Author Topic: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry  (Read 861 times)

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Offline Raiden

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Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« on: October 08, 2013, 12:54:52 pm »
http://news.mongabay.com/2013/1008-gen-divestment-study.html

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I think we should find some way to get behind this.
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Offline CyanRachel

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Re: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 02:49:23 pm »
Irayo, Raiden, for posting the link to this article. First time I'm learning about this topic of divestment campaigns...very interesting.
Well, hopefully the campaigns against fossil fuels will be successful.

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Offline `Eylan Ayfalulukanä

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Re: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2013, 04:56:14 pm »
If you were to topple the fossil fuel industry without having something in place to replace it (which we are still a long ways from at this point), you would turn the US into a third world country.

There are ways to break our reliance on fossil fuels without destroying the economy in the process. But many are loathe to do it because it means substantially higher prices for energy, for at least a couple of decades.

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Offline ExLibrisMortis

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Re: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2013, 09:51:22 am »
Not entirely true. The market has been stifled by corporatism and corruptness in laws. If the market were to be freed up you would see a boom in energy technologies that could easily replace fossil fuels much quicker. I honestly doubt even if we did that, we will never fully switch off from using fossil fuels.

I do find it funny though that because of the regulations and policies being placed on energy sector, with the intent to kill coal/oil, its only caused the opposite to occur in terms of Shale gas.
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Offline `Eylan Ayfalulukanä

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Re: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2013, 08:41:50 pm »
Ma Ex Libris Mortis (lu sìltsan fwa nga tok fìtseng nìmun!), I agree with you about the free market part. You can't just 'topple' an entrenched energy provider, you need to transition to something else. However, there is a problem here that the free market system cannot overcome.

It is human nature to want things to be inexpensive and easy to deal with. Alternative energy, for the most part, is neither. And it cannot be either inexpensive or easy to deal with until it is widely adopted. But it has to be widely adopted first. Vicious circle! I think members of this community are more willing to put up with higher prices and/or a certain amount of inconvenience to achieve 'cleaner' energy. This might be a little bit of a blind spot for us, as most members of the public do not embrace things quite as we do. And the 'pocketbook effect' can negate a lot of good education!

As conservative as I am, the only way I see alternative energy ever being widely adopted is with truly massive government subsidies. The subsidies have to be extensive enough that a person can get solar heat and/or power, and/or a hybrid/electric/hydrogen/fuel cell car without having to make a substantial up-front investment. I would be 100% solar/wind today if the up-frone barrier could be overcome. A subsidy program like this would create many jobs, as you will need people to manufacture and (especially) install this equipment. However, we would have to go much deeper into debt to do this, and this is not wise either.

But something must be done to get this country off of (especially foreign) fossil fuels and on to renewable energy.

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Offline ExLibrisMortis

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Re: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2013, 03:41:59 pm »
Subsidies, unfortunately, will do the exact opposite of that which you are trying to achieve. It will artificially drive the prices on the market down, maybe. Subsidies act nothing more than the government showing preferable treatment to one party over another, something that was framed within the constitution to (supposedly) disallow from happening.

What you'll see is the propping up of a market that will not succeed. Not in its current state. It's why companies like Solyndra, and the many others like them, whom already got hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies and it was all lost. You point to human wanting easy and cheap things. Well when oil was first discovered it was neither easy nor cheap to get ahold of. People wanted it as a luxury item before it became a commonplace item. What caused that? The culture.

This is the invisible brother to the free market. The free market does not exist in a vacuum, it exists upon the conscious and culture of the people within it. The market, and the people's, wants will always exist. Also, their lack of want for an item will exist as well until that culture is changed. Alternative energy can be made both cheap and easy fairly quickly (relatively speaking) if we de-regulated the entire energy sector. Heck, we wouldn't be needing much alternative energy that fast if we de-regulated the fixing of our broken infrastructure.

Let me point to the electronics industry to show you how fast and quick that market changed without regulations. We used to use things called cassettes (I'm sure you know what those are, but the younger folk may not.) We even used to use things like VHS tapes too. Heck look at the transition from records, to 8-tracks, to cassettes, to cd's, to mp3players/thumb drives. The time span between all those was extremely small.
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Offline `Eylan Ayfalulukanä

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Re: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2013, 04:21:53 am »
But the free market doesn't always work, especially when a huge change is desired, but does not offer a tangible 'everyday' advantage.

The free market worked for oil, as it gave people easy heat, and a means to easily get around without the inefficiencies of things like horses, or fixed train schedules to a few places. All the electronics have worked out, as each new generation has given people something that they want.

Some of us out there actually want alternative energy, but have no means to afford it. We cannot break our dependence on foreign energy sources or make significant inroads on renewable energy in a way that would make people want it (there are ways to do it punitively, and that is what a lot of the environmentalists want). This is where subsidies work. I don't like subsidies, either, but do you have a better idea for getting people to adopt costly alternative energy (which does not give a tangible benefit, at least not right away) in a timely manner?

One good example of this is mass transit. Mass transit, properly executed, is a really good thing (and it isn't properly executed here, or I would use it). But I don't think there is one mass transit system anywhere that doesn't operate with at least some subsidies.

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Offline Tìtstewan

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Re: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2013, 07:49:14 am »
I just dropping by here at a totally random point in the discussion. So, some small thougths from Gemany, especially about the energy thing. First, I wouldn't take the electronic industry as a comparison, because its too different. It's a bit funny if I read here about cheap energy. What is cheap? $0.05, $0.10 $0.20? As for me, you US-smuktu have generally lower price for energy stuff as we. We pay the thrice of your electrical energy (€0.25/$0.35) and for 1 litre petrol we pay €1.50! (1 US gallone = 3,78 litre = €5,67 = $7,80 ...no Idea what you are paying for 1 gal. petrol.) We have a lot of taxes on such energy stuff and the money will subsidizeing the renewable energy technology. But here, we havn't so much places for producing energy by solar power, wind energy is mostly possible in the north, and geothermal energy is a joke here. Building dams (power by water) is not really liked here...
Also, here are four big energy companies which are not regulated - they are working in the free market... (but there are a lot of people, who thing those companies are working together as a cartel). As far as I know, they don't get any subsidies, but the state pay a lot of money for constructing the energy network. Anyway, the most subsidies goes to the companies, who build stuff for renewable energy like photovoltaic, and also a lot of money goes to some university to research and testing for new technology e.g Wendelstein 7-X (stellarator).

I'm really curious what would happen in the US, if the prices for oil-based energy would be three times higher...
« Last Edit: October 20, 2013, 07:52:38 am by Tìtstewan »

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Offline `Eylan Ayfalulukanä

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Re: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2013, 03:21:34 am »
If the price increase happened overnight, economic collapse and depression, as energy prices affect everything. If it were more gradual, it wouldn't have as bad an effect, but it would force people to make some uncomfortable adjustments. As it is already, air travel has gotten so expensive here that it is something I do only when I need to. For instance, on a good day, I used to be able to get a round trip ticket from Reno to Nashville for $232. Now, it is close to $400. The airlines have changed their pricing model to 'absolute a la carte'. Now, just about everything you might do besides sit in an assigned seat with no luggage, costs extra. And those annoying extras add up fast. A tripling in fuel prices would mean a trip by air maybe once every 2-3 years. It would be like flying back in the 1960's, which only the well-off folks did.

A round trip by car to the Las Vegas area, which I do several times a year, costs about $80-100 in gasoline. Although I doubt I would cut back on these trips, they would certainly require more planning if prices tripled.

Closer to home, I would think twice about driving anywhere not necessary. I am even doing that now. But I would continue to drive to work, because my work hours are too variable to use our marginal mass transit system here.

If home heating costs tripled, that would be a disaster. I am already doing everything I can to keep this cost down. it costs me about $1000/year to heat my home for the winter. If it were $3,000, it would pretty much force me to look for alternative ways to heat. Even using solar panels to run resistance heaters during the day (not very efficient) would have a quick payoff under these conditions. But I would have a very hard time with the $20,000 upfront investment. Direct solar thermal then starts to look attractive.

A tripling in electric costs would not make me happy, but I could afford it, as my power bill here is really low. It would also make me more serious about doing off-grid electric.

The substantial food price increase would hit very hard. Because I am very busy, I usually get prepared food, and do little 'stock-up' grocery shopping. I generally eat a rather high protein diet (like a cat!), and this would go up quicker than other food prices (we have already seen a 20 percent increase this year alone). I could save a lot of money by preparing me own meal each night, but it would take up much of my non-work time. It would also cause a substantial increase in energy usage for cooking and cleaning up later.

It is one thing if supply and demand drives these prices up. it is quite another if taxes are used to make these prices artifically high. There are people within our government who would like to make the prices artificially high to *force* people to conserve or adopt alternatives. People like me could adapt, but there are many who couldn't or wouldn't adapt. This could actually end up killing people, another thing the 'greens' want.

This is why I like the subsidy idea. It would allow people to get these expensive alternative systems online now. Economy of scale would drive prices down on these systems.

IMHO, Germany was stupid to abandon nuclear when there is not a lot of practical ways to alternative energy in cities. There are also *much* better and safer reactor technologies available than the BWR design typical of Fukishima. Fusion is still a long ways off, even if Wendelstein X-7 is a successful experiment (and I am watching that fascinating project closely now. I am convinced that stellerators are a better choice than tokamaks, even though they are much harder to build.)

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Offline DanteLeno

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Re: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2014, 01:22:54 am »
If the price increase happened overnight, economic collapse and depression, as energy prices affect everything. If it were more gradual, it wouldn't have as bad an effect, but it would force people to make some uncomfortable adjustments. As it is already, air travel has gotten so expensive here that it is something I do only when I need to. For instance, on a good day, I used to be able to get a round trip ticket from Reno to Nashville for $232. Now, it is close to $400. The airlines have changed their pricing model to 'absolute a la carte'. Now, just about everything you might do besides sit in an assigned seat with no luggage, costs extra. And those annoying extras add up fast. A tripling in fuel prices would mean a trip by air maybe once every 2-3 years. It would be like flying back in the 1960's, which only the well-off folks did.

A round trip by car to the Las Vegas area, which I do several times a year, costs about $80-100 in gasoline. Although I doubt I would cut back on these trips, they would certainly require more planning if prices tripled.

Closer to home, I would think twice about driving anywhere not necessary. I am even doing that now. But I would continue to drive to work, because my work hours are too variable to use our marginal mass transit system here.

If home heating costs tripled, that would be a disaster. I am already doing everything I can to keep this cost down. it costs me about $1000/year to heat my home for the winter. If it were $3,000, it would pretty much force me to look for alternative ways to heat. Even using Photovoltaik to run resistance heaters during the day (not very efficient) would have a quick payoff under these conditions. But I would have a very hard time with the $20,000 upfront investment. Direct solar thermal then starts to look attractive.

A tripling in electric costs would not make me happy, but I could afford it, as my power bill here is really low. It would also make me more serious about doing off-grid electric.

The substantial food price increase would hit very hard. Because I am very busy, I usually get prepared food, and do little 'stock-up' grocery shopping. I generally eat a rather high protein diet (like a cat!), and this would go up quicker than other food prices (we have already seen a 20 percent increase this year alone). I could save a lot of money by preparing me own meal each night, but it would take up much of my non-work time. It would also cause a substantial increase in energy usage for cooking and cleaning up later.

It is one thing if supply and demand drives these prices up. it is quite another if taxes are used to make these prices artifically high. There are people within our government who would like to make the prices artificially high to *force* people to conserve or adopt alternatives. People like me could adapt, but there are many who couldn't or wouldn't adapt. This could actually end up killing people, another thing the 'greens' want.


This is why I like the subsidy idea. It would allow people to get these expensive alternative systems online now. Economy of scale would drive prices down on these systems.

IMHO, Germany was stupid to abandon nuclear when there is not a lot of practical ways to alternative energy in cities. There are also *much* better and safer reactor technologies available than the BWR design typical of Fukishima. Fusion is still a long ways off, even if Wendelstein X-7 is a successful experiment (and I am watching that fascinating project closely now. I am convinced that stellerators are a better choice than tokamaks, even though they are much harder to build.)

It is really getting tough to find effective power solutions.. We need to make more use of renewable sources of energy in order to come out of crisis.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2014, 10:22:35 am by DanteLeno »

Offline Tìtstewan

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Re: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2014, 10:43:42 am »
Hello and welcome DanteLeno!  :)


IMHO, Germany was stupid to abandon nuclear when there is not a lot of practical ways to alternative energy in cities. There are also *much* better and safer reactor technologies available than the BWR design typical of Fukishima.
Well, if you have seen what protest, demonstrations, transport blockade, votings etc here were, you would understand why. Also, nuclear is not endless aviable. Uranium is aviable for 70 years at the current consumption and there is also a question, where you will store the old radioactive elements?

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Offline `Eylan Ayfalulukanä

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Re: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2014, 03:24:45 pm »
Hello and welcome DanteLeno!  :)


IMHO, Germany was stupid to abandon nuclear when there is not a lot of practical ways to alternative energy in cities. There are also *much* better and safer reactor technologies available than the BWR design typical of Fukishima.
Well, if you have seen what protest, demonstrations, transport blockade, votings etc here were, you would understand why. Also, nuclear is not endless aviable. Uranium is aviable for 70 years at the current consumption and there is also a question, where you will store the old radioactive elements?

Then your people are going to pay a very high price for energy. Although I am willing to pay more for cleaner energy-- to a point--, most people I would think, don't want to.

Also, people tend to fear what they do not understand.

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Offline Raiden

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Re: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2014, 10:46:00 pm »
Nuclear fission would be a good substitute, but while we're using it we would need to develop a permanent storage plan for the waste and also be researching things like nuclear fusion and algal biofuels.

Of course that would still only work if we could get our population to fall back down to like 4 billion or something.
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Offline `Eylan Ayfalulukanä

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Re: Divestment Campaign Aiming to Topple Fossil Fuel Industry
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2014, 02:00:57 am »
Nuclear fission would be a good substitute, but while we're using it we would need to develop a permanent storage plan for the waste and also be researching things like nuclear fusion and algal biofuels.

Of course that would still only work if we could get our population to fall back down to like 4 billion or something.

We in the US are like a ostrich with its head in the ground. While the rest of the world breeds plutonium from U238 and reprocesses its waste, we simply want to bury it. And because the physics of this waste are poorly understood by the public, they fear it. Enough that it affects energy policy in a negative way.

The Germans seem to be way ahead of the rest of the world in fusion power research, with the promising Weisenstein X-7 stellarator taking shape. But this technology is dreadfully complex, and many years off from generating any power. Meanwhile, our own National Ignition Facility (Inretial confinement fusion reactor) has reached 'beam breakeven', a major accomplishment. But they are a long ways off yet from 'input power breakeven', the point where the fusion shot generates more power than the machine uses.

I have no solution for the population control problem, other than to get people to breed less. I am doing my part by not breeding at all :)

Yawey ngahu!
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