Give thanks that we no longer live on the precipice

By Paul Driessen – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Fossil fuels helped humanity improve our health, living standards and longevity in just 200 years

Thanksgiving is a good time to express our sincere gratitude that we no longer “enjoy” the “simpler life of yesteryear.” As my grandmother said, “The only good thing about the good old days is that they’re gone.”

For countless millennia, mankind lived on a precipice, in hunter-gatherer, subsistence farmer and primitive urban industrial societies powered by human and animal muscle, wood, charcoal, animal dung, water wheels and windmills. Despite backbreaking dawn-to-dusk labor, wretched poverty was the norm; starvation was a drought, war or long winter away; rampant diseases and infections were addressed by herbs, primitive medicine and superstition. Life was “eco-friendly,” but life spans averaged 35 to 40 years.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Mythology and Mathematics of Income Disparity

By Granddad – Re-Blogged From iPatriot

There are those who tell us that all of the benefits of tax cuts and the wealth created by our booming economy goes to the very rich; that the “one percent” has taken it all, leaving the middle class and poor behind. We are told that disparity of income and wealth, the distance between rich and poor, is at record levels, and this is a threat to our democracy. We are also often told that income disparity results from the greed and avarice inherent in a capitalist society.

This mythology is difficult to reconcile with history or arithmetic. In real dollars, the four wealthiest men early in the twentieth century, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, and Ford were as rich as any today. Meanwhile, only the very rich had indoor plumbing and carriages, labor had no union bargaining power, consumers had no protection against monopolies, farmers had no electricity or tractors and the government proffered no welfare benefits or other income transfers. In earlier times kings and queens and their retinue controlled all wealth.  In ancient Rome, there were only landed patricians, plebes, and slaves. The patricians, one hundred families, less than two percent of the population ruled the Roman Empire and controlled virtually all the wealth for over two centuries. In the Roman Republic, fifteen percent of the population was enslaved.

Continue reading

Poverty and Energy

By Andy May – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Poverty and access to energy are closely related. Although it probably isn’t possible to show that access to energy is the key reason so many have been lifted out of poverty in recent decades, the data and logic suggests that this so. In the United States, the average person uses about 300 million BTUs of energy per year according to the EIA. This is equivalent to the manual labor of 69 healthy people working hard for 6 hours per day. Worldwide, the average person uses 73 million BTUs, the equivalent of 16 hardworking people.

Prior to the industrial age, which began with the first practical coal- and wood-fired steam engines between 1712 and 1776, slavery, bonded servants and serfs were common, this group made up over 90% of the world’s population in 1800. For a few people to live well they needed lots of servants and domestic animals to do the manual labor for them. Now, in the age of electricity, petroleum and nuclear powerplants, most manual labor can be done by machines. No longer do a few wealthy people live from the labor of others, everyone who has access to energy can live well. Before the industrial age, nearly everyone was extremely poor as seen in Figure 1, today fewer than 10% are extremely poor.

Continue reading

Pope Francis’s Misguided War

By H. Sterling Burnett – Re-Blogged From American Thinker

It seems that Pope Francis has learned little since his 2015 papal encyclical calling on the world to fight climate change by limiting the use of modern technologies and fossil fuels. At a recent Vatican meeting he called many of the world’s leading oil company executives to the carpet. Francis told the executives they should shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources to fight “global warming.”

Pope Francis has myriad misguided beliefs about climate science, almost all of which he holds based on faith alone, as if they were holy writ. Even worse, his belief that society can transition from fossil fuels while reducing hunger and poverty is downright dangerous.

Continue reading

Do Humans Harm the Environment?

By Andy May – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

This is the first of seven posts on the potential costs and hazards of human-caused global warming and the impact of humans on the environment in general. The IPCC WGII AR5 Technical Summary, defines “hazards” on page 39:

“The potential occurrence of a natural or human-induced physical event or trend or physical impact that may cause loss of life, injury, or other health impacts, as well as damage and loss to property, infrastructure, livelihoods, service provision, ecosystems, and environmental resources. In this report, the term hazard usually refers to climate-related physical events or trends or their physical impacts.”

Continue reading

Energy and Society from now until 2040

By Andy May – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

ExxonMobil released its 2017 Outlook for Energy, A View to 2040 in mid-December. David Middleton has written that the report reveals wind and solar will supply a whopping 4% of global energy by 2040! He also reports that wind and solar capacity will grow, but we will only be able to utilize 30% of the wind capacity and 20% of the solar capacity due to their intermittent nature. This is true, but the report has much more to say and this year the nomination of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State makes it even more important. Here we will cover some the other numbers in the report.

The cost of energy is closely correlated to standard of living. In addition, it has often influenced major political decisions, like Germany’s decision to invade Russia or Japan’s decision to bomb Pearl Harbor in World War II. Figure 1 shows the relationship between per capita GDP (one standard measure of standard of living) and annual per capita electricity consumption for 218 countries in the CIA Factbook. Excluding the anomalous countries listed in the upper right of the figure the R2 is acceptable. The least squares line suggests that each 0.2 kWhr/person of electricity consumed annually can raise GDP by one dollar per person. Obviously, other factors are important also, but the trend suggests that per capita GDP is positively influenced by the electricity consumed or that countries with a higher standard of living use more electricity.

Continue reading