August 23, 2013

Working Life 1

Belinda Probert

Labor and Capital

… Australian trade unions face increasing attacks from both militant employers [seeking] to exclude unionists from their [enterprises] and the ['neoliberal'] or 'dry' faction [of the] Liberal Party which hopes to see trade union influence … greatly reduced.
(p 50)

These groups [fundamentally oppose] the ideals of Justice Higgins [— ideals] which underpin the arbitration system.
For them there can be no minimum wage based on civilized standards — only [a] wage that [maximizes profit in a] competitive global economy.
(p 51)

August 12, 2013

Climate Briefing 2

John Houghton

Action Required

[Actions that could] be taken now to slow climate change … at little or no net cost and that are good for other reasons [ie 'no regrets' policies, include:]
  • a reduction of deforestation,
  • a substantial increase in afforestation,
  • [measures to reduce] methane emissions,
  • an aggressive increase in energy [efficiency, and]
  • increased implementation of renewable [energy sources. …]
[At] the current state of knowledge the range 400-500 ppm in carbon dioxide concentration is where further detailed consideration of costs and impacts should be concentrated. …
[Stabilisation] of carbon dioxide concentration by 2100 … will require very rapid growth in … non-fossil fuel energy sources [along with technology transfer to developing countries to enable them to industrialize in a sustainable manner.]
(p 264)

World energy demand and supply

The two billion poorest people in the world (less than $US 1000 annual income per capita) each use an average of 0.2 toe [tonnes of oil equivalent] annually …
[The] billion richest in the world (more than $22,000 annual income per capita) use … 5 toe per capita annually [— almost twenty-five times as much.]
The average annual energy use per capita [globally] is about 1.7 toe [or] 2.2 kilowatts (KW).
The highest rates of energy consumption are in North America where the average citizen consumes an average of about 11 kW. …
(p 269)

The support and financing of renewable energy

Renewable energy of [a scale sufficient to stabilise carbon dioxide levels] will only be realised if it is [cost] competitive …
[Currently fossil fuels are subsidised at an average cost of US $40 per tonne of carbon.]
(p 306)

A start with incentives would be [to redirect such subsidies to renewable alternatives. …]

Government R & D, averaged worldwide, currently runs at about ten billion US dollars per year or about 1% of worldwide capital investment in the energy industry [ie one trillion dollars.]
On average, in developed countries it has fallen by about a factor of two since the mid 1980s.
[However, in the UK,] government sponsored energy R & D fell by about a factor of ten from the mid 1980s to 1998 when, in proportion to GDP, it was only one-fifth of that in the USA and one-seventeenth of that in Japan. …
[Sustained] growth of 30% or more per year … in wind and solar energy [if required if carbon dioxide levels are to be stabilised at around 450 ppm by 2020.]
(p 307)

Policy instruments
  • … energy pricing strategies (carbon or energy taxes and reduced … subsidies)
  • reducing or removing other [agricultural and transport subsidies] that ten to increase … emissions;
  • tradeable emissions permits;
  • voluntary programmes and negotiated agreements with industry;
  • utility demand-side management …
  • [appliance and fuel economy] energy efficiency standards …
  • research and development [into] new technologies …
  • market pull and demonstration [projects …]
  • renewable energy incentives during market build-up;
  • [education and training] directed [at] necessary behavioural changes …
  • accelerated depreciation or reduced costs for consumers …
  • technological transfer to [and capacity building in] developing countries;
  • ['no regrets'] options that also support other economic and environmental goals.

(Global Warming: The Complete Briefing, 2004, p 309)