Category Archives: Growth and development
WATER WARMING THE EARTH
Have you noticed that when you go outdoors at night, if there are clouds, it is warmer than when the sky is clear? Clouds and rain are part of heat and air circulation at the Earth’s surface, like a saucepan heated from below, with water evaporating and condensing on the lid, by losing heat into space. The water cycle keeps Earth warm.
Global warming could be caused by moisture and clouds in the atmosphere increasing with time.
The change in the Earth-Sun heat transfer balance has been attributed to the Earth trapping more incoming radiation during daytime. If this is so, would it not reradiate it at night time, as part of the equilibrium? In any case, heat absorbed at the surface is said to be transferred from 0.045% of carbon dioxide gas to warm up 99.96% of the atmosphere by a supposed heat transfer process. The supposed role of carbon dioxide puzzles me.
The anthropomorphic heat gain could plausibly be held back by the insulating effect of moisture and clouds above water storages, combustion exhausts, agricultural evaporation, irrigation and transpiration from crop plants. The numbers in the diagram relate water quantities. The increase could be a small change to Earth’s energy input and output, but enough to be a significant cause of global warming. Other warming could be by anthropomorphic heat pollution. Reducing human water usage, evaporation from dams and combustion of hydrogen-containing fuels could perhaps lower the small heat gain of climate change.
My blog posts on climate change are at martinknox.com
LIMITING HIGH ENERGY USERS
Energy was rationed in war-time to conserve scarce supplies. Less severe scarcity was dealt with by allowing the price to rise. A person’s energy consumption was mostly unregulated, without limits on demand.
The Paris Agreement in 2016 . . .
‘. . . set out a global framework signed by 192 nations to avoid dangerous climate change with a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels; to aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change; the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries; to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science, so as to achieve a balance between emissions and containment in the second half of the century.’
Under this agreement, nations ‘volunteered’ to limit emission levels. A small number of nations emit most of the emissions and these high emitters would observe the same growth limits as low emitters. Nations causing most warming would have the same proportional restriction as those causing least.
The focus on so-called greenhouse gases, having warming qualities which are hypothetical, are associated with energy emissions from combustion, either by direct release in combustion or indirectly from intermediate products such as electricity, during and after use. Thermal energy emissions are more significant but not included.
The burden of emissions reduction would fall on developed nations with the highest per capita electricity consumption, with self-indulgent demand such as for air conditioning, whereas poor nations might possibly have no electricity connected and need the growth desperately? In developed countries, most energy is consumed as electricity and petrol.
In a developed country, the restriction of emissions growth could conceivably limit the use of a third family car, whereas in an undeveloped country, a carless family could have use of its washing machine limited, requiring more manual labour. Is this an equitable difference?
There is no precedent for the limitation by The Paris Agreement, of demand for energy, or any commodity, in order to make a contribution to reducing universal external costs of climate change. It is an unprecedented restriction of energy growth with disproportionate effect on developing countries. At best, it is a bold attempt to rein in emissions growth but heavily weighted against low energy users who need that growth to develop.
At worst, the regulation of emissions limits standards of living, because emissions are associated with combustion and energy consumption, as is the standard of living.
Do people have a right to limitless energy consumption, as they do to oxygen from the air? Per capita emissions in developed nations are much larger than in undeveloped nations who would be cutback proportionally. Could the developed nations cutback their emissions without preventing developing countries attaining a similar standard of energy use? Could emissions cuts depend on emissions, in the same way that income tax rates depend on income. Emitters should have to suffer greater cuts proportional to their high energy use. High polluters should have to compensate low polluters.
An energy consumption tax is needed, whose function is to penalize high personal consumption of high-emission energy and subsidise low consumption, low-emission energy.
If you agree, tell your politician.
My other writing on growth, energy and rights is at https://martinknox.com
CAN THERMAL POLLUTION BE FAIRER?
Suppose countries’ heat energy inputs to the environment would be proportional to their electricity consumption. This is shown for a selection of countries in the table on a per capita basis. Their growth in electricity consumption is given over the past 35 years. Would the fairest way be to 1) assign cuts in electricity consumption to get an equal percentage reduction in per capita consumption or 2) for high consumers to pay compensation to low consumers? My purpose is to demonstrate thermal pollution can be fairly assigned by arbitrary reduction of growth in per capita electricity consumption.
Source: ourworldindata.org My writing on growth is at https://martinknox.com
ECONOMY IN TRIAGE
Could policy leaders decide the priority order of treatment for parts of the economy injured or disabled by pandemic restrictions? My proposal draws informally on Keynesian, Classical Monetary and Modern Monetary theories. I reject Laissez Faire theory because governments have already begun large expenditure commitments. I have attempted to derive priorities by screening out activities that could be helped by governments to bring happiness of various kinds: hedonistic, eudaimonic, psychological and spiritual to the various stakeholders employees, customers, suppliers and investors.
I will not identify my analysis with particular local, state or federal government jurisdictions in any country. I live in Australia, but I describe below phenomena that have been prepared from thought rather than by social research and they could be enumerated in many locations.
Because of their multiplier effect, outputs that are inputs to employment-intensive follow-up activities should have priority e.g. trucks not cars.
Infrastructure projects that cause most sustainable employment should be preferred e.g. construction of public park amenities, not National Broadband Network fibre optics installation.
Public funding should support the greatest good of the greatest number, like public transport, not narrow interests, such as subsidisation of airlines. Haemorrhaging of public funds to support unsustainable industries should cease.
Developments requiring sustainable skilled employment are more desirable than casual unskilled labouring.
Funding of arts, entertainment and education should recognise their potential for multiplier effects in stimulating development in other sectors.
Diversity of outputs is desirable to reduce currency inflation effects on industries struggling with falling prices for their exports and increasing costs of imports e.g. farms, due to buoyant foreign exchange rates from high growth sectors e.g. minerals (Gregory Effect).
Priority should go to primary industry supplying secondary and tertiary industry, when it conserves and sustains scarce natural resources.
Value-adding by secondary processing of products e.g. minerals, could have priority where efficient use is made of natural resources e.g. water, land.
Development of the tertiary sector should prefer industries with a high multiplier effect e.g. tourism, education, health. Activities that generate little sustainable employment, for example coal quarrying for export and retirement apartment construction, could be less attractive.
The priorities above are controversial. The task of calling help for some parts of the economy and denigrating others will be contested from personal experience and interest. I have made these calls to draw attention to the parlous state of government treatment of the economic pandemic. I want to register my disapproval for profligate government spending by highlighting some likely consequences.
For further ideas see my writing on growth, development, government, Covid-19 at https://martinknox.com