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Dancing with Numbers

Random thoughts about Europe vs. US.  EU’s population is 499 million people (and that excludes totals of non-EU members who eventually will gain admission like Ukraine,  (46 million) Turkey (71 million) and the Yugloslav states (20 million?). 499 million people and a GDP of 14 trillion (or $28,000 per capita). US has a population of 305 million people, a GDP of 14 trillion dollars (or $47,000 per capita).

Let’s look at total carbon emissions by country. US produces 6.0 million metric tons annually and EU has 4.0 million metric tons annually, China+ Taiwan produces 7 million metric tons annually, and both Russia and India over around 1.5 million. Ponder that. EU has 25% more people, the same total GDP but 67% of our carbon emissions. This is sad.     Here’s some US data

In the first chart we see that total C02 emissions in the US  have gone from 5.0 million metric tons per annum to 5.9  (with a trivial amount from renewables).

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In the second chart, we see that carbon emissions from residential electricity has increased 150% from 1990. (Even though coal is listed in a separate category, I assume that coal is subsumed under the Electricity section).

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In the last chart, we see how much carbon emissions fluctuate in the US over time (presumably as a result of weather).

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More about the economic situation. Baseline Scenario, a longish analysis of the world’s economic crisis as of February 2009. The related blog is here. Here’s a bill Moyers interview with Simon Johnson where Johnson explains how easy it is for the government to take over a bank:

We have no problem in this country shutting down small banks. In fact, the FDIC is world class at shutting down and managing the handover of deposits, for example, from small banks. They managed IndyMac, the closure of IndyMac, beautifully. People didn’t lose touch with their money for even a moment. But they can’t do it to big banks, because they don’t have the political power. Nobody has the political will to do it.

So you need to take an FDIC-type process. You scale it up. You say, “You haven’t raised the capital privately. The government is taking over your bank. You guys are out of business. Your bonuses are wiped out. Your golden parachutes are gone.” Okay? Because the bank has failed.

This is a government-supervised bankruptcy process. It’s called, in the terminology of the business, it’s called an intervention. The bank is intervened. You don’t go into Chapter 11 because in that’s too messy. Too complicated. There’s an intervention, you lose the right to operate as a bank. The FDIC takes you over. I think we agree, everyone agrees, we don’t want the government to run banks in this country.

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