New US Wealth Distributions

As mentioned in the NY Times and Huffington Post, a new analysis has been presented on US wealth distributions, but they did not report much of the data or results that were obtained.  I have looked at the report by Emmanuel Saez (UC Berkeley) and Gabriel Zucman (LSE and UC Berkeley) to present more results.

The authors give household wealth based on looking at income sources, and using rates of return for each income category.  This is called the capitalization method, and was evaluated for each year since 1913, a century ago.  Their method agrees with the Survey of Consumer Finances by the Federal Reserve Board at the top 1% level , which is only done every three years.  However, their method is more comprehensive and accurate at incomes above the top 1%.

The Saez-Zucman report slide presentation is 62 slides with many multiple graphs, and here we only report some of the main results.  First, if you think the report is about you or me, it isn’t.  It is mainly focused on the top 0.1% (1 in a 1,000) which starts at $20 million today.  It also concerns the top 0.01% (1 in 10,000) which starts at $100 million today.  The top 1% starts at $4 million.

The increase in wealth share has not occurred for income classes below the top 0.1%.

For the top 0.1% (too bad they didn’t give names to these classes. In California, we would call them “gated community residents”).  Back to the top 0.1%, after spending the 1940′s to 1980′s at only 10% of US wealth, they are now back to having 22% of US wealth.  That’s where they were in the Roaring Twenties.








The top 1% to 0.5% bracket own 7% of total wealth, which has remained fixed.  The top 0.5% to 0.1% bracket own 11% of US wealth.  The top 0.1% to 0.01% bracket own 10% of US wealth.  The top 0.01% have risen from only 6% to 11% now.  Adding up the brackets starting at 1% gives 7+11+10+11 = 39% of US wealth.  (A single graph shows it as 40%.)

Since it has been said elsewhere that the top 1% pay 37% of US taxes, we see that per unit of wealth, they pay no greater a rate than the other 99% (didn’t that 99% have something to do with a march on Wall Street.)

Household wealth is now about 4.3 times national income.  The largest wealth sector is in pensions.  The other three leading sectors of about equal amounts are currency-deposits-bonds, equities, and housing.

Yield on private wealth is about 7%, and total return is 8% (decadal  averages).

The top 10% have about 75% of the wealth, meaning the other 90% have 25% of the wealth.  If I understand the slides correctly, the top 10% starts at $500,000 in wealth.  Around 1930, the top 10% had 80% of the wealth, and in 1986 they had a low of 64% of the wealth.  The top 10% to 1% bracket has 35% of the wealth.

The wealth of the 90% has 25% in pension funds, and less than 10% in business assets, equities and fixed claims, and housing.

The current savings rate of the 90% is about 2%.  It was negative from 1997 to 2007.  It was over 10% in the early 1980s.

The savings rate of the top 1% is back to 40%.  The savings rate of the top 10% to 1% bracket is 10%.

Their figures compare well to the Forbes 400, which is the top 0.00025%, and which has 3.2% of the wealth.

Posted in Economies, Wealth | Leave a comment

Neutrino Mysteries, Lecture for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

On Monday, April 7, I gave a lecture on “Neutrino Mysteries” to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of UC Irvine. It is at the link Neutrino Mysteries 5 .

The talk covers neutrino properties and an explanation of neutrino mixing.  It also shows how the flavor neutrinos associated with the electron, muon, and tau leptons are composed of superpositions of neutrinos with definite mass.  The talk also covers the origin of neutrinos in nuclear reactors, in the sun, in the atmosphere, and in supernova.  The simplified model of the neutrino mixing matrix is discussed.

The first lecture for the course contained the YouTube video Project Poltergeist by the BBC Horizon Project.  It was about the discovery of the deficit in electron neutrinos from the sun by Ray Davis, compared to the solar model calculations of John Bachall.

Posted in Cosmology, Particle Physics | Leave a comment

Steps to Reducing US CO2 Pollution

We evaluate the effects on CO2 production of replacement of coal with natural gas, increasing vehicle fuel economy, and doubling nuclear or renewable power.

First we introduce a simple accounting method or index for CO2 production. We take CO2 from a unit of natural gas energy as a reference 1. Then for the same energy from petroleum we take it as 1.4 CO2 since it produces 40% more CO2 than natural gas. For a unit of energy from coal we take 2 since it generates twice as much CO2 as natural gas. Renewables (including hydro) and nuclear power are taken as essentially zero in CO2 production.

The US energy sources by percent are shown in the graph below.


Here, petroleum is 36% of our energy, and multiplying by 1.4 gives 0.50 to the CO2 production index.

Natural gas is 27% of our energy, and multiplying by 1 gives 0.27 to the CO2 index.

Coal is 18% of our energy, and multiplying by 2 gives 0.36 to the CO2 index.

Renewables are 9% of our energy (mostly hydro) giving 0 CO2.

Nuclear is 8% of our energy giving 0 CO2.

The total index is 1.13. This is equivalent to 13% greater CO2 than if all our energy came from natural gas, and is a simple way to compare CO2 from various scenarios.

First lets evaluate what happens if natural gas replaces all coal production, which is in progress since natural gas is now cheaper. The 18% coal now adds 18% to natural gas, making the new natural gas 45% of our energy. Multiplying by 1 gives 0.45 to the CO2 index. The total CO2 index is now 0.45 plus the previous 0.50 from petroleum to give 0.95. The total CO2 production index has been reduced from 1.13 to 0.95, or a reduction of 16% to 84% of the present CO2 production.

Next, lets look at the added affect of increasing the fleet average fuel economy. Whereas the stated goal for 2025 is 55 mpg, there are exceptions to maintain the same types of models, and an estimate of 43 mpg has been given for the fleet average of new cars then. This will also probably need a fair percentage of hybrid vehicles. It will also take a decade for this to replace all cars. The average vehicle mileage today is 27 mpg. So the reduction in petroleum usage ratio wise is to 27/43 = 0.63 of present usage. Since present petroleum is 0.50 CO2 units, that will reduce it to 0.32 CO2 index. Adding that to the natural gas after replacing coal CO2 index of 0.45 gives a total CO2 index of 0.77. The ratio of 0.77 to the present 1.13 index is 0.68 or a reduction to 68% CO2 from the present.

This looks like the above present trend and goals will reduce CO2 by a third from the present.

A nuclear policy being considered a few years ago would have doubled nuclear energy in the US. Partly because of fear after Fukushima and due to costs, this is in doubt these days. But we consider it anyway to find out what its effect could be. At this point, we consider the extra 8% replacing the natural gas. The estimate is the same as if renewables were increased to cover the 8%. We reduce the natural gas from 0.45 by 0.08 to 0.37 for the CO2 index. Adding that to the future petroleum index of 0.32 gives a total index of 0.69. The ratio of that to the present index of 1.13 gives 61% of the present CO2 generation.

We see that without any real new energy source breakthroughs we can achieve a reduction to 61% of our present CO2 production by these conversions and fuel efficiency. The time scale here is only about 20 years or so.

We have assumed here that as our population grows there are no new energy demands. Electricity generation efficiency and industrial efficiency and household and lighting efficiencies have been working in our favor. With cheaper and better batteries, we can start to convert to electrical vehicles, which are also more efficient users of fuel that produces the energy.

In the world at large, there is hope in the large number of nuclear reactors being considered, and in the future conversion from Chinese coal to natural gas usage as well. We should do what we can to help future developing countries to adopt less smog and CO2 polluting sources than China has.

Posted in Climate Change, Conservation, Electric Power, Energy Efficiency, Fossil Fuel Energy, Natural Gas, Nuclear Energy, Oil, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Transportation, Wind Energy | Leave a comment

Comparison of the Russian Military Budget with EU, NATO, and US Budgets

The data are from SIPRI (Stockholm) quoted in Wikipedia.  The 2013 Russian military budget was $91 billion.  The NATO countries total was $990 billion, a factor of 10 times larger.  The main parts of NATO are the US at $682 billion, and the EU at $274 billion.  China had the next largest budget at $166 billion.

The leading EU countries are the UK at $91 billion, France at $59 billion, Germany at $46 billion, and Italy at $34 billion.

The military budget of Ukraine is only $4.9 billion.

Russia has been increasing its military budget in absolute dollars, but has kept about the same ratio with its GDP.  This graph is from Forbes, with the data from the SIPRI.  Russia has almost tripled its military spending since 2000.


Posted in Economies | Leave a comment

California Universities in Times Worldwide Rankings

Many California Universities Score in the Top 10 and 100 of Times Higher Education Worldwide Rankings of 2013-2014.  These rankings are really last year’s, and new ones are expected in a few months.

First, since this is a UC Irvine blog, I point out that in the Universities under 50 years old, UC Irvine placed #5 worldwide. Other American Universities in the top 50 under 50 are UC Santa Cruz #11, U. Texas at Dallas #15, and U. Illinois at Chicago #19.  This means that UCI placed first in the US for universities under 50 years old.  Next year we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary, so this standing will not last long.

Now for the main California Universities, the world rankings and average SAT scores are to the left of their names.  The number of students in each is to the right.

1 2270 Cal Tech                       2,231
4 2215 Stanford                     19,945
8 2050 UC Berkeley             36,137
12 1950 UCLA                        39,271
33 1815 UC Santa Barbara   21,685
40 1845 UC San Diego         28,593
52 1805 UC Davis                  31,732
70 2065 USC                          38,010
93 1725 UC Irvine                  27,189
136 1700 UC Santa Cruz       17,454
148 1605 UC Riverside         20,900

Just to not overlook the top US Universities, we include

2 2255 Harvard                    27,392
5 2220 MIT                           10,894
6 2255 Princeton                    7,813
9 2227 U. Chicago                 14,979
11 2245 Yale                           11,875

Posted in Education | Leave a comment

Russian Oil and Energy Data from the American Enterprise Institute

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has data on Russian oil and energy.  The AEI also represents US oil companies, but I hope the data is sound.

Russian electricity sources are 68% fossil fuel, 20% hydro, and 11% nuclear.  I am aware that this differs from the EIA data, because this includes hydro and nuclear, wheras EIA only quotes renewables and others as 10%, and leaves out hydro and nuclear.

They have 33 reactors producing 23.6 GigaWatts.  10 new reactors are under construction.  Another 25 reactors are being planned by 2025.  Russia’s goal is to have 70-80% of their electricity to be nuclear by 2100.

The state owns 56% of oil production, with the leading company Rosneft accounting for 48% of total oil production.  Russia exports 5 million barrels per day.  (If you calculate that at the current price at $100 per barrel, it comes to $180 billion a year gross.)

Oil and gas revenues for Russia are $215 billion a year.

Russian oil companies are taxed at a 70% rate.

Posted in Economies, Electric Power, Fossil Fuel Energy, Natural Gas, Oil | Leave a comment

US EIA Data on Russian Natural Gas and Oil

The US Energy Information Agency (EIA) website has a lot of detailed data on Russian fossil fuels and energy usage.  I am only going to mention those relevant to reserves and exports of oil and natural gas, and energy usage.

Oil and natural gas earns Russia 70% of its $515 billion in exports.  They also supply 52% of Russia’s federal budget.

Europe gets 25% of its natural gas from Russia.




Russia has the largest natural gas reserves in the world.

Europe’s sources of natural gas are shown below, from The Lithuania Post of July 19, 2013











Russia has the largest natural gas reserves in the world.  The leading countries in reserves are shown in the bar graph below.  The units are in trillion cubic feet.

The US figure in the chart below is only for “wet gas” which means that it also contains liquids ethane and butane, which makes it more valuable.


Since other articles here use cubic meters of gas, we have to note that 1 cubic meter equals 35.314 cubic feet.  The US also uses BTUs, where 1 cubic foot equals 1,027 BTU.  Our gas bills are also in therms, which is 100,000 BTU, and therefore approximately 100 cubic feet.

In liquid fuels, Russia is the third largest producer, at 10.4 million barrels per day (bbl/day).  For scale, world oil production is about 89 million bbl/day.  US oil usage has declined from about 19 million bbl/day to 16 million bbl/day.  Russia distributes this oil through its Transneft pipeline network.  Russia exports about 7.2 million bbl/day.

Russian electricity production is 220 GigaWatts of electricity.  It is building 10 nuclear reactors.  Its energy comes 56% from natural gas, 19% petroleum, coal only 14%, and renewables and others 10%.

According to the NY Times, 53% of European gas imports from Russia go through Ukraine.  (Earlier versions of the NY Times said 80% or 63%, which may be the source of other figures circulating on the internet.  This also can be time dependent, since Europe had a warmer winter and used less gas.)  The pipelines through Ukraine serve Germany, Italy, and France.

Posted in Economies, Electric Power, Fossil Fuel Energy, Natural Gas, Oil | Leave a comment

Russian Natural Gas and Oil from Gazprom

Gazprom is Russia’s main gas company. On its site it has a 38 page document summarizing its oil and natural gas business and that of Russia. This is a summary of key facts in that presentation. When I say gas here I mean natural gas.

Russia has 28% of the World’s gas reserves, 20% of it coal, and 4.6% of its oil.

Gazprom itself has 18% of the World’s gas, and therefore 70% of Russia’s 33.6 trillion cubic meters of gas (tcm).

Gazprom accounts for 75% of the World’s gas production, and also 75% of Russia’s gas production. In 2012 it produced 487 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas.

Its pipelines run 162,000 km (100,000 miles), and consume 42 GigaWatts of pumping power.

After the dissolution of the USSR, the countries contained in that are called the “near abroad” and Putin has declared the region as Russia’s “sphere of influence” (from Wikipedia). They include the Baltic States, the Caucasas, the Central Asia “stans”, and the Central and Eastern Europe Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine.

The “far abroad” or Europe consumed 139 bcm. 76% went to West Europe and Turkey. 24% went to Central Europe. The leading users were Germany at 33 bcm, Turkey at 27 bcm, and Italy at 15 bcm.

europe pipelines










There is a Nord Stream pipeline (completed) under the Baltic Sea that carries 55 bcm. A Blue Stream pipeline goes to Turkey and carries 16 bcm. A South Stream pipeline that goes south of the Ukraine will begin in December of 2015 and will eventually carry 63 bcm.

There are also Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) exports to the Republic of Korea, China, India and southeast Asia.

According to CNN Money, from US EIA data, oil and natural gas earns Russia 70% of its $515 billion in exports. It also provides 52% of Russia’s federal budget. Europe gets 25% of its natural gas from Russia.

Posted in Economies, Fossil Fuel Energy, Natural Gas, Oil | Leave a comment

Russian, EU, Ukraine and US Economic and Trade Data

Since trade sanctions are being discussed, I wanted to gather together trade data for Russia, the EU, Ukraine and the US. The inter-connectivity of the EU, Ukraine and Russian economies makes sanctions a two way street. In particular, the dependence of Europe on Russian natural gas and oil, as well as the pipelines that run through the Ukraine make a very complex picture.

The data here is taken from the World Trade Organization and is for 2012 or the period 2010 to 2012. It is in US dollars $. The data are for the Russian Federation, but I just call it Russia.

Russia’s population is 143 million people.

Russia’s GDP is $2.01 trillion, but its Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) in terms of goods that can be purchased is $3.37 trillion. Its GDP (PPP) per capita is $23,400.

Its exports were $529 billion, and its imports $335 billion. Adding those and dividing by the population roughly gives the trade per capita figure of $6,583.

Merchandising exports are divided into Fuel and Mining 71.3%, Manufacture 19.6% and Agriculture 6.0%. 45% of exports go to the European Union (EU). Russia has 2.88% of the world’s exports.

Under Commercial Services their exports are $58 billion, and imports are $104 billion.

Travel exports are $58 billion, and imports are $104 billion.

The Washington Post says that US exports to Russia are $11 billion annually.  PepsiCo earnings there are $4.8 billion.  The US also has $14 billion in direct investment in manufacturing plants and offices.

For comparison, the EU of 27 countries has a population of 504 million. That is 3.5 times the population of Russia. Its GDP is $16.6 trillion. Its PPP GDP is almost identical at $17.0 trillion. Its GDP (PPP) per capita is $33,700. That is 5.0 times the Russian economy. Its trade per capita is $11,300. Its merchandise exports are $2.17 trillion, and its imports are $2.3 trillion. It provides 14.7% of the world’s exports. The US is its biggest export country, at 17%. The EU imports 15.4% of the world’s imports. Its largest import sources are: 16% from China, 12% from Russia, and 12% from the US.

The EU exports to Russia are 7.3% of EU exports. Its imports from Russia are 12% of its imports.  The NY Times states that 53% of the Russian gas meant for the EU goes through the Ukraine.  Gas to Germany, Italy and France goes through Ukraine.  It also states that 40% of Europe’s imported fuel comes from Russia. CNN Money says that 25% of Europe’s natural gas comes from Russia. I have separate reports on natural gas supplies.

For further comparison, the Ukraine has a population of 45.6 million.  Its GDP is $176 billion, or in goods purchase power GDP (PPP) is $338 billion.  Its GDP (PPP) per capita is $7,400.

Ukraine’s trade per capita is $3,790. Of its exports, 26% go to Russia, and 25% go to the EU. Its imports come 32% from Russia, and 31% from the EU. One can see its delicate balance between its neighbors. The Ukraine Merchandise exports are $68.5 billion, of which fuels and mining are 13%. Its Merchandise imports are $84.6 billion, of which 33% are fuels and mining.

The Ukraine GDP, not corrected for PPP, is shown below since 1987.

Ukraine GDP 1988-2011

We note the sharp dip in 2009.

The Crimean peninsula population from Wikipedia is 2.4 million people. Sevastopol, which has a special city status, has a population of 342,000.

Finally, I add here similar data for the US economy. The US population (2012) was 314 million. Its GDP is $15.7 trillion. Its GDP/capita is $50,000.

US trade per capita is $14,700. Its exports are $1.55 trillion and imports are $2.34 trillion. (Catch the $800 billion balance of payments deficit?) We ship 8.40% of the world’s exports. Our largest recipients are Canada 19%, the EU 17%, Mexico 14%, China 7%, and Japan 4.5%. We import 12.6% of the world’s imports. Our main sources are China 19%, the EU 17%, Canada 14%, Mexico 12%, and Japan 6.4%.

Since economic sanctions are being considered by both the US and Europe, it is useful to add the population and GDP figures to compare them to the Russian figures.  The European population plus the US population is 540 million plus 320 million equals 860 million.  This is 6.0 times the Russian population of 143 million.  The European GDP (PPP) plus the US GDP is $17.0 trillion plus $15.7 trillion equals $32.7 trillion.  This is 9.7 times the Russian GDP (PPP) of $3.37 trillion.

Even though the Russians surround Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, Europe and the US completely dominate the economic realm.

Posted in Economies, Fossil Fuel Energy, Natural Gas | Leave a comment

Fuel Usage and Cost for Various MPG Ratings

The actual fuel usage and therefore CO2 pollution is not given by the miles per gallon rating (mpg) but by its inverse, the gallons per mile.  There are about 20 pounds of CO2 created for every gallon burned.  For several values of mpg, we invert to gallons per mile, and we multiply the gallons per mile by 300 miles.  That is an average weekly driving by a commuter who drives 60 miles roundtrip to work five days a week.  For 50 weeks of driving it gives 15,000 miles per year, a high but possible figure for commuters.  Gas tanks typically hold fuel for over 300 miles, but you may typically refuel them when they start getting low on fuel at that distance.  Now that gas is heading toward $4 a gallon in California, I will use that price in adding a third column to the table for cost per refill.

So the first column of the table is mpg by 5′s from 10 mpg (Hummer) to 60 mpg (55 mpg is the 2025 future mileage standard).  The second column is the inverse in gallons per mile for 300 miles.  The third column is the price of the fill-up after 300 miles at $4 per gallon.  Since tables are hard to make and align or insert in WordPress, I will just make it by spacing.

MPG          Gallons      Cost ($)

for 300 miles

10                    30        120

15                    20        80

20                    15        60

25                    12        48

30                    10        40

35                    8.6       34.2

40                    7.5       30

45                    6.7       26.7

50                    6          24

55                    5.5       21.8

60                    5          20

The current average car mileage is about 27 mpg.  On sees in this table the law of diminishing returns.  As one pushes toward ever higher mpg, the diminution in gallons used or weekly cost of gas is very small.  There are gas only cars now that claim 35 mpg at highway speeds.  If one pays several thousand extra for an electric hybrid that promises 45 mpg, the savings are only about $7.50 a week or $390 a year.  You only save about two gallons of gas a week.  The real key to lowering vehicle CO2 emissions is to eventually hybridize heavy vehicles, or talk people out of very heavy cars getting only 15 or 20 mpg, which burn 80 to 60 gallons a week.  The decade away mpg standard of 55 mpg is only for the smallest cars.  Compared to the Prius hybrids that already get 45 mpg, only save 1.2 gallons a week, or about $5 a week.  For these economical cars, the future is already here.

Posted in Autos, Climate Change, Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Fossil Fuel Energy | Leave a comment