"Green is Green"

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Desertrat, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Check the article at http://www.the-rude-awakening.com

    I found a couple of interesting points in Part 2:

    In 2002, General Electric's newly minted CEO, Jeffrey
    Immelt, snapped up Enron Wind for the bargain-basement
    price of $300 million (give or take; estimates vary). Thus
    began GE's "green is green" transformation. Since then,
    GE's wind division revenues have quadrupled, from $500
    million to over $2 billion. The rapid growth of the wind
    division illustrates GE's commitment to emerging markets as
    well as alternative energy: Two of the firm's four
    technology R&D centers are located in Bangalore and
    Shanghai (the other two are in Munich, Germany, and
    Niskayuna, N.Y.).

    "GE has ramped up development of the towering 92-ton
    turbines by seeking expertise from all four labs," Fortune
    Magazine reports. "Chinese researchers design the
    microprocessors that control the pitch of the blade.
    Mechanical engineers in Bangalore devise mathematical
    models to maximize the efficiency of materials in the
    turbine. Power-systems experts in Niskayuna (which has
    researchers from 55 countries) do design work. And
    technicians in Munich have created a 'smart' turbine that
    can calculate wind speeds and signal sensors in other
    turbines to pitch their blades to produce maximum
    electricity."

    Sharing the wealth is good business and good politics:
    Goldman Sachs estimates that more than half of GE's revenue
    growth could come from India, China and the like over the
    next decade. (South America could also play a significant
    role.) Eco-friendly and alternative energy infrastructure
    will certainly be a major portion of the bottom line.

    Next to civil unrest, pollution and water issues are the
    two biggest problems that China and India face. Because
    pollution and water issues are prime causes of agitation,
    they sit right at the top of the "urgent concern" list, no
    matter how you slice it. The developing world's pollution
    problem is also fast becoming the rich world's problem; for
    example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports
    that a third of California's air pollution could eventually
    be traceable to China. Bad news for the planet, good news
    for firms seeking to solve the planet's problems on an
    industrial scale.

    An interesting facet of outsourcing, as to where IS technical expertise (note the 55-country comment). Consider the comment about EPA and California air pollution and reflect on the Kyoto Accords' efficacy.

    'Rat
     
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #2
    Are you suggesting that if everyone was playing by Kyoto's rules, that we'd still be having the air quality problem?

    Or are you saying that if some people don't sign onto the treaty that some other people will have problems with pollution?
     
  3. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #3
    I think part of the GE thing with wind is their involvement with those offshore WindMill stations that are like 100s of feet in diameter, I believe those are GE fans. They cost ALOT to make.

    But in reality those are "the future" in a sense they are not in anyones "backyard", they generate alot of electricity and cause few if any enviromental effects.

    birds will just have to learn where NOT to fly....chop chop
     
  4. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    mac, it seems to me that at the time of the Kyoto accords, people didn't foresee the amount of industrial development that was occurring in China. China was ewxcused from compliance with the Accords. I also find it interesting that such a percentage of California's air pollution problems are from outside. It seems ironic that there is so much inward focus on "Evil US" impacts as though we and only we are to blame.

    I also see irony when looking at all the rather all-inclusive corporation bashing which goes on, yet GE is setting up to provide the bashers with what's been asked for in the way of Doing Good. GE's investors will be doing well by the company's doing good. :)

    sdashiki, I don't know who's the manufacturer, but along I-10 in west Texas, east of Fort Stockton, there is a "farm" of wind generators. At one time I counted some 300; the number appears to have doubled within the last year or two. I've also read that "conventional" WG units now can generate as much as 3.2 MW each, vice the 1.2 MW that was common.

    Wind generators, TV towers, microwave towers, cell-phone towers: All of them are bird-killers. "Phone home, kill a bird."

    'Rat
     
  5. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I've read some stuff on GE's "green" transformation. It's a really smart move. Their reasoning is that as the environment continues to go to hell and energy continues to become more expensive, governments will put more and more regulation on industry requiring it to pollute less and conserve more. As that happens, they'll be the leader in the industry.

    At the same time, GE itself has a reputation as a pollutor, and that exposes the company to "Exxon-Valdez" or "Union Carbide" style risks that could blow a hole in the bottom line and capsize their stock price. Becoming more green itself reduces that risk.
     
  6. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #6
    I think China was excused because they made it clear they would never sign. They also have a reasonable argument: Environmental problems are caused by current polution added to our _history_ of polution. China may approach the US in emissions soon, but it still hasn't poluted as much over the last 100 years as the US and other countries that industrialized longer ago. China feels like it's owed 100 years of dirty industrializing that the US enjoyed.

    Of course, the fact is China has worse environmental problems than the US, so for them the economic benefits of environmental improvements will mean they will have to go cleaner sooner rather than later.

    Another economic thought to consider: these kinds of technologies are the future. By not signing on to Kyoto and doing what we can to get ahead of the game, the US has no possibility of being a major energy player in the future as we'll have no resources or expertise (beyond our domestic needs) to offer.
     
  7. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #7
    BP and Shell are huge players in the solar panel market. Virtually every major oil company has downgraded their "proven reserves" in the past year. They may be greedy but they're not stupid, oil is definitely running out and the only hope for their long term survival is diversification and embracing the alternative energy market.

    Wind power has gotten some bad press, some of it was deserved for locating wind farms in bird migration routes but most of the bad press was undeserved. Birds fly into and are killed by trees, mountains, skyscrapers and every other man-made structure. The bird issue has mostly been posited by the nimbyists. I'd rather have a wind generator in my back yard than a coal fired power plant.
     
  8. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #8
    fwiw:
     
  9. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #9
    but i argue that the ol oil coots are going to die far before their companies have to find new energy sources. Probably another 2 or 3 sets of Execs need to go thru Oil Companies boardrooms before they arent setting their eyes solely on oil and the money generated by it.

    oil companies of course no OIL is finite, but I doubt that Old CEO coots care about it, cuz they have their millions NOW and will be dead before it runs out.

    Id say Oil Companies will turn around in about 20yrs. Not now.
     
  10. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #10
    The current value of a company is based on its projected future earnings. I would wager that every oil exec understands this.
     
  11. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #11
    but projected how far into the future?

    I mean Bush actually believes the rapture is coming and that the world will end, far before oil runs out.
     
  12. pdham macrumors member

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    #12
    Here is a link to help understand what is meant when we talk about an oil crisis. The truth is the oil crisis will depend on population growth, not necessarily on current oil consumption or even future "green" fuels. In conservation biology there is an equation:
    I = P x A x T. I = the enviromental impact, P = population growth, A= level of affluence (in this case think oil consumption) and T = technology that could either add to impact or mitigate impact. So if we think about this in terms of oil. The population is growing exponentialy and their level of affluence is growing with it, which means the more population the mopre demand for oil. Now, T could theoretically mitigate the problem, but only if it could increase at the same rate as P x A. The truth is that is an impossibility. So, we could slow the eventual collapse down by trying to increasing green tech, which of course we should do because every year we buy is another year for a "miracle" fuel to be discovered, but oil will still need to be used in some things. Since we seem to have little control over the growth of P and A we will eventual reach oil catastrophe, it in the math, it just depends if it is our grandkids or great great grandkids that have to face it.

    I hate to be a pessimist, but I think we are too little to late. Hopefully I am worngm but a miricale fuel is really what is needed if we are thinking long term, and or a complete change in societal fuel consumption norms.

    The link
    http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/

    Paul

    EDIT: I am not sure why I quoted Sdashiki post :)
     
  13. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #13
    I personally am betting on having my current car until it explodes.

    the next one will probably be hybrid. (mid 30s)

    and after that will be a new fuel. (mid 50s)

    after that I hope to be dead. (65+)

    but this is speculative that we wont degenerate into MADMAX because someone didnt figure on a new fuel source before gasoline became too scarce.
     
  14. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #14
    Pdham, not to be all doom-and-gloom, but there is also a strong possibility that population growth and affluence levels will level off due to increased natural disasters, disease vectors, climate change, resource scarcity and increased warfare.

    Not that this paints a pretty picture or should be used as a counter-argument to your point.
     
  15. pdham macrumors member

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    #15

    No I think you are right as well blackfox. Most pop predictions have us leveling out at areound 10 mil and then decreasing. I think if we start today we could make improvements necessary to mitigate that roughly 3.5 million person increase over the next 45 years or so. I like to present my arguement only because I am not sure if anything other than total percieved catastrophe will get people to act. And in alot of ways looking aroung at social norms I do think we may be too late because our belief in our right to use fuel, and this is more than just America, may prove too difficult to change. And I also strongly believe that my arguement does present the one fact that technology by no means will fix our problem. The only fix will be a wholesale global cultural change in the way we use oil. And as a result of this admin pushing hope in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and the like (a basic impossibility if you actually know the science) I think we are even less likely now to wake up and change behavior because we have a false hope in technology.

    Paul
     
  16. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Ahh, the doom and gloomers. Standards of living are increasing all over the world, yet you're convinced its just a race to an eventual catastrophe, ignoring the fact that as people are given more control over their reproductive and economic lives, they tend to make better decisions and come up with more effective solutions. So shall we go back to living in caves then? Or could I just take public transportation and recycle?
     
  17. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #17
    Since I assume you are talking with reference to my post - I would thankyou not to paint my point so simplistically.

    There are ample signifiers of some of the doom-and-gloom happenings I have posted. As there are for yours - they are hardly mutually exclusive in any case.

    While the First-world may increasingly become a more progressive and advanced society, and better stewards of the earth, the lions-share of population growth and development will occur in the Third World, who will have to run the crucible of development we have, with increased population and decreased resource base. The liklihood of warfar is high under such a scenario, and when people in those societies are worried about basic needs, such as personal safety and food/shelter, it is unlikely that they will care about progressive personal and political decisions or systems.

    If there are consequences to Global Climate change and increased Natural Disasters, these will also take time and resources from any society, no matter how developed - as will increased disease vectors and liklihood of pandemics. As was illustrated by 9/11 in the US, the affront to the illusion of personal safety resulted in, one could argue, a step or two backwards in the progress of our society and of our capacity to make rational decisions or even to demand control of those decisions.

    In any case, there is no guarantee that any of this will happen, but to mention this is not to deny progress (as in going back to caves), but to admit that our collective progress as humanity is tied to each other, and to the natural system we interact with. They are certainly very real variables to consider when discussing how we will manage ourselves in the future.

    At least I think so, and I am not looking constantly at the sky to see if it is falling either...
     
  18. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #18
    Sorry, by that time people will be living longer and you probably will continue to go on for years. That's why death is not a good retirement plan. Who knows though, maybe you'll get lucky and get hit by a bus. :p Feel better?

    Of course, the way things are going, none of us may be around after Dec. 2012. I have a feeling if there is a rapture, it will be man made. Self fulfilling prophecy and all.
     
  19. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #19
    One known fact is that as prosperity increas in a country, the birth rate declines. Prosperity is increasing in much of eastern Europe as well as China, India and SE Asia.

    For all that people talk about gasoline, which is uppermost on most folks' minds, there is a lot more to the whole usage of crude oil. As of 2003, the US uses some 12.9 million barrels per day of transportation fuels. However, the petro-chemical industry uses the balance of the 20 million bpd, or 7.1 million. That says to me that even if we magicked away our problems with transportation, we'd still need a total availability of around 14-ish million bpd. That is, in this scenario, what's now gasoline, diesel and heating oil would then be "waste". I gotta assume that the science boffins would figure out how to use this waste in some chemical process for Mr. & Mrs. Consumer.

    The petro-chemical industry might be able to use the "lights" of a barrel of crude, but it's the "heavy" that provides the feedstock whence cometh your computer's plastic, consumer-item wrappings and automotive dashboards and upholstery, etc., etc.

    Future, thy name is Complexity...

    'Rat
     
  20. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #20
    "I also find it interesting that such a percentage of California's air pollution problems are from outside. It seems ironic that there is so much inward focus on "Evil US" impacts as though we and only we are to blame. "

    Hey I find it "interesting" that such a percentage of Europe's air pollution problems are "from outside". Maybe that's why they asked us (among others) so nicely to sign Kyoto in the first place? I suppose that would lead to the conclusion that there is some European version of 'Rat over there saying that all of the corporate-haters should stop blaming their own governments and start blaming those to the West of themselves instead, right?

    And yea, we all hate corporations completely... no middle ground there for us, no sir. Just like you hate poor people and taxes and the evil secular humanists... just like all of 'you conservatives' do!

    I find irony in the fact that with all the corporate leg-humping going on in conservative circles, that it works against the interest of the majority of those people who work for a living as opposed to getting rich off investments. But that's just me. And I don't assume that you love corporations or hate them. Which reminds me... Corporations don't kill people. People kill people. Right? The corporation is just the tool through which people commit evil acts if they are so inclined?
     
  21. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    mac, I've been posting here going on three years. On many issues, such as environmental problems, posters here often give the impression that only the US pollutes. People have spoken of California problems as if only automobiles were the source.

    Same for any discussion of corporate actions. Enron, e.g., is spoken of as though it's typical of ALL corporations. You don't have to be any sort of "corporate leg-humper" to disbelieve that.

    The only datum (factoid?) I've seen about pollution from the US which could be eastbound across the Atlantic is the comment I read that was attributed to a NOAA/NASA study, that there was less CO2 leaving eastward from the US than entering from the west. If that's true, I can only attribute it to our farms and forests. But I've seen no refutation. It would be true, of course, if we replaced coal-fired power plants with nukes. :)

    "I find irony in the fact that with all the corporate leg-humping going on in conservative circles, that it works against the interest of the majority of those people who work for a living as opposed to getting rich off investments."

    Could you possibly translate that into meaningful language? You might possibly have a thought there.

    Do you carry a supply of ad hominem attacks in the saddlebags of your high horse?

    'Rat
     
  22. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #22
    It's nothing but pure communist sentiment. Ignore it.

    That's rather good, actually...:)
     
  23. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #23
    And many posters here don't distinguish between Communist, coward, moonbat, traitor, and liberal. People here have used those terms interchangabley. Same for any discussion of politics, those people consider me scum. You don't have to be any sort of ivory-tower lefty to disbelieve that. Therefore you are one of those people? Come on, allow some room for the rest of us in your 'leftys are bad' screeds.

    Sure, it's ironic that poor folks vote conservative, because conservatives work against their interests. Do you doubt this is the case?

    Only for those who insult my intelligence with their own ad-hominems and then flee for several months rather than face up to it when they get called on it.
     

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