Subsidizing green energy kills people and is immoral

29 06 2009
 “Optimistically treating European Commission partially funded data that for every renewable energy job that the State manages to finance, Spain’s experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created.”

http://www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf

Thanks to John Humphreys at ALS blog for alerting me to this article. 

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Unintended Consequences of Environmentalist Regulation

22 06 2009

A ton of HFC23 used in refrigeration has the same global warming potential as 14,800 tons of CO2. A ton of HFC-134a, widely used in vehicle air-conditioning units, is equivalent to 1,430 tons of CO2.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6544745.ece

Hydrofluoro carbons are what we replaced chlorofluoro carbons with (by law) as refrigeration gases. 

This probably would have happened despite regulation or the banning of CFCs, because people probably would not have wanted ozone to break down.  CFCs are quite stable and have the potential to reach ozone rich heights in the stratosphere.  Due to thermodynamic considerations, ozone break down is most likely to occur at the poles.  NB/ Last report I heard the ozone layer at the Sth Pole had regenerated. 

This latest development is similar to the acid rain problems of the 90s in Europe.  Sulphur waste levels were reduced and that reduced acid rain.  However the various acidic sulphur oxides have a cooling effect by increasing solar reflection as opposed to CO2 which absorbs infrared and therefore is alleged to warm the planet (although I need to look into this more because I believe this allegation may disregard the 2nd law of thermodynamics). 

I should make it clear that I think both CFCs and acid rain causing waste would easily be dealt with in a capitalist society without collectivist industry regulation being necessary.  Of course destructive pollution could be dealt with under existing legal avenues and property rights. 

Anyway what I think this article demonstrates is two main points:
1) That environmental political decisions are made on obviously incomplete scientific evaluation.  
2) The process whereby the regulatory snow ball turns into an avalanche.  Regulation and control begets regulation and control. 

I think it’s a pretty sure bet that certain HFCs will be banned soon. 

Unintended consequences are a symptom of a pragmatic approach to politics that rejects the “extreme” principles of capitalism.  You can’t predict the exact details, but you know the unintended consequences will occur. 

I’m surprised this article didn’t get more media attention considering the popularity of “green” issues.  
But perhaps people don’t like someone pointing out how their “green” efforts are futile.  
This is what happened to me when I tried to explain to my work colleagues that the plastic bag portion of land fill poses no threat to the environment whatsoever, anywhere in the world.  (South Australia where I live has banned plastic bags)
I found that people did not want to understand the reality.  

In the plastic bag case as with other environmentalist scares such as the spotted owl, there was no problem to begin with.  I would argue the same is true for CO2 emissions.  And even if there is a problem, obviously capitalism is the best way to solve it by allowing/encouraging creativity and production of alternatives more than any other political system. 
However assuming that CO2 levels are actually a real problem, we can also identify a more universal fault of economic regulation.  The fact that the alleged problem is virtually never fixed by the regulation (and if it is, then the costs, both seen and unseen will outweigh the benefits).  
The emissions trading scheme (ETS) soon to be implemented in Australia is a great example.  It won’t lower world wide emissions of CO2 at all.  That’s right there will be 0 reduction in CO2 worldwide when our mines move offshore and considering India and China will up their emissions. 
The only effect is that Australian people will suffer ie: They will die slightly younger, poorer, unhappier, etc.  That’s the net result. 

Environmentalism kills people – How many people in our society are prepared to face up to this reality?





S.F. techie helps stir Iranian protests

18 06 2009

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/06/17/MN75188C6K.DTL





Obama is the new Bush

17 06 2009

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,25649097-912,00.html

Didn’t the lefties always complain about pumping money into the Iraq war? 

US Congress has given final approval to a $US106 billion ($133 billion) spending Bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

Bush and Obama are both altruists.  That’s the problem and the fundamental connection. 

At least Obama (unlike Bush) cannot hide his altruism by pretending to be pro-capitalist (as Bush did).





Will the world join the dots on Iran now?

17 06 2009

Probably not. 

While it was always obvious, the recent elections in Iran clearly demonstrate that this is not a free country.  Iranian government obviously does not protect the right to peaceful protest and probably rigged the election.  ie: Iran does not even have a democratic system of government (although if the president does have majority of popular support then it would basically be democratic).  More importantly however, Iran definitely does not respect individual human rights.  These elections also highlight the rampant censorship in Iran.

Should you negotiate/bargain/compromise with Islamic dictators who continually demonstrates they don’t play by the rules of negotiation even to their own citizens? 

Obama’s soft stepping, negotiations approach in the Middle East treats these countries as if they were western democracies.  But a country like Iran is not a free country.  It’s a dictatorship, most likely pretending to be democratic, that bases it’s legal code on Islam.  This should be vigorously condemned. 

US President Barack Obama, who has called for dialogue with Iran over its contested nuclear drive, raised “deep concerns” over the election but said he would not meddle in the affairs of the Islamic republic.

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,25649044-912,00.html





Can Iranians Stand Up to Ahmadinejad’s Tyrannical Government?

15 06 2009

No. 

These latest elections saw some resistence to Iran’s authoritarian president – even though Ahmadinejad supposedly won the election by overwhelming majority.  http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2009/06/14/iran-election-fix-fury-protesters-clash-with-riot-police-after-hardliner-wins-115875-21438974/

According to the above article, only 2000 people turned up to protest.  I don’t believe this is enough. 

In fact, I think it is quite possible that Ahmadinejad does generally have popular support.

I’m not an expert in the region so I don’t know whether disent is growing or receeding overall in Iran.  Hopefully it’s growing.  
What about the govenrment?  Are they becoming more or less willing to violate the people’s rights and force them into submission?  – I don’t know.

 But my guess is that a day or two of riot police will sort out the pesky little election protests. 

I would say that for a nation to gain freedom:

1) You need an individualistic culture that values freedom.  Ideally a majority of people who want a dramatic change in government.
2) You have to understand the real value of freedom and be prepared to fight.
3) If you want your freedom to last, you need a moral and logically consistent defense of freedom.   
4) It helps if the current facist/socialist government starts losing it’s nerve in doing what it takes to force people into submission.  This is probably only possilbe if #1 is satisfied.

I don’t think Iran satisfies any of the above criteria. 

NB/ No country in the history of the human race has contained a majority of people that satisfy #3.  Religious and non-objective ethical theories have always dominated human civilization.  Even 99.9% of atheists in our world accept altruistic ethical theory for example. 

NB/ Western world democracies are currently heading towards facism or socialism (which inevitably leads to facism by necessity).  One step forward, two steps back. 
While Australia is a freer (and better) place than Iran, we are still far from achieving a genuinely free country.  Australia also requires steps 1-3.

Update:  I have heard later reports that many more people have protested – 1 million at last report.  This is very encouraging. 

But the key point is that Iran will not shake their Islamic dictatorship any time soon. 
Iranians may at least wish for a watered down version of the current system and while this isn’t revolutionary, it’s a good sign.





Prostitution LTE

15 06 2009

Checked the paper today and noticed there was discussion on legalizing prostitution.  Typically the pragmatist, traditionalist, populist, nanny-statist Advertiser was leaning on the side of keeping prostitution illegal. 

So I wrote a quick LTE:

As usual, the reasoning used to justify the illegality of certain actions between consenting adults (eg/ prostitution) follows this formula:  Activity X is bad for you, therefore it should be illegal.  This is a non-sequitor.  Suicide is the ultimate in bad for you behaviour, should we ban that?   
The proper function of governments should be to set up laws that enable a human to PURSUE a moral life, not to attempt to force a version of morality onto people.  Why?  Because aside from the many horrors of totalitarian governments, it is impossible to force an idea onto a human mind.  If you want to stop prostitution, you need to convince both prostitutes and their clients that it is bad for them (and it is psychologically damaging to both parties).  But this is impossible by force.  In fact, the use of force renders the act of thinking futile because what good are ideas that cannot be acted upon? 
To restrict an individual from acting on the decisions of their own mind is to restrict them from the proper process of being human and is itself immoral.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.