Monday, July 17, 2006

Why Alternative Energy?



A poll carried carried out for the BBC World Service of nearly 20,000 people from across 19 countries found wide support for alternative energy strategies.

The poll illustrates a perceived triple threat from the way the world produces and uses energy.

Majorities across all 19 countries indicate that citizens fear:

the climate and environment are being harmed
that the global economy will be destabilised
that competition for energy will lead to greater conflict

Some eight out of 10 of those questioned were worried about the threat to the environment. In Australia, Great Britain, Canada and Italy the level of concern topped 90%.

Doug Miller, president of the poll firm GlobeScan, said: "What's fascinating is that in the midst of historically high energy prices and geopolitical tensions, the number one energy concern in every industrialised country we surveyed is the environmental and climate impacts."

Creating tax incentives to encourage the use of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power found favour with 80% of respondents.

But there was lukewarm support for more nuclear energy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. On average, 49% were in favour of building more nuclear plants.

Majorities of 60% or more in 18 of the 19 countries polled said they feared energy shortages and prices would destabilise the world economy.

The least concerned was Russia, a major oil and gas producer, which benefits from higher prices.

Both US and EU leaders have warned Russia not to use energy as a tool of foreign policy. Earlier this year, the nation's monopoly, Gazprom, cut off gas supplies to Europe during a price dispute with Ukraine.

Some 73% of those questioned were worried that energy shortages would lead to greater conflict among nations.

In total, 19,579 citizens were interviewed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Ukraine and the US.

Polling was conducted for the BBC World Service by polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners.

Full Article on BBC News

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Center for American Progress has kicked off a campaign for American energy independence called Kick the Oil Habit. Find out more and take the pledge at www.KickTheOilHabit.org and watch Mark Pike and his buddies try to drive across the US using only ethanol - their video blog is available on You Tube. We need your help - you can make a difference - contribute to the collective genius (and bring a friend). Thanks!

6:51 am, July 20, 2006  
Blogger Laura, Marco & Roshan said...

I guess it is good news that prices for electricity and gas (let's not speak about petrol!) are soring.

Indeed, unless we are all shown that it is actually convenient to move to alternative ways of producing energy for our own homes, people are still going to ignore the issue.

If I was interested in deploying alternative methods to stop using electricity/gas from my provider, what would my viable/affordable options be, here in London (UK)?

Thanks a lot.

M

5:43 am, July 25, 2006  
Blogger James said...

Marco,

The most affordable options are to switch to an electricity provider which provides 100% renewable electricity and to take energy conservation measures (e.g. unplug unnecessary appliances, don't leave gadgets on standby, improve your home insulation, use low energy CF bulbs etc.)

To go completely "off grid" is not particularly affordable at the moment in London. The most viable option is to reduce the amount of energy you buy using solar water heating. Generating electricity is possible using solar panels and/or a home wind turbine, although currently this will take a number of years to pay off (even after available grants) and at the moment you will still need to obtain planning permission.

In the near future hopefully home solar panels/ wind turbines will become much more affordable and not require any special permission at which point they should become much more common.

James
Alternative Energy Blog

1:06 pm, July 25, 2006  
Anonymous Alan Radford said...

Ethanol may well be a better alternative fuel than you are giving it credit for. First of all growing the vegetation to make it absorbs the same amount of carbon released by burning it, not so with fossil fuels (that carbon has been sequestered for millions of years). secondly everyone seems too narrowly focused on using grain (or other food crops) try thinking outside the box for example here in the southern USA there is a plant (an introduced species) that grows very rapidly called Kudzu it can grow over 18 inches a day! And has relativity high sugar content. Also ethanol has less BTU value than gasoline so fuel mileage is decreased in E85. this can be rectified by mixing ethanol (80%) with # 4 heating oil (20%) this brings the BTU value , viscosity, and combustion properties to comparable to gasoline so the fuel mileage should also be comparable. I have tested this in a lawn mower and plan to try it in my car next.

10:30 pm, August 20, 2006  
Blogger James said...

Alan,

The focus on food crops comes from the subsidy seeking, and receiving, agribusiness lobby.

Thinking outside the box is definitely to be encouraged. However the yet to be realised potential of cellulosic ethanol should not be used as a justification for the further subsidy of ethanol today.

James
Alternative Energy Blog

3:51 am, August 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe any hope that the problem of climate change can be solved within the existing economic framework of Neo-Liberal Capitalism will prove to be utterly unfounded. To try to put this right without rectifying the clapped out global financial system won’t work and environmentalists doing so will carry on coming up against a brick wall. They need to look at the way this system works and intellectually grow beyond the conditioning that economics and finance can only be understood by economists and financiers. Of course its true that they are doing something very useful in highlighting to the unaware the “elephant standing in the corner” but we’re all locked in to an international economic system that most effectively blocks substantial change. **New Para**
Let me try to explain. The two main cornerstones of Western economies are usury and speculation. Usury in that the vast majority of money in circulation has been electronically created by the commercial banks, is called by them “credit” and is lent to Governments and individuals for quick profit not for a particular motive of world betterment. No-thing moves when electronic money circulates when you use your debit card, direct debits, cheques etc and when Governments borrow money- all that happens is that the drawer’s account data entry is debited (decremented) and the payee’s is credited, (incremented). So this money can be created at negligible cost to the banks because it is created and exists only as a DATA entry in our electronic bank accounts and is exchanged between them as such only. The stuff in your wallet/purse created by the Royal Mint for the Bank of England (whose revenue DOES accrue to the state) represents a tiny fraction of all the ‘money’ that exists, the vast majority originated as loans mostly created- yes, out of thin air- by the commercial banks under this “fractional reserve banking system”, circulates electronically between banks’ computers and the vast profit (interest) levied on all of us accrues to bankers not Governments. For more information on how this amazing system has evolved (which one could be forgiven for thinking has been deliberately designed with a main aim to enrich private financial elites) in the UK and many, many countries I refer you to the expert writings, monetary reform proposals and how you can protest- at www.moneyreformparty.org.uk and www.jamesrobertson.com. I think most people fondly imagine that when they press 'Balance Request' on the cash machine, the computer figure that comes back represents the amount of notes, coins and/or precious metals their bank holds for them in some vault somewhere! Even pretty low corporation tax is often avoided by the use of foreign tax havens, (At least £20 Billion total in the UK per annum avoided at 2003 figures- War on Want ‘Tax Havens Briefing’- www.waronwant.org/?lid=5441). The need for the continuing increase of the assault on the world’s resources substantially stems from the imperative of “economic growth” which is necessary to keep up with the ever spiralling overall interest payments due on the explosion in recent years of different types of loans created by commercial banks and other private interests. I read that this enormous growth in private credit has been allowed to occur with all its wanton increase in the consumption of resources and debt hardship because of outsourcing by corporations of huge amounts of skilled & unskilled jobs to developing countries with cheap labour and minimal regulations under globalisation (“corporate flight”). With the generally decreasing availability therefore of properly paid quality jobs, to make ends meet governments, public services (eg using PFI) and individuals in the richer (developed) nations have all had to be allowed to borrow more and more; its only this explosion of credit that has plugged the gap in our economies. I recommend the reading of the website and books by the US professor of economics Ravi Batra who has a lot of hard hitting and extremely interesting things to say on this matter, www.ravibatra.com. **New Para**
I refer to the ‘cornerstone of Speculation’ in that National economies and their populations are utterly dependant on the $2 Trillion or so (equivalent) that changes hands electronically every DAY- untaxed- around the world on the “financial markets” in search of speculative quick profit unrelated to any exchange of real goods or services. Utterly dependant because National Governments create hardly any of the money that is in circulation as I have already explained and they need to compete internationally to keep on attracting this privately created & transmitted globally mobile electronic money which has become the lifeblood of all our economies. Financiers and corporations increasingly trade IN money not WITH money, since deregulation in the 1980s- eg Removal of foreign capital exchange controls (and credit controls) which happened then. Why did we multi-nationally give up so much control over our economies then to those which to many might seem like a load of locusts? Are the ones (within the IMF, WB?) who pushed our nations’ leaders to do this still in positions of influence? In this “liberalised” regime why create, innovate and trade in cumbersome goods when one can make far more far quickly and with far less risk just by moving money (data) and money instruments between computers around the world? Almost all the global financial institutions and even many corporations are at it, a parasitic activity. A “monstrous global casino” in the words of sustainable economics columnist Hazel Henderson. Any government that even publicly SPEAKS of restricting it, or taxing it, or significantly environmentally regulating the stock market listed business that it invests in, or getting off the absurd merry-go-round of competing with other nations to clamp down on corporation tax so as to attract employment and capital, or creating their OWN electronic (credit) money, or even threatening tax havens, faces economically disastrous capital flight to nations NOT doing so within hours on the trading computers on the stock markets and the derivatives computers of the international corporations and banks. You see how the financier oligarchy has got us all over a barrel? No Government dare even publicly consider democratically demanded change to the status quo. No corporation dare significantly reduce the current quick profit return to its international capital investors by SIGNIFICANT investment in alternative forms of energy & transportation as to do so invites a declining share price and capital flight to corporations not doing so. The intellectual economist Lyndon LaRouche in Executive Intelligence Review (see below) actually uses the term “Financier Oligarchy” referring to the way our ‘democracies’ are going under the economic & corporate globalisation model I have already described. If you think carefully about it you might realise that under neo-liberalism what we have is a global financial tyranny where essential human needs come second to nations being forced to compete with each other to make often fabulously wealthy owners of international capital- grow even richer- for no effort. Before anyone pulls the “pension funds” ‘old chestnut’ on me, let me retort that I recently heard on a BBC financial programme that only 20% of shares are owned by pension funds. A POSSIBLE SOLUTION to re-gain control over international capital and corporations by electorates and governments is proposed by “The Simultaneous Policy” at www.simpol.org and I believe progressives might feel their strategy warrants participation. **New Para**
Most mainstream media outlets are owned by stock market listed corporations. Does anyone believe such a corporation will allow SERIOUS debate in its pages or TV stations, of reform to the international financial system when it is this system that is the investment hand that feeds it, both owning the shares and placing the corporate adverts? Does anyone seriously believe that one example tabloid and TV/news station owning international corporation that currently pays no corporation tax in the UK by the use of tax havens will seriously allow such debate in its media outlets? I’m not suggesting columnists and editors are directly told what to say and what not to, but they know there are limits which they must not cross if they are to retain their jobs which are mostly in the form of shortish term renewable (or not) contract posts. And most of them seem never to have asked themselves what money really is, who creates it, who administers its circulation, who profits from it and why no Government of left OR right credentials strangely refuses to reinstate fair corporate taxation and environmental regulations ONCE IN POWER despite the obvious dire financial state of our public services, worsening annually, and the developed countries still paltry overall help to the developing ones whose populations are starving to death in their millions monthly for the want of the huge surplus of food per capita that exists worldwide (Some 10%- look up UN Statistics). It should be obvious surely that there’s a CHRONIC lack of money for foreign aid and public services for all our government’s sorry obfuscation that the latter need more “modernising”, ie. another round of cuts. The neo-liberal free movement of capital & corporations is leaving the competing nations’ governments with a chronic lack of cash for public spending on virtually everything- from palaces to prisons. **New Para**
I believe that "Planet Earth [environment] is in a sad and perilous condition while each day brings it nearer to the critical... [and] that even the most dire prophecy falls short of the calamity facing the world today. Few there are who see the immediacy of the threat and the urgency of the steps needed to counter it", (this quote from www.share-international.org). Anyone who seriously believes that humanity can burn off gigantic amounts of carbon into the atmosphere daily over what will total to some 200 years (in the form of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels) that had been gradually accumulated beneath the earth over hundreds of MILLIONS of years, and while annually cutting down tens of millions of acres of atmosphere purifying tropical forests- all of this without incurring MAJOR upheaval and destruction to the earth’s life supporting natural climate systems- is conditioned and deluded indeed. **New Para**
I believe that only a total and systemic collapse of the world’s financial system will bring humanity to its senses and- (even though I know this itself would cause major trauma for a while because we have allowed stock market listed corporations to take over most food and energy production and distribution worldwide)- it is my belief and hope that this is coming to pass. (I refer again to the writings of economics professor Ravi Batra). The men of money’s selfish greed and competition is over-reaching itself at long last and the frantic efforts to prop up the system behind the scenes are at long last crumbling. “The REAL economy has fallen out from under the markets which have been artificially propped up by accounting tricks, enormous and unpayable debt loads, and mass delusion on the part of the markets and the public” (John Hoefle banking columnist, and refer also to the writings of economist’s Lyndon LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review for more information, www.larouchepub.com). The signs of the oncoming collapse are obvious for those who look beyond their own narrow interests and look below the surface at powerful people’s MOTIVES- not what they SAY but what they DO and WHY that might be- with objectivity. People who make the effort to READ & STUDY widely. Anyone who thinks that substantially unrestrained powerful people in today’s out of democratic control globalised capital/corporate world have not been manipulating to retain and enhance their own selfish interests, and who denounces those who highlight this as “conspiracy theorists”, is deluded and conditioned indeed. They have just not reflected seriously on the sad condition of greed and fear of loss as well as spiritual poverty and poverty of intellect that dominates the natures of many, many of our fellow human being financier oligarchs in power. We live in a competitive economic culture which makes a VIRTUE out of consumption and greed and it's essential that more & more of us realise it, detach from it and protest peacefully against it. If we want to survive un-decimated as a species, we’ve surely got some major waking up to do- and quickly.

4:23 am, August 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For anonymous,

I find it interesting and puzzling that not one person replied to your post thus far.

My guess is you really touched a nerve, stunned and shocked most, leaving them a sense of "how do I respond to that?", and with a fear of endorsing the reality you have laid out! A reality which so true!! A fear that they might end up with one less leased SUV in the drive.

Because you have spoken in truths, it's something most are either blind to or would rather not admit to. I agree wholeheartedly, the human race has created and continues to move forward without seeing, understanding and dealing with local and global issues which are very VERY "sideways" in a very VERY BIG way and unless we turn it around........? How will it be possible to survive?

There are glimmers of hope and progress here and there. Unfortunately to date these are just "glimmers" and most just continue to consume, consume, AND consume MORE with little or no thought about "how do we replace this energy, these resources"?

In your post you allude to how so very out of touch our political and economic leaders are?! I can't help but think of two examples of this which are true stories.

There was the congressperson who introduced a bill to help resolve California's water shortage problems. The idea and bill: dam San Francisco Bay at the Golden Gate, turn the Bay into a fresh water reserve. Can anyone imagine just how "out of touch" with reality this person must have been?!! One would have to be a total retard not to understand that groundwater seapage would keep the bay saline anyway!

And another congressperson who after the State of California had realized that it's 'preserve the sea otter' program had been so successful that the otters from up North were beginning to move southward, encroaching on the soCal otter. This person introduced a bill which would establish an boundry from Point Conception outward to sea, which would ban the otters from crossing over into southernCal waters.

Need I say more ????

2:38 pm, January 23, 2007  
Blogger Cowlyd said...

anonymous said....

It is all true of course. Very well put. I would also point out that money itself has no intrinsic value and that in the event of a great collapse, our needs for survival are such things as food and shelter. How can the system ever be changed and the world improved?

11:59 pm, December 13, 2007  
Anonymous Sally said...

We need alternative strategies for many reasons, the main being in my humble opinion that all homes should be to an extent self sufficient we should not need the over inflated prices of power companies, the homes should have solar panels oe wind turbines to supply power, maybe we need a gas alternative, but it should a govermental issue not a corporate consideration, vehicle fuels are in the process of change, there will always be a need for power from sports muscle car fans but with hydrogen cells being favoured for future vehicles, this is a great step forward but what about trains and aircraft we must have developed some alternatives even if for military purposes.

3:03 am, March 13, 2008  
Anonymous Mary said...

We spend a lot of money on energy and its production, surely by now there must be more efficient ways, I am not one to jump on the green wagon, I like my barbecues as much as the next person, I believe that corporate influence and economics has a hand in this, what have the scientists and inventors being doing the few decades, we use fossil fuels in so many ways there has to be a ready system that has already been developed. We can save energy but the source is the problem.

3:15 am, March 13, 2008  

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