost $5 trillion is spent in such subsidies. This is about 6.5% of global gross domestic product.
- Coal gets the most subsidies. This finding is new to me. It is also the most disturbing, as coal is one of the worst fossil fuels in terms of pollution and global warming.
- A substantial part of these subsidies are indirect, as in not properly charging for externalities.
- Eliminating these subsidies would have enormous benefits, including increased government revenue, less pollution, and millions of fewer deaths
- Global coordination is not necessary, as a country “going it alone” by eliminating subsidies will still reap benefits.
With the above benefits, it is obviously a great idea to end these subsidies now. Energy companies do not need these subsidies. Indeed, the same way those who are doing just fine don’t need an unpaid cheer squad, those who are doing just fine don’t need coddling from the government either.
I found a really good article on why BC’s carbon tax is the way to go (links removed and emphasis added):
If the goal was to reduce global warming pollution, then the B.C. carbon tax totally works. Since its passage, gasoline use in British Columbia has plummeted, declining seven times as much as might be expected from an equivalent rise in the market price of gas, according to a recent study by two researchers at the University of Ottawa. That’s apparently because the tax hasn’t just had an economic effect: It has also helped change the culture of energy use in B.C. “I think it really increased the awareness about climate change and the need for carbon reduction, just because it was a daily, weekly thing that you saw,” says Merran Smith, the head of Clean Energy Canada. “It made climate action real to people.”
It also saved many of them a lot of money. Sure, the tax may cost you if you drive your car a great deal, or if you have high home gas heating costs. But it also gives you the opportunity to save a lot of money if you change your habits, for instance by driving less or buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle. That’s because the tax is designed to be “revenue neutral” — the money it raises goes right back to citizens in the form of tax breaks. Overall, the tax has brought in some $5 billion in revenue so far, and more than $3 billion has then been returned in the form of business tax cuts, along with over $1 billion in personal tax breaks, and nearly $1 billion in low-income tax credits (to protect those for whom rising fuel costs could mean the greatest economic hardship). According to the B.C. Ministry of Finance, for individuals who earn up to $122,000, income tax rates in the province are now Canada’s lowest.
We out to be taxing things we want to discourage (besides carbon, this ought to include things like fast food and sugar, and financial transactions like high–frequency trading) and reducing or eliminating taxes on things we want to encourage (like high–density living and transit use).
And a big thumbs down to Oklahoma for taxing solar energy.
On Thursday, I was in a car accident and was rear–ended by an SUV while making a turn. My car’s rear end got bashed in with a taillight broken, and other damage.
This ought to be an example of why goddamn SUV’s are evil. They are much higher up, which means their points of impact with regular cars will be higher up, therefore causing more damage. Being higher up also makes them more likely to roll over. SUV’s greater mass also means a bigger force at impact, all else equal. In addition, since they are so big, they make you feel safe. A smaller vehicle makes you more likely to drive safely because you don’t feel safe and therefore must take more safe actions. SUV’s are also huge wastes of energy and are very inefficient with fuel.
In case you’re wondering, my neck hurts a little (I don’t know if this is whiplash or not) but am otherwise okay.
Today, while waiting to cross the street, I saw something that should never happen.
Here in BC, at many intersections, there are left turn lanes. In some of them, the traffic light will show a green arrow that gives right of way to those turning left. The crosswalk I was at was one such intersection. And as you might expect, the left turn arrows came on in both directions. However, there were no vehicles in either left turn lane.
Is it not obvious that the above situation leads to unnecessary idling, and therefore wastes energy? I see no reason why it is impossible to put a sensor in a left turn lane that, that while the light is red, detects and counts the cars passing over. Perhaps it could detect cars by pushing down slightly when a set of wheels passes over. This will happen twice per car (once per axle). The cars’ weight could press the sensor down. While not perfect (a semi or other long vehicle with more than two axles would result in an incorrect number of vehicles) this will be a good enough approximation to form a sensor system. The number of cars passing into the left turn lane could then be used to decide whether to activate the arrow the next time the light turns green. This system would prevent unnecessary idling due to unneeded turning arrows, and ought to be relatively simple to implement (a computer could probably do it).
In no particular order:
Nuclear power has saved about 1.84 million lives over the last 40 years due to the prevention of air pollution (via). A large expansion of it over the next four decades could save from 420 thousand to as many as 7.04 million additional lives.
This is one of the reasons there should be a large–scale increase in nuclear power generation. It is far less deadly than coal, once air pollution and mining deaths are accounted for, not to mention its carbon dioxide emissions’ causal factor in climate change. And nuclear power is safe; most scientists and experts believe that the risks from nuclear power are far overblown, especially considering the threat from global warming.
The teams promoted and relegated for all levels of the IIHF Women’s World Championships are:
|Division II Qualification
Since the IIHF does not explicitly say, in both the news report and statistics page, whether Japan was promoted or merely the winner or Division I Group A, I still have no idea what was going on. By the looks of it no one was promoted to the main tournament in 2014, which will keep it at eight teams in 2015. That negates any point of winning the tournament this year, which is a shame. I hope I’m wrong, and that a better explanation is forthcoming. Update: Another possibility is that there will be some sort of qualifier series, like a best–of–three between Japan and whoever wins Division I Group A next year.
Quote of the day from Vyckie Garrison, the co–founder of No Longer Qivering:
“Fanaticism will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
Yes! JJ, the Unrepentant Old Hippie, lives. She’ll be returning to blogging soon.
In no particular order:
The ultimate in data storage. Scientists have found a way to store digital information in DNA. The storage method is sophisticated enough that all information currently in hard drives could fit into the palm of your hand.
Quote of the day (emphasis added):
“What always interests me about defenders of creationism is how they clearly don’t think of children as people in their own right, but instead property that you use to enact your ideological obsessions.”
I personally would edit that quote to include the entirety of the rotten parental rights movement. Those people really do see their own kids as enemies and who’ll do anything to prevent those children from thinking for themselves and not being a projection or perfect reflection of the parents. Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism has emphasized this point multiple times.
Solar power is well on its way to becoming cheaper than coal. It might reach that point before the end of the decade. This is important, as it would eliminate much of the point of burning coal, which is important for climate change mitigation. (It’s still better to start today, however).
I fully agree with these suggestions on how to write a better fantasy story. (Via all these people).
Did you know that (supposedly) the committee of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women supposedly “Told Libya to re-interpret the Koran in the light of CEDAW”? To rational people, this is an excellent reason to support the CEDAW. But, Echidne found out, wingnuts actually use this as a justifiation for opposing the CEDAW. To their credit, at least they’re honest.
Two of the comments on a post on Brute Reason have won awards. You just have to see them.
And yes, I did manage to read and finish what is visible of the first comment. It starts repeating itself part way through Can’t it be all new woo?
This post has been edited since publication.