Saturday, April 17, 2010
EARTH DAY, EARTHQUAKES AND ENERGY
Too many have been complaining that my blogs are to long, so here is a relatively short one reviewing the news today:
1. My March 29 blog previewed the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, coming up on Thursday, April 22. Take your children and grandchildren to all the activities. Much of this also occurs in most towns across the nation, and it all comes to a climax in Washington, DC, on Sunday, April 25, to influence our U.S. Congress, which continues to ignore this issue, mostly because there are too many Democratic members from fossil fuel states and the disinformation specialists are winning the PR war. Hint to protesters: thanks for your dedication and involvement, but, this won't work. Tens of millions will need to perish one hot summer for decision-makers to take the necessary steps to spend $45 trillion, an amount floated by the International Energy Agency. Now you get the idea. Real money will not be spent until it is too late.
2. That China Yushu County earthquake (see Wednesday issue below) apparently was "only" a 6.9 instead of a 7.1, so, if you go to that table, the 0.2 difference means the earthquake was "only" half the intensity. The death toll, though, has risen to 1484.
3. The front page of the Honolulu Advertiser today shows that we pay 24% more for gasoline than the U.S. average, and people are complaining, loudly. Well, the price of gasoline in Europe is more than double that of the USA. Or looking at it another way, the $3.44/gallon we pay in Hawaii is less than half that of Europe, except for the UK, which costs "only" $6.65/gallon. Now, if you really want to complain, as of last month, the average cost of electricity for Hawaii residents was 26 cents/kWh, while the USA average was 11 cents/kWh. This means we were paying 136% more for electricity in Hawaii.
4. Oh, about that barrel tax the Hawaii State Legislature foisted on you. The increase was a buck, from 5 cents to $1.05/barrel. Worried about the effect on your gasoline bill? Well, $1.05/barrel equals 2.5 cents/gallon. You won't notice it. They could have called this a carbon tax and increased it $100/barrel, and this won't have gotten us even close to the UK on the cost of gas. This could have raised $3.2 billion, giving the state a surplus of $2 billion, which can partially be returned to the consumer. I would guarantee that more people would ride the bus and travel less. But I'm not advocating this draconian measure because our economy would undergo a catharsis. For the carbon tax to work, the world has have to agree to take this step together. Terrific attitude for individual states or countries to invoke such a measure, but they will be committing economic suicide.