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Showing posts from April 26, 2016

The blog has finally been seen by 100,000+

[This happened this morning. I didn't know if it would get there before I left on vacation! :-) *RON*]

World heading for catastrophe over natural disasters, risk expert warns

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[With cascading crises – where one event triggers another – set to rise, international disaster risk reduction efforts are woefully underfunded. In terms of getting at root causes, see also: Why We Must Make Green Energy a Public Good. *RON*]
Sam Jones, The Guardian, 25 April 2016
The world’s failure to prepare for natural disasters will have “inconceivably bad” consequences as climate change fuels a huge increase in catastrophic droughts and floods and the humanitarian crises that follow, the UN’s head of disaster planning has warned.

Last year, earthquakes, floods, heatwaves and landslides left 22,773 people dead, affected 98.6 million others and caused $66.5bn (£47bn) of economic damage(pdf). Yet the international community spends less than half of one per cent of the global aid budget on mitigating the risks posed by such hazards.

Robert Glasser, the special representative of the secretary general for disaster risk reduction, said that with the…

Do We Own Money, or Does Money Own Us? Markets, Numbers, and Prices

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[An excerpt from a new book, The Evolution of Money, that provides a good overview of some fundamental problems with our current view of economics. What do we do when the numbers look wrong, when the incentives they produce no longer make sense? "As the Harvard political philosopher Michael J. Sandel explains, 'We have drifted from having market economies to becoming market societies. The difference is this: A market economy is a tool—a valuable and effective tool—for organizing productive activity. A market society, by contrast, is a place where almost everything is up for sale.' In this case: 'What role should money and markets play in a good society?'" *RON*]

By David Orrell and Roman Chlupatý, Evonomics, 23 April 2016


Of all human inventions, money must be the most deceptively powerful. It helped spark the development of writing and the organization of the first city-states. Its use contributed to a great flowering of…

The end of oil as we know it

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[People talk about peak oil, implying that supply is the driving issue. This analysis shows that demand is also being eroded. Trudeau will probably want to make significant environmental compromises with Big Oil while they're down. Before long he won't even need to do that. He shouldn't be compromising with them at all, but politician's time-lines are notoriously short, and this trend is one that takes place over decades. Meanwhile, though: March breaks another global temperature record. *RON*]
Linette Lopez, Business Insider, 25 April 2016

Oil has crashed.

But a short-term drop in the price of oil is nothing compared with the end of demand for oil as we know it.

The more extreme scenario is what Bernstein Research is now talking about. Energy analyst Neil Beveridge is out with a new note that explores the question of demand — with a prediction that the end of oil as we know it is coming in 2030.

It won't be a linear, slow bur…

Justin Trudeau and Christy Clark risk political backlash from millennial voters if they embrace pipeline projects

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[We cannot forget that Trudeau is a Liberal, which is to say, pro-business down to his bones. See also: No sign of traction for Notley's pleas to federal cabinet, where she is pairing pipelines with greater process transparency and the need for a carbon plan. Meanwhile, what does Saudi Arabia get that Trudeau does not? Saudi prince unveils sweeping reform plan for economy. *RON*]

by Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight, 24 April 2016

Anyone who reads Postmedia newspapers can see that the groundwork is being laid for approval of the Kinder Morgan and Energy East pipelines.

This would enable Alberta bitumen to be shipped to Burnaby for export on oil tankers through Burrard Inlet. TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline would transport bitumen across the Prairies, Ontario, and Quebec to its destination in Saint John, New Brunswick.

This has the potential to cause a political earthquake not only nationally, but also here in B.C. This is parti…

Using seawater for heating? Alaska aquarium takes the plunge.

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[This sounds great - I've never heard of this before! Following its switch to a new system, the Alaska SeaLife Center is almost fully heated by seawater and carbon dioxide loop technology instead of fossil fuels. Everything everyone tells you is impossible is already being done by somebody somewhere. *RON*]

By Ben Thompson, Christian Science Monitor, 24 April 2016

In another sign of the global shift from fossil fuels toward innovative clean energy solutions, an Alaska aquarium has switched to a heating system that runs on seawater.

The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC), a public aquarium, research center, and wildlife rehabilitation facility in Seward, Alaska, announced this week that it has successfully transferred 98 percent of its heat supply from fossil fuels to an alternative system that uses ocean water and carbon dioxide (CO2), a shift that the aquarium’s management hopes will lower operational costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Having a child increases your pay — but only if you're a man

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[Women's labour force participation is high in high income nations, even higher in the lowest income nations. The assumption that the woman will be at home, taking care of the children, while the husband needs the added income to take care of her, is wrong. As, of course, is the unwritten rule that you are punishing women with lower wages for being 'at risk' of maternity leave. See also: Straight out of college, women make $4 less per hour than men—and the gap is getting wider. *RON*]
Matthew Nitch Smith, Business Insider, 25 April 2016 Fathers who work full-time earn a fifth more than men without children, according to an earnings report by trade union association TUC.

Mothers in full time work, conversely, experience a wage "penalty," earning 7% less than women without children when variations are accounted for.

The report said that this could be down to a number of factors: