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#34957 - 01/20/14 09:37 AM Re: Solar Energy [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
SN,

I show you our future in the European example and you ignore it. Please do not characterize my position as one of now. I look at Europe and see the future...and it ain't pretty.

Tell me where I am wrong about what is currently going on in Europe. You know the Europeans are so forward looking on this stuff. You might be able to pick up a solar farm cheap shortly, all you will need to do is operate at a profit with no subsidy. Are you interested?

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#34959 - 01/20/14 01:06 PM Re: Solar Energy [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1137
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
SN,

I show you our future in the European example and you ignore it. Please do not characterize my position as one of now. I look at Europe and see the future...and it ain't pretty.

Tell me where I am wrong about what is currently going on in Europe. You know the Europeans are so forward looking on this stuff. You might be able to pick up a solar farm cheap shortly, all you will need to do is operate at a profit with no subsidy. Are you interested?

WBT, I read your links regarding Europe.

The first one came from a global warming denial site making a big deal about a 1-week stall out in solar and wind energy in Germany in December. Is that a surprise to you? A December storm in Germany creates a week of bad weather for solar and wind energy? Solar and wind need massive energy storage in order to really phase out fossil fuels - that's the last piece of the research puzzle and it will be solved. The other energy sectors are filling in the gaps until that happens and solar installations take over more of the market share. It's part of the transition process.

Your second and third links show that demand for coal, in particular the cheap and dirty lignite coal, is increasing. This supports the need to move faster to bring cleaner energies online.

As to the overall state of renewable energy in Europe, it's nice that you're concerned about the Europeans, but they're booming and growing faster than predicted. Subsidies vary from country to country and keep changing, but production is up dramatically everywhere.

Here are some links to reports on the state of the solar and renewable energy market in Europe.

Solar Energy in the European Union
Renewable_energy_in_the_European_Union
Global Market Outlook for 2013-17

Here's a really detailed report on the Global Future of Renewable Energy using scenarios developed by Exxon Mobil, BP, the International Energy Agency, Greenpeace, and others going out to 2050. Wide range of projections falling exactly like you'd think with Exxon pessimistic and Greenpeace the most optimistic. The middle ground is probably what will happen, which is a lot of growth for renewable energy.

REN21 Renewables Global Futures Report (GFR)

Here's Shell Oil Predictions using a range of scearios. Lots of interesting info in here. "By 2070, the passenger road market could be nearly oil-free and towards the end of the century an extensive hydrogen infrastructure rollout displaces oil demand for long haul and heavy loads. By this time, electricity and hydrogen may dominate, and affordable, plug-in, hybrid hydrogen vehicles offer the ultimate in flexibility and efficiency."

CNN Money
There are more solar energy workers in Texas than there are ranchers. In California, they outnumber actors, and nationwide, America has more solar workers than coal miners.

edited to add more links.


Edited by SierraNevada (01/20/14 04:40 PM)

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#34965 - 01/21/14 09:22 AM Re: Solar Energy [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
SN,

How do redistribute wealth, if there is no wealth...I paraphrase the French socialist Hollande? Europe is dying...literally; therefore, cannot sustain the current level of subsidies.

Your argument sounds like the Krugman's stupid argument, if FDR just tripled the size of the government rather just double it in the 4 years, we would not have had the depression of 1937. Not taking into account what is politically feasible. The trend in Europe is reversing and demographics will not allow it to return to current levels. The 70 year old party is ending...someone has to pay for not having enough children.

Just because subsidize renewables, it does not make them any less expensive. You still have expensive power...and economics dictate, businesses will search out the lowest cost provider, be it in China or India. When you transfer these businesses to China or India, you transfer them to places that do not have the same stringent pollution controls we and the Europeans have. This is one of the basic arguments for building Keystone Pipeline, that and the elimination of less safe rail and sea transport.

I like the denial rhetoric. It's, it's so Holocaustal. Which kills your argument as far as I'm concerned. You ask an irrelevant question. Did Germany get 95% its power in December from fossil fuels? It did because Germany is not suited for solar, in the winter particularly. Sorry, if you don't know your history about the weather in northwest Europe, it is readily available...Any book on the 8th Air Force or Bomber Command; or the Battle of the Bulge will do.

Again, I have no problems with renewables. I just want the proponents to spend there money on it. Not the money of those who can least afford it.

BTW, I am still waiting for my lesson on supply and demand.

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#34966 - 01/21/14 07:05 PM Re: Solar Energy [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1137
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
BTW, I am still waiting for my lesson on supply and demand.

WTB, your opinions about Europe, Krugman, FDR, etc are noted. Only time will tell how things play out, but I think Europe will adjust and adapt. As you can read from the reports I linked to, European renewable energy is very likely to continue to grow at an impressive pace, faster than any other energy source. And you're right about things shifting to other countries, as much as renewable energy is expanding in Europe, the rest of the world is catching up and future growth of solar is projected to be even faster in Asia and the Americas.

So I'll speculate a little as well. I'm optimistic that air and water pollution will eventually contribute to a revolt in China when the effects start to really sink in. They've embraced our capitalism and eventually I think they will embrace our environmental ethics to some degree. The US and Europe will be looked at for leadership when they finally realize they can't just keep burning coal, dumping hazardous waste, and doing everything on the cheap.

As for supply and demand, subsidies have fueled demand, which has allowed mass production to lower prices of solar cells and wind turbines. Lots of jobs have been created in the process. So you need to subtract the income taxes that all these solar workers are contributing to the treasury from the cost of the subsidies, and consider all the spinoff jobs that are created along the way. This is how government policy and investment can jump start an industry struggling to get a foothold in the market. We're in agreement that at some point subsidies should be be phased out. It's all about timing and minimizing uncertainty. You just seem to be on a much shorter timeline, that's all (like phase them out yesterday).

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#34967 - 01/21/14 11:42 PM Re: Solar Energy [Re: SierraNevada]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7583
Loc: Fresno, CA
I'll weigh in with this video shared by fishmonger in the Cool Videos thread. As he wrote, "this should really be in the Solar Power thread, but I think more people will look here."

It's a 10-minute video talking about what could happen if global warming continues too far unabated. The crux is that at some point, massive stores of methane which are currently sequestered away could be released if ocean waters warm enough and the Tundra thaws. Compared to the effects of global warming caused by CO2, the methane release will be far worse. The video compares it to any of the 5 "mass extinctions" over the course of geologic history. If we push the atmospheric conditions to the "Tipping Point", it's Game Over!

It makes me wonder whether having children was a wise thing to do. It certainly gives me validation that any cutback in the use of fossil fuels is good.

Here's the video. Watch it and ponder it.   Last Hours


One of the comments posted recently to the video:
"This is the ultimate human IQ test! Are we going to get a failing grade? The price will be high, indeed."

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#34968 - 01/22/14 12:03 AM Re: Solar Energy [Re: wbtravis]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7583
Loc: Fresno, CA
I just want to comment on WBT's line:
> ...someone has to pay for not having enough children.

I am internally shocked when I hear people say that. I was talking with a person some months ago who firmly believed that part of our economic problems were caused by the slowing of population growth. Shocked the first time.

Then I read an article a few weeks about trouble in China due to their population decline. Shocked the second time. (Search Google news for "china population decline" to see the articles.) I am appalled that people think that population growth should continue. There is a finite amount of resources in this world, and for every new human, there is that much less to go around, and in the current world, there is that much more demand for cheap fuels.

WBT's line reminds me a third time.

I cannot believe people will not consider the future impacts of their present actions.

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#34969 - 01/22/14 06:33 AM Re: Solar Energy [Re: Steve C]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1137
Loc: NorCal
Risk = Probability of Something Happening x Consequences

There are public policy guidelines for "allowable risk" based on the number of lives lost in an event, which then leads to an acceptable probability of "failure" for design criteria (remember failure can't be 0, there's always some possibility of an event however unlikely). These guidelines are surprisingly consistent and used around the world to guide decision making for aviation safety, nuclear safety, dam safety, automobile safety, building safety etc. I happen to work with these principles and methods every day to deal with uncertainty in a logical manner. For example, the probability of a nuclear plant failure or other disaster causing hundreds of deaths should be well below 1 in 1 million per year. The landing gear subsystem on airplanes strives for even higher reliability numbers (1 in 1 billion) because there are so many landings per year and landing is just one way that a plane can fail.

If you apply these principles to the climate change debate, with risks such as those in the video above, the justification for taking action to reduce those risks becomes obvious. It's easy to be a skeptic because science is never 100% certain. But if you want to make the case for NOT taking action to lower the risk, you have to be VERY sure this is all an elaborate hoax with conspirators in every major agency and university around the globe. In mathematical terms, a skeptic has to show that roughly 95% of climate scientists have less than roughly 1 in 1 million chance of being right to take on a risk like this without doing something to address it.

So as skeptics look at the mounting body of scientific evidence and search the corners of the internet for someone who will tell them it's all baloney, they need to ask themselves honestly if they're THAT certain all these experts are THAT wrong. They need to be 99.9999% sure that the climate scientists are wrong. As Clint Eastwood said in Dirty Harry, "Do you feel lucky?"

Looking at this from a risk perspective, providing subsidies for renewable energy is extremely well justified to help reduce risk. Subsidies are really just a drop in the bucket for justified action to reduce the risk, given the potential consequences of burning fossil fuels on this scale. When you consider the $4 billion tax credits that the oil companies are getting every year, it seems like a very good idea indeed to help the renewable energy sector gain momentum as fast as possible in as many ways as possible.

Looking at this from a political perspective, we'll probably debate ourselves to death.

edited and reedited to try and make this as clear as I can.


Edited by SierraNevada (01/22/14 08:38 AM)

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#34972 - 01/22/14 09:38 AM Re: Solar Energy [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
SN,

Krugman thing is not opinion. The government of the United States went into a depression in 1937 after doubling in size after 4 years. What is opinion is his claim by Krugman, if more money was thrown into the New Deal, the depression of 1937 would have not have occurred.

No that is not how supply and demand works. Sorry, no cookie. What subsidies are is a form of a command economy. Where has a command economy worked? Eastern Europe? What you do is taking money that is working efficiently and put into inefficient projects, that is what subsidies are. Also, you are transferring wealth from poor/middle class to rich...I guess income inequality is a bit lower on the dogmatic list of things.

Again, how does Europe move forward when it population is shrinking. The party is over. The news is the subsidies are going away in Spain and Germany. You can have faith in socialist governments finding a way. With shrinking population, the population get older...and less energetic when it comes to wealth creation, there are less workers to recipients...in western Europe it will get to one to one. The wealth is going away with the shrinking population. This means things will have to go...inefficient things, like renewables. Tell me which shrinking corporation stays in Dow 30 for any length of times?

Why aren't you willing to pay for expensive power? I'm sure PG&E would accommodate your demand for green power and the price that goes along with it.

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#34974 - 01/22/14 12:22 PM Re: Solar Energy [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1137
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
SN,

Krugman thing is not opinion. The government of the United States went into a depression in 1937 after doubling in size after 4 years. What is opinion is his claim by Krugman, if more money was thrown into the New Deal, the depression of 1937 would have not have occurred.


Well Krugman won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics. I'd say his "opinions" are highly regarded. The experts call them "established theories."

Originally Posted By: wbtravis

No that is not how supply and demand works. Sorry, no cookie. What subsidies are is a form of a command economy. Where has a command economy worked? Eastern Europe? What you do is taking money that is working efficiently and put into inefficient projects, that is what subsidies are. Also, you are transferring wealth from poor/middle class to rich...I guess income inequality is a bit lower on the dogmatic list of things.

You just keep forgetting to discuss your position on those $4 billion per year oil subsidies. Must be tough to reconcile the obvious contradiction - do you love oil companies more than you hate subsidies?

Originally Posted By: wbtravis


Again, how does Europe move forward when it population is shrinking. The party is over. The news is the subsidies are going away in Spain and Germany. You can have faith in socialist governments finding a way. With shrinking population, the population get older...and less energetic when it comes to wealth creation, there are less workers to recipients...in western Europe it will get to one to one. The wealth is going away with the shrinking population. This means things will have to go...inefficient things, like renewables. Tell me which shrinking corporation stays in Dow 30 for any length of times?

So we need the population to keep growing with no limits to what? 100 billion people on earth? 500 billion? 1 trillion? Just like oil - it will last forever, and just like the atmosphere - it's limitless. Address Steve's comments on that one, but perhaps another thread would be more appropriate.

Originally Posted By: wbtravis

Why aren't you willing to pay for expensive power? I'm sure PG&E would accommodate your demand for green power and the price that goes along with it.

Actually, you can sign up for 100% renewable energy from PG&E for a few extra dollars per month. I'm not on PG&E, but I understand the program is doing quite well.

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#34977 - 01/23/14 09:45 AM Re: Solar Energy [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
SN,

Krugman has no proof this would have worked it is opinion. BTW, his Nobel Prize was not for his work on Keynesian economics. Morgenthau, FDR's Sec. Treasury at the time, said at the time and I paraphrase...we spent all this money and all we have to show for it is more debt. The facts are the government doubled and it caused another depression 1937. Throwing government money at things does not guarantee the results you want. More taxpayer money at solar will not make it more efficient, it will only add to $17 Trillion in debt we already have. All they are is a drag on the economy.

I have asked and you, and other proponents of inefficient energy, have refused to answer, what are the classification of the tax breaks and how do they differ from what other companies get? The left loves this Frankenstein monster of a tax system when it is benefits their friends, not so much when it benefits unfriends...just a bit inconsistent. This is why I am for the elimination of income tax and a consumption tax...with zero business taxes.

If you want a healthy welfare state you need healthy growing populations. This is what you want. How do you subsidize things with a growing dependency class and shrinking working class. All this stuff has been in Time Magazine multiple times over the years. Obviously, this is something you what to ignore, which is typical of stage one thinking. The populations of most of Europe plus Japan are in irreversible decline. Half the households in Scandinavia are total one person. With decline in population comes economic decline. Tough choice will have to be made, cutting subsidies to efficient energy will be low hanging fruit. It is already happening.

Hmmm...100% Renewables. I don't remember anyone putting in separate lines for renewables. Power is a fungible good, signing up for green power is line buying a carbon offset for your Gulfstream G 5...it's all feel good. BTW, This does not say it reflect true cost plus profit.


Edited by wbtravis (01/23/14 09:46 AM)

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#34979 - 01/23/14 09:18 PM Re: Solar Energy [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1137
Loc: NorCal
What a pessimistic depressing view of the world. You must be a real joy around the campfire.

I can't think of anything more to add about solar energy, and I'm done going back and forth over unrelated conservative blather. I listen to FM radio, sorry.


Edited by SierraNevada (01/24/14 05:42 AM)

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#34982 - 01/24/14 09:27 AM Re: Solar Energy [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Oh my, not related. If you can't continue subsidizing solar energy, it has to compete, if it has to compete, it fails.

Pointing out putting solar plants in the part of the world that does not get much sun much of the year is blather.

Pointing out that to redistribute wealth you need vibrant expanding state, not one moving in the oppossite direction is blather.

Pointing out that this more than solar good, fossil fuel bad is bad is not the entirety of the argument.

When all else fails attack the person, not his argument. Who cares if you listen to FM...of course your implying I get all my information from Limbaugh, Hannitty or some equally bad ill-informed guy du jour. This is just another variant of the you watch Faux News and are influenced by the Koch Groups...it is so typical.

It always gets to ad hominem...and the first to ad hominem, like profanity loses.

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#34983 - 01/24/14 09:51 AM Re: Solar Energy [Re: wbtravis]
Chicagocwright Offline


Registered: 09/05/12
Posts: 172
Loc: Alaska
This conversation has been hard to follow but today's WSJ has an interesting editorial: Whistling Past the Wind Farm
Europe abandons country-by-country CO2 emissions targets. 1/23/14 3:49 pm ET

Among other notes:
---On Wednesday the European Commission abandoned country-by-country targets for greenhouse-gas emissions after 2020.

---Take Spain, where financial incentives for renewable energy have driven renewables to as much as 25% of electricity generation. They have also left the country with a $41 billion gap between what energy costs to produce and what utilities can charge for power. Mariano Rajoy's government has been scrambling to scale back the subsidies and close the gap.

--In Germany, Angela Merkel is also seeking to push through cuts in wind and solar subsidies and to cap new installations of renewable capacity going forward. Germany's feed-in tariffs—which guarantee renewable-energy suppliers above-market prices for their power—have helped drive up retail power prices by 17% in the past four years while costing utilities and small businesses billions.

--European leaders are also finally figuring out that America's shale natural gas boom is giving the U.S. a significant energy cost advantage. Many European companies are moving production to the U.S. so they can stay competitive

--Europe's anticarbon policy implosion ought to be a lesson to Americans, though most U.S. media still fail to report it.

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#34985 - 01/25/14 09:40 AM Re: Solar Energy [Re: Chicagocwright]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Chicagocwright,

I've been reading about problems with renewables in Europe for well over a year and Europe's demographic nightmare for well over ten years. It's there, if you search it out. One of the first things talked about when the PIGS came into the news were subsidies for Spanish wind energy.

What is happening in Europe is our future, if we do not reverse current trends.

If people want inexpensive energy, some bright profit minded corporation or government will provide it, period.

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#34986 - 01/25/14 10:51 AM Re: Solar Energy [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1137
Loc: NorCal
WBT, If you don't see how you've gone off topic into the weeds, get some feedback from others. Others have given up trying to follow your divergence into endless topics, and I have my limits too. You also keep baiting people by claiming they ignore some specific point in your long list of diatribe. It's painfully obvious. Since Chicago brought this back on topic, I'll contribute again to the thread, but I'm going to try and ignore your baiting BS about other nonsense. I could find a way to tie this in with Santa Claus somehow and claim its relevant to solar energy and then claim you haven't addressed my comment about Rudolph. Its really that obvious and ridiculous. One of your posts had 9 different topics including WWII bombing raids and Hollywood. Of course you found a way to weave some "logical" explanation for all the various topics in that rant. Its really not that hard, but its exhausting to read.

There's no doubt the EU is struggling with energy prices and a lot of other economic issues. Their aggressive approach to renewable energy helped drive down costs for the rest of the world, but unfortunately for the EU they paid much higher prices even a few years ago. The revised EU policies (yet to be decided) will surely roll back subsidies, but they keep high targets for carbon reduction. The new policy will surely allow more flexibility in how each country meets targets, which is a good thing. These changes are not all that surprising or dramatic. I can think of a lot better ways to do what they are trying to do, but with all these different countries involved, I'm surprised they can agree on anything.

As I wrote again and again, subsidies should be used to jump start things and eventually they should be phased out. EU "subsidies" are passed directly on to the consumer as higher costs, not like tax break subsidies here in the US. The EU also has much fewer natural resources than the US and they are made up of a number of different countries rather than states who all speak the same language. We are not on the same track as the EU, but of course nothing will stop you from going on and on about how we are. Whatever.

Your reply to the $4 billion dollar oil company subsidies is that every corporation gets these so it's okay. That claim is false and your solution is unrealistic. We're not going to switch to your preferred tax system anytime soon. Its so obvious we should just eliminate subsidies for the largest most profitable companies in the human history.

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#34989 - 01/25/14 02:28 PM Re: Solar Energy [Re: SierraNevada]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1137
Loc: NorCal
Yesterday (Jan 24) was National Shout Out Day for Solar Energy. The idea was to print a sign and post a picture to show support. I wonder if Exxon will do something like this, "Shout Out Day for Oil Company Subsidies"






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#34991 - 01/25/14 05:05 PM Re: Solar Energy [Re: SierraNevada]
Chicagocwright Offline


Registered: 09/05/12
Posts: 172
Loc: Alaska
Conclusion from another article:
Why do we have oil subsidies?

If we are to have a productive discussion of fossil fuel subsidies, it is important that participants understand what they are, their intended purpose, and the projected impact of removing them. Projecting the impact requires more than a guess. Because of misleading political rhetoric, people imagine these subsidies as cash payments to oil companies. But, many of these subsidies are not what people think they are. In many cases they are benefiting people who have nothing to do with the oil industry — yet the money spent on these programs is still tallied against the oil industry. The result is a great deal of anger over spending that often benefits the angry people. That is why it is so hard to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies; a majority of the population likely supports at least some of them without realizing that they are in fact subsidies. And until those who are loudly screaming that we must eliminate these subsidies actually take the time to understand what they are — as well as the impact of removing them — we can expect there will continue to be much heat and little light on this topic.

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#34992 - 01/25/14 06:39 PM Re: Solar Energy [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
SN,

What bait is that? It's all tied together. You can't have vibrant welfare state...if you do not have expanding populations that keep the work force young and energetic. Sorry, you don't see how economically tied together. They are approaching one recipient for one worker. This eliminates a lot of the fun things governments can do to screw up their economies...namely subsidies to inefficient industries like solar. They are already happening hard targets are becoming soft goals, the rate of subsidies are going down, this will make the difference between profit and insolvency for most. It will definitely capital harder to get for solar startups.

I did not any such claim about the $4 billion in tax breaks, I asked you to tell where they are special and different from any other corporation. You don't care if they are not special, all you care about is that they exist and an industry you don't like gets'em just like all other industries. I did not say the FAIR TAX would be enacted, just that it eliminates political shenanigans, like we have now. You like the shenanigans for your favorites, hate'm for those you don't like...I just hate'm, period.

Which companies are the most profitable? In 2012 both Chevron and Exxon Mobil's net profit was less than 10% whereas Apples was over 20%...you don't know what you are talking about. You are just repeating tired environmentalist talking points. BTW, these are easy to find numbers all you need to do is type XOM, AAPL and CVX in Yahoo Finance.

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#34993 - 01/25/14 08:12 PM Re: Solar Energy [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1137
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
You can't have vibrant welfare state...if you do not have expanding populations that keep the work force young and energetic.


Perfect example of how you are going into the weeds - welfare state, unlimited population growth yada yada yada. This thread is about SOLAR ENERGY. Start another thread "Why the world needs 1 trillion people"

Originally Posted By: wbtravis

Which companies are the most profitable?

CNN Money 2007
1. Exxon Mobil
The oil giant racked up $39.5 billion in earnings last year, the largest-ever profit in U.S. history. That figure topped the previous record of $36.1 billion, also set by Exxon Mobil, in 2005. Profits were up 9.3% from the previous year, while sales rose 2.2%.




Edited by SierraNevada (01/25/14 08:24 PM)

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#34994 - 01/25/14 08:36 PM Re: Solar Energy [Re: Chicagocwright]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1137
Loc: NorCal
Chicago, I read your Forbes article link and noticed a heck of a lot of speculation about how people like these tax breaks for the oil companies without any polling data or other sourcing whatsoever. The explanation is that people are so confused they don't understand the tax breaks. This is not complicated stuff, this US News and World Report article explains it just fine. "Why Big Oil Should Give Up Its Tax Breaks"

"These tax breaks were mostly established decades ago to stimulate oil drilling and production on U.S. shores. The five firms that qualify for the breaks are now among the most well-established and profitable companies in the world. Two of them--BP and Royal Dutch Shell--aren't even American companies. Along with the other three--Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips--the five companies combined earned $116 billion in profits in 2011. If the tax breaks were eliminated and the whole tally came straight out of the bottom line, with no offsetting savings, the total decline in profits would be a paltry 1.8 percent."

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