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Thread: The Carbon Crunch

  1. #1 The Carbon Crunch 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    I have just read the book review in the New Scientist of the above title by Dieter Helm.
    The Carbon Crunch: How We're Getting Climate Change Wrong - and How to Fix it: Amazon.co.uk: Dieter Helm: Books

    Some provocative ideas.
    Helm identifies coal as the big problem in fossil fuels, as the worst emitter of greenhouse gases. He says that we need, as a matter of top priority, to remove coal as an energy source. He claims that 'green' strategies such as wind farms and solar panels are not the way to do it. The reason is that they take enormous amounts of financial resources and return very little in terms of reducing greenhouse gases.

    Helm suggests that the new sources of fossil fuel, such as shale gas, should be pursued with vigor. They produce a lot more energy per tonne of fuel compared to coal. This is, of course, an interim measure, but Helm considers it a vital interim measure. Burning natural gas to make electricity, for example, produces only half the CO2 per unit electricity of coal.

    Hard nosed realism, according to Helm, is to pursue these fossil fuels, and do so to avoid burning coal. It implies that greenies are living in a fantasy land in pushing alternatives that really are not doing much to reduce greenhouse gases, while nevertheless consuming enormous financial resources and drawing attention away from a much better interim technology.


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    "He claims that 'green' strategies such as wind farms and solar panels are not the way to do it. The reason is that they take enormous amounts of financial resources and return very little in terms of reducing greenhouse gases."
    The Shale Gas industry would probably agree that energy independence and renewable alternatives to our fuel crack addiction are bad, but, how does he explain this?


    If someone installs solar panels on his house, thereby providing most of his electricity (instead of coal based electric) and also powers his Rav4EV to commute instead of using petroleum, how is that not reducing greenhouse gases?


    Last edited by icewendigo; November 26th, 2012 at 02:46 PM.
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    The coal view isn't new. As a class project we did comparative calculations as part of an graduate level planetary atmosphere course I took 25 years ago, that showed coal as the elephant in the room to climate change. It was so out of proportion that I concluded than and still hold the position that we probably shouldn't even worry about oil (unless it's synthesized from coal). Coal reserves contain something like four times more carbon than all others combined--enough to push us way beyond the doubling CO2 that's discussed; the results would be more like 8 times the pre-industrial levels and above even geological peaks hundreds of millions of years ago. (Mythl hydrates are another nightmare--but we aren't mining it quite yet)

    But the shale gas thing is new to me.
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    So natural gas (isnt it mostly methane?), if you burn it, the result is less CO2 than burning Coal. It sounds not as bad as coal then.

    But How much Methane is released from the shale gas operation, compared to the actual gas that is captured to be burned? (Im guessing the methane leaking from flaming faucets and streams in fracking regions is not being used in the calculations)

    And, if there are "oceans" of Methane on a Jovian moon, how is that Methane produced? Im guessing there were no dinosaurs on the Moons of Gas Giants?
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    I think that Helm is wrong. I don't believe the actual and full emissions profile for gas, including fugitive emissions, is fully known. It is very dependent on the maintenance of high standards from initial drilling through to final combustion to be much less than coal and if deployed around the world I'd be surprised if those standards would be maintained in all but a few regions.

    Commitment to gas means a multi-decade commitment to using what is still a significant contributor to CO2 emissions, say 50 years. That's either going to carry us well past where emissions need to be drastically cut or else leave us with a whole lot of stranded gas power stations. Gas may be able to meet near term interim emissions reduction goals but can't deliver longer term ones. As backup to renewables, it looks a bit better but even that has to be considered an interim measure and not be used as the excuse to fail to invest sufficiently in near to zero emissions solutions.
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    I don't think he is wrong about gas and CO2. I have been hearing this factoid for decades now. When gas is burned, energy is emitted from the oxidation of carbon and also the oxidation of hydrogen. Coal, however, is almost pure carbon. Every erg of energy comes from making CO2.

    Burning natural gas means twice the energy per tonne of CO2 emitted. So natural gas is a much better fuel than coal, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

    I say, leave the coal in the ground.
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    Carbon crunch? The real crunch will happen when owners of such fossils realise that people don't value their stuff any more. Their hang on by the fingernails approach - any fossil used for fuel is a good thing - while it keeps investors from wondering whether these particular activities are the best long term investment and whether those 'long-term' assets really have so much life in them.

    As soon as there's a move to other investment, rather than the current diversified portfolio approach of prudent investors, the assets of carbon fossil companies will start to look less and less desirable. They're not really worried about their super profits on trading going away, that will continue while people still own equipment and vehicles designed for those fuels. They're worried about having to revalue leases, exploration licences and other such holdings and show decreased asset backing.

    Coal will be the first to lose significant value. No coal fired plants built for two straight years in the USA due to the gas-fired replacements. : No Coal-Fired Power Plants Built in Past Two Years
    "Coal is a dead man walkin'," says Kevin Parker, global head of asset management and a member of the executive committee at Deutsche Bank. "Banks won't finance them. Insurance companies won't insure them. The EPA is coming after them...And the economics to make it clean don't work."
    There are a couple of hundred coal-fired plants to be retired in the next decade. Who'd want to be the one who bet all their assets on coal being the preferred choice for replacement? I wouldn't bet the price of a cup of coffee on there being more than a handful.

    The one really good thing about gas is that the plants are easy to fire up and slow down - so these plants are a much better fit in a mixed, decentralised, flexible power grid. A lot of people complain that replacing coal with gas is "locking in" CO2 emissions for the 40ish year life of the plants. I tend to the view that they'll last a lot longer than that, because they'll be used less and less as power demand decreases from efficiencies in the buildings and industry sectors. And they'll be replacing not only coal but oil as more EVs of various kinds come onto the grid, increasing power demand a bit but replacing oil products entirely.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Adelady

    I think you are over optimistic thinking that energy demand will go down. There are two trends running simultaneously.
    1. The trend to making energy consuming devices more efficient.
    2. The trend to more devices.

    Up to the present, trend 2 has always exceeded trend 1, and electricity demand has always increased. I see no likelihood that will change.
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    We need to be pursuing sustainable energy technology while we still have some surpluses to work with. If we do not focus on that we will find ourselves without an energy source when all the fossile fuels,not just the attractive ones, are gone. Petroleum and Coal are too valuable as sources of complex hydrocarbons for us to be burning them. We will need thes in the furture as sources of a wide variety of chemicals needed for plastics and other industrial products
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    electricity demand has always increased. I see no likelihood that will change.
    We went shopping for kitchen appliances today. I notice that the labels showing yearly power consumption give all of us an option for choosing less power used. The fridge we bought has much the same volume as the one that is currently choking to death in the kitchen, but the power consumption is less. A hint from the store manager, (pure serendipity that he's the son-in-law of friends!). The best manufacturers to get fridges from are the ones who specialise in air conditioning. They really know what they're doing. A 5 year manufacturer's warranty is nothing to sneeze at either.

    We certainly chose our new tv last year by comparing the power consumption of the half dozen or so that were the right size & style for us - we took the lowest. I realise that most people like the power guzzlers - the ones that put out enough heat for a living room to need an upgraded air conditioner in cricket season - but that's not everyone. With any luck the people who get 2 or 3 of these are like my niece's family - unbelievably extravagant power consumption but fed by a whole roof covered in solar panels.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Gotta watch out for the Power Consumption is less labels, at times.
    Sometimes, It's a gimmick.

    Example, electric water heaters that point out they "use less power" by alternating two heating elements rather than running both at the same time.
    The problem is that it must run the heater for twice as long... No savings, there. Sold lots of water heaters, that way, though...
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    Example, electric water heaters that point out they "use less power" by alternating two heating elements rather than running both at the same time.
    Labelling here doesn't say less power or more efficient or any other such weasel words. It's a number - the number of kWh used in a year under 'standard' conditions. So whatever the appliance, the numbers are comparable. Most importantly, people can't fool themselves, the way they used to with the star rating we had before, that they're being 'responsible' if they buy a bigger appliance that's 'more efficient' than a smaller one. The only information they now have is expected annual power use.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    It's done that way here as well, now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Coal will be the first to lose significant value. No coal fired plants built for two straight years in the USA due to the gas-fired replacements. : No Coal-Fired Power Plants Built in Past Two Years
    "Coal is a dead man walkin'," says Kevin Parker, global head of asset management and a member of the executive committee at Deutsche Bank. "Banks won't finance them. Insurance companies won't insure them. The EPA is coming after them...And the economics to make it clean don't work."
    There are a couple of hundred coal-fired plants to be retired in the next decade. Who'd want to be the one who bet all their assets on coal being the preferred choice for replacement? I wouldn't bet the price of a cup of coffee on there being more than a handful.
    I take it you are talking about Australia? However, China and India both are expanding their coal usage and the US is willing to sell them all the coal we don't use our selves. Most of the power companies in the US are regulated and can't raise their rates to customers enough to cover their losses due to bad investments. The companies that mine coal want to sell it to the highest bidder and China is willing to pay top dollar. Even if we manage to wean ourselves off coal, there will be areas of the world where that will not be true.

    I think when it comes to using less energy, we should use all approaches available. In many countries heating and cooling take a large chunk of energy. So what's wrong with requiring all new homes and buildings to be super insulated? We can make homes so they need use very little power for heating and cooling even in extreme climates. Throw in solar for heating water and generating electricity and you become almost grid free.

    Then put a rechargeable hybrid in the garage and get your gas mileage up to around 100mpg. Governments can do many things to make the transition faster. They can offer tax incentives and they can create regulations the encourage each of us to maintain a very small carbon footprint.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Coal will be the first to lose significant value. No coal fired plants built for two straight years in the USA due to the gas-fired replacements. : No Coal-Fired Power Plants Built in Past Two Years

    "Coal is a dead man walkin'," says Kevin Parker, global head of asset management and a member of the executive committee at Deutsche Bank. "Banks won't finance them. Insurance companies won't insure them. The EPA is coming after them...And the economics to make it clean don't work."
    There are a couple of hundred coal-fired plants to be retired in the next decade. Who'd want to be the one who bet all their assets on coal being the preferred choice for replacement? I wouldn't bet the price of a cup of coffee on there being more than a handful
    I take it you are talking about Australia? However, China and India both are expanding their coal usage and the US is willing to sell them all the coal we don't use our selves. Most of the power companies in the US are regulated and can't raise their rates to customers enough to cover their losses due to bad investments. The companies that mine coal want to sell it to the highest bidder and China is willing to pay top dollar. Even if we manage to wean ourselves off coal, there will be areas of the world where that will not be true.

    I think when it comes to using less energy, we should use all approaches available. In many countries heating and cooling take a large chunk of energy. So what's wrong with requiring all new homes and buildings to be super insulated? We can make homes so they need use very little power for heating and cooling even in extreme climates. Throw in solar for heating water and generating electricity and you become almost grid free.

    Then put a rechargeable hybrid in the garage and get your gas mileage up to around 100mpg. Governments can do many things to make the transition faster. They can offer tax incentives and they can create regulations the encourage each of us to maintain a very small carbon footprint.
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    No I'm not talking about Australia. Our total is less than 40 coal fired power plants in the whole of the country.

    China may be using coal - but it's compulsorily retiring its dirtiest and least efficient plants, so they're getting more power from less emissions. They're also building renewable and other non-coal power plants at an equally hectic pace.

    For the USA, coal is looking less and less attractive for the least efficient, dirtiest plants. Existing U.S. Coal Plants - SourceWatch

    You're right about how to use less. The USA in particular has nothing to fear from demand reduction. Europe manages the same standard of living for about half the emissions.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    I like the title of this thread. I think of our current situation as an energy conundrum.


    From Jay Hanson's http://dieoff.org/

    "Energy has always been the basis of cultural complexity and it always will be … the past clarifies potential paths to the future. One often-discussed path is cultural and economic simplicity and lower energy costs. This could come about through the “crash” that many fear —a genuine collapse over a period of one or two generations, with much violence, starvation, and loss of population. The alternative is the “soft landing” that many people hope for—a voluntary change to solar energy and green fuels, energy-conserving technologies, and less overall consumption. This is a utopian alternative that, as suggested above, will come about only if severe, prolonged hardship in industrial nations makes it attractive, and if economic growth and consumerism can be removed from the realm of ideology."
    Joseph A. Tainter

    One seldom thinks about the energy that is consumed in systems that supply energy—such as oil-fired power plants. Energy is consumed when exploring for fuel, building the machinery to mine the fuel, mining the fuel, building and operating the power plants, building power lines to transmit the energy, decommissioning the plants, and so on. The difference between the total energy recovered minus all the energy consumed equals the “net energy” (in other words, the net amount of energy actually available to society to do useful work). For more on net energy analysis, see my 1999 paper ENERGETIC LIMITS TO GROWTH.

    As low-energy-cost conventional oil has been replaced by high-energy-cost non-conventional oil (offshore oil, heavy oil, etc.), a greater fraction of the energy produced is consumed by the energy production process itself. Indeed, the net energy fraction of the global energy mix has been falling since before the 60s (see the graph below).



    Prior to peak oil, producers could compensate for the falling net energy fraction by simply pumping more conventional oil. However, conventional oil production “peaked” in 2005, so it is now physically impossible (thermodynamic laws) to increase net energy as we have in the past. In other words, producers are geologically constrained and can no longer compensate by pumping more conventional oil. This means that the energy available for economic development —the net energy—will decline for decades as low-energy-cost, conventional oil is replaced by high-energy-cost, un-conventional oil!

    Even though the total liquid fuel available to society rises, net energy falls faster because a greater-and-greater fraction of energy is consumed by the energy industry itself:

    “Some of the fuels (ethanol, natural gas liquids) counted by IEA and EIA in the ‘all liquids’ category have significantly lower energy content per unit of volume than regular crude oil; thus an increase in barrels-per-day of ‘all liquids’ does not necessarily mean an increase in the amount of energy delivered to society. Further, all the unconventional liquid fuels (including biofuels, tar sands, and ‘tight’ oil) offer a low energy return on the energy invested in producing them. Therefore, even if the number of barrels of liquid fuels delivered to market is still gradually increasing, the amount of useful net energy being made available by the petroleum and biofuels industries, when energy costs are accounted for, is probably already declining.”—PEAK DENIAL, Richard Heinberg






    ---Futilitist
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    I'm not so sure that the "cliff" is as directly related to EROI as you suggest Futilist. At higher energy prices a higher EROI can be tolerated and energy, in my view is still highly undervalued and allows for a continuing excess of wasteful and extravagant consumption. Shifts in energy technology may not occur at the rates I would see as desirable and necessary because of that but the foundations for that change are firming up despite the political favoritism fossil fuels have continued to get - this graph from Australia's Bureau of Statistics on energy related R&D expenditure shows that energy from mined resources gets the lions share -





    That has seen some change - a few decades ago renewables probably would have struggled to get a column of it's own. But I think we ain't seen nothing yet and some serious efforts to develop alternatives remain both possible and likely. The results may be both very productive and surprising; the heels dug in resistance to change that we take as an unalterable fact of life is, in my view, more a product of media hype and opinion shaping by an incumbent energy industry that has full financial coffers and an inflated idea of it's own essentialness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    I'm not so sure that the "cliff" is as directly related to EROI as you suggest Futilitist.
    Nothing that follows in your post gives any justification for your statement. I think the coming apocalypse will be driven by falling EROEI, as Joseph Tainter maintains it has been for past civilizations that have experienced collapse. It seems so logical. You believe EROEI is not important. Why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    At higher energy prices a higher EROI can be tolerated and energy, in my view is still highly undervalued and allows for a continuing excess of wasteful and extravagant consumption.
    Presuming that you mean "At higher energy prices a lower EROI can be tolerated...", I don't see why that would be true. If you mean because there would be so much less total economic activity due to the high prices, that seems like a circular loop to me. And, if true, would just lead to the same apocalypse that I am suggesting, only with an up side down explanation.

    I agree that energy is highly undervalued. But a sudden revaluing of it would cause a social collapse.

    And all that wasteful consumption is what we call "the economy", meaning jobs needed for income to buy food. Hey, we're back at apocalypse again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Shifts in energy technology may not occur at the rates I would see as desirable and necessary because of that but the foundations for that change are firming up despite the political favoritism fossil fuels have continued to get - this graph from Australia's Bureau of Statistics on energy related R&D expenditure shows that energy from mined resources gets the lions share -





    That has seen some change - a few decades ago renewables probably would have struggled to get a column of it's own. But I think we ain't seen nothing yet and some serious efforts to develop alternatives remain both possible and likely. The results may be both very productive and surprising; the heels dug in resistance to change that we take as an unalterable fact of life is, in my view, more a product of media hype and opinion shaping by an incumbent energy industry that has full financial coffers and an inflated idea of it's own essentialness.
    I don't get what you are trying to show with the chart, either. Energy exploration and mining and extraction of energy resources dwarf all of the other things that are displayed. And both are rising faster because of declining EROEI. Your chart makes my case better than it makes yours.

    Here is a cooler chart I just found that deals with the rising costs of extraction for many metals necessary for the ongoing project we call civilization.



    And we will need a lot more metals to make the transition from oil to alternatives. We are in a serious jam.


    ---Futilitist
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    To Futilitist

    First on EROI

    There are circumstances in which this is not considered a problem. Take the process of synthesizing fuel. One such method involves generating hydrogen gas, probably by electrolysis, and then reacting it with CO2 to make the fuel. There is absolutely no doubt that more energy is put into this process than can ever be extracted by burning the fuel. Or what about making hydrogen gas and burning it, in a hydrogen internal combustion engine, or a fuel cell? Or how about charging a battery for an electric car? More energy goes in than can be extracted

    These processes are being explored by researchers in spite of the fact that the energy in will always be more than energy out. .

    Sometimes the amount of energy is less important than the form. If we can create liquid fuels for cars, and use electrical energy to do it, the fact that a lot more electrical energy goes in than heat energy out is pretty much irrelevant. Of course, this will require a cheap form of energy to make electricity to begin with, but those are already available. eg. nuclear and hydroelectric. It would make no sense to burn coal to make electricity to electrolyse water to make hydrogen to make synthetic fuel. Better to use the already developed technology of making liquid fuel directly from coal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    To Futilitist

    First on EROI

    There are circumstances in which this is not considered a problem. Take the process of synthesizing fuel. One such method involves generating hydrogen gas, probably by electrolysis, and then reacting it with CO2 to make the fuel. There is absolutely no doubt that more energy is put into this process than can ever be extracted by burning the fuel. Or what about making hydrogen gas and burning it, in a hydrogen internal combustion engine, or a fuel cell? Or how about charging a battery for an electric car? More energy goes in than can be extracted

    These processes are being explored by researchers in spite of the fact that the energy in will always be more than energy out. .
    That's because they can't think of anything else to do, since there are no alternatives to oil that are EROEI positive enough to allow us to maintain our current civilization. In fact, the EROEI would be too low even if we did all the alternatives simultaneously, the so called silver bb approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Sometimes the amount of energy is less important than the form. If we can create liquid fuels for cars, and use electrical energy to do it, the fact that a lot more electrical energy goes in than heat energy out is pretty much irrelevant. Of course, this will require a cheap form of energy to make electricity to begin with, but those are already available. eg. nuclear and hydroelectric. It would make no sense to burn coal to make electricity to electrolyse water to make hydrogen to make synthetic fuel. Better to use the already developed technology of making liquid fuel directly from coal.
    Your cheap form of energy to make electricity is not already available. Most of the nuclear and hydroelectric power stations are not sitting idle, waiting for a crisis to begin, to spring into action. They are already being used for current power generation. In the case of hydroelectric, most of the earth's best spots are already occupied. In the case of nuclear, we are going to need a lot of them, fast. And nuclear is not too popular these days, is it?

    Extensive coal to liquids production is not practical. It would compete with regular power production in terms of accessing enough coal, driving the price of both liquid fuel and electricity upwards. And the EROEI for coal to liquids is extremely low.

    ---Futilitist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post

    Your cheap form of energy to make electricity is not already available. Most of the nuclear and hydroelectric power stations are not sitting idle, waiting for a crisis to begin, to spring into action. They are already being used for current power generation.
    It depends.
    Iceland, for example, has the potential to generate far more power than it needs via hydroelectricity and geothermal. The surplus power could be put to work making synfuels. Nuclear is not terribly popular, but that has to change. Nuclear has the largest potential for expansion, especially if we move to thorium.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Iceland, for example, has the potential to generate far more power than it needs via hydroelectricity and geothermal. The surplus power could be put to work making synfuels.
    it looks like the surplus will be sold off abroad - pipelines already exist or are in the process of being built
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post

    Your cheap form of energy to make electricity is not already available. Most of the nuclear and hydroelectric power stations are not sitting idle, waiting for a crisis to begin, to spring into action. They are already being used for current power generation.
    It depends.
    Iceland, for example, has the potential to generate far more power than it needs via hydroelectricity and geothermal. The surplus power could be put to work making synfuels. Nuclear is not terribly popular, but that has to change. Nuclear has the largest potential for expansion, especially if we move to thorium.
    You keep talking about the potentials. I have the potential to sprout wings and fly.

    The potential to generate power does not equal the ability to generate that power when and where we need it. Got any estimate of how much excess power Iceland could generate or how long it might take to ramp up to full potential?

    Clearly the popularity of nuclear has to change in order for it's use to grow. Hypothetically, how do you suggest that that might happen? In your estimation, how many thorium reactors could be built in the next, say, 5 years or so? Would it be enough to keep us EROEI positive? I remember seeing estimates that showed we would need about 10,000 nuclear plants world wide to totally replace fossil fuels. How long do you think it might take to get to that level?

    I think black magic has a larger absolute potential than nuclear power.

    A hypothetical question
    If I were to grant you the unrealistic assumption that the potential power sources you name could eventually amount to a full replacement for fossil fuels, would you grant me the very realistic assumption that a 4%- 8% rate of oil depletion is set to begin within the next few years? Under these conditions, can you realistically show me the steps that we will take to get the job done without having major disruptions to the economy?


    Please take my hypothetical seriously. Realistic time frames for ramping up replacements are important to understanding our situation. I want to get us on the same page so that we are not just talking past each other. That would make this a more useful dialog.

    ---Futilitist
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    I have already answered your question earlier. I said that it would take 50 years before fossil fuels were depleted to the point where humanity was forced to revert to other technologies.

    Now, we do need to get started on the thorium nuclear thing. India is the only nation building an actual thorium power station (300 megawatts). It can take up to 20 years for a nuclear power station, from conception to commission (or less if enough urgency and resources are made available). The west needs to be more committed to developing this technology. Even 50 years is a limited period.
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    Futilist, I didn't say EROI isn't important - clearly it is -but how important depends on the availability and type of energy resources invested in the production of energy. Turning coal into liquid fuel may have a low EROI but low grade coal is quite abundant. Not that I want to see that happen due to my deep concerns about rising emissions, but EROI isn't the inhibiting factor. Solar is quite abundant and largely unused and investing solar energy in the production of solar energy systems isn't inhibited by EROI but by other factors. (I disagree with your claim in your linked paper that it would require 20% of US land area to replace current energy needs BTW - that's a big overstatement, even leaving aside that use for solar doesn't need to be an exclusive land use). Nuclear breeder technologies like Integral Fast Reactors are likely to see resurgent interest in the face of genuine need for drastic reductions on reliance on fossil fuels. I don't believe that EROI is the primary inhibiting factor has that prevented it's adoption.

    I don't think solutions to energy problems are impossible but I'd agree that it's not looking good. But I think that's down to distortions of political will - the purchased political will to avoid and obstruct, purchased with abundant current fossil fuel revenues for the sake of perceived future revenues. The fear of a huge undertaking that looks hard inhibiting the political will in favour of the easy. And the great diversity of solutions, that really ought to be cause for optimism, making the proponents of change vulnerable to divide and conquer strategies from incumbent interests with big war chests. Whatever the reasons for seeing an urgent need drastic change to our energy infrastructure, I think it's failures of politics that are the greatest inhibiting influence.
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    Futilist, I didn't say EROI isn't important - clearly it is -but how important depends on the availability and type of energy resources invested in the production of energy. Turning coal into liquid fuel may have a low EROI but low grade coal is quite abundant. Not that I want to see that happen due to my deep concerns about rising emissions, but EROI isn't the inhibiting factor. Solar is quite abundant and largely unused and investing solar energy in the production of solar energy systems isn't inhibited by EROI but by other factors. (I disagree with your claim in your linked paper that it would require 20% of US land area to replace less than half current energy needs BTW - that's a huge overstatement, even leaving aside that solar doesn't need to be an exclusive land use). Nuclear breeder technologies like Integral Fast Reactors will see resurgent interest in the face of genuine need for drastic reductions on reliance on fossil fuels. I don't believe that EROI is the primary inhibiting factor has that prevented it's adoption.

    I don't think solutions to energy problems are impossible but I'd agree that it's not looking good. But I think that's down to distortions of cost accounting (externalised costs pretended into nonexistence) and that being ultimately down to failures and distortions of political will - the purchased political will to avoid and obstruct, purchased with abundant current fossil fuel revenues for the sake of perceived future revenues. The fear of a huge undertaking that looks hard inhibiting the political will in favour of the easy. And the great diversity of solutions, that really ought to be cause for optimism, making the proponents of change vulnerable to divide and conquer strategies from incumbent interests with big war chests. Whatever the reasons for seeing an urgent need drastic change to our energy infrastructure, I think it's failures of politics that are the greatest inhibiting influence.
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    The other vitally important factor is money. EROI is probably less of a limiting factor than the simple question of whether a technology will return enough extra dollars on an investment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Futilist, I didn't say EROI isn't important - clearly it is -but how important depends on the availability and type of energy resources invested in the production of energy. Turning coal into liquid fuel may have a low EROI but low grade coal is quite abundant. Not that I want to see that happen due to my deep concerns about rising emissions, but EROI isn't the inhibiting factor. Solar is quite abundant and largely unused and investing solar energy in the production of solar energy systems isn't inhibited by EROI but by other factors. (I disagree with your claim in your linked paper that it would require 20% of US land area to replace current energy needs BTW - that's a big overstatement, even leaving aside that use for solar doesn't need to be an exclusive land use). Nuclear breeder technologies like Integral Fast Reactors are likely to see resurgent interest in the face of genuine need for drastic reductions on reliance on fossil fuels. I don't believe that EROI is the primary inhibiting factor has that prevented it's adoption.

    I don't think solutions to energy problems are impossible but I'd agree that it's not looking good. But I think that's down to distortions of political will - the purchased political will to avoid and obstruct, purchased with abundant current fossil fuel revenues for the sake of perceived future revenues. The fear of a huge undertaking that looks hard inhibiting the political will in favour of the easy. And the great diversity of solutions, that really ought to be cause for optimism, making the proponents of change vulnerable to divide and conquer strategies from incumbent interests with big war chests. Whatever the reasons for seeing an urgent need drastic change to our energy infrastructure, I think it's failures of politics that are the greatest inhibiting influence.
    Thank you so much for reading the paper I linked, and for your thoughtful response to my post to you. Some of the material I presented may be a bit out of date, as far the very latest developments in solar and wind. And some of those developments are quite impressive. But at the same time, we are closer to the onset of the permanent decline in oil production, so the stakes have also gotten higher. The rate of growth in alternatives must now increase very rapidly or we may find ourselves in an impossible bind. We may already be in that bind, but we just can't quite admit that to ourselves yet.

    I agree that EROEI is not the dominant inhibiting factor preventing the widespread adoption of nuclear power. The dominant concerns over nuclear power are safety and the environment. If we can't solve those issues very soon, we may find ourselves in an emergency, which will make any and all possible solutions much more difficult to accomplish.

    As far as politics is concerned, it is hard to hold out much hope there, either. I think it is incorrect to see the politics as a battle of bad guy entrenched special interests vs. good guy proponents of change. That is just a story. Business as usual is not a hard sell. We will always take the path of least resistance unless we are forced off of it. What we call politics is just the collective expression of our individual wants and needs, and we are all "greedy" and resistant to change. I have seen the enemy and it is us.

    If you are interested in the whole energy conundrum in greater detail, please check out my "apocalypse soon?" thread, also in the environment section. I look forward to continuing our productive conversation on a highly controversial, yet vitally important topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The other vitally important factor is money. EROI is probably less of a limiting factor than the simple question of whether a technology will return enough extra dollars on an investment.
    I basically agree with you on this point, and this makes me very happy. I would only point out, however, that EROEI is largely the determinant of whether any energy scheme will be profitable or not. That is why we have to subsidize low EROEI alternative energy sources.

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    It is worth remembering, though, that humanity has used, not just low EROEI processes, but negative EROEI, for a long time. Each time you charge a battery, it is negative EROEI.

    Often, the form of the energy is more important than the efficiency.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    It is worth remembering, though, that humanity has used, not just low EROEI processes, but negative EROEI, for a long time. Each time you charge a battery, it is negative EROEI.

    Often, the form of the energy is more important than the efficiency.
    This is true only for individual cases. For civilization, as a whole, overall EROEI must be significantly positive or bad things will happen.

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    The ultimate in negative EROEI is solar energy. The energy bound in solar hydrogen is enormous. Vast amounts are released, and we end up binding a tiny, tiny fraction into useful form.

    EROEI does not need to be significantly positive. Energy extracted just needs to be in useful amounts and in a useful form. If we learn to release some form of energy that is present in sufficient amount, such as solar or nuclear energy, and use it wastefully, to bind a small amount into a useful form, such as a charged battery, or liquid fuel, that can serve humanity's needs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The ultimate in negative EROEI is solar energy. The energy bound in solar hydrogen is enormous. Vast amounts are released, and we end up binding a tiny, tiny fraction into useful form.

    EROEI does not need to be significantly positive. Energy extracted just needs to be in useful amounts and in a useful form. If we learn to release some form of energy that is present in sufficient amount, such as solar or nuclear energy, and use it wastefully, to bind a small amount into a useful form, such as a charged battery, or liquid fuel, that can serve humanity's needs.
    You are correct that EROEI does not necessarily need to be significantly positive. It only has to be significantly positive if we want to maintain a civilization and continue to feed 7+ billion people.

    How many modern electromagnetic civilizations have we had that have operated at a negative EROEI?

    If we learn to release some form of energy that is present in sufficient amount, such as solar or nuclear energy, and use it wastefully, to bind a small amount into a useful form, such as a charged battery, or liquid fuel, that can serve humanity's needs.
    If we do manage to do that, we would have attained a net positive EROEI.

    Also, I keep using the term EROEI and you keep using the term EROI.

    EROEI = Energy Returned On Energy Invested
    EROI = Energy Return On Investment

    They are often used interchangeably, but physicists prefer EROEI and economists prefer EROI. EROEI is more correct.

    Also, we haven't talked about energy sinks. Here is the intro from the EROEI wiki:

    In physics, energy economics and ecological energetics, energy returned on energy invested (EROEI or ERoEI); or energy return on investment (EROI), is the ratio of the amount of usable energy acquired from a particular energy resource to the amount of energy expended to obtain that energy resource.[1][2] When the EROEI of a resource is less than or equal to one, that energy source becomes an "energy sink", and can no longer be used as a primary source of energy.



    ---Futilitist



    EDIT---

    A hypothetical question

    If I were to grant you the unrealistic assumption that the potential power sources you name could eventually amount to a full replacement for fossil fuels, would you grant me the very realistic assumption that a 4%- 8% rate of oil depletion is set to begin within the next few years? Under these conditions, can you realistically show me the steps that we will take to get the job done without having major disruptions to the economy?


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    I have already answered your question earlier. I said that it would take 50 years before fossil fuels were depleted to the point where humanity was forced to revert to other technologies.
    I have never asked you this question before, so you have not already answered it. I'm trying to get you to add some sort of timeline for the deployment of all of your alternatives. Without a realistic timeline that takes into account our present situation with respect to the onset of depletion, you can just keep saying we have this technology or that technology, but your statements are essentially meaningless. We only have technologies that are deployed. We have yet to have technologies which are not deployed.

    I don't really believe that all the various technologies and energy sources you have described could ever, under any circumstances, really amount to a full replacement for fossil fuels. Yet I am willing to grant you that unrealistic hypothetical in exchange for you accepting that we have a real, near term problem to solve. Just assume that the peak oilers are right with respect to the timing and severity of the problem, but wrong about the availabilities of suitable solutions. That is at least a possibly realistic position that many people choose to take. Your position is that we don't face any real problems and we already have all the solutions anyway.

    Please try to at least meet me halfway, if only for this hypothetical thought experiment. I really do think it would be a good way to proceed without continuing to talk past each other. I look forward to your response. Thanks.

    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; December 2nd, 2012 at 07:45 PM.
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    I have always accepted that a problem exists. In fact several problems. We have peak oil and we have global warming, and the two are connected.

    Where we differ is that I also see solutions. Humanity has always faced problems, and has always found solutions, or ways to live with the problems. Based on that history, I think humanity will continue to find solutions, or ways to live with the problems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Futilitist

    I have always accepted that a problem exists. In fact several problems. We have peak oil and we have global warming, and the two are connected.

    Where we differ is that I also see solutions. Humanity has always faced problems, and has always found solutions, or ways to live with the problems. Based on that history, I think humanity will continue to find solutions, or ways to live with the problems.
    Can you understand how disappointing it is to hear you make this claim yet again? You think, based on history, that humanity will continue to solve it's problems. I think we can't possibly do that, based on the current physical situation we find ourselves in. If history was such a great predictor of the future, historians would all be millionaires.

    You say we only differ in that you see solutions. If that is really true, then it should be no problem answering me. Please, please do try to answer my question. I don't care whether or not you accept that a problem exists (but I am glad that you do). I just want to get some kind of an idea of what you think the realistic deployment times might be for the alternatives you keep suggesting. That way people could evaluate whether your solutions are viable and proportional to the problem, or not.

    Please....

    Please....

    ....

    ---Futilitist
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    Again, Futilitist, I quote the 50 year time period.
    That is what I consider a realistic period to see a range of solutions implemented. It is a bit of a guess, of course, since no one really knows. It also assumes no major urgency.

    When WWII began, the nations that had to change to a war footing, and start manufacturing munitions, guns, artillery, aircraft, etc., were able to do it within months. This sort of thing can be done when sufficient incentive and urgency applies. So, for example, if large scale diesel manufacture from coal was required, it could be implemented quite quickly. Perhaps within 5 years, given the resources in time of emergency. A lot longer, of course, if no urgency was seen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Again, Futilitist, I quote the 50 year time period.
    That is what I consider a realistic period to see a range of solutions implemented. It is a bit of a guess, of course, since no one really knows. It also assumes no major urgency.

    When WWII began, the nations that had to change to a war footing, and start manufacturing munitions, guns, artillery, aircraft, etc., were able to do it within months. This sort of thing can be done when sufficient incentive and urgency applies. So, for example, if large scale diesel manufacture from coal was required, it could be implemented quite quickly. Perhaps within 5 years, given the resources in time of emergency. A lot longer, of course, if no urgency was seen.
    I believe climate change is a lot more urgent than most others believe. I subscribe to a tipping point that when reached will cascade into so many other problems that any solution will involve many decades or centuries of long painful recovery time if at all. All populations on earth will be disrupted, billions will die over a few decades. War over land and resources will continue for very long times. Most of the people on the planet will be reduced to having their main priority being their next meal.

    So what happens if we have to start over again? We won't have many of the resources we have today, because we used them up already. We will be in a much weaker position than we are today and may never get off planet without alien help.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Again, Futilitist, I quote the 50 year time period.
    That is what I consider a realistic period to see a range of solutions implemented. It is a bit of a guess, of course, since no one really knows. It also assumes no major urgency.

    When WWII began, the nations that had to change to a war footing, and start manufacturing munitions, guns, artillery, aircraft, etc., were able to do it within months. This sort of thing can be done when sufficient incentive and urgency applies. So, for example, if large scale diesel manufacture from coal was required, it could be implemented quite quickly. Perhaps within 5 years, given the resources in time of emergency. A lot longer, of course, if no urgency was seen.
    OK

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    We differ there, arKane.

    Global warming is, of course, a serious problem, and will impinge strongly on the way of life of people over the next few hundred years. However, it is more a matter of how wealthy or otherwise those people will be. As the world warms, sea levels will rise, and weather will change, with more extreme weather. However, nothing cannot be adapted to.

    Imagine the typical person living 100 years from now. Based on current trends, most people by then will be living in cities, and in apartment buildings. Time spent outdoors will be more limited than today. Life in an apartment building will be pretty much independent of anything the climate does. The inside of that building will be protected from wind, high and low temperatures, and the air will be filtered and purified. The residents will be almost oblivious to anything laid on by the changing climate.

    Agriculture will be even more mechanised than today, with autonomous robots playing a major role. Productivity per hectare will be massively greater than today. I read today that sweet potatoes, one of the most important food crops in Africa, respond extremely well to an increase in CO2 in the air, making much more calorie rich material per plant. With 100 years of growth in both robotics and agricultural technology (including genetics) I cannot see that there will be problems feeding everyone.

    Certainly sea levels will be higher, and some coastal cities may need to be abandoned. However, another article in the latest New Scientist implied that average sea levels in that time will not rise more than 1 metre in that time.

    Climate change will be a serious inconvenience, and will reduce overall wealth, but civilisation will continue.
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    Certainly sea levels will be higher, and some coastal cities may need to be abandoned. However, another article in the latest New Scientist implied that average sea levels in that time will not rise more than 1 metre in that time.
    Rahmstorf's latest paper is much more pessimistic about SLR. It's a neat way of putting the ideas together. Showing that the previous IPCC reports were accurate on temperature projections but, just like being decades out of whack with loss of sea ice, the projections on SLR are also nowhere near agreement with observations. The SLR measurements only line up with the highest projections on the highest emissions scenario.

    Fortunately we don't have to work out the paper for ourselves because one of the co-authors (Grant Foster, the super duper statistician) has a blog and has done a nice explanation for us. Sea Level Rise: Faster than Projected | Open Mind

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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    We differ there, arKane.

    Global warming is, of course, a serious problem, and will impinge strongly on the way of life of people over the next few hundred years. However, it is more a matter of how wealthy or otherwise those people will be. As the world warms, sea levels will rise, and weather will change, with more extreme weather. However, nothing cannot be adapted to.

    Imagine the typical person living 100 years from now. Based on current trends, most people by then will be living in cities, and in apartment buildings. Time spent outdoors will be more limited than today. Life in an apartment building will be pretty much independent of anything the climate does. The inside of that building will be protected from wind, high and low temperatures, and the air will be filtered and purified. The residents will be almost oblivious to anything laid on by the changing climate.

    Agriculture will be even more merchandised than today, with autonomous robots playing a major role. Productivity per hectare will be massively greater than today. I read today that sweet potatoes, one of the most important food crops in Africa, respond extremely well to an increase in CO2 in the air, making much more calorie rich material per plant. With 100 years of growth in both robotics and agricultural technology (including genetics) I cannot see that there will be problems feeding everyone.

    Certainly sea levels will be higher, and some coastal cities may need to be abandoned. However, another article in the latest New Scientist implied that average sea levels in that time will not rise more than 1 metre in that time.

    Climate change will be a serious inconvenience, and will reduce overall wealth, but civilization will continue.
    I did say I subscribed to a tipping point theory did I not? One of the cascading events I think will happen is the melting of ice will happen a lot faster than the current predictions. However I think by the time people realize it's really happening it will be to late to stop the worst of it. Also, some areas of the world will suffer more than others, but the shear numbers of people needing to relocate will strain the resources of even the richest countries. Next on the list, is when all this is going on we will be scraping the bottom of the oil barrel as if we didn't already have enough on our minds. We do know from past experience that hungry people are desperate people that will do just about anything to feed their families and there will be no shortage of people that will take advantage of that situation.

    A single world government would help a great deal, but I'm betting that won't happen. So where is that going to leave us when no one country or even a group of countries will be able to come to grips with a world wide problem?
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    The orange line shows an almost cyclic up and down pattern to amount of sea level rise. If that continues, we are due for a down trend in the near future. A regression line drawn on that graph would show a maximum sea level rise by 2100 of 4 mm per year. This would suggest a total sea level rise in the 21st century of about 300 mm (one foot).

    Of course, that is not your interpretation. You are assuming no down trend. But the graph does not give that a higher probability, over an above what I just suggested. Better to admit we just do not know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Certainly sea levels will be higher, and some coastal cities may need to be abandoned. However, another article in the latest New Scientist implied that average sea levels in that time will not rise more than 1 metre in that time.
    Rahmstorf's latest paper is much more pessimistic about SLR. It's a neat way of putting the ideas together. Showing that the previous IPCC reports were accurate on temperature projections but, just like being decades out of whack with loss of sea ice, the projections on SLR are also nowhere near agreement with observations. The SLR measurements only line up with the highest projections on the highest emissions scenario.

    Fortunately we don't have to work out the paper for ourselves because one of the co-authors (Grant Foster, the super duper statistician) has a blog and has done a nice explanation for us. Sea Level Rise: Faster than Projected | Open Mind

    Good post. The IPCC has been consistently wrong since they were established in 1988. Science by committee is just a bad idea. That is because of Groupthink. The same type of Groupthink happens at the IEA. We are being grossly misled by the powers that be. Not a very hopeful situation.

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    Figure 2 of the paper shows the difference between IPCC "predicted" and observation over the past 20 years or so. I put " ", because the IPCC are candid in ignoring key parts of the glacier melt because of continuing uncertainties in how to model them.

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/4/044035/pdf/1748-9326_7_4_044035.pdf

    -
    -


    --
    Good post. The IPCC has been consistently wrong since they were established in 1988. Science by committee is just a bad idea. That is because of Groupthink. The same type of Groupthink happens at the IEA. We are being grossly misled by the powers that be. Not a very hopeful situation.

    ---Futilitist
    Too broad brush and mistaken in the function of the IPCC. They do no science, so there is no "science by committee" as you put it. They consolidate and report sciences from hundreds of agencies, summarize and the simplify the current state of the science so it might be incorporated into policy. Climate forecast on the whole have generally been pretty good up till now, though with regard to ice cover and sea level and in other areas, they've been too conservative in estimating the changes.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; December 3rd, 2012 at 02:11 AM.
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    You are assuming no down trend. But the graph does not give that a higher probability, over an above what I just suggested. Better to admit we just do not know.
    The graph doesn't. The physics of a warming ocean and melting land ice does though. Remember 93% of the additional energy so far absorbed by the earth's systems has gone into the oceans. The expansion from that has started but we've not yet seen anywhere near as much as we're going to.

    If you read a few more of Tamino's (Grant Foster's) posts on his blog, you'll find he has no time for interpreting graphs without the physics or other scientific input to make sense of them. He may be a statistician but he refuses to accept 'cycles' or other non-scientific readings of graphs. He is willing to do some extrapolation from graphs of data like loss of Arctic sea ice - but only for a year at a time and only because the physical models have been overtaken by the reality.
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    Climate forecast on the whole have generally been pretty good up till now, though with regard to ice cover and sea level and in other areas, they've been too conservative in estimating the changes.
    And they're doing it again.

    No figures will be included in the next IPCC report on expected methane and CO2 release from thawing permafrost. None. Even though they already had significant details before the last report and more work has been done since.

    This omission will affect the projections for temperature increases and the speed of those increases. (Remember methane is about 25 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas in the first century following release into the atmosphere.) Pretty soon we'll be thinking that absolutely everything is understated.

    http://www.unep.org/pdf/permafrost.pdf
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    This may be off topic and let me know if I'm out of line...

    But I'm genuinely curious: How does political and financial pressure (existing infrastructure that cannot easily be replaced, hefty costs of reform, political ramifications of supporting unpopular proposals) play into how the scientific studies of this issue are performed?
    How does it play into how results are published, or which results get published?

    This question may be opening pandoras box on internet discussion, so let me know if you folks would prefer it not be touched.
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    How does it play into how results are published, or which results get published?
    Not at all for the universities and research institutes. The insurance companies like Munich Re do some of their own stuff - but it's not really climate research as in physics or oceanography - it's statistical analysis. Now that there are good records for 50 years or more, it's getting really easy to pick up trends.

    If you're thinking that university or government scientists make money from research then that doesn't happen. (afaik, the only ones who make good(ish) money would be people like Fred Singer and Patrick Michaels whose income comes from those private outfits that used to concentrate on defending tobacco and now act on behalf of oil & coal interests.)

    Basically, all those grants are for things other than the lead researcher's salary, and there are heaps of other complicated ways the money gets disbursed to anyone but the researcher. This is Part I of a 2 part series on how research money "works". Taking the Money for Grant(ed)

    When it comes to things like NASA, NOAA, NSIDC and other major bodies, most of the money going to them is for the satellites, which are not for their exclusive use anyway, and they've had to cancel or defer a few proposed satellite launches because of funding cuts over the last few years. There are several satellite services that are on their last legs or beyond their anticipated useful life.

    As for publication. The ones who do the most research get the most publications. Are you thinking that 'other' researchers might be denied publication or impeded in their work in some significant way?
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    How does it play into how results are published, or which results get published?
    Not at all for the universities and research institutes.
    This is a very naive statement. Groupthink happens everywhere there is a group. It is basic human nature, totally ubiquitous.

    Perhaps I need to back this bold statement up with some solid scientific evidence. Here is a link:

    http://www.thescienceforum.com/

    ---Futilitist
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    This is a very naive statement. Groupthink happens everywhere there is a group. It is basic human nature, totally ubiquitous.

    Perhaps I need to back this bold statement up with some solid scientific evidence. Here is a link:

    http://www.thescienceforum.com/

    ---Futilitist
    Such broad sweeping generalizations add nothing to the thread. If you don't like it here, no one is forcing you to stay.
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    Re sea level rises.

    You are a subscriber to New Scientist.


    Did you read the snippet on page 16 of the 24 November edition?
    Researchers have checked old sea level rise rates, and determined that the maximum likely to happen is 1 metres in 100 years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    This is a very naive statement. Groupthink happens everywhere there is a group. It is basic human nature, totally ubiquitous.

    Perhaps I need to back this bold statement up with some solid scientific evidence. Here is a link:

    http://www.thescienceforum.com/

    ---Futilitist
    Such broad sweeping generalizations add nothing to the thread. If you don't like it here, no one is forcing you to stay.
    Are you kidding? I love it here!

    Do you believe that Groupthink is not evident on thescienceforum.com? Seriously?

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    Skeptic at #43, I think the projections for sea level rise are of longer term trends without year to year or decade to decade variability whilst the past sea levels in the graph show decadal variability that isn't impacting those long term trends. That would mean that those smooth projections applied in the real world are really going to include ups and downs of a similar magnitude; their existence and magnitude are predictable but aligning them with years or decades, so far, aren't.

    I agree with Adelady's point about the importance of graphs relating to underlying physical phenomena and in the case of sea levels that's expansion due to rising heat content and loss of land ice - glaciers and ice sheets. Loss of land ice has a lot of uncertainties but the real world data is showing rapid acceleration, so far most strongly in Greenland but increasingly in parts of Antarctica.
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    Ken

    You may be right, or you might be wrong.

    The short term trend is one thing. The longer term may be unexpected.
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    Futilist, I don't see a lot of forward looking policy on the political front and I think we're seeing an overlap of disturbing trends that include rapid extraction of finite resources at unsustainable levels as well as serious environmental impacts. I personally think the free market approach is very good at getting things done in a world of abundant resources but crashes and burns when resource constraints rear their heads. And I think it's inevitable that they do. But America is not the world and not all nations have the American abhorrence of government and of it's role via planning and regulation in commerce and industry. Those nations aren't all impoverished or totalitarian either.
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    Do you believe that Groupthink is not evident on thescienceforum.com? Seriously?


    For the most part no. If anything, we're too accepting of cockamamie ideas that float across these boards. We do so, because its recognized that many of the membership are not trained scientist and allowing them to ask even off the wall questions is often an effective part of learning most of us went through. Were I draw the line, is unsupported broad brush statements or overt logical fallacies that don't add to forum discussions. Your comments about IPCC were factually wrong and made in a way that didn't offer any consideration you were willing to learn what they do or how they function. You're reaction to the criticism was to make things worse by making yet another broad brush comment about "group think", showing an unwillingness to listen, and continuing to add nothing to the discussion. It was also in the wrong subforum--we have a site feedback sub forum for concerns about the web site.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Do you believe that Groupthink is not evident on thescienceforum.com? Seriously?

    For the most part no. If anything, we're too accepting of cockamamie ideas that float across these boards. We do so, because its recognized that many of the membership are not trained scientist and allowing them to ask even off the wall questions is often an effective part of learning most of us went through.
    Not that it matters, but are you a trained scientist? You clearly imply here that you are, but at the bottom of your post it says:

    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    (Anunnaki sponge puppet?)

    Also, is it a factual statement that most moderators on thescienceforum.com are trained scientists? I did not know that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Were I draw the line, is unsupported broad brush statements or overt logical fallacies that don't add to forum discussions.
    That is a good thing to do. This is a science forum, after all. I'm behind you all the way on this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Your comments about IPCC were factually wrong...
    ...in your opinion. Here is what I said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist
    Good post. The IPCC has been consistently wrong since they were established in 1988. Science by committee is just a bad idea. That is because of Groupthink. The same type of Groupthink happens at the IEA. We are being grossly misled by the powers that be. Not a very hopeful situation.
    The IPCC has been consistently wrong and they were established in 1988. I looked it up. And they do do science by committee. As far as Groupthink goes, I have a broad view of it's meaning, which I am entitled to, by the way. And trust me, you really don't want me to prove it to you. Ask marnixR.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    ...and made in a way that didn't offer any consideration you were willing to learn what they do or how they function.
    What consideration do you want and how do you know that I am unwilling to learn something?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    You're reaction to the criticism was to make things worse by making yet another broad brush comment about "group think", showing an unwillingness to listen, and continuing to add nothing to the discussion. It was also in the wrong subforum--we have a site feedback sub forum for concerns about the web site.
    I wasn't reacting to any criticism when I made my comment. You made one that I chose not to respond to. I was commenting on adelady's response to Neverfly's comment. How did I show an unwillingness to listen? Clearly I am paying attention as evidenced by my response to you here. I added Groupthink to the discussion. It is a worthy topic. I wasn't making a complaint about the website. I like this website. I am not concerned that it suffers from Groupthink, since I expect it to. All groups Groupthink.

    Believe it or not I'm not looking for a fight.

    ---Futilitist
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    Going by the often vigorous disagreements on this forum, I think the word "groupthink" is totally wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
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    Going by the often vigorous disagreements on this forum, I think the word "groupthink" is totally wrong.
    OK. But if we keep this up, you will soon have to change the title of this thread to "Groupthink". I thought we were talking about climate change.

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    Futilist.
    Yes I am a trained scientist. I have two science degrees in meteorology, worked in a research lab and successfully published in peer review scientific journals (about mesoscale convective complexes...if you're really that interested); I've also taught undergraduate meteorology and earth science classes and am working towards a certification to teach secondary school science and math. I don't know about all the moderators, but I do know we have one science/math teacher and at least one other scientist.

    And they do do science by committee.
    That was the part of your statement you got factually wrong. The IPCC doesn't no science at all. They don't do their own research, the have no labs, nor even fund any research. They synthesize other peoples peer-review research findings from multiple fields, report on that synthesis and make policy recommendations. http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/ipcc-backgrounder.html Please verify in their own description, look at their work or use something factual as example where perhaps it's not entirely accurate. Or you can simply thank me for helping teaching you something. My point is just more hand waving, make broad brush statements makes you look immature, or uninterested in either contributing or learning from the discussion.

    And no, group think is not part of this thread. It's a strawman you imposed. This thread was already too broad. If you think the forum has a problem in that regard, than make your complaint in the appropriate subforum, with specific examples and recommendations.
    Consider that a formal warning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Futilist.
    Yes I am a trained scientist. I have two science degrees in meteorology, worked in a research lab and successfully published in peer review scientific journals (about mesoscale convective complexes...if you're really that interested); I've also taught undergraduate meteorology and earth science classes and am working towards a certification to teach secondary school science and math. I don't know about all the moderators, but I do know we have one science/math teacher and at least one other scientist.

    And they do do science by committee.
    That was the part of your statement you got factually wrong. The IPCC doesn't no science at all. They don't do their own research, the have no labs, nor even fund any research. They synthesize other peoples peer-review research findings from multiple fields, report on that synthesis and make policy recommendations. http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/ipcc-backgrounder.html Please verify in their own description, look at their work or use something factual as example where perhaps it's not entirely accurate. Or you can simply thank me for helping teaching you something. My point is just more hand waving, make broad brush statements makes you look immature, or uninterested in either contributing or learning from the discussion.

    And no, group think is not part of this thread. It's a strawman you imposed. This thread was already too broad. If you think the forum has a problem in that regard, than make your complaint in the appropriate subforum, with specific examples and recommendations.
    Consider that a formal warning.
    The IPCC does metascience and that it still science.

    So far I have not made any complaints about the forum, nor did I wish to, as I explained to you before.

    Suggesting that the IPCC is subject to aspects of Groupthink is hardly a crime. Groupthink is everywhere, and my last post to skeptic was to try to get this thread back on topic.

    Now I get a formal warning.

    What do I do now?

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    The IPCC does metascience and that it still science.

    Suggesting that the IPCC is subject to aspects of Groupthink is hardly a crime.
    The IPCC is a creation of the UN. The countries of the UN all have their own agendas to run, and they've insisted that even the 'science only' portion of the reports has to include 'representation' of various points of view. At different times they've forced changes to the wording of probabilities for various projections. You may be surprised to learn that these changes have had the effect of downgrading or understating the importance or the urgency or the severity of what should have been fairly unambiguous scientific conclusions.

    When it comes to the more policy oriented sections or regional actions any concept of 'groupthink' is not just off the table, it's out the window. There's some pretty blatant political jostling and elbowing to force statements back from clear implications and consequences back into the nebulous world of maybe, could and might. (And we all know scientists have hardly got a reputation for conventional direct statements in the first place.)

    And none of this is about 'science'. It's all about promoting and enhancing perceived national interests and political ideologies. Between them the USA, the Saudis and the Chinese, and just about anyone with serious money or fossil resources, can dilute any vaguely direct statements right back into the nether world of 'we'll talk about this later' without ever saying - but only if we feel like it. In other words, they think they achieve something when they've changed a few words here and there to make it less and less likely that anyone can point to a document and say 'but you should take notice of this particular fact (or obligation or consequence)'. Unfortunately, that is the main objective for several major countries with more say than others in these processes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist
    What do I do now?

    Your quote about science by committee as "group think" was clearly in the context of climate science about sea level change, not about the analysis, "meta science," as you put it, about that research.

    What you do is stop quibbling, craw fishing from your own positions by further mincing your clear intent, or digging yourself deeper while ignoring mod guidance.

    You're getting a day off to think about this thread, and responses to your own thread in the general part of the forum.



    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; December 3rd, 2012 at 08:28 PM.
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    Imagine the typical person living 100 years from now. Based on current trends, most people by then will be living in cities, and in apartment buildings. Time spent outdoors will be more limited than today. Life in an apartment building will be pretty much independent of anything the climate does. The inside of that building will be protected from wind, high and low temperatures, and the air will be filtered and purified. The residents will be almost oblivious to anything laid on by the changing climate.
    I find this a bit hard to believe for "most people". According to something I read yesterday we'll have 2 billion people living in slums, favelas and shanty towns by 2030, there are almost a billion now according to this article in The Guardian.

    These squat neighbourhoods are often referred to as slums, shanty towns,favelas or bidonvilles. They are often characterised as grim places, with poor sanitation, high crime rates, drug gangs, and other problems. But it's often a misconception, says Robert Neuwirth, author of Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters. He spent two years living in slums in four of the world's largest cities: Mumbai, Nairobi, Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro. "They're not criminal enterprises. They're not mafias," he says. "These are people, law-abiding citizens, workers. People who wait on the tables and clean the rooms in the tourist hotels. People help each other and take care of each other. These were wonderful places to live, once you step beyond the fact that they don't have a sewer system."
    (The article's about Britain now, but it's got some interesting historical and worldwide stuff as well. 'Squatters are not home stealers' | Society | The Guardian )

    Taking the 1 billion population figure to be newly housed in these apartments by the 100 years time you suggest, requires 10 million people to be so accommodated every year for the next 100 years. That's Paris every year, the whole of Australia (or Shanghai) every 2.5 years, or the whole of the Phillippines every decade. Seeing as you're expecting more agricultural automation, then that 2 billion by 2030 will be a reality, mostly by displacing farm labourers. If we anticipate that and start working on it straight away then we need this new housing for 20 million people every year for a hundred years. A New York every year, a whole Shanghai or Australia every 18 months, the whole of Brazil every decade.

    Whichever way you look at it, I can't see most people in such safe, desirable housing. Let alone if you add in all the relocation and rebuilding of existing higher quality housing and infrastructure required to escape from rising waters and the associated storm surges. Many parts of Miami flood at ordinary high tides now with only a little help from wind or storm.

    Did you have any $$$ numbers for that target? Providing clean water and sewage disposal alone would be an astronomical number I would have expected. Let alone having these buildings meet the higher flood, wind and storm resistance standards that would be required if we let temperature and absolute humidity go as high as you're apparently willing to tolerate.
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    Not sure what the construction rate for new apartment buildings is. However, what is needed is simply enough $$$$. In other words, for third world nations to have sufficient economic growth.

    The interesting thing is that, except for sub-Saharan Africa, economic growth in third world countries is substantial. Bangla Desh for example at 6% per year. It seems to me that, whenever a nasty dictator is replaced by a relatively non corrupt democracy, the economy of the nation takes off.

    So to get most people into apartment buildings within 100 years does not appear impossible.

    It is also worth bearing in mind the building technology advances. There is a giant size 3D printer under research right now, capable of printing off entire building modules, with plumbing and wiring included. A high rise building could be constructed using the framework first, and then crane lifting modules into place. Quick and cheap. Also, if designed right, very comfortable. Given 100 years of development, I predict making high rise apartment buildings will be really, really cheap.
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    Skeptic, I find your excessive optimism in the face of serious problems that aren't being adequately addressed unconvincing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist
    What do I do now?

    Your quote about science by committee as "group think" was clearly in the context of climate science about sea level change, not about the analysis, "meta science," as you put it, about that research.

    What you do is stop quibbling, craw fishing from your own positions by further mincing your clear intent, or digging yourself deeper while ignoring mod guidance.

    You're getting a day off to think about this thread, and responses to your own thread in the general part of the forum.


    I know Futilist got under your skin a bit, but I really didn't see anything about his posts that warranted being banned. But the really strange thing was he tried to sign up at Hypography Science Forums and was declined because of the ban here. Does that mean both forums have the same owner?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Skeptic, I find your excessive optimism in the face of serious problems that aren't being adequately addressed unconvincing.
    Ken

    Obviously I cannot convince everyone of my views, which is fine. However, I trust you give credit for the factual back up material I use.

    On the last point, we were dealing with a period of 100 years. Have you considered how much the world changed in the last 100? Have you thought how much it might further change in the next 100, when human knowledge is doubling each 40 years (according to New Scientist journal)?
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    Have you considered how much the world changed in the last 100?
    Obviously. The other side of that question is how much the world has not changed in that time. If we look at the proportion of the world's populations that lacks housing or access to clean water and sanitation, or that are chronically malnourished, we're not doing so wonderfully well. The specific populations that may be suffering such privations have changed in the last century, but the % is not much better.
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    Actually, Adelady, the percentages are improving decade by decade. OK. There is a bit of a set back since 2007, in the current recession, which is the second worst in 100 years. But the trend is to lower malnutrition, better health, better wealth, and longer lives.

    The sad exception, of course, is sub-Saharan Africa, especially since 2008. The reason for that is also clear. It is the presence of nasty corrupt national leaders. Where those bastards get kicked out, things change, and economies grow. This is the case for Asia, big time. Nor is this just me being over-optimistic. The basic statistics show it very clearly.

    There are even African countries that are growing well. Malawi, Ghana and others. In nations like Zimbabwe, where the corrupt leadership stays in power, the people suffer, but the number of such nations is slowly falling.
    Overall, average African GDP rose by about 5% per annum from 2000 to 2008.
    What's driving Africa's growth - McKinsey Quarterly - Economic Studies - Productivity & Performance
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    If Africa's growth is based on the same fossil fueled model - from the linked article oil and gas are near the top of the list of resources to exploit to get that growth - then those unaddressed problems are going to get worse, coping with them will ultimately be harder and more expensive or not possible at all.
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    Getting round peak oil will be a global problem, and any solution or management method will also be global.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Ken

    Getting round peak oil will be a global problem, and any solution or management method will also be global.
    Without a single world government I don't see any easy or timely solutions to our climate problems. Maybe you are seeing something I'm not? The oil will be used until no more can be pumped at any price, but it's going to go up in price a great deal before that happens. Most of us will be priced out of that market and energy we find to expensive today will become the cheaper option in the future. Somehow I don't see coal usage going down anytime soon. If anything coal usage is going to surge upward and our climate problems are going to get worse at a faster rate.
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    Any solution will be global, for the simple reason that it will be in demand, and it will be bought. It will be part of the new global economy. There will be no world government in the foreseeable future, but there will be an increasingly integrated global village, with international trade, communications, and travel.

    If, for example, thorium is used to make nuclear reactors, and the power used in new technology battery operated cars, then the nations with the thorium technology, and the nations with that battery technology, will sell their products and services to the rest of the world.

    In this way, any solution will be global.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    arKane

    Any solution will be global, for the simple reason that it will be in demand, and it will be bought. It will be part of the new global economy. There will be no world government in the foreseeable future, but there will be an increasingly integrated global village, with international trade, communications, and travel.

    If, for example, thorium is used to make nuclear reactors, and the power used in new technology battery operated cars, then the nations with the thorium technology, and the nations with that battery technology, will sell their products and services to the rest of the world.

    In this way, any solution will be global.
    Yeah! But do you really think there's going to be enough resources for everybody to have enough? <Wishful Thinking>
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    Why not?

    Thorium is as abundant as lead. And you need a lot less.
    For batteries, lithium is the most likely and there is heaps dissolved in ocean water. Over 200,000,000,000 tonnes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Why not?

    Thorium is as abundant as lead. And you need a lot less.
    For batteries, lithium is the most likely and there is heaps dissolved in ocean water. Over 200,000,000,000 tonnes.
    Just about every element can be found dissolved in the ocean to some degree or another. But getting what you need from the oceans is not very cost effective at this time. Also, not everybody is ready to jump on the thorium bandwagon yet.
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    Agreed. But there is still enough time to get things up and running. It may not even be thorium and lithium. There are many possibilities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Agreed. But there is still enough time to get things up and running. It may not even be thorium and lithium. There are many possibilities.
    Let me guess, 50 years. Am I right? That was just a wild guess on my part. That is your standard (non) answer for everything. You just keep repeating it to answer whatever concerns anyone might bring up.

    At what point might there possibly be not enough time? Do you even allow for that possibility in your "model"?

    Also, shouldn't you be saying, "But there is still enough time to get things up and running, IMHO?", since there is no basis for your fanciful claim (IMAOWCSO*)?

    Also, I sent you a friendly PM invitation to come back to the thread you used to visit multiple times a day, to the point of becoming the dominant poster there, besides me (the OP), and maybe even including me, I don't have time to count. I'm here supporting your thread. Why don't you drop back by Apocalypse soon? and say hi? You said you would. By the way, there are more than several posts there that are basically indistinguishable from the one above.

    And, once again, having many possibilities is <, and not = to, having even one real solution.

    I do not think your argument is scientifically valid in any way. This is a science forum and I believe we should just stick to the science. Thanks.


    ---Futilitist

    *note---IMAOWCSO = In My, And Other's, Well Considered Scientific Opinion.
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  82. #81  
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    Futilitist

    Your apocalypse thread appears to have died a death. That is normal. All threads do that eventually, and there is no special merit in keeping them going.

    I have made it clear that my 50 years is my estimate, and I could be wrong. However, again going back to history, there have been numerous people who have claimed we are running out of time, and have less than 5 years left. Those claims were made in some cases 70 years ago! Humanity still seems to be thriving.

    Your claims have little to distinguish them from the earlier claims that have been proven incorrect. Maybe you will break the mould and end up right. But I am not holding my breath. Every claim of impending disaster over the last 70 years has proven wrong, and there have been many of them. Lots of those claims appeared, at the time, to be well supported by data. They collapsed, though, because they did not anticipate remedial action by forward thinking humanity.
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  83. #82 A Freudian slip? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Futilitist

    Your apocalypse thread appears to have died a death. That is normal.
    You said, "appears to have died a death". That is a weird phraseology. What about, "appears to have died"? "Died a death" is oddly redundant. Every living thing eventually "dies a death". You are correct that that is normal, but something seems to be missing. It is almost like you meant to say the more common phrase, "died a natural death", but stopped short for some reason. Freudian slip, perhaps?

    May I have your permission to use your quote as an example on my "Psychology of Apocalypse" thread?

    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; December 5th, 2012 at 01:11 PM. Reason: punctuation
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    Futilitist, "died a death" is a common idiom in Australia, NZ and UK and a few other places.

    No need to go dictionary mad on us. die a death - Idioms - by the Free Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Futilitist, "died a death" is a common idiom in Australia, NZ and UK and a few other places.

    No need to go dictionary mad on us. die a death - Idioms - by the Free Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
    Wow, I did not know that. Forgive my ugly American mistake. You learn something new every day. Leave it to the Britts to come up with a phrase like that! Thanks for the correction, by the way.

    From now on I will read all comments by skeptic with an Aussie accent. Hopefully that will help me understand the bloke a little better.

    ---Futilitist
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  86. #85  
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    I'm Australian, skeptic's NZ.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Yeah. Always interesting to see how our use of language varies from place to place. I think the internet will modify this, since we can now share our weird ways of talking, all over the world. I am constantly bemused by American idiom, but also somewhat amused.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I'm Australian, skeptic's NZ.
    Does this forum originate from down under?

    ---Futilitist
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Yeah. Always interesting to see how our use of language varies from place to place. I think the internet will modify this, since we can now share our weird ways of talking, all over the world. I am constantly bemused by American idiom, but also somewhat amused.
    LOL that's crazy talk. English literature is ancient and established. There's no way the internet will modify language. I just blogged about this the other day, matter of fact. I mean, think about it, if you google up and word, you get a dictionary translation, not an interweb definition.
    Checkmate Net enthusiasts!

    Ohh brb, someone just tweeted and I gotta poke someone back while facebooking.
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  90. #89  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I'm Australian, skeptic's NZ.
    For the record, I never get tired of the Aussie accent and if it wasn't for all the poison creatures I wouldn't mind a down under vacation.
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    Skeptic, I do appreciate that ingenuity and innovation have carried us beyond predicted crunch times. And that innovation is capable of mitigating against some of the more dire current predictions and projections. Yet there are some elements of the convergence of climate problem, resource depletion and agricultural sustainability that I think make them difficult to innovate around. The prior successes at avoiding for a time the consequences of population growth and per capita resource use has allowed and encouraged doing the same kind of thing only more so. Rather than use our science based forethought and the breathing space that innovations have given us, a belief of invulnerability and unstoppability has been allowed and encouraged and become embedded in the popular psyche. It works against longer term planning based on knowledge and forethought. Those issues have had a long history of being surmounted or averted, yet the fundamental problems have not been solved or permanent solutions put in place. Knowing that these are serious problems is failing to adequately motivate early and effective responses.

    And along comes the climate problem which is going to eat away at fundamental capital - like reliable and predictable weather patterns upon which agriculture depends and low lying lands which are the most heavily populated and include vast areas that are agriculturally important.

    Climate has that very awkward characteristic of long time lag between adding significant GHG load and the on-the-ground consequences. For surface temperatures, several decades. For sea level rise, centuries. That has made it easy for vested interests to encourage doubt and disbelief and by that prevent early and effective responses, exacerbating the problem. There is a momentum to the climate system that makes those longer term impacts effectively unstoppable and unavoidable once the changes to GHG levels are in place. That has made it easy for vested interests to encourage people to believe there is no point in early and effective responses. That we've overcome so many problems and thrived has made it easy to believe that will continue to be the case and there is no need to making any economic sacrifices towards early and effective responses.


    Therefore -
    I find your excessive optimism in the face of serious problems that aren't being adequately addressed unconvincing.
    Last edited by Ken Fabos; December 5th, 2012 at 03:03 PM.
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    arKane

    Come to NZ. We are about the safest country on the planet in terms of nasty beasties. We just do not have them. No snakes. One rare poisonous spider which cannot kill an adult anyway. Our sharks are pussycats. The only nasty animal, really, is two legged, and around 1.75 metres tall.

    Ken

    It is, of course, possible that you are right and I am wrong. In which case, we are in serious sh!t.

    However, I would dispute your statement that problems are not being adequately addressed. In fact, there is enormous effort being put in. As in billions of dollars invested. Most of that, of course, is by business interests that see money to be made. Like shale oil and natural gas development. But a lot is also going into less environmentally harmful alternatives. Umpteen millions into electric car development. Millions into alternative fuels. Millions more into alternative electricity generation.

    We could dispute whether that will be enough. But economic laws mean that, as problems get worse, more effort is put into solutions. There are any number of solutions proposed. Some will prove successful.
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    Hey Folks,

    FYI, I just installed a reader poll on the "Apocalypse soon?" thread, if anyone is interested. It has 10 fun multiple choice questions. It might be interesting to see where readers are generally on the really tough questions facing humanity. Please do vote. Thank you.

    ---Futilitist
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    arKane

    Come to NZ. We are about the safest country on the planet in terms of nasty beasties. We just do not have them. No snakes. One rare poisonous spider which cannot kill an adult anyway. Our sharks are pussycats. The only nasty animal, really, is two legged, and around 1.75 metres tall.

    Ken

    It is, of course, possible that you are right and I am wrong. In which case, we are in serious sh!t.

    However, I would dispute your statement that problems are not being adequately addressed. In fact, there is enormous effort being put in. As in billions of dollars invested. Most of that, of course, is by business interests that see money to be made. Like shale oil and natural gas development. But a lot is also going into less environmentally harmful alternatives. Umpteen millions into electric car development. Millions into alternative fuels. Millions more into alternative electricity generation.

    We could dispute whether that will be enough. But economic laws mean that, as problems get worse, more effort is put into solutions. There are any number of solutions proposed. Some will prove successful.
    Sounds like I should put NZ on my vacation plans. I do think if we have the time we will have solutions. I'm just not very confident that we will solve the problem before we reach the tipping point. Once we reach that tipping point, our time and resources will be very strained trying to cope with survival problems on a world wide scale. That's a massive distraction that will continue for many decades at the least or maybe a few centuries at the worst.

    Our economic problems are only going to get worse as the world population stabilizes or decreases, because our current capitalistic models are based on an ever increasing population. Fixing that problem alone is going to be a very daunting painful long time. This will be happening as our cheap oil runs out and the climate is changing for the worse. All of this may not be an extinction level event, but the suffering will affect a much greater percentage of the population for a great deal of time into the future.
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    Skeptic, even now the amount of funding and financing that goes to projects that increase the extraction and use of fossil fuels is far greater than what is going towards limiting emissions.
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    To arKane
    The effect of population growth reduction will not be much on world economies, for the simple reason that the changes are so slow. It will take 100 years before population numbers go into serious decline globally, and locally, the decline in developed nations is comfortably compensated for by immigration.

    ken

    I agree that climate change is a problem. Humanity will act to mitigate this, but will not stop it. However, the world has been warm before and life flourished. Humanity has the ability to flourish more than almost any other species. We will move further from the coast (or build sea walls), live in weather proof homes, and develop better ways of keeping cool. We will actually end up with more livable land, since vast areas of currently frigid land in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Siberia will become livable. The melting of Arctic ice will give humans a North West shipping passage, plus new oil fields etc.

    I sometimes wonder what would happen if global warming was reversed. imagine human society living in a world that is 5 C warmer on average than the present. And now the world is cooling. What would the people think? I imagine that panic would be worse than what we currently experience with warming. After all, the great cities in North Canada and in Siberia stand to be destroyed! Ports will become land locked. Shipping channels blocked with ice. Billions of people forced to emigrate. The populations of warmer nations would stand ready with machine guns to repel invaders. War!
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    To arKane
    The effect of population growth reduction will not be much on world economies, for the simple reason that the changes are so slow. It will take 100 years before population numbers go into serious decline globally, and locally, the decline in developed nations is comfortably compensated for by immigration.

    ken

    I agree that climate change is a problem. Humanity will act to mitigate this, but will not stop it. However, the world has been warm before and life flourished. Humanity has the ability to flourish more than almost any other species. We will move further from the coast (or build sea walls), live in weather proof homes, and develop better ways of keeping cool. We will actually end up with more livable land, since vast areas of currently frigid land in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Siberia will become livable. The melting of Arctic ice will give humans a North West shipping passage, plus new oil fields etc.

    I sometimes wonder what would happen if global warming was reversed. imagine human society living in a world that is 5 C warmer on average than the present. And now the world is cooling. What would the people think? I imagine that panic would be worse than what we currently experience with warming. After all, the great cities in North Canada and in Siberia stand to be destroyed! Ports will become land locked. Shipping channels blocked with ice. Billions of people forced to emigrate. The populations of warmer nations would stand ready with machine guns to repel invaders. War!
    In my humble opinion, people should just ignore everything skeptic has to say. He just keeps repeating the same mantra anyway. This thread is boring and inane. Or maybe just insane. Take your pick. Yawn.

    ---Futilitist
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    In my humble opinion, people should just ignore everything skeptic has to say. He just keeps repeating the same mantra anyway. This thread is boring and inane. Or maybe just insane. Take your pick. Yawn.
    Futilitist, if you find someone's posts boring or repetitive, the best option is to say nothing. It is also polite to allow others to make up their own minds about the value of other people's contributions. You are not the arbiter of what other people should find interesting or valuable. When we need such a person for these forums, we will advertise for an Emily Post, a Miss Manners or similar person to set the tone and the tune for other participants.

    I also point you to the Forum Guidelines.

    4(e) Before replying, please ask yourself the following question: "Does my reply offer any significant advice or help contribute to the conversation in any fashion?" If not, do not post it .....
    I am well aware that you're not casting aspersions on people's race or sexual orientation, nor are you using profanity. However, there are no medals for meeting minimum standards of adult conversation. It is still possible to be insulting and downright rude without ever using any but the most ladylike language - just ask any "ladies group" about someone who claims superiority and wields the power to exclude on arbitrary personal criteria. It's just bullying in a hat and gloves. Try not to join this undesirable social class.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    we will advertise for an Emily Post, a Miss Manners or similar person to set the tone and the tune for other participants
    Wouldn't do much good. Someone like me would probably cuss her out, then put her on ignore.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    I have just read the book review in the New Scientist of the above title by Dieter Helm.
    The Carbon Crunch: How We're Getting Climate Change Wrong - and How to Fix it: Amazon.co.uk: Dieter Helm: Books

    Some provocative ideas.
    Helm identifies coal as the big problem in fossil fuels, as the worst emitter of greenhouse gases. He says that we need, as a matter of top priority, to remove coal as an energy source. He claims that 'green' strategies such as wind farms and solar panels are not the way to do it. The reason is that they take enormous amounts of financial resources and return very little in terms of reducing greenhouse gases.

    Helm suggests that the new sources of fossil fuel, such as shale gas, should be pursued with vigor. They produce a lot more energy per tonne of fuel compared to coal. This is, of course, an interim measure, but Helm considers it a vital interim measure. Burning natural gas to make electricity, for example, produces only half the CO2 per unit electricity of coal.

    Hard nosed realism, according to Helm, is to pursue these fossil fuels, and do so to avoid burning coal. It implies that greenies are living in a fantasy land in pushing alternatives that really are not doing much to reduce greenhouse gases, while nevertheless consuming enormous financial resources and drawing attention away from a much better interim technology.

    Common sense forces me to agree, with most of your ideas.


    But are "Greenies" living in a fantasy land?
    (Or) is it those who attack solar power, that live in a fantasy land?

    Look at this solar power station in Spain, it provides enough electricity for 90,000 people. And it even produces electricity at night, and it has -0- emissions.
    Solar power station in Spain works at night - YouTube


    Or look at these videos about backyard (personal) solar and wind power systems. Many people pay (no) electric bill with their back yard solar/wind systems. There are 100's more videos on youtube like these, if you don't like the ones bellow. And when you make your own easy to make solar panels, these inexpensive systems are even cheaper. And they have -0- emissions.

    This following guy is messy with wires, but he explains how a simple (small) solar system works.
    small residential solar power system - YouTube

    Though perhaps not the best video, this guy pays (no) electric bill with his backyard solar/wind system.
    Wind & Solar Grid Tie Battery Backup - Zero Electric Bill - YouTube


    (((( Look at these newest solar system's. ))))

    This one is traditional solar,
    Researcher Makes Solar Energy Breakthrough - YouTube

    This one is solar powering a stirling engine,
    European Solar Powered Stirling 10 Kilowatt Generator - YouTube


    This link speaks of China reducing the costs of solar systems.
    China reduces solar power costs with large-scale manufacturing - YouTube

    Perhaps all the oil, gas, and coal companies who fund all our TV stations, don't like solar power, or these things being spoken about in the media.
    Why else would so many people not know about them?

    You should go to youtube and watch some videos, about home solar power systems, off grid solar systems, sterling solar systems, home wind turbines, commercial solar power plants, 100% solar homes, ex.ex.ex. (and other energy saving youtube videos, with ways to cut your energy bills, cars that get super gas millage, ex.ex.) It seems the only technologies you all know about, are the technologies our present power companies want to transition into.


    I believe your views about this planets power grids, make a whole bunch of sense.
    But I believe you attack solar power, when perhaps you should not.

    Chad.
    Last edited by chad; December 23rd, 2012 at 09:57 PM.
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    I have no interest in attacking solar power. But it still has one major drawback - cost. This is even more true for thermal solar. check for yourself.
    Cost of electricity by source - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    By comparison, nuclear power costs to produce, an estimated 11 cents per kilowatt hour. Solar thermal is 25 cents. Photovoltaic cells are getting better and are down to 16 cents. They may yet catch up and become cheaper than nuclear. If so, then they will be a great addition to the range of methods.

    Sadly, I cannot see thermal solar power becoming economic any time soon, and probably not any time at all.
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