Greenspan on Leapfrogging in India

(p. 316) India is fast becoming two entities: a rising kernal of world-class modernity within a historic culture that has been for the most part stagnating for generations.
This kernal of modernity appears to have largely leapfrogged the twentieth-century labor-intensive manuafacturing-for-export model embraced by China and the rest of East Asia.

Greenspan, Alan. The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World Economic Flexibility. New York: Penguin Press, 2007.

Government Supported Biofuels Increase Global Warming


Source of graph: online version of the WSJ article quoted and cited below.

(p. A4) While the U.S. and others race to expand the use and production of biofuels, two new studies suggest these gasoline alternatives actually will increase carbon-dioxide levels.
A study published in the latest issue of Science finds that corn-based ethanol, a type of biofuel pushed heavily in the U.S., will nearly double the output of greenhouse-gas emissions instead of reducing them by about one-fifth by some estimates. A separate paper in Science concludes that clearing native habitats to grow crops for biofuel generally will lead to more carbon emissions.
The findings are the latest to take aim at biofuels, which have already been blamed for pushing up prices of corn and other food crops, as well as straining water supplies. The Energy Department expects U.S. ethanol production to reach about 7.5 billion gallons this year from 3.9 billion in 2005, encouraged by high prices and government support. The European Union has proposed that 10% of all fuel used in transportation should come from biofuels by 2020.
Some scientists have praised biofuels because growing biofuel feedstock would remove gases that trap the sun’s heat from the air, while gasoline and diesel fuel take carbon from the ground and put it in the air. However, some earlier studies didn’t account for one hard-to-measure factor: the decision by farmers world-wide to convert forest and grasslands to grow feedstock for the new biofuels.
. . .
[One] study’s funding came from the National Science Foundation and the University of Minnesota’s Initiative on Renewable Energy and the Environment, . . . The other paper relied on funding from various indirect sources, including the Hewlett Foundation and the Agriculture Department.

For the full story, see:
GAUTAM NAIK. “Biofuels Hold Potential for Greater Levels of CO2; Land Use for Crops May Cancel Out Benefits of Use.” The Wall Street Journal (Fri., February 8, 2008): A4.

(Note: ellipses added; and bracketed word added.)
(Note: the somewhat different title of the online version was “Biofuels May Hinder Antiglobal-Warming Efforts; Carbon Emissions Could Increase As Land-Use Shifts.”)

Federal Subsidies for “Those Who Choose to Live Far from a City”

SubsidiesAirNebraskaGraphic.jpg Source of graphic: the online version of the Omaha World-Herald article quoted and cited below.

(p. 1A) WASHINGTON — Opponents of federal air travel subsidies make two points: that subsidized airports are relatively close to regular commercial air service and subsidized flights are used by only a few people a day.
Both are true in Nebraska.
For example, U.S. taxpayers spend nearly $1.4 million a year so that fewer than two dozen travelers a day, on average, can fly out of Grand Island rather than drive the 100 miles to Lincoln.
Taxpayers also chip in $748,635 annually to maintain two daily flights from Alliance to Denver, even though only about a half dozen people a day board the planes.
. . .
(p. 2A) Groups such as Taxpayers for Common Sense and Citizens Against Government Waste say that although the subsidies might have made sense 30 years ago, to prevent communities from losing air service overnight, people know what they’re getting into today if they choose to live far from a city with regular air service.
It’s a matter of prioritizing public spending, said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense.
“People have the right to food and clean water,” Ellis said. “We don’t need to make sure it’s a chicken in every pot and air service in every community.”

For the full story, see:
JOSEPH MORTON. “Rural travel subsidies still up in the air.” Omaha World-Herald (Sunday, February 24, 2008): 1A & 2A.
(Note: ellipses added.)

Federal spending on Essential Air Service
Year     # of communities    Total funding for subsidies *
1998   101   $50
1999   100   $50
2000   106   $50
2001   115   $50
2002   123   $113
2003   126   $101.3
2004   140   $101.7
2005   146   $101.6
2006   151   $109.4
2007   145   $109.4
2008   142   $125
*Figures in millions
Source of data: Government Accountability Office; U.S. Department of Transportation
Source of version of table above: very slightly modified from the online version of the Omaha World-Herald article quoted and cited above.