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Thread: global warming

  1. #271
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    I've said my piece and I stick by it. I believe it to be substantially correct. I could argue extensively about the effects of globalisation on CO2 production but we're evidently not allowed to on here.
    What is there to say beyond what the science says.

    Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a key component in moderating the Earth's radiation balance which determines climate. This has been well understood for over 150 years. By significantly increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere the entire globe will warm causing climate to change globally making many current ecosystems no longer viable and eventually melting the polar ice sheets. We're already well into this process based on direct observation and the further we push the radiative balance away from its start point the more severe the change. The geological record already indicates how bad it can get in what are termed extinction level events, something we're almost certainly in the opening stages of now.

    There are already and have been ways to mitigate this for decades that haven't been used on the system-wide scale required at the same time there has been an intentional and highly successful campaign to distort the genuine science by the fossil fuel sector. There's no real mystery going on here, it's a very obvious situation and one that is already resulting in some very serious impacts.
    "Back off man, I'm a Scientist!"- Peter Venkman, PhD in Psychology and Parapsychology

  2. #272
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    starcanuck64 wrote
    <<Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a key component in moderating the Earth's radiation balance which determines climate>>

    There may well be very good science behind why CO2 would cause warming, but what is not so certain is the extent of positive and negative feedbacks.
    Current models assume increased water vapour causes a positive feedback. This positive feedback is responsible for the vast majority of the warming according to current models (not the CO2 itself). These models have consistently over-predicted the temperature increase.

    Anyhow, what to do about it? As you say, technically, the issue has been more or less solved for decades.

    How do you force people, throughout the world, to stop burning fossil fuels? This is the question. Any nations which stop it unilaterally put themselves at enormous economic disadvantage. I really don't know what the answer is.

    Perhaps it would be possible to get all nations to sign up to paying for massive atmospheric-CO2 extraction plants, in proportion to their GDP?

  3. #273
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    Water vapour in the atmosphere is the main greenhouse agent. So why did the global warming not rise exponentially from the date of the end of the ice age? I guess mostly impacts and volcanoes. Then in a period of lower volcano activity which coincided with man made co2 adding a few percent to natural CO2, we see the warming of the last hundred years. If the models ignore impacts and volcanos they are missing an important driver. But we still are poor at predicting those. They will still happen even if we cannot predict them, let alone control them. Ok CO2 is an issue but I think there is that elephant in the room.
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    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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  4. #274
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    starcanuck64 wrote
    <<Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a key component in moderating the Earth's radiation balance which determines climate>>

    There may well be very good science behind why CO2 would cause warming, but what is not so certain is the extent of positive and negative feedbacks.
    Current models assume increased water vapour causes a positive feedback. This positive feedback is responsible for the vast majority of the warming according to current models (not the CO2 itself). These models have consistently over-predicted the temperature increase.

    Anyhow, what to do about it? As you say, technically, the issue has been more or less solved for decades.

    How do you force people, throughout the world, to stop burning fossil fuels? This is the question. Any nations which stop it unilaterally put themselves at enormous economic disadvantage. I really don't know what the answer is.

    Perhaps it would be possible to get all nations to sign up to paying for massive atmospheric-CO2 extraction plants, in proportion to their GDP?
    Most of the heat is going into the oceans, almost 90%, in the period between 1998 and 2012 alone the heat equivalent of 2 billion Hiroshima sized nuclear bombs have been added to the global system. I'm not sure where this "over-predicted the temperature increase" comes into play. This has also been at a time of record low sunspot activity which means lower solar output. And this new century which is only 16 years old has 15 of the hottest years on record.

    Most of the heat will go into the oceans because they have a thermal capacity 1,000 times greater than the atmosphere. The oceans can also store incredible amounts of heat while at the same time cooling the atmosphere if there are strong cold water turnovers such as been the case in recent times. This idea that we're somehow safe because in the short term the temperature increases that are mostly recorded at the land and ocean surface don't reflect the models isn't sound given the nature of the system we're describing. There is a massive amount of heat being added to the globe constantly by the radiative imbalance that has already been created by emitting billions of tons of carbon dioxide a year, as long as this remains the globe will warm based on the science.

    Claiming otherwise isn't supported by the evidence which is why it's not allowed here unless in ATM. And then you'd better have some pretty sound arguments to back up such claims...
    "Back off man, I'm a Scientist!"- Peter Venkman, PhD in Psychology and Parapsychology

  5. #275
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    <snip>
    How do you force people, throughout the world, to stop burning fossil fuels? This is the question. Any nations which stop it unilaterally put themselves at enormous economic disadvantage. I really don't know what the answer is.

    Perhaps it would be possible to get all nations to sign up to paying for massive atmospheric-CO2 extraction plants, in proportion to their GDP?
    And those are the questions we will not discuss on CQ because it gets into politics.
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  6. #276
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Water vapour in the atmosphere is the main greenhouse agent. So why did the global warming not rise exponentially from the date of the end of the ice age? I guess mostly impacts and volcanoes. Then in a period of lower volcano activity which coincided with man made co2 adding a few percent to natural CO2, we see the warming of the last hundred years. If the models ignore impacts and volcanos they are missing an important driver. But we still are poor at predicting those. They will still happen even if we cannot predict them, let alone control them. Ok CO2 is an issue but I think there is that elephant in the room.
    I think you are overstating the existence of a possible elephant.

    IPCC Working Group 1 - How reliable are the models?


    Summary:
    There is considerable confidence that climate models provide credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly at continental scales and above. This confidence comes from the foundation of the models in accepted physical principles and from their ability to reproduce observed features of current climate and past climate changes. Confidence in model estimates is higher for some climate variables (e.g., temperature) than for others (e.g., precipitation). Over several decades of development, models have consistently provided a robust and unambiguous picture of significant climate warming in response to increasing greenhouse gases.
    And one example of dealing with volcanic activity:
    Models also reproduce other observed changes, such as the faster increase in nighttime than in daytime temperatures, the larger degree of warming in the Arctic and the small, short-term global cooling (and subsequent recovery) which has followed major volcanic eruptions, such as that of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 (see FAQ 8.1, Figure 1).
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  7. #277
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Water vapour in the atmosphere is the main greenhouse agent.
    And here is an article from Time magazine (summarizing a paper from Science) on why CO2 is still the driver.

    Not to use an overly technical term here, but there’s a neat paper in this week’s Science that explains clearly why carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main agent behind changes in the Earth’s climate—now and in the geologic past. First a bit of background: one argument you might hear from skeptics of manmade climate change is that CO2 is much less important as an atmospheric warming agent than water vapor.
    Makes sense—and in a sense, he’s right. Water vapor is the most important agent behind the greenhouse effect—it has more than twice the warming effect that CO2 does, and water vapor and clouds account for about 75% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect, with CO2 accounting for 20% and the other greenhouse gases and aerosol particulates accounting for the remaining 5%. But despite that, it is changes in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere that is responsible for changing the climate—in other words, as the research team led by the physicist Andrew Lacis makes clear in the Science paper, CO2 is the principal “control knob” governing the Earth’s temperature.

    Lacis and his colleagues note that water vapor, while much more common in the atmosphere than CO2, has a short atmospheric lifespan, eventually condensing and falling as precipitation as it responds to changes in temperature and air pressure. CO2, however, is a well-mixed gas that just builds up in the atmosphere over time, which is part of the reason why carbon dioxide emitted today can have a warming effect that lingers for hundreds of years. The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is a function of temperature—the warmer it gets, the more water will evaporate and the more water the atmosphere can hold. And water vapor does have a warming effect, and it can act as a positive feedback—the warmer it gets, the more water vapor there is in the atmosphere, which makes it warmer, and so on.

    But as the Science authors point out, it’s CO2 that provides the stable temperature structure for the climate, the skeleton on which climate is built. Here’s how they know: Lacis and his colleagues created a simple climate experiment where they removed all CO2, aerosols and other greenhouse gases from the model atmosphere, but left in the water vapor. They let the climate model run forward in time, and the results were startling. In just one year without any carbon, global annual mean temperature fell by 4.6 C. After 50 years, the global average temperature had fallen to -21 C, 34.8 C less than it is today. As the average global temperature fell, so did the water vapor in the atmosphere, while global sea ice cover increased from 4.6% to 46.7%, further increasing the planetary albedo effect and freezing the planet further. Without carbon and other greenhouse gases, we’d be living on Planet Hoth.

    As the Science authors point out, there’s also ample evidence in our own geologic history that changes in CO2 levels in atmosphere—chiefly due to volcanic eruptions—have been a main driver in changes in Earth’s climate. Water vapor levels may amplify the effect of CO2, but it’s CO2 that is the main control knob—and as Lacis and his colleagues write, we’re turning that knob up to 11 thanks to rising manmade carbon emissions:
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  8. #278
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    the hydrologic cycle just works faster than the carbon cycle.

  9. #279
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    And here is an article from Time magazine (summarizing a paper from Science) on why CO2 is still the driver.
    Thanks for that, very interesting report.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    The growth of photovoltaic is exponential. At current rates it will supply all the world's electricity needs within 20 years. Everybody will have battery banks in their house for storage. Distribution through power lines will become huge.
    The moment an instant lasted forever, we were destined for the leading edge of eternity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    The growth of photovoltaic is exponential. At current rates it will supply all the world's electricity needs within 20 years. Everybody will have battery banks in their house for storage. Distribution through power lines will become huge.
    It may appear to be exponential, but real-world phenomena cannot be modeled like that. You have to look carefully at the real situation of what is going on.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    It may appear to be exponential, but real-world phenomena cannot be modeled like that. You have to look carefully at the real situation of what is going on.
    If china can grow at 10 percent a year for almost 40 years this should be a cakewalk.
    The moment an instant lasted forever, we were destined for the leading edge of eternity.

  13. #283
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    The growth of photovoltaic is exponential. At current rates it will supply all the world's electricity needs within 20 years. Everybody will have battery banks in their house for storage. Distribution through power lines will become huge.
    It's one way to go but batteries themselves use a lot of resources and can quickly wear out, ask anyone with an electric car that has to replace a very expensive battery that has lost its efficiency after a couple of years. Any form of solar power is going to be intermittent to some degree and there's simply no need to rely on any one form of energy too much, a lesson we should have all learned by now with so much that has gone on around around the fossil fuel sector.

    With some forms of nuclear power you also get constant production of some very important material, such as a LFTR which constantly produces medical isotopes and material very useful for deep space exploration such as Xenon and plutonium 238.

    http://liquidfluoridethoriumreactor....n-by-products/

    Fission of 1000 kg U-233 produces several chemicals essential for industry, readily extracted from a LFTR or any other Molten Salt Reactor, including 150kg xenon, 125kg neodymium (high-strength magnets), 20kg medical molybdenum-99, 20kg radiostrontium, zirconium, rhodium, ruthenium, and palladium.

    MSRs also produce non-fissile Pu-238, that conventional reactors can’t produce isolated from highly fissile Plutonium-239; Pu-238 is needed for radioisotope power such as for NASA deep space exploration vehicles (none left, only Th to U-233 makes Pu-238 w/o Pu-239).
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  14. #284
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    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    It's one way to go but batteries themselves use a lot of resources and can quickly wear out, ask anyone with an electric car that has to replace a very expensive battery that has lost its efficiency after a couple of years.
    This came up earlier in the thread and I never commented about it, but it is a major pet peeve of my (sorry starcanuck).

    There is this belief that hybrid cars require frequent battery changes, and I have seen no evidence of this. We have had three hybrid cars in our household (a Honda Civic hybrid and two Ford Escape hybrids) and none of them have ever required a new battery (the first Escape was retired at 210,000 miles, the Honda and Escape #2 are over each over 150,000). I've know several other hybrid owners (mostly Toyota Priuses) and know of no battery replacements.

    Granted, that is all anecdotal evidence, but I haven't seen any evidence supporting this idea of short battery life. And if one does have to replace the battery, it is a little expensive - I've heard about $2000, or about the price of a transmission rebuild, but not scrape-the-car expensive.

    Now, none of that goes against your point about batteries for the electrical grid and in support of solar power - that is a very different application. But I needed to get that off my chest.
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  15. #285
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    If china can grow at 10 percent a year for almost 40 years this should be a cakewalk.
    That's a very big IF.

    Even if the human race is motivated to combat climate change, there is not going to be a single, simple fix. The problem is entirely too complex and too ingrained into our society for that.
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  16. #286
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    This came up earlier in the thread and I never commented about it, but it is a major pet peeve of my (sorry starcanuck).

    There is this belief that hybrid cars require frequent battery changes, and I have seen no evidence of this. We have had three hybrid cars in our household (a Honda Civic hybrid and two Ford Escape hybrids) and none of them have ever required a new battery (the first Escape was retired at 210,000 miles, the Honda and Escape #2 are over each over 150,000). I've know several other hybrid owners (mostly Toyota Priuses) and know of no battery replacements.

    Granted, that is all anecdotal evidence, but I haven't seen any evidence supporting this idea of short battery life. And if one does have to replace the battery, it is a little expensive - I've heard about $2000, or about the price of a transmission rebuild, but not scrape-the-car expensive.

    Now, none of that goes against your point about batteries for the electrical grid and in support of solar power - that is a very different application. But I needed to get that off my chest.
    I wasn't really thinking about hybrids, from what I understand it's the pure electrics that face this more and the higher performance the vehicle the more expensive the battery. And I was off a little on the time frame.

    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/...-car-over-time

    My 2013 Tesla Model S, when new, had an EPA range of 265 miles. But six or eight years down the road, with 100,000-plus miles on the odometer, there’s no way to know what my range will be.

    It’s an especially worrisome question for Model S owners, for two reasons:

    First, the list price of a replacement 85-kWh battery pack is a whopping $44,000. (That cost would presumably be reduced by the trade-in value of the old pack, a number that has not been publicly revealed as far as I know.)
    Everything has a cost and uses resources including batteries and photovoltaics.

    As I said the simple reality is we don't have to rely on any one form of energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, it probably makes sense to use a variety and tailor the production to the environment based on local resources and conditions. BC for instance produces most of it's electricity from hydro-electric and many places simply don't get the required sunlight year round to go completely solar. Mid-winter in Edmonton for instance the sun is low on the southern horizon and is only up for a small part of the day. The temperature can get to -50 C even in these days of global warming.

    Having something like a LFTR cranking out power continuously there would be nice, especially as the new government has pledged to phase out coal as soon as possible which currently provides a little more than half the power.

    http://www.energy.alberta.ca/electricity/682.asp

    Then there's the question of how long will the lithium last when you're producing the millions of batteries required to store all that power.

    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articl...-Ion-Battery-M

    At the same times you could be building Lithium Fluoride Thorium Reactors to provide a steady flow of electricity - while doing all the other things a LFTR can do - instead of trying to make every home it's own separate power generation and storage center. There is sense in having some energy centralization, the key is finding a balance.
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    Canada is rapidly moving off of some fossil fuels, Ontario has phased out power from coal;

    http://www.desmog.ca/2014/04/17/onta...ally-coal-free

    Last Tuesday the government of Ontario announced the Thunder Bay Generating Station – Ontario’s last coal-fired power plant – had burnt off its last supply of coal. The electricity of Canada’s most populous province is officially coal free.
    And even Alberta is moving quickly to get off of the worst fossil fuel in terms of pollution.

    http://business.financialpost.com/ne..._lsa=7dc9-4f02

    The phase-out of coal-fired power generation in Alberta will begin in 2018, not the mandated 2030 deadline, the president of the Coal Association of Canada said Thursday.
    But as I said above solar isn't suitable for many places in Canada and in the middle of a hard winter energy needs soar. There's simply no reason to restrict ourselves to one or a few sources of energy based on ideology, there are many forms of power that can meet our needs without many of the negative side effects of fossil fuels.

    If you look at a LFTR for instance, much of the material input doesn't end up in waste storage as it would with a PWR/BWR. The burn-up is much more complete and in the case of a two stage LFTR it's almost 100%. The material doesn't disappear, it's transformed into elements that have great commercial and health benefits.

    http://liquidfluoridethoriumreactor....n-by-products/

    The waste that's left has almost no transuranic actinides so it's half-life is much shorter. It's more dangerous in the short term but most of the waste coming out of a LFTR has decayed to ground state within a decade leaving less than 20% of the limited waste you started with for long term storage.

    Instead of being an economy killer, moving off of fossil fuels onto alternatives like nuclear, solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, etc... would almost certainly start an entirely new phase in scientific, economic and social progress. We wouldn't be talking about energy limitations, the challenge would be to use the resources in the most effective ways possible. Like colonizing Mars after first doing so on the Moon, where LFTR technology would also be a major plus.

    http://www.treehugger.com/energy-pol...ugh-earth.html

    There's no question we should be doing something major to be moving off of fossil fuels, largely because of global warming, we simply don't have to wait for any one alternative to be available at some point a few decades down the road to phase out all fossil fuels. On the contrary it's makes far more sense to have a multi-varied approach that avoids any one bottleneck, provides benefits we can't even imagine now and hopefully provides some of the competition and innovation that seems to be sadly lacking now as many places are still shackled to using energy production right out of the industrial revolution.
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  18. #288
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    How do you force people, throughout the world, to stop burning fossil fuels? This is the question. Any nations which stop it unilaterally put themselves at enormous economic disadvantage. I really don't know what the answer is.
    The same way regulate the activity of people who are doing anything that harms other people, laws and international agreements.

    As I've already said we no longer use CFCs on an industrial scale because of the clear harm and hazard they presented to not just us but the biosphere as a whole. Massive emissions of CO2 are no different as the science is clear the consequences of such activity has some very serious and negative impacts. And the plan isn't to get any one nation to stop unilaterally, it's to create international agreements that synchronize the phasing out of fossil fuels as other sources of energy are phased in. Paris was a first step last year, as there is ample technology now to eventually replace all fossil fuels eventually then the question is how long will a comprehensive phase-out take.

    Maybe the question you're really looking for is, "how do we preserve the massive use of fossil fuels", on that question I don't think there is an answer and I'm not even interested in looking for one.
    "Back off man, I'm a Scientist!"- Peter Venkman, PhD in Psychology and Parapsychology

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    <<Maybe the question you're really looking for is, "how do we preserve the massive use of fossil fuels", on that question I don't think there is an answer and I'm not even interested in looking for one.>>

    I don't know why I would ask a question like that, or why you would think I would. However the facts are these:

    Coal use is up about 70% since the year 2000, and was the fastest-growing energy source between 2000 and 2012. Oil use is growing, gas use is growing (up about 50% since year 2000). You can see this from the plot on Wikipedia.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_...n#Fossil_fuels

    Nuclear power generation has been on a downward trend since 2007 (however renewables clearly are showing strong growth).

    Germany is building more coal plants and phasing out nuclear.

    SO there is a long way to go with these international agreements. There seems to be a choice between authoritarianism and economic freedom which needs to be addressed somehow.

  20. #290
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    <<Maybe the question you're really looking for is, "how do we preserve the massive use of fossil fuels", on that question I don't think there is an answer and I'm not even interested in looking for one.>>

    I don't know why I would ask a question like that, or why you would think I would. However the facts are these:
    Because of the very well established pattern of the fossil fuel sector denying the existence and seriousness of global warming and associated climate change. Even in the limited form it's going on here.

    Coal use is up about 70% since the year 2000, and was the fastest-growing energy source between 2000 and 2012. Oil use is growing, gas use is growing (up about 50% since year 2000). You can see this from the plot on Wikipedia.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_...n#Fossil_fuels

    Nuclear power generation has been on a downward trend since 2007 (however renewables clearly are showing strong growth).

    Germany is building more coal plants and phasing out nuclear.

    SO there is a long way to go with these international agreements. There seems to be a choice between authoritarianism and economic freedom which needs to be addressed somehow.
    We simply can't get into that debate here, but it's pretty clear from what I've already posted that an incredible amount of wealth has already been spent by the fossil fuel sector to protect its interests at the expense of everyone else. I don't see that as fair, just, competitive, democratic or anything other than a deadly fraud.

    And meanwhile one of the best solutions to this growing catastrophe was created by a true humanitarian more than 50 years ago.

    When four top climate scientists released a letter last November urging the expansion of safe nuclear power to fight climate change, the world took note. But few people realize that more than 40 years previously, and a decade before James Hansen’s high-profile testimony before Congress, one of America’s leading nuclear engineers was speaking out on the looming prospect of global warming. Alvin Weinberg spent much of his early career pushing for his thorium-fueled, molten salt nuclear reactor design – much to the chagrin of the industry – but when the government abandoned it, he began to broadly advocate nuclear power as a way to provide abundant electricity for an energy-hungry world and wean the US off fossil fuels. It took 40 years, but a new generation of engineers concerned about climate change is rediscovering Weinberg and his design. That the Chinese government has invested $350 million in a new molten-salt project shows just how significant Weinberg’s impact has been on the broader development of nuclear.
    With the open letter from climate scientists, a growing number of environmentalists calling for nuclear power, and a growing number of philanthropists like Bill Gates and Paul Allen investing in next generation nuclear, the altruism that originally motivated nuclear scientists and engineers is finally coming to redefine nuclear power. “What made him unique,” said Alexander Zucker, a physics professor and colleague of Weinberg’s, “was his profound concern for the welfare of man. He never stopped thinking about it.”
    I don't see gifting everyone with ample, sustainable energy for the foreseeable future as being authoritarian, I do see consistently lying to people about something that if allowed to continue has every possibility of killing them or denying their children a future as being borderline criminal. Something also shared by many scientists.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...denial-effort/

    The largest, most-consistent money fueling the climate denial movement are a number of well-funded conservative foundations built with so-called "dark money," or concealed donations, according to an analysis released Friday afternoon.
    It found that the amount of money flowing through third-party, pass-through foundations like DonorsTrust and Donors Capital, whose funding cannot be traced, has risen dramatically over the past five years.

    In all, 140 foundations funneled $558 million to almost 100 climate denial organizations from 2003 to 2010.
    "Back off man, I'm a Scientist!"- Peter Venkman, PhD in Psychology and Parapsychology

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    People in this thread have been very careful to go right up to the edge of politics and hang their toes over the edge without jumping in, but frankly this is all very circular and not the topic of this forum. Global Warming (or climate change if you prefer) can be discussed in terms of measuring it. If you want to discuss causes, actions to change it, political methods of achieving those actions, and other such things, I strongly suggest that you find a venue that supports such discussions. This isn't it. Do you feel passionate about this topic? Good, I do too. This is not the place to discuss more than the measurements.

    This thread is closed. No warnings issued, though the admin and mod team are quite annoyed with this thread. Cross this line again, and points will be given.
    Forming opinions as we speak

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