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Thread: global warming

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooMany View Post
    But what new green magic are we thinking is possible? I've read a scathing criticism of the US military's attempts at biofuels. They just are not economically practical. The problem is that almost as much energy (derived from oil) goes in as comes out. Also note that all biofuels produce their energy from sunlight. The efficiency of this conversion of sunlight into fuel energy is dismal. Then of course the fuel is burned with an efficiency usually less than 30%.

    As long as people think there is some magical green solution just around the corner, they will delay action. That is why the fossil fuel companies promote green energy in their advertising.
    I disagree. We throw away or let rot tons of biomaterials that burn, there's nothing magic about using those as sources for fuel instead of letting their energy go to waste as we currently do.

    Economies of scale will make green sources more economically feasible than fossil fuel once the sources are developed to the same scale of manufacturing and distribution as petroleum fuels. They are currently expensive because they are not being made for large scale use. One-offs are always expensive.

    Gasoline burns in IC engines at an efficiency of less than 25%. The oil companies make ads for alternative energy because ads are cheap, and conversion of processing plants and factories is expensive.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I disagree. We throw away or let rot tons of biomaterials that burn, there's nothing magic about using those as sources for fuel instead of letting their energy go to waste as we currently do.
    While that is true, how much of our energy needs can be met in that way? People have been arguing for incinerating trash for power for a long time with little success because people are perhaps overly fearful of toxic materials being released.

    Green advocates seem to have the impression that if there are enough alternative sources (e.g. trash, ethanol etc., solar, wind) that somehow that means they will total up to provide all our needs. The needs are vast and will be increasing as resources become more scarce and the population increases.

    Economies of scale will make green sources more economically feasible than fossil fuel once the sources are developed to the same scale of manufacturing and distribution as petroleum fuels. They are currently expensive because they are not being made for large scale use. One-offs are always expensive.
    I really doubt that. What evidence do you have of feasibility and what sources are you actually talking about. There is a lot of wishful thinking going on with respect to green energy and very few encouraging results.

    Gasoline burns in IC engines at an efficiency of less than 25%. The oil companies make ads for alternative energy because ads are cheap, and conversion of processing plants and factories is expensive.
    That's true but also fossil fuel companies are marketing a dwindling resource. The longer they can keep people on it, the more they stand to profit. Actual alternative energy investments pale in comparison with their investments in mining fuel. IMO it's pure PR to keep people thinking that a green solution is on the way.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    There's an app for that; trees.
    I planted 20 tree around my house, plus 6 bushes, which may or may not count as trees. Trees use up space, so there are limits.
    Solfe

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooMany View Post
    While that is true, how much of our energy needs can be met in that way? People have been arguing for incinerating trash for power for a long time with little success because people are perhaps overly fearful of toxic materials being released.

    Green advocates seem to have the impression that if there are enough alternative sources (e.g. trash, ethanol etc., solar, wind) that somehow that means they will total up to provide all our needs. The needs are vast and will be increasing as resources become more scarce and the population increases.
    True, but the needs will also be dropping per capita, as our technology becomes more efficient and our sources become more expensive, forcing lifestyle changes.

    I really doubt that. What evidence do you have of feasibility and what sources are you actually talking about. There is a lot of wishful thinking going on with respect to green energy and very few encouraging results.
    Not yet, that's why a program like the one in post #26 is needed.

    That's true but also fossil fuel companies are marketing a dwindling resource. The longer they can keep people on it, the more they stand to profit. Actual alternative energy investments pale in comparison with their investments in mining fuel. IMO it's pure PR to keep people thinking that a green solution is on the way.
    That's why leaving it up to private companies is a bad idea; they have a vested interest to protect. The post was about large-scale government research projects.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooMany View Post
    People have been arguing for incinerating trash for power for a long time with little success because people are perhaps overly fearful of toxic materials being released.
    I grew up near a trash burning power plant, so there's that.

    Most of what I'm talking about though is cellulose. From paper packaging to farm waste to lawn clippings, if we can crack the cellulosic ethanol problem it'll vastly increase what we can do with the stuff. And that requires research.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooMany View Post
    I really doubt that. What evidence do you have of feasibility and what sources are you actually talking about.
    I can't recall which sources but I've run across numbers several times based on the amount of biomass that winds up in our trash, sewage and landfills, vs. how much energy we use. Not primary sources, but not "hey let's all hug trees!" feel-good articles either.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I can't recall which sources but I've run across numbers several times based on the amount of biomass that winds up in our trash, sewage and landfills, vs. how much energy we use. Not primary sources, but not "hey let's all hug trees!" feel-good articles either.
    The problem with power, all power, is that there is never a surplus except at the lowest level.

    In Buffalo, NY, it is impractical (or flat impossible) to heat your house with solar power, but lets assume that you could and everyone does. What happens next? Do we tear down all of the steam plants (coal and gas fired)? Do we turn off the 2300 gigawatt Robert Moses Niagara hydroelectric station? What about the nuclear reactors in the middle of the state? Well, if WNY went off the gird, it would be trivial to get central and upstate off the gird and on to solar. So we can just get rid of all of those plants.

    Good... until someone in NYC or Toronto mentions the fact we just shut off their lights. It is incredibly impractical to build a power station inside those cities, or in their suburbs. Nuclear is right out. There isn't the space for significant amounts of wind or solar farms. In the city of Buffalo (actually a little south of downtown), we are building wind farms because the land is empty. We don't need any more power here... but it is always lucrative to sell the power else where.

    Where things get shouty and loud (and political) is that WNY has a power plant bigger than anywhere east of the Rockies and we have the fourth most expensive power cost in the nation. Why? Because it's always more lucrative to sell our power elsewhere because we have a lot of it. Several places south of Buffalo have municipal power that is far cheaper, they aren't off grid but they do serve themselves first. There is currently no way to store power to make a reserve that would stop the current system from operating.

    It's one big boat we have here, and we're are all in it and every room is the same. The only people who aren't in the boat, are off the grid, in little life boats and as a consequence have no life boat should something bad happen to them*. Until you change something major, such as how our devices use power, or store power, there is no such thing as green power.

    *This is in reference to making and using power. I have no doubt that people off the grid could simply choose to not use electricity at all easier than a city person could.
    Solfe

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    The problem with power, all power, is that there is never a surplus except at the lowest level.

    In Buffalo, NY, it is impractical (or flat impossible) to heat your house with solar power, but lets assume that you could and everyone does. What happens next? Do we tear down all of the steam plants (coal and gas fired)? Do we turn off the 2300 gigawatt Robert Moses Niagara hydroelectric station? What about the nuclear reactors in the middle of the state? Well, if WNY went off the gird, it would be trivial to get central and upstate off the gird and on to solar. So we can just get rid of all of those plants.
    Why on Earth would you tear down the existing plants, instead of augmenting them with more power sources? And why is a hydro plant not "green" in your book? Why assume "everyone" heats their home with solar?

    You seem to have taken what I wrote and run with it to some very bizarre extremist places. It sounds an awful lot like "freezing in the dark" sort of strawmanning to me.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    a program like the one in post #26 is needed.
    ...The post was about large-scale government research projects.
    The question posed by the IPCC report that I mentioned in that post is the most efficient method to remove CO2 from the air. That means an industrial system to convert CO2 to hydrocarbons, since hydrocarbons are valuable while CO2 is dangerous. The only way to convert CO2 to hydrocarbons is via plants, using solar energy for photosynthesis. But growing trees or other terrestrial crops faces competition for scarce land, as well as fairly slow growing times. Luckily we have an extremely large surface area on the planet which has low unit price - the oceans, suitable for production on large scale of an existing plant with very fast growing time - algae.

    My calculation is that building industrial algae factories on 2% of the world ocean, using tide, wave, wind and current for pumping, could:
    1. rapidly remove excess carbon from the air;
    2. enable the use of this carbon for a range of profitable products such as fuel, food, fertilizer and fabric;
    3. stabilise ocean acidity;
    4. reduce ocean temperature and the risk of super storms and poleward migration;
    5. protect biodiversity;
    6. support political stability and security; and
    7. reverse global warming.



    I explained these ideas in my proposal to MIT, accepted as one of only three finalists from thirty three proposals from around the world for the voting phase of its recent CoLab geoengineering competition.

    An industrial ocean based algae production system can sink bags of algae a cubic kilometre in size to the deep ocean floor, where the algae will settle and the oil can be banked as a sequestration method that will provide fuel to replace petroleum. The energy and materials input costs for this system are close to zero, because bags can be made from algae-derived fabric, and pumping can use wave and tide.

    I have been promoting Bjorn Lomborg's ideas for large scale climate R&D because he presents a theoretical economic framework in which the proposal I explain here can be justified. This entire paradigm is rejected by the push for a global agreement. A global agreement on carbon taxation is a useless goal, intruding state primacy into problems that basically need capitalist ingenuity, and assuming that climate change requires sacrifice, when in fact it is the opportunity for new global abundance.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Why on Earth would you tear down the existing plants, instead of augmenting them with more power sources? And why is a hydro plant not "green" in your book? Why assume "everyone" heats their home with solar?

    You seem to have taken what I wrote and run with it to some very bizarre extremist places. It sounds an awful lot like "freezing in the dark" sort of strawmanning to me.
    I did strawman, but he has a name tag.

    It is one am. I can come back in the morning. I would just reply with horrible gibberish now, as I eye all the "girds" in my last post. We like electric girds in NY.
    Solfe

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    I think that scientists can be proud of the progress in alternative energy. When I went to school in the 70's and 80's it was obvious alternative energy was not remotely competitive. Wind power is now competitive with coal, nuclear, and gas for electric energy. Photovoltaics are basically dropping in cost by 1/2 every 2 or 3 years, which means in 10 years it will also be competitive. Lithium batteries are improving about 9 percent a year and they will be able to store huge amounts of energy soon. Etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    I think that scientists can be proud of the progress in alternative energy. When I went to school in the 70's and 80's it was obvious alternative energy was not remotely competitive. Wind power is now competitive with coal, nuclear, and gas for electric energy. Photovoltaics are basically dropping in cost by 1/2 every 2 or 3 years, which means in 10 years it will also be competitive. Lithium batteries are improving about 9 percent a year and they will be able to store huge amounts of energy soon. Etc.
    I guess you meant scientists and engineers can be proud
    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.
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  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    I did strawman, but he has a name tag.

    It is one am. I can come back in the morning. I would just reply with horrible gibberish now, as I eye all the "girds" in my last post. We like electric girds in NY.
    Ah, that makes sense. I also share the sleep deprived writing sometimes.

    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I guess you meant scientists and engineers can be proud
    Hear, hear!
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    Just to clarify, I'm not proposing an immediate jump from fossil to green, that would be massively impractical. I think rather that we should gradually reduce fossil-power output as more green sources come online. I just want more green sources to be built, that's all.

    Also add that I like nuclear. My father is a nuclear engineer (retired). But there are just too many social and political barriers to building a lot more nuclear power plants in the near future.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    My calculation is that building industrial algae factories on 2% of the world ocean, using tide, wave, wind and current for pumping, could:
    1. rapidly remove excess carbon from the air;
    2. enable the use of this carbon for a range of profitable products such as fuel, food, fertilizer and fabric;
    3. stabilise ocean acidity;
    4. reduce ocean temperature and the risk of super storms and poleward migration;
    5. protect biodiversity;
    6. support political stability and security; and
    7. reverse global warming.



    I explained these ideas in my proposal to MIT, accepted as one of only three finalists from thirty three proposals from around the world for the voting phase of its recent CoLab geoengineering competition.
    I wish you luck finding some funding for a pilot project. We spend about $700 billion on oil every year in the US. If only 1% of that money could be allocated toward potential solutions be they green or nuclear or both, rapid progress could be made.

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I guess you meant scientists and engineers can be proud
    I did group them all together, yes.

  17. #47
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    I think this thread long ago answered the OP's question, and ran its course as a Q&A thread, so I've moved it to Science & Technology.

    We have not encouraged general AGW threads, as they seem to get very broad in scope and unfocused, but we'll see how this goes for now.
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    All moderation in purple - The rules

  18. 2013-Nov-24, 09:45 PM

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    Scientist's surprised by sun's activity. I read the farmers's almanac about 15 years ago and they predicted, that by 2005, that the earth would start cooling due to some 70 or 90 year peak and valley in sunspot activity. Were they really right or lucky. Found this article on sunspot activity. Any relationship. Seems like serendipity.

    http://news.yahoo.com/calm-solar-cyc...213912384.html

  20. 2013-Nov-25, 12:45 AM

  21. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    Seems like serendipity.
    With sunspot data only going back to 1700, their 70-90 year peak is based on only 3 complete cycles.
    That's climbing way out on the branch.

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    Those predictions were just opinions, and everybody has those.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    Scientist's surprised by sun's activity. I read the farmers's almanac about 15 years ago and they predicted, that by 2005, that the earth would start cooling due to some 70 or 90 year peak and valley in sunspot activity. Were they really right or lucky. Found this article on sunspot activity. Any relationship. Seems like serendipity.

    http://news.yahoo.com/calm-solar-cyc...213912384.html
    I think looking for simple linear relationships in such a complex system is overly optimistic.

    Going by the evidence the long term trend hasn't reversed, it's slowed down in recent years possibly due to many factors, much of the additional heat may be going into the deep ocean during strong La Nina years.

    http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org...lobal-warming/

    Global surface temperatures have warmed more slowly over the past decade than previously expected. Some in the media have seized this warming pause in recent weeks, and the UK’s Met Office has just released a three-part series of white papers looking at the causes and implications.

    While there is still no definitive cause identified, the Met Office scientists point to a combination of more heat going into the deep oceans and downturns in multi-decadal cycles in global temperature — natural variability — as the primary drivers of the pause. Others argue that a plethora of recent small volcanoes, changes in stratospheric water vapor, and a downturn in solar energy reaching the Earth may also be contributing to the slow-down. While few expect the pause to persist much longer, it has raised some questions about the growing divergence between observed temperatures and those predicted by climate scientists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    I think looking for simple linear relationships in such a complex system is overly optimistic.

    Going by the evidence the long term trend hasn't reversed, it's slowed down in recent years possibly due to many factors, much of the additional heat may be going into the deep ocean during strong La Nina years.

    http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org...lobal-warming/
    I just think one has to give farmers almanac some credit, they called it right. They must have real climate scientists working for them, or am I wrong about this?

  25. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    I just think one has to give farmers almanac some credit, they called it right. They must have real climate scientists working for them, or am I wrong about this?
    Per wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farmers%27_Almanac
    Weather prediction has always been a major feature of the Farmers' Almanac. The Almanac Publishing Company claims readers of the Farmers’ Almanac have attributed an 80 to 85 percent accuracy rate to the publication’s annual forecasts. However independent studies that retrospectively compare the weather with the predictions have not shown them more accurate than chance.[1]

    Predictions for each edition are made as far as two years in advance. The Farmers’ Almanac publishers are highly secretive about the method used to make its predictions, only stating publicly that it is a "top secret mathematical and astronomical formula, that relies on sunspot activity, tidal action, planetary position and many other factors."
    In other words, astrology.
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  26. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    I just think one has to give farmers almanac some credit, they called it right. They must have real climate scientists working for them, or am I wrong about this?
    I don't think Noclevername is far off, from what I know of Farmers Almanac, it is often less than 50% accurate in it's predictions meaning you could use the blindfold and dart board method of prediction and still get better results.

    Even planetologists are going to have a very difficult time predicting the exact features of changes in such a complex system, we're just starting to get a good idea of what's going on in the oceans which is the main factor in moving heat around the global system...which is what determines weather and climate.
    Last edited by starcanuck64; 2013-Nov-28 at 07:24 PM. Reason: clarification

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    Swifts post about that substance you can stick into a chimney sounds like a winning prospect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Just to clarify, I'm not proposing an immediate jump from fossil to green, that would be massively impractical. I think rather that we should gradually reduce fossil-power output as more green sources come online. I just want more green sources to be built, that's all.

    Also add that I like nuclear. My father is a nuclear engineer (retired). But there are just too many social and political barriers to building a lot more nuclear power plants in the near future.
    The nuclear fear factor is a huge obstacle to overcome, but perhaps with the right incentive, attitudes may change. The CO2 to liquid fuel process that the US Navy has been working on could be scaled up by the use of nuclear power as the energy source to drive the system.

    As a purely speculative exercise, what would it take to draw atmospheric carbon down to 350 ppm with just this technology? If we follow the American Physical Society in their technical assessment of direct air capture and set a target of reducing atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm by capturing 400 Gt over a hundred years, we would need to collect 4 Gt/yr, from the perspective of an already decarbonised society. We would require the power of about 700 AP-1000 nuclear reactors. At the Chinese cost of $1.3b apiece and an 80 year lifetime this would cost a bit over $1 trillion dollars. That sounds like a lot of money. But its only about the cost of Americaís 2003 Iraq War spread over the century, so I guess itís a question of priorities.
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2013/01/1...from-seawater/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solon View Post
    The nuclear fear factor is a huge obstacle to overcome, but perhaps with the right incentive, attitudes may change.
    I hope attitudes change, but if they do it won't be because of statistics or reasoning or alternative uses, but because of long term generational turnover. In my experience most people who are scared of nuclear power have a bone-deep, irrational fear for their lives, in a way that a more emotionally abstract threat like GW can't compete with. Even facts like the greater fatalities from coal-burning plants fail to sway them, so I don't see how yet another incentive will.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solon View Post
    The nuclear fear factor is a huge obstacle to overcome, but perhaps with the right incentive, attitudes may change. The CO2 to liquid fuel process that the US Navy has been working on could be scaled up by the use of nuclear power as the energy source to drive the system.



    http://bravenewclimate.com/2013/01/1...from-seawater/
    If what you say is true, 1 trillion dollars would be cheap. The one world government is proposing spending 600-800 billion dollars to build new power plants every year for those countries that do not have the resources to build them for their people. They stated that they do not do nuclear.

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    Copernicus

    This is not the place for conspiracy theories about one world governments, or any conspiracy theories.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    Copernicus

    This is not the place for conspiracy theories about one world governments, or any conspiracy theories.
    I am sorry, I should have called it the world bank.

    http://www.afr.com/p/world/world_ban...7qdocX2BJqJh9J

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