“Sustainability” runs amok in my town of Chico

About two years ago I was asked by my local city councilman Larry Wahl to serve on the city of Chico “sustainability task force”. I was initially enthusiastic, but the talk soon turned away from alternative energy solutions that I embrace, to getting a city wide inventory of carbon emissions. The task force, chaired by Vice Mayor Ann Schwab didn’t seem the least bit interested in solutions, but focused on tallying carbon emissions in town. That effort didn’t make a lot of sense to me then, since it gained the city nothing.

Now I know why, it was a prelude to taxation followed by wanton spending. They had to inventory to know how to tax. The “greenhouse gas” report they issued on September 2nd of this year had a number of oddball fees, taxes, giveaways, and edicts, such as a city wide gasoline tax, and even free electricity handouts to city employees for sustainable commuting. All of this while we are in an economic downturn and city financial crisis. This is why I can no longer support Ann Schwab, even though I worked with her.

There is a backstory to my involvement with this, but first things first, here is a copy of the sustainability task force “work plan” from September 2nd.

Link: cic-sustainability-090208

The local newspaper also did a story on the preliminary report, but not on the work plan from the link above.

Most important to note is that while my name is on this report, I had no hand in it whatsoever, as I was unceremoniously booted off the task force on December 20th, 2007 by vice mayor Schwab who sent me a letter advising of my termination. The reason? Attendance. But this goes to show how messed up things are with this task force, as they could not even get my termination straight and had me listed as a member 9 months afterwards.

For the record, there is little in this report I agree with and my name should not be on it. Two weeks ago I sent an email to Vice Mayor Schwab and the City Clerk Debbie Presson asking that my name be removed. No response.

When I was on the task force I had the distinction of being one of the few people that actually walked the talk, as I had put solar on my home and a local school, plus I drive an electric car (though I’ve since upgraded to a newer model electric).

No matter, I wasn’t well liked because I really didn’t want to play the carbon emissions tally game, preferring solutions instead. So I’m not surprised that Schwab booted me off when she had the chance.

The task force was made up of a few people like myself, that ran businesses in town, but the vast majority were city employees, university employees, and other publicly paid people. The meetings were on Mondays in the middle of the afternoon. People like me that run businesses found it hard to attend, because with us lost time at work means lost revenue, City and university employees don’t have those problems. Prior to my dismissal, another local businessman, Lon Glazner, voluntarily left because he had the same issues.

OK, enough about why my name is on the report, and why it tends to be public employee centric rather than more representative of our community makeup.

First there is the cost: $30,000 which went to a university employee (already on the public payroll) to produce this report. Another consultant fee in the same cozy city-university sustainability circle of friends. They did no outside bid advertisements that I’m aware of, they just picked the university “sustainability guru” to do the job.

Let’s look at some of the suggested “community reduction” actions in this report presented by Schwab and her task force:

  • A suggestion to pay city employees to give up their parking spot.
  • Require energy audits on residential units at the time of sale.
  • Increased fees on waste disposal.
  • A local gasoline tax to generate local revenue.
  • Forcing a lights out policy on local businesses after hours
  • Free electricity and free parking for city employees that drive electric vehicles
  • Free or reduced cost electricity and parking for citizens that drive electric vehicles

You can find these items in Appendix C of the report, near the end under “Community Reduction Measures” which are designed to meet a carbon emissions target.

Here’s an interesting graph from the consultant’s report:

I don’t know about you, but spending 30 grand for information telling us that cars are the biggest source of CO2 in or city of Chico?.  Shocker.  No worries, we’ll attack that problem.  On page 39 of the September 2 Greenhouse Gas Report there is this gem: “By implementing a local gas tax, the City could generate revenue to put toward sustainability projects”.

Yep, tax and spend. Darn those evil cars driven by irresponsible citizens.

The task force also favors doling out taxpayer money for “sustainability”, page 42: “For employees who own electric vehicles, the City could provide prime parking locations that offer free electric filling stations.” and for the public, page 39: “Electric fueling station-provide free or low-cost electric fueling stations for EVs.”

I drive an electric car. I’d gladly pay $1-3 per hour for park n’ charge. Vice mayor Schwab not only misses this dirt simple revenue opportunity, she wants to give away free electricity during a city budget crisis.

Just yesterday the state of California announced it was already 10 billion in the hole this year, and our county government announced it was 10 million in the red. Chico’s own sales tax revenue has been falling, and the city budget has been in the red for at least two years now, and there has been little substantial movement by city leaders to really solve the problem.

From my friend Lon Glazner’s Commission Impossible blog, here is a recent memo to all city councilors about the current tax revenue situation:

This isn’t news, as city sales tax revenue has been sliding for quite awhile now and the City of Chico’s budget has been in the hole and will likely continue to be:

roadfunds.jpg
Image: The city General Fund and Parks deficit in red without transfers away from road and transportation improvements. Money from a gas tax we all pay has been transferred away from roads to cover the costs of other spending. If you wonder why bike routes are planned but not built, or why roads and traffic issues take so long to address, here is the culprit.


Source: Commision Impossible 10/22/08

For those reading that don’t live here, the business climate of our town is getting grim. Departments stores, restaurants, and other local businesses are closing almost daily due to the economic climate. The trickle down effect from state budget cuts will also affect the city’s largest state funded employers soon, such as Chico State University, and the Chico Unified School District.

So with the city budget headed for a certain train wreck, and the state economy in a shambles, I am absolutely gobsmacked that Schwab and her sustainability task force are suggesting gasoline taxes and free electricity giveaways at the same time. Then there’s the idea that businesses should be forced to turn out their lights at night. Saving energy is a fine idea, but at the expense of inviting crime into an unlit business?

This shows a level of disconnect that only a bureaucrat could muster. And, it’s why I strongly recommend that people reading this don’t vote for Schwab, but choose a city council candidate that has some business sense.

I’m all for efficiency and alternate energy ideas that are cost neutral or revenue generators, but the reality is those things aren’t being considered.

Public giveaways, new taxes, and visions of a sustainable future won’t solve the budget problems, sensible management combined with spending cuts and plans that will enhance the local business environment will.

203 thoughts on ““Sustainability” runs amok in my town of Chico

  1. I live in Southern Kalifornia. I don’t see much hope for the state in general until we get rid of the current crop of wild eyed idealists. I don’t know how bloody it has to get until people realize what the problem is. With “change” on the horizon in Washington the next couple of years is going to be beyond interesting.

  2. The inmates are truly running the asylumn…there is a reason we don’t let bureaucrats or academia types in charge of anything important…they lack basic vision and are beholden to their pet projects that get them grant $$$….

    This is truly paralysis by analysis….

    I about choked when they suggested businesses must turn off their lights after hours…hey, why don’t they just leave the doors unlocked and the safe WIDE open??

    IDIOTS!

    http://www.cookevilleweatherguy.com

  3. Isn’t nice when government wants to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
    No wonder business are leaving your state.

  4. Meanwhile,
    Texas is building lots of power plants and lots of people are moving in. When we need new easements for power lines, the state makes it happen, no lawsuits. This is and has always been a pro-growth state. Please, God, don’t let the contagion spread to Texas.
    Mike

  5. Welcome to change.

    Change you can count on — the change left in your pocket {not much}.

    Sustainability=revenue source.

    Here in New York the drive hasn’t been quite so pronounced. They’ve already put so many tax schemes in place that now the politicians are talking about why businesses are leaving the area. Of course they blame businesses for leaving the area without ever examining the prohibitive tax structure that’s been built over the years. It’s NAFTA, CAFTA, jobs to China, etc. But never anything the politicians have been doing. And any proposal to cut spending immediately targets areas that shouldn’t be cut — police or fire — anything but the politicians’ padded salary or other bureaucratic overhead.

    Where are Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ben Franklin, James Madison et al when we need them?

  6. Leon Brozyna (22:12:56) :
    Where are Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ben Franklin, James Madison et al when we need them?

    Dead, I’m afraid. But the Constitution they fathered has become a “living document” no longer fraught with outdated principles and restrictions. It can be brought into the modern world by the merest majority of Supreme Court justices, who are adept at finding meaning and rights the Founders never got around to actually placing in the document.

  7. The only answer is for good people to stand for election. Anthony Watts for Mayor of Chico. Lets get this campaign started.
    And then you can give vice mayor fuss-n-budget the bums rush out the door, along with her woodheaded policys.

    Let’s not forget the city clerk. We’ll be needing to apply the boot to her backside also.

  8. It’s all about taxes, it’s always been all about taxes. And how to get you to feel good about paying the socialists taxes.

    Our a$$holes in city government are trying to take over the local electric company in the city, for the same reason — Levy a carbon tax. We tried running good candidates last election, and lost out to the condo crowd because they promised the beach condo owners they would pass ordinances allowing the condo owners to rent by the day, just like hotel rooms. We lost, and just l;ast week they let a $100k contract to study how best for the city to take over the electric company.

  9. Every day I wake thinking, how are we going to get this corruption of Science out, visible, so everyone can see it. I was an active greenie too. But this corruption in Science takes precedence. I see others here almost resigned, and others who want to fight.

    But I can only fight corruption with integrity, and that begins with me and looks pretty invisible for a long time.

    I read yesterday here of the scientist who’s discovered the Earth is being bombarded with “house-size” ice comets (tiny by other comets standards) who was ostracised – the full works – people here understand – and is only being recognized years later. He didn’t have the full political works to contend with, either. Big businesses dare not now be seen to support “skeptics” after their ’90’s records. But AGW get far more slush funding – if people did but know.

    I try with my “Primer” to hit the key issues squarely on the head – but find that many are still far from agreed – or at least, this “blog-reading nobody” is slow to grasp the clinchers – help welcome. People still refer to the “debunks of skeptics” as gospel. The science publications are surely heavily to blame for stifling material.

    Richard Lindzen’s written a paper on all the corruption of Climate Science. I’ve read the **** emails of Bob Ward of Royal Society (how did he get in?), trying to suppress the Swindle DVD. Lord Monckton’s open letter to McCain says it all. And Prof. Akasofu has some simple, clear, penetrating observations on the current state of corruption.

    Perhaps China or India will prove to be our blessing. Pachauri seems to have taken a beautifully double-faced stance for (1) UN and (2) India.

    Perhaps the Sun will help us this winter. Ole Humlum’s page shows SO clearly with beautiful world maps, how we’ve been cooling for several years now.

    Perhaps businesses will see the cost, discover the bad science, and fight.

    Perhaps.

  10. I work for a state agency. We have had a 1% raise for the past 5 years that expires at the end of every year. So they give us the same 1% back every year. This year I bet we wont even get that. Meanwhile our lovely politicians voted themselves something on the order of a 7% pay raise, perminant of course.

    Ya know what I would like to see? I would like to see top officials in my state and in the House and Senate have to take a pay cut. I would also like to see how they would feel if someone started messing around with their retirement plan.

  11. Anthony,

    What is the main source of power generation in California, more specifically in your geographic area, and more important, what is/will be the marginal source for any demand increases?

  12. These are a zealots who think they can produce a “paradise” by regulating everything the either exists or moves.
    Just please wear all these chains, shackles and puppet strings, and you have paradise!
    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

  13. I couldn’t help to notice the appearance of the words “tax” and “fee” alongside the word “free this” and “free that”.
    If that doesn’t sound like Communist Central Planning…

    Here comes the Big Green Dictatorship.

  14. I read the [long, newspeak] PDF on sustainablility. Funny, I couldn’t find a definition of “sustainability” anywhere. ‘Sustainability’ sure is a feelgood word though, isn’t it? Makes you think something is being done.

    But since the U.S. standard of living – presumably including Chico – is steadily rising, then everyone is already being ‘sustained’. QED.

    “Sustainability” is a code word just like “progressive,” which translated means that we must give up our rights to the government in return for… nothing.

    Of course, the government’s anonymous, taxsucking, completely unaccountable bureaucrats require substantially increased taxes to pay for whatever they unilaterally determine to be progressive sustainability.

    George Orwell would understand what’s going on here. Doubleplusungood.

  15. Carbon audits!
    What’s next?

    I wonder if the general population really knows what they are getting themselves into. Soon they are gonna wake up and find shackles around their ankles and their streets swarming with roaming unmarked windowless vans with dishes mounted on them.

    The next green bas**** that shows up at my doorstep can expect staring down a pair of metal tubes (just speaking figuratively to say he won’t be welcome).

    But then again, will we be able to tell him: “Get off “MY “property!”
    Seems like we won’t have any say on how to run our own property.

  16. Ecotretas (02:38:16) : “I think Europe will lead the way this time. Check it out at http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gAZR7yJ8hMxAwgRYoYk9p9vO1Udg Both the actual Czech President and the former Spain Prime Minister question the new religion. The message is getting out there!”

    On that note, one to watch will be the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland, from 1st to 12th December 2008. It will be interesting to see if the EU are as united about expensive and crippling emissions cuts as they said they were, before the economic downturn.

    I’m hoping that the Czechs, Poles and Italians will help to get the others to see some sense. With any luck, the whole idiotic climate package will prove to be… unsustainable.

  17. Seems to me it would be logical for all the local population to obtain at least one electric vehicle and then demand their free or subsidised electricity and parkaing.

    It would be interesting to present a view of the budget djusted to reflect those desired changes complete with a proposal about how the infrastructure changes would be funded and how long that would take. Plus what compensation could be offered to the consumers who are entitled to a non-existent service and businesses that would be put out of business in their current form.

    And then of course there is the cost of the electricity supply infrastructure upgrade (assuming there is supply capacity available). I understand that the US electrical market still offers low cost overnight tariffs and that those costs are part of the cost effectiveness calculations for re-chargeable electric vehicles. Presumably by encouraging everyone to go electric the overnight demand would quickly lead to the removal of such low cost tariffs at night. At least the increased day time consumption (for free) would ensure that the overnight tariffs could be maintained even if the distribution system was pushed to and beyond its capacity during the day.

    It seems to me that it is good that reports like these are placed in the public domain since in the end people will be able to refer to them with a historic perspective and judge them for what they are. We have pretty much got to the point where green theories are having to be placed in some terms of public reality rather than academic theory. Only now are the majority of the public likely to be exposed to what they mean at the individuals level.

    The political focus is now entirely dominant – science is not even in the back seat on the present journey. That will give people, hopefully on both sides of the debate, some impetus to show their true positions.

    Personally I hope that sense and reality prevail but I do wonder whether populations are educationally equipped to obtain that sort of result these days. Indoctrination may have been effective at a mass level in the younger generations.

    Ultimately the government we will have, from city through to national and even global, will be the one we collectively deserve, good, bad or indifferent. Unfortunately this is one experiment that can be tested in a practical sense. Perhaps the sooner the better so that others in the world can learn from the results and improve their own plans accordingly.

  18. This is just another example of how AGW is like a religion. In medieval times flagellation was recommended as a form of penance. Now the politicians who support AGW theory are using taxation of CO2 as a form of penance. And just like flagellation its going to hurt.

    Politicians are like Junkies and they are addicted to your money in the form of taxes.

  19. My favorite “community reduction action”:
    A local gasoline tax to generate local revenue.

    Apparently I can no understand English because I didn’t know that
    “generating local revenue” is a “community reduction action”. Oh, I am sorry, after actually typing this the meaning is quite clear. The “community reduction action” is a reduction in the amount of money the general population (community) has to spend.

    If they had only disguised this as such:
    “A local gasoline tax to encourage use of mass transportation” it
    would have made more sense.

  20. So how is an electric vehicle “sustainable”? The electricity is still generated be generation plants run by evil fossil fuels. I’ve been on this thread before about this topic, an electric car doesn’t change the CO2 picture it just moves the point of CO2 creation to the power plant.

    MikeEE

    REPLY: When it gets its charge from solar it is. – Anthony

  21. Just thank the Lord you all aint living in Australia!! In the little shire I live in, just outside Melbourne Victoria, population around 150,000, they laid on the carbon tax 3 years ago attaching it to rate increases. But they forgot to tell us they did this the first year it went into effect. They’ve spent about A$3 million over the last 3 years getting new cars and appliances for the shire offices and planting trees all over the place and now ‘claim’ the council is carbon neutral. WHOOOPPEEE!! Of course, they had to spend $300,000 buying renewable energy credits from some wind farm in South Australia in order to be ‘carbon neutral’, but they didn’t tell the electorate that in their official announcement. When they told us they were doing this 2 years ago, one of the councillors said we’d “set an example for the rest of the world to follow.” SHEESH!! I’m thinking of starting a community group called RAGE – Ratepayers Against Green Extremism. Council elections are at the end of the month and three Greens Party members are vying for a spot. If they get in, I may not have any choice BUT to start the group.

    What a farce.

  22. This reveals the true intent of green government – cold, hard green cash; the change you can do without.

    Why don’t they just concetrate on running basic city services efficently? [/rhetoric]

  23. Thankfully, sustainability for many of the folks in the Town of Andes means only cutting down a sustainable number of trees each year for logging and heating.

    On my property, I only remove one tree (mostly hard maple) out of about twenty and only the 20 or so year old trees. The older and taller trees reseed and a new crop matures each season.

    The some of the local tree-huggers don’t quite understand that I am practicing good forestry management and sustainability.

  24. My hope is that as all these politicians come down firmly on the side of agw, they will be setting the stage for their removal from office when things get cold.

  25. This is a disturbing example of the AGW-industrial complex. It exists to shake down tax payers to pay for dubious (at best) solutions to problems that are ill-defined and likely do not exist.

  26. We had a BC provincial wide carbon tax impuned on us this year.. Municipalities were up in arms about it so the premier offered to rebate them all but only if they said they would be carbon neutral by 2012. This of course, can only be done through carbon offset purchases. What we will get from it:
    1. More taxes
    2. Expanded Bureaurcracy
    3. More money leaving the cities in order to buy offset credits
    4. Zero effect on the environment

    A key voting geographical area in the interior was up in arms about it so what did the idiot premier do? Removed a road toll that has bugged them since it’s implmentation in the 80’s. Seems a bit odd to me. Want less cars on the road, remove an impediment. Things that make you go hmmmm.

    The more gov’t dependent jobs they create in specific voting segments, the better chance they have of re-election. Afterall, not many people are going to vote to eliminate their job.

    Cheers.

  27. The first verse of Chapter I of the new religion is exemplified in last weeks Doomesbury. When fixing problems, pretend to know something about nothing.

    Thomas Jefferson was well read on the early “democracy’s of ancient Greece – Sparta (and our Moon Beam spartan Govn’or of past).

    “The Lacedaemonian constitution is defective in another point; I mean the Ephoralty. This magistracy has authority in the highest matters, but the Ephors are chosen from the whole people, and so the office is apt to fall into the hands of very poor men, who, being badly off, are open to bribes.”
    – From Aristotle On the Lacedaemonian Constitution

    “poor” is of mind not material in todays Chico.

    Brand new problem for Chico. 2008 Young college mobsters-drunk’in thrash downtown and a City offical blames the economy. Wait, I recall the oldtime 60’s “Pioneer Day” that became a “week of drunk’in & trash’in” .

  28. When you see the word “free” associated with any solution as in;

    “Free electricity and free parking for city employees that drive electric vehicles
    Free or reduced cost electricity and parking for citizens that drive electric vehicles”

    Be afraid, very afraid!

  29. The thing I always wondered about when I lived in the Bay Area, is how a place with such high incomes and high tax rates managed to have such poor roads and schools?

    Where does the money go?

  30. piezopaul,

    If it becomes obvious that temperatures are coming down, Democrats and Obama will take credit for it. Look for some quick legislation in January to provide them a specific bill number to refer to in 2010 campaign ads. “We were only 5% of the vote away from losing our planet in 2008, but big oil funded politicians could still reverse our gains.”

    Many scientists will play along and share credit. Cold weather will not make the debate any more rational.

  31. Piezopaul,

    One would hope so, but there is little cause for hope.

    The financial crisis was caused solely by liberal Democrats. Bush, McCain and others all warned of it to no avail. Now there is a chance that the individuals that caused the problem will be given total control over all three branches of government.

    (I have been casually watching the financial crisis take place over the years. I was not surprized although I was not “ready” for it.)

    Pause for a thought: Senator Obama is a product of the Daily/Chicago political machine. The Daily family took control of Chicago in 1955 and there hasn’t been a free or fair election there since.

    Regards,

    Steamboat Jack

  32. Just noting that passenger cars are less than 10% of CO2 emissions on average. Maybe it is higher for your community but someone should check where you are getting your electricity, food and consumer products from.

    We can tax cars, encourage shared commuting plans, use more public transit but it won’t make even a small dent in CO2 emissions. Passenger cars are not the problem.

  33. Sustainable: the continous running of any process or system without significant change for an indefinite period of time. In a chaotic, non-linear world, sustainable systems and processes are impossible and unnatural. The real world is, and must be, in constant flux. Any talk of ‘sustainablilty’ in the context of legislation and public policy is, by definition, propaganda, unless qualified with a specific and reasonable time constraint.

    For the most part, use of the word ‘sustainable’ in public policy and advocacy is telling the population to ‘go to hell’ in such a way that they will look forward to the trip!

  34. In Britain we already have home energy audits (Home Information Packs or HIPs) that are mandatory for anyone wishing to sell a house.

    I share Anthony’s attitude (“I’m all for efficiency and alternate energy ideas that are cost neutral or revenue generators, ….”) and frustration. It is much worse in the UK and I fear for businesses that are being coerced into spending needlessly on emission reductions when, in this current economic climate, their money and resources should be focussed elsewehere to ensure survival.

    It can be done right:
    Güssing, in Austria, which is the first community in the EU to produce its whole energy demand – electricity, heating/cooling, fuels – out of renewable resources, all resources from within the region. In doing so it has turned itself in 15 years from one of the poorest to one of the most prosperous in the region by keeping the money it previously paid externally for power. So this was done for economic reasons, but is now a shining example of the power of renewables.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BCssing#Renewable_energy

    Lucy Skywalker – I have pointed numerous people in the direction of your excellent ‘Primer’ – great stuff. We just have to reach as many of the ‘ignorant of science’ or ‘undecided’ or ‘willing to listen’ as possible.

    Someone posted a link to an excellent book review/essay by Freeman Dyson a few days ago, in which he said:
    “The United Kingdom has made up its mind and takes the view that any individuals who disagree with government policy should be ignored.”

    When will we escape from this madness?

  35. That pie chart left out Government/University’s share of greenhouse emissions. Surely just an oversight. Is that covered elsewhere in the PDF?

    California generates almost 60% of its electricity from coal and natural gas. Those electric cars are not carbon neutral and will present a huge challenge to the state’s electrical generators. New carbon-free generation, and the associated transmission upgrades, in your state are being stymied wherever proposed, and realistically will not offset a substantial percentage of the current generating capacity. New large scale carbon-free electrical sources at Diablo or SONGS are dead on arrival.

    Because of your friendly climate (warm and getting warmer!), California can impose these “sustainability” edicts and affect only jobs and your economy. Do this in more temperate areas of the country and the consequences be significantly more serious.

  36. Hey, Anthony and al of ya'; the October Surprise is available for your viewing pleasure. Obama intends to bankrupt coal plant operators. This is the hammer swinging on the anvil of the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. It’ll sickle the Obamabots.
    =========================================

  37. Anthony,

    Thanks for posting our greenhouse gas inventory for a world audience. Disclaimer: I am the director of the project and the professor Anthony references.

    A couple of points in response.

    First, I was not paid for the project, nor was any other state employee. All the wages went to temporary staff hired to track down the information and enter it into the ICLIE software the city purchased.

    Second, the possible measures came from a list of compiled by ICLIE that have been implimented in other jurisdictions. The recommendations were exhaustive. We believe, like the readers of this blog, that there should be no a priori exclusions.

    Third, as for being removed from a committee because you did not attend the meetings, I leave it for the readers to assess. The five other business people on the Task Force found a way. And as you know, all government sub-committee meetings in Chico are held during the day to keep staff costs down.

    Lastly, I know we often disagree, and that is fine and as it should be. Please be careful, however. You have an international voice. You frustrations make us look like a community of bumpkins, and I know that is not your intent.

    Take care,

    Mark

    REPLY: Mark thank you for your response and for the clarifications.

    I’ll point out that Mark has was several awards for an energy efficient building he helped to design and build on campus, which I think is a great idea.

    For that, our city has been painted as a leader internationally, so I don’t think we are viewed as “bumpkins” ;-)

    I’ll point out that ICLEI (you got your abbreviation backwards) is a spin off of the Sierra Club, and so is it’s director:

    http://www.icleiusa.org/about-iclei/staff/annie-e-strickler

    When that software was first introduced to the task force, (see this powerpoint)

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sierraclub.org%2Frcc%2Fnortheast%2FICLEI-software.ppt&ei=asoNSZa4G4qEsQP29omIDw&usg=AFQjCNGiDvMe3kp3K4s9lY69qLOh8O1CaA&sig2=agh06dwcvDoaiuEXFBMGjg

    I objected to the Sierra Club involvement, since I believe that when approaching such issues, it is wise not you use software designed by an organization that has a political axe to grind. So yes, perhaps the majority of those recommendations came from ICLEI, but with the exception of myself and two other businessmen, the folks in the city-university group thought it was fine.

    My point always has been that if you want people to change habits, make it attractive, make it a choice driven by the market. Legislation almost always fails when human comfort or happiness is involved. Witness prohibition.

    Taxation and mandates is not the way. If you and the task force could focus on solutions that are without taxes, fees, or other hardships for our local citizens, and don’t give government employees benefits not available to the general public, I’ll be the biggest cheerleader.

    – Anthony

  38. If you recall I made this assertion a few months ago when the quote came out in Anthony’s email exchange with Dr. Pieter Tans(?) from the Mauna Loa Observatory:

    “We are very much aware that in a time
    when carbon dioxide emissions will cost a lot of money, there has to be
    an objective and fully credible way to quantify emissions. Without
    that, carbon markets cannot function efficiently, and policies cannot be
    measured relative to their objectives. We think that the atmosphere
    itself can provide objective quantification.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/08/06/post-mortem-on-the-mauna-loa-co2-data-eruption/#more-2097

    All strata of government is perpetuating this “carbon crisis” in an effort to extort more money from the citizenry in order to secure and grow more and more power over us. I am not in any scientific field whatsoever, and I do my best to keep up with what you guys are saying technically, however it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure this one out!

  39. “That pie chart left out Government/University’s share of greenhouse emissions. Surely just an oversight. Is that covered elsewhere in the PDF?”

    I stand corrected. I just noticed the 4% for “Waste.” Seems low to me, but I’ll go with that.

  40. ”I’m all for efficiency and alternate energy ideas that are cost neutral or revenue generators, ….”

    Give me a break.
    Can anyone name one and actually support it with numbers?

    I think Anthony’s interest in renewables has more to do with technological fascination, and less with economics.
    I don’t see many working joes with enough extra cash to dabble in systems that are still very economically unprofitable.

    Indeed the only way to make alternative energy economical is to make conventional fossil fuels outrageously expensive by excessively taxing them.

    Case in point: Here in Europe gasoline is at $9 a gallon (75% is tax). Guess what? People are still buying it because there’s no real alternative.

    The USA survived 4 years of Jimmy Carter, and so I suppose it’ll survive 4 years of Obama/Gore.

  41. Pierre (08:54:26) There is audio of Obama last January promising to bankrupt the coal industry. This will impact Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and others. This is the October Surprise, I think.
    ===============================================

  42. I’m continously amazed that in many areas people fight to get legislation passed for tax breaks involving alternative energy products.

    Hey…I just built a car. It gets 100mpg, so if you drive it 15,000 miles a year, your gasoline costs will drop by %75 to $xxx. BUT…I can’t really SELL any, unless the government kicks in some good ol’ tax credit incentives.

    Look at Prius sales when the vehicles hit the market. There was a 6mo wait at some dealers in my state…and you basically had little/no choice of colors etc., because they were in such high demand. So exactly why did we need a tax incentive for hybrid vehicles?

    I’m not sayin’…I’m just sayin.

  43. My God and my religion will have a surprise for the Greenies. Just imagine our hubris thinking we can control our climate when nature is the actual primary force. I’m rooting for a Dalton Minimum to freeze the Greenies asses.

  44. Mark

    First, I was not paid for the project, nor was any other state employee.

    Just a clarification please. Are you saying that both you and government employees were working on their own time and not paid status during meetings and other activities?

  45. Got a question.How’s Aero Union doing in all of this? Will they leave Chico for greener,er less green pasutres? They are one of the premier Airtanker outfits but the nature of putting out fires requires CO2 expenditure.Does that count for carbon sequestration?
    “Fallen Angels” is real….

  46. As a Chico native now living on Catalina Island, I would move back to Chico just to vote for you for mayor, Anthony.

    Or maybe I can just stay on Catalina and get ACORN to register me as a Chico resident…

  47. JimB (08:24:27) It’s gone viral. Instapundit has it. Lucianne. Wizbang.
    ===========================================

  48. Mark (08:21:54) :

    Lastly, I know we often disagree, and that is fine and as it should be. Please be careful, however. You have an international voice. You frustrations make us look like a community of bumpkins, and I know that is not your intent.

    Are you impugning bumpkins? My wife and are building a yurt in Orange, NH (snow god, please hold off for another week or two). While it will have a propane range and refrigerator, we expect to use LED lighting from solar charged batteries. Wood stove for heat, of course.

    Yesterday, one of the owners of http://nerenewables.com/ in town dropped by. Her house is off-grid, in part because it would cost $18K to stretch the grid there.

    A couple weeks ago a hunter killed a 1100 lb moose on the property. We know there’s a bigger one around, and my critter cam snapped a smaller moose three days later. Sustainable and tasty.

    One “unfair” advantage of small town America is that residents have a number of means for taking sustainability into their own hands and don’t have to rely on concepts like “Requir[ing] energy audits on residential units at the time of sale.”

    Instead of criticizing Anthony and the bumpkins who post here, I would have received your post better had you listed the actions Chico has taken to improve sustainability and increase conservation, e.g. some of the actions taken (and abandoned?) by your WPCP. While I appreciate the value in studying a problem before acting, you concentrated on recommendations that lead to a post like this and blindly accept that CO2 is the problem. It seems Anthony is several steps ahead of your committee.

    And another thing – I told the NH Governor’s Climate Change Task Force that conservation and CO2 reduction should be separate tasks. When the world finally figures out that CO2 is not the main driver behind global warming, committees like yours will be scrambling to remain relevant. May I suggest your focus change to conservation and cost reduction?

  49. Leon Brozyna (22:12:56) :

    “Where are Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ben Franklin, James Madison et al when we need them?”

    That is not a proper question, because the dead only vote in Chicago. The Founding Fathers did not ask “where are…?”, they acted and created the governmental framework under which you currently reside. As long as you passively submit, you will be guided through life by those who are more qualified to plan your life. The fourth of November may be a day you will not forget. Let us hope that it will not be a day you will always regret.

  50. Pierre Gosselin (08:54:26) :

    ”I’m all for efficiency and alternate energy ideas that are cost neutral or revenue generators, ….”

    Give me a break.
    Can anyone name one and actually support it with numbers?

    Here’s a simple, and perhaps laughably minor one until you look at it a bit closer. As traffic light’s lamps burn out, the bulbs are usually being replaced wity LEDs. Not only does this save electricity (something like 40W per bulb, sorry, I don’t have the number), it reduces service costs because the LEDs last longer.

    The Chico inventory report .pdf (page 35) says Chico spends $50K per year on traffic lights.

    The street lighting changes in America from gas to incandescent to mercury vapor to sodium all are impressive steps in increasing efficiency, but have usually come with vastly increased use that have wiped out any savings. I’d like to see a combination of motion sensor activation and halogen lighting in low traffic areas. I suspect that would make criminals so self-concious that they’d hightail it for the always on Sodium lit areas.

  51. Kim,
    Thanks for the kind words, and I wish you were right.
    But I’m not looking forward to Wednesday. morning. It’s gonna be tough.

    But that will be nothing compared to how millions are going to feel when their taxes and costs go up, and their jobs disappear in the coming months and years. Then we, and Prof. Mark, are going to witness what real FRUSTRATION is.

  52. Smokey (03:10:16) :

    ‘I read the [long, newspeak] PDF on sustainability. Funny, I couldn’t find a definition of “sustainability” anywhere. ‘Sustainability’ sure is a feel good word though, isn’t it? Makes you think something is being done.’

    In governmental terms, “sustainability” identifies the process of providing nourishment to government through taxation. It also identifies the “sustainability” of the tax-payer to hold up under the onerous taxes required by government.

  53. You have in Chico a small example of what Gore and crew want to bring to the entire U.S. Since they know all the answers, the debate is over, the science is settled. We should just pay a lot more taxes (patriotic, you know) and have a lot less to show for it.

    It may be inevitable. If Obama wins, it will happen sooner.

  54. Bumper Stick seen in Texas….

    “I’ll keep my Bible, Guns, & Taxes…You keep your change”….

    When government mandates ‘change or else’, they cause the people to rise up and overthrow them.

  55. You think it’s bad in Chico, here in Roseville, CA, we have gone beyond the planning stage for “green” taxation. On our monthly electric/utility bill, there is a charge for “Climate Change Mitigation.” I haven’t yet found a person on the city staff that knows what that money is paying for. However, I’m going to suggest that they change the wording to “Climate Chaos Mitigation,” because they are in danger of looking passé. At least, however, they’ve progressed from “Global Warming Mitigation.” ;)

  56. MikeEE

    REPLY: When it gets its charge from solar it is. – Anthony

    Does your solar farm operate in the “Midnight Sun?” When you get free electricity for your EV, it is free for you but paid for by the city through taxes in the non-discriminatory everyone pays tax schemes. Sounds a little like a spread the wealth program.

  57. Pingback: “Sustainability” and Carbon Taxes runs amok in my town « UD/RK Samhälls Debatt

  58. Bill Illis (07:04:25) :

    “We can tax cars, encourage shared commuting plans, use more public transit but it won’t make even a small dent in CO2 emissions. Passenger cars are not the problem.”

    Cut to the chase Bill. Man-made CO2 emissions, are not now and never have had a negative influence on Nature. To tax carbon is to tax life.

  59. Anything that is a green issue leads inevitably to higher taxes.

    I can’t see anything good in the next few years… Not for small business people.

  60. The first thing a community should do, probably, is look at “solid waste.” Invite a company like Bluefire to take a look at how much they can save you/make for you by converting your Solid Waste into Ethanol.

    Next, I would look at my Sewage Plant. How much could I Save/Make by running my sewage through an anaerobic digester, and producing electricity from the resulting biogas. These are both “Green” programs that are being implemented by California cities, as we speak.

    You might want to look at a program at the high school to produce biodiesel from yellow grease for the school system buses.

    OR, you could just keep sucking at the taxpayers’ teat, and conducting “audits.”

  61. Mark:

    Given:

    1. That the failed hypothesis that CO2 [“carbon”] can ever cause runaway global warming has been repeatedly falsified, and given

    2. That petroleum reserves equal to all of Saudi Arabia’s reserves have recently been discovered in the Dakotas, and given

    3. That the Earth’s current climate is well within normal parameters, and is in no way out of the ordinary, then…

    How can you possibly justify spending public funds on a proven non-problem??

    Our growing economy is completely sustainable; however, your committee’s duplicitous shenanigans place barriers in the way of true sustainability — and deliberately lower the quality of life for your city’s residents.

    I look forward to whatever explanation you are able to provide regarding your city’s mendacious “sustainability” claim.

  62. Smokey, Saudi Arabia Flows over 9 Million Barrels of Oil/Day. I’m not aware of Any expert organization (EIA, USGS, etc.) that figures the Bakken will ever flow over 2 mbpd. It’s just too many very small pockets of oil, spread out over too large an area. It’ll come in handy, but it doesn’t seem likely that it’s going to salvage BAU once global production goes into serious decline.

  63. Kum Dollison,

    Solid waste into biogas too would be better. It is a more efficient energy conversion than making ethanol.

  64. Sir Anthony (The Rev)
    How beautiful it is your job.
    How beautiful is your life.
    Maybe. I am an isolated voice of the third world.
    My sincere impression. As the politicians are universally idiots.
    I unfortunately am not able to discuss internal U.S. politics.
    But: The political activities of the world is mirrored in the actions of American leaders.
    Conclusion: When the United States of America has a cold … we are dying of pneumonia.
    ps: if the people of Chico need a warrior retired. just call
    ….Sorry for the bad English….
    FM

  65. Kum Dollison:

    Flows?? Who said anything about flow? I compared reserves. In addition, there are massive reserves offshore under U.S. jurisdiction, and huge reserves on other federal lands.

    But we can’t use our own reserves. The enviro lobby, through their sock puppets in Congress, won’t allow us to develop our petroleum sources — which would provide “sustainability.”

    Thus, the price of oil remains very high due to artificially restricted supply.

    And Middle Eastern potentates get rich at the expense of working Americans.

  66. Ellie – That would be fine, also.

    Smokey – Flows are Everything, my man. Reserves is just talk. Flows is what “does the walk.”

  67. Anthony,

    You have an active and inquisitive blog. I will try to respond.

    I define sustainability as maintaining our quality of life over the long haul. Sustainability entails environmental stewardship, social responsibility and economic prosperity.

    I understand why the bloggers who do not subscribe to AGW think that this would be a waste of time. A majority of the committee does believe in AGW, and thus wanted to get a baseline inventory of GHG production in the city of Chico.

    The city and university are broken out in the commercial sector, pg 11.

    I am sorry. I did not mean to malign bumpkins or the people who post on this blog.

    Some of the efforts the City of Chico has taken include LED traffic signals, energy efficient street lights, solar power for the waste water treatment plant, and “right-sizing” the city fleet to save fuel. These efforts were undertaken because they save money as well as reduce the production of greenhouse gases. Now that city staff have a baseline inventory, the software allows staff to quickly input any of these efforts and calculate the carbon savings.

    I worked on this project on my personal time. City staff were on the clock. City staff sought other estimates, and they came in at between $60,000 and $90,000. Our $30,000 project came in early and under budget.

    Take care,

    Mark

  68. A mains charged electric car emits between 200% and 300% more CO2 than an equivalent current model gasoline/diesel car when the electricity is generated from coal or oil. Its somewhat less for natural gas, but still far more CO2 emitted than gasoline.

    The reason is coal generation, distribution, charging (step down to 12 volts) and batteries are all inefficient and waste energy and hence require more energy input, ie coal.

    With clean coal the increased CO2 emissions go up to between 400% and 600% more CO2 emitted.

    The only way electric cars can reduce CO2 emissions is by using solar/wind generated electricity SURPLUS to current requirements and I bet that is not even true for Anthony.

  69. pattio (08:22:25) :

    Here is the data provided by Dr. Tan of the Mauna Loa Monitoring Station.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

    Annual Mean
    Growth Rate
    Mauna Loa, Hawaii
    2007 2.14

    Annual Mean
    Growth Rate
    Global Average
    2007 2.20

    DOE data shows a pre-industrial concentration of atmospheric CO2 of 288 ppm. This concentration of atmospheric CO2 increased to 368.4 ppm in October, 2008, an increase of 80.4 ppm. The contribution by natural causes was 68.52 ppm and the man-made contribution was 11.88 ppm. The ratio of natural CO2 emission to man-made CO2 is 5.76.

    The Global Carbon Project (GCP) report gives the yearly increases of CO2 as: During the years 1970-1079, the increase was 1.3 ppm per year; During the years 1980-1989, the increase was 1.6 ppm; During the years 1990-1999, the increase was 1.5 ppm; and during the years 2000-2007, the increase was 2.0 ppm. Given the ratio of natural emission to man-made emission of 5.76 (before the year 2000), man-made CO2 contributed 0.226 ppm per year during 1970-1979, 0.278 ppm per year during 1980-1989, and 0,25 ppm per year during 1990-1999.

    Now it seems that everyone assumes that the CO2 concentration increase of 2.14 ppm per year (Mauna Loa Station) is entirely man-made (GCP). What happened to natural CO2 emissions after the year 2000?

    The new Global Carbon Budget will be launched on the 26th September 2008 (GCP), Based on the latest national time series and the preliminary national estimates, 2005 marked the first year fossil-fuel carbon emissions from non-participants in the Kyoto Protocol exceeded emissions from signatory countries.

    Recent Greenhouse Gas Concentrations: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/current_ghg.html

    Here is an 18 page paper you might want to read: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/epubs/other/Sicilypaper.pdf
    THE INCREASING CONCENTRATION OF ATMOSPHERIC CO2:

    HOW MUCH, WHEN, AND WHY?

    Gregg Marland and Tom Boden
    Environmental Sciences Division
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory
    Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-6335, USA
    Phone 865-241-4850
    Fax 865-574-2232
    e-mail gum@ornl.gov

    INTRODUCTION

    There is now a sense that the world community has achieved a broad consensus that:
    1.) the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) is increasing,
    2.) this increase is due largely to the combustion of fossil fuels, and
    3.) this increase is likely to lead to changes in the global climate.

    This consensus is sufficiently strong that virtually all countries are involved in trying to achieve a functioning agreement on how to confront, and mitigate, these changes in climate. This paper reviews the first two of these components in a quantitative way. We look at the data on the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and on the magnitude of fossil-fuel combustion, and we examine the trends in both. We review the extent to which cause and effect can be demonstrated between the trends in fossil-fuel burning and the trends in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Finally, we look at scenarios for the future use of fossil fuels and what these portend for the future of atmospheric chemistry. Along the way we examine how and where fossil fuels are used on the Earth and some of the issues that are raised by any effort to reduce fossil-fuel use.

    How does one overcome the inertia of a global hoax?

  70. pattio (08:22:25) :

    Here is the data provided by Dr. Tan of the Mauna Loa Monitoring Station.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

    Annual Mean
    Growth Rate
    Mauna Loa, Hawaii
    2007 2.14

    Annual Mean
    Growth Rate
    Global Average
    2007 2.20

    DOE data shows a pre-industrial concentration of atmospheric CO2 of 288 ppm. This concentration of atmospheric CO2 increased to 368.4 ppm in October, 2008, an increase of 80.4 ppm. The contribution by natural causes was 68.52 ppm and the man-made contribution was 11.88 ppm. The ratio of natural CO2 emission to man-made CO2 is 5.76.

    The Global Carbon Project (GCP) report gives the yearly increases of CO2 as: During the years 1970-1079, the increase was 1.3 ppm per year; During the years 1980-1989, the increase was 1.6 ppm; During the years 1990-1999, the increase was 1.5 ppm; and during the years 2000-2007, the increase was 2.0 ppm. Given the ratio of natural emission to man-made emission of 5.76 (before the year 2000), man-made CO2 contributed 0.226 ppm per year during 1970-1979, 0.278 ppm per year during 1980-1989, and 0,25 ppm per year during 1990-1999.

    Now it seems that everyone assumes that the CO2 concentration increase of 2.14 ppm per year (Mauna Loa Station) is entirely man-made (GCP). What happened to natural CO2 emissions after the year 2000?

    The new Global Carbon Budget will be launched on the 26th September 2008 (GCP), Based on the latest national time series and the preliminary national estimates, 2005 marked the first year fossil-fuel carbon emissions from non-participants in the Kyoto Protocol exceeded emissions from signatory countries.

    Recent Greenhouse Gas Concentrations: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/current_ghg.html

    Here is an 18 page paper you might want to read: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/epubs/other/Sicilypaper.pdf
    THE INCREASING CONCENTRATION OF ATMOSPHERIC CO2:

    HOW MUCH, WHEN, AND WHY?

    Gregg Marland and Tom Boden

    Environmental Sciences Division

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-6335, USA

    Phone 865-241-4850

    Fax 865-574-2232

    e-mail gum@ornl.gov

    INTRODUCTION

    There is now a sense that the world community has achieved a broad consensus that:

    1.) the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) is increasing,

    2.) this increase is due largely to the combustion of fossil fuels, and

    3.) this increase is likely to lead to changes in the global climate.

    This consensus is sufficiently strong that virtually all countries are involved in trying to

    achieve a functioning agreement on how to confront, and mitigate, these changes in

    climate. This paper reviews the first two of these components in a quantitative way. We

    look at the data on the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and on the magnitude

    of fossil-fuel combustion, and we examine the trends in both. We review the extent to

    which cause and effect can be demonstrated between the trends in fossil-fuel burning and

    the trends in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Finally, we look at scenarios for the future

    use of fossil fuels and what these portend for the future of atmospheric chemistry. Along

    the way we examine how and where fossil fuels are used on the Earth and some of the

    issues that are raised by any effort to reduce fossil-fuel use.

  71. Kum D:

    I’m not trying to argue; maybe you’re just missing my point. First comes discovery of reserves. Then, development. Finally, extraction [‘flows’].

    Until Congress allows drilling, our “sustainability” is going straight downhill. As it stands, we can’t even drill for the billions of barrels of oil in the ANWR wasteland.

  72. Mark,
    Does the $30,000 include the software?
    Mike Bryant

    REPLY: If I recal correctly the software was about $500 I think. – Anthony

  73. Fernando,
    I know a bit about ethanol. I know that in Brazil you produce more ethanol than anywhere else presently (by a long way), that you do so more cost effectively and sustainably (from sugar cane) than any of the other proposed feedstocks (even lignocellulose, although I guess one that will get better).

    The thing about ethanol is that you have to separate it from water after fermentation. That requires energy. Overall ethanol production requires about three times as much energy (thermal and electrical) per tonne of feedstock than biogas. Gross energy yields are similar, but net energy is lower much lower.

  74. Mark:

    I am not surprised that you avoided answering the question I asked you [@11:42:48].

    Instead, you state: “I define sustainability as maintaining our quality of life over the long haul.”

    Yes yes yes. But what is the official definition of “sustainablility”? Does one even exist?? Or will an official city definition be ginned up, ex post facto? Like “climate change” was ginned up to replace “global warming” due to the fact that the planet is cooling?

    Please, point me to Chico’s official definition of “sustainability”. Because without an official definition, “sustainability” could just as easily be defined as “a tax grab through the censoring of any and all opposing views.”

    Tying in your own personal definition of sustainability with the fact that AGW does not exist in any measurable degree, and can not lead to runaway global warming [those are facts, BTW], results in a disconnect.

    Aside from some laudatory but minor modifications like LED streetlights, etc. [which the market would have provided anyway], the policies suggested in the city’s PDF file would lead down the road to un-sustainability [according to your sustainability definition: maintaining our quality of life over the long haul].

    If George Orwell were still around, he might well have written, “Down is up, black is white, global cooling is global warming, evil is good, and un-sustainability is sustainability.”

    Government Newspeak, you see.

  75. I understand, Smokey. It’s just that there really is no such thing as a “bottomless milkshake.” It might behoove us to husband our resources a bit till we get an absolute number on where we’re at. Some awfully smart people think that we’re flowing just about as much oil, right now, as we ever will.

    The IEA is expected to announce in it’s report this month that existing oil wells are, globally, declining in production at a 9% Rate. That means to stay even we will have to, globally, replace one Saudi Arabia about every one and a half years. It seems logical, at least to one hillbilly, that we need to continue working on alternatives, and efficiency.

    For instance, without knowing anything about Chico, Ca,, the number of restaurants, etc, or the size of it’s school system, amount of busing, etc, It’s highly likely that they could save many tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Dollars/Yr by collecting waste yellow grease for conversion to biodiesel.

    Is there logging in the area? What about Waste Wood from logging operations? It’s turning into a big business. Are you in a good “wind area?” John Deere will finance the wind turbines in a tax-credit swap deal.

  76. I looked you up on Wikipedia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chico,_California

    You have all kinds of opportunities for alternative energies. You have several schools, hospitals, restaurants, etc. You could probably run all of your buses on “yellow grease.”

    You have Sierra Nevada Breweries – waste sugar water (ethanol,) and Lundberg farms (rice stalks.) With your Mediterranean Climate, and these resources you could become 100% Energy Independent.

    Think “Waste.”

  77. Committee: a group of people who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done.

  78. Well, I don’t mean, just “these” resources. I meant those, plus forestry/agricultural waste, Municipal Solid Waste, Anaerobically digestible sewage, Solar, and Wind, (Oh, How’s your “geothermal profile?)

    Ellie’s post, above, about Gussing, Austria is Excellent. It should be an “eye-opener” for a community such as yours. It’s gotta be “doable;” they “did it.”

    Think “Waste.”

  79. jimB,
    Do you have a website to have a closer look at the 100mpg car you have build?

    Mr. Watts,

    The link “electric car” is not functioning.
    Would you be so kind to restore it?

    In regard to the this topic I can only say that I am open for any technology that will bring an improvement to our daily life in terms of quality and costs.
    The whole AGW doctine and the taxation schemes will prove a disaster and we should fight it with all our might.
    Why:
    1. the whole concept is based on false data
    2. the tax schemes will not solve any problem
    3. the proposed legislation will provide unlimited power to the government
    4. it will undermine the the strength of the economy
    5. it will undermine the security
    6. it will promote world wide famine since the legilation will impact food production,
    increased application of bio fuels and distribution

    It is an act against humanity.

  80. Mike Bryant (22:00:30) :
    Meanwhile,
    Texas is building lots of power plants and lots of people are moving in. When we need new easements for power lines, the state makes it happen, no lawsuits. This is and has always been a pro-growth state. Please, God, don’t let the contagion spread to Texas.
    Mike

    Mike Texas is going to become a very wealthy state exporting power to the dummies if transmission capability is sufficient. Also, as I understand Texas can secede from the union much easier as it was a Republic before becoming a state so there may be an out to escape the madness. Drilling for oil and gas should become a national security issue so that it cannot be stopped or delayed by the environmentalists.

  81. Ellie:
    The cane sugar, after grinding. It’s dry. And later, burned, generating electricity and thermal energy. The system is self-sufficient, and also sells surplus electricity.
    Today, the fleet of vehicles is bi-fuel. (Alcohol / gasoline). you choose.
    Today fortunately the government does not interfere with subsidies.
    It was not something planned. Simply had no money to buy oil.
    FM

  82. Sadly (perhaps not so?), I’ve not yet learned the language of carbon trade-speak. How is the value of this new currency set? Is there some objective, internationally agreed upon yardstick by which we can determine per capita taxation? Can someone tell me how many hundredths of a degree celsius increase is yielded by one ton of Co2? And what is the value in tax dollars of one one-hundredth of a degree? Or, are we to just wing it, and bend over and take it and be a good sport about it? How do we measure the effect of our tax dollars at work? This isn’t like a new street curb or sidewalk that everyone can share. I see no accountability whatsoever.

  83. Lucy Skywalker (01:27:27)

    I read yesterday here of the scientist who’s discovered the Earth is being bombarded with “house-size” ice comets (tiny by other comets standards) who was ostracised – the full works – people here understand – and is only being recognized years later. He didn’t have the full political works to contend with, either. Big businesses dare not now be seen to support “skeptics” after their ’90’s records. But AGW get far more slush funding – if people did but know.

    I read about a scientist from the University of Iowa many years ago who thought he discovered water vapor appearing in the atmosphere that he attributed to comets; however, his study was related to the question of where the earth got all of its water. Of course he met with a lot of resistance.

  84. The default condition of ANY city is not “sustainable”. It is growth, since growth drives improvement. Growth potential in North America has always been seen as almost infinite. As long as growth potential was seen as unlimited, economies boomed, prosperity increased, North America became the world’s greatest superpower (I have to say “North America” because I’m in canada and want a piece of this).

    Now, along come a group that want us to no longer see growth as the driving force for our civilization. They want us to find some sort of equilibrium, where growth is stifled and quality of life is on hold. They scream for “sustainable”, which is not only an unattainable goal, but a foolish one.

    The boogey-man is CO2, it’s global cooling, then global warming, then climate change… which has been repeatedly disproved. If the planet’s climate was really so fragile, the first major volcanic event would have thrown it far past the “tipping points” we keep hearing about. CO2 is not only an essential compound, but the planet’s ability to absorb or “sink” it is effectively infinite.

    We’re seeing the same pushes for “taxed sustainability” every around the first world, and quite frankly it’s repulsive. Hiding an outright tax grab behind some idealistic pseudo-scientific crap is really getting old.

  85. O/T rant:

    Greenpeace, Sierra Club, WWF, Environmental Defense Fund, Suzuki Foundation, Pew, et al, should have their “charitable status” voided as they are involved in political advocacy.

  86. Cool, Roger Peilke Sr. agrees with what I suggested to the NH Climate Change Task Force and Mark Stemen about separating climate change and conservation. From http://www.motherjones.com/interview/2008/11/sustainability-interviews-roger-a-pielke.html (found from a posting at icecap.us):

    RAP: Energy policy and climate policy should be disconnected from each other. There are overlaps between the two, and the trouble is that people are using climate, mainly CO2, to invoke energy policy. I think that’s a very bad way to go about it. In terms of energy policy, which I’m not an expert on, you have to consider each energy source in terms of its pros and cons. The way it’s being done now, it’s just sort of one dimensional – it’s just assuming that carbon dioxide is the biggest threat to mankind, and I think that’s really an absurd oversimplification of the complexity of the issue.

  87. It would seem plausible in light of this global economic downturn that is expected to continue at least another 18 to 24 months, if not longer, to record any noticeable reduction in man-made CO2 emissions. There should be some type of inverted bell curve spanning 2007 to 2012 with accompanying downward curve in temperature (considering lag time). As a believer in sunspot driven temperature fluctuations, I’m not sure how one would allow for that element of the equation. The current reduction in per barrel oil prices are a direct result of anticipated reduction in consumption, which should imply a reduction in emissions. I say we hold out another 4 years or so to test the theory to see if it holds before we start taxing people on carbon emissions.

  88. To the City of Chico, California.
    Doesn’t it feel good to do something for sustainability? It always feels so good to do something with someone else’s money. Doesn’t it feel good to do something about climate change. It doesn’t matter if you bankrupt the city, it’s not really your money anyway. And don’t forget that gas tax can always be bumped on up. Besides, then people won’t drive as much and that will decrease CO2! But wait, then the gas revenues will go down. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of things that can still be taxed. I understand that every citizen exhales CO2, so there is always that. And the businesses, everyone knows how deep their pockets are. So don’t listen to anyone. You are doing the right thing. Even if every business and every citizen leaves, it is a matter of conscience.
    Hey con=against and science, well who knows what science means anymore.
    Anyway thank you for making government more expensive and inaccessible. Texas says a big thank you also. Send us your overburdened, longing to be free. Send us your best and your brightest. Don’t worry, they can always send money back to their families in California. That will help you to sustain.
    Mike Bryant

  89. Code Tech has got it exactly right. As do the subsequent posters. Those parroting the evil mantra of ‘sustainability’ used to be known as Malthusians [who refused to believe that Man’s ingenuity could provide for a rising population], and Luddites [who smashed spinning jennies in the mistaken belief that they would starve due to automation; what actually occurred was a significant drop in unemployment and an increase in living standards, as textile mills required more, and better educated, and thus better paid workers].

    The modern day Malthusian-Luddites [the AGW/”carbon is evil” contingent of the enviro movement] are already causing mass starvation through their deliberately misguided policies.

    One-sixth of the world’s population lives on $1 or less per day; the ethanol mandate [which stems directly from the no-drilling contingent] has already caused the price of basic food stocks to triple, resulting in starvation among the world’s poorest, who must spend most of their $1 a day income on calories.

    The organized environmental movement [as opposed to true conservationists] does not care how many of the world’s poor die as a result of their anti-human policies. As the linear philosophical descendants of Josef Stalin, they accept his Soviet dictum that “One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.”

  90. Chico had a short-fall of US$4 million earlier this year. It is now US$10 million.

    The California state legislature passed a budget with a built-in debt of US$7 billion. It is now US$10 billion.

    The City of Vallejo has recently had a problem with sustainability. Vallejo declared bankruptcy in May and still has a US$3 million short-fall: Vallejo is asking most city employees to take unpaid time off work to help close an unexpected $3 million budget gap. City Manager Joe Tanner also volunteered to take a 10 percent pay cut off his $316,000 salary to help the ailing city, which filed for bankruptcy in May.

    There is a bond on the ballot for US$10 billion, which is “seed” money for a coast-line high-speed train. Total cost over 30 years US$20 billion and this is only the “seed.”

    Such is the sustainability of governments in the Golden State.

  91. Hmmmm…. Tying several threads together (one gets a cloth!).

    Noting that CO2 is a “Dangerous Pollutant” (prior thread) and that processes that use or emit it would be subject to EPA regulation in the (likely) near future.

    How sustainable will be the lives (and limbs) of EPA staff be, who walk into bars (waving their badges) and declaring that FLAT beer shall be drunk by all – imagine the scenario where the bar is owned, operated and patronised by your local, friendly “Outlaw Motorcycle Gang”…

    Inquiring minds would like to know.

  92. Economically unsustainable actions cannot last.

    Witness the former USSR and satellite states in eastern europe.

    We will all reap the seeds sown by the “green” revolution.

    And who will bail the US out?

  93. Kum (15:03:11) says “think Waste”.

    No – new terminology not ‘waste’ but ‘organic resource’.

    You gotta make the most of what you’ve got, stop throwing it away, make use of it in the most efficient manner. That’s exactly what sustainability is about, and that is exactly why Brazil got it going ethanol going so well – they had to make the best use of ALL their resource (thanks, Fernando).

    Biorenewables have been hijacked by the AGW lobby to a great extent, but there’s worthwhile stuff in there.

  94. CodeTech (15:37:42) :
    I’m with you on the sustainability tax stuff, but the incentives in Europe might do some good in pushing better technology. That’s why Gussing (see earlier post at 07:30:56) is so engaging – they did it for prosperity not CO2.

  95. Ellie,
    So true, the people in Gussing are making money at it. Now that makes sense. Gussing is thriving, not pouring money down a huge government hole. Do you think that a wood fired power plant would ever be approved in California? And if it was, would the environmentalists let them string those power lines through the forests? Remember, it doesn’t have to make any sense in California as long as it feels so good. The taxpayers will pick up the tab. Until they decide to leave.

  96. Nobody can define sustainability because nobody understands the ecosystem and the development of life.

    In what conceivable way does sustainability have anything to do with limiting, controlling, and redistributing resources? No, as a species we have either progressed, or perished.

    Our children are entitled to a far higher and more sophisticated standards of living than we ever dreamed, just as we have been privileged to have beyond our ancestors. Our children do not deserve some kind of wooly jumpered bicycle riding village locally grown carrot munching confined utopia. They would not thank us for that.

    Nature isn’t about “balance”. It is about a struggle to evolve and develop. It is destructive and creative–many Eastern philosophies get this. The environment and limited resources are Nature’s way of telling us to progress harder, to become more ingenious and become more powerful. Our footprint should not be smaller, it should be bigger–we should develop ways to harness more and more raw material into life enriching capabilities.

    Nature’s impulse is always to go forward. We have 6 billion today but only a small percentage have the most advanced lifestyle, healthcare, and technology? I define sustainability as being able to acquire for a future where all 10 or 20 billion equally have a higher standard of living than the richest enjoy today. Sustainability is a future where billions of people all commonly receive an education that makes them smarter and more capable and intelligent than what is possible in the best schools in the world today.

  97. Hehe, just wait until Obama and the Democrats get their way with coal. And remember, we must only suffer for ten years under their tyranny, and then we will all have free energy. :)

    Waiting for Obama supporter response…….

  98. Echoes of Germany, 1939

    “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

    Barrack Obama

  99. Ed Scott,

    [Before you brag about your EV, read this report: The electric car is no solution to smog in California’s cities, according to a new report published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. http://www.ncpa.org/pd/pdenv42.html

    Another look:
    Electric Car Pollution http://www.ncpa.org/ea/eajf96/eajf96n.html
    Chico is said to rank third in bad air quality in the state of California.}

    You are buiding your arguments against the electric car on twelve year old reports.

    We currently observe a revolution in battery development and energy storage technologies (super capacitators). The future batteries can be recycled, have a long service life cycle (3000 load cycles without loss of capacity) and high energy storage capacity at a low weight.
    The idea is to create an intelligent grid where the cars that are plugged in the net function as a peak buffer. This eliminates a number of back-up power plants when applied. One other disadvantage of battery technology, the time you need to charge the batteries will be reduced from several hours to a few minutes.

    The moment this new battery technology is available at low prices it will have a future.

    At this moment in time we have conventional technology available with the potential to reduce the average fuel consumption of a car by 80%. http://www.tcengine.com/Our_Technology.html

    This technology and many other car concepts will be on the road during the X-prize event for the 100 mpg car competition. The winner will get a prize of 10 million US dollar. (much cheaper than the 25 billion dollar gift to the US car industry to develop a fuel efficient car)

    Because I am convinced that CO2 is not an environmental factor I have no objections against the use of carbon fuels but I am in favor of any technology that improves mpg performance and clean burning.

    If you are interested in the top 100 of new (peer reviewed) technologies have a look at http://peswiki.com/index.php/Congress:Top_100:Complete_List

    It is clear that the land of the free are really free if they are able to obtain individual energy independence. Some of the technologies have the potential to achieve this.
    Some are simple, some are complex.
    The free market and competition should do the job but a well informed public always is a help.

    As long as it is affordable and competative.

  100. On Sustainability:

    If any current level of life were “sustainable”, then life wouldn’t evolve. See ants.

    Life is not sustainable, therefore it evolves.

  101. For Smokey:

    The Mission Statement of the Chico Sustainability Task Force

    The Sustainability Task Force shall promote a culture of stewardship within our community to enhance our natural resources,economic interests and quality of life for present and future generations in the City of Chico by collaboratively developing
    programs and initiatives which will distinguish Chico as a leader in sustainability efforts.

  102. Sustainability – what a joke. Two weeks without oil and most of the US would resemble Mad Max. Who are we fooling?

  103. Mark:

    Thanx for your Mission Statement, which gives marching orders to the committee — but which gives no official definition of the key word. It is also vague, dreamy-eyed nonsense that you can’t hang your hat on; it could mean almost anything to anyone.

    I’m still waiting for Chico’s official definition of “sustainability.” If one exists. Which I’m beginning to doubt.

    I also doubt that the Sustainability Task Force rules require that if someone misses meetings, they will be automatically kicked off the committee like Anthony was. Why don’t you look over the rules, and get back to us on that.

    As I said in my 14:34:07 post above, without an official definition, “sustainability” could just as easily be defined as “a tax grab through the censoring of any and all opposing views.”

    It’s beginning to look like that is pretty much the true intent of what the committee presumes is “sustainability”.

  104. When you see the word “sustainability,” hold onto your wallet. Absolutely nobody knows what is “sustainable” on this fascinating planet.

  105. Smokey,
    I found a definition of “sustainability” here:

    http://www.arch.wsu.edu/09%20publications/sustain/defnsust.htm

    I have a feeling that this is a blueprint for the fulfillment of some radical agenda. Read it and see for yourself. Is this what our mayors are supposed to be doing? It seems like they would at least be kind enough to ask before they throw our cities into bankruptcy. I noticed that the mission statement gave lip service to “economic interests”, too bad the numbers give the lie to their efforts.

  106. Guys, the paper industry has been off the fossil fuel habit for thirty years. They use waste biomass for process energy. They did it because it was efficient, and increased their bottom line.

    Utilizing the energy in your waste grease, sewage, and landfill waste isn’t some dumb, greenie, CO2-enhanced mania. It’s Good Business. It also lends itself to better air-quality than burning coal, or oil. What’s wrong with that.

    And, Smokey, Corn is selling for $0.07 lb. You can’t grow it any cheaper than that.

    Look, if your area doesn’t lend itself to wind power don’t use wind power. Don’t be a sucker and send someone else money to use it. Same with Solar. If it works for your area (meaning it’s cheaper than other forms of electricity) use it. If not, use something else. Waste Always works. Insulation Always works. Better, more efficient engines always work.

    Besides, it’s nice having a clean place to live, right?

  107. @Mark,

    If I wasn’t able to provide a clear, specific, measurable and quantified objective, my boss would rightly kick my A#$E.

    What are the measures for sustainability – without measures that allow you to determine if you have succeeded or failed in achieving your objectives there can be no accountability.

    Or is a lack of accountability a conscious objective?

    The mission statement has many unanswered questions.

    How do you know if you have in fact “promoted a culture of stewardship” instead of “degrading a culture of stewardship”?

    How do you know that you have “Enhanced our natural resources, economic interests and quality of life” instead of degrading them.

    Does enhancing natural resources mean that you will have quantifiable more natural resources available for use by the population? Or more efficient use of the same or diminishing natural resources? Is that a per capita measure? What is a natural resource as opposed to an un-natural (developed) resource?

    What’s the relationship between “Economic interests” and the tax base?

    Does improving Economic Interests mean more taxes on a per capita basis, or less on a per capita basis?

    Who pays tax and who doesn’t? And is the tax base proposed to change – i.e who pays tax is to change.

    Is there any concept of getting “value for money” in government/council expenditure and is this accountable to anyone?

    Quality of life – one persons view of what is good for them can be diametrically opposed by another persons – witness an alcoholic drunk vs a tea drinking abstainer discussing the merits of their lifestyles.

    Or is Quality of Life (QOL) defined? If defined, who has been demonstrated to accept the proposed definition?

    How will you know if Chico is a leader in sustainability? Who will you compare yourself with? and using what measures on your performance?

    Leadership to where? What is the end game for your objectives? Is the end game defined? Do you know what your goal posts are and have you got broad community acceptance of those goal posts? If so, how is your community acceptance measured?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  108. Graeme,
    You just don’t understand. Those questions are irrelevant. This sustainability thing isn’t about numbers and accountability, man. It’s about doing the things that make us feel good, man. Don’t you see?? It’s people like you that want things to make sense that are ruining this environment, buddy. The outcome is not important, it’s the journey. We’ll get there when we get there. It ain’t about money. When the money is all gone we’ll grow our own food and live off the fat of the land. Lighten up man. Can’t you feel the love?

    /sarc off

  109. Anthony it seems you’ve uncovered the true motive behind the global warming movement. I think Papertiger makes a good point; perhaps the current “looter-in-chief” could be given the heave-ho if voters understood what she has in mind for them. And I think there is always room in government for one honest weatherman who makes his decisions based on facts and logic.

  110. Snort! Huh!!! Ha Ha.

    How stupid of me – of course – what was I thinking. In fact, why was I thinking at all.

    La la la – la la la la – la la la…..

  111. I’m beginning to draw the following conclusion.

    There is a distinct cultural difference between, those who

    (a) Those who have to competitively produce a commercially acceptable product or service to survive and prosper, and

    (b) Those who are insulated from economic competition.

    The former have to get real results and are judged by the customer, while the latter need to ensure that the tax teat keeps on squirting…

    Unfortunately for everyone – if the numbers of (b) become too many, the numbers of (a) are likely to suddenly crash….

    Watch out for the economic tipping point!

  112. Kum Dollison,

    Look, I’m not trying to argue with your point of view, but that point of view continually changes, so it’s hard to keep up.

    I am a conservationist [not an environmentalist]. I think improvements in efficiency [like traffic light LED’s, EV’s, re-use of waste products, etc.] are desirable. But the free market is by far the most efficient way to acheive those ends. Government, on the other hand, wastes more resources than it saves. And businesses pay taxes. Government doesn’t; it only collects taxes.

    [Also, corn is selling at way higher prices than it was only two years ago. See here: click]

    And I note that Consumer Reports, in its October 2006 cover story, states that ethanol saves zero energy. It requires .7 gallons of fossil fuels, and 1,700 gallons of fresh water, to produce one gallon of ethanol. How can that be considered responsible conservation of resources?

    Furthermore, it takes about 1.3 gallons of ethanol to push a car the same distance as one gallon of gasoline. That means that 1.3 times as much hydrocarbon exhaust goes out the tailpipe for every mile driven using ethanol. In fact, gasoline is a more “green” fuel than ethanol — which also has the undesirable side effect of placing a heavy demand on the corn crop, which in turn results in higher corn prices.

    Finally, I want to thank Graeme Rodaughan for those excellent questions. I sincerely hope that Mark does not hide out from answering each one of them.

    I also want to thank Mike Bryant for providing the original definition of sustainability:

    The most popular definition of sustainability can be traced to a 1987 UN conference. It defined sustainable developments as those that “meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

    According to that UN definition, the Chico Sustainability Task Force is doing a great disservice to the city’s residents. By buying in to the whole “carbon is an evil pollutant” meme, future Chico residents will be much worse off than current residents.

    If the Chico Sustainability Task Force is ethically driven, it will embrace free market solutions, and jettison all the mindless drivel about “carbon credits,” AGW/CO2/catastrophic global warming, and “reducing our carbon footprint” in order to achieve the utopian fantasy of some wild-eyed green dream.

    But don’t hold your breath.

  113. You want to feel the “Love?”

    Try this. A car driven on electricity has a cost equivalent to $0.70 gal gasoline. And, if your electricity is produced from gassified waste (forest, or municipal,) or Solar, or Wind your air is fresh, and clean. If you own a retail business, what is that worth?

    If the river your grandkids swim in is not polluted with coal slag, or other toxic chemicals, what is that worth? Feeling the “Love,” yet?

  114. Whoops – thats “Watch out for the economic tipping point”.

    Here is a working, draft definition of sustainability.

    “A sustainable process is able to ensure the continued availability of all imputs and the disposal of all outputs.”

    Applied to our economic activities that would be the following –

    An economically sustainable process would ensure the ongoing “cost-effective” availability of Capital, Labour (manpower and know-how), Energy and Materials, and the “cost-effective” provision of goods/services to available customers, where goods are provided – full lifecycle for the goods to apply.

    So what the Chico guys need to do is ensure that their local government is able to ensure the following.

    1. Capital sustainability – balance that budget without overtaxing the people. Measure the budget and set a published per capita tax (Not to exceed) Threshold

    2. Labour sustainability – ensure that people with useful skills want to live in Chico – Define useful skills and measure those who arrive and leave via survey.

    3. Find the cost-effective sources of energy and use them – if any are “unsustainable” – define a migration plan that is cost-effective and use mature technologies to replace them when it is cost-effective to do so.

    4. Materials – as for energy.

    5. Customer Sustainability – ensure that customers needs are paramount and are being met and they will keep coming.

    6. In general principle – avoid political fashions.

  115. smokey, on Nov 1, 2006 corn was selling for $3.50 bushel. Today, it’s selling for $4.00 bu. That’s a difference of a tad less that One Penny/lb.

    If you can eat a pound of field corn/day it will cost you $0.01/day to do so. If you eat a quarter pounder every day it will cost you a little less than a penny.

  116. As for those CR numbers, they’re just bad wrong. It takes about one gallon of diesel (or biodiesel, or ethanol) to grow enough starch for 700 gallons of ethanol.

    Corn Plus, in Winnebago, Mn uses approx. 17,000 btus of natural gas to produce one gallon of ethanol (a gallon of ethanol in a properly compressed engine will deliver as much energy – 130,000 btu – as a gallon of diesel.

    They are very efficient in that they gassify the syrup from their distillation process. Many other refineries, such as Chippewa Valley, and Poet, are, also, moving toward waste biomass for process energy. The industry is moving, rapidly, toward Zero Fossil Fuel usage.

    Guys, Two Years, is two lifetimes when evaluating new technologies. The First Rule of Life Cycle Analysis is to make sure you have the most “up to date” data.

  117. The most popular definition of sustainability can be traced to a 1987 UN conference. It defined sustainable developments as those that “meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

    I would like to propose a pro growth definition of sustainability:

    “Sustainable developments are those that exceed present needs, while enhancing and improving the ability of future generations to exceed their needs, thus insuring the improvement of the human race.”

    If you are only barely meeting your needs, there is nothing left for unseen occurences.

    If anyone would like to improve or expand this definition, feel free.

  118. Oh, that 1700 gallons of water? 1,697 of it is “Rain Water,” at least in 95 percent of it (about the only state that does much irrigating of field corn is Nebraska. And, most of the water supplied in that state is from mother nature.) It, actually, takes about 3 gallons of water to produce a gallon of ethanol. And, it’s returned to nature, fresh, and unpolluted.

    Your Sunday Newspaper, though, does IIRC require about sixteen, or seventeen hundred gallons of water.

  119. Oops, This: It takes about one gallon of diesel (or biodiesel, or ethanol) to grow enough starch for 700 gallons of ethanol. is Wrong.

    According the the U.N. that should be 8 gallons.

    That’s an Old figure, also, though. It’s probably more like 5 gallons, now.

  120. Kum,
    “If the river your grandkids swim in is not polluted with coal slag, or other toxic chemicals, what is that worth? Feeling the “Love,” yet?”

    Kum don’t talk to me about conservation. It was my generation that cleaned up the rivers, the lakes, the air and the oceans. I did my part. That work was accomplished and is still ongoing. The Port of Houston doesn’t burn anymore. Fisheries are improving all over the country.
    You are living in the past. If you really want to clean up the Earth, perhaps you should move to China or India to complete the work that was begun here in the good ole USA.
    Can we do more? Of course, but CO2 is not pollution.

    You know, you keep talking about the price of corn. It’s only fifty cents a bushel more. Kum, you don’t live in Kenya or Uganda or Mexico. Fifty cents is something you walk past if you see it on the ground, but for the poor of the world it can mean the difference between feast or famine. Yes I really do feel the love.

  121. Hi Kum,

    I’m all for conserving resources under a “waste not, want not” principle, and I do a lot of water conservation activities on a daily basis at my home.

    However, there are two sides to the equation – Supply and Demand. I’m happy to minimise my “demand” provided I can do it in an efficient, and cost -effective way with minimal or no side effects on my actual enjoyment of life.

    I’m also willing to pay taxes to support the construction of supply side infrastructure (e.g water = dam), provided that the selected infrastructure is an efficient and cost-effective means of generating the required supply.

    Under these principles I would prefer to Dam rivers and build Coal fired power stations… – but not more than is necessary to meet the actual demand for water and electricity where I live.

    Unfortuanately for me, successive state governments have failed to invest in basic water and electrical supply infrastructure while the population of the state has increased….

    Hence demand limitation is being imposed by the state government through water restrictions.

  122. Kum Dollison,
    Do you even buy groceries?

    I’ve been buying corn for 25 years for both feed and heating. I don’t know where you get your prices for November 2006, but it must be from a state that imports corn!

    I don’t recall what the cash price for corn was exactly for November 2006, but it was well under $3.00. In about Sept it was it was well under $2.00, probably closer to $1.75. Nov 2005 was below $1.50.

    Apr 2008 it was over $6.00

    If you think this type of volatility doesn’t affect food prices, you’ve never been in the livestock business!

    BTW, the electric car is for city dwellers living in a bubble, but I could see the logic in having one for those circumstances if you have $10,000 to blow on a glorified golf cart. In the world I and most others live in, they are useless. And no, GM didn’t “kill the electric car” so they could go belly up; they aren’t that honorable.

    The Tesla roadster is not expensive because it is a sports car; it is a sports car because electric cars are economically impractical for long distance. If they built a Prius size electric car, who would buy it? A few Hollywood elites who fly in their private jets and live in 10,000 sq ft homes…..maybe to release some of their guilt.

  123. Mike, poor people don’t eat field corn. Poor animals eat field corn, and they are then eaten by Rich people. Corn costs more in Mexico than it does in the U.S. Our corn exports go up every year, but we’ve never exported any corn to speak of to Kenya, or Uganda. We export most of it to Asia, and Europe.

    Oh, and one of “My” generational duties was 13 mos in sunny southeast Asia. I’ll pass on the return trip.

    You’ll notice I, personally, never mentioned CO2. I, also, think the whole CO2, anthropogenic warming deal is silly. I was, however, responding to a man trying to do affordable things to make his city more livable. I mentioned some things that are being done at the present that are not only efffective from an environmental standpoint, but “Positive” from a “Cash Flow” standpoint.

    I didn’t bring up the economic viability of ethanol. I merely set the record straight. As for Verasun, the man obviously thought he could drive down the price of corn by shorting it. Bad idea. Then he went long at the Top. Too Bad, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the viability of ethanol. There are 157 other refineries that are doing just fine.

    Nite all. It’s been a pleasure.

  124. Speculation coming up.

    Hi DR,- Hypothesis for the motivation for Guilt.

    1(useful guilt). Hurt a member of the community, take responsibility for it (experience guilt), repair damage, gain apology (guilt expiated) – membership in the community maintained – survival chances improved.

    2. (useless guilt (externalised)). Observe frightning event, ascribe responsibility for it to other (scapegoat – guilt externalised), outcast or kill other (guilt expiated) – sense of control in face of frightening event maintained – survival chances improved????

    3. (useless guilt (internalised)). Observer frightening event, take responsibility for it (guilt), punish self (guilt expiated) – sense of control in face of frightening event maintained – survival chances improved????

    Basic point is that guilt (implying power over the frightening thing) is more comforting than powerlessness.

    I.e Guilt implies responsibility and responsibility implies the power to make a difference in the matter at hand.

    This also implies that a willingness to accept powerlessness over something that is both frightening and uncontrollable would result in an absence of guilt.

    I feel no guilt over the climate/weather, and I am not motivated by guilt to do anything about it.

    I wonder if Hollywood elites who drive a Prius do so out of guilt or for a desire to be seen to be “fashionable”. I suspect that the motivations would vary…

  125. We ran cattle in the winter when I was a boy, DR. It’s a brutal business. A couple of Good years, then we lost half our herd to shipping fever. Like I said, “Brutal.”

    The thing is a lot of things came together to raise commodity prices in general, and corn in particular. Rampant commodity speculation, poor crops around the world, some failed harvests in Australia, and China. Farmers’ strike in Argentina. Europe holding ten percent of it’s wheatland out of rotation. Huge increasing demand in China, and other emerging economies. And, yes, a little bit from ethanol. But, Ethanol production is rapidly increasing, and corn is back down. That’s gotta tell you something.

    And, we’re “Still” paying farmers to keep 34 Million Acres Out of Production. And, DR, you’ve gotta admit that $1.75/bu corn was subsidized to the farmer to the tune of a dollar, or so. BTW, that $11 Billion/Yr that we were paying farmers in crop supports has now gone away. That’s “Plus Eleven Billion” to the taxpayer.

    Hope you do good this year. I’m sure you deserve it.

  126. Kum,
    I’m interested in more information on the blue fire ethanol you mention. I checked their website and did not find much. The website seems to be outdated and reference a small plant in Japan with JGC but it only produced 300 liters of ethanol per day in 2004 and they only show wood chips.
    Are there references or links for such plants using MSW to generate liquid fuels? I’m really interested if you have any more specifics.
    You are suggesting that cities employ this MSW technology, but are there any commercial size plants operating. If so where and what size?

    As you probably know there are no commercial size cellolosic plants converting wood chips to ethanol today. Range Fuels was claiming to be the first but the start up is delayed until late 2009.

    As you may remember, I am very skeptical about the USA getting much liquid fuel from cellulose anytime soon and therefore believe we need to immediately save our economy by developing our plentiful fossil fuels to provide the needed energy today. Lying to the American public that we can provide our current energy with non demonstrated technology and taking fossil and Nuclear energy off the table is criminal. I think about my grandchildren suffering down the road because a bunch of selfish leaders believed that CO2 is a pollutant and decided to ban fossil fuels and force upon us a misguided energy policy.

  127. Hi Graeme. I appreciate your sentiments. Let me ask you: If you could provide electricity for your citizens at a reduced rate, lower your cost of sewage treatment, greatly lower the cost of running your school buses, help clean the air, and set your city apart as a progressive, and healthy place to live wouldn’t you want to take a look at it?

    The proposals that I laid out will, I believe, accomplish those particular goals. They would, of course, save the city money; and, could even lead to “lower taxes.” Jes sayin.

    G’Nite.

  128. Don, I used bluefire ethanol/lancaster county and came up with THIS, Plus Several More.

    I mentioned them because they have successfully used their process, and they are doing this deal in Lancaster County, Ca. There are scads of these municipal solid waste projects just kicking off. They have (mostly) all done pilot plants, so I think they will be viable.

    I, also, think it would be stupid to take coal, and Nuclear off the table. No “Prudent” businessman would do that. I, also, think it would be dumb not to keep spending a little money moving forward on biofuels, and waste gassification. A smart businessman is Always looking for ways to improve.

    We’ve got our money back, “Big-Time” on Corn Ethanol. Just look at the “crack spread” on gasoline, today, compared to diesel fuel. The crack spread on gasoline, for which there is now an alternative, to the tune of 700,000 barrels/day (approx. 8% of consumption) is, basically, Zero. Maybe, even a dollar below cost. Diesel, on the other hand, which has no ubiquitous alternative is still very high.

    Anyway, after following this for a few years, I’m pretty sure that the Bluefires of the world are going to be very successful. And, they could supply from a fourth to a third of all our transportation fuel needs. I’m not sure where you would find a complete list of the nascent gassifiers. I’m thinking “Biomass Magazine” might be a good place to start. Last I heard there were over thirty of them. Good Luck.

  129. The Great Depression of ’29 > cut carbon emmission by 25%. Hottest year of 20th Cent. : 1934. Been there, done that

  130. @Rick Werme: I question what you say about LED traffic lights. While it is true that small LEDs are more efficient than incandescent sources of light, the AMOUNT of light output by those LEDs is much less than an incandescent. Unfortunately, super bright LEDs are very expensive and do not have the same lifetime characteristics of the small LEDs you find in computers and consumer electronics.

    LEDs are driven by the amount of electric current going through them, and as the current increases, the light output increases. But as the current increases, the lifetime DECREASES. I would posit that the city would have to replace the LED traffic lights at the same rate as non-LEDs.

    As for energy use, the super bright LEDs are less efficient than their smaller versions in lumens/watt. Maybe there is energy savings, maybe not. Maybe on the red versions (red is a much easier color to produce than green or yellow) there are real energy savings.

    But there are other reasons for using LEDs for traffic signals: Since there must be many LEDs to make on light, if one fails completely, the other’s will still work – failsafe is built-in. LEDs generally don’t “fail” like an incandescent fails. The lifetime of an LED is considered to be the time it will take to reach half the light output of a new LED (over time, the current through the LED will cause the light to become less efficient, producing less lumens/watt).

    Anyway, I’m an electrical engineer who has spent significant time looking at LED specs so I hope I have some idea about what I am saying. But I haven’t looked at specs for new gen LEDs for a couple years, so hopefully things have changed significantly. If you have any links to some technical specs for the LEDs used in traffic lights, they would be welcome.

  131. I propose the following energy program:

    A.) Lift stupid restrictions on exploration.

    B.) Jump back real fast before we drown in oil.

  132. @Ron de Haan: HA! supercapacitors! Don’t make me laugh. Supercapacitors won’t show up in cars until the middle of the century, at the earliest! The storage capacity/$ for supercapacitors puts them in the stratosphere for price. We can’t even get them into our CELLPHONES! And trust me, I would LOVE a supercapacitor based cell phone. Sure, I might have to charge it twice a day, but it would only take about 10 seconds for a full charge! But the technology just isn’t there. One of the leading supercapacitor companies took their capacitors off the market because they couldn’t sell them.

    Carbon nanotubes look promising for supercapacitor applications…if you’re the military or NASA. Carbon nanotubes are basically diamonds (both pure carbon, different atomic structures). They definitely aren’t commercially cheap. Again, maybe in 40 years. Plus, we have to make sure that they aren’t carcinogenic, poisonous, flammable, etc. We don’t know if they will act like DDT and conglomerate in fatty tissues. It will be a long road to carbon nanotube commercial supercapacitors.

    As for supercapacitors for cars? Not likely in this or the next decade. On a safety note, remember that capacitors RELEASE their energy just as fast as they store it. The potential for electrocuting yourself is HUGE! The safety issues can be overcome, but that will put an even higher premium on them.

  133. I’d like to know why so much stupid time/energy/money is being spent on CO2 when one of the biggest issues facing our planet today is minerals!

    in the 26 May 2007 New Scientist, there is a list of minerals we are using and how fast we are exhausting the supply.

    I think maybe the numbers might be stretched, but there is an obvious marketplace opportunity for being able to take jumbled garbage and separating out the minerals for reuse. Besides, I would like to see that just to reduce landfill space and reduce strip-mining. Plus the toxic runoffs from concentrating pollution in landfills. I live in Oregon, and I love clean rivers to swim and fish in. I want my children and my grandchildren, and great great great grandchildren to be able to swim and fish in the same rivers.

    Also, I am very passionate about clean surface water. I currently live in Tanzania and hate seeing people bathing and washing clothes directly in the river (come on, it isn’t that difficult to haul a bucket 20 feet from the river and bathe there, let the soil filter some of that anti-bacterial soap they push in developing countries). I will be returning to university to study ecological engineering with a focus on clean surface water.

  134. Dear Anthony, Mark, and all,

    The Chico analysis is missing a few pie charts. By far the largest CO2 emission source impacting Chico and the region are the million-plus acres of forest fires that burned this summer across NorCal. Not only were 100’s of teragrams (10^12 grams) of CO2 emitted, but a variety of nasty pyrolysis products and particulates choked Chico and NorCal communities for months.

    Chico does not exist in a vacuum. You are part and parcel of a larger set of communities. You must come to the realization that the greatest threat to livability and sustainability of yours and your neighbor communities is the gross mismanagement of Federal forests in your region. Carbon emissions are the least of it. Catastrophic megafires damage watersheds, airsheds, vegetation, wildlife habitat, public health and safety, recreation, scenery, and the regional economy in a Big Way. Those impacts are long-lasting, too.

    The Sierra Club has promoted the current Federal Let It Burn policies. They are damaging everything that Chico hopes to achieve in sustainability and economic well-being. The wolf pack is not only at your door, you have invited them inside.

    Please try to see the Big Picture and realize that Chico is not an island. All NorCal residents, and indeed all Western US residents, must get involved in the fight to bring sanity, responsibility, and scientific stewardship back into our Federal land management agencies. The Feds “own” more than half the territory. Our watersheds and landscapes are at enormous risk from Fed policies that are hugely destructive and FAIL to involve the affected residents.

    Electric cars and urban gas taxes will do NOTHING to avert the environmental crisis we all are facing. Please catch a clue and join with Western communities and counties to address the real problem.

  135. Hi KD,

    Of course I would look at it.

    Part of my day job is analysis of the cost/benefits of various IT/Engineering solutions.

    Unfortunately – in my part of the world – objective analysis does not happen – the government departments are politicised. Witnessed by what is said by department heads once they retire!

    Cheers G

  136. Mark,
    For a professor, I am truly surprised by your lack of critical thinking.

    1. You define sustainability as “maintaining our quality of life over the long haul.”
    – You imply that our current free market system, which has brought us to our current level prosperity, will not be able to do so in the future, and even imply it will actually reverse and bring us to doom and death. What data is this based on? Have you looked at the temperature and sea level records? Or is a fictitious consensus good enough reason for you to waste taxpayer funds?

    2. “A majority of the committee does believe in AGW, and thus wanted to get a baseline inventory of GHG production in the city of Chico.”
    – Again what do you base AGW belief on? Partial consensus? The data show it’s cooling and sea levels have stagnated – in contradiction to the CO2 AGW theory. Or rather could it be that it’s fun for bored bureaucrats to play “Let’s save the planet and look important!”? I really think it’s high time for people like you to grow up, accept real responsibility, and tackle problems that are based on real data and need to be addressed. People don’t want a paranoid control-state snooping into their private lives.

    3. “I worked on this project on my personal time. City staff were on the clock. City staff sought other estimates, and they came in at between $60,000 and $90,000. Our $30,000 project came in early and under budget.”
    – Like I say, how about focussing on problems that are REAL? In my view you wasted another $30K, and lots of hours playing a childish fantasy game.

    Obviously there’s a difference of opinion. How can we reconcile it?
    Why don’t you invite two experts to Chico and have them debate the AGW topic – in public? Is AGW a problem or not? Is there a scientific basis to warrant more government intrusion in and control of private lives? To warrant central planning type “sustainability” programs? Are you afraid of the answer.

    Lastly I can only say that any private person basing a decision to spend so much money and time and resources on a science that is so dubious would be fired, or go bankrupt in short order.

    Either put forth some science in this forum, or shut this wasteful do-gooder “sustainability” project down.
    Thank you for your attention,
    Pierre Gosselin

  137. Hey – if your spending the tax payers money – don’t forget were human too.

    We want an explanation of how our hard earned is actually going to benefit us.

    Government is not a job shop.

  138. This type of story makes me very concerned about our political future. Politicizing science in an effort to tax and spend more. Especially concerning to me is the refusal to remove Anthony’s good name from the report.

    Like Anthony, I walk the walk, and while I could always do more, I’m proud of what I’ve done so far. My house is built out of SIPs, my car is a hybrid, etc..

    I think about all the things Chico the enterprise could internally to lead the way without impacting the citizens, business and tax base and yet from this study you get almost nothing.

    When it comes to external recommendations and major impacts to the citizens and businesses you get a lengthy list.

  139. “Create Jobs. The transition to a low emissions society will require innovation and effort. As homes and businesses are retrofitted, new jobs will be created. The transition to a “climate-friendly economy” will also require new educational programs, new technologies, and new businesses, which will create new jobs in our community.”

    That is hilarious! How about: “Instead of paying outrageous fees and retrofitting costs, homes and businesses will move to places where it is much cheaper to do business, unless they happen to be involved in recreational drugs.”.

    I’m sorry, Anthony, that you have to endure this.

  140. Gore and Hansen have created a CO2 bogeyman which allows them to control all three branches of government in many countries, including seizing the White House.

    The age of reason is dead.

  141. Basically the study was all about creating a new tax list. THAT is what the money was spent for. Now we need to hire more people to administer this new taxing authority. Of course, we’ll have to build a new building (lots of marble, please, and remember no cheap furniture), and install those connections for the free electricity for city workers. Now, we’re going to need someone we can trust as the administrator. Surely someone has a relative that is ready to take the reins. The salary is 180,000, anyone know someone qualified? Oh yeah, That’s alot of paperwork, your will start with a staff of seven, but we will hire whoever you need. Don’t worry, the government is here to help you.

  142. Kum Dollison said:

    “I understand, Smokey. It’s just that there really is no such thing as a “bottomless milkshake.” It might behoove us to husband our resources a bit till we get an absolute number on where we’re at. ”

    I see you’ve been drinking the “limits to growth” cool aid…

    There is no energy shortage, and there never will be. There is only a shortage of dirt cheap liquid motor fuels.

    A smart Japanese scientist developed AND TESTED a polymer mat that collects uranium from the ocean at a cost of about $100/lb in circa 1980 dollars. If the entire planet were run on Uranium, the quantity that erodes into the ocean each year would be less than we would pull out to use. We run out of energy when we run out of planet.

    We can run the entire US on a solar farm a couple of hundred miles on a side. It would disappear into any one of several of our deserts. We can run the entire country on the wind we have. We can run California off of a wave farm that would occupy about 100 miles x 1 mile of our coastal waters using exiting commercially available known technologies.

    Want liquid fuels? Algae work best, but you can get 50 tons / acre of wood from Eucalyptus in warm area or a bit less for Poplars in colder areas. Cellulose can easily be turned into liquid fuels by several methods (just not cheaply). Synthesis gas. Pyrolysis. Fermentation with Tricodermata, Novozyme (and others) synthetic enzymes, etc.

    These are not hypotheticals or research, they are real. Synthesis Energy Company, Syntroleum and Rentech companies all have solids to liquids facilities. One of them is building a plant near Los Angeles to turn trash into liquid fuels. Marathon Oil has a process using Bromine (rather than the FT /gasification route). These can use any carbon source. Our several hundred years worth of coal, or the thousands of lbs/acre/year we can grow. (Or even the tons of yard waste hauled from my neighborhood each year). China is buying synthetic fuels factories at a very fast clip.

    So why don’t we?

    The problem all of these share is that oil is dirt cheap. Until we use MORE of it, enough to keep the price above $50 to $80/bbl, we will stay addicted to oil. As soon as we get above that price point AND STAY THERE, we can kiss OPEC good-by. Personally, I’d like to see a tariff on non-NAFTA oil to put a price floor on imports of 80+/bbl so we could get started… but don’t hold your breath.

    BTW, the notion that we can, through improved efficiency, reduce our oil consumption is seriously broken. Google “Jevons paradox”. Jevons showed that increased coal efficiency resulted in more coal consumption, not less. Each use becomes less, but the lower cost per use results in many more uses. Basically, I’m willing to drive my 50 mpg compact on a 50 mile commute to work, so I buy a home further from work than if I had a Hummer.

    The bottom line is that we need to get over the notion that we can outsmart economics via fiat. The fact that we may be on Hubberts Peak is a good thing, in that as gas prices rise we will finally start using alternatives. But Hubberts Peak assumes that we continue to find and produce all we can just to have a parabolic decay of oil availability. If we fail to continue to produce all we can, we will fall off of an oil cliff so fast that we risk the destruction of our economy before we can build the alternatives fuels factories. We MUST drill drill drill or face a cliff, not a parabolic decay.

    The “correct” answer is to let folks use whatever fuel is most cost effective and get out of the way. If you want to fool with it, limit your fooling to a tariff on OPEC oil only to stabilize the price at a level high enough to encourage alternatives.

    Also, all the alternative car / fuel solutions tend to ignore the fleet turn over problem. We can not all go buy new funny fuel cars next year. Physically not possible. ALL solutions that pass through fleet change are 10 to 20 year solutions even if we were already buying new funny fuel cars now. That goes double for electric cars since we need grid and generation to go with them.

    So, expect that we MUST use gasoline and diesel for the foreseeable future (at least a decade+) and that Hubbert’s Peak is going to force the conversion of basic energy source used for those fuels for us. Then expect that if we just leave folks alone they will build the (other carbon to gasoline / diesel) fuel factories of the future.

    FWIW: I drive a diesel car and seek out biodiesel whenever I can find it. But I don’t fool myself into believing that we could produce billions of gallons of biodiesel in the next 5 years no matter how hard we tried; even given that we could easily do it in 20 years. (See Origin Oil, Global Green Solutions, and Pacific Sun? who all have algae systems. OOIL, GGRN, and PSUD stock tickers, I think. You could not grow them to the size of an Exxon in 5 years no matter how hard you tried.) We might be able to do it with coal, since we already mine a lot of it and Sasol (SSL South African Synthetic Oil Co.) has already worked out how to do it on a national scale.

    So yes, we do have a “bottomless milkshake”. In fact we have several of them. We just happen to have a 1/2 price giant milkshake in oil sitting in front of the others.

  143. Oh, BTW, my home town was about 1/2 hour drive from Chico. I’ve attended the old Pioneer Days. I’m very familiar with the area.

    It’s a sad day to see Chico this screwed up. It was “sustainable” for at least 100 years until this nonsense came along. I’m now pretty sure it will start shrinking instead. The rice hulls and stems from the hundreds of square miles of rice land around Chico would produce more energy than the whole place could use. A real “sustainability” program would have installed a synthetic fuels system, created jobs, cut taxes, and made a bunch of gasoline and diesel fuels.

  144. Pierre,

    I have found it is easy to infer things from a blog. A couple of more comments to help clear things up.

    The Task Force requires a quorum of members to even hold a meeting. Absent members caused the task force to cancel a couple of meetings. City code allows a chair to remove a member who misses more than three meetings a year. Committee members asked the chair to enforce the rules so the task force could at least meet and deliberate. City staff informed all members of the rule. Two members were unable to make the next meeting. They were replaced by fellow citizens of similar view points. This was not an issue of censure.

    One of my university colleagues is on the IPCC. He gave expert testimony to the City Council at the request of the council member who nominated Anthony to the task force (and nominated Anthony’s replacement). The ongoing discussion has been spirited, and VERY public. This has not been a backroom affair.

    Again, I understand that if you do not believe in AGW, this is all “stupid” and a waste of money. I respect your right to hold that opinion.

    Rest assured, Anthony is a respected (beloved by some) member of our community and the most popular blogger on our local network (Norcalblogs) where I picked up this post.

    As for Mike D.’s comment on the fires. You are correct. This study was limited to the city’s sphere of influence, at the direction of the task force.

    Lastly, Anthony’s name was included because he was a member of the original committee. It is not meant to imply endorsement. This is the first that I have heard about wanting his name removed. Now that I know, I will see that new cover sheet is produced. Sorry for that Anthony.

    REPLY: Thanks Mark, no harm no foul. I just wish Schwab or Presson would have responded teo weeks ago. Glazner was also an original member but his name isn’t on it. – Anthony

  145. It’s obvious you don’t work with the environmental agencies. This is par for the course.

    90% or more of the time and money industries spend with the environmental agencies is emissions tallying. Very little is spent actually reducing emissions. Much of the rest includes answering to or complying with unreasonable demands (such as demanding a routine inspection of all bolts in a plant after one failed. A full inspection plan for >5 million bolts? (~40-60 man-years per inspection) but not an unusual request). The majority of funds are spent on analyzers and emissions testing with accounting required down below the part per million range of concentration and fractions of an ounce for flowrate.

    Suprised, I am not.

  146. Whether you bekieve in AGW or not I believe it is still stupid to drive people and businesses from your community. The city gas tax is laughable.

  147. mr watts,
    i applaud your efforts to take the political establishment of your hometown to task…as mr bryant has tried to point out above, decisions based on unscientific reasoning is a recipe for eventual bankruptcy…this great country has been down this road before during the carter administration and the green solutions of wind, solar, biofuels, and oilshale proved they are economically “unsustainable”…those that ignore history are bound to repeat it and if your city leaders are allowed to continue there tax subsidization of uneconomic policies, chico too will bankrupt itself…fossil fuels are not the bogeyman its made out to be…in fact, it is the reason for the quality of life here in the U.S. so envied across the globe…in order to “sustain” life, liberty and the pusuit of happiness, we need to produce more of it…NATURAL GAS and COAL is in great abundance in our own backyard…kalifornia needs to continue to build upon its fledgling CNG powered vehicular system as does the rest of the U.S…it is part of an economic viable homegrown fossil fuel solution to energy independence…pandering to co2 (a life “sustaining gas”) tax and trade indoctrination is a recipe for a change towards “unsustainabilty”…once again, your willingness to stand up to those lies is commendable…please carryon on your good work!

  148. Again, I understand that if you do not believe in AGW, this is all “stupid” and a waste of money.

    I don’t understand that statement. There are many things (those that I listed above, plus some others) that you can do that are not only good for the environment, but will provide “Savings” to the City.

    For example, you folks need to look into the hundreds of school systems that have been running their buses on biodiesel. The savings have been Very large (and, they’re growing.) Many of these districts are sourcing their biodiesel from donated frier (yellow) grease. It’s just a matter of having the students “pick it up.” In other cases you can buy the grease cheaply from the local rendering/hauling firm.

  149. Anthony,
    I am a fellow Chicoan who daily reads your blog & listens to your KPAY broadcasts. I understand your reluctance to branch into the political arena too much, but this kind of information is invaluable to voters trying to make decisions about local candidates. Perhaps you can collaborate with a more local blogger to ensure info like this gets a wider Chico audience?

    Keep up the good work–it is much appreciated!

  150. If the town is really serious about “sustainability”, it should require that every home cover its land with as many trees as it can hold. And require wood-powered homes and vehicles. And require insurance against damage caused by falling (or felling) trees. And do the same with all city properties and vehicles. Think the residents would be happy with being told what to do with their land, and all parkland being forest? And they’ll be saving money by no longer having Little League baseball teams!

  151. A very big name company has asked a big name company I do some work for to undertake a massive effort as part of an RFQ. Namely, presenting a detailed carbon foot print analysis of the products the bid will include. Not only does the analysis need to include the entire supply chain, including all raw materials, labor and, energy used to take the product from the ground to the shipping dock, but also, must include the anticipated carbon footprint in installation, until end of service life.

  152. In the merry land where they make TV and movies, the political scenery is a illusionary as the most elaborate Hollywood set. Everything is “made for TV shock and awe”. Whatever plays best in the 3 second attention span of TV and Movies becomes policy. As such tagging anything with the words “carbon footprint” or “sustainability” automatically makes it a homerun, free from all scrutiny. To question any such policies is to immediately make yourself an enemy of the earth and paid schill for Big Oil. And that my friends, is the full detail of the intellectual spectrum here in California. If you thought this state was full of open minded, forward thinkers, like the kind that started Apple and Google, think again. California is nothing but a vapid wasteland where out-to-lunch idealists can’t wait to liberally hand out the hard earned tax dollars of the working class to those who most fluently spout the Orwellian newspeak of their bankrupt agenda.

    The state whose energy policy failures nearly bankrupted them less than 5 years ago, is chomping at the bit to make a bold and historic step into bigger and more catastrophic energy policy failures. As much as I love this state it is a freaking embarassment nonetheless. People here amazingly seem to have no ability to separate reality from illusion, fact from propaganda, and truth from consequence. It’s never about what you say, but how cool it sounds when you say it. So on and on people go spewing their catch-words up each other’s asses until the issues are nothing but hot air rah-rah, that bring no substance or benefit to anyone. And not surprisingly they have dug this state into a budgetary hole that even the best considered, most fundamentally sound solutions may be too late to get it out of. Yet on and on they spew their vapid rhetoric, without a passing nod to the reality of their failures. Failures that, sadly, are only real to the working stiffs that struggle in vain to pay for them.

    Thanks for reminding us all that Chico is still a city in California. Your policy makers have so thoroughly stripped it of any socioeconomic relevance, that I had forgotten

  153. Mark,

    Still waiting for Chico’s official definition of sustainability.

    Or does it mean whatever anyone chooses it to mean?

  154. “This study was limited to the city’s sphere of influence, at the direction of the task force.”

    Mark, that’s called thinking inside the box with blinders on. The Task Force is worried about global CO2, yet limits itself to concerns inside the city limits only. Sorry that doesn’t wash. You can’t have it both ways.

    There is no global warming. If there was it would be a good thing. What is NOT debatable is the enormous choking air pollution from forest fires that blanketed Chico all summer long, causing evacuations and hospitalizations for respiratory distress. While neighboring towns were burning down. While fire services were over-extended. While the natural resources of the region were aflame. While electricity and water delivery were severely curtailed. All of which smacked Chico with an economic and environmental punch in the mouth, and citizens are still reeling from it.

    But the City leaders are blind to all that. They want a “feel good” token program that puts symbolism over substance. Just pretend that the choking smoke didn’t happen. Just pretend that electric cars will have any effect whatsoever on CO2 emissions. Meanwhile fires “outside your sphere of influence” are emitting as much CO2 as all the cars in California driven all year.

    Lucky for you I’m not a resident. I’d be blasting your Task Force every day. I hate it when supercilious twits steal my economy, environment, and livability. Not with my tax dollars, no thank you. Get your act together.

  155. Mark,

    Your “Ways to Sustainability” are hilarious. I am having trouble verbalizing how completely and utterly inept these solutions are. That this should be the end result of the thought process of a group of adults gives me a feeling inside somewhat like what I imagine choking on your own vomit underwater would feel like.

    I have worked for corporations (gasp), where things like data, results, and efficiency were not optional or fluff. From that perspective, it is unfathomable to me that a group of adults came up with this “plan”. It is like a fairy tale, where reality is manipulated to appropriately fit the dreamscape , rather than one single thing having any basis in fact. What are we making sustainable, handouts for city employees? The leeching of taxpayer dollars?

    There is nothing that will even remotely impact the environment, global warming, sustainability, or whatever you want to call it, by even the most acutely measureable amount. Contrary to your claims, it is YOU, not Anthony who makes your committee and your town look unintelligent, out of touch, and disingenuous, and mainly because that’s exactly what you are. [snip]

    REPLY: Lighten up on Dr. Stemen please Derek. He has graciously answered questions, and treated everyone with respect. You may not agree with his views, but I expect a better level of decorum.

    – Anthony

  156. Pingback: Top Posts « WordPress.com

  157. Smokey,

    The city does not have a “official” definition, nor does the university. Here is what the university’s strategic plan says:

    “Believing that each generation owes something to those which follow, we will create
    environmentally literate citizens, who embrace sustainability as a way of living. We
    will be wise stewards of scarce resources and, in seeking to develop the whole person, be aware that our individual and collective actions have economic, social, and
    environmental consequences locally, regionally, and globally.”

    If pressed further, I believe most of us would fall back to the Bruntland report (quoted earlier) which reads:

    “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

    While it is called the Sustainability Task Force, its main charge was comply with the US Mayors Agreement on Climate Change. So, the Task Force commissioned the report being discussed, and all future actions will be measured against this baseline to see if they were successful.

    Thanks for the chance to share our work.

  158. For more information on air pollution from wildfires please see: WILDLAND FIRES AND AIR POLLUTION, 8, Edited By Andrzej Bytnerowicz, Michael Arbaugh, Allen Riebau, and Christian Andersen.

    — An international team of scientists offer a compendium of air pollution research in a new book that explores smoke impacts on humans and the environment, while addressing the challenges of finding socially-acceptable uses of fire as a land management tool.

    The 686-page book includes 26 research papers written by 85 experts from various science disciplines who studied smoke impacts in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia from prehistoric times to the present day for a deeper understanding of fire effects on local and global air quality.

    “We intended to give an overview of what we know of how wildland fires affect air pollution, whether they are unintentionally or intentionally set,” said Andrzej Bytnerowicz, a U.S. Forest Service scientist at the Pacific Southwest Research Station who edited the book. “We wanted to provide managers specific options for dealing with this environmental challenge.” —

    from http://www.eurekalert.org/bga/index.php?view=books

  159. Please let’s all tone the discussion down a bit when it comes to Dr. Mark Stemen. He has graciously answered questions here, and while you may or may not agree with him, I expect decorum and courtesy.

    Anthony

  160. Dr. Stemen, I think what needs to be considered is the recent data (from the Aqua Satellite) that calls the entire theory of CO2 positive feedback into very serious question. Direct effects of CO2, without positive feedback, at the current rate of saturation, while real, are extremely slight.

    I think it is important to consider the multidecadal cycles (unknown to science until ten years ago), which correlate better with climate change–including that of the last ten years–far better than does the CO2 curve.

    Recently, global temperatures have been flat (skipping the 1998-2000 El Nino/La Nina cycle). Very recently, they have dropped very sharply, coincidental with PDO and AO (and, possibly, NAO) reversal, to say nothing of the dangers of the DeVries cycle.

    It would therefore seem to me that assessing and rewarding/penalizing levels of atmospheric carbon emissions is quite premature. Economic growth is only a couple of percent. If you take actions that cause a drag, you will kill development in your community. Bear in mind that known effective environmental efforts are expensive and action that curtails growth will have an impact on those efforts. If the environment is the issue, there may be far more costeffective green endeavors than that which you currently pursue.

    (This, I believe, is fairly close to the position of Anthony Watts.)

  161. “We will be wise stewards of scarce resources.”

    Hmmmm, it seems that the scarcest resource in Chico is money.

    I guess, in a way, it makes sense. The politicians want to be the “wise” stewards of our scarce money. They seem to believe that the taxpayers are like a bottomless milkshake.

    Too bad that the spenders outnumber the earners.

  162. Daniel (23:39:13) :

    @Ric Werme: I question what you say about LED traffic lights. While it is true that small LEDs are more efficient than incandescent sources of light, the AMOUNT of light output by those LEDs is much less than an incandescent. Unfortunately, super bright LEDs are very expensive and do not have the same lifetime characteristics of the small LEDs you find in computers and consumer electronics.

    Some of the high-output LEDs are simply more efficient and still run at the typical 20 ma, these are the ones I’ve typically seen in traffic light arrays. Poking around the web, http://www.ledsmagazine.com/news/5/4/7 talks about custom Luxeon screw-in bulbs. Luxeon are the 3 watt LEDs mounted on small circuit boards for heatsinks. I’ve seen some flashlights for sale at Home Depot that call out their use of Luxeon parts, so its developing brand identity. My wife is interested in Luxeons for area lighting in our yurt, IIRC, the cost per lumen is comparable to other LEDs.

    At any rate, that magazine article says “The LED-based lamps utilize one-sixth the energy of incandescent bulbs, replacing the city’s 60W pedestrian and 100W vehicular traffic bulbs with just 10W of LED power. The LEDs also last up to 10 times longer than conventional lighting sources, significantly reducing lamp replacement frequency and associated maintenance costs.

    The project cost approximately US$750,000 and paid for itself in 12 months through a combination of energy savings and maintenance reductions made possible by long LED life.”

    But there are other reasons for using LEDs for traffic signals: Since there must be many LEDs to make on light, if one fails completely, the other’s will still work – failsafe is built-in. LEDs generally don’t “fail” like an incandescent fails. The lifetime of an LED is considered to be the time it will take to reach half the light output of a new LED (over time, the current through the LED will cause the light to become less efficient, producing less lumens/watt).

    The first LED traffic light arrays I saw did have a high failure rate at first, and generally strings of 10-20 LEDs went out, so clearly there are several series-connected strings on the circuit board. Their replacements have lasted years.

    Anyway, I’m an electrical engineer who has spent significant time looking at LED specs so I hope I have some idea about what I am saying. But I haven’t looked at specs for new gen LEDs for a couple years, so hopefully things have changed significantly. If you have any links to some technical specs for the LEDs used in traffic lights, they would be welcome.

    Nothing for traffic light LEDs, but http://www.jameco.com/Jameco/Products/ProdDS/1555358.pdf is a green/blue data sheet from Avago. Note the big range in intensity bins. The catalog page is http://www.jameco.com/Jameco/catalogs/c284/P22.pdf

    Luxeon LED data sheets make for odd reading, and claim stuff like 50,000 hour useful lifetime at 1000 ma. Definitely not the 20 ma. LEDs I’m used to. http://www.philipslumileds.com/pdfs/DS51.pdf $8.00 ea or so, but a good deal for the light output.

    http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/categories.php?c=89 caught my eye as a good collection of random LEDs products.

  163. Ric Werme,

    Thanks for that interesting information.

    Everything you’ve posted above leads us to one inescapable conclusion: there is no need whatsoever for a taxpayer-funded “Sustainability Taskforce.” Dr. Stemen undoubtedly means well, but he is on the wrong track.

    The free market is already providing the answers, at competitive prices. And companies pay taxes on their profits; bureaucrats collect taxes to pay themselves.

    Government isn’t the solution, it is the problem.

    That’s not thinking ‘outside the box.’ It’s just rational thinking.

  164. Kum,
    Thanks for the info on Bluefire. I am trying to collect more information on these type technologies. I note however that they have not yet demonstrated their technology to turn MSW (Municipal solid waste) into Ethanol in a commercial plant. Yet I can’t help but note that the first plant will be heavily subsidized by the taxpayers. I sure hope that these technologies work and make economic sense, but my experience makes me skeptical that this might be another waste oftaxpayers $$$.

    Also your optimism on ethanol is brought to question by the following from the Daily Biofuels News Digest:

    “In South Dakota, VeraSun Energy began a new phase in a dismal year for the company when it and 24 subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal courts. The company reiterated in a statement that it had sustained large losses in the third quarter due to the spike in corn prices last summer.

    The company said that it would resume normal operations, would not scale back raw material purchases, would continue to pay suppliers as well as pledging not to interrupt payroll. “Today’s filing allows VeraSun to address its short-term liquidity constraints as we navigate historically challenging market conditions while we focus on restructuring to address the company’s long-term future,” Don Endres CEO said. “We appreciate the loyalty of our employees, customers and suppliers during this challenging time.”

    Endres has not yet responded to a Digest request for an interview to address its investment outlook as well as confirming its short term commitments.

    Greater Ohio Ethanol files Chapter 11 bankruptcyIn Ohio, the Greater Ohio Ethanol Plant has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for its 54 Mgy corn ethanol plant in Lima. The company said that they hope to continue running while reorganizing…
    Gateway Ethanol files for Chapter 11 bankruptcyIn Kansas, Gateway Ethanol filed for Chapter 11 reorganization, stating that it owed creditors between $50 and $100 million. Previously, Dougherty Funding had requested courts to establish an emergenc…
    Beatrice Biodiesel parent files for bankruptcy; 50 Mgy plant now controlled by AgStar Financial ServicesIn Nebraska, the parent company of the 50 Mgy Beatrice Biodiesel plant in Beatrice filed for Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy, handing control of the plant to AgStar Financial Services. Agri Energ…
    Bioenergy of America Chapter 11 restructuring collapses; heads for liquidationIn New Jersey, a federal bankruptcy judge dismissed the Chapter 11 case of Bioenergy of America after the company was unable to pay administrative expenses associated with continued operation and the …
    Bioenergy of America files for bankruptcy as feedstock costs bite; former industry giant falls as Europe’s Biodiesel Corp avoids similar fate in debt-for-equity swapIn New Jersey, Bioenergy of America filed for bankruptcy yesterday, listing assets of $1-$10 million and debts of $10-$50 million. The company represented 15 percent of US biodiesel supply in 2005, ha…
    Ethanex Energy files for bankruptcy; cancels Nebraska acquisitionIn Kansas, Ethanex Energy filed for bankruptcy after failing to raise $1.5 million in interim financing for a planned $220 million, three-plant acquisition in Nebraska”…. Written by Jim Lane ·

  165. Don Shaw:

    Ouch!

    Some folks would argue that the government should step in and save these companies at taxpayer expense [and you know who I mean].

  166. The people in Gussing weren’t trying to buy “sustainability”. They knew they had wood to burn, and they knew they were spending too much bringing energy in, so they built wood burning power plants to save money.
    They weren’t driving people out of Gussing, They were bringing people and businesses back into Gussing because they were saving the citizens’ money.

    I am a plumber but I can see the difference. Kum described some things that make sense for cities. I don’t believe any of those things are on Chico’s agenda. If the Sustainability Task Force doesn’t understand these simple differences, perhaps it should be disbanded.

    Can you imagine Chico installing wood burning power plants? It won’t happen. Can you imagine the city actually cutting costs and making Chico a place where businesses want to move to? Can you imagine tax rates going down. Can you imagine a city that actually serves the best interests of her people? Sure you can… Gussing.

  167. Don, I wouldn’t make too much of the ethanol bankruptcies. Over 150 ethanol plants have opened in the last couple of years. These are brand new operations with inexperienced management playing in a rough game. Commodities have busted some of the biggest, smartest, most experienced traders in the world in the last year. It would seem unlikely that the ethanol industry would go unscathed.

    I don’t know much about Gateway, and Greater Ohio, but I would imagine that the story might be similar to Verasun. That was a case where, evidently, the owner thought that, due to the size corn purchases he made, he could drive the corn market down by shorting it. He couldn’t, and he lost his butt. Then, he bought forward at the top. Curtains.

    150 other ethanol plants Didn’t do this and came out just fine. It’s a challenging business, and, I’m sure that from time to time we’ll hear of other companies taking gas. That’s America isn’t it?

    As for MSW to ethanol, we’ll see soon enough. But, I wouldn’t bet against it.

  168. VSE Verisun et. al. bankruptcy: For some reason, folks at producing (and consuming companies) screw up and confound “hedges” with “directional trades” in futures markets. The results are universally horrid. American Airlines just locked in their fuel costs with forward contracts at about $120/bbl. Yup, near the top. Now they are hosed for 2 years. VSE did something similar. No hedges on the way up, then locked in at the top. I heard one report that they may have put on a directional short trade on the way up (exactly the opposite of a hedge). Gold producers are notorious for buying in their hedges right at the top for gold prices. There is something about the corporate mindset that is unable to keep away from directional trades and stick with hedges.

    (The difference? If I need corn for my operation and can make money with corn at $4/bushel, then I buy forward contracts for delivery at $4 or below. Now I’m guaranteed some profit when corn rises OR falls. A directional trader would bet on a direction, perhaps shorting $4 contracts EXPECTING prices to drop. When prices rise to $5, not only did they lose the $1/bu for the contract, but they now are paying $5/bu for what they need to stay in business. So they don’t stay in business long. A hedge reduces the range of outcomes, a directional trade increases them – double or nothing…)

    VSE is dead meat because of a bad trader on what ought to have been a hedging desk.

    Per Chico and smoke. When I was a kid, the standard behavior was for farmers to burn the rice hulls, rice stubble, and peach / pear wood (from pruning and dead trees). Each fall the valley would fill with smoke. It would be much better to collect all those tons of biomass and turn them to fuel. Verinium (sp?) VRNM has a pilot plant up for cellulosic ethanol. They are building demonstration plants and preparing for production scale in the US and in Japan. If Chico really wanted to work on their sustainability, they would have a program with local farmers to produce sustainable fuels this way. Or contact GGRN Global Green Solutions who have a “green” system to turn waste wood into steam. Instead, farmers are punished for burning trash and citizens are punished for using fuel. Stop making problems and find ways to turn two problems into one solution.

    Rather than all these newspeak “free” electricity for “free” electric cars, they would make real buisnesses making real fuel from local resources. Nothing is “free”, somebody pays for it.

    BTW, during the winter, the area around Chico can be under fog and / or dank low cloud cover for weeks or months on end. Solar is not a solution for months on end there. Just 2000 feet up slope toward Paradise, you rise above the fog and low cloud into sunshine. But a nice wood powered steam plant could heat a lot of buildings in Chico…

    Also FWIW, this winter has started off early and cold. With luck, it will kill the AGW agenda before the rabid believers can do more damage than they already have.

  169. E.M. Smith, if those rice stalks, and hulls were gassified you would still have the “ash” returned which could be put back on the land.

    Corn Plus is doing that with ash from their syrup gassification and the farmers are lined up to purchase it. In this way you get the benefit of the energy, and the ash, too.

  170. …a city wide inventory of carbon emissions. The task force, chaired by Vice Mayor Ann Schwab… focused on tallying carbon emissions in town. That effort… was a prelude to taxation followed by wanton spending. They had to inventory to know how to tax.

    Sounds like a modern-day Domesday Book to me. When the Normans took over England from the Saxons, William sent out clerks with stubby pencils and thick glasses to see what everybody in the new kingdom owned… how many and how big were their hovels, how many sheep they kept, etc.

    Some say the word came from doomsday, as in: when you’re called to settle your “final accounts”, here’s what you’ll owe. In the case of William the Conqueror, it was an efficient census that led to necessary and (probably more or less fair) system of taxation. In Chico (and elsewhere soon), it’s based on a stupid and wrongheaded premise that will some day be looked at as a scandalous waste of people’s resources.

    If they start doing door-to-door surveys of people’s body mass index, it’s time to head for the hills.

  171. Sustainable thinking requires that you look at energy yield. If we turn to biomass, then we have to consider energy yield per acre, and energy use in harvest and transport of the crop (the proximity principle).

    Let me make another pitch for biogas/biomethane as a fuel: energy per acre

    http://biopact.com/2007/12/biomethane-presented-as-most-efficient.html

    There is a nice graphic of how far a UK ‘Mini’ car can travel on biofuel from an acre. I’ve seen other versions of this, but none yet for ligocellulosic ethanol, (which would be interesting if anyone knows of a source).

    Biodiesel fares worst taking a Mini just over 5030 miles/acre.
    Bioethanol manages just over 7540 miles/acre.
    Synthetic biodiesel (gasified biomass/F-T BTL) 13,960 miles/acre.
    Biomethane (upgraded biogas) 24,390 miles/acre.

  172. Ellie, a company named “Ceres” is working on seeds for miscanthus, switchgrass, etc. Until the research “shakes out” you probably should figure six, or seven hundred gallons/acre for lignocellulosic. Less in the northern states, a little more in the southeast.

    And, yes, gassifying cellulose will return more energy than “liquifying” it.

    As for as biodiesel: There really is no good “Oil” crop in the Northern Hemisphere. You can get six or seven hundred gallons/acre from Tropical crops such as Oil Palm, or coconut palm. We do have an interesting bush in the south called the “Chinese Tallow Tree.” It, also, will, theoretically, yield 600, or so, gal/acre.

    All this said, though, the “Freebie,” right now is yellow grease. It’s estimated that you could operate about 13% of the trucks in California (probably, all of the School Buses on Yellow Grease.)

  173. Kum,
    There are a lot of US (and EU) developers at pilot and in planning. I just haven’t seen much detail on efficiency figures.

    re yellow grease – quality is the issue with waste oils and fats. Once they sit around in kitchens you have huge problems if you want a decent fuel.
    Involved in commercialising a process several years ago that now recycles nearly 0.5million tonnes used cooking oil annually.

    Getting late here – good night.

  174. I don’t believe that one winter of extreme cold in the NH will kill the AGW Agenda – there is too much money and power, and political status wrapped up in it.

    The cognitive dissonance for the average person will, I expect, increase. I have no predictions on what the average guy or gal is going to think of AGW at the end of the 2008/09 NH winter….

    For some the cognitive dissonace will SNAP!… possibly when they get their heating bills.

  175. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes,it would go something like this: Keep in mind, this is to happen EVERY DAY! The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
    The fifth man would pay $1.
    The sixth man would pay $3.
    The seventh man would pay $7.
    The eighth man would pay $12.
    The ninth man would pay $18.
    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59. So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. ‘Since you are all such good customers,’ he said, ‘I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80 instead of $100. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. The poorest four would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’ They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man currently paying $1 and the sixth man currently paying $3 would each end up being PAID to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:
    The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100%savings).
    The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
    The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
    The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings). Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. ‘I only got a dollar out of the $20,’declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,’ but he got $10!’ ‘Yeah, that’s right,’ exclaimed the fifth man. ‘I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I got’ ‘That’s true!!’ shouted the seventh man. ‘Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!’ ‘Wait a minute,’ yelled the first four men in unison. ‘We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!’ The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something. They didn’t have enough money between all 9 of them for even Half of the bill! And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works!! The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier. And this in turn will take money away from America, away from job creation, away from everything that makes America great!… David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
    Professor of Economics
    University of Georgia

  176. Except when I attend my every Friday night tavern event, I willingly buy rounds just as others willingly buy rounds. And get this: I buy rounds for mostly Republicans and when they buy rounds, I am readily included, even while knowing that I am the outcast liberal. It matters little who earns what. We are there as friends and colleagues. Word to the wise. Don’t use tavern nights as an experiment in taxes.

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