Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Bruce551 last won the day on October 19 2012

Bruce551 had the most liked content!

About Bruce551

  • Rank
    Original TF'er
  • Birthday 08/02/1950

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Republican Study Committee proposes unilateral disarmament to China in innovation, clean energy Posted By Guest On January 21, 2011 @ 6:18 pm In Tea Party extremists. http://climateprogress.org/2011/01/21/republican-study-committee-unilateral-disarmament-to-china-in-innovation-clean-energy/ Energy Secretary Steven Chu has explained why China’s bid for clean energy leadership should be our “Sputnik Moment.†[1] The Center for American Progress and ClimateProgress have proposed a variety of common sense strategies for responding to China’s innovation and competitiveness policies [2]. But the conservative movement is hell-bent on forever ceding leadership in the most important job-creating industries of the next several decades, as Kate Gordon, CAP’s VP for Energy Policy explains in this cross-post. [3] On Thursday, the Republican Study Committee unveiled its Spending Reduction Act [4], a broad swath of recommendations aimed at cutting trillions of dollars out of the budget. The committee, which includes the vast majority of Republican House members (175 out of 242), claims these cuts are necessary [5] so government does not “rob our children of the opportunity to reach for the American Dream.†But the American Dream depends on American prosperity and leadership. And several of the committee’s cuts explicitly undermine our future prosperity, especially in the area of clean energy technology. The global clean energy sector is booming. Global markets in renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions reached more than $240 billion [6] in 2010. So far, America has been a leader in this space: The Next10 Venture Capital Association found that more than 40 percent [7] of all venture capital investment in clean energy happened in the United States last year. But without continued investment across the technology innovation cycle—from invention at the federal labs and publicly sponsored universities, to public-private partnerships aimed at commercializing and licensing new technologies, to technical assistance to make our manufacturers the most advanced and efficient in the world—we will forfeit whatever leadership we have managed to gain. The Republican Study Committee’s recommendations undermine each of these areas of critical investment. The recommendations go after the Applied Research program at the Department of Energy, cutting $1.27 billion from this core set of activities designed to identify which new innovations in America’s labs and universities is primed for actual commercialization and market-readiness. This is the kind of research that turns theories into profitable ideas, and it is where most innovative American companies are born. The recommendations slash a further $70 million per year from the Department of Commerce’s Technology Innovation Program, aimed at fostering public-private partnerships to develop high-risk technology—the kind of technology investment rarely made by the private sector—in areas of national interest. Last summer, the program awarded a grant to three companies working on a new way to coat steel “faster, cheaper, and greener†[8] by replacing traditional coatings made of degradable heavy and toxic metals. The technology will make the steel less toxic, less of a health hazard, and less prone to constant (and costly) repair. It is the kind of investment in early-stage, high-risk technology that most private steel companies have no incentive to make, since it affects long-term maintenance costs more than short-term profits. The committee doesn’t stop at cutting basic research and development. It goes after one of the foundational pieces of America’s economic strength: our advanced manufacturing sector. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership program works with a tiny $125 million budget to help small and midsize manufacturing firms across the country become more efficient and more competitive, including helping firms realize key energy efficiency gains. The U.S. industrial sector consumes about one-third [9] of all our country’s energy, and efficiency gains can be the difference between a manufacturing firm’s survival or demise. The MEP program can also help firms that have been part of traditional supply chains—for instance, in the auto sector—retool to tap into new markets, such as electric drive trains or wind turbine production. The health of our manufacturing sector, so central [10] to our country’s current middle class and our long-term innovation and competitiveness, depends on this kind of targeted assistance. But the Republican Study Committee doesn’t care. It would slash the MEP budget entirely, saving $125 million each year. The MEP’s current work creates or retains more than 50,000 manufacturing jobs per year according to the Apollo Alliance [11]. The RSC would rather jettison these jobs to save what is, in the context of the overall deficit, a drop in the federal budget bucket. Last but not least, the RSC goes after the Economic Development Administration. The committee cuts $293 million from this Department of Commerce program responsible for working with states and cities across the country to develop smart, accountable economic development plans that will help America’s regions create jobs today and foster tomorrow’s seeds of innovation. The EDA has many functions but one critical piece of its mission is to leverage scarce public dollars by strategically investing in regional “race to the top†programs that encourage existing firms, universities, and government entities to pool resources and knowledge, and collaborate around shared innovation agendas. One such program, the Energy Regional Innovation Cluster program, focuses on fostering new breakthroughs in invention, commercialization, and deployment of clean energy technologies. This same general strategy brought us Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle’s biotech advances. If the RSC is interested in making federal dollars go further, this is exactly the program to fund, not cut. The United States has been a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship in the clean energy sector, as in so many industries before it. But our global leadership rests on our continued commitment [12] to strategic public support for research, development, production, and deployment of these technologies. By undercutting the programs that most efficiently and effectively invest in these building blocks of innovation, the RSC will consign America to the role not of global leader but of global consumer. That doesn’t sound like the American Dream to me. – Kate Gordon And Coal Fly-Ash may be much more destructive than preciously thought. http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=is-coal-fly-ash-responsible-for-mas-11-01-23 Burning coal is nasty business, concentrating all kinds of toxic metals and resulting in potentially deadly fly ash. That's why stretches of the Emory and Clinch rivers in Tennessee essentially died when flooded with coal ash slurry two years ago. Now imagine that happening on an apocalyptic scale: millennia-long volcanic eruptions setting on fire--even exploding--massive coal deposits in present day Siberia. That's what some scientists think may have set off the Permian mass extinction some 250 million years ago. Roughly 90 percent of all ocean life died as a result. It was the end for ammonites and trilobites. Life itself may have barely survived the most devastating mass extinction event known to science, hence its name: the "Great Dying." And the reason could be coal ash, according to new research published in Nature Geoscience. So far out of 500MW of Solar PV Plants to be built in Thailand, Chiang Mai is getting none. Why? Mae Moh 2,200MW coal plant which makes 21,000,00 Tons CO2 a year and thousands of tons of toxic Fly-Ash
  2. Bruce551

    Human Planet

    Thanks for tip Kusama, I found the BBC's "How The Earth Made Us" very good documentary.
  3. How to help low income Thai families with affordable housing. Act local, think Global
  4. How to help low income Thai families with affordable housing. Act local, think Global
  5. EDITORIAL Thailand's unsafe food * Published: 21/01/2011 at 12:00 AM * Newspaper section: News The decision of the Thai government to temporarily ban the export of 16 herbs and vegetables to the European Union shows that our regulations governing toxic pesticides are far below international standards. The self-imposed ban is a move to pre-empt the impending ban from the EU after its repeated checks found Thai produce tainted by toxic farm chemicals banned in the EU, United States and many other developed countries. Who is to blame? The farmers who mindlessly use farm chemicals beyond safety limits? The chemical pesticide companies which mislead farmers into excessive use of farm chemicals without concern for the environment? Both certainly play a part, but the main culprit is the Agriculture and Cooperatives Department. Civic groups have long been pressing the department to revise its official list of banned pesticides to be in line with the international community to protect the health of consumers and the environment. Yet their calls have fallen on deaf ears. The toxic farm chemicals banned elsewhere in the world are still widely available in Thailand, which raises the question of collusion between agriculture officials and farm chemical giants. In Chiang Mai province there are illegal chemical companies making very toxic pesticides and herbicides using (slave) laborers from from Hill Tribes in Thailand and Shan states. Elephants have been poisoned from eating cabbages off North Thailand farms. The threat to farm produce export is not restricted to the lack of food safety from excessive residues of farm chemicals or bacteria. Another important threat is the haphazard policy towards genetically-modified or GM plants. At present, field experiments of GM plants are allowed only on a limited scale and these can be carried out by state agencies only. Thus there has been constant pressure from seed companies to facilitate field experiments of GM plants. Early this month, Anand Dalodom, former director-general of the Department of Agriculture, joined the chorus calling for a quicker issuance of the biosafety law to allow GM experiments in the open field. Advocates of GM plants often cite scientific progress as the reason to embrace GM technology to solve the problem of food shortage, excessive use of farm chemicals, and fuel plant development. While the long-term benefits and adverse effects of GM plants on the environment are as yet inconclusive, the current question of GM plants in Thailand also concerns the impact on the country's export of farm produce, since despite the limited open-field experiments at present, there already have been many reports of GM plants from trial fields spreading to the villagers' farms. These farmers are not happy. They want to put an end to this. But, of course, the Department of Agriculture has not lifted a finger. The draft National Biosafety Law, yet to be approved by Parliament, would allow companies to conduct GM farming in open fields. Given a big push from the Science and Technology, and the Agriculture and Cooperatives ministries, it is highly likely the government will soon grant this law passage. Given the dismal record of the agriculture authorities, it is highly likely that the spreading of GM plants into natural fields will intensify, seriously affecting the country's export of farm produce due to fierce resistance from EU countries and Japan towards GM food. To protect Thailand's farm exports as well as consumers and the environment, the authorities must urgently expand the list of banned pesticides. As for the policy on genetically modified plants and organisms, more time is needed to ensure effective control of GM contamination. If Thailand cannot control the excessive use of toxic farm chemicals and GM contamination, the claim to being the "Kitchen of the World" becomes laughable.
  6. Appreciate comments. Wish Ms Palin would consent to be interviewed by Jon Stewart
  7. Economic development does not have to come at the expense of social equity and environmental protection. "Stated"GOALS OF THE POWER SECTOR FOR THAILAND Very few of stated Power Sector goals are implemented. The Thai power sector strives to provide fair access to and judicious use of its energy resources. In this spirit, the Ministry of Energy outlined the following goals for the power sector in November 2006 (Energy 2006): • To improve reliability and security of energy supply • To provide services at reasonable cost • To promote energy efficiency and conservation • To balance development with environmental conservation • To contribute to regional economic goals • To promote development and utilization of alternative energy • To promote competition in the energy business • To diversify fuel supplies and reduce risk • To promote a self-sufficient economy and reduce import dependence These broader goals are further reflected in the Regulations for Power Purchase from Small Power Producers (SPPs), which were approved by the Thai Cabinet in 1992. These regulations, in addition to specifying policies for SPPs, state the following goals: • To promote greater use of non-conventional and by-product energy in the country • To promote more efficiency in power generation Let Pak Moon flow freely * Published: 20/01/2011 at 12:00 AM * Newspaper section: News Enough talking. Enough researching. No more setting up committees and sub-committees to buy time. After 20 years of clear-cut environment destruction and people's suffering, it is time to decommission the Pak Moon Dam once and for all. Practically every aspect of the Pak Moon Dam has been explored in the past two decades. Research findings from various agencies, international and domestic, all share the same conclusion: the Pak Moon Dam is a failure in all respects. Yet, no government has dared to shut down this economically unjustifiable dam. Last year, the Abhisit government did exactly what earlier governments had done: set up another committee to seek an end to the Pak Moon conflict. When the committee proposed the opening of sluice gates all year round, the government did what it does best - play dumb. This is why more than 1,000 Pak Moon villagers are now camping out in front of the Ubon Ratchathani townhall. The government had promised to follow the committee's proposal. The villagers are asking the government to keep its word. The response is utter silence. This is maddening. The Abhisit government made a big fanfare of its aid packages to ease economic pressure on the urban poor, calling them a "reform programme". Well, go ahead and help the poor. But don't call it a reform. They are just piecemeal efforts to stop the leak when the whole structure is near breakdown from the government's destructive top-down policies, and its refusal to accept mistakes. The economic failure of the Pak Moon Dam has been well documented. According to the World Commission on Dams, Pak Moon can produce only 20.81MW of electricity, failing to meet both its 150MW target and to supply electricity at peak load. Meanwhile its construction costs bloated nearly two-fold from 3.88 billion to 6.5 billion baht. The Moon River was once rich with all kinds of fish which supported the villagers' way of life as freshwater fishermen. Since the dam's completion in 1994, however, nearly two-thirds of the fish have disappeared from the river because fish migration from the Mekong has been virtually blocked. Another important source of food was also destroyed when the riverside woods were flooded by the rising water levels. Hit by hunger and poverty, migration became inevitable. Before the dam, only 14% of Pak Moon families migrated to work in cities, according to a study by Ubon Ratchathani University. After the dam, this climbed to 63%. The once close-knit community eventually broke down while domestic violence increased due to intense economic pressure. Following persistent grassroots demands, the sluice gates were opened for one year in 2001. The positive results on all fronts prompted the university's proposal to the Thaksin administration that the river be allowed to run freely for five years, to heal the environment and people's plight. In 2002, the imperial Thaksin ruled that the sluice gates would be opened for only four months in a year. Fear of slighting the all-powerful Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, and the inability to admit policy mistakes may have played a part in his decision. But probably more important was his fear of seeing the people's movements grow stronger. Letting the Pak Moon villagers win would definitely fan grassroots resistance elsewhere. With many mega industrial projects in various regions up his sleeve, he just couldn't allow that to happen. Can the Abhisit government do any better? Indeed, what is the point of giving peanuts to vendors, taxi drivers and motorcycle taxi drivers, when the government continues to drive more villagers into urban poverty by allowing mega projects to destroy the locals' natural environment and their sources of livelihood? If Mr Abhisit is really sincere in eliminating the cause of rural poverty, he must let the Moon River run free again. If Mr Abhisit wants reform, this would be reform: admitting policy mistakes, restoring the local eco-system, and respecting the locals' right to protect their way of life. Short of this, all is cheap rhetoric, not reform. It would also be further proof that the Abhisit and Thaksin governments are essentially birds of the same feather - when it comes to bleeding Mother Nature dry and fleecing the rural poor to feed urban wealth. Sanitsuda Ekachai is Assistant Editor, Bangkok Post. Bottom line is Abhisit has sold out a sustainable future for Thais to EGAT.
  8. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c Petty Woman www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook
  9. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c Petty Woman www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook
  10. http://climateprogress.org/2010/08/19/climate-science-nasa-drought-drives-decade-long-decline-in-plant-growth/ “A snapshot of Earth’s plant productivity in 2003 shows regions of increased productivity (green) and decreased productivity (red). Tracking productivity between 2000 and 2009, researchers found a global net decrease due to regional drought.†Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio. Earth has done an ecological about-face: Global plant productivity that once flourished under warming temperatures and a lengthened growing season is now on the decline, struck by the stress of drought “The potential that future warming would cause additional declines does not bode well for the ability of the biosphere to support multiple societal demands for agricultural production, fiber needs, and increasingly, biofuel production,†Zhao said. I feel there is acute deficit in situational awareness regarding current and very likely future impacts from global warming.
  11. http://www.goal0.com/ http://voltaicsystems.com/
  12. http://www.goal0.com/ http://voltaicsystems.com/
  13. The problem is companies like Monsanto design GMO crops to make money, that require endusers to buy Monsanto seeds & RoundUp weed killer. They're not working for the best interest of humans, especially in developing countries or for a more sustainable eco-system.
  14. http://climateprogress.org/2010/10/07/the-little-ice-age/ There is actually a 2009 study that provides clearcut support for the above analysis, “Temperature response in the Altai region lags solar forcing†(subs. req’d). It makes use of “ice core oxygen isotope record from the continental Siberian Altai, serving as a high-resolution temperature proxy for the last 750 years.†It found that: The strong correlation between reconstructed temperature and solar activity suggests solar forcing as a main driver for temperature variations during the period 1250–1850 in this region. It also concluded that during the industrial period (1850-2000) solar forcing became less important and only the CO2 concentrations show a significant correlation with the temperature record. The Earth’s overall temperature does not change randomly on a decadal scale — it changes when it is driven to do so by an external forcing. Yes, the Earth has had brief warming and cooling periods since 1250. But those temperature changes were not random. They were largely responses to changes in the solar radiation hitting the earth (which is itself affected by volcanoes). A long-term increase in the Earth’s average temperature is caused by a change in the planetary energy balance (incoming vs. outgoing energy), also known as a ‘radiative forcing.’ If the amounts of incoming and outgoing energy are equal, the planet is in equilibrium and its temperature will not increase on average. CO2 is a heat trapping gas, upsetting the Earth's energy balance, less energy going out...
  15. Australian Floods, Sydney-based designer Dan Hill happened to be in Brisbane this week when floodwaters overtook the city. http://www.grist.org/article/2011-01-13-how-sprawl-killed-brisbane-a-report-from-inside-the-flood There will be much finger-pointing after this, from insurance companies refusing to pay up due to the releases from dams not technically being floods (what on earth else are they then?); from those who point out that, as memory of the '74 floods faded, developers were allowed to build in flood plains earmarked for further dams; from those pointing out that the floods are a result of climate change (even if these ones aren't, future ones will be); from those pointing out that the entire fragile mode of suburban development of Australian cities is particularly unsuited to the resilience required of the near-future; that development should not have been allowed on the riversides and basins of floodplains, and so on. There will be a time for discussing how to achieve more resilient patterns of settlement in Australia. I'm not at all convinced that Australians have the appetite for genuinely addressing this, even despite the floods. Most people are apparently incapable of thinking about the future on the scale required for investment in things like urban resilience, even accepting we need to get better at communicating all this. I'm not sure people see the connection between devastating flooding and a culture where property developers call the shots, where cost drives aspiration in building and infrastructure, and where a car-based fabric of dispersed tarmac'ed low-density communities is virtually the Australian dream. But if it's not events like this, I'm not sure what else it would take to make this clear and force the issue. Bangkok?
  • Create New...