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  • ... and yet nobody lives past 30

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/20...d-without.html

    Apparently from the New Yorker: May 22, 2006


  • #2
    Re: ... and yet nobody lives past 30

    I am not sure what this means, but if you survived to, say, 15 years of age in the Paleolithic period, your life expectancy increased dramatically. A Paleolithic hunter-gatherer could expect to live to 54 if they were 15 already.

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    • #3
      Re: ... and yet nobody lives past 30

      You may find this instructive

      Shiny happy people? The madness of the Happy Planet Index

      Type: Articles Written by Chris Snowdon | Wednesday 20 June 2012

      The New Economics Foundation’s Happy Planet Index has been inspiring bemusement and mirth since it first appeared in 2006. The third installment, released last week, continues to defy parody with its glorification of lawless, poverty-stricken countries in the name of environmental sustainability.
      The index is made up of three elements—self-reported well-being, life expectancy and size of ecological footprint—but is so heavily weighted towards the latter that economic basket-cases, police states and peasant societies score highly at the expense of places in which you would actually want to live. Consequently, Luxembourg, where life expectancy is 80 years and the well-being score is 7.1, finds itself 30 places behind Rwanda, where life expectancy is 55.4 years and well-being is scored at 4.0.
      If the good people of Luxembourg (ranked 138th) have not already bought a one-way ticket to more desirable destinations such as Malawi (72nd), Haiti (78th) or Afghanistan (109th), they can console themselves that they are still one place ahead of Sierra Leone (139th), although that could all change if the Sierra Leoneans buy a wind turbine.
      The Happy Planet Index has been criticised in the past for bearing no relation to other happiness surveys and for implying that Burma is a nicer place to live than Sweden. This year, the Swedes leap-frogged the Burmese to climb to 52nd place, but still trail such mighty nations as Belize, Honduras and the reigning champion Costa Rica.
      NEF has responded to critics by saying that their index is not supposed to be used as a measure of happiness per se, but it was not their critics who called it the ‘Happy Planet Index’, nor was it their critics who called it a “new measure of progress”. If, as the NEF claim, the index gives us “a clear compass to help us all move in the right direction”, one must infer that there is something about such places as Vietnam (2nd) and El Salvador (5th) that the West should emulate.
      It is difficult to take an index seriously when it places Iraq (36th) and Albania (18th) ahead of Iceland (88th) and Australia (76th). It is not just that the list contains some strange anomalies, rather that it defies common sense from start to finish. It is not even consistent with NEF dogma which dismisses GDP and worships equality.
      Economic prosperity is predictably excluded from the index, thus allowing an assortment of developing countries to rise to the top, but these countries are not just poor, they also distribute their limited wealth in a most uneven fashion. With the exception of the nominally communist Vietnam, the top ten is made up of countries which are ‘less equal’ than even the USA. Whereas America’s Gini coefficient is 40.8, income inequality in those nine countries ranges from 43.5 (Venezuela) to 58.5 (Colombia).
      One of the bon mots of Richard Wilkinson, co-author of The Spirit Level, is “if you want to live the American dream, move to Denmark”. The Happy Planet Index supports that assertion only insofar as these two countries are close together on the list. The egalitarian Danes rank 110th, while the Great Satan sits at 105th. Neither are within touching distance of Bangladesh (11th).
      Just as Wilkinson has so far resisted the temptation to emigrate to the Scandinavian nations he so reveres, it is doubtful that the NEF wonks who consider Colombia and Costa Rica to be models of “sustainable well-being” will be moving to either. It is much easier to romantise subsistence living in Nicaragua (ranked 8th) from the comfort of the United Kingdom (ranked 41st), just as it is easier to dismiss the importance of per capita GDP from a semi-detached house in Belgium ($33,357 - ranked 107th) than from a hut in Vietnam ($2,953 - ranked 2nd).
      The Happy Planet Index does, however, serve a valuable purpose in that it tests the NEF’s priorities in the real world. Having eschewed economic growth in favour of a questionable definition of environmental sustainability, it is not surprising that the “successful” countries turn out to be the kind of places that would deter the most intrepid backpacker. Having arrived at these findings, most researchers would question the fundamental assumptions that underpin their methodology.
      The NEF, however, not only doggedly insist that these failed states are the new Jerusalem, but seriously suggest that we become more like them. Those who fear that far-left environmentalists use climate change as an excuse to send us back to the dark ages will find much to encourage their beliefs here.
      The real lesson to be learnt from the Happy Planet project is that small ecological footprints are incompatible with economic prosperity, for the time being at least. The report itself notes that only four of the top 40 countries have a per capita GDP that exceeds $15,000, but it does not mention the crucial and closely related fact that those four countries are also the only ones in the top 40 to have a large ecological footprint and are the only ones to have life expectancies that exceed 80 years.

      There are clearly trade-offs to be made and since the world and his wife differ from the staff of the NEF by valuing income, political stability and houses made of bricks, the minutemen of the USA will be busy watching out for would-be immigrants from nations ranked 100 places below them for the foreseeable future.
      "that each simple substance has relations which express all the others"

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      • #4
        Re: ... and yet nobody lives past 30

        Originally posted by BadJuju View Post
        I am not sure what this means, but if you survived to, say, 15 years of age in the Paleolithic period, your life expectancy increased dramatically. A Paleolithic hunter-gatherer could expect to live to 54 if they were 15 already.
        Maybe it means that there's a cartoonist who doesn't understand averages, or infant mortality rates?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: ... and yet nobody lives past 30

          Originally posted by BadJuJu
          I am not sure what this means, but if you survived to, say, 15 years of age in the Paleolithic period, your life expectancy increased dramatically. A Paleolithic hunter-gatherer could expect to live to 54 if they were 15 already.
          It means that economic development, which is extremely closely correlated to energy consumption, is what has given us in the first world the prosperity and longevity we enjoy today.

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          • #6
            Re: ... and yet nobody lives past 30

            Originally posted by c1ue View Post
            It means that economic development, which is extremely closely correlated to energy consumption, is what has given us in the first world the prosperity and longevity we enjoy today.
            The problem I have with this argument is that I enjoy a great deal of economic prosperity, yet I have minimal energy consumption. I walk or bike everywhere. I eat an average amount of food with most of it being plant matter. I use a minimal amount of heating, lighting, and water. The greatest energy expenditure comes from heating, which should have never been a problem to begin with had this house (bought by my parents) been designed properly. It is too large at around 1200 sq ft. We could have managed quite well with half that. And most people could live as I do, but they are addicted to consumption. They have to have more, more, more! I am entirely content with what I have. And in fact, I want to use even less.

            The over consumption these people are addicted to will catch up with them. First and foremost, they are not going to have the money to sustain that. Secondly, they are killing themselves with obesity and other ills of a society addicted to excess. I hate to think of what will come of them.

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            • #7
              Re: ... and yet nobody lives past 30

              Originally posted by BadJuJu
              The problem I have with this argument is that I enjoy a great deal of economic prosperity, yet I have minimal energy consumption. I walk or bike everywhere. I eat an average amount of food with most of it being plant matter. I use a minimal amount of heating, lighting, and water. The greatest energy expenditure comes from heating, which should have never been a problem to begin with had this house (bought by my parents) been designed properly. It is too large at around 1200 sq ft. We could have managed quite well with half that. And most people could live as I do, but they are addicted to consumption. They have to have more, more, more! I am entirely content with what I have. And in fact, I want to use even less.

              The over consumption these people are addicted to will catch up with them. First and foremost, they are not going to have the money to sustain that. Secondly, they are killing themselves with obesity and other ills of a society addicted to excess. I hate to think of what will come of them.
              So exactly how much energy do you use?

              Electricity Kwh per month?
              Gasoline per year?

              How does this compare with the world average?

              How much energy was consumed in the growing of the food you ate? The roads you rode/walked on? The factories which built the stuff you use/wear? The transportation, communications, sewer, water, electricity, natural gas, and so forth infrastructure which you use every day?

              2/3rds of energy consumption overall is not in direct use by individuals, but in the activities noted above. For nations which are building up their infrastructure, the ratio is even higher (lower individual consumption ratio).

              As for size - 1200 square feet may seem small by American standards, but it is 30% higher than the typical Japanese home for a family of 4.

              I don't have any problem with conservation or alternative energy per se, but there is a huge difference between reality and the hype which plays on flawed individual perspectives.

              My family's energy use averages just about 190 kwh per month. My family's gasoline usage averages about 14 gallons per month. My family's natural gas usage averages 1 therm per month. Jet fuel usage, however, is certainly very very high in the charts.

              I also live in a city which is on the West Coast with an average temperature of about 55 with neither sub-zero nor 100+ degree temperatures.

              In contrast, the typical US household averages 950 kwh/month = 11500 kwh per year.

              http://205.254.135.7/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=97&t=3

              However, actual average electricity use overall, divided by households, is far larger. The US consumes around 3.7 trillion kwh every year. With 115 million households, this yields 32173 kwh actually consumed per household - not 11,500.

              The entire world consumes 17.8 trillion kwh. Assuming about 1.4 billion households, this works out to 12714 kwh per household average. Removing the US completely, the average is 10941 kwh per household nationally - at the 3 to 1 ratio this translates to 303 kwh per month per household.

              China's numbers? 4.6 trillion kwh, 350 million households = 13154 kwh nationally per household.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_electricity_consumption

              So while I would certainly agree there are many people who consume too much - I'm not really sure what relevance this has to do with the point above.

              The US overall does consume much more than the rest of the world and very likely should consume less, but the rest of the world doesn't have this problem - but rather the opposite.
              Last edited by c1ue; 06-21-12, 03:47 PM.

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              • #8
                Re: ... and yet nobody lives past 30

                I am not sure how much we use, except that we do not use much at all. And since I do not use a motorized vehicle, I do not consume any gasoline as an individual. If I could change one thing, we would be living in a large city, like NYC, in an apartment. This would solve the biggest problem for us.

                I am not certain how much was consumed, but since I eat mostly plant matter, a great deal less than the average American. The goods I use are mostly reuseable reusable and will last a long, long time. My transportation, aside from the initial cost, is minimal as it consumes no gasoline and the wear-and-tear is also minimal. Far less resources went into my bicycle than your average car.

                The biggest culprit is too much unnecessary consumption. People aren't going to go back to living as hunter-gatherers. They can, however, do a great deal to minimize their consumption of resources. Your family uses 1/5th of the electricity the typical American household uses. If everyone could reduce their electricity requirements as you have, the nation would consume around 6000 kwh per household by your calculations.

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                • #9
                  Re: ... and yet nobody lives past 30

                  Originally posted by BadJuJu
                  I am not sure how much we use, except that we do not use much at all.
                  Interesting - a quick look at a monthly utility bill would inform you easily.

                  You might be surprised. One of the major ways why my electricity/natural gas bill is low is because I live in a condo complex, and use the communal washer/dryer.

                  Originally posted by BadJuJu
                  And since I do not use a motorized vehicle, I do not consume any gasoline as an individual.
                  Do you also do the shopping for the family? That's the primary use which our vehicle is for. And since we live in the city, we only have to drive 1 mile to visit several stores.

                  Originally posted by BadJuJu
                  I am not certain how much was consumed, but since I eat mostly plant matter, a great deal less than the average American.
                  I'm sure that's true, but I'm also equally sure that consuming a great deal less than an average American resource wise is fairly meaningless in world context.

                  That's like saying I spend less money in strip clubs than a bankster.

                  You're also a pretty young fellow, I believe, and don't have kids. This if true is also a big factor.

                  Originally posted by BadJuJu
                  The biggest culprit is too much unnecessary consumption.
                  In principle, I agree.

                  In reality, though, who diktats the necessary level of consumption? In particular, why should Al Gore and the other jet-setting, save-the-planet types have any credibility in telling everyone else not to do what they are doing?

                  There are lots of things we can do to encourage efficient energy consumption - for example a progressively higher electricity prices based on usage.

                  The fact that so many 'save the planet' schemes are flat rate should be the biggest hint of all just what the true motivations might be.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: ... and yet nobody lives past 30

                    yeah, al has a lotta dang gall telling the rest of us how we ought to conserve (considering the little shacks he lives in) and i dont care how one slices/dices and spins it with LEED/'green' building techniques, 8,9,10000sqft+ houses WILL NEVER BE 'GREEN'

                    our numbers in a 1000sqft shack: altho i got the KWH's down as low as 150 or so, using propane to cook, heat water, dry clothes (appx 8gals/mo avg), had to start using a heatpump and dehumidfier for both heating and cooling in an effort to keep the dust/mold outside from blowing in the windows - so that has appx doubled the KWH's to appx 300/mo (peaking at 360 or so, during the 'winter' (cost of all this is fairly staggering out here tho vs over there in 'america', since we're paying .44/kwh and propane is still 4.75 (after peaking at appx 5.25-5.50)

                    could use perhaps a bit less propane (if i could convince the S/O that she doesnt need hot water every session at the sink and that just because something gets worn for a few hours doesnt mean it needs to be washed, but hey that doesnt mean its a bad thing, esp when she does most of the cooking/cleaning and not like i have much of a say in any of that, anyway... ;) - and could cut the KWH's quite bit, but for the stuff that blows in the windaz when they're open - but keeping the interior 30points dryer than outside is a BIG plus, so its worth paying for - if the cost/benefit ratio was better on solar, i'd be all over it, but i'm up in the clouds too much (oh and yeah, there's the weather too ;)

                    on the transport side, since my biz involves travel to the customer's site, i do burn more fuel than i'd like, altho my ride does get 30mpg (altho gasoline has just/finally dropped below 4bux/gal in some places) - the other primary factor is that living on an island does result in lots of jetfuel (and bunker oil for ocean freight) - but i'm working on both of those (as i'm getting tired of the airports, island hopping and the whole thing with the TSA etc)
                    Last edited by lektrode; 06-22-12, 03:26 PM.

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