EARTH 3.0 – SUSTAINABLE EARTH

An excellent introduction to Earth 3.0 – Sustainable Earth is provided by the four Scientific American Special Issues:

  • “Earth 3.0 – Energy vs. Water” (Scientific American, September 1, 2008)
  • “Earth 3.0 – A Second Look at Nuclear” (Scientific American, December 1, 2008)
  • “Earth 3.0 – Top 10 Myths about Sustainability” (Scientific American, March 1, 2009)
  • “Earth 3.0 – Population and Sustainability” (Scientific American, June 1, 2009)

All Scientific American publications are excellent resources for all topics related to Earth 3.0.

SMG owns the domain:

  • earth30.com

that was previously owned by Scientific American.

THE GREATEST VENTURE OF THE 21ST CENTURY

SOME IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION PLAN

  • The engagement of all citizens of Earth 3.0
  • Leadership by example
  • Public education for all
  • Recognizing an economic and new jobs potential that is orders of magnitude – (10-100+) x -greater than the computer industry
  • Self-sufficiency and sustainability in essentials: water, food, clothing, habitat, education, work, pro-active health care & fitness
  • Sustainability, efficiency, and self-sufficiency in energy: buildings – residential, commercial; industry; transportation; electricity
  • Sustainability in: infra-structure – roads, bridges, communications & energy grids; jobs; economy; environment; recycling & better use of  renewable and non-renewable resources
  • Safe, stable, and secure world based on sustainability and self-sufficiency: reduced need to secure and protect foreign interests like the oil industry.
  • The importance of manufacturing with quality what people need
  • Use scientists to explain science and the scientific method to the public
    • Science is not an advocacy system like the law that is based on legal precedents
    • Science is not a matter of opinion that is open to debate
    • Science is not based on hearsay and anecdotes
    • Science is a peer review and verification system based on the scientific method for the acquisition of knowledge that is empirical, objective, repeatable, reproducible, independently verifiable, and capable of not only understanding known phenomena, but predicting and understanding new phenomena.
    • Example:
      Does creationism or intelligent design pass any of these tests of the scientific method?

SOME SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES TO A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION PLAN

  • Global warming is a small part of the total story denied by many special interest groups and used as a diversion from a more critical and much larger undeniable truth: irreversible damage to the biosphere
  • Corporations, politicians, governments that “Privatize Profits, and Socialize or Externalize Losses and Costs”
    • Examples:
      • Increased healthcare costs caused by pollution
      • The costs of the damage to the environment of the fossil fuel and nuclear energy industries
      • The costs of bailouts and industry disasters
      • The true costs of foreign labor – no personal income taxes, additional costs of unemployment insurance.
  • Failure to learn from others about:
    • All aspects of sustainability, self-sufficiency, lifestyle, healthcare, education, economics, STEM contributions to society
    • All aspects of enterprise and industry including manufacturing
    • Acceptable trade practices including the use of a VAT tax
    • The use of robotics in manufacturing, medicine, and other activities…
    • All stages of public education with a particular emphasis on women
    • The potential for new types of jobs and opportunities
    • Tariffs on foreign manufacturing that indicate a failure to compete
    • The inclusion of more STEM professionals in the teams sent to study other jurisdictions
    • How to bypass government bottlenecks and special interests that are interfering with the right choices
    • Creating a real sustainable jobs and enterprise strategy
    • The separation of religion and state for good government that fairly represents all the people of the governed jurisdiction

WHAT IS THE TRUE COST OF OIL?

Just A Few References

Issues:

  1. Mantra of the Fossil Fuel Industry: Privatize Profits – Socialize Expenses and Losses.
  2. Extent of: tax breaks; subsidies; supply disruptions; uncontrollable price hikes?
  3. Steeply increasing exploration, production, and delivery costs?
  4. Transfer of wealth historically outside countries historically unprecedented.
  5. Costs of trade deficits – is 1/3 of the deficit a socialized oil industry expense?
  6. Number of jobs lost per 1Billion$ of deficit?
  7. Oil industry costs: military security of supply channels, military presence in foreign countries, loss of lives, human misery?
  8. % of the defense budget that is actually an oil industry expense?
  9. Socialized costs of the pollution of our air, land, water and the destruction of our biosphere including plant and animal life; socialized costs of accidents?
  10. Socialized health care costs – estimates of additional costs due to the destruction of our biosphere?
  11. Benefits of an industrial and technological revolution in next generation energies and transportation – economic boom, millions of jobs, healthier environment, greater security?
  12. What political party and government policies are actually sustainable; create real jobs, real wealth, and real security; protect and enhance our priceless biosphere; increase the quality of our health, and our lives?
  13. Do asset sales, natural resources for example, actually create real wealth or is the reduction of the total value of the assets greater than the net income from their sale given that the assets are bought back at higher prices in the form of externally produced & supplied goods and services that have used those assets?
    Example:
    Why is Alberta oil sands bitumen being sent to refineries in other countries to be sold back to Canadians as refined products at magnified prices?
    Is this just another example of the failure of Canadian leadership, government & business,  to build a value added economy based on a richness of natural resources?
  14. What are the lost opportunity costs of a failure to develop a sustainable economy based on sustainable energy supply technologies and industries?

SCIENCE POLICY

Failure of Business, Politicians & Governments to Understand and Respect Science

  • Lack of understanding of the scientific method
  • Belief that science is an advocacy system and scientific results are debatable
  • Denial of scientific facts based on religion, prejudice, unproven agendas & special interests
  • Flip flopping for perceived political advantage
  • Shaping of policy contrary to scientific evidence
  • Hiding scientific knowledge acquired by public funding from the public
  • Use of public affairs and lobbying firms by businesses and governments to attack inconvenient scientific truths; use of multi-faceted, covert operations to undermine science, attack scientists and confuse the public and the media; use of campaigns to create confusion, and advance contrarian viewpoints and corporate-funded pundits.
    Examples:

Lines of Research, Questioning, Comparison of Science Policies of Different Jurisdictions:

  1. Understanding of, and respect for science and the scientific method to acquire knowledge?
  2. Science policy of current government? Compare with previous governments including the founding fathers.
  3. Sustainability and self-sufficient energy policy?
  4. Relevance of science policy to sustainability, manufacturing, jobs, the economy, the future of planet earth?
  5. Contributions of science in the modern world: medicine, computers, internet, telecommunications, transportation (air, rail, road, water), energy, materials science, applied science and engineering, electronics, automation…
  6. Is science given the same importance in the media as the entertainment industries (movies, sports, theater, TV) and other professions? Does our society value science professionals as much as entertainment professionals?
  7. Messages delivered to our young people by the media about the relative importance of the professions?
  8. Comparison with the science policies of other major industrial powers.

SUBSIDIES IN THE ENERGY SECTOR

A balanced picture of subsidies in the energy sector is needed.

As a general rule, the fossil fuel industries (coal, oil, natural gas) privatize profits and try to socialize losses and very real costs of the industry as much as possible.

A socialized cost by another name is subsidy.

Following are some of the types of subsidies to the fossil fuel industries that are socialized or equivalently subsidized that need to be investigated and evaluated:

  • Tax breaks; supply disruption costs; uncontrolled price hikes.
  • Steeply increasing exploration, production, and delivery costs.
  • Historically unprecedented transfer of wealth to other nations and a privileged few.
  • Costs of trade deficits: ~1/3 of the deficit is a socialized oil industry expense.
  • Jobs lost per Billion$ of deficit are large.
  • Military security of supply channels, military presence in foreign countries, loss of lives, human misery.
  • What % of the defense budget is actually an oil industry expense?
  • Socialized costs of the pollution of our air, land, water and the destruction of our biosphere including plant and animal life; socialized costs of accidents that are paid for by tax revenue, not fossil fuel industry revenue.
  • Socialized health care costs: estimates of additional costs due to the destruction of our biosphere?
  • Lost opportunity costs: benefits of an industrial and technological revolution in next generation energies and transportation; economic boom, millions of jobs, healthier environment, greater security. Not realized because of government policies that benefit the fossil fuel industries.
  • Life cycle and marginal costs of all new supplies that are distorted by historical infrastructures.

When you are talking about subsidies to the sustainable energy industries (efficiency, hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, wave …), it is worth noting that most of the aforementioned fossil fuel subsidies do not apply to the renewables.

Clearly subsidies to sustainables must be intelligently distributed.

There are precedents to help determine the best strategies.

Politicians may not be the best choice to determine the best strategies to keep the playing field level through subsidies and other incentives to promote sustainability and the healthy survival of our biosphere.

Should politicians try to be venture capitalists?

Or should they consider investments in education, science, engineering, and technology at a more fundamental level according to successful historical and geo-political precedents at home and abroad?

Should they give education, science, and engineering the respect they deserve on the world stage – at least at the current level of celebrity worship – to deliver a balanced message to our young about the value to our society of these disciplines?

Science and technology have been responsible for over half of the growth of the U.S. economy since WWII, when the federal government first prioritized peacetime science mobilization.

What party and government policies are actually sustainable; create real jobs, real wealth, and real security; protect and enhance our priceless biosphere; increase the quality of our health, and our lives; return the U.S. and Canada to pre-eminence in manufacturing?

Just to name a few, some of the problems associated with fossil fuels that need to be examined are:

  • Air pollution alone kills at least 2.5 to 3 million people per year worldwide.
  • Global temperatures and sea levels are rising.
  • Arctic ice loss is at record levels.
  • Extreme weather events are more frequent.
  • Energy prices are more volatile.

Some of the factors that a balanced analysis of energy options needs to consider are:

  • Land and water footprints
  • Fabrication and construction materials
  • The resources to find and protect energy supplies now and in the future
  • The amount of pollution that would be created during full lifecycles
  • The overall damage to the global biosphere and human health
  • The total life cycle and marginal costs of all viable supply options
  • Consideration of the distortion of life cycle and marginal costs by existing infra-structures

Example 1

  • Natural gas releases at least 50 to 70 times more carbon and air pollution than wind energy per kilowatt-hour generated.
  • Oil and coal release much more.

Example 2

  • A 2010 study by the Clean Air Task Force estimates that air pollution from U.S. coal-fired power plants accounts for more than 13,000 premature deaths, 20,000 heart attacks, and 1.6 million lost workdays in the U.S. each year.
  • The total monetary cost of these health impacts is over $100 billion every year.
  • Blackouts and power failures are conservatively estimated to cost U.S. businesses and residents up to $160 billion annually.
  • Unless these losses are paid for by the responsible industries, they are in fact industry subsidies.

At the end of the day, it is the total life cycle costs – all of the costs in one account including all subsidized and socialized costs that have been inconveniently hidden in different accounts in the past – of a technology that must be used to determine the correct choices for Earth 3.0.

The fossil fuel industries got us to today.

Sustainable Earth 3.0 is our only future.

How do we get there as quickly and efficiently as possible?

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