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The Carbon Flame War
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Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: wind power on 12/17/2010 02:19:15 MST Print View

Lynn says:
Wind energy can be stored. At the moment it is in early stages of development, and expensive, but time will tell. Prices may come down, or the price may seem more reasonable as the price of fossil fuels continues to increase. The energy can be stored in a variety of batteries, some more efficient than others and more efficient ones being developed all the time. It can be stored as compressed air. It can be raised as weights (gravity) to be lowered later when needed (not just water, but concrete, soil, etc...). It can be converted to hydrogen and burned off as needed (Ooops, there's more CO2...). It can be stored in large arrays of capacitors, or as thermal energy. And I'm sure there are other ideas in the pipeline.


I've started looking at these. The only compressed air venture was announced in 2008 and seems to have been kicked into the long grass. The designer, Michael Nakhamkin, teamed up with New Jersey power company PSE&G in 2008. They seem to be concentrating their alternative energy effort on solar panels now. -Unless you know different?

Battery storage is only for small scale operations. You say
"more efficient ones being developed all the time."
I say, not a viable option for large scale energy storage from an intermittent source. And very inefficient to convert kinetic energy to electrical energy, to chemical energy, back to electrical energy. Feel free to link something though.

Conversion to hydrogen sounds promising. How is that done? Electrolysis of water?
Oh yes, here we are http://www.physorg.com/news87494382.html
So that was 4 years ago. Where are we with that now?

Given that that all these possibilities do not seem to be under serious development yet, how sensible is it to carry on building enormous wind turbines all over the prettiest and most visible parts of our landscapes at enormous expense?

I'm sure it makes sense to the people receiving large amounts of wonga from the policy makers they are in bed with, but what about the rest of us who are getting big increases slapped on our energy bills?

Why are the figures of actual energy generation from wind so hard to track down? Surely we should be able to see what our tax dollars are producing?

Lynn says:
Wind is just one of many technologies for producing power


Nobody seems to be rushing to develop anything apart from solar and wind. Why not? I put it to you that feasibility studies on wave power, tidal power and other ideas have shown they are not practicable in engineering terms except in a limited number of favourable locations. I appreciate that technology develops, but you should appreciate that the laws of thermodynamics are unlikely to change anytime soon. This is why I'm saying we need to get real about the actual situation we are in *now*.

Avoiding dealing with the rapidly approaching energy gap by saying something will turn up tomorrow is no longer an option. We've been doing that for 20 years in Britain and *time has run out*.

Edit to add, someone high up must be reading the writing on the wall:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/david-cameron/8207482/Chris-Huhne-changes-his-mind-on-nuclear-power-with-complete-intellectual-conviction.html

Edited by tallbloke on 12/17/2010 05:02:43 MST.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Dreams on 12/17/2010 02:46:01 MST Print View

"Apologies to Roger C

And to Arapiles too. I get passionate and aerated about this stuff."

Apology accepted.

I apologise for calling you obtuse.

Edited by Arapiles on 12/17/2010 03:54:42 MST.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: Dreams on 12/17/2010 04:42:10 MST Print View

Accepted.

Hasn't the BOM forecast snow for the Aussie Alps this weekend?
http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Mt-Buller/forecasts/1804

;-)

Violent hail storm December 16, 2010 Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Pf-LXaJB64

http://weather.news.com.au/news/heavy-rain-in-very-dry-parts-of-western-australia-/15637
http://weather.news.com.au/news/more-storms-today-for-southeast-qld/15632
http://weather.news.com.au/news/severe-storms-plough-through-brisbane/15627
http://weather.news.com.au/news/stormy-sydney/15625

Edited by tallbloke on 12/17/2010 07:34:04 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Dreams on 12/17/2010 13:45:36 MST Print View

Hi Rog T

> I get passionate and aerated about this stuff.
Yeah, I know. No worries.

Btw - you could also take a look at the Spanish solar power system that uses a molten salt for energy storage and heat transfer. They reckon the current heat capacity can keep the plant running 24 hours a day. Many MW.

Cheers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andasol_Solar_Power_Station

Edited by rcaffin on 12/17/2010 17:41:14 MST.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dreams on 12/17/2010 17:04:40 MST Print View

Thanks Roger C.

I'll check into that. Spanish Wind power has been a bit of a disaster, with many subsidies paid to wind farms which have never been connected to the grid! The Spanish have had to chop the agreed prices paid for solar production and wind production, as their economy is in big trouble, and the green jobs boom never materialised.


I also took some photos of the worlds biggest 'four solaire' a couple of months ago outside font Romeu in SW France. Built in 1975. Impressive kit, though they use it for ceramics and nano-particle research rather then power generation. It attains 3600C at the focus. It uses a hillside full of mirrors reflecting onto this array:

.Four Solaire

Edited by tallbloke on 12/17/2010 17:06:16 MST.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Christmas Truce on 12/17/2010 18:19:05 MST Print View

Christmas Day, 1914

My dear sister Janet,

It is 2:00 in the morning and most of our men are asleep in their dugouts—yet I could not sleep myself before writing to you of the wonderful events of Christmas Eve. In truth, what happened seems almost like a fairy tale, and if I hadn’t been through it myself, I would scarce believe it. Just imagine: While you and the family sang carols before the fire there in London, I did the same with enemy soldiers here on the battlefields of France!

As I wrote before, there has been little serious fighting of late. The first battles of the war left so many dead that both sides have held back until replacements could come from home. So we have mostly stayed in our trenches and waited.

But what a terrible waiting it has been! Knowing that any moment an artillery shell might land and explode beside us in the trench, killing or maiming several men. And in daylight not daring to lift our heads above ground, for fear of a sniper’s bullet.

And the rain—it has fallen almost daily. Of course, it collects right in our trenches, where we must bail it out with pots and pans. And with the rain has come mud—a good foot or more deep. It splatters and cakes everything, and constantly sucks at our boots. One new recruit got his feet stuck in it, and then his hands too when he tried to get out—just like in that American story of the tar baby!

Through all this, we couldn’t help feeling curious about the German soldiers across the way. After all, they faced the same dangers we did, and slogged about in the same muck. What’s more, their first trench was only 50 yards from ours. Between us lay No Man’s Land, bordered on both sides by barbed wire—yet they were close enough we sometimes heard their voices.

Of course, we hated them when they killed our friends. But other times, we joked about them and almost felt we had something in common. And now it seems they felt the same.

Just yesterday morning—Christmas Eve Day—we had our first good freeze. Cold as we were, we welcomed it, because at least the mud froze solid. Everything was tinged white with frost, while a bright sun shone over all. Perfect Christmas weather.

During the day, there was little shelling or rifle fire from either side. And as darkness fell on our Christmas Eve, the shooting stopped entirely. Our first complete silence in months! We hoped it might promise a peaceful holiday, but we didn’t count on it. We’d been told the Germans might attack and try to catch us off guard.

I went to the dugout to rest, and lying on my cot, I must have drifted asleep. All at once my friend John was shaking me awake, saying, “Come and see! See what the Germans are doing!” I grabbed my rifle, stumbled out into the trench, and stuck my head cautiously above the sandbags.

I never hope to see a stranger and more lovely sight. Clusters of tiny lights were shining all along the German line, left and right as far as the eye could see.

“What is it?” I asked in bewilderment, and John answered, “Christmas trees!”

And so it was. The Germans had placed Christmas trees in front of their trenches, lit by candle or lantern like beacons of good will.

And then we heard their voices raised in song.

Stille nacht, heilige nacht . . . .

This carol may not yet be familiar to us in Britain, but John knew it and translated: “Silent night, holy night.” I’ve never heard one lovelier—or more meaningful, in that quiet, clear night, its dark softened by a first-quarter moon.

When the song finished, the men in our trenches applauded. Yes, British soldiers applauding Germans! Then one of our own men started singing, and we all joined in.

The first Nowell, the angel did say . . . .

In truth, we sounded not nearly as good as the Germans, with their fine harmonies. But they responded with enthusiastic applause of their own and then began another.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum . . . .

Then we replied.

O come all ye faithful . . . .

But this time they joined in, singing the same words in Latin.

Adeste fideles . . . .

British and German harmonizing across No Man’s Land! I would have thought nothing could be more amazing—but what came next was more so.

“English, come over!” we heard one of them shout. “You no shoot, we no shoot.”

There in the trenches, we looked at each other in bewilderment. Then one of us shouted jokingly, “You come over here.”
To our astonishment, we saw two figures rise from the trench, climb over their barbed wire, and advance unprotected across No Man’s Land. One of them called, “Send officer to talk.”

I saw one of our men lift his rifle to the ready, and no doubt others did the same—but our captain called out, “Hold your fire.” Then he climbed out and went to meet the Germans halfway. We heard them talking, and a few minutes later, the captain came back with a German cigar in his mouth!

“We’ve agreed there will be no shooting before midnight tomorrow,” he announced. “But sentries are to remain on duty, and the rest of you, stay alert.”

Across the way, we could make out groups of two or three men starting out of trenches and coming toward us. Then some of us were climbing out too, and in minutes more, there we were in No Man’s Land, over a hundred soldiers and officers of each side, shaking hands with men we’d been trying to kill just hours earlier!

Before long a bonfire was built, and around it we mingled—British khaki and German grey. I must say, the Germans were the better dressed, with fresh uniforms for the holiday.

Only a couple of our men knew German, but more of the Germans knew English. I asked one of them why that was.

“Because many have worked in England!” he said. “Before all this, I was a waiter at the Hotel Cecil. Perhaps I waited on your table!”

“Perhaps you did!” I said, laughing.

He told me he had a girlfriend in London and that the war had interrupted their plans for marriage. I told him, “Don’t worry. We’ll have you beat by Easter, then you can come back and marry the girl.”

He laughed at that. Then he asked if I’d send her a postcard he’d give me later, and I promised I would.

Another German had been a porter at Victoria Station. He showed me a picture of his family back in Munich. His eldest sister was so lovely, I said I should like to meet her someday. He beamed and said he would like that very much and gave me his family’s address.

Even those who could not converse could still exchange gifts—our cigarettes for their cigars, our tea for their coffee, our corned beef for their sausage. Badges and buttons from uniforms changed owners, and one of our lads walked off with the infamous spiked helmet! I myself traded a jackknife for a leather equipment belt—a fine souvenir to show when I get home.

Newspapers too changed hands, and the Germans howled with laughter at ours. They assured us that France was finished and Russia nearly beaten too. We told them that was nonsense, and one of them said, “Well, you believe your newspapers and we’ll believe ours.”

Clearly they are lied to—yet after meeting these men, I wonder how truthful our own newspapers have been. These are not the “savage barbarians” we’ve read so much about. They are men with homes and families, hopes and fears, principles and, yes, love of country. In other words, men like ourselves. Why are we led to believe otherwise?

As it grew late, a few more songs were traded around the fire, and then all joined in for—I am not lying to you—“Auld Lang Syne.” Then we parted with promises to meet again tomorrow, and even some talk of a football match.

I was just starting back to the trenches when an older German clutched my arm. “My God,” he said, “why cannot we have peace and all go home?”

I told him gently, “That you must ask your emperor.”

He looked at me then, searchingly. “Perhaps, my friend. But also we must ask our hearts.”

And so, dear sister, tell me, has there ever been such a Christmas Eve in all history? And what does it all mean, this impossible befriending of enemies?

For the fighting here, of course, it means regrettably little. Decent fellows those soldiers may be, but they follow orders and we do the same. Besides, we are here to stop their army and send it home, and never could we shirk that duty.

Still, one cannot help imagine what would happen if the spirit shown here were caught by the nations of the world. Of course, disputes must always arise. But what if our leaders were to offer well wishes in place of warnings? Songs in place of slurs? Presents in place of reprisals? Would not all war end at once?

All nations say they want peace. Yet on this Christmas morning, I wonder if we want it quite enough.

Your loving brother,

Tom

Copyright © 2001, 2003 by Aaron Shepard. May be freely copied and shared for any noncommercial purpose.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: So how far will you go? on 12/17/2010 20:06:31 MST Print View

"Are you hoping to get a Consensus?"

Hi Roger,

No, I'm not that naive. I would be hoping to see a cluster of similar views, differing in some respects but essentially on the same page, either the warming page or the cooling page. Ideally they would represent a majority of the participants, but I'd settle for a plurality. I suppose there could be a third page representing a neither warming or cooling point of view. I was secretly, until now, hoping that whoever is organizing the mysterious conference Roger T is going to attend would invite participants from both the Warmista and Coolista camps to have at one another in mortal intellectual combat, for the edification of the masses a la Feynman. More likely, the conference will represent only the Coolista, and we shall witness one more example of otherwise intelligent people gathering to discuss weighty matters exclusively with those of like mind.

Cheers,

Pollyanna

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: So how far will you go? on 12/17/2010 20:09:34 MST Print View

"Obviously, Tom. Sheesh."

Of course, Craig; how could I have overlooked that?

"A discussion on permaculture trends, ideas, and practices would be great..."

Now we're talkin! +1

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: So how far will you go? on 12/17/2010 20:54:37 MST Print View

"Evidence for a recent increase in forest growth
Sean M. McMahona, Geoffrey G. Parkera, and Dawn R. Millera
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/02/02/0912376107.full.pdf+html"

Funny thing, Rog; these guys include extended growing seasons(first/last frost dates) and warmer temperatures right up there with CO2 as reasons for biomass increase.

"We present a global investigation of vegetation responses to climatic changes by analyzing 18 years (1982 to 1999) of both climatic data and satellite observations of vegetation activity. Our results indicate that global changes in climate have eased several critical climatic constraints to plant growth, such that net primary production increased 6% (3.4 petagrams of carbon over 18 years) globally. The largest increase was in tropical ecosystems. Amazon rain forests accounted for 42% of the global increase in net primary production, owing mainly to decreased cloud cover and the resulting increase in solar radiation."

I can't get this one to down load, but the following links for the Amazon Basin all indicate deforestation proceeding apace:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00697.x/full
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2699.2002.00721.x/abstract
http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/359/1443/331.abstract
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=4943784
http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/360/1454/373.abstract

I didn't have time to get to Asia, Africa, or Latin America, but why would things be different there, given the universality of the two main causes of deforestation: population increase and agriculture?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So how far will you go? on 12/17/2010 21:27:49 MST Print View

"1)A 0.1Ph change in 300 years must be associated with natural variation, since atmospheric levels didn't rise to any great extent until the 1950's. The projected further drop in ocean Ph relies on the hypothesis that higher atmospheric co2 causes higher temperature, and that temperature will go on rising because of human emissions."

A view seemingly held by the vast majority of climate scientists, oops, I mean Warmista.

"2) The reduction in the phytoplankton population has several causes more immediate and direct than a tiny change in average oceanic Ph over 300 years. Less volcanism to supply nutrients, possibly oil sheen films on the surface, more intense U.V. from the sun over the later C20th, reduced cloud cover from 1980-1998, although it has been discovered those clever little plankton release cloud condensation nuclei to generate their own local environment to partly mitigate this."

I fail to see how you can make that statement with any certainty. I would refer you to a study done by a grad student at Princeton, Dailin Shi, who did a rigorous study of the effect of lowering Ph on the bioavailability of iron to phytoplankton, using both natural and artificial seawater. I would link you to it, but the article is a pay to read affair and I'm not willing to cough up the price of admission. I found it in a previous pass, but have not been able to locate the article since, only teaser abstracts. In brief, the conclusion is that iron compounds bind to organic matter in the sea water and become unavailable for uptake by phytoplankton. He manipulated Ph downward and based on the results concluded that a drop in Ph of .3-.4 would result in a 10-20% decrease in iron bioavailability.


"3) The reduction in atmospheric oxygen is on the order of a few parts per million, in an atmosphere which contains over 210,000 parts per million oxygen. You haven't provided links to papers on oxygen changes, and the one I found is limited to two sites high in the European alps."

Google Keeling AND atmospheric oxygen decrease. 1st article gives a solid theoretical explanation of decreases in O2 at 3 locations: La Jolla, Alert Bay in Northern Canada, and Cape Grim in Tasmania

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990719033405.htm
http://www.truehealth.org/oxydecl.html
http://www.biogeosciences-discuss.net/6/9127/2009/bgd-6-9127-2009.pdf
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/O2DroppingFasterThanCO2Rising.php

To be sure, the decrease is miniscule to date, but perhaps the trend is ominous, and not just in terms of atmospheric O2? By the way, I found the article you linked to that contained Mr Griffith's diatribe conceptually very interesting, especially the sections dealing with the mystery of the O2 sink and the call for an O2 accounting system, as we already have for carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur.


"4) We have only been able to measure global phytoplankton population for less than half an oceanic cycle. Extrapolating vague fears on the basis of such limited data is unwise and calls for economy endangering action unwarranted at this stage."

According to an article in scientific American, phytoplankton populations have decreased by 40% in the last century. Google it up if you're interested. The fears don't seem to be so vague to me.

"Unfortunately you are correct. They'll find out the error of their ways pretty soon though, Nature is a great teacher."

I shall be most interested to see the class roster; will it be composed of Warmista, or Coolista?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: So how far will you go? on 12/17/2010 21:57:08 MST Print View

"Those figures are quite a lot different to the ones in the studies you linked to."

Yes. The $64,000 question is: whose are correct?

Interesting, but here are a couple of links to complicate the issue. I found the second one particularly interesting. Please let me know what you think. There is a section on the effect of acidification on trace element availability that pertains to several of our previous posts, having to do with with ligand exchange and, I will speculate, protonation in some cases, in a manner srikingly similar to the processes that occur in soil solutions at low Ph to make various nutrients biologically unavailable. Phosphate is the one I remember best, but iron is apparently affected in that way, and it is the one of the main limiting factors in phytoplankton growth. The article partially agrees with what you are saying, BTW, to be perfectly honest. I guess what I am trying to say here, Rog, is that we are obviously faced with an enormously complex subject that could well prove to be an existential threat to humanity, and the only thing that really disturbs me about our exchanges is your seemingly unshakeable certainty that your view is correct. You can be as snide, condescending, heated, or whatever and I can deal with that-give a little, take a little. But the certainty bothers me. I will conclude by admitting that I have learned an enormous amount from our exchanges, both from you directly, and because you have forced me to dig deeper than I might otherwise have been forced to do. Regretfully I am going to have to take a time out in order to get on with my life. I've been spending far too much time on this, and I sense we've, or at least I, probably gotten about as much out of this as we're(I) likely to. With that I surrender the floor to you to have the last word. Don't disappoint me, now. ;-)

http://www.vims.edu/bayinfo/faqs/ocean_acidification.php
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/87/8708sci2.html

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: So how far will you go? on 12/18/2010 01:56:21 MST Print View

Tom says:
I've been spending far too much time on this, and I sense we've, or at least I, probably gotten about as much out of this as we're(I) likely to. With that I surrender the floor to you to have the last word. Don't disappoint me, now. ;-)


Hi Tom,
Thank you also for getting me to read and think further into this topic. The final thought I'll leave you with is this quote from a royal society document which is no longer at the link I had for it:

“In the deep oceans, the CO2 concentration increases as sinking organic matter from biological production (which varies seasonally) is decomposed. These additions of CO2 to the deep oceans cause its pH to decrease (causing acidification) … When this CO2-rich deep water upwells to the surface, it creates regions with lower pH in the surface waters”

Since this cycle takes hundreds of years, it could be that the current slow and small change in pH in the near surface waters since 1700 is due to the Medieval Warm Period rather than human co2 emissions.

I asked Judith Curry's opinion, since she is an ocean expert. She says:
" My understanding that this whole issue is surrounded with a high level of uncertainty."

So let's keep an eye on the data, be sceptical of strong claims either way, and always bend over backwards to explain how we might be wrong - Feynman style.

While you take a timeout, read James Lovelock's original book 'Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth' for a fascinating insight into the ways in which the vast biomass of tiny life forms on Earth and in the ocean control the balance of our highly anti-entropic atmosphere. Lichens, plants, bacteria and Plankton affect the atmosphere a lot more than humans do, they outweigh us by many orders of magnitude. Understanding the planet's ecology is an ongoing grapple with complexity.

FYI The Lisbon conference is aimed at conflict resolution and the organisers have invited equal numbers of the warmista and the coolista.

Cheers and best regards.

By the way George, the football match did take place. My grandfather was there.

Edited by tallbloke on 12/18/2010 02:13:06 MST.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: So how far will you go? on 12/18/2010 16:26:23 MST Print View

Rog: Lichens, plants, bacteria and Plankton affect the atmosphere a lot more than humans do, they outweigh us by many orders of magnitude. Understanding the planet's ecology is an ongoing grapple with complexity.

But, but, but... we humans dominate the world. Man versus Nature - we won that fight. Right, right?

Only in our own minds : )

=====


Rog: the football match did take place. My grandfather was there.

I'd wondered about that. Cool. I believe you. However, charts may be required for others : )

======

Tom,

There is no doubt that any of us would give you less that an A+ for your research. I'm sure many lurkers are benefiting from you hard work as much as I am. Thanks.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: So how far will you go? on 12/18/2010 18:23:30 MST Print View

"The final thought I'll leave you with is this quote from a royal society document..."

HI Rog - You didn't disapppoint me. It's been a heck of a ride, thanks in no small part to your thought provoking contributions. Lots of sturm und drang, but I'll bet many of us have taken a lot away from this discussion to ponder and use in our evaluations of the ongoing public controversy surrounding climate change. Not to mention, it's been good fun. ;)

Much obliged for the royal society quote-worth keeping in mind in future, as also Judith Curry's opinion. Most of all, for the reference to Lovelock's "Gaia"; I shall acquire it soon.

It gives me a real warm and fuzzy to know that the Lisbon conference is being organized according to conflict resolution principles. That enormously increases the chances of something good coming out of it, IMO.

Cheers and keep the faith,

Tom

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So how far will you go? on 12/18/2010 18:33:17 MST Print View

"Tom,

There is no doubt that any of us would give you less that an A+ for your research. I'm sure many lurkers are benefiting from you hard work as much as I am. Thanks."

George,

Thank you for the kind words. There were plenty of other folks who drove the process as hard , or harder, to the benefit of all. For all the aspersions cast upon "The Great Carbon Flame War" I have learned an incredible amount from it, not only about the topic, but also human nature. Like Peter Pan, I hope it goes on forever. :)

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: wind power on 12/19/2010 13:45:52 MST Print View

"Avoiding dealing with the rapidly approaching energy gap by saying something will turn up tomorrow is no longer an option. We've been doing that for 20 years in Britain and *time has run out*."

Do you have any suggestions, anyone? If fossil fuels aren't going to last the distance, and none of these other technologies (bar nuclear) are going to work, then it seems future climate (warming, cooling or staying the same), are indeed the least of our worries. Let's start building some reactors ASAP!

It seems clear to me we have to change the way we do business as humans. We need to be less reliant on energy, other than that from the sun to grow our crops. The alternatives may not be soluble, at least not soon enough to make a difference to much of the world. Maybe start with a political movement which is not rewarded for 'economic growth' with its implicit increased consumerism and increased population, but rather for 'economic and environmental sustainability'. This is a long way from democracy or republics or any other government we know of today, and may be as impossible as meeting our current energy demands from renewable resources. I don't know. But not taking action seems the option most offensive to me. Use less, breed less.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re:Steady State Economy on 12/19/2010 16:04:59 MST Print View

Maybe start with a political movement which is not rewarded for 'economic growth' with its implicit increased consumerism and increased population, but rather for 'economic and environmental sustainability'.

Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: Re: wind power on 12/19/2010 16:12:28 MST Print View

Lynn says:
But not taking action seems the option most offensive to me. Use less, breed less.


Well, I chose to give up using fossil fuel for heating and now rely on wood that I collect, cut and split by hand (using my chainsaw and an axe). I also took the conscious decision some years ago not to have kids of my own, though I have had a hand in raising eight over the last 20 years.

But these are my own choices, and I would not seek to impose them on others, because I don't like others imposing their ideology on me. So I'll be defending democracy with whatever weapons I can muster if necessary.

If fossil fuels aren't going to last the distance...let's start building some reactors ASAP!

New technology to release natural gas from shale means the energy crisis is solved for the next 100 years at least. Gas turbines are pretty efficient and relatively emission clean. The co2 they put out isn't an issue. I don't like nukes myself, because no-one has solved the waste disposal issue. We have plenty of time to improve nuclear design while we use gas, IMO.

it seems future climate (warming, cooling or staying the same), are indeed the least of our worries.

Agreement at last. :-)

Back to putting some quantification into my pontification for a while... Cheers all.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: wind power on 12/19/2010 17:12:38 MST Print View

"Well, I chose to give up using fossil fuel for heating and now rely on wood that I collect, cut and split by hand (using my chainsaw and an axe). I also took the conscious decision some years ago not to have kids of my own, though I have had a hand in raising eight over the last 20 years."

Ditto, sort of. Almost all of NZs heating and cooling energy comes from hydro or wood, with solar and wind adding to that when available, often just reducing the impact of demands. There is also a smattering of geothermal, and some tidal in the pipeline. All domestically available and renewable. Our personal domestic heating has moved from good old fashioned logs to pellet fuel (due to the drive to reduce local air pollution...it was forced on us just like in London). We could have had a hydro powered electric heat inverter instead, but we like sitting in front of a fire! We like having our fire continue to run when the power goes off. We have a backup LPG heater for emergencies. We are pretty amused how these heat inverters are touted as a low energy alternative to heating and cooling. I read recently somewhere that heat inverters are the single biggest contributor, by a long shot, to the increase in electricity demand in Australia. We have also noticed here how much people's electricity bills have shot up with the installation of these little energy saving devices. i think, like biodiesel, someone has had the wool pulled over their eyes! We only heat our living areas, preferring to take a hot water bottle to bed with a nice thick duvet on cold winter nights, and just use fans in summer. Even the living areas we rarely heat above 15-16C in winter, but prefer to just put an extra layer of clothes on. We use passive hot air recovery from our attic to help keep the house from getting damp and mildewy. We hang our clothes out to dry instead of using a drier, etc...the bonus is very low electricity bills.

Having my own biological children has never been a consideration, but I have helped raise my spouse's two sons. I admit that a lack of diesel would seriously crimp my style, even though we only drive when going away on long trips to backpack. I suspect that Rog and I are not the norm, however, amongst most of the OECD countries. America in particular seems to use a heck of a lot more energy, per person, than the rest of the world. It would seem to me a no-brainer that this would be a good place to start with reducing America's reliance on energy imports, though carbon shales are a bonus in the mid-term. If this is not going to be a mandatory reduction (in energy use or breeding) then there needs to be a huge grass roots movement, an education drive, to make people (not just Americans, but America is a good place to start) do this voluntarily. The keys are to make this seem a) feasible, b) desirable, c) not costing much in reduction of quality of living, and d) effective. A lot of work, for sure, but surely a better place to spend money on research and education than hammering on about global warming to a public that has become deaf and disbelieving. Second priority would be better energy technologies, including energy sources and more energy efficient devices. We all know it's going to take a lot more than just changing our light bulbs. We HAVE to change our minds. I mean, do we REALLY need to go physically to that conference? Is video-conferencing not advanced enough these days? Do we REALLY need to have that vacation in some exotic topical island? Do we REALLY need to eat out of season delicacies imported from half way around the world? Do we really need to eat meat? The ability we each have to make an impact is small, collectively it is huge, but it still starts with individuals, then communities...but I can't help but feel that politicians have an obligation in this game somehow too.

As for nuclear, I don't think anyone would disagree that disposal of wastes is a big concern, as are the potential for accidents. But they are still a viable option and in some locations may be preferable to imports. The other viable option is to move!

As for personal freedom, well, as long as it doesn't impact on someone else. This is why, for instance, I was fine when told I had to upgrade to a cleaner burning heating source to reduce pollution in our community. fair enough! For me it's a tougher call when we are talking about giving up less clear cut personal freedoms that may or may not impact on our local community. It's not a black and white area. I keep an open mind.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: wind power on 12/19/2010 17:57:19 MST Print View

But these are my own choices, and I would not seek to impose them on others, because I don't like others imposing their ideology on me. So I'll be defending democracy with whatever weapons I can muster if necessary.

I think this whole thread is a perfect example of just how ineffective democracy is in solving serious problems. And I say that as someone how deeply believes in democracy. There must be some level of consensus, or decision-making is impossible.

Lynn, a close friend and long-time blogging associate, Dave Bonta, writes about How to Stay Warm in a Cool House: 20 Tips in a recent post. The comments are fascinating, too.

Before the Second World War most houses in Japan, including those in the very cold Snow Country, didn't have any heating except in the central floor hearth. People compensated with clothing, very hot baths, and building houses that did exceptionally well with cooling in summer and taking advantage of the sun in winter. People did very well by becoming tough and adaptable. The idea that we need to use all this energy in order to run a civilization is preposterous. People just don't want to give up all their comforts and toys and conveniences. It's not really that different from the edicts that govern UL: use only what you need and no more, keep it light, make dual or more use of every item, and live according to the local conditions. But no, people say, "We have a right to live as we please!" Having the "right" and being wise are NOT the same thing. In a big democracy everyone thinks they know what is best, even when they don't have access to the bigger picture, or worse, show no interest in the bigger picture. Uninformed decision-making mobs, where all the individuals act on their own without regard for the whole society, are probably more dangerous than informed, benevolent dictators.