Re: Serious concern/ addition

Date: Wed 03 Sep 2003 - 03:10:45 GMT

  • Next message: Jeremy Bradley: "Re: Serious concern/ addition"

    In a message dated 9/2/2003 6:16:15 PM Central Daylight Time, Paul Trehin <> writes:

    > Subj: Re: Serious concern/ addition
    > Date: 9/2/2003 6:16:15 PM Central Daylight Time
    > From:
    > Sender:
    > Reply-to:
    > To:
    > Dans un e-mail daté du 02/09/03 21:20:55 Paris, Madrid (heure d'été),
    > a écrit :
    > > > Kyoto has already apparently killed thousands in France, as the French
    > > > artificially tax energy in the name of Kyoto to the point that the old
    > > > and the poor can't afford air conditioning, and die in temperatures
    > > > lower than an Oklahoma summer day.
    > >
    > > Hi Brad.
    > >
    > > How did you learn that the poor and elderly in France pay
    > > such high taxes on electricity that air conditioning was
    > > unaffordable to them? What is the rate per kilowatt hour,
    > > before and after taxes, and what were the tax rates before
    > > the Kyoto treaty?
    > >
    > I hesitated to answer the previous e-mail. But I now feel compelled to
    > answer.
    > First of all you have to know that the heat wave that hit France (and a
    > large
    > part of Europe) was really exceptional, temperatures were about 10 degrees
    > (centigrade) above the normal temperatures for the season. Normal
    > temperatures
    > in France range between 25 and 30 degree centigrade, during the day, in
    > parts of France and such temperatures last about a couple of weeks at
    > This
    > last summer, we had temperatures ranging between 30 and 40 degree
    > and lasted more than a month...
    > The reason people don't have Air conditioning in general, is not linked to
    > the energy cost but to the fact that air conditionning isn't usually
    > required
    > even in summer time. Especially with the type of construction, mainly
    > and
    > with windows using shutters which keep the heat out.
    > We did however have serious problems with that heat wave as our
    > government has cut funds for services to elderly people as well as their
    > living allowances for people who are still capable to stay at home.
    > As a result with the crisis situation, the scarse resources available
    > t
    > able to cope with the neds for care of elderly people who suffered from
    > heat. There wasn't enough personnel either in hospitals to treat people
    > arriving in the emergency department quite dehydrated.
    > A lot of these services weren't equipped with Air Conditionning, for the
    > same
    > reason that homes aren't equiped : it isn't necessary when temperatures
    > within the norm even with a marginof precaution. Further more, it is well
    > known
    > that air conditionning in institutions increases the risk of spreading
    > diseases, even the best designed ones are a risk in that respect. This is
    > why
    > authorities hesitate to install it when normal temperatures don't
    > necessitate it. It
    > is indeed installed for hospitals and institutions in southern parts of
    > France where higher temperatures are more common.
    > A semi comic remark (in the context of this discussion) was made by the
    > French conservative Government "People using air conditioning too much
    > inside was
    > one of the reasons why the air outside in the streets was so hot" ........
    > Note that walking in the streets of large cities in the USA one has often
    > that felling of getting in a steam bath every time one walks by an air
    > conditioning exhaust... I lived five years on the East Coast of the USA so
    > know by
    > experience...
    > The rate per kilowatt hour is about 0.10 Euros before tax (near 10 cents
    > US $)
    > 0.125 Euros afterTax included.
    > The price for Gas is very high between 3.5 and 5 US $ per Gallon, but
    > all over Europe. Most of it is taxes, something like 85% of the price.
    > In 1980 I made an analysis on the energy prices, even after the first
    > petroleum price shock in 1974 the actual price of oil had gone down bellow
    > the oil
    > prices in 1947 in constant US $... These were World market prices, not
    > consummer
    > prices. Consumer prices in Europe had gone up, primarily as a result of
    > higher taxes while in North America the prices had remained in line with
    > general inflation rates. This trend has not changed since...
    > The result is that people in Europe try to have higher efficiency for
    > heating systems and for their cars. If I remember well, European cars
    > manufacturers have designed cars with a gas mileage far better than most
    > cars.
    > I think this discussion belongs indeed to this forum as a lot of the
    > statements that have been made, including mine, are conveying the most
    > common memes
    > concerning energy and environmental policies. On one side the conservative
    > discourse, on the other side the liberal discourse...
    > I think that we all tend to rely too much on publicly available memes,
    > carried by the medias and pubs discussions, to base our decisions in the
    > political
    > field and not enough on serious analysis of available information.
    > Paul Trehin

    Thank you, Paul.

    Actually, I was not trying to launch a broad discussion of energy policy, taxation, global warming, or the Kyoto treaty. Rather, I was interested in finding out how some beliefs about these topics arose in one person, in this case Brad Jensen, as well as how specific or exact those beliefs might be (for instance, actual electricity costs and taxes.)

    It is theoretically possible that Brad reached his conclusion after studying the electricity prices and how they might have affected people's decisions to have or not have air conditioning. It seems more likely, however, that Brad acquired the specific ideas from someone who held those ideas before he did. If so, the question is what was the mode of communication of those ideas? A magazine article? (if so, which?) A statement from a friend? Another online forum? (If so, which?) A television program? And so forth.

    Here in Chicago, the electricity costs about 9 cents per kilowatt hour before taxes, and about 10 cents per kilowatt hour including taxes. Most people here have air conditioning, as we have many hot days in the summer. But I have not heard anyone expressing concern that electricity taxes here were causing the poor and elderly to suffer and die in hot dwellings that had no air conditioners running.

    --Aaron Lynch

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