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All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy Trumps Climate Action

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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obama-enters-press-conference-november-14“I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions. And, as a consequence, I think we’ve got an obligation to future generations to do something about it.” So spoke newly re-elected President Barack Obama at a press conference on November 14 when questioned by a reporter.

So what is Obama going to do about it? Probably not much, because it conflicts with other priorities such as jobs and growth—and there’s nothing better for jobs and growth than a good old-fashioned fossil fuel energy boom.

Or is there? Despite the International Energy Agency’s optimistic projections, the U.S. will not produce more oil than Saudi Arabia within a decade—unless Saudi Arabia deliberately decides to hold back oil (as pointed out by the inestimable Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations.) And the U.S. could only become energy self-sufficient if one counter-balances continuing oil imports from places like Canada (hello Keystone!) with increased exports of natural gas, as the IEA assumes.

Either way, that sounds like bad news for combating climate change, and it is. Burning all that fossil fuel leaves the world on a trajectory to “lock-in” temperature increases of more than two degrees Celsius in global average temperatures—and that’s not even the worst case scenario. After all, last year set yet another record for global emissions of CO2.

Part of that is because world leaders, like Obama, are hedging their bets—pushing low carbon technologies such as nuclear or renewables but also clearing the path for expanded production of fossil fuels like coal and gas. In fact, the only thing standing in the way of Obama’s “all of the above” strategy, which would mean burning even more fossil fuels in the future, is one thing—water.

Water is becoming the critical constraint for the development of a lot of these energy products. For example, fracking the Bakken shale in North Dakota for oil becomes impossible if there isn’t enough water around. Already energy—both electricity generation and fossil fuel production—accounts for 15 percent of total world water use, a percentage that may grow without innovation in technology. And although there’s plenty of water around for things like the tar sands in Canada, there isn’t necessarily enough water for new tar sands mines in eastern Utah. After all, that mine, the first in the U.S., received a pollution permit because the powers that be judged that there wasn’t enough groundwater around there to pollute anyway. And water scarcity is a big part of the reason the Obama administration’s Department of Interior has scaled back plans for oil shale on public lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

Regardless, the oil shale will still be there, waiting to be extracted and burned. According to the IEA, it will have to stay in the ground to have any credible chance of restraining global warming to no more than a two-degrees-C rise in average global temperatures. In fact, the world can only burn about a third of the fossil fuels still out there if it is to stay on the right side of the two-degrees threshold.

There is hope. Renewables—wind and hydropower, mostly, but also solar—look set to continue to grow, potentially becoming the second-largest source of electricity in the world as soon as 2015, according to some IEA projections. And the U.S. economy is, in the jargon, de-carbonizing, or reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by our collective economic activity. U.S. oil use peaked in 2006 and has declined ever since. Renewables have doubled thanks to Obama’s stimulus and other policies. Coal plants are shutting down and natural gas plants are firing up. The question is whether Obama’s all-of-the-above strategy turns the natual gas bonanza into a bridge to a zero-carbon future, or a prop for the full-carbon economy.

More hope comes from Obama’s new fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, which are going to further drive down oil imports as the U.S. car fleet gets more and more efficient. That kind of efficiency—if repeated and extended worldwide—could go a long way toward buying time to combat climate change. That time could be extended even further if Obama and other world leaders followed through on promises to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels, which now constitute more than half a trillion dollars per year, according to the IEA. Furthermore, as Obama noted at the press conference on November 14 there are ways to make “short-term progress in reducing carbons [sic]” like eliminating methane leaks from natural gas pipelines and coal mines.

The world is going to need that extra time, especially given the absence of a commitment to CO2 capture and storage technology. Still, there’s no time to dilly-dally: the planetary thermostat for the next millennia is being set in these early decades of the 21st century.

But the President has other items on his agenda first: tax and immigration reform, among others. Obama wouldn’t even have addressed climate change without a direct question on the subject, given his impending visit to storm-tossed New York City, from a reporter. “I think the American people right now have been so focused and will continue to be focused on our economy and jobs and growth, that if the message is somehow we’re going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don’t think anybody is going to go for that,” Obama said. “I won’t go for that,” he added, putting action off for “coming months and years.” The planet does not have the luxury of that kind of time for Obama’s promised “wide-ranging conversation” or “education” of the public.

The President may be aware that “what we do now is going to have an impact and a cost down the road,” he’s just not capable of doing much about it other than the kinds of things he has already done—new fuel efficiency standards for cars and the federal government, and the like.

I told you so.

Image: Obama enters press conference on November 14. Official White House photo by Pete Souza.

David Biello About the Author: David Biello is the associate editor for environment and energy at Scientific American. Follow on Twitter @dbiello.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 1:53 pm 11/16/2012

    The President and the House are currently playing chicken. Let’s hope that the House blinks first.

    Link to this
  2. 2. priddseren 3:29 pm 11/16/2012

    The entire world political class is stealing the wealth of everyone in the form of printing, taxing, spending, borrowing all to fund their socialist utopia and they have zero concern for future generations financially.

    So you are surprised there is no concern for the future concerning the environment?

    The biggest mistake is relying on the political class for anything. Regardless, a group that historically has no concern for the life or liberty of people, will never have any ability to be concerned about the environment.

    All that said, the narrow ridiculous focus on human CO2 as the sole and only cause of global warming is the biggest reason I hope the political class does nothing. CO2 may be a factor but it is not the panacea you warmists think it is. Your models are wrong but the problem is you have programmed those models to always conclude CO2 is the sole and only problem.

    Considering the complexity of the minuscule amount of knowledge we have about the atmosphere, it is likely a combination of many natural and human produced factors contributing to the warming(such as the heat produced by our existence). It is the exclusion of all other likely causes and catalysts to global warming and the focus on the one natural molecule which puts your belief as you call it, in the crackpot idea category. So more power to political gridlock. The world does not need the snake oil called carbon taxing and unfeasible CO2 mitigation solutions you people are pushing.

    Link to this
  3. 3. Dredd 3:34 pm 11/16/2012

    Very well said, even though it, or should I say this terrible reality, is quite unnerving.

    Obama also repeated the incongruous meme.

    http://blogdredd.blogspot.com/2012/11/false-climate-chane-meme-infects.html

    Link to this
  4. 4. Conser Vit 4:06 pm 11/16/2012

    @priddseren
    Not sure what you mean by the “political class” since your comments appear to be extremely political in nature.
    I agree that many don’t care for the ecological security of future generations, operating on the premise that “greed is good”. I also agree with you that the planet is warming.
    We disagree about the cause, however. The science, based on model, theory and observation is solid and convincing. Please provide an alternate theory and observations that explain the observed planetary warming, melting of glaciers and arctic sea ice and change in the growing seasons.

    Link to this
  5. 5. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 4:12 pm 11/16/2012

    @ priddersen the pompous buffoon:
    “”"The entire world political class is stealing the wealth of everyone in the form of printing, taxing, spending, borrowing all to fund their socialist utopia and they have zero concern for future generations financially.”"”

    The Republicans sure care for nobody but their corporate masters, but they sure aren’t socialists.

    “”"So you are surprised there is no concern for the future concerning the environment?”"”

    And here begins the pointless rant…

    “”"The biggest mistake is relying on the political class for anything. Regardless, a group that historically has no concern for the life or liberty of people, will never have any ability to be concerned about the environment.

    All that said, the narrow ridiculous focus on human CO2 as the sole and only cause of global warming is the biggest reason I hope the political class does nothing. CO2 may be a factor but it is not the panacea you warmists think it is. Your models are wrong but the problem is you have programmed those models to always conclude CO2 is the sole and only problem.”"”

    Lie, lie, lie, lie. If the models are wrong, then they have actually underestimated the rate and magnitude of AGW. Also, if you really think that the models aren’t controlled for non-CO2 factors, then you are irrational.

    “”"Considering the complexity of the minuscule amount of knowledge we have about the atmosphere, it is likely a combination of many natural and human produced factors contributing to the warming(such as the heat produced by our existence). It is the exclusion of all other likely causes and catalysts to global warming and the focus on the one natural molecule which puts your belief as you call it, in the crackpot idea category. So more power to political gridlock. The world does not need the snake oil called carbon taxing and unfeasible CO2 mitigation solutions you people are pushing.”"”

    Speaking as someone who thinks that our population should be no higher than ten million worldwide and that not implementing carbon taxes is dangerous for the environment, workers, and the economy, you are off your rocker. That “human body heat” line is your oldest and most pathetic trolling line, and has been debunked more times than I can count.

    In short: please get out of here, you annoying and pompous troll.

    Link to this
  6. 6. Scienceproofreader 4:36 pm 11/16/2012

    The author is rambling and clueless. Big words, no knowledge:

    “And although there’s plenty of water around for things like the tar sands in Canada, there isn’t necessarily enough water for new tar sands mines in eastern Utah”

    Canada has ‘oil sands’…as does Venezuela.

    Link to this
  7. 7. David Biello in reply to David Biello 4:43 pm 11/16/2012

    Hmmm… does bitumen count as “oil” or “tar”? http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bitumen

    Link to this
  8. 8. M Tucker 6:08 pm 11/16/2012

    “new fuel efficiency standards for cars” That is the President’s environmental legacy!

    That’s it. That’s all he has got. With environmental legislation the House has all the cards. They have no incentive to do anything and every incentive to do nothing. The House is not even talking about climate change because the Republicans control the House. A few individual House Democrats are talking about climate change. A few individual Senate Democrats are talking about climate change. But they do not have any influence over a Republican controlled House or the Republican filibuster in the Senate. If the Senate were to somehow eventually pass a climate bill the House will ignore it. No incentive to change this situation currently exists. They are supported by the entire fossil fuel industry and their propaganda organizations.

    So, if you are an educationally challenged troll who wants to continue with business as usual, don’t worry, House Republicans have got your back.

    Link to this
  9. 9. moss boss 6:34 pm 11/16/2012

    Didn’t know the Senate could pass bills that were not first passed by the House. Hmmm.

    Link to this
  10. 10. moss boss 6:37 pm 11/16/2012

    @Scienceproofreader:

    “Oil sands” was a term that was devised by the “oil” companies.

    Link to this
  11. 11. M Tucker 6:39 pm 11/16/2012

    A bill can originate in either house.

    Link to this
  12. 12. marclevesque 6:48 pm 11/16/2012

    Ah… bituminous sands

    Link to this
  13. 13. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 6:54 pm 11/16/2012

    Good old tar sands–the nastiest, dirtiest, most expensive, and most toxic oil source in the world.

    Link to this
  14. 14. M Tucker 7:02 pm 11/16/2012

    Oh, a tax or revenue bill must originate in the House but a can’n trade bill would not necessarily be a revenue bill.

    Link to this
  15. 15. sethdiyal 7:17 pm 11/16/2012

    “…Renewables—wind and hydropower, mostly, but also solar—look set to continue to grow, potentially becoming the second-largest source of electricity in the world as soon as 2015, according to some IEA projections..”

    Biello as usual in his inability to grasp technical matters forgets that the real measured capacity factors of wind/solar are around 20% and hydro only 50%. Name plate capacity doesn’t equate to electricity produced.

    Most wind/solar power costing around 40/70 cents a kwh with gas backup and 5 times sized transmission builds has to be dumped as it is never around when you need it.

    In fact it has been proven in numerous studies that today’s wind and solar backed up by inefficient fossil fuels run inefficiently produce more GHG’s and burn more fossil fuel than if you just skipped the wind/solar and used efficient fossil fuel or nuclear instead.

    In fact if all the money spent on renewables (mostly wind and solar) worldwide in the last decade had been spent on nukes the world would now be coal free, and the global warming crisis would be moved many decades into the future.

    Link to this
  16. 16. Charles Hollahan 8:12 pm 11/16/2012

    I lived for years on a site with wind power as the primary source and natural gas as a secondary source which was also used to power the refrigerator. Batteries provided the lights, small motors like vacuum cleaners and other similar appliances that ran on 110 dc and an inverter for more sensitive items like a TV and radio.

    The wind blew nightly all year round with the exception of roughly two days per year and the batteries held us over during that time. It worked flawlessly for two decades so the statement that it’s not there when needed is wrong. If it had been augmented with solar panels it would have been even better but the wind generator made more power than we could use and so we could have sold power if there had been lines within a few miles.

    Wind and solar will meet most of our needs once we build the systems. Twenty years of carbon free energy before maintenance is needed.

    Link to this
  17. 17. hanmeng 8:33 pm 11/16/2012

    Don’t pin too many hopes on increased efficiency. Increased efficiency can lead to increased consumption. (If you make an item cheaper, people will buy more of it.)

    Link to this
  18. 18. Mudlogger 2:12 am 11/17/2012

    Wind and solar work on a small scale- intermittent power with no way to store it on a large scale will not work for “peak” consumption- ie when people come home from work. It is a nice addition but for really clean power advancements should be made in nuclear power. Thanks to all the drilling in the usa the supply of cheap natural gas has prompted many power plants to use it as a fuel for electricity which has reduced CO2 emissions in the usa by around 20%. Thank you and have a nice day :)

    Link to this
  19. 19. Scienceproofreader 11:37 am 11/17/2012

    hanmenh : “Don’t pin too many hopes on increased efficiency. Increased efficiency can lead to increased consumption. (If you make an item cheaper, people will buy more of it.)”

    Great point. Technology rarely just ‘replaces’ older technology. The airplane didn’t replace the ocean liner to cross the Atlantic…there are something like 900 times more passengers. The car didn’t just replace the horse for getting around…it expanded exponentially mobility.

    Link to this
  20. 20. newpapyrus 12:03 pm 11/17/2012

    The world is never going to go completely carbon neutral until governments legally mandate that they do! Carbon taxes should be utilized by governments as penalties for those utilities that fail to meet future government carbon neutral standards.

    For instance, it should be mandated that all utilities in the US produce at least 50% of their electricity through carbon neutral technologies (wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, etc.) by the year 2020. Some utilities in the US already meet and even exceed these standards. Utilities that fail to meet this criteria by 2020 will be slapped with a 15% sin tax– on all– of the electricity they produce. And this sin tax will double to 30% if a utility has still not reached the 50% criteria by 2025. And by 2030, the Federal standard for the carbon neutral production of electricity will be increased to 90%.

    Such a law would allow utilities time to invest in the construction of future carbon neutral energy facilities without hurting them economically now.

    Marcel F. Williams

    Link to this
  21. 21. G. Karst 12:04 pm 11/17/2012

    Obama says:“I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions.”

    Unfortunately, “belief” is for religion not science. Actions with global repercussions should never be based on “belief”, nor faith in failing “models”, which is just another word for hypothesis.

    Since there has been no significant warming for the last half of our present climatic period (30yrs), even though CO2 levels have increased significantly… one must wonder what such unshakable faith could be based on? The small CO2 GHE just does not seem to come up to David Biello’s expectations, so he relies on the president’s belief.

    Then there is the Bird’s autistic hooting, which “believes” calling someone names is progress and stating given facts as lies… constitutes a rebuttal. He has not yet graduated from the schoolyard “liar… liar… pants on fire” mentality.

    If it wasn’t for the occasional skeptic there would be no science here at all. GK

    Link to this
  22. 22. LarryW 5:16 pm 11/17/2012

    There are 7 billion people on Earth. The US population is 300 million. The US uses 25% of the world’s yearly production of resources. Multiple by 4 to calculate the number of people the Earth can sustain using the same amount of resources the US uses. The result is 1.2 billion.

    Now, what problems do you see coming down the pike in addition to climate change? Anyone?

    Link to this
  23. 23. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 5:44 pm 11/17/2012

    “”"Unfortunately, “belief” is for religion not science.”"”

    So why do you continue to blindly believe Inhofe’s idiotic lies?

    “”"Actions with global repercussions should never be based on “belief”, nor faith in failing “models”, which is just another word for hypothesis.”"”

    The models are actually biased towards the denialists. Global warming is proceeding faster than anticipated.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=climate-change-faster-than-predicted

    “”"Since there has been no significant warming for the last half of our present climatic period (30yrs), “”"

    LIE!!!!!!! That one’s been disproved over ten million times.

    “”"even though CO2 levels have increased significantly… one must wonder what such unshakable faith could be based on? “”"

    Evidence, denialist. What are your ludicrous fringe views based on, denialist? Inhofe’s idiotic lies?

    “”"The small CO2 GHE just does not seem to come up to David Biello’s expectations, so he relies on the president’s belief.”"”

    LIE!!!!!

    “”"Then there is the Bird’s autistic hooting, “”"

    I’m not autistic (even though you probably are), denialist. And your hooting comments are really getting old.

    “”"which “believes” calling someone names is progress and stating given facts as lies… “”"

    Except that almost everything that you say is an outright lie.

    “”"constitutes a rebuttal. He has not yet graduated from the schoolyard “liar… liar… pants on fire” mentality.”"”

    You clearly have been stuck in the willfully-ignorant-retarded-school-bully mode for many, many years now.

    “”"If it wasn’t for the occasional skeptic there would be no science here at all. GK”"”

    OK. I’m skeptical of your capacity for independent thought. All you’ve done so far is rant, insult me, and parrot old, tired lies.

    Finally, please get your worthless buttocks off of this thread, you incompetent and willfully ignorant denialist troll.

    Link to this
  24. 24. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 5:46 pm 11/17/2012

    Correction:
    I said to G. Karst:
    “”"You clearly have been stuck in the willfully-ignorant-retarded-school-bully mode for many, many years now.”"”

    This should have read:
    “”"You clearly have been stuck in the willfully-ignorant-school-bully mode for many, many years now.”"”

    Link to this
  25. 25. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 5:49 pm 11/17/2012

    “”"There are 7 billion people on Earth. The US population is 300 million. The US uses 25% of the world’s yearly production of resources. Multiple by 4 to calculate the number of people the Earth can sustain using the same amount of resources the US uses. The result is 1.2 billion.

    Now, what problems do you see coming down the pike in addition to climate change? Anyone?”"”

    Actually, the overpopulation crisis is already here, in that this is our last chance to stem the tide of people before we all die of starvation. China’s got a good (if heavy-handed) idea in that one-child policy.

    Link to this
  26. 26. dwbd 9:27 pm 11/17/2012

    “…calculate the number of people the Earth can sustain using the same amount of resources the US uses. The result is 1.2 billion…”

    Your logic is erroneous. There should be no difficulty raising the standard of living of the entire Earth’s population to that of the USA. However, you WILL NOT be able to achieve that without Nuclear Energy.

    Link to this
  27. 27. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 7:27 am 11/18/2012

    “”"Your logic is erroneous. There should be no difficulty raising the standard of living of the entire Earth’s population to that of the USA. “”"

    Please provide a reliable citation to back up that illogical point.

    Our species is dangerously over our population capacity as it is. We need to have fewer kids, or the whole species–heck, the whole planet’s going to pay.

    Link to this
  28. 28. dwbd 2:08 pm 11/18/2012

    “..Please provide a reliable citation to back up that illogical point..”

    Nope, totally logical. If USA is using 25% of current world resource consumption (dubious – give a citation on that), it DOESN’T MEAN that max world population is 4X USA population. It just means world resource production will have to increase as it has been for the past thousand years and longer.

    “..Our species is dangerously over our population capacity as it is..”

    Give a citation on your illogical premise. What shortages are going to limit population? I don’t see any problem at present. But we still need to limit and eventually stop population growth. The UN projection for a peak of 15B around 2050 is viable, but going beyond that would be questionable while maintaining a decent standard of living. Of course it is mathematically impossible to sustain exponential population growth, so sooner or later we must achieve Zero Population Growth, that is a given. The sooner the better.

    Link to this
  29. 29. eco-steve 5:33 pm 11/18/2012

    The greatest limitation on wind and solar power is intermittency. Pyrolysis can convert biomass into hydrogen and charcoal. The charcoal can be pulverised and buried in topsoil as an amendment, thereby sequestering carbon captured by plants from the air.
    The hydrogen can be stored in gasometers and used to generate electricity when wind or solar cannot generate.
    Big oil companies are investing large sums of money in biomass pyrolysis as it is financially viable.
    See http://www.eprida.com

    Link to this
  30. 30. dwbd 9:06 pm 11/18/2012

    One of many limitations on wind and solar power is intermittency.

    Another is they are seasonal, mostly power when you don’t need it where you don’t need it. Both max in spring when energy demand is minimum. In the North energy demand is max in Winter when Solar is nil & wind is low.

    Another is they are only good in certain areas. Solar is good in the Southern USA, Australia, North Africa etc but pathetic in NW USA, most of Canada, Russia, Northern Europe etc. And the hype about power transmission ignores the incredible cost of transmission of intermittent power sources. Just the Power Transmission trunk lines to supply Australia with Wind & Solar power has been calculated to be $180B, to supply all of Australia with Nuclear would cost $120B.

    And then there is the vast land areas decimated by Wind & Solar power due to their terrible low energy density. There isn’t so much wilderness left that we can destroy it with giant industrial wind farms and industrial solar plants.

    And Big Oil companies are investing in biomass pyrolysis because it is just another bait-and-switch scam that misdirects effort & capital from effective alternatives to their nasty product.

    Link to this
  31. 31. tucanofulano 4:38 pm 11/19/2012

    Wouldn’t it be nice should all the pseudo-scientists and other whackos cut the Co2 emissions by simply ceasing to exhale?

    Link to this
  32. 32. minethemoon 9:33 pm 11/19/2012

    Helium 3 on the moon could power the entire planet of exploding populations for 5000 years. It does NOT pollute in any way at all, and there’s hundreds of times more energy there than all of the remaining hydrocarbons on earth. It makes no sense to NOT mine the moon for helium 3. The technology to take us there has been used and then thrown aside for almost 5 decades. Anyone who says mining the moon is impossible is an fool. Will it be expensive? ABSOLUTELY! But what will the cost be if we do not change our hydrocarbon dependency before we run out of this vital energy source? If we don’t use the remaining resources that our planet has left in an intelligent way, we’re all fucked, our kids are fucked, and so are theirs. If we use the remaining energy sources on earth to begin mining and transporting helium 3 back to earth, then potentially we will never have another energy crisis again. Eventually we WILL consume all hydrocarbons on earth. The only question is what goal should we achieve while consuming them? The total and permanent extinction of the human species in a few centuries, or milennia of clean energy and 0 pollution to effect the hundreds of generations that will follow us?

    Link to this
  33. 33. jerryd 10:49 pm 11/19/2012

    First the IEA and EIA have never been right on their predictions, not even close if you look ast their record.

    Saudi’s can’t pump oil faster as they are running out. If they try to pump faster they will get even less oil. They like most of OPEC have lied about their reserves big time. And they are almost out of sweet crude and mostly nasty sour crude left as in most of the world except Iraq, Russia.

    Next Obama has done great reducing CO2 and other pollution as the article said. Even if he doesn’t do more the path he has put us on will keep dropping CO2 emissions.

    On NG methane emissions will stop soon almost completely or by law the EPA has to stop them just like it’s doing with coal. Likely congress will too.

    Next energy prices are going up which alone will cut CO2 and bring RE tech to much greater use again cutting CO2.

    Oil rising price will price it out of the burning market. EV’s are 3-7x’s as eff as a gas car and their power can and will come from RE or nuke.

    The prediction solar will become the secomd largest source by 2016 is not even close. While it’ll be far more it has a very long way to go to even be 5th by then. I’ll and smart people will be using it.

    My bet by 2020 the US will drop it’s CO2 output by 50% because mostly of Obama’s policies of eff, not stopping the EPA mandates by law and price.

    I’d bet we will be energy independent by then too mostly because we use less, not we find more as we’ll have a hard time finding enough oil to keep up with failing old fields. Remember these new tight finds will quickly die too as the old one are exhausted.

    But just 1kw of PV can charge an EV for 20-25 yrs and only costs $1k now. A new breed of composite lightweight EV’s and ICE’s that are far more eff will be around because oil will be $10/gal in 5 yrs.

    EV’s I’m using get 20-30 miles/kwhr or around 400-1000mpg equivalent depending on how one counts it and source of electric. And they are cheaper to build than ICE’s are if done right. Luckily small factories locally will be able to build these as big autom won’t as they’ll steal big car sales.

    Now add wind, solar, solar CSP, CHP,biomass electricity, gasoline/diesel from plastic are more simple machines than a moped or central A/C unit in home sizes are under $2k/kw. That is less than utility power now once in mass production.

    I can go on but all I said is present and some rather old tech that can easily be put into production so anyone can make their own power which in 10-15 yrs will kill fossil fuels by economics.

    Sadly it’ll take the world another 10 yrs after this to catch up leading to more GW, pollution plus what we already have done will make the Russian, Canadian tundra melt and release more methane and CO2 than we have so likely too late already. But we’ll have low cost RE.

    Link to this
  34. 34. Bird/tree/dinosaur/etc. geek 4:22 pm 11/22/2012

    @ tucanwhatsit: Maybe if you stopped wasting oxygen with your idiocy, you might feel less trollish.

    @ dwbd: “”"The UN projection for a peak of 15B around 2050 is viable, but going beyond that would be questionable while maintaining a decent standard of living. Of course it is mathematically impossible to sustain exponential population growth, so sooner or later we must achieve Zero Population Growth, that is a given. The sooner the better.”"”

    I fully agree. As to your request for a citation, find any species of a similar individual biomass as humans with the same total biomass. Please, try.

    About your views on alternative energies, I disagree, but I do agree that letting big corporations handle ANYTHING is a recipe for disaster.

    Link to this
  35. 35. jcvillar 3:11 pm 11/23/2012

    Yeah, that’s pretty much it. These is no political solution to the carbon emission problem. Either someone comes up with a technology to strip the carbon out or we just have to deal with a hotter world. Ultimately, though, this all comes down to overpopulation, an issue you don’t hear much about in the US media. We are producing too mant consumers of carbon producing stuff. Indeed, every additional person on this planet is a living, breathing carbon emitter. Yet, the only “final solution” to the problem is horrifying. Yep, put on your seatbelts, the heat is coming.

    Link to this
  36. 36. GreenMind 4:35 pm 11/23/2012

    G. Karst says: “Unfortunately, “belief” is for religion not science. Actions with global repercussions should never be based on “belief”, nor faith in failing “models”, which is just another word for hypothesis.”

    We all act on our beliefs. You act (or at least talk) on the belief that all the data are wrong, all the climate scientists (or at least 98% of them) are wrong, that all the heat waves, melting arctic ice, disappearing glaciers, droughts, fires, and multiple 100-year-storms, all mean nothing. Nobody ever acts on “proof,” because usually there is no proof to be had. But at some point the people who actually survive anything act on their beliefs.

    If there is a pilot in a jet plane, and he “believes” that the blinking lights, the spinning of his plane, the fire in the cockpit, the wings falling off, the alarms in his headphones, and seeing the ground approaching, all mean that the plane will be crashing, he is likely to pull the eject handle before he actually has “proof.” I doubt he will stay inside just because his plane has never crashed before.

    The Fertile Crescent was destroyed by human agriculture thousands of years ago. The city of Babylon only had maybe 200,000 people in it, and perhaps a few million in the whole area. And yet they destroyed the environment and turned the entire region into desert, just because of their practice of using river water for irrigation. Would they have believed that the salt in the land was actually increasing and slowly making it sterile over the centuries? The Gobi Desert in China was likewise turned to desert by agriculture. Is it that hard to think that our population of over 7 billion could be doing something that will change the entire planet’s climate?

    Link to this
  37. 37. GreenMind 4:49 pm 11/23/2012

    jcvillar, you say: “These is no political solution to the carbon emission problem. Either someone comes up with a technology to strip the carbon out or we just have to deal with a hotter world.”

    That depends on what you call a political solution. Suppose “Occupy Global Warming” gets going and starts getting enormous demonstrations to stand in front of coal trains trying to enter dirty power stations, or occupying every Exxon-Mobil station in the country, or blocking gasoline and oil distribution centers. If the Occupy movement gave every city 5 years of notice to everyone to switch to renewable energy, insulate their buildings, develop efficient transportation, then maybe some progress will be made immediately. Of course, some people will still kick and scream.

    Funny thing, though, people will SAVE MONEY by doing that switch, even though the savings will accrue over years. The most ironic thing about switching to solar power is that it is the wealthy who don’t much believe in AGW who have the highest rates of conversion to solar. They do it to save money, and because they have the money to put up front.

    Link to this

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