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View Diary: Sunday Train: Rapid Rail and Pedal to the Metal Climate Change Policy (pt 1) (43 comments)

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  •  If Memory Serves (7+ / 0-)

    Scientific American had an article, back in 1998 or 1999, about a program to electrify America's transportation network (as had been achieved by France) while rebuilding the electrical generation network on a base of solar power.  It would cost half a trillion dollars, and would take a decade to implement.

    Naturally, it was hooted down as unrealistically expensive.

    To provide a bit of context, gasoline was on the order of $1.50 per gallon.  When vice president Gore suggested a fifty cent per gallon tax to fund research into the national energy future, it was shot down with cries of GASOLINE AT TWO DOLLARS A GALLON!  ARE YOU CRAZY? THAT WOULD DESTROY THE ECONOMY!

    Let me conclude with the observation that gasoline costs four dollars a gallon, but something else destroyed the economy.

    •  Though it was in part gas hitting $4/gallon ... (6+ / 0-)

      ... if you think its $4/gallon now, I assume you are in one of the higher priced regions of the country, the national average is $3.60, but the price of gasoline passing $4/gallon did enter into the Panic of 2008, since on its own it would have been sufficient to push the economy into a mild recession, so it amplified the impact of the collapse of the housing bubble in December 2007.

      But, yes, it was just a contributing factor, as it was sixteen years of banking deregulation under Clinton and Bush that did the damage to the resilience of the finance sector, and most of the crash in the fall of 2008 was reaping the bill for that damage built up over sixteen years.

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      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 15, 2013 at 09:32:42 PM PDT

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      •  We Agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BruceMcF, ban nock

        My vehicle has been fueled in places that charge "9 crowns per liter" and in places that charge "everything you will ever earn, plus that of your children and most of your nephews, so come and watch."  Which is bad.

        My point was, expanding the rail grid on a sustainable basis is both desirable and achievable.  We simply flesh out this point in different ways.

        And we agree:  FINANCIAL SHINANIGANS DISRUPT THE PROCESS.

        And in the end there is lesbian bondage porn as from Pat Califia.

    •  Note that this would cost close to $0.5T ... (2+ / 0-)

      ... for the full 36,000 miles project, but in 2008 dollars rather than 1998 dollars, so its not a precise comparison. Also, the public spending out of the general fund would peak at $4.5b annually, with the expansion of the system from 12,000 miles to 36,000 miles likely to be possible on the basis of continuing the $4.5b interest subsidy while allowing User and Access fees to fund Revenue bonds.

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      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 15, 2013 at 09:49:54 PM PDT

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      •  Agreeing from Different Angles (0+ / 0-)

        Perhaps we are slicing the same pie with different knives.

        High capacity rail is good.  One of many forms of advanced rail will be better.  I like electrification, over high efficiency diesel, but that is a matter of taste.  And if we can get long haul transport away from trucks and back into trains, where it belongs, everyone will benefit.

        •  ...welcome... (0+ / 0-)
          Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

          Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. The rest of us must suffer the consequences. -7.38; -3.44

          by paradise50 on Sun Sep 15, 2013 at 10:53:28 PM PDT

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        •  I hadn't been aware that my ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... prior comment was disputing anything, I'd thought I was just posting additional information.

          But regarding whether electric freight rail versus diesel is a matter of taste ~ that's something I would dispute. On any life-cycle analysis, electric and diesel of equal energy efficiency from power source forward implies better energy efficiency from sustainably sourced electricity, and the greater energy efficiency of electric traction over diesel from power source forward is straightforward.

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          by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 12:39:06 AM PDT

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          •  Again, We agree (0+ / 0-)

            Once upom a time,a steam turbine yacht drove circles around the cyclinder engines of the destroyers in the Royal Navy.

            You know that, as I know that.

            Perhaps we can agree that wind/solar is a solution to our energy needs without spawning off some argument over the bestestest technology available right now.

            Keep up midnight diaries, and burn that oil.

            •  The question at hand is what are the best ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... sustainable transport technologies available to use right now, so the question of what is the best sustainable transport technologies available to us right now can't really be ducked.

              That is, after all, one of the challenge of Pedal to the Metal Climate Change policies ... they have to be done with the technology we have at hand. We cannot punt by agreeing to do another study and call that a front-runner policy for a Pedal to the Metal policy package.

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              by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 11:50:16 AM PDT

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