(in alphabetical order)
Arctic and Antarctic Wilderness Zones
Just as vast areas of the United States were protected as National Forests and Wilderness Areas, it is essential that the Earth set aside all land and sea north and south of the Arctic Circles as protected Wilderness Zones, with no commercial activity, no commercial fishing, no manufacturing, no drilling for oil or natural gas or mining for minerals. This is necessary to protect the fragile habitat of the Arctic and the Antarctic regions. Shipping, and air traffic is permissible provided careful precautions are taken. For simplicity, the International Wilderness Zone is defined as north or south of 65°, as the actual Arctic Circle varies from 64.5° to 66.5°, over a 41,000 year period.
What constitutes a comprehensive energy policy? One that works not just for the next year or two, not just for the next century, but for the next billion years? It clearly needs to address two needs, terrestrial energy and energy use in space. While almost all energy in the solar system comes ultimately from the sun, and most energy in space will be directly obtained from solar panels, there is also nuclear energy available, both fission and fusion, so the question arises, what should the policy be toward use of fission and fusion energy? If either is going to impact the environment, such as using fission on the planet, the answer is a clear no. Likewise if use of fission in space will create a radiation hazard similar to the hazard of using fission in a submarine or ship the answer is also a clear no. Should fusion be reserved for interstellar travel? That is probably an obvious yes, as there is no suitable substitute available.
How much energy should be used? It is both clear that there is an ample supply of solar energy available, but equally clear that absurd uses of energy, moving mountains just to change the view for example, needs to be discouraged. Normally taxes can be implemented to reduce the possibility of frivolous excess, although several periods in history have let spending by the rich get quite out of control. In 2000, for example, taxes for the rich became essentially optional due to widespread lack of control, a situation that needs to be corrected whenever it arises.
Gasoline for $0.99/gallon
There are no cost reasons for gasoline selling for more than $0.99 per gallon. The reason it sells for more is supply and demand. The world is running out of oil, which is being accelerated by increasing demand. We can either let supply and demand set the price and pay $4/gallon or even $20/gallon, or we can step in and regulate the number of new registrations of gasoline powered vehicles to 2% of all vehicles, which will decrease demand to the point that cost will return to the more reasonable price of $0.99/gallon. The alternative for most trips is electric vehicles, such as the General Motors EV1 or the Toyota Rav4EV, which were made available at the turn of the century and then withdrawn from production. For extended cross country trips we will always have biodiesel, in limited supply. Fortunately very few trips today are made that exceed the range of a modern electric vehicle, and can be accommodated by renting a larger vehicle for the trip. It is a simple cost benefit trade off between owning a large vehicle and rarely using it or renting it when needed. With the cost of operation of an electric vehicle at $0.02-0.04/mile and the cost of operation of a biodiesel at $0.10-0.20/mile it is unlikely that any regulation will be needed to encourage use of electric vehicles, other than limiting registration of gasoline powered vehicles.
The solution to global warming is clearly to stop producing so much greenhouse gases, particularly CO2. This can easily be done, and Germany is leading in this effort, by building more solar panels and developing better transportation. There is no reason for the USA to not spend 10% of its GDP on solar panels and public transportation. With a Trillion dollars invested in solar panels enough solar energy can be generated to completely eliminate any foreign import of oil and shut down all domestic nuclear power plants. Storage for night-time energy use can be provided with hydro-storage. Electric cars (battery powered, like the EV1 from General Motors) are suitable for over 90% of all automobile use. Newer electric cars on the market now like the Tesla provide twice the speed and twice the range, and the Venturi combines solar charging to provide intregral charging for short trips.
Today, November 17, 2007 I have decided that we have broken free from the cycle of ice ages and warming periods. We do not know exactly the positive feedback mechanisms which inexorably drive us from a warm period to the depth of the next ice age or the even more positive feedback mechanisms which drive us out of the ice age to the height of the next warm period. We find ourselves at the height of a warm period and instead of letting nature take its course and remove ever more greenhouse gases and slowly drop to the cold of the next ice age, we have dug up vast quantities of coal, and extracted vast quantities of oil both of which we have burned, releasing more CO2 into the air than at any time in the last 600,000 years. We are pushing the earth to a new warm period, from which we will not recover into another ice age, but instead will remain at a moderately warmer level for the foreseeable future. There may be a cataclysmic event similar to what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs which we are unable to correct for which will send us into another ice age, and we may find ourselves in another outlaw period similar to the present where decisions are made for personal gain and not rationally for the benefit of the planet, but which could also lead us into a new cycle of ice ages, but for now and from today on, I am predicting the end of the last ice age for many millions of years to come. This is not a desirable prediction, because the cycles of ice ages have had many beneficial effects, and they are the only status we are familiar with. However, since our present climate change is man-made, we can essentially turn the dial on earth's thermostat to whatever setting we want. Most people have set a goal of no higher than two degrees Celcius higher than year 2000 temperatures. I would suggest setting the thermostat at six to seven tenths of a degree Celcius cooler than year 2000 temperatures, and leaving it there for the next billion years.
The best parallel I can think of for Iraq is post WWII Japan and Germany, both of which were rebuilt with the aid of the US. Today the USA seems more interested in securing Iraq's oil than assisting with reconstruction.
Israel, and the middle east in general
It is obvious that the only correct solution is a one state solution, and that Israel welcome the Palestinians on equal basis as everyone else. In fact why not just call the country Palestine? There is no reason that the world and in particular the USA should sanction racism by supporting the zionist beliefs of Israel. What the 1917 Balfour declaration specified was "it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine". This needs to be enforced.
Political leaders must be natural born citizens of the country they lead. In the case of the United States, this means born in one of the various states or in Washington, D.C. If any additional states are added it means in a state at the time of their birth. There is too much of a gap between the person and the country they are leading if they were not born in that country. Military bases, space stations, ships, research facilities do not count. Other elected officials other than the top two or three need only be naturalized citizens of a country to serve.
Reunification of Korea
There is no reason to take a country that has as old a unified culture as Korea does and draw a line down the middle and say you stay on your side and I stay on my side. Families have been divided for 50 years now and that is too long. Germany has reunified, the same needs to happen for Korea. We can see both from Germany and from Korea that socialism alone (from each according to your ability, to each according to your need) does not provide anywhere near the incentive that individual ownership and remunitive reward provides, hence even without the added presence of lack of trade the great dissimilarity of per capita income. Korea is further handicapped by feeling a need to spend a gross disproportion of income on defense, which in the west is about 0 to 4% of per capita income and in Korea is much higher.
Sharks have been feared and up until the end of the 20th century were not often caught by fishermen. Fishermen unfortunately have an abysmal record of self control, and now that they can no longer catch swordfish have been turning to shark. It has been estimated that without quick controls to Save the Sharks, they could become extinct in less than ten years. All fishes can be fished at sustainable levels, but if one more fish is taken than that level, the population inevitably declines. So what fishermen need to learn is that if they catch less they can catch more - the fish populations will increase and be sustainable. The New England Cod populations collapsed while fishermen were arguing that it would ruin their livelihood if they imposed limits, and nature imposed its own limits when the stocks became depleted. The best step would be an immediate moratorium on catching sharks.
There are a couple of things that come to mind, one that Tibet has the right to vote the Chinese out, and the right to limit by population control the number of Chinese that come in so as not to dilute the Tibetan culture.
Unsolicited Junk E-mail
As stated on page one, society requires responsibility and mechanisms to prevent abuse. Clearly congress needs to outlaw and enforce outlawing unsolicited e-mail in order that it be eliminated. I would suggest a one dollar fine for each UCE sent. I'm sure that others would suggest lengthy prison terms for mass abusers. It also would make a lot of sense to allow recipients to sue for $500 for each one received, the same as for junk faxes.
It is estimated that for every 100,000 fellowships given out one person will come up with something so valuable that it will pay for the remaining 99,999 fellowships. - R. Buckminster Fuller, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth
Solar Energy How much solar energy is available? Here are three or four ways of showing that it is more than ample for all of our needs. One estimate is that solar energy provides 1,000 times our current use of energy. One states that putting solar panels across the Sahara Desert would provide 54 times the total energy currently used in the world. The US DOE website notes that solar panels covering an area 100 miles on a side located in the southwestern US would provide as much electricity as is currently used in the entire United States using panels that are 10% efficient. Current solar panels are 20% efficient and new ones are even looking at efficiencies of 40%. A recent quote states that there is enough solar energy received by the planet in one hour to supply all of our energy needs for an entire year.