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Editorial: Propping Up U.S. Coal

December 31, 2020 | By admin | No Comments | Filed in: oioiyzvto.

first_imgEditorial: Propping Up U.S. Coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享New York Times:The fate of this boondoggle rests with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an independent regulator that is not bound to do what the administration wants. Its five commissioners — three Republicans and two Democrats — ought to think carefully before casting their votes. Mr. Perry’s proposal could add around $11 billion a year to the cost of electricity, depending on how the rule is interpreted, according to four separate research reports. Yet it would do little to improve the electrical grid. That’s because less than one-hundredth of 1 percent of power failures between 2012 and 2016 were caused by fuel supply emergencies, according to the Rhodium Group, a research firm.Regrettably, facts do not seem to matter to Mr. Perry, who famously called for the elimination of the Energy Department without understanding what it does. He has used a number of disingenuous arguments to justify his cockamamie proposal, including suggesting that it would have helped the grid deal with emergencies like the 2014 polar vortex, when frigid winds slammed the Northeast. In fact, the grid worked reasonably well then thanks to wind turbines and demand response, the system where grid operators ask big electricity users to temporarily use less juice. By contrast, some coal-fired power plants were unable to generate electricity because their coal piles froze and their equipment malfunctioned in subfreezing temperatures.This proposal has been so poorly thought out that it has made odd bedfellows of groups that are often on opposing sides of big policy debates. The oil and gas industry, for instance, has teamed up with renewable energy and environmental groups to fight it. Eight former FERC commissioners from both parties have sent a letter opposing the plan, arguing that it “would be a significant step backward from the commission’s long and bipartisan evolution to transparent, open, competitive wholesale markets.”If the Trump administration were truly concerned about reliability and resilience, it would have taken time to study the issue and identify the grid’s weakest links. It would have found that many power failures are caused when hurricanes and other severe weather knock out transmission lines and other equipment. During Hurricane Harvey in Texas, where Mr. Perry was once governor, coal-fired power plants had to switch to natural gas because their fuel became too wet to be moved.There is no question the government needs to think about and prepare for more blackouts. Most scientists expect an increase in severe weather events because of climate change, which Mr. Trump has described as a “hoax.” But it is doing the country no favors by using electrical reliability as a ruse to prop up its favored fossil fuel and stick ratepayers with the bill.More: The Trump Administration’s Coal Bailoutlast_img read more

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Improve decisions through slower thinking

December 17, 2020 | By admin | No Comments | Filed in: zzqgqddue.

first_imgThe research and insights of Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist and 2002 Nobel Prize winner in economics, are extremely valuable to leaders as they seek to improve strategic decision-making. Hahnemann’s best-selling book, “Thinking Fast and Slow”, illuminates how the mind works based on his years of research.  His fascinating results can alert leaders about unconscious cognitive processes that are influencing thinking, often causing sub-optimal decision-making.  Sound decisions based on best available data are the hallmark of a leader, but the natural workings of the mind can interfere. Kahneman describes two brain processes. “Fast thinking” is impulsive, automatic, and intuitive. This legacy of human evolution had inherent survival advantages, allowing humans to take rapid action when needed.  “Slow-thinking” is thoughtful, deliberate, and analytical.  It activates when the mind faces a situation it does not automatically comprehend.  Slow-thinking involves conscious mental activities such as self-control, choice and focused attention, which are the tools of emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and strategic decision-making.  Having awareness of cognitive traps gives you the ammunition you need to avoid them.  You will improve decision-making by moving away from “thinking fast” and the traps described below, whereas “thinking slow” will produce a better outcome.  We have a default tendency to make fast thinking snap judgments that oversimplify analyses of complex situations.  Shortcuts or “heuristics” allow for quick decisions, but we tend to overuse them.  With the substitution heuristic, we substitute an easier question for the one that we actually need to answer.  In hiring, for example, the tough question: “Will this person be successful in the job”, which requires significant study of their background and history of success, is replaced by the easier question: “Does the person interview well”. The availability heuristic overestimates the importance or probability of something that is most personally relevant, recently heard, or vividly remembered.  Managers working from memory in conducting performance appraisals will weigh more heavily employee behaviors that are most easily recalled, which are usually dramatic examples, whether good or bad.  Furthermore, more recent memories are automatically weighted more heavily.  There is a natural unconscious tendency to seek out and rely on information that confirms our beliefs. This confirmation bias also downplays or dismisses information that might change our minds.  The result is decision-making informed with only partial information and not all that is required. When preparing your proposals and strategies, actively seek out opposing information and viewpoints, and have your team do the same.  In meetings, you might have the person making a proposal argue against it.  An opponent of the proposal can in turn, in good faith, argue for it.  Another unconscious bias, the endowment effect, means that just owning something makes it more valuable to that person.  Along with the related loss aversion effect, people would rather leave things as they are than risk a loss. Most strategists are good at identifying the risks of new businesses, but it is much more difficult to see the risk of failing to change. Analyzing existing businesses, products and operations with the same scrutiny as a new investment will help avoid this trap.Avoidable statistical mistakes are made regularly.  As with confirmation bias, the resulting decision-making utilizes only part of the needed information.  There are numerous types of probability-related errors. Let’s examine just one.  Base rate neglect occurs when we ignore general information about a population and focus on specific information that applies only in a certain case.  Almost half of Harvard medical students made the following base rate error in an exam: A serious, but rare, the disease affects 1 in 1000 people. How worried should you be in receiving a positive determination using a test with 95% accuracy? Most people would worry that they had a 95% chance of having the disease.  Half the Harvard students thought that as well. However, because the base rate is very low (1/1000), the actual likelihood is roughly 2%, and the chance of a false positive is 98%. Traps like these can negatively impact your decisions.  Avoiding them will give your decisions more power.Would these illustrative statistics ever come to mind? People fear death from sharks, but in America cows or horses are 40 times more likely to kill (mostly kicks), and deer are 130 times more (auto-accidents). 65SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Stuart R. Levine Founded in 1996, Stuart Levine & Associates LLC is an international strategic planning and leadership development company with focus on adding member value by strengthening corporate culture.SL&A … Web: www.Stuartlevine.com Detailslast_img read more

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