The Top Ten Things Environmentalists Need to Learn

January 29th, 2008
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This came out a lot longer than I expected. However, this is also what is becoming an increasingly large portion of this website. Maintaining the environment is a critical issue especially as evidence of accelerated global warming mounts and as energy becomes more of an issue than it has in recent past. Unfortunately, many of those who claim to be working for enviornmental improvements lack an understanding of a few basic concepts which are absolutely critical to accomplishing anything.

I often find myself in arguments over economics versus environmentalism. This becomes a very difficult situation because the immediate accusation is that I care only about money and need to realize that sacrifices must be made for the good of the planet. I am also told that wind or solar is the answer and the costs and reduction of energy output is acceptable. These ideas that it is okay or honorable to make such sacrifices are overly simplistic and lack a true understanding of the forces at work. To use a phrase I have come to like, they are “Not even wrong.”

Thus, the top ten list…

 

10. Go after pollution sources with the highest benefit/cost ratio, not those which are most noticeable – If you are attempting to make a difference in the world, you should start with the largest problems with the simplest solutions and the least cost in remedying.

For example, underground coal fires produce as much CO2 as all the light cars and trucks in North America and most of those in Europe. The cost of developing a method of fighting such fires and implementing it is likely very low compared to the benefit especially in the context of the amount of effort which has gone into reducing the pollution from cars and trucks.

Similarly, aviation accounts only a small portion of CO2 emissions and there are no apparent alternatives to hydrocarbon fuels for aircraft which do not result in huge tradeoffs. The funds spent on attempting to develop and deploy hydrogen fueled aircraft or some other alternative are very high and there would be tradeoffs in the capabilities and economics of operation. Therefore, it is not wise to invest much effort or funds in such a pursuit.

9. It is always best and often vital to utilize existing infrastructure and capabilities when implementing new methods or technologies. – Any concept for producing more environmentally friendly systems must deal with the realities of the currently deployed infrastructure and the existing manufacturing and maintenance capabilities in place. Those which utilize these assets to the fullest will be the most successful and any which require retooling or major upgrades MUST be capable of doing so in an incremental manner which uses established capabilities wherever possible.

This is important in the context of things like transportation. It is entirely unreasonable to expect that there will be widely deployed hydrogen filling stations or other support facilities in the foreseeable future. Even if the ultimate goal is to establish such facilities, it is necessary that any technologies being implemented must be capable of compatibility with what currently exists in the midterm. For example, plug in hybrids which may be a stepping stone toward future electric-based vehicles but work well with existing technology.

Similarly, it is better to work with manufacturing, refining and distribution technologies that are already available as well as the existing skills of workers. It is better to deploy clean synthetic hydrocarbons, for example, than ethanol on a wide scale because ethanol cannot be pumped through existing petroleum pipelines due to it’s tendency to bind with water.

8. “Natural� “Organic� and “Bio� do not mean “good.� - Some of the most toxic substances known are natural. Furthermore there are times when using an artificial or engineered solution to a problem is far better than using a traditional low-tech or natural approach. Using synthetic substances, engineered approaches and technology can often improve the efficiency of an activity and therefore reduce the need for resources and the overall impact.

For example: a farm which utilizes insecticides and artificial fertilizers to grow a given amount of crops on ten acres may be far better for the local ecosystem than a farm which uses organic methods but requires twice the land be cleared. A common organic farming method for pest control is to import predator insects like lady bugs, however, importing large numbers of these insects may be considerably more disturbing to the local food chain and ecosystem than using a measured amount of an artificial pesticide.

�Nature� was not designed to provide mankind with food, energy and other needs in the most efficient, reliable and sustainable manner. Therefore, engineered or artificial approaches may have better overall outcomes.

7. Plans for the future should not be made on the most optimistic predictions and should consider the most pessimistic reasonable predictions – If you are formulating a plan for providing energy you cannot base it on the assumption that there will be an overall decrease in energy usage. Rather, one must assume that energy needs will continue to grow as they always have, if not faster.

Similarly, no plans for the future should ever be based on the assumption that it will be possible to do something better/faster/cheaper than it can now based on future technologies. One cannot, for example, create say “We’ll just have to develop a more efficient solar cell that is ten times cheaper than what we have now.� There is no guarantee that such research and development in such an area will be fruitful.

�Hope for the best but prepare for the worst� is generally the best policy. Any statement like “Well we won’t need to plan for that because in ten years we’ll be at the point where we’ll only need half as much oil� should be viewed with extreme skepticism.

6. Simply attacking an environmentally damaging activity is not effective unless a better alternative of similar or better economics and usefulness is presented – Protesting a coal fired power plant is, in and of itself, useless, because the plant is necessary to provide electricity. It is even worse to oppose coal, oil and hydroelectric because those are all major sources of electricity. If one wants to phase out something like coal there must be an alternative presented. It is always more effective to promote the alternative than to oppose what exists. If the alternative is accepted, the existing activity being opposed will go away on its own.

It is important that the alternative be reasonable, not speculative and capable of replacing what exists with minimal sacrifice in general. Any alternative which provides additional non-environmental benefits, such as cheaper energy, improved capabilities or better performance (in the case of a vehicle) will aid greatly in promoting the alternative. If such benefits can be presented the likelihood of success is extremely high.

5. Taxation, price increases and caps on energy are inherently regressive and cause great damage. – Regressive means that it has a greater impact on the lower classes than the upper classes and also affect upward mobility and general quality of life. Increasing the price of energy does not mean simply mandating a price or taxing it directly. Any measures which limit energy production will cause an increase in price due to market forces. This includes carbon taxation and carbon capping without providing a variable alternative. Mandating the use of energy technologies which are limited in output or are expensive will likewise increase prices.

High priced energy is a huge burden on the lower classes to a degree much higher than the upper class. Energy is a fundamental expense to living, both directly in the form of heating, transportation and electricity and also indirectly in how it affects production of all goods and services. The price makes up a much larger proportion of the spending of those with less. Thus, an increase in the price of energy DOES NOT make all people conserve energy in an equal manner nor does it prevent frivolous use of energy.

Joe billionaire still fuels up his yatch and barely notices that he spent five dollars a gallon on marine diesel instead of two, but poor families go cold because they cannot afford heating oil at twice the price. In the end, those with the money to adopt cleaner and more efficient technology and with the excesses which can be cut are the least likely to do so. The more likely outcome of higher energy prices is a move to alternative energy sources which offer a lower cost, even if doing so results in more pollution instead of less. An example would be the wood burning stove boom during the 1970′s oil crisis or waste oil burners.

This increases the class divide, as any shortage of such an important commodity will. It causes more poverty and limits upward mobility. The overall reduction in quality of life affects nearly all sectors including health and any burden on the economic system will only make government social programs more burdened.

 

4. It is unreasonable to expect the general public will accept major reductions in living standards or comfort and convenience. Simply put, it won’t happen – There is no point in debating the ethics of driving a big car and taking vacations versus making sacrifices to sustain the environment, because history shows that the public has a very limited tolerance for any measures which directly affect their comfort, convenience and other wants. Therefore, if you want people to drive a car which is environmentally friendly, it must not be a glorified golfcart. It cannot lack air conditioning and be small, slow and lacking in capacity. People will not accept that kind of sacrifice in general.

Because they will not move to environmentally friendly options voluntarily, the next thing which generally is proposed is to mandate very strict limitations on the use of anything from incandescent light bulbs to air conditioners to big engines. The problem is that this will not generally be accepted if there is not an equally viable alternative. People will either skirt the regulations or they will put pressure on politicians to change them. In a democracy, the politicians will always be forced to bow to the will of the people on any matter which is universally disliked.

(They want their damn bread and circus and you’d be a fool to try to talk them into living without them.)

3. Depending on continuous heavy subsidies is not sustainable. – Subsidies exist for a reason and are not always a completely bad thing. They are designed to do things like maintain a strategic capability which is not normally profitable or to stimulate a sector which is important to a country and might now develop on it’s own.

However, when it comes to energy and development, a subsidy cannot be a tow-line, but only a jump start. In other words, it must be for the purpose of establishing a capability which will have value and returns on the initial expenditure. Paying to keep something going for years when it has shown disappointing results is a complete waste. It is not economically sustainable and has low benefit.

It also should be pointed out that “creating jobs� is not an economic benefit if those jobs are entirely based on expenditures which do not result in a tangible payback and rely on direct funding to exist. “Creating 1000 jobs� is not a good thing if the way they were created is by paying 1000 people to do something useless. The sustainability and overall effect must be considered.

2. Every little bit does not help. – There is absolutely no point in perusing technologies or methods which do not have the potential for actually making an ecological difference, especially if doing so will expend funds, energy or other resources without any significant return. Even in cases where there is little overall investment, simply harping on the most insignificant overall issues will at least draw attention away from what credible solutions exist.

In the end, it is not really going to matter if there is .00001% les Co2 in the air in a century. Those technologies which have limited potential are best abandoned to cut losses as soon as it becomes apparent how limited they are. Campaigns against things like iPhones are idiotic, considering the massive discharges of waste by other parts of the electronics industry and other industries in general. Putting a solar panel on your roof might make you feel good but that’s about all it does. Saying “someone has to start� or “if everyone would do it� or “every bit helps� does not count for much when you know that everyone *will not* do it and “every little bit� helps a very very little bit.

1. Sacrificing the needs of an economy for the environment will destroy both. - This is overall and far and away one thing which environmentalists seem to entirely lack any understanding of. There are a lot of claims that sacrifices must be made economically or that “the price of damaging the environment cannot be measured in dollars. We need to consider that cheap power has hidden costs to earth.�

The major problem with this is that the economic health of a society affects nearly all aspects of the society. For example, during times of recession, crime rates tend to rise, health generally deteriorates, general public moral is far less. The effects are far reaching both broadly and individually. When the economy does well, more people have good paying jobs with benefits. More people have healthcare coverage and those who do not are generally more able to pay for healthcare. More people go to college and education in general improves. There are more funds for donation to charities and the government has far more of a taxbase from which to spend.

The impact on the environment is also effected by this for several reasons. It has been said that “environmentalism is a luxury� and this is actually true in many circumstances. In a poor country cars blow out more exhaust because owners are not as prone to good upkeep of the engine and exhaust system. Recycling does not exist in such countries because the funds are not available and the demand for more raw materials is lacking, thus making it less financially motivating to recover materials.

In general, people become far less concerned with the environment when they see that their own lives and the lives of those close to them are not very good. A person does not buy highly efficient lightbulbs or a hybrid car in such circumstances. If they cannot afford oil to keep warm, they will not insulate their home but rather are more likely to start cutting down trees for fuel. They may even buy a simple stove and start to burn garbage for fuel.

An economy is not healthy when it is stagnant. It must not only be growing to be healthy, but to be prosperous it should have the highest possible growth rate while maintaining sustainable funds and keeping inflation in relative check. Only under such circumstances will the government and private organizations have the funds and the ability to tackle environmental issues. The flip side of this is that it means an increase in consumption and in consumerism in general. This equates to more potential for environmental impact.

The key, in the end, is to find ways to keep a robust and healthy economy while promoting good environmental policy. Doing so will increase standards of living, decrease poverty, increase environmentally positive projects and benefit all aspects of life and ecology.

Added (2/5/08):
Having gotten a lot of attention on this article I’ve added a couple of follow-up posts which related to this and which I might suggest checking out. You may also want to check other parts of this blog filed under “environment”.

Agree or disagree your comments are welcome and will not be removed – at least as long as the discussion is factual and substantive. Railings, flaming and profanity are not desired, however. However, although descent is welcome, don’t expect not to be refuted, taken to task or otherwise countered. Feel free to do the same. This is obviously a contentious issue. Any discussion, even if heated, is positive if it stimulates thought and education.

Sources of Greenhouse Gas and a Quick Math Lesson
Stuff “Environmentalists” Should be (more) Concerned About
Does Every Little Bit Really help?
“Green Groups” Give Me Deja Vu

Also, since there has been a lot of discussion of nuclear energy resulting from this, here are some previous posts with relevant information:

Ten Myths About Nuclear Energy
Greenpeace On Nuclear Science
A Graphic Illustration of Nuclear Energy Potential

What is Spent Fuel? – I’m most proud of this one as it addresses an issue most people know very little about. The issue of nuclear “waste” and methods for dealing with it.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008 at 11:32 am and is filed under Bad Science, Education, Enviornment, Good Science, History, Not Even Wrong. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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530 Responses to “The Top Ten Things Environmentalists Need to Learn”

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  1. 301
    Sovietologist Says:

    PBW-
    You’re right, I did. Although in all fairness, before Khrushchev members of the elite were among the most likely to end up being killed or sent to the GULAG, as Stalin found them threatening. In fact, the people who became the nomenklatura were the technocrats installed by Stalin to replace the “Old Bolsheviks” and other purged elements. Once Soviet power assumed a more benign form, they were able to retain their position and became a privileged class. On one hand, this wasn’t a good thing; on the other hand, I’d much rather live under Brezhnev’s corruption that Stalin’s terror.


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  2. 302
    Finrod Says:

    Climate change is the problem. Consumerism and the expectations of ever-rising standards of living are the cause. This is not a matter for debate.

    That’s odd… I was under the impression that it was the rise in the level of atmospheric greenhouse gasses that was the problem, not ‘consumerism’.

    Lovely to see you walking in Ecofiend’s footsteps with this business of your particular political prejudices not being a matter for debate. I think you’re on the wrong thread if you think that sort of comment will have any effect other than to bring your shoddy little ideological house of cards down around your ears.


    NOTE: This comment has been edited by the blog’s author to fix an apparent error in the quote tag. No change to the content has been made


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  3. 303
    drbuzz0 Says:

            DV82XL said:

    I can put an even more sharper point on the argument that nuclear energy can be used in mining: all underground mining and much open cut mining IS done with electric motive power. Getting it from nuclear is no big deal.

    Very good point. However even if you have to start off with some aspects of the equation creating fossil fuels (transportation and such) it’s still absurd to think this somehow negates the enormous amounts of clean energy the process yields.

    I’ve never heard anyone argue against wind or solar on the grounds that the silicon, aluminum, copper and all the other materials need to be mined or that the construction involves energy or the other incidentals. It’s as absurd as “yeah we can’t have wind power because someone has to drive out to the turbine to inspect it every couple months and then they have to climb it, exhaling Co2 in the process and lubricate the bearings with foreign oil. And you also have to construct it”

    Actually the argument against nuclear is less absurd because there’s reason to question whether solar or wind ever creates a positive energy balance.


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  4. 304
    Finrod Says:

            Finrod said:


    NOTE: This comment has been edited by the blog’s author to fix an apparent error in the quote tag. No change to the content has been made

    Thanks drbuzz0. Lets see if it works this time…


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  5. 305
    jim Says:

    Both CIRUS & CANDU were examples of Canada knowingly abetting horizontal proliferation.
    The earlier use of the CIRUS in India was aided considerably by subsequent use of CANDU components.
    Their nuclear program may well have collapsed completely without it.
    India’s desire for the CANDU included a not-very-hidden agenda of nuclear weapons development.
    Canada’s government & nuclear industry took a lot of heat over the sale – & rightly so.
    The dire risks were well-known at the time … & consciously ignored.
    Short-term profit, at the potential long-term cost of many millions of human lives.
    That’s who you’re opting to trust in regards to nuclear power?

    Where is energy demand rising fastest?
    Developing nations.
    That’s where a lot of the reactors will have to be built, unless you want them to keep deforesting for fuel to run dirty furnaces & stoves. They don’t do it for fun, they do it because they have no options available.
    Our population isn’t exploding like theirs, & we’re getting more energy-efficient by the day.
    They want them, & it looks like at least some of them will get them.
    If you tackle world energy demands with nuclear, that “some” will be many more.
    At which point I think the nuclear-weapons & -technology black-market will boom like never before.
    Your energy solution will create a much nastier issue than brownouts or $10 gas at the pump.

    “All that’s required to build a bomb is motivation”?
    Um, no.
    Hamas would’ve already nuked Tel Aviv, & the Chechens Moscow, if that were true.

    What’s required to build a bomb is uranium, tritium, a centrifuge, timers, et cetera.
    Along with the technical skills to put them together.
    OR the money, & an unscrupulous seller of a black-market nuke.
    The more uranium available, the higher the odds of a rogue state or terror-cell going nuclear.
    Every country that’s wanted them so far has NOT gotten nukes – or the “Club” would have about 250 members by now… lots of regimes want in that aren’t.
    That’s a fatalistic viewpoint – & a potentially fatal one.
    Sadly, the global community hasn’t done nearly enough to limit membership in the Nuclear Club.
    Double the world’s uranium supply & watch how rapidly that Club’s membership grows.

    There may well be 20% “veins” in Canada – how many & how rich?
    Again: there’s only so much pitchblende that can be economically extracted – exactly like oil.
    The more you mine, the faster it runs out.
    When it does, you’re left with a lot of dead reactors, not readily convertible to any other use.
    Mothballing them will be both risky & expensive as hell.

    I don’t feel much like trading one non-renewable for another one, thanks.
    We already did that, when we went from coal to oil – & just look how well that’s turning out.

    Saying uranium mining has less impact on groundwater than some other forms of mining is as weak as comparing nuclear itself to oil ( a horrendously dirty & inefficient means of making things run). Yes, we will have to keep on mining resources in the future, but how many of us that mining supports & how much we use as individuals are not trivial “externalities” – they’re the crux of the issue.

    We’re beyond carrying-capacity & accelerating our rate of increase.
    The exact opposite of what we need to be doing & where we need to go.
    Nuclear energy doesn’t address that problem, nor does ANY form of generation, clean OR dirty.
    In fact, any cheap energy source will only make the problem worse in the long-term, if not much sooner.

    Then there’s the simple fact that most people are adamantly anti-nuclear.
    (Chernobyl, by the way, was the direct result of some enterprising technicians trying to get their power output to increase. It actually worked like a charm – they just got some unfortunate spinoffs they’d hoped to avoid, along with the extra megawatts. I’m sure with many more reactors in operation, despite our “human naure” including both greed & an embarrassing tendency to repeat our mistakes, nobody would ever try that kind of crazy stunt again – right?)
    People have been wary of nuclear power for a long time now – Chernobyl simply solidified an already existing prejudice against it – the question is: how can you change people’s minds about that?
    Either you’ll have to lose your “human nature” thesis, or your primary focus on nuclear reactors.
    You can’t have that cake & eat it too.

    We don’t just have an oil problem – we have a “way too much energy for the biosphere to accomodate” problem.

    The Northwest Passage isn’t mythological anymore.

    The impact of that geographical novelty alone may be years away, but I strongly suspect it’ll be brutal. It’s likely to effect ocean currents as well as the weather, worldwide – probably for millennia to come.

    I think we need to begin thinking about how we’ll survive the results of that & other impacts, right now, while we still have the time & resources to prepare. It doesn’t look to me like the world will be either able or willing to accomodate a lot of new nuclear reactors in that scenario. I’d like nothing more than to be dead wrong on this … but I wasn’t shocked when the previous “worst-case scenarios” for climate change turned into reality, decades ahead of schedule. You only needed to do some basic math & chemistry to figure it out. Now those are BEST-case scenarios, & even the Pentagon is saying we need to look at it as a major security issue, & back away from fossil-fuel ASAP.

    Mock the hippies & back-to-the-landers all you want: given the increasing chances of our future being one of global scarcity, it’s looking ever more likely that they’ve got it right, & it’s the rest of us that’re pathologically off-track. With all due apologies to hippy-haters everywhere: we may wind up having to follow their example – or go the way of brontosaurus.

    Reactors may be cleaner-burning than oil, but the energy increase at the end of the line & its inevitable degradation to heat energy is identical – no matter whether it’s being produced via oil, nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal or steroid-fed genetically-modified gerbils on treadmills.

    If reactors could get us to a place where we’re using less net energy, & if they could be put in place without the safety risk & high potential of extremists & authoritarian regimes using them for weaponizing, I’d say go for it. But they just can’t. You can cite all the studies you want – I’ll cite history. The history of nuclear technology isn’t pretty. More of that technology in an increasingly unstable world isn’t likely to beautify it – to put it mildly.

    To paraphrase a comment above: you can’t get out of an energy-surplus problem with more energy.
    That’s about as rational as drinking yourself sober.


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  6. 306
    ellindsey Says:

    “Chernobyl, by the way, was the direct result of some enterprising technicians trying to get their power output to increase.”

    It was nothing of the sort. The Chernobyl accident happened during a test to determine if there was enough residual energy in the turbines to start the emergency diesel generators in case of an unexpected loss of electrical power. This was done because as a military facility it was expected that the Chernobyl reactor might be a target of air strikes in case of war. The actual explosion was caused as a result of unexpected instability at low power levels, combined with operator error and multiple severe design flaws in the reactor.


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  7. 307
    Sovietologist Says:

            jim said:

    You can cite all the studies you want – I’ll cite history. The history of nuclear technology isn’t pretty. More of that technology in an increasingly unstable world isn’t likely to beautify it – to put it mildly.

    >Enter historian of nuclear technology in USSR


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  8. 308
    DV82XL Says:

    Oh for pity sakes the CIRUS reactor was sold before the NPT and No one would use a CANDU for breading weapons grade Pu if they had the use of a high flux reactor like the the CIRUS at hand. At any rate Canadian nuclear technology is designed to work on natural uranium and you cannot use a CANDU to breed weapons grade with that fuel. As who supplied the enriched fuel if you want to point fingers.

    To quote my friend Rod Adams: “(Nuclear) Weapons were here before commercial reactors (very much unfortunately), and they are as relevant to peaceful nuclear energy uses as napalm is to gasoline for vehicle fuel.” To lump them together is disingenuous at best ignorant at worst.

    At any rate this demon is out of Pandora’s Box now and we are not going to put it back in. Any country that has wanted to, has built a device, and there is no way to stop it. The NPT is a failure and the West no longer dictates policy to the rest of the world.

    And BTW your lack of any real knowledge of nuclear technology, or it’s history is showing. Get some facts from reliable sources before you embarrass yourself even more.


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  9. 309
    Johan Says:

    Jim. In what way does it increase proliferation risk if EU, america, China and india build more nuclear power plants? Or vice versa, how much does it decrease proliferation risk if the above nations/regions dismantle all nuclear power plants?

    I stand by what I said, all that is relay needed is motivation for a country go get nuclear weapons. Palestine nad Chechenya is bad counterexamples since they are not working countries in any stretch of the imagination. A tiny nation like sweden had a quite advanced secret nuclear weapons program back in the 60′s.

    Aviability of low enrichened uranium will not in anyway increase proliferation risk, not in any way.
    There is plenty of uranium and thorium to sustain nuclear power for thousands of years, especialy with breeders. Just take a quick look at the geological estimates of uranium resources not yet discovered.
    We will never experience a “peak uranium” because even if the entire worlds energy was produced by uranium you would still only need something betwen 50 and 100 000 tons/year if we have breeders and if nuclear power expand to that size it will be breeders.

    Your main opposition to nuclear power seems to be that nuclear power can sustain our current standard of living, but you dont want that so nuclear is out.


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  10. 310
    Rod Adams Says:

    I am not sure why people believe that the need for nuclear power in developing nations is a problem. There are plenty of ways to imagine making use of the technology without having the ability to gain access to the fuel.

    Relatively small, long lived cores, for example, would allow operators to use reactor heat without risking proliferation in much the same way as I can use a Li-ion battery without having any knowledge of how to make one.

    The cores could be delivered intact, and when used up be recovered for recycling by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). This would still leave lots of room for the receiving country to benefit and to increase the skills of its indigenous labor force in the heat conversion system operation.

    If you are interested in a thought paper on the use of nuclear power in regions that do not have reliable fuel sources, you can find one at http://www.atomicengines.com/distributed.html.


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  11. 311
    drbuzz0 Says:

            jim said:

    Both CIRUS & CANDU were examples of Canada knowingly abetting horizontal proliferation.
    The earlier use of the CIRUS in India was aided considerably by subsequent use of CANDU components.
    Their nuclear program may well have collapsed completely without it.
    India’s desire for the CANDU included a not-very-hidden agenda of nuclear weapons development.
    Canada’s government & nuclear industry took a lot of heat over the sale – & rightly so.
    The dire risks were well-known at the time … & consciously ignored.
    Short-term profit, at the potential long-term cost of many millions of human lives.
    That’s who you’re opting to trust in regards to nuclear power?

    Okay, lets have a lesson here in how you build a nuclear weapon as a nation. First, you need fissile material. You can make that with either a cascade of extremely large gas centrifuges spinning at high rates of speed OR you could use plutonium which you can make in a reactor. A reactor like the CIRUS can make plutonium. The CANDU is crappy at plutonium production in general but I guess you could use it.

    Now how the hell do you make a reactor? Start with uranium. Add a layer of graphite. Repeat until you reach critical mass. Alternatively take a big tank of heavy water (which you can make using well known processes) and use that instead of graphite. That’s it. That’s all you need to make a breeder. ANY country with a few million dollars and a desire can make their breeder. Of course, then it needs to be reprocessed out which requires some chemical processes.

    But a chunk of plutonium does not make you a bomb. No, uranium can be done easily but plutonium you need a rather precise implosion system and a neutron source and high velocity explosives and a precision trigger mechanism.

    So lets consider something: If we are to blame Canada for “Oh making profits such a horrible country” then we must also track down all the parties that helped India aquire the hot boxes, chemicals, explosives, casing, trigger and so on.

    Where is energy demand rising fastest?
    Developing nations.
    That’s where a lot of the reactors will have to be built, unless you want them to keep deforesting for fuel to run dirty furnaces & stoves. They don’t do it for fun, they do it because they have no options available.
    Our population isn’t exploding like theirs, & we’re getting more energy-efficient by the day.
    They want them, & it looks like at least some of them will get them.
    If you tackle world energy demands with nuclear, that “some” will be many more.
    At which point I think the nuclear-weapons & -technology black-market will boom like never before.
    Your energy solution will create a much nastier issue than brownouts or $10 gas at the pump.

    Actually you can build the reactors anywhere you want and they will have the same net global effect. Built a terawatt of nuclear capacity in the USA and the USA uses that much less fossil fuel and all benifit. You’d only *have to* build them in developing countries after you’ve taken care of the domestic energy needs. And gee wouldn’t it suck if the US stopped making CO2 like it’s going out of style. We could occupy the whole capacity of building for the next ten years just outfitting all the industrial countries with nuclear.

    “All that’s required to build a bomb is motivation”?
    Um, no.
    Hamas would’ve already nuked Tel Aviv, & the Chechens Moscow, if that were true.

    Well you also need money and some precision materials handling equipment. You could give hamas a reactor and they couldn’t build a bomb. Everything you’d need though could be acquired with relative ease by any nation of any kind of size. It might be hard for a country like Bolivia or Somalia to get their hands on all the chemical reprocessing, measuring, electronics., fabrication stuff but for a country like India it’s no big deak. Pakistan managed to go nuclear. Kim Jong Il made a nuke without importing much of anything. Yeah, he had some old reactors but NK had to develop their own extraction and such. Spent a good portion of the national budget on it. It fizzled but oh well, still goes to show you can make plutonium without Canada handing it to you.

    The more uranium available, the higher the odds of a rogue state or terror-cell going nuclear.

    CRAP! Everyone we gotta keep the fact that this stuff occurs naturally in the earth’s crust secret! As soon as someone finds out everyone and their brother will have a bomb!

    Every country that’s wanted them so far has NOT gotten nukes – or the “Club” would have about 250 members by now… lots of regimes want in that aren’t.

    It’s not that hard actually depending on the country. Any industrial nation could do it no problem. As for dirt poor countries.. they can really only do it if they make it a big national priority.

    That’s a fatalistic viewpoint – & a potentially fatal one.
    Sadly, the global community hasn’t done nearly enough to limit membership in the Nuclear Club.
    Double the world’s uranium supply & watch how rapidly that Club’s membership grows.

    Uh huh. So the way we stop nations from wanting to aquire weapons of mass destruction (nuclear or otherwise) is… um… by increasing the severity of the global energy crisis and denying them higher standards of living? Sounds like a plan. An idiotic one, but a plan none the less.

    There may well be 20% “veins” in Canada – how many & how rich?
    Again: there’s only so much pitchblende that can be economically extracted – exactly like oil.
    The more you mine, the faster it runs out.
    When it does, you’re left with a lot of dead reactors, not readily convertible to any other use.
    Mothballing them will be both risky & expensive as hell.

    Uh huh. You don’t need a lot of the stuff you know, so if you could easily do it if uranium cost three times the price? Converting “dead reactors” to other use? Not at all. A standard reactor will run on MOX or reprocessed fuel or U-233 no problem. I’d advocate more advanced reactors but the ones we got now can keep going damn near forever with regular upgrades and life extension.

    I don’t feel much like trading one non-renewable for another one, thanks.
    We already did that, when we went from coal to oil – & just look how well that’s turning out.

    Well we never “went from coal” to anything. We still use coal like crazy. And coal is not running out (that’s part of the problem) Renewable energy is fine if it’s not a pea-shooter. Nuclear, yeah you can make the argument that it’s not renewable because there’s a finite amount of uranium. Of course the sun won’t last forever. “Oh but thats whether or not you use it” I could say the same about uranium. Given billions of years it decays.

    Besides, oil isn’t really “running out” it’s becoming less avaliable mostly due to demand but either way, if a gallon of oil could heat your house and run your car for ten years then there’d be no worries. That’s basically what uranium can do.

    Saying uranium mining has less impact on groundwater than some other forms of mining is as weak as comparing nuclear itself to oil ( a horrendously dirty & inefficient means of making things run). Yes, we will have to keep on mining resources in the future, but how many of us that mining supports & how much we use as individuals are not trivial “externalities” – they’re the crux of the issue.

    We’re beyond carrying-capacity & accelerating our rate of increase.
    The exact opposite of what we need to be doing & where we need to go.
    Nuclear energy doesn’t address that problem, nor does ANY form of generation, clean OR dirty.
    In fact, any cheap energy source will only make the problem worse in the long-term, if not much sooner.

    So then cheap clean plentiful energy is bad? Wow. May I ask why? Just using energy is bad even if it doesn’t harm the environment?

    Then there’s the simple fact that most people are adamantly anti-nuclear

    WRONG -http://neinuclearnotes.blogspot.com/2005/05/another-nuclear-energy-poll.html

    Besides the whole point of this site is not to convince people what they think is right but rather to educate people in general. Most people have some very bad misconceptions about many things. Hard to blame anyone with all the misinformation out there

    (Chernobyl, by the way, was the direct result of some enterprising technicians trying to get their power output to increase. It actually worked like a charm – they just got some unfortunate spinoffs they’d hoped to avoid, along with the extra megawatts. I’m sure with many more reactors in operation, despite our “human naure” including both greed & an embarrassing tendency to repeat our mistakes, nobody would ever try that kind of crazy stunt again – right?)

    Wow. Just wow. That’s not even a butchering of history it’s simply not true. Chernobyl was the result (in addition to bad design and operation) of a turbine rundown test in which the reactor was first powered up and then rapidly powered down while the time it would take to….

    Oh why do I bother. Go read a book, PLEASE!

    People have been wary of nuclear power for a long time now – Chernobyl simply solidified an already existing prejudice against it – the question is: how can you change people’s minds about that?

    Oh that’s easy. Just educate them on the facts. There have been plenty of popularly approved witchhunts and scares People in South Korea fear sleeping with an electric fan in their room (yea I wrote about that a while ago). People have feared witches, black people, electricity, fire…
    Mostly it’s ignorance

    Either you’ll have to lose your “human nature” thesis, or your primary focus on nuclear reactors.
    You can’t have that cake & eat it too.

    If by “have you’re cake and eat it too” you mean continue progress and development while maintaining the enviornment than I guess you can. Actually… funny story. The Unabomber loved that phrase except he did it backward. “eat your cake and have it too” and that was one of the things his brother noticed in his manifesto. Ever read it? I think you’d agree with it.

    We don’t just have an oil problem – we have a “way too much energy for the biosphere to accomodate” problem.

    So it’s energy in general that’s bad? oooohhh kkk. I personally dislike matter. But I guess if you want to dislike energy that’s cool. What else is there to dislike? Maybe space and time.

    The Northwest Passage isn’t mythological anymore.

    The Northwest passage hasn’t been mythological for a long time. It was crossed way back in the 50′s. They were able to do it because an energy source of such extreme density was developed that a submarine could cruise right under no problem. Try that with a wind-powered ship.

    The impact of that geographical novelty alone may be years away, but I strongly suspect it’ll be brutal. It’s likely to effect ocean currents as well as the weather, worldwide – probably for millennia to come.

    I think we need to begin thinking about how we’ll survive the results of that & other impacts, right now, while we still have the time & resources to prepare. It doesn’t look to me like the world will be either able or willing to accomodate a lot of new nuclear reactors in that scenario. I’d like nothing more than to be dead wrong on this … but I wasn’t shocked when the previous “worst-case scenarios” for climate change turned into reality, decades ahead of schedule. You only needed to do some basic math & chemistry to figure it out. Now those are BEST-case scenarios, & even the Pentagon is saying we need to look at it as a major security issue, & back away from fossil-fuel ASAP.

    Mock the hippies & back-to-the-landers all you want: given the increasing chances of our future being one of global scarcity, it’s looking ever more likely that they’ve got it right, & it’s the rest of us that’re pathologically off-track. With all due apologies to hippy-haters everywhere: we may wind up having to follow their example – or go the way of brontosaurus.

    So we have gone full circle from fossil fuels are causing the problem to dismissing the most viable source of alternative energy. Also the brontosaurus never existed. Someone put the wrong head on a body and… Well nevermind. Who cares about real science, right?

    Reactors may be cleaner-burning than oil, but the energy increase at the end of the line & its inevitable degradation to heat energy is identical – no matter whether it’s being produced via oil, nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal or steroid-fed genetically-modified gerbils on treadmills.

    If reactors could get us to a place where we’re using less net energy, & if they could be put in place without the safety risk & high potential of extremists & authoritarian regimes using them for weaponizing, I’d say go for it. But they just can’t. You can cite all the studies you want – I’ll cite history. The history of nuclear technology isn’t pretty. More of that technology in an increasingly unstable world isn’t likely to beautify it – to put it mildly.

    To paraphrase a comment above: you can’t get out of an energy-surplus problem with more energy.
    That’s about as rational as drinking yourself sober.

    OH! I see. So we’re back to the idiotic concept mentioned earlier that global warming is not caused by atmospheric factors but by manmade thermal energy. Wow. That’s not even wrong


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  12. 312
    Q Says:

    Obviously jim likes matter a lot more than energy. Therefore he takes great offense to someone taking matter and making energy out of it.


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  13. 313
    DV82XL Says:

    Anybody that wants to hold an informed opinion on nuclear weapons would do well to read the following:

    The Nuclear Game, An Essay on Nuclear Policy Making – Nuclear Warfare 101

    It is an eye-opener, I guarantee you it.


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  14. 314
    Fitch Says:

    Wow this article is an eye opener. I’m floored. Actually it’s not the article but the comments. Tell me if this is a fair assessment of what I see. There’s two groups. Group one thinks that enviornmental problems are a bad thing in general and should be managed using the most effective methods of doing so and all things being equal dislikes poverty and prefers enviornmental solutions that don’t cause more of it. Other than that politics aside, democrat, republican, marxist or whatever just do what you can for the environment by the method that works.

    Then group two would like to see the environment protected but really that’s not the main issue. What they really want is a sort of combination of minimalism and anti-technology combined with a neo-communist undertones, a general dislike for human activity and a belief that an agrarian, communal, non-global society is what we need. It doesn’t matter if a solution somehow solves global warming or oil spills or smog or ozone depletion, because that’s not really the issue to them. The issue is that all problems would go away as soon as we completely change society.

    This scares me, honestly. I’m neutral in terms of political philosophy it’s not my thing. Fine, you want to push communism or minimalism then that’s your deal, but the enviornment really needs to be managed in a non-political way. I’m more concerned with the depletion of the ozone than what it means to freedom and the human spirit and the ethical aspects of a free thinking being.

    I’m ashamed to say I donated money to enviornmental organizations in the past in good faith. In the future I will continue to donate to enviornmental causes but I will be very careful about checking out what they really have in mind. I never donated to greenpeace, thankfully. I thought they were extremist, but they are worse. They’re a fraud.


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  15. 315
    DV82XL Says:

    You hit it out of the park Filch


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  16. 316
    DV82XL Says:

    When you’re all finished reading ‘Nuclear Warfare 101′ you can move on to:

    Nuclear Warfare 102 – Targeting Weapons

    and

    Nuclear Warfare 103 -The Attack And After

    Collect your diplomas on the way out.


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  17. 317
    Michael Ejercito Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

            McGlashan said:

    Climate change is the problem. Consumerism and the expectations of ever-rising standards of living are the cause. This is not a matter for debate.

    By the same circular logic you love:
    You can’t borrow your way out of a debt crisis.
    You can’t solve the problems created by short-termism with more short-termism.

    I don’t pretend to have the answers. I just want you to admit that you don’t have them either.

    And sure, I’m no free marketeer, but who is (trading-bloc-wise)? Rice and cotton do their bit to keep Africa in poverty. There’s no such thing as a free market.

    Ah so consumerism is the problem.

    Also human nature.

    And the existence of humans.

    And the fact that there is nothing counteracting global climate change.

    So we have the following options:

    - Impose restrictions leading to a reduction in living standards thus making those in the first world have lower quality lives and assuring those in the third world continue to live as they do and have no opertunity for improvement.

    - Change the nature of man completely.

    - Kill all members of the human race.

    - Reduce the rate of fusion in the sun proportionately to the increased heat retention by the earth.

    Which one is going to have the best chance of flying?

    We could reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface.

    That has its own challenges and side effects; it has a much better chance of flying than any of the above.


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  18. 318
    Michael Ejercito Says:

            McGlashan said:

    Climate change is the problem. Consumerism and the expectations of ever-rising standards of living are the cause. This is not a matter for debate.

    By the same circular logic you love:
    You can’t borrow your way out of a debt crisis.
    You can’t solve the problems created by short-termism with more short-termism.

    I don’t pretend to have the answers. I just want you to admit that you don’t have them either.

    And sure, I’m no free marketeer, but who is (trading-bloc-wise)? Rice and cotton do their bit to keep Africa in poverty. There’s no such thing as a free market.

    Teenage sex is the cause of teenage pregnancy.

    Try stopping teenagers from having sex.


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  19. 319
    Finrod Says:

            Fitch said:

    I’m ashamed to say I donated money to enviornmental organizations in the past in good faith. In the future I will continue to donate to enviornmental causes but I will be very careful about checking out what they really have in mind.

    Are there any prominent environmental activist groups which currently support nuclear power for its green credentials? If not, I’d say there’s an excellent market opportunity here! Anyone keen?


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  20. 320
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Finrod said:

            Fitch said:

    I’m ashamed to say I donated money to enviornmental organizations in the past in good faith. In the future I will continue to donate to enviornmental causes but I will be very careful about checking out what they really have in mind.

    Are there any prominent environmental activist groups which currently support nuclear power for its green credentials? If not, I’d say there’s an excellent market opportunity here! Anyone keen?

    Good question. Actually one of the organizations I really like is the African American Environmentalist Association. You don’t actually have to be black to join and I’d suggest looking at their stuff just because they have a lot of good links to other rational enviornmental associations. http://www.aaenvironment.com/

    I think someone mentioned the world wildlife foundation as well, which does work in areas not directly relating to wildlife as well.


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  21. 321
    Finrod Says:

    Fair enough, but I’m in Australia. Also, just from memory, I saw a report on the net put out recently by WWF concerning their agenda. As part of their energy strategy they foresaw that by 2050, nuclear power might cover perhaps 4% of global electrical generation. The arguments against nuke power looked like they’d been lifted straight out of Stormsmith.

    I really had in mind an organisation willing to be loudly proactive in support of the nuclear solution, and which can serve as a rallying point for rational donors to the environmental cause. one which can serve to drain financial support away from anti-nuclear organisations, organise rallies in favour of nuclear power, against coal plants, and generally get enough media attention that they can put the pro-nuclear case to a much wider audience. Just in case anyone missed the hint, I’m kinda proposing that it might not be a bad thing if we considered doing this ourselves.


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  22. 322
    DV82XL Says:

    There are a few pronuclear organizations out there. One that I like is:

    Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy

    Who have chapters in several countries. However Australia seems to be missing from the list of branches. Maybe you might consider starting one Down Under.


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  23. 323
    Sexy Don Says:

    Okay I basically agree with Fitch. I don’t understand why this is such a big deal with politics. I understand that people in the movement don’t like capitalism which is a fair debate but a completely different debate all together and not related.

    If they want to change society that’s fine but I think global warming and fossil fuel issues are too pressing to base the whole plan on a pie in the sky like that. Why is it a shocker to anyone that we should use solutions that work now? Why does it come as a revelation that you attack the biggest problems that are the easiest to solve? Why do people think it means something anti-environment when you say not to spend so much time on small things when you ignore the big?

    To me I see common sense here. I see stuff that should be obvious to anyone with at least some concept of reality. Thats the thing, this is reality and we need to be realistic. The scariest thing is that this is not fringe either. It seems to have entirely colored the whole issue. Can we stop with attacking culture and realize that culture is the way it is? Try to fix things within the bounds of what we got. Go change culture some other time. Or if you want to stop calling yourself an enviornmentalist and start calling yourself an anti-consumerist anti-tech anti-society ist or something


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  24. 324
    McGlashan Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

            McGlashan said:

    Climate change is the problem. Consumerism and the expectations of ever-rising standards of living are the cause. This is not a matter for debate.

    By the same circular logic you love:
    You can’t borrow your way out of a debt crisis.
    You can’t solve the problems created by short-termism with more short-termism.

    I don’t pretend to have the answers. I just want you to admit that you don’t have them either.

    And sure, I’m no free marketeer, but who is (trading-bloc-wise)? Rice and cotton do their bit to keep Africa in poverty. There’s no such thing as a free market.

    Ah so consumerism is the problem.

    Also human nature.

    And the existence of humans.

    And the fact that there is nothing counteracting global climate change.

    So we have the following options:

    - Impose restrictions leading to a reduction in living standards thus making those in the first world have lower quality lives and assuring those in the third world continue to live as they do and have no opertunity for improvement.

    - Change the nature of man completely.

    - Kill all members of the human race.

    - Reduce the rate of fusion in the sun proportionately to the increased heat retention by the earth.

    Which one is going to have the best chance of flying?

    DrBuzz0, Finrod, DV82XL, Michael et al. Good Morning.

    You’d do well to bear in mind that I’ve stated that I’m open-minded on the issue, and try to persuade me. You might just succeed, but at the moment, you’re doing more to drive me into the arms of the environmentalists. My reason for visiting your site (and others), is that the Nationalist Scottish Government seems set to block any new nuclear power stations in our country. Good thing or bad?

    Let’s see what I can do to move towards synthesis…

    I’m happy to modify my assertion at the top of this post as follows:

    Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), on the publication of the executive summary of the IPCC 2007 report stated: “Friday, 2 February 2007 may go down in history as the day when the question mark was removed from the question of whether climate change has anything to do with human activities.”

    (Then) UK Environment Secretary David Miliband stated: “The debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over. The window of opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change is closing more quickly than previously thought.”

    You all point to the immutability of human nature in support of your advocacy of (heavy) engineering our way out of the problem. I assert that human nature is malleable and that the individualism rampant in the English-speaking world is an aberration brought about by the transmission of the idea of the “American Dream” as the global economic model. Local collectivism of some sort (tribalism, feudalism, fascism, socialism, confucianism, etc) has a much longer pedigree.

    Human nature and attitudes can be changed. 40 years ago, drink-driving was regarded as a right. 20 years ago it was a bit naughty. Now it is totally unacceptable. Smoking tobacco in public will go the same way over the next decades. Are these changes in living standards? Yes; what was once regarded as a freedom, a right, is now regarded as a reprehensible imposition on the rights and freedoms of others. Is it too much of a leap to imagine that the same will happen with profligate energy use and excessive consumption?

    My grandparents were from the Orkney Islands, to the north of Scotland. They had a saying “some is plenty, enough is too much” which they doled out with the porridge. Perhaps this is how the Orcadians managed to keep some of their indigenous trees on the island. Unlike their neighbour islanders in Shetland and Iceland. Thus they maintained their independence and their standard of living. On Iceland, ocean-going Vikings settled to avoid the tyranny of the Norse kings. (Sound familiar?). Once they’d cut down the trees, they were once again forced into the arms of their former masters and had to rely on subsistence farming for food. No more deep ocean fishing – they could no longer build the boats!

    The Orcadian’s philosophy is in direct contrast to the American Dream which suggests that enough is never enough. Hence, with America as the global hegemon, we have Oliver James’s “Affluenza”. Debt, stress, waste and debt; obesity epidemics in the English speaking world. The two-car family is more common than the two-book family. Koyaanisqatsi. The cultural difference is understandable. On Orkney, one can actually see and therefore appreciate the full extent of the environment and resources available. America and Australia appear infinite.

    I’m calling for a bit of wisdom from us all. A bit of self-control. A bit less greed. From the Renewable Energy Foundation (who DrBuzz0 quotes in favour of his arguments elsewhere):

    “Lastly, and perhaps most importantly of all, REF will be adding its voice to the argument for demand-side solutions to the energy question. The very real reductions in emissions that can be achieved with renewables can so easily be wiped out and rendered meaningless if overall energy demand continues to rise. Much of this demand is needless waste. A European Commission study published in 2003 observed that:

Total final energy consumption in the EU is thus approximately 20% higher than can be justified on purely economic grounds. Estimates in a SAVE study state that energy efficiency measures and demand side management services can easily realise three-fourths of this cost-effective savings, i.e., 15 % in the medium term (10-15 years).”

    Or do you want to keep on driving your car at 50mph?


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  25. 325
    Finrod Says:

    Yeah. So where exactly is this great logical fallacy you claim to discern in my assertion that nuclear power can be used to power the mining and refinement of nuclear fuel?


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  26. 326
    McGlashan Says:

    Hi Finrod.

            Finrod said:

    Yeah. So where exactly is this great logical fallacy you claim to discern in my assertion that nuclear power can be used to power the mining and refinement of nuclear fuel?

    For the sake of the smooth dialectic progression, I’m happy to withdraw, and concede the point; of course nuclear power can be used to power the mining and refinement of nuclear fuel. However, it is the necessity of expanding the use of nuclear power which is the contentious point. The point which you have yet to address with any compelling proposition. I await your answer.

    Additionally, is not uranium a finite resource, subject to a Hubbert Peak of its own?


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  27. 327
    Finrod Says:

    There are sufficient reserves of uranium and thorium to last us for geological ages if breeder reactors are used.

    McGlashan, if you don’t think that simultaneously addressing the global warming issue while maintaining a high standard of living in the west, as well as extending it to the underdeveloped world, is a valid and worthy goal, I’m not sure what words of mine could satisfy you. Perhaps I could point out that the capabilities that having a robust power system give to a country are essential for national security and the ability to effectively respond in times of emergency. Also, any nation which doesn’t adopt such a system will be dangerously vulnerable on a number of fronts to other nations which do.


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  28. 328
    drbuzz0 Says:

            McGlashan said:

    Hi Finrod.

    For the sake of the smooth dialectic progression, I’m happy to withdraw, and concede the point; of course nuclear power can be used to power the mining and refinement of nuclear fuel. However, it is the necessity of expanding the use of nuclear power which is the contentious point. The point which you have yet to address with any compelling proposition. I await your answer.

    Additionally, is not uranium a finite resource, subject to a Hubbert Peak of its own?

    No it’s not. It is a finite resource but of such high density that it is not comparable to any chemical energy reserve. That is the ultimate fallacy is attempting to describe nuclear energy in terms of chemical energy sources. The difference in nuclear energy as an energy form versus chemical energy is as vast as trying to claim it is not feisable to build an electrical grid because “Building an electrical grid to transmit energy to homes and businesses is impossible because it’s the same as building a system of belts and pullies to do so and we’ve already found that is a limited method”

    Yes there are limited resources on earth. Limited amounts of material to build wind farms and limited silicon for solar panels. But lets consider something: Technically we can get energy back from any element heavier than iron by inducing it to break apart. It could be done with sufficient neutron bombardment or other particles or possibly photofission. Physics tells us the basic fact that energy can be derived from matter. Uranium is well suited to this because it will maintain a chain reaction.

    The problem is not running out of resources but rather the waste. We won’t run out of stuff to burn. (perhaps oil but not stuff to burn in general). That’s not the problem. We could burn coal and peat and biomass and power the world that way but the waste is the problem. Nuclear waste is always tiny in volume. It’s also limited in life and easy to deal with. That’s because all it really is is some of the left over matter from the reaction.


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  29. 329
    McGlashan Says:

    Finrod,

    I didn’t know that about the thorium and breeder reactors. Geological ages sounds most impressive. References?

    I assure you that I think that addressing the global warming issue while maintaining a high standard of living in the west, as well as extending it to the underdeveloped world, is a valid and worthy goal. What makes you think I don’t? Please, I await with anticipation your argument as to the necessity of expanding the use of nuclear power.

    Providing a high standard of living to the underdeveloped world is not merely a matter of energy policy. I believe that the legacy of colonialism and restrictions on equitable trade and capital flows are the major issues there.

    A further concern I have about the expanded development of nuclear power is the implied centralisation of such a policy. Centralisation of power generation implies centralisation of political and economic power.

    I agree that that the capabilities that having a robust power system give to a country are essential to national security and the ability to effectively respond in times of emergency. However, I would naturally favour a more de-centralised, devolved or distributed system, to suit our evolving political system here in Scotland.

    QV the Island community of Eigg
    http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/1105740/an/0/page/1

    These people were part of the underdeveloped world until last week! Now their standard of living is at least equal to or better than yours and mine.


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  30. 330
    DV82XL Says:

    Scale McGlashan scale. Your little community’s solutions don’t scale up to service a city of two million.


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  31. 331
    McGlashan Says:

    DV82XL

    I can’t see why the small scale solutions are not scalable. I am open to your reasoned arguments why not. Please let me know.

    QV London Array
    http://www.computing.co.uk/business-green/news/2200599/thames-array-gets-green-light

    I understand the cost per household for the Eigg scheme is about £25,000. A tiny fraction of the average UK house price, about the cost of replacing the roof, about the price of a conservatory. Similar in cost to the provision of piped water and sewerage services. Public investment isn’t it?


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  32. 332
    Johan Says:

    McGlashan if you have acces to scientific america look up Bernard Cohen Am. J. Phys. 51, jan 1983 pages 75-76 about how long a breeder economy is sustainable.

    Otherwise this sums it up http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/cohen.html


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  33. 333
    drbuzz0 Says:

    So basically it’s a hydroelectric plant with a few solar cells and wind turbines too, just to make it nice and trendy, eh?


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  34. 334
    McGlashan Says:

    Hi Doc.

    Thanks for the info on the energy density of uranium. Noted.
    I heat my home using seasoned soft wood logs. The resource is government certified renewable on a 7-10 year cycle. The waste is negligible, I dig the ashes into my garden.
    I light my home and cook using electricity from hydro dams. What waste?

    Again, I ask you for a compelling argument in favour of the necessity for the adoption of greater levels of nuclear power. It’s something I’ve yet to see.

    All the best!


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  35. 335
    Finrod Says:

            McGlashan said:

    Hi Doc.Again, I ask you for a compelling argument in favour of the necessity for the adoption of greater levels of nuclear power. It’s something I’ve yet to see.
    All the best!

    Hydro power is limited. There simply isn’t enough of it worldwide to cover for fossil fuel power stations or nuclear power stations. Nowhere near enough, by a factor of at least a hundred.

    Wind is intermittant, and in spite of various claims, cannot be shown to reduce the need for conventional baseload power by any significant factor.

    PV solar is intermittant, the power levels abysmally low, and is much too expensive to consider as a main power source.

    Solar thermal is unproven.

    In a debate on this subject I had about a year ago, a solar enthusiast pointed out to me that South Africa was doing well by going down the road of renewable energy, using PV solar to power remote locations. Quite apart from the immorality of expecting the poorest of people to adopt the most expensive generating option to satisfy some environmentalist political agenda, I note that the South African government has recently conceded that it got energy policy horribly wrong, and is now scrambling to get nuke plants up and running as quickly as possible to meet the massive power shortfalls which are now seriously retarding the country’s economic growth.

    Russia, while doing its best to flog as much fossil fuel to Europe as possible, is quietly renewing its nuclear power program.


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  36. 336
    Finrod Says:

    Another thing that has occured to me is the illogic behind the green push for renewable power sources as a means of protecting the environment. let us suppose for a moment that renewables such as wind and solar are able to show a sufficient gain on EROEI that they can both provide a bit of power to consumers and also power the facilities needed to manufacture replacement units, and therefore could be said to be sustainable.

    Let us posit a world powered by such. OK. Any power generated by such systems would be power that didn’t flow to wherever it was going to go naturally. It will be a direct interference with the natural energy flows through the biosphere of the planet. if we wanted to increase output, it would be at the direct expense of the environment. If we wanted a more natural environmental energy flow, it would be directly at the expense of human civilisation’s power generation capacity.

    I can’t imagine a scenario which would place the environment under greater threat!

    Nuclear power, on the other hand, apart from all its other advantages, is radically disconnected from the natural energy economy of the environment. It is so energy dense that the mines and facilities needed for it will be (overall) smaller and less destructive than anything else at all. We could generate as much power as we needed without worrying about what was happening to huge swaths of the environment because of it, as we wouldn’t be in direct competition with the needs of the biosphere. This strikes me as a much safer and more sustainable situation.


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  37. 337
    DV82XL Says:

    There are constant, ill-informed debates and reports that suggest that we can easily replace our fossil fuel usage by wind, or solar cell power, or some such method. Within current technology, this is a pipe-dream, it is impossible, it simply cannot be done. Solar-electric systems and wind turbines face not only the enormous problem of scale but the fact that the components require substantial amounts of energy to manufacture and the number of sites that are economically exploitable are limited. They are not that clean as, a great deal of waste is created in their manufacture, and in the case of photo-electrics, their disposal. Also there is valid concern that windmills are hard on flying creatures, and shadows cast by vast fields of solar arrays will have a negative impact on the soil beneath leading to erosion risks and the destruction of whole ecosystems on a grand scale.

    The killer however is the fact that the sun doesn’t shine, and the wind doesn’t blow all the time, so backup is needed. It is also needed for load leveling and to provide a service called frequency discipline by maintaining so called spinning reserve. This means that a fair fraction of available power must not be drawn from a generator so that it doesn’t slowdown (or speed up) too much with a changing load. This situation is made worse when the power input itself is subject to variation, consequently a greater percentage of spinning reserve is required. In short, almost as much power must be available on backup as is being extracted from the wind and/or sun and a fair amount of that has to be spinning free at a cost of fuel and emissions.

    What about the idea of a power system composed of distributed energy resources, where much smaller amounts of energy are produced by numerous small, modular energy conversion units, like renewables which are then integrated into the grid like an energy internet? Thing is each node whether a gigawatt natural gas power station or a single solar photovoltaic panel needs to be controlled and the necessary number of combined control tasks multiply as devices multiply. requirement of implementing Flexible AC transmission systems increases the number of control parameters. Accurate information on the state of the network and coordination between local control centers and the generators is essential. However an inherent risk of interconnected networks is a domino effect – that is a system failure in one part of the network can quickly spread. Therefore the active network needs appropriate design standards, fast acting protection mechanisms and also automatic reconfiguration equipment to address potentially higher fault levels. On top of which most of the proposed systems require intelligent loads as well, adding to network complexity and cost.These changes are not cheap or easy.

    Adding to the complexity of this sort of system is that it would require storage technologies that can store significant amounts of power and reliably discharge it over and over again. Most of the candidates suffer from poor power density, as in standard batteries and flywheels; high complexity, in the case of molten salt and regenerative fuel cells, or are limited by location such as subterranean compressed air and hydraulic storage.

    These things have been covered elsewhere on this thread and in other postings on this site. You would do well to review them before continuing. You would also do well to get some feel of the sort of numbers that are involved, and note that individual homes are not the only load that must be factored in to an energy plan. Much low energy technology depends on material that cannot be produced using these light sources. The day I see someone running a smelter on wind power I will grant that they can.

    Finally the rest of the infrastructure requires larges amounts of reliable power, and these must be provided for, even in the unlikely event that that dwellings go the path that you suggest.


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  38. 338
    drbuzz0 Says:

    The problem with storing energy: pumped hydro and compressed gas are horribly ineffecient. Horribly. You may need as many as eight times as many wind turbines to make up for the energy lost in the conversion. So if you produce 80 megawatts on average you have an average output of 10. It can be worse. Regenerative fuel cells are not going to do all that much better, although they would need less space.

    The most effecient method is batteries, hands down. There are utility scale batteries, but they’re rarely used because they’re so damn expensive. The largest is in alaska. It’s nicad based. It would do for a nominally sized wind farm that didn’t vary too much: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connected/main.jhtml?xml=/connected/2003/09/03/ecnalaska03.xml

    Nicad of course has two problems: Cadmium is nasty toxic stuff. Nickle is limited in how much is avaliable. You’d easily deplete world supplies if you started building a lot of these. NiMH doesn’t have cadmium but needs even more nickle. Then there’s lead acid. You might be able to do that without depleting world reserves of lead, but building it on a wide scale you’d quickly excede world production of sulphuric acid. Also, that is nasty stuff. Then there’s sodium batteries. You’d need to ramp up world sodium production and also it takes energy to make sodium and produces chlorine as a biproduct. If you wanted to run any portion of the world on those it would mean a lot of chlorine to either do something with or find a place to put.

    And of course, this would bankrupt the richest governments all put together.


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  39. 339
    McGlashan Says:

    Gents,

    Thanks for the responses. Not got the time to respond right now. Please check back am tomorrow.


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  40. 340
    Jara Says:

    Hemp oil is so versatile that it can be used instead of diesel fuel or you can fry tempura in it. Before petroleum and electric lightbulbs, lamps burning hemp seed oil illuminated homes around the world. One ha of seed hemp produces about 1000-1500 litres of hemp oil plus several thousand kg of cellulose-rich fibre. One ha of fibre hemp produces about 8000-11000 kg of dry biomass.

    As a renewable resource from living plants hemp does not contribute to the greenhouse effect. The growing plants absorb as much CO2 as will later be released when oil or other plant matter is burnt. Unlike fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas) or nuclear fuels hemp could supply us with raw materials for thousands of years, without ever changing our climate and without producing waste that remains radioactive for millions of years.


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  41. 341
    drbuzz0 Says:

            McGlashan said:

    Again, I ask you for a compelling argument in favour of the necessity for the adoption of greater levels of nuclear power. It’s something I’ve yet to see.

    To put it simply…

    Because we need TERAWATTS.


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  42. 342
    drbuzz0 Says:

    Yeah biofuels are okay in certain applications but the whole “carbon neutral” thing is totally bunk. You assume that whatever else would have grown in the area you use for the crop would just decay back to co2 with 100% effeciency. Also it fails to take into account the greenhouse gas produced by soil tilling and other activities.

    The whole “carbon neutral” thing is going way beyond what any common sense. Also it won’t be more radioactive than the original ore for “millions of years”


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  43. 343
    Finrod Says:

    Although I understand hemp can be of great help getting salt out of saline soil, and therefore could be useful in certain land reclaimation projects, especially here in Australia. If you’re going to grow it for that purpose, you might as well get some biofuel out of it as well. Heat from nuclear reactors would facilitate this greatly.


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  44. 344
    DV82XL Says:

    McGlashan, I’m going to turn your question around: what proof can you show me that we can meet the objectives of keeping our living standard, allowing the less favored parts of the world to catch up, and reduce the volume of greenhouse gases that are released down past some critical level, without turning to nuclear energy?

    The only two sources that it can be proven can reliably meet our energy needs until the end of this century and beyond are coal and nuclear. Coal is just too dirty to consider, and thus we are left with nuclear by default. The onus is really on you (figuratively) to show hard proof that some other system will do. That is going to require more than anecdotal stories from closed communities. You will have to provide numbers.

    Here in North America we have many Hudderite/Menonite/Amish (collectively The Plain Folk) communities that have minimum energy lifestyles, and they all have problems keeping their kids from leaving. I note that you are not living in the Orkney Islands. It would seem that only a limited number of people will chose to live in that manner, thus it is going to be impossible to get a majority to elect a government that will legislate them into such a life. So I also would like to hear how you plan to do the large-scale social engineering across the entire world to bring about a change of mind.

    The point of the whole post is that we must strive for workable solutions. Many of the serious desenters here are calling for ideal solutions, and these are just not possible.


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  45. 345
    Finrod Says:

    “I assure you that I think that addressing the global warming issue while maintaining a high standard of living in the west, as well as extending it to the underdeveloped world, is a valid and worthy goal. What makes you think I don’t?”

    The following:

    “My suggested approach would be to, rather, adjust the demand side through mitigation of the consumer society.”

    And this:

    “You all point to the immutability of human nature in support of your advocacy of (heavy) engineering our way out of the problem. I assert that human nature is malleable and that the individualism rampant in the English-speaking world is an aberration brought about by the transmission of the idea of the “American Dream” as the global economic model. Local collectivism of some sort (tribalism, feudalism, fascism, socialism, confucianism, etc) has a much longer pedigree.

    Human nature and attitudes can be changed. 40 years ago, drink-driving was regarded as a right. 20 years ago it was a bit naughty. Now it is totally unacceptable. Smoking tobacco in public will go the same way over the next decades. Are these changes in living standards? Yes; what was once regarded as a freedom, a right, is now regarded as a reprehensible imposition on the rights and freedoms of others. Is it too much of a leap to imagine that the same will happen with profligate energy use and excessive consumption?

    My grandparents were from the Orkney Islands, to the north of Scotland. They had a saying “some is plenty, enough is too much” which they doled out with the porridge. Perhaps this is how the Orcadians managed to keep some of their indigenous trees on the island. Unlike their neighbour islanders in Shetland and Iceland. Thus they maintained their independence and their standard of living. On Iceland, ocean-going Vikings settled to avoid the tyranny of the Norse kings. (Sound familiar?). Once they’d cut down the trees, they were once again forced into the arms of their former masters and had to rely on subsistence farming for food. No more deep ocean fishing – they could no longer build the boats!

    The Orcadian’s philosophy is in direct contrast to the American Dream which suggests that enough is never enough. Hence, with America as the global hegemon, we have Oliver James’s “Affluenza”. Debt, stress, waste and debt; obesity epidemics in the English speaking world. The two-car family is more common than the two-book family. Koyaanisqatsi. The cultural difference is understandable. On Orkney, one can actually see and therefore appreciate the full extent of the environment and resources available. America and Australia appear infinite.

    I’m calling for a bit of wisdom from us all. A bit of self-control. A bit less greed. From the Renewable Energy Foundation (who DrBuzz0 quotes in favour of his arguments elsewhere):

    “Lastly, and perhaps most importantly of all, REF will be adding its voice to the argument for demand-side solutions to the energy question. The very real reductions in emissions that can be achieved with renewables can so easily be wiped out and rendered meaningless if overall energy demand continues to rise. Much of this demand is needless waste. A European Commission study published in 2003 observed that:

Total final energy consumption in the EU is thus approximately 20% higher than can be justified on purely economic grounds. Estimates in a SAVE study state that energy efficiency measures and demand side management services can easily realise three-fourths of this cost-effective savings, i.e., 15 % in the medium term (10-15 years).””

    What you’re talking about is a planned reduction in western living standards to those of the undeveloped world (or preindustrial society).

    If you go for a more decentralised, localised production system, you undo the advantages of economies of scale and division of labour. This will drastically reduce production. We would shortly be in a situation where the current global poulation could no longer be supported. Assuming that whatever regime was in charge was able to continue enforcing this economic policy, the result would be population collapse, in which case:

    What would your preferred method of dealing with the situation? Would you allow famine, disease and violence to take its course, or would you be in favour of a more proactive solution to the ‘problem’ of excess population?


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  46. 346
    McGlashan Says:

    Gentlemen,

    A lot to get through this morning…

    Let’s see if I can answer points one by one:

    Johan
    Thanks for the link to John McCarthy’s pages at Stanford. Breeder reactors past, present and future are, however, experimental, or demonstration models. I think they therefore fall into the category of “unproven” or “ideal”.

    I note that McCarthy is mostly concerned with artificial intelligence, and writes SF on the subject. This reeks of singularitarianism or extropianism to me. How many extropians does it take to change a light bulb? None! They sit in the dark and wait for the technology to improve. :)

    Finrod
    “Hydro power is limited. There simply isn’t enough of it worldwide to cover for fossil fuel power stations or nuclear power stations.”
    Noted and agreed. However, my own geographical location is blessed with suitable glacial topography. Scotland is a net exporter of electricity.

    “Wind is intermittent, and in spite of various claims, cannot be shown to reduce the need for conventional baseload power by any significant factor.
    PV solar is intermittent, the power levels abysmally low, and is much too expensive to consider as a main power source.”
    In this country, when the wind doesn’t blow, the sun shines and vice-versa. I know this sounds trite, but it is true. Additionally, the waves ceaselessly crash upon our north-west shores. I agree that PV is not anything like a suitable technology which is ready for primetime. But neither are breeders.

    “Solar thermal is unproven.”
    Not true. Direct solar heating has been reducing electricity and gas bills across my region for decades. A kilowatt saved is the same as a kilowatt generated. Local authorities are beginning to mandate direct solar water heating into local construction codes for new-build residential accommodation. It’s possible to make a direct solar water heater yourself as a weekend project with common tools and materials. Ground-source heat pumps also make a great deal of sense for domestic and district heating. ROI 5-7 years.

    “Russia… is quietly renewing its nuclear power program.”
    Is this an adequate reason for us to do likewise?

    Finrod
    “Let us posit a world powered by such… directly at the expense of human civilisation’s power generation capacity.
    I can’t imagine a scenario which would place the environment under greater threat!”
    Finrod, really, I would have expected better of you. If we build tidal barrages across every estuary on Earth, will it rob the Moon of orbital momentum? If we surround Albion with Salter Ducks, will we dampen the Atlantic Breakers out of existence? Actually, it’s maybe not a bad idea to surround Albion with Salter Ducks, it might mitigate some of the worst effects of coastal erosion which parts of England face at an alarmingly increasing frequency.
    “Nuclear power… strikes me as a much safer and more sustainable situation.”
    Oldest hydro-power – 4th Century BCE, India.
    Oldest wind-power – 1st Century CE, Greece.
    Safety. I’ve tried to stay off the subject. I’ll leave it to others…

    DV82XL
    “power system composed of distributed energy resources… not cheap or easy.”
    You speak with great authority, but perhaps your expertise is out of date, or you are obfuscating.
    The UK Energy Saving Trust encourages individuals and communities to sell micro-generated electricity to the grid. All you need is a Windy-Boy.
    http://www.windandsun.co.uk/inverters_gridwindy.htm

    drbuzz0
    “The problem with storing energy…The most efficient method is batteries..”
    I believe that pumped storage utilises otherwise unused base load, so, while low efficiency is lamentable, it’s not a show-stopper. The most efficient method is pumped hydro without intermediate conversion to electricity.
    qv Polderisation.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherlands

    drbuzz0
    “Because we need TERAWATTS”
    Are you confusing “need” with “want”?

    DV82XL
    “I’m going to turn your question around: what proof can you show me that we can meet the objectives of keeping our living standard, allowing the less favored parts of the world to catch up, and reduce the volume of greenhouse gases that are released down past some critical level, without turning to nuclear energy?”
    I have provided many examples of ways individuals and communities can lower their reliance on electricity. I have shown how those in less favoured parts of the world can catch up. I have done this without appealing to you to reduce your own reliance on mechanised transportation. But I will now. If hydrocarbon profligacy on personal transportation were reduced, we would be able to divert that resource to providing extra bridging generation baseload. I appreciate that carbon capture and storage is not all the way there yet, but it is more feasible for a power station than an automobile.

    “Here in North America we have many Hudderite/Menonite/Amish (collectively The Plain Folk) communities that have minimum energy lifestyles, and they all have problems keeping their kids from leaving. I note that you are not living in the Orkney Islands.”
    Comparing my community to the puritans who fled the Enlightenment is a non-starter; I feel vaguely insulted. The whole of Scotland is a modern, largely post-industrial nation. Life sciences and banking, insurance & finance make up the majority of our economy. Culture and the creative arts make up a third of our economy. Sure, we have a large public sector. Free university education and our national health service make us the envy of the world.
    You are correct, I don’t live in Orkney, but I hope that you’re not implying that I’m a hypocrite. My lifestyle and carbon footprint would be identical if I did. The peregrinations of two world wars uprooted my family. I live in Aberdeen, the (self-styled) Energy Capital of Europe. I used to work in the Oil & Gas industry here. Ahh the boomtown days of the seventies… The towout of the Ninian Central Platform was something to witness. Largest ever structure moved by man… those were the days… sniff, wipes tear from eye. Mega-engineering glory days indeed. The North Sea’s a mature oil producing province now, there’s no more capital being deployed out there, just a bit of infill drilling and enhanced recovery techniques. Aberdeen, once full of can-do engineers with pencils behind their ears and slide-rules in their shirt pockets, is now full of accountants and asset managers, tapping away in front of their excel spreadsheets. Maybe I should count them in the “creative” sector of our economy! ;)

    But what about the numbers…
    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/47176/0014633.pdf

    Finrod.

    Energy efficiency absolutely does not imply a reduction in living standards. Quite the reverse. The warm glow of smug self-satisfaction I get keeps me nice and toasty at no cost whatsoever!

    To finish, I came across this…
    In John Maynard Keynes “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren” he posits that economic success would mean that, in the 21st century we’d no longer have to work so hard to fulfill our basic needs. He reckoned that most of us would be satisfied with the fruits of about 15 hours per week or so of labour. A few might work harder in pursuit of wealth or material possessions, but most wouldn’t, seeing the love of money and things as “one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities”. It strikes me that this is how a lot of us in northern Europe are seeing things and organising our lives. I think they’ve been like that in southern Europe for centuries.

    Then again, Keynes also said “In the long run, we’re all dead”. Perhaps the extropians amongst you will disagree!


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  47. 347
    drbuzz0 Says:

    Oh not the “energy effeciency does not mean a reduction in living standards” crap again.

    Look, the amount of electricity used for lighting is less than 10% and most of that is already high effeciency sodium lights for large areas. Hence, everyone switching to CF lights does not do very much. Given the amount of CO2 production automobiles make up you cannot expect 50% cleaner cars to make that big a difference.

    This “energy effeciency without reduced quality of life” is bull because it presumes the problem can be solved by effecient lightbulbs and insulation and energy star appliences and small cars. Those help, but they don’t get you nearly far enough. The problem is aluminum smelting, heating of large structures (already very well insulated in general), cement manufacture, metal recovery, refining and plenty of other things. Just broadcasting television to a reasonable area on UHF or VHF can take megawatts.

    Here’s a simple graphic on it: http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/local/reduction/cleaner/images/image6.gif

    Simply put, the measures pushed as being effeciency with minimal sacrafice are not going to amount to much because they address comparatively small uses of energy. The largest users of energy already have high effeciency because for them energy is a major cost.


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  48. 348
    Michael Ejercito Says:

    Is it too much of a leap to imagine that the same will happen with profligate energy use and excessive consumption?

    Yes.

    Advocates of abstinence-only sex education claim that the teen sex will become taboo, and teens (nevermind adults) will stop having sex.


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  49. 349
    drbuzz0 Says:

    I should add something: I’m currently working on compiling data and generating charts on energy use by type and sector. This will describe energy in terms of direct use of fossil fuels as well as electricity and be broken down into the major sectors: residential, transportation, industrial, commericial and then further broken down into major end uses: Lighting, refrigeration, heating, cooling, electronics, compressors, metal smelting and so on.

    I’m hoping to have that up as the next post here and have it up in the next few days. My past two or three posts have been shamefully lacking in quality and obviously haphazardly thrown together. Sorry but this site has been deluged and also has had some very good discussions by people and requests for more data and better sourcing.

    This is not my day job and I’ve been rather busy recently, so I’ll try to get that taken care of as soon as I can, but updates may be a bit lacking for the next two or three days as I try to iron out some good info.


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  50. 350
    drbuzz0 Says:

    Oh one other thing: Trying not to be too American-centric, the whole thing with getting energy data that is representative of the world is rather hard. World energy consumption is hard to pin down at times because it varies from place to place and a lot of areas use less energy as they are in very bad shape in general.

    Considering that the focus is on industrial countries, which have the greatest margin to change things as well as developing countries which have rapidly growing econemies and will become more industrial as time goes on I’ve been looking for some representative samples.

    Data on the US has been by far the easiest to gather as the US department of Energy does a great job at compiling statistics through the Energy Information Agency. The IAEA does a good job with world data for certain countries which have good reporting.

    Aside from the US, Canada and Australia both seem to have excellent data avaliable. The EU does okay as well.

    I think the US, Canada, Australia and the EU are fair places to use as examples because they are examples of countries which have achieved a good living standard and full development. So these are the countries which, ideally, India and other nations with great poverty are going to be moving in the direction of.

    Also, the US and Canada both seem to be very similar in energy end use. Canada uses more energy per-capita for heating and less for cooling, not surprisingly. The southern US tends to skew data toward cooling, but otherwise the US and Canada are similar. The EU is similar to both as well except for a bit less energy, proportionately, is used for transportation. Also, heating in the more nothern european countries like Denmark, Sweeden, Norway is very very heavily represented.

    Australia is very similar to the US, Canada and Europe in some areas but other parts the energy use is much more heavily balanced toward mining and agriculture. I guess that’s not surprising.

    So sorry if I seem like I’m not including everyone. It’s really hard to do a full world picture that shows all the details that matter.


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