Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion
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Here’s one free-market way to tackle global warming. In 2010, the world spent $409 billion on fossil-fuel subsidies to artificially lower the price of coal, gas and oil. Eliminating those subsidies would curb fuel use and lead to half the emissions cuts necessary to avoid 2°C of warming.
That’s all according to Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency. The Guardian’s Datablog supplies the chart. By Birol’s calculations, scrapping all subsidies for fossil-fuel consumption would avoid 2.56 gigatons of carbon-dioxide per year by 2035 — or about 70 percent of what the European Union currently emits. That could provide almost half of the extra cuts the world needs to stay within its carbon budget:
One possible solution comes from a 2008 Harvard Kennedy School study, which suggested that developing countries could take the money saved by rolling back subsidies and devote it toward efficiency upgrades or even lump-sum payments to citizens.
Shifting subsidies to the development of climate-benign energy sources such as wind energy, solar power, and geothermal energy will help stabilize the earth’s climate.
We distort reality when we omit the health and environmental costs associated with burning fossil fuels from their prices. When governments actually subsidize their use, they take the distortion even further. Worldwide, direct fossil fuel subsidies added up to roughly $500 billion in 2010. Of this, supports on the production side totaled some $100 billion. Supports for consumption exceeded $400 billion, with $193 billion for oil, $91 billion for natural gas, $3 billion for coal, and $122 billion spent subsidizing the use of fossil fuel-generated electricity. All together, governments are shelling out nearly $1.4 billion per day to further destabilize the earth’s climate.
The government of Iran spent the most on promoting fossil fuel consumption in 2010, doling out $81 billion in subsidies. This equaled more than 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Saudi Arabia was a distant second at $44 billion. Rounding out the top five were Russia ($39 billion), India ($22 billion), and China ($21 billion).
Kuwait’s fossil fuel subsidies were highest on a per capita basis, with $2,800 spent per person. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar followed, each spending close to $2,500 per person.
U.S. - China Energy Trade War Imminent?
John Daly / Oilprice / January 31, 2012
... Last November the U.S. Department of Commerce launched an "anti-dumping and anti-subsidy" investigation into China's solar battery exports to the United States. ...
Now its wind power’s turn.
What is surprising about the brewing dispute is the relatively minor amounts of money involved. The Department of Commerce announced that utility scale wind towers imported from China are targeted for investigation even though, according to U.S. Customs statistics, in 2010 China's wind technology exports were worth a paltry $104 million.
According to the investigation schedule of the case, the Department of Commerce is expected to make preliminary decisions on subsidies and dumping on 23 March and 6 June, respectively.
Renewable energy sources will struggle to replace coal and gas-fired power stations as long as energy consumption continues to rise and fossil fuel subsidies remain in place, a new study has found.
Based on a study of electricity used in around 130 countries over the past 50 years, University of Oregon sociologist Richard York found that rising demand means it can require between four and 10 units of electricity produced from nuclear, hydropower, geothermal, wind, biomass or solar to displace a single unit of fossil fuel-generated electricity.
York's paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, recognises that many of these new technologies are yet to become fully established and have the potential to be more viable alternatives once they have matured.
But it also describes how creating more energy sources often leads to higher levels of consumption. Inventing more efficient car engines or houses opens up the possibility of building bigger engines and houses, the study says, which means total energy consumption often did not decrease significantly even with the rising efficiency of new technologies.
The paper concludes that simply building alternative sources of energy is not enough to get the world off the coal and gas hook. Instead, governments need to curtail the $409bn of subsidies the sector is estimated to receive each year as well as accelerate efforts to reduce the cost of clean alternatives.
sunweb wrote:I would like to share the first two paragraphs of my essay:
We will go kicking and screaming down the path to the new Middle Ages as fossil fuels desert us. With the decline of available energy, those of most of us who have sat at the top of the energy pyramid will become the new peasants. With the popular view of the Middle Ages as a brutal and dirty time filled with famine and disease and at the mercy of armed overlords. We cringe at the thought.
With great sadness, we must recognize the direct connection between present day population levels and the use of fossil fuels in food production, medical procedures, medicines and hygiene. With the fall in fossil fuel availability there will be a reduction in population. Population soared with the industrial revolution and the development of industrial, fossil fuel based agriculture. It cannot be sustained.
From: The New Middle Ages
http://sunweber.blogspot.com/2011/05/ne ... -ages.html
Oddball: Hi, man.
Big Joe: What are you doing?
Oddball: I'm drinking wine and eating cheese, and catching some rays, you know.
Big Joe: What's happening?
Oddball: Well, the tank's broke and they're trying to fix it.
Big Joe: Well, then, why the hell aren't you up there helping them?
Oddball: [chuckles] I only ride 'em, I don't know what makes 'em work.
Big Joe: Christ!
Oddball: Definitely an antisocial type. Woof, woof, woof! That's my other dog imitation.
Quote: Kelly's Heros
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