Saturday, July 31, 2010

Governments Subsidize Fossil Fuel Over Renewable Energy by a Factor of TEN!

TravisTR sends word of research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance which found that direct subsidies for renewable energy from governments worldwide totaled $43-46 billion in 2009, an amount vastly outstripped by the $557 billion in fossil fuel subsidies during 2008. Governments of the world are spending substantially more on subsidizing dirty forms of energy than on renewables and biofuels. In fact, support for cleaner sources is dwarfed by the help the oil, coal, and other fossil fuel sectors receive.

"The BNEF preliminary analysis suggests the US is the top country, as measured in dollars deployed, in providing direct subsidies for clean energy with an estimated $18.2bn spent in total in 2009."

Approximately 40% of this went toward supporting the US biofuels sector with the rest going towards renewables. The federal stimulus program played a key role; its Treasury Department grant program alone provided $3.8bn in support for clean energy projects.

China, the world leader in new wind installations in 2009 with 14GW, provided approximately $2bn in direct subsidies, according to the preliminary analysis. This figure is deceptive, however, as much crucial support for clean energy in the country comes in form of low-interest loans from state-owned banks. State-run power generators and grid companies have also been strongly encouraged by the government to tap their balance sheets in support of renewables.

This disparity raises the question--if the report is right and fossil fuels require so much backing, can they compete with renewables without government support?

So far renewables just can't provide enough fuel and power to displace fossil fuels. The infrastructure to make and distribute them isn't adequate. That could change overnight if we simply stopped subsidizing fossil fuels, and shifted that Government Investment into renewable infrastructure.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Apparent False Images from BP

From FreedomLink-Radio In this compilation of "news" videos from various reports on the major networks, there is a strange and unexplained reading. If you enlarge the images to full screen, you can read Longitude East 120 and Latitude North 10.4.

According to the Latitude and Longitude readings on the displays of the under sea robots, they are in the Pacific Ocean, the Sulu Sea, near the Philippines. This is very disturbing. What is going on in the Gulf of Mexico?

(Note: I was up all night checking YouTube videos of the supposed BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, they all have Longitudes 120.2021-2810 East, and Latitudes North 10.430092-431600. The question remains why fake it?)

Sunday, July 25, 2010


A Jim Bell & Common Sense Commentary, 619-758-9020

We humans are something special and rare.

In spite of there being an estimated 5 to 100 million species of life on our planet, our species is the only one sufficiently conscious to become conscious of existence and our place in it on all levels.

On the most foundational level, this means that if enough of us become conscious enough, soon enough, we will be able to pass the birthright of a peaceful and life-supporting world to our children and future generations.

Additionally, increasing consciousness will open us to new potential and possibilities on this planet and beyond.

Unfortunately, our pursuit of consciousness will be cut short if we continue to live and make livings in ways that hurt others and cause life-support system damage. The Gulf oil gusher is just the latest example of how economic gambling can hurt people and our planet’s life-support system far beyond what the gamblers risk.

Clearly, whatever threats loom before us, if the world’s population continues to grow and we continue and even increase the average amount of life-support damage we cause per capita, sooner or later our planet’s life-support system will fail in some fundamental way. This will result in a general human and life-form die-back. If such a failure is serious enough, human extinction and even the extinction of life in general becomes a possibility.

Some people believe that such a failure is underway. They offer as evidence that 15% or 1/6 of the world’s population is malnourished or starving. That 70% of us are under-employed, have zero or next to zero health care and are poorly clothed and housed. Additionally, there is an estimated 27,000 species of life that are going extinct each year, 270 to 2,700 times our planet’s average extinction rate.

Additionally, human activities have released 80,000 or more chemicals into our common environment (mostly over the past 70 years) and are now adding 1,000 new chemicals per year; chemicals and concoctions that our planet’s life-support system has had zero experience processing or neutralizing and zero experience in protecting itself from them.


To avoid the utter failure of past civilizations, each individual and the human family as a whole, have to become conscious enough to resolve human differences without violence or its threat; and develop economies and ways of life that benefit everyone and that are completely life-support sustaining.

We are becoming more conscious but we are not yet conscious enough to stop killing and hurting each other and causing damage to our planet’s life-support system.

If we really want to leave our children and future generations the best chance to enjoy a happy, healthy, prosperous and completely life-support sustaining future, we have to become conscious enough and knowledgeable enough to know what to do to bring the human family into life-support system harmony.

If we don’t achieve this level of consciousness soon, we will follow the path worn by previous civilizations, all of which utterly failed at the height of their most advanced knowledge and sophistication.

But, if we become conscious and knowledgeable enough, soon enough -- we can skip the decline and die off phase of past civilizations. Instead, we can propel ourselves to the next level of consciousness and the new potential it will open to us and to the human family’s future.

Obviously, our task is to meet this challenge, but what should we do?

The answer is simple. On the most fundamental and foundational level we need to develop economies and ways of life that are cooperative, mutually beneficial and life-support sustaining and we need to do this wherever we live and ultimately, planet wide. To achieve this goal, the following steps should be followed.

Step One - Become renewable energy self-sufficient.

When a home, community, city, county, region, state or country controls its energy supply and price, it controls its economy, its ways of life, and most everything else -- no matter what happens to the price and supply of energy on national and global markets.

Because solar energy in its various forms is free and even delivered free, the only cost to benefit from it are the labor and materials for increasing electricity use efficiency and manufacturing and installing renewable energy collection devices on our roofs and over our parking lots. And given that our inventors/developers are still getting better at saving energy and converting various forms of solar energy into electricity and other uses, the cost of efficiency improvements and renewably generated electricity and other work will continue to fall.

Every level of becoming renewable energy self-sufficient creates opportunities. In San Diego County, where I live, there is an abundance of direct sunlight. Additionally, the county has substantial wind, biomass, ocean current, wave and tidal energy from which electricity can be produced.

But, even if direct sunlight was its only resource, and assuming 40 kWh of electricity, natural gas and transportation fuels are consumed directly or indirectly per capita per day, San Diego County could become renewable energy self-sufficient by increasing energy use efficiency by 40% and covering 43% of its roofs and parking lots with 15% efficient PV panels.

Economically, becoming renewable energy self-sufficient will increase countywide economic activity by over $175 billion over a forty year implementation period and create over 1 million job-years of employment in the process.

What about cost?

Actually, becoming renewable energy self-sufficient will cost less than continuing our dependences on imported energy -- especially if we make the transformation with a little intelligence and grace.

Assuming an average cost of 10 cents per kWh over 40 years, making San Diego County renewable electricity self-sufficient alone would save the county $24 billion.* Since electricity makes up around 40% of the energy the average person uses per day, it follows that a renewably energy self-sufficient San Diego County would save around $60 billion over a 40-year transition period. Additionally, the higher the cost that electricity rises above 10 cent per kWh on the open market, the greater the County’s positive cash-flow and resulting economic multiplier benefit will be.

Step Two - Become renewable water self-sufficient.

Water is essential to life. It is essential to the water-rich lifestyle most people in the developed world already have and that people in the developing world would like to have.

Using San Diego County as an example, increasing the coverage of its roofs and parking lots by another 5% with 15% efficient PV panels will allow it to become renewable energy and water self-sufficient. The addition electricity will power reverse osmosis (RO) pumps to force saltwater against membranes that let freshwater through, but block salt, other minerals and most pollutants.

Assuming the worst case scenario of zero rainfall and zero imported water, five percent coverage ofSan Diego County’s roofs and parking lots with 15% efficient PV panels would make enough electricity to produce 776,000 acre ft. of water each year. San Diego County now uses around 600,000 acre ft. of water each year. By installing PV panels over 8% of its roofs and parking lots, San DiegoCounty could become a substantial water exporter to inland communities.

Sea life will be protected from RO pumps by extracting the saltwater to be processed through sand filtration (extracting saltwater through coastal wells and through sea bottom sand filtration). Wastewater or brine left over from the RO process will be evaporated in shallow open ponds so salt and other minerals left behind can be mined. When any RO wastewater is returned to the sea, it would be diluted by sand-filtered salt water to no more than 20% saltier than natural seawater, then released diffusely into the ocean.

Step Three – Become renewable food self-sufficient.

With renewable energy and water self-sufficiency, comes the ability to be renewable food self-sufficient. It also allows for the growth of a great deal of the fiber and lumber.

To make this real, it is essential that we protect our agricultural soils from further development and other misuse. Research indicates that we still have enough agricultural soil on our planet to feed everyone a nutritious diet of tasty, sustainably-grown food with lots of variety. With renewable energy powered RO, this is true for San Diego County. Unfortunately, this will not be true for San Diego County or our world for long if we do not protect and preserve our best agricultural soils for life-supporting agriculture.

Step Four – Population

Each person should make a personal choice to be the birth parent of no more than two children unless a child or children die before reproducing themselves. If this was practiced worldwide, the world’s population would decline by ½% 1% to per year. A 1% decline per year would reduce the world’s population to 2.5 billion people in 100 years. This was the world’s population in the mid 1950s. With a population drop of ½% per year, this would happen in 200 years.

Step Five – Develop a Space Debris Detection and Defense System

We already have the technology to locate all earth-orbit-crossing space objects. We also have the technology, to deflect earth bound objects large enough to cause serious life-support harm if they collide with us, if we discover them soon enough. We could an even capture such objects into earth or the moon orbits for scientific study and mining.

Final Thoughts:

Bottom line, if we want to leave the birthright of a happy, healthy, prosperous, life-supporting sustainable future to our young and future generations, these 5 steps are the minimum we must do, and the sooner the better.

We’ve come so far, why blow it now? We know what can be done. All we have to do is do it. If those living over the next 60 years or so develop life-support sustaining economies and ways of life planet wide, there is little to stop us from colonizing space in our own galaxy and beyond.

* For details on this investment strategy, go to, click on “Green Papers”. Although this paper focuses on renewable electricity self-sufficiency in San Diego County, the investment strategies it develops can be used to become renewable energy self-sufficient for gaseous and liquid fuels as well. Additionally, this strategy can work almost anywhere on our planet, modified for climate, renewable energy sources available and other local conditions. With modifications, it will also work for becoming renewable water and food self-sufficient as well. For more depth,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

EfficiencyFirst - The Beginning OR The End

As you may have heard, we learned that the U.S. Senate will not take up comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation prior to the August recess. Even more distressing, it’s very unlikely the Senate will push for a comprehensive bill at all this year.

It's deeply disappointing that Big Oil, Dirty Coal and their allies in the Senate, led by the Republican and Democratic leadership, continue to stand in the way of creating a clean energy economy that creates jobs, makes America more energy independent and protects the planet. The twin challenges of building a clean energy economy and addressing global warming are too important to fail.

Today, Sustainable Future joined with EfficiencyFirst and I am lending them my support toward a nationwide campaign to put political pressure on our Federal Representatives. Efficiency First is the voice of America's Home Performance industry, and we need to work to support policies that will fuel it's growth.

We must address the efficiency solution to the carbon economy. If not now, when?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Elizabeth Warren, on how to avoid the coming recession.

From "Need To Know" on PBS - 2,300 pages of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 and the future 'commercial property depression'. Simply, most American Banks are insolvent, they just don't want to tell their stockholders. See more here ...

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

What does a sustainable economy look like? What is is worth?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Congress Threatens FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

"These guys don't want to pick a fight with Congress," Rep. Mike Thompson of northern California said of Fannie and Freddie. "There's no value in that. I've been absolutely mystified as to how they've come to the conclusions they've come to, and I'm not sure why they're doing what they're doing. I think they're way off base and I'm hopeful we'll be able to bring them back into this universe."

PACE programs let home and business owners pay for rooftop solar arrays, high-efficiency furnaces, insulation, and other improvements through a surcharge on their property tax bills, removing high up-front costs. Fannie and Freddie dislike that those tax assessments have senior lien standing to mortgages, even though analyses and pilot programs have found that energy efficiency and PACE programs can make borrowers more financially secure.

The bill would ban lenders from imposing penalties or stricter criteria on municipalities that use PACE; Fannie and Freddie recently told lenders to do just that. The bill would also prevent lenders from requiring homeowners to pay off assessments before refinancing their mortgages or selling their property.

The finance tool certainly has a lot of friends. It's been backed by $150 million in Department of Energy stimulus funding, the vice president's Middle Class Task Force, 23 state legislatures, governors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger [PDF], and mayors such as Michael Bloomberg [PDF]. California Attorney General Jerry Brown sued Fannie and Freddie yesterday to defend the PACE programs, the largest of which are in California.

More ...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

CA Attorney General, Jerry Brown, Sues Feds over PACE

Today at the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) a press conference was held by California State Attorney General and former Governor, Jerry Brown.

Brown has announced that he is suing the Federal Housing Finance Agency as they recently put the kibosh on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs across the nation, programs that allows property owners to pay for energy upgrades over time through special tax assessments.

On July 6, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a statement saying that PACE assessments would put unusual risk on on Private Mortgage Companies, like government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae (FNMA) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (A.K.A. Freddie Mac).

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received enormous federal bailouts but now they’re throwing up impermeable barriers to bank lending that creates jobs, stimulates the economy and boosts clean energy,” - Says Brown.

In tandem with local and state officials from San Diego City Council's, Marti Emerald and Mayor Jerry Sanders, to County Supervisors, like Pam Slater-Price and Diane Jacob, Jerry Brown called for a common sense approach that will jump start our new economy.

Even State Assemblyman, Marty Block put in his two cents. Yet, the only Federal Presence was Congressional Candidate, Ray Lutz, an electrical engineer who combats the power of big energy utilities. We need to speak to our Federal Politicians, and get them to take their foot off the breaks.

You can add your independent voice to the call for a new clean energy revolution by writing your Federal Representatives about PACE.

PACE programs are an important part of the puzzle, a necessary financing tool to allow building efficiency work and renewable energy upgrades in these tough economic times.

"These PACE programs are literally the catalyst, our sustainable future is waiting."

When these PACE programs become regular practice, we will see thousands of new jobs and hundreds of new industries move forward, as our energy economy shifts to efficient renewable energy sources.

    Three important points about these programs:

  • First, all PACE programs should follow established Department of Energy (DOE) "Best Practices" Guidelines for PACE Programs.
  • They must include third party Energy Audits and require property owners to decrease waste before adding expensive renewable generation, like Solar Photovoltaic Systems.
  • Because they use local property assessments as financing guarinetees, they should require a 'loading order' for energy imporovements that requires the largest 'bang-for-the-buck'.  
For example, after energy efficiency and insulation envelopes are inspected, Solar Thermal Hot Water is the biggest energy saver and more cost efficient than Photovoltaic Electricity. Unless the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system is efficient, all the Solar Panels in the world are just decretive ornamentation.