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kristopher

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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,798

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The Scotsman

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A Wealthy Governor and His Friends Are Remaking Illinois

A Wealthy Governor and His Friends Are Remaking Illinois
Unprecedented political spending helped elect a fresh-faced financier. But his ideological vision has unsettled many in the state.


By NICHOLAS CONFESSORENOV. 29, 2015

The richest man in Illinois does not often give speeches. But on a warm spring day two years ago, Kenneth C. Griffin, the billionaire founder of one of the world’s largest hedge funds, rose before a black-tie dinner of the Economic Club of Chicago to deliver an urgent plea to the city’s elite.

They had stood silently, Mr. Griffin told them, as politicians spent too much and drove businesses and jobs from the state. They had refused to help those who would take on the reigning powers in the Illinois Capitol. “It is time for us to do something,” he implored.

Their response came quickly. In the months since, Mr. Griffin and a small group of rich supporters — not just from Chicago, but also from New York City and Los Angeles, southern Florida and Texas — have poured tens of millions of dollars into the state, a concentration of political money without precedent in Illinois history.

Their wealth has forcefully shifted the state’s balance of power. Last year, the families helped elect as governor Bruce Rauner, a Griffin friend and former private equity executive from the Chicago suburbs, who estimates his own fortune at more than $500 million. Now they are rallying behind Mr. Rauner’s agenda: to cut spending and overhaul the state’s pension system, impose term limits and weaken public employee unions.

“It was clear that they wanted to change the power structure, change the way business was conducted and change the status quo,” ...
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/30/us/politics/illinois-campaign-money-bruce-rauner.html

Time to Choose

Time to Choose


Starting at 9:30 am local time on Monday, November 30—and lasting for just 48 hours—is the unique opportunity to view Time to Choose, a feature-length documentary about climate change.
Entertainment Weekly has praised it as "a smart, solution-oriented climate-change doc" while Variety lauded its "impeccable research" and "straight-talk structure."

The film is directed by Charles Ferguson, the same director behind the Oscar Award-winning 2010 documentary Inside Job, and can be viewed at The Huffington Post. This will make history as the first time a feature-length film has streamed at HuffPost. It will be viewable in the United States, Canada, and numerous other countries around the globe.

Featuring a cameo from RMI co-founder and chief scientist Amory Lovins, the documentary comes at a pivotal time, as international climate negotiations begin in Paris. The filmmakers encourage us all to take action, whether by voting for politicians who support climate-change action, through advocacy, or by making personal decisions and investments about things like the cars we drive and how we get our electricity.





"On the eve of Paris, Time to Choose can make a crucial contribution to ensuring that the threats we face and the solutions we have are crystal clear to audiences around the world," says Tom Dinwoodie, the film's executive producer and lead independent trustee at RMI.

At Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room, we're tenaciously tackling climate change through market-based, low-carbon energy solutions—from the electricity grid to shipping and trucking to buildings and beyond. Together, we can forge solutions that create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. And as Time to Choose's filmmakers implore, together we "can change climate change."

Click here to learn more: http://www.timetochoose.com

View free until Wed AM: "a smart, solution-oriented climate-change doc"

Time to Choose


Starting at 9:30 am local time on Monday, November 30—and lasting for just 48 hours—is the unique opportunity to view Time to Choose, a feature-length documentary about climate change.
Entertainment Weekly has praised it as "a smart, solution-oriented climate-change doc" while Variety lauded its "impeccable research" and "straight-talk structure."

The film is directed by Charles Ferguson, the same director behind the Oscar Award-winning 2010 documentary Inside Job, and can be viewed at The Huffington Post. This will make history as the first time a feature-length film has streamed at HuffPost. It will be viewable in the United States, Canada, and numerous other countries around the globe.

Featuring a cameo from RMI co-founder and chief scientist Amory Lovins, the documentary comes at a pivotal time, as international climate negotiations begin in Paris. The filmmakers encourage us all to take action, whether by voting for politicians who support climate-change action, through advocacy, or by making personal decisions and investments about things like the cars we drive and how we get our electricity.





"On the eve of Paris, Time to Choose can make a crucial contribution to ensuring that the threats we face and the solutions we have are crystal clear to audiences around the world," says Tom Dinwoodie, the film's executive producer and lead independent trustee at RMI.

At Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room, we're tenaciously tackling climate change through market-based, low-carbon energy solutions—from the electricity grid to shipping and trucking to buildings and beyond. Together, we can forge solutions that create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. And as Time to Choose's filmmakers implore, together we "can change climate change."

Click here to learn more: http://www.timetochoose.com

World at tipping point for renewable energy

World at tipping point for renewable energy
Adnan Z. Amin is director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency. Fatih Birol is executive director of the International Energy Agency. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the authors.


The world has reached a tipping point: Energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies are now the solutions of choice, with other options taking second place.

At least 164 countries have set renewable energy targets. And countries representing more than 90% of the global economy have taken the remarkable step of submitting pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the COP21 climate summit in Paris next week.

Since the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009, renewable electricity generation has increased more than 40%. Renewables contributed almost half of the world's new power generation capacity in 2014 and have already become the second-largest source of electricity.

Deployment also continues to shift toward energy-hungry emerging markets. China and India have upped their renewable ambitions significantly.

Much of this has to do with cost...

http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/24/news/economy/renewable-energy-iea-cop21/

NYT: Presidential Contenders Differ Sharply on Climate

Coal and Nuclear

After running as a champion of coal in 2008, Clinton now calls for protecting health benefits for coal miners and their families and helping retrain them for new jobs. She would use a combination of tax incentives and government grants to help coal-dependent communities repurpose old mine sites and attract new economic investment.

Republicans all support coal production and enthusiastically back nuclear energy; Clinton offers cautious support for nuclear power. Sanders has called for a moratorium on nuclear-plant license renewals and cheered the closure of the aging Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

Sanders' record wins plaudits from environmental organizations, but the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund has endorsed Clinton, the group's earliest endorsement since 1984.

"When it comes to fighting the climate crisis, the stakes couldn't be higher, and we are confident that Hillary Clinton is the right person for the job," LCV president Gene Karpinski said.

Snipped from comprehensive NYT piece at: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/11/27/us/politics/ap-us-campaign-2016-energy.html

Solar Prices Could Be 10% Less Than Coal In India By 2020

Solar Prices Could Be 10% Less Than Coal In India By 2020
November 17th, 2015 by Jake Richardson

KPMG has released a report stating that by 2020 solar power in India could cost about 10% less than coal power, saying “Solar power price declines have beaten the expectations of most analysts since the beginning of 2015. In the ongoing NTPC solar park tender, solar prices have breached the INR 5/kwh and this is a landmark for the energy sector. Today, in India, solar prices are within 15% of power prices on a levelized basis. Our forecast is that by 2020, solar power prices could be up to 10% lower than coal power prices.” You can read the full report, titled ‘The Rising Sun – Disruption on the Horizon‘ here.

2020 is not that far away, and if it does come to pass that solar power is cheaper than electricity generated by coal in just a handful of years in such a huge country that consumes tremendous quantities of the stuff, it certainly would be quite a milestone.

“We need to re-engineer our process to create energy efficiency and conservation to give India an affordable energy access. A holistic vision is the need of the hour in order to reach 200 million people at a faster rate. I am personally convinced that any amount of investment in this sector will have a quick pay back,” explained energy minister Piyush Goyal.

We’ve already seen that solar power in Chile can be cheaper than electricity produced by coal. Who is paying attention to these developments though? Critics and cynics could say that Chile is a nation of only 17 million with exceptional solar power potential, and therefore is not indicative of a larger solar power trend.

However, India’s population is 1.25 billion...
http://cleantechnica.com/2015/11/17/solar-prices-10-less-coal-india-2020/


KPMG study: https://www.kpmg.com/IN/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/ENRich2015.pdf

Germany proposes new renewable energy goals

Proposals made for German renewable tender volumes

27 November 2015 16:41 Source:ICIS

The German economic affairs ministry has published updated proposals about the country’s future renewable energy subsidy system.

The new system will shift the majority of Germany’s renewable energy subsidies from feed-in tariffs and market price-based premiums to tenders, where new plants compete for financial support.

Experts have said Germany is likely to miss its renewable energy targets with the tender designs the ministry proposed in the summer (see EDEM 17 September 2015).

In updated proposals, the ministry outlined on Wednesday how future tender volumes will be determined to achieve the renewable energy targets the state has set – to increase solar and onshore wind capacity each 2.4-2.6GW annually, have 6.5GW of offshore wind capacity by 2020 and 15GW by 2030 and to meet 40-45% of Germany’s power consumption with renewables in 2025. The ministry added a consultation on the proposals is likely to appear in January....
http://www.icis.com/resources/news/2015/11/27/9948377/proposals-made-for-german-renewable-tender-volumes/

A Welcome Endorsement for Nuclear Power

Friday, 27 November 2015
A Welcome Endorsement for Nuclear Power
Written by John F. McManus*


Joshua S. Goldstein is emeritus professor of international relations at American University and a research scholar at the University of Massachusetts. Steven Pinker is professor of psychology at Harvard University. These two recently teamed up to pen a lengthy column in the Boston Globe entitled “Inconvenient Truths for the Environmental Movement.”

The two men do believe climate change is caused by human action. They contend that burning of fossil fuels to produce electricity by humans — resulting in carbon dioxide being sent into the atmosphere — causes a rise in the earth’s temperature. There are growing numbers of scientists who disagree. But, unlike most of the would-be banners of fossil fuel, Goldstein and Pinker’s solution doesn’t target its use in generating electricity. They thereby separate themselves from environmental extremists who insist that the carbon dioxide byproduct of burning coal and oil to produce electricity is a hazard serious enough to ban the practice. Then they present a strong case for nuclear power.

Here’s how these two educators addressed this topic: “Nuclear power is the world’s most abundant and scalable [reachable] carbon-free energy source. In today’s world, every nuclear power plant that is not built is a fossil-fuel plant that does get built…. Yet the use of nuclear power has been stagnant or even contracting.” Their point, of course, is that by not relying on nuclear power, the need for burning coal and oil cannot be avoided if electricity is needed — which it surely is. They then make the point that solar and wind power amounts to a mere one percent of the need and cannot be counted on to meet the needs for electric power.

Aware of the fears surrounding nuclear power, Goldstein and Pinker point out that the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan killed no one. But, they note in sadness, it unnecessarily led Germany to shut down some of its nuclear plants. In France where nuclear power produces three-quarters of the nation’s electricity, environmentalists are forcing a shutdown. And the anti-nukes in America also wrongly claim that Japan’s nuclear accident is reason to abandon nuclear power here....
http://www.thenewamerican.com/reviews/opinion/item/22031-a-welcome-endorsement-for-nuclear-power

*John F. McManusis president of The John Birch Society and publisher of The New American. This column appeared originally at the insideJBS blog and is reprinted here with permission.

SPLC on JBS https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2013/bringing-back-birch

And now for something rather different

February 2007 // Volume 45 // Number 1 // Research in Brief // 1RIB5
Randall E. James
Professor
Ohio State University Extension
Burton, Ohio



Horse and Human Labor Estimates for Amish Farms
Abstract
Amish farms are one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. farm community. A 2003 study estimated horse and human labor requirements for Amish farms. A typical Amish crop rotation of 15 acres small grains, 20 acres alfalfa hay, and 15 acres corn was found to have a total labor requirement of only 920 hours/year. Using information from this study and earlier research, a series of crop enterprise budgets for Amish farms was developed. These budgets provide a tool that Extension educators can use with the rapidly growing number of Amish farms across the country.


Extension workers are increasingly being called on to assist Amish farm families. The Amish population more than doubles every 20 years, and farming has always been one of the foremost occupations. There are over 1,400 congregations, or church districts, in at least 33 states and one Canadian province. These church districts are clustered together into more than 250 settlements (Kraybill & Hostetter, 2001; Kraybill, 1989). New settlements are constantly being established in areas where Amish have never lived before, which means an ever-increasing number of Extension educators need relevant materials to assist these new communities.

The economic efficiencies of large farms and the cost-size relationships of farms have long been important areas of research for agricultural economists (Castle, 1989). Extension educators have sometimes advocated that farms need to both get bigger and specialize in order to survive. Against this backdrop, it is easy to view Amish farms as an anachronism--a part of our rural past. However, Extension educators need to view Amish farms as important, valid clientele. Small, diversified Amish farms, using traditional farming methods and draft horses, or mules, as a major power source, are surprisingly successful, sustainable, and profitable (James, 2005; Bender, 2001; Stinner, Moore, & Stinner, 1999; Stinner, Paoletti & Stinner, 1989).

The proceedings of...

http://www.joe.org/joe/2007february/rb5.php
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