Transportation After Fossil Fuels: A Decade Away?

Once upon a time, I rode the maglev at the Japan pavilion at Expo 86.

Since then, I’ve come to see that that was the Commodore Vic 20 of high speed travel. What’s the new standard? ET3.

So if you’ve been having a hard time imagining a post-carbon transportation system that would run on the electricity we’d glean from the wind and the sun, and cost about as much as one year of Air Canada’s gross revenue [$12.4 billion in 2013], start grinning when you read the quote at the bottom.

We could even fund it federally with a 5-year dedicated 1% increase in revenue from corporate taxes. The federal government 2012-13 $256 billion budget earned 13.6% of revenue from corporations [and 49% from personal income tax!!!]. This is not brain surgery, folks.

The Hyperloop has been vaguely described by Musk as a “cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table.” A better description might be an elevated tube system with a magnetic levitation system similar to high-speed bullet trains. The kicker would be the enclosed tube, which would provide a nearly friction-less surface for individual capsules to travel in.

ET3′s Hyperloop-like project already has a number of schematics and plans already in place. They claim an automobile-sized, six-passenger capsule constructed for “outer space” travel conditions could easily reach speeds of 4,000 miles per hour on longer journeys across the country or across continents. In theory, this elevated tube system could be built for a tenth of the cost of high-speed rail and a quarter the cost of a freeway. The projected cost for a passenger to travel from Los Angeles to New York is $100.

LA To NYC In Under An Hour, Hyperloop System Will Let You Travel At 4,000 MPH | Industry Tap.

How to Spot an Ecology Troll

  1. Start with an oil spill apologist/minimizer.
  2. Work with the twisted logic that since all ships and oil tankers don’t crash all the time, any concern over one that might [and our government's pathetic incompetence in prevention and disaster-aversion] is eco-hysteria.
  3. Pay any attention to and RT anything Ayn Rand.
  4. Then spot allied apologists.

Then follow the timelines:

[Timeliness note: as of 115pm, the third tow line on the Simushir snapped, so nothing's safe yet.]

 

Transit Should Be Free; Until Then…

$1/day is a good start to get there.

  1. It’s good for the environment.
  2. It reduces commuter stress.
  3. It forces governments to increase progressive taxation to cover infrastructure costs.
  4. It uses BC’s cheap hydro electricity.
  5. It combats rampant zombie consumerism.
  6. The post-secondary UPass system has improved commuting incredibly.

So $1/day is a good start to get there:

Mayoral candidate Meena Wong of COPE launched another populist proposal Wednesday, calling for a universal transit program that would cost each of Vancouver’s citizens $1 per day.

People Should Stop Attacking The Margaret Wente

It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t read Naomi Klein’s new book about climate change.

It doesn’t matter because the internet of things.

It doesn’t matter because most of what’s important in the world is in the comment section of news stories, not the stories themselves. We all know journalists are biased anyways.

She is a public intellectual and deserving of respect. Maybe you’re all just jealous. Or lazy.

Look, it’s easy:

Stephen Harper wrote a book about hockey in Canada, A Greater Game. It’s a sociological book about hockey’s place in our culture. It doesn’t matter that Stephen Harper doesn’t believe in sociology. In his book he talks glowingly about French Canadian hockey stars so he can improve the party’s chances in Quebec in the next election. He also talks about how important it is to privatize the CBC by making sure they didn’t bid on renewing the theme song to Hockey Night in Canada, and then didn’t bid to keep the entire Hockey Night in Canada franchise. So now Rogers runs hockey in Canada. He described why that was really important. He ended his book with a review of the great young NHL prospects from his riding in Calgary-Nose Creek.

So if you get over your laziness and jealousy of Margaret Wente, go to WordPress.com and start your own blog, you too can contribute meaningfully to the national discourse instead of wasting so much time attacking the National Post‘s greatest columnist.

Simushir and BC’s Energy Future

[I was finishing my presentation to the BC government Finance Committee for their 2015 budget the other day. Now Simushir has begun to threaten ecological disaster. That puts a new context in here as I submit my ideas today. I'm very concerned about the next few hours, weeks and decades.]

BC Must Take the Lead in Building the Post-Carbon Energy Infrastructure

On this final day of the 2015 budget submission, the Simushir is adrift off Haida Gwaii and may create Canada’s first massive oil ecological disaster. This should frame our discussion about energy, climate change and the environment, and how BC’s budget should promote a new energy paradigm, starting this month.

  1. Carbon-based energy extraction leads to climate breakdown. Science is clear on this.
  2. Subsidizing and investing in oil, gas and coal impede efforts to help prevent climate breakdown.
  3. More of BC’s and Canada’s population will oppose further carbon energy production after today assuming the Simushir does not spill oil. If it does, even more people will turn against carbon energy development. The political capital available in moving past carbon energy right now is beyond anything that you have ever imagined. How could you resist?
  4. Subsidizing and investing in building an energy infrastructure that doesn’t rely on carbon energy sources will put BC ahead of most other jurisdictions in North America.
  5. The IMF estimated Canadian carbon energy subsidies at $34 billion/year. If just a portion of that were diverted into building the post-carbon energy infrastructure, we can see profound positive climate implications by the end of the decade, as well as build and fund a provincial poverty reduction plan while we’re at it.
  6. The LNG mythology of a $trillion sector with tens of billions in government revenue is a mirage.
  7. LNG development, along with coal and oil, leads to more climate change.
  8. LNG production wastes our clean, post-carbon energy production.
  9. The LNG market we seek has many competitors, some of whom are closer to our clients.
  10. LNG government royalties are dependent on asserting or negotiating a fruitful tax structure.
  11. BC’s global bargaining position in negotiating a fruitful tax structure is weak compared to other producers and clients.
  12. Oil spills and ecological disasters are bad.
  13. There is no world class disaster response capacity, and there never has been. There certainly isn’t one today off the coast of Haida Gwaii.
  14. While there are potential new jobs in expanding and operating a carbon-based energy infrastructure, there are far more jobs and far less climate risk with expanding the post-carbon energy infrastructure.
  15. In a 2012 Blue Green Canada study, we learn that if we diverted $1.3 billion in current federal oil subsidies to the post-carbon energy infrastructure, we can create 18,000-20,000 jobs instead of just 3,000 jobs in the oil industry. See Figure 1 below.
  16. The US National Resources Defense Council has promoted clean energy initiatives, including from the Political Economy Research Institute. There will be far more jobs coming from post-carbon energy infrastructure jobs than carbon energy, and this graphic doesn’t even include hydro, which is abundant in BC. See Figures 2 and 3 below.
  17. So, we need to scale down our oil, gas and coal sectors.
  18. We need to use the scientific and technical knowledge we already have to plan a new energy and transportation infrastructure. Most of the heavy lifting is already done.
  19. We need to create smart hydro and fix the inefficiencies and poor policy surrounding the run of the river private power projects.
  20. We need to continue delaying the Site C dam. We simply don’t need it. We do, however, need the land to enhance BC’s and Canada’s food security and resiliency.
  21. We need to restore new power generation to BC Hydro so all the post-carbon energy infrastructure is publicly-owned and transparently operated and not subject to the vagaries, grid collusion and corruption of markets.
  22. We need to ramp up solar, wind, tidal and geothermal energy generation capacity. If cloudy Germany can excel far ahead of us already in solar, we should be able to catch up.
  23. We need to expand our public transportation grid and take advantage of electric power in as many communities as possible. We need to embrace solar roadways.
  24. We need to make transit free, so we publicly subsidize transit use with progressive tax policies, instead of carbon vehicle use.
  25. We need new laws and regulations to mandate clean vehicle and commercial transportation, modestly within 5 years and extensively within 10 years.

We have the expertise in BC and nearby to start and complete the transformation to the post-carbon energy infrastructure within a generation. Be the ones to start!

Figure 1

BlueGreenCanada_MoreBang1.jpg

Figure 2

energy jobs will require some training, so the bill has a Green Jobs ...

Figure 3

Renewable Energy Creates More Jobs

People Want BC Corporations to Pay More Tax

…or do they?

Every year the BC government consults with citizens on what should go into their budget.

Last year over 25% of the online survey respondents said new revenue should come from increased corporate taxes, triple the rate of people who thought personal income taxes should go up.

But there are problems with that; see below:

Programs and services are largely funded by tax revenues, and government works to balance where the money comes from. How would you generate one new dollar of tax revenue from among the sources below?

- from Report on the 2014 Budget Consultations

Problems:

  1. There are 4.6 million British Columbians.
  2. Only 262 people filled out the online survey. That’s a bad response rate of only 1/17,557 people.
  3. The government does a poor job actually soliciting people to fill out their online survey of fiscal preferences.
  4. The government doesn’t really care what we think.
  5. So do you think the 2014 budget had massive/any corporate tax increases? The regressive MSP increased. Again. The general corporate tax rate remained unchanged at 11%

Solutions:

  1. Get thousands more people to fill out the online budget survey, somehow?
  2. Publicize the survey widely so people know it’s there, and have people login with their SIN to fill out the survey, making it like a referendum, which would increase people’s expectation of follow-through of their ideas?
  3. Try to convince people that the government actually cares about what we think to the point that more than 262 bother to share their opinions?

Today is the deadline for submissions for the 2015 budget, though in the past they often extended the deadline. Did YOU even hear about it and the survey you could fill out? Will more than 262 fill it out this year? Will the government care about its civil society consultation, or are they far too cynical to actually care?

Apathy and ignorance favour totalitarianism. But when the government cultivates apathy and ignorance and cynicism, they manufacture a state of governance without oversight, a hallmark of the rising totalitarianism.

What I Am Thankful For

This weekend, I am thankful for folks in Seattle who know how to transform the imperialist Columbus Day into Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

May we all learn this for next year!

“We are all citizens in a democracy, we are all here to work with each other, and by making this Indigenous People’s Day, we are adding something, we are not taking something away. We can both recognize our strengths.”

“We are not reveling in the pain of our past, but rejoicing in the celebration of a triumph—the voice of the indigenous people who are saying ‘we are still here. We have been here hundreds of years before you, and will be here hundreds of years after you.”

“This is what makes Seattle so special, in all honesty—that we are bold enough to admit the shortcomings of our history in order to realize the hopes of our dreams.”

Seattle News and Events | Seattle Sends Columbus Sailing as City Council Unanimously.

Socialist, AND Nobel Peace Prize Winner

…And after reading that, do you have an urge to say, “yeah, but”

– she’s young

– she’s a woman

– she’s uneducated

– whatever other condescending, dismissive thing you can imagine?

As a post-partisan eco-socialist, I affirm her words.

And if you follow the link below, you’ll see that The Nation Magazine uses the socialism quote to promote her picture, but does not link directly to their story on her, and the story doesn’t include the word “socialism.” Corporate media, for the fail, again!

“I am convinced Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation.”

–Malala Yousafzai, who just became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in history.

via (92) Facebook.

De-Spinning the Political and Re-Spinning it for Social, Economic and Political Justice