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Comment: Re:"may head off backlash" (Score 1) 229

by akb (#44092521) Attached to: Obama's Climate Plans Face Long Fight

I would like Obama to have done more on climate change, though I'm not sure what more he could have done.

Obama has gotten slaughtered politically for the environmental moves he has made. The green jobs that were part of the stimulus have cost him dearly, as have the much tightened auto emissions standards and the C02 limits for existing coal plants. All 3 of these are very substantial actions.

You may recall earlier in his first term a climate deal was near-ish happening. Subsequent to that the Tea Party happened, Obama list the House and the few Republican Senators that were working on that deal ran for cover.

Comment: Azure (Score 1, Interesting) 274

by akb (#43443261) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Building a Web App Scalable To Hundreds of Thousand of Users?

Sounds like you want a PaaS provider that doesn't lock you in to a platform. I have a similar problem to you (PHP not Java) and I rejected AppEngine for the same reason as you. To my surprise I am leaning towards Azure, Microsoft's cloud offering. Their website service allows you to write your web app in a few different frameworks without having to customize it for their platform and then only pay for what resources you use. Management is as simple as manipulating sliders to how many resources you are willing to devote to your app and are willing to pay for.

I have no interest in configuring VMs, configuring memcached, handling load balancing etc. My needs are simple, very basic PHP and Mysql. Traffic will probably start small but hopefully will spike big, but maybe it won't. Azure lets me handle this situation with a minimum of effort and expense. If they raise their prices or start to suck I can easily move my app since its simple PHP.

Comment: Re:Clearly, the US is at fault here (Score 1) 275

by akb (#43209853) Attached to: As US Cleans Its Energy Mix, It Ships Coal Problems Overseas

Those are good examples, I hadn't thought about them. However, given the size of the US trade deficit and the contribution of manufactured goods to it I would be very surprised if adjusting for trade didn't raise US carbon emissions. I would love to read an article looking into it, so if you find one let me know.

Comment: Re:Clearly, the US is at fault here (Score 1) 275

by akb (#43207829) Attached to: As US Cleans Its Energy Mix, It Ships Coal Problems Overseas

This is an interesting discussion, thanks. I also liked the study you linked to, though I think it needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt. The article includes the service sector (because it is concerned with inflation), but we know that's the least energy intensive part of an economy, a point I made earlier. At 2/3 of the US economy readjusting for intensity is an enormous effect. The article further parses out how much of the other categories are actually expenses here in the US, this only magnifies the intensity importance.

The article is also concerned with personal expenditures. The emissions we were discussing would show up as industrial sector emissions, so I'm not sure how much overlap there is.

Also, you said "The sorts of things the US imports from China are not particularly energy intensive", I'm not sure I follow how you can say this. The US imports iPhones which may not be energy intensive itself but it also imports steel, tires, durable goods, etc from China which are extremely energy intensive to manufacture.

I would love to see some papers looking at how trade might adjust country emission numbers. I think its clear that the US's emissions would be adjusted upwards, though we disagree on how much that might be and perhaps the importance.

As for the point about carbon intensity, which is what I originally responded to you about, I think its clear that China's carbon intensity will go down substantially over time as their economy changes. A relatively larger service sector, a relatively smaller manufacturing sector and relatively less spending on infrastructure assure this to be the case. Whether they can reduce their intensity "enough" depends on their reducing the percentage of coal in their energy mix, whether this will happen is still an open question.

Comment: Re:Clearly, the US is at fault here (Score 1) 275

by akb (#43205461) Attached to: As US Cleans Its Energy Mix, It Ships Coal Problems Overseas

Thanks for the reasoned response, though I still don't think I agree with you. According to the World Bank manufacturing is 30% of China's GDP versus 13% for the US (source). Also, since the US is a big importer a lot of the carbon emissions for goods it consumes actually occur in China.

Finally, China is building at a rapid pace (though less rapid than at peak), this activity is very carbon intense. For instance in 2010 it produced just over half of all the world's cement. As its infrastructure matures emissions from this will level off while the rest of its economy grows, so intensity will again go down.

Comment: Re:Always (Score 2) 275

by akb (#43204617) Attached to: As US Cleans Its Energy Mix, It Ships Coal Problems Overseas

Did you read the study abstract? Its a lot less sensationalist than the /. headline. It basically says this good thing is not as good as many are claiming because the coal is not staying in the ground. Do you disagree with that?

From a policy perspective it points to the need to take trade into account in global treaties on carbon emissions. This should apply both in energy exports (as in this case) and in manufacturing (ie, much of China's emissions are actually for goods the US consumes).

Comment: Re:Clearly, the US is at fault here (Score 1) 275

by akb (#43204313) Attached to: As US Cleans Its Energy Mix, It Ships Coal Problems Overseas

Certainly true, though don't forget the composition of the economies are very different. China's is manufacturing heavy because of low labor costs, hence more carbon intensity. The US economy is service heavy, sitting at desks is less carbon intense. As China's economy matures its manufacturing / service balance should change and labor costs will rise so carbon intensity should naturally drop to a degree. This is not to say that they shouldn't have incentives to invest in more efficient processes, this is why it is important that they are brought into an international agreement.

Comment: Re:Clearly, the US is at fault here (Score 1) 275

by akb (#43202381) Attached to: As US Cleans Its Energy Mix, It Ships Coal Problems Overseas

The middle class in China still emit a fraction of the GHG per capita that the middle class in the US does. Not to mention that a large amount of China's GHG emissions are actually used in the production of goods for export.

There will need to be a real global treaty on GHG emissions under which the US will emit less per capita, China somewhat more per capita, and carbon content of trade will need to be factored in.

"Bureaucracy is the enemy of innovation." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments

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