Sunday, May 13, 2012

2011 IPCC- ILSR on Romney-Obamacare- Boulder and XCel

Here's a fine sequence of articles and issues.  
1) The new IPCC report keeps up the basic pressure of the problem of climate change and the human industrial cause, but is timid on the solution.  Here, we advocate the local, community, and distributed solution with government incentives as Danish artisan technology, community co-ops, and government incentive preceded Germany's additional feed-in payments, partnerships, and mutual funds.
2) The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has two articles lately on Romney's corporate views, and on Obama's Health Care.  I've commented on my views and the distributed, community-based enterprise view.
3) Boulder, CO has ventured a desire to attempt a takeover of XCel energy to increase their renewable energy.  Good luck to them.  Maybe Ursula Sladek and the EWS municipal co-op of Schoenau, Germany can inspire them.  The Goldman Environmental Award (or the Right Livelihood Award?) has honored Sladek and the EWS, so see there site for more info. 

World Future Council: New IPCC Report On Renewable Energy Is 'Litmus Test' For Policy Makers
However, concrete policy recommendation falls too short
HAMBURG, GERMANY, May 9, 2011, --/WORLD-WIRE/-- The new IPCC report on renewable energy provides a litmus test for all policy makers, proving renewable energy is the world's number one energy source in the future. Furthermore, the report provides evidence to show that the deployment of renewable energy especially in developing countries is faster and more cost efficient than the combustion of fossil fuels and nuclear power. In a statement released by the World Future Council (WFC) in Hamburg today, however, the WFC criticises the report for falling too short in making concrete policy recommendations. The WFC also stated that the report fails to suggest efficient measures to finance the renewable energy uptake.

ãLeaving no doubt about the leading role for renewable energy in the future is good. But it's not enough! Especially for developing countries concrete policy recommendations such as âfeed in tariffs' for renewable electricity and innovative funding mechanism such as the issuing of SDR's by the IMF are of utmost importanceÒ, said WFC founder Jakob von UexkŸll. ãFeed in tariffs are the most powerful mechanism to unleash the development of wind, hydro and solar energy. And we have already passed various learning curves on how to get it right. In this regard, unfortunately the IPCCC report's summary for policy makers does not give any clear guidanceÒ.

Meanwhile, the WFC has also made a concrete proposal of how the financial resources for renewable energy in the developing world can be generated by Special Drawing Rights of the International Monetary Fund without any inflationary effect. The advantage of the proposal is that resources totalling at least $ 100 Billion a year would be immediately available. Also, no country would be required to overstretch its national budget. Given the current under-utilization of global production capacities, no significant inflationary impulse would to be anticipated from the new demand.

The Special Report on Renewable Energy (SRREN) contains a comprehensive overview including barriers to renewable energy implementation, experience with and assessment of policy options, enabling environment and regional issues. It is meant to enable policy makers, the private sector and the global civil society to identify ways in which to integrate renewable energy technologies into future energy systems.
Press Contact
Ina Neuberger
Media & Communication
World Future Council Foundation
Mexikoring 29, 22297 Hamburg
Tel: 040 / 30 70 914-16 

Profiles in Political Courage

| Written by
David Morris  |
No Comments  | Updated on
May 32012
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at
obama and lbj
A few weeks ago Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA who is retiring from the House this year, gave a memorable interview to New York magazine in which he criticized President Obama for aggressively pushing health care reform.  Frank says he warned Obama the Democratic Party would pay “a terrible price.”
Apparently Frank was not alone in counseling Obama to take health care off the front burner. “At various points, Vice President Joe Biden, senior advisor David Axelrod and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel advised the President to focus entirely on the economy and leave comprehensive health care for another day,” Jonathan Alter, senior editor of Newsweek reports. “‘I begged him not to do this’, Emanuel told me when I was researching my book about Obama’s first year in office.”
After the law passed Alter asked Obama why he overruled his team.  The President responded,  “‘I remember telling Nancy Pelosi that moving forward on this could end up being so costly for me politically that it would affect my chances’ in 2012.”  But he and Pelosi agreed that if they didn’t move at the outset of the his Presidency “it was not going to get done.”
In 2009 Obama put country above party.  Bringing health security to over 30 million Americans, strengthening the social compact and laying the foundation for a major restructuring of our health system were sufficient rewards for him to accept the political risks.
Almost exactly 45 years before Obama’s decision we witnessed another profile in political courage. Former Texas Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson, after becoming President on the death of JFK, aggressively and decisively ended the south’s filibuster against a Civil Rights Act, ensuring its passage in July 1964.  In 1965 he secured enactment of the Voting Rights Act.
As is the case with the health care law, the Constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act was tested.  Southern states argued the federal government had no right to force the private sector to treat blacks and whites the same.  The Supreme Court ruled it did.

May 13, 2012

Mark R. said...

Your comment is pending administrative approval.
It’s an important issue you raise.
Thanks to Michael Moore’s film, Sicko, we now have a clear idea of the propaganda that has controlled the discussion of universal health care.
A clear identification of corporate health care misbehavior needs to be organized, and the international success stories of universal health care to follow it. Debunking corporate lies and public misperceptions and informing them of its successes is the sure way to direct the shamefully manipulated debate about US health care.
I think the ILSR could use Moore’s information and the opportunity to create Health Care Co-operatives to contribute to the debate and its essential community enterprise and government components.

Romney, Hoover, Eisenhower and that Pipeline

| Written by
David Morris  |
No Comments  | Updated on
May 92012
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at
hoover dam
After winning the Illinois primary, Mitt Romney delivered a victoryspeech in which he deplored America’s lost “can do spirit”.  Unsurprisingly, he blamed it on government.  If elected he promised, “We’re going to get government out of the way”.   Then he offered a few examples of what he meant.  “We once built the interstate highway system and the Hoover Dam. Now we can’t even build a pipeline.”
Romney liked the line, and the thunderous applause it generated so much that a few weeks later at a Tea Party gathering in Pennsylvania he used it again.
Rachel Maddow and many others have pointed out the fundamental flaw in Romney’s argument.  The government built both the Hoover Dam and the interstate highway system.   Republican administrations championed both projects. They were testaments to the can-do spirit of government, grand collective undertakings that benefited generations to come.
How grand?  The Hoover Dam cost the equivalent of $24 billion in today’s dollars, notes Steve Benen.  Congress appropriated $25 billion to build the first 40,000 miles of the interstate highway system, equivalent to $830 billion in today’s dollars.
Few have commented on Romney’s second sentence. “Now we can’t even build a pipeline”.  Having cited two examples that contradicted his thesis that government lacks the can do spirit, he offered an example of how government is preventing the private sector from having the can do spirit that may be even more problematic.
Romney, as everyone in his audience and most of the country knew, was talking about the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama had delayed construction while a detailed environmental impact study is completed, generating universal Republican outrage.

Mark R. said...

Your comment is pending administrative approval.
Great points, David!
Of course, private, corporate enterprise is what has generated Romney’s wealth. Moreover, all the Republican talk is strongly controlled by ideology, and their underlying bases in big corporate wealth and political influence. Most Democrats aren’t much better, and certainly seem stifled and unable to break through their own capitualtion to “free market” fundamentalism.
I was just reading about the 2011 IPCC report on climate change which continues to conclude that the problem keeps growing. I wrote my masters thesis on the origins of modern wind energy in Danish artisan technology, co-operative enterprise, and government assistance, followed by Germany’s even greater feed-in incentives and social enterprise.
You at the ILSR have been advocating community enterprise for a long time. Who can advocate for these policies? Dennis Kucinich (OH) and Kurt Conrad (ND) of the Democrats have certainly shown some leadership, and the Green Party must have the will, though still maybe somewhat unsophisticated.

Boulder’s Takeover of Xcel Energy Faces Strong Winds

April 25, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Wind Power

A different type of wind is blowing for Xcel Energy — the kind where its Boulder customers are rebelling and working to municipalize that slice of the utility’s eight-state system. while Boulder’s 97,000 citizens narrowly voted to “condemn” Xcel’s electric business there, the process will remain long and expensive.
About 100 cities have examined the concept of forming municipal utilities in recent history. but if the past is a prelude, very few efforts to assume control of investor-owned utilities (IOUs) will come to fruition. That’s because costs are often underestimated. Things like distribution systems, generation assets, stranded costs, engineering expenses, fuel costs and reliability issues all factor in the ultimate price. in the end, the anticipated price tag is always more than expected.

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The vote is just one step in the process,” says Bob Bellemare, chief operating officer for UtiliPoint International and a former advisor to Xcel. “Condemnation is the roughest process you can try to undertake.” he adds that the city will have to come up with hundreds of millions to acquire the electric business, which will likely lead to financial losses for years.
At the heart of the matter is Boulder’s desire to move much more aggressively toward incorporating green energy into the city’s mix. And while Colorado has a 30 percent renewable portfolio standard, the city wants to increase that to as much as 70 percent. It says that Xcel simply has no plans to move that aggressively and in fact, is more interested in building combined cycle natural gas plants.
Right now, 11 percent of Boulder’s power is green. Xcel had offered the city a chance to buy into a new wind project that would raise its share of sustainable energy to 70 percent in 2013, rising to 90 percent by 2020. City leaders rejected that offer and decided instead, to pursue condemnation.
Several hurdles still stand in the way of Boulder’s attempt to municipalize parts of Xcel. Most notably, the ballot measure stipulates that any city-owned and operated utility must be able to offer the same rates as Xcel, although confusion exists as to how to calculate such “guarantees” over an extended time. That’s something that will prove challenging, given the high cost of owning a utility that does not have the same leverage in the marketplace.
Meantime, the two entities would still have to come to terms on an agreed upon price. the city, for example, says that Xcel’s distribution system is worth $120 million, which the utility says is vastly understated.

In response to Germany’s expanded reliance on nuclear energy, Ursula Sladek created her country’s first cooperatively-owned renewable power company.  
Nuclear Energy in Europe
Twenty-five years ago, the catastrophic Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in the Soviet Union produced a radioactive cloud that quickly spread across Europe. As news of the event rippled through the continent, questions arose about toxic fallout and its implications for communities thousands of miles from Chernobyl.
At the time, West Germany relied almost exclusively on nuclear and coal energy to power its growing economy. A small handful of companies held a monopoly on the energy market, controlling most of the local grids. An anti-nuclear movement had been active throughout the 1980s and had gained some popular support, but German power companies did not provide opportunities for consumers to opt out of using nuclear-derived power.
For Ursula Sladek, a mother of five from the tiny community of Schönau in Germany’s Black Forest region, the Chernobyl disaster served as a serious wake-up call about the dangers of nuclear energy. She and her neighbors were alarmed by reports about radioactive residue detected on playgrounds, backyard gardens, and farmland in Schönau. Suddenly, it was unsafe for Sladek to go about her normal routine of eating locally grown foods and sending her children outside to play.
In response, Sladek, her husband, and a small group of parents began researching the energy industry in Germany to see if there was a way to limit their community’s dependence on nuclear power. They found that power companies were not allowing citizens to have a say in energy production decisions. Chernobyl proved that though nuclear energy could be called “green” by some standards, the safety risks associated with it were cause for deep concern. Sladek also knew that nuclear energy was not the only option. Thus, the group began what would become a 10 year project to take over the local grid, and in a second step, allow people all over Germany to choose safe, reliable, sustainably-produced energy. This project would transform Sladek from a small-town parent trained to be a schoolteacher into the founder and president of one of Europe’s first cooperatively-owned green energy companies.

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