Owing More than It's Worth - The Cost of Transportation

November 09, 2019

Wall Street Journal: "Rising car prices have exacerbated an affordability gap that is increasingly getting filled with auto debt. Easy lending standards are perpetuating the cycle, with lenders routinely making car loans with low or no down payments that can last seven years or longer."

"Borrowers are responsible for paying their remaining debt even after they get rid of the vehicle tied to it. When subsequently buying another car, they can roll this old debt into a new loan. The lender that originates the new loan typically pays off the old lender, and the consumer then owes the balance from both cars to the new lender. The transactions are often encouraged by dealerships, which now make more money on arranging financing than on selling cars."

11,000 Scientists Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’

November 05, 2019

Washington Post: "Phil Duffy, a climate researcher and president of the Woods Hole Research Center, who added his name to the paper Monday, said he finds the term fitting, considering the scale of the problem and lack of action so far."

“'The term "climate emergency" … I must say, I find it refreshing, really, because you know, I get so impatient with the scientists who just are always just waffling and mumbling about uncertainty, blah, blah, blah, and this certainly is, you know, is much bolder than that,' he said. 'I think it’s right to do that.'”

World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency

Overhaul of Grid Will Take Years

October 26, 2019

Utility Dive: "Utility and commission officials agreed on one thing at the Friday meeting: Climate change has put California at greater fire risk, and an overhaul of PG&E's system will take years."

Water Scarcity and Energy Cost

October 22, 2019


New York Times: "Worldwide, desalination is increasingly seen as one possible answer to problems of water quantity and quality that will worsen with global population growth and the extreme heat and prolonged drought linked to climate change."

“'It is a partial solution to water scarcity,' said Manzoor Qadir, an environmental scientist with the Water and Human Development Program of United Nations University. 'This industry is going to grow. In the next five to 10 years, you’ll see more and more desalination plants.'”

"Yet the question remains where else desalination will grow. 'In low income countries, almost nothing is happening,'” Dr. Qadir said.

"The primary reason is cost. Desalination remains expensive, as it requires enormous amounts of energy. To make it more affordable and accessible, researchers around the world are studying how to improve desalination processes, devising more effective and durable membranes, for example, to produce more water per unit of energy, and better ways to deal with the highly concentrated brine that remains."

Economics of Fracking

October 21, 2019

Wall Street Journal:  "Tudor Pickering estimates that if fracking were banned, natural-gas prices in the U.S. would jump to somewhere between $9 and $15, up from $2.32 per million British thermal units on Friday. The firm figures that oil, which ended Friday at $53.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, would rise to the $80-to-$85 range and could risk shooting to $150 during market shocks."

L.A. Times Editorial Rejects Freeway Expansion

October 07, 2019


Los Angeles Times:  "Although proponents rebranded the High Desert Corridor as an innovative multimodal transportation initiative, complete with a train line, a bike route and renewable energy transmission facilities, its centerpiece until recently was still the freeway. But the project raised many serious questions, including:"

"Why would California plow new highways through open space to enable more cars to travel to far-flung subdivisions when the state is trying to persuade people to drive less to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming?"

"Why, when Los Angeles County is spending billions of dollars to build light rail and subway lines to provide alternatives to commuting by car, would the region support a project that perpetuates driving and will eventually become another traffic-clogged nightmare?"

"And what will it take for state and local leaders to follow through on their ambitious climate goals and stop building a car-centric transportation system that sprawls ever outward?"

Dire Consequences for World's Oceans

September 25, 2019

New York Times: "Earth’s oceans are under severe marine_debris_hawaii_cropped.jpg strain from climate change, a major new United Nations report warns, which threatens everything from the ability to harvest seafood to the well-being of hundreds of millions of people living along the coasts."

"Rising temperatures are contributing to a drop in fish populations in many regions, and oxygen levels in the ocean are declining while acidity levels are on the rise, posing risks to important marine ecosystems, according to the report issued Wednesday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders in policymaking."

Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

Bill Gates on Nuclear Energy

September 22, 2019

NEI: "In his 2018 year-in-review blog post, Gates said: 'Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day.' But to Bill Gates, nuclear energy is not just a technology that can help us meet climate change goals; it also can be used to reduce global poverty. Gates believes that if we are able to expand access to affordable and clean electricity, it would drastically improve living conditions for millions and would ultimately be a huge step in lifting those people out of poverty."

Oil Industry Takes on Electric Cars

September 18, 2019

Politico: "The oil industry is trying to crush the booming electric car movement."

"Groups backed by industry giants like Exxon Mobil and the Koch empire are waging a state-by-state, multimillion-dollar battle to squelch utilities’ plans to build charging stations across the country. Environmentalists call the fight a reprise of the 'Who Killed the Electric Car?' battles that doomed an earlier generation of battery-driven vehicles in the 1990s."

Oil Prices Surge After Saudi Attack

September 16, 2019


Wall Street Journal: "The weekend attacks knocked 5.7 million barrels a day off the kingdom’s oil production. That is equivalent to almost 6% of daily world-wide consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. . . ."

“'This is a significant escalation in the region,' said Chris Midgley, director of analytics at S&P Global Platts. 'If you start taking supply out of the biggest producer in the world, that is crucial.'”