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Posts Tagged "renewables"

Observations

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

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 [...]

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Observations

“The Quest” for Energy Security: The Search for More Oil and Its Alternatives

Mottanai: it’s a Japanese term that translates as “too precious to waste.” It’s the philosophy that guides the island nation’s approach to natural resources like energy, and it has become particularly important as the meltdowns at Fukushima have resulted in roughly 25 percent of Japanese electricity supply disappearing as other nuclear reactors remain shutdown. It [...]

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Observations

Why Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Cleaner Alternatives Will Require Fossil Fuels

The world is waiting for a clean revolution, a shift away from the greenhouse gas-emitting, mountain-leveling, air-polluting, fossil-fuel burning way of life. The world may have to wait a long time if past energy transitions are anything to go by, according to environmental scientist Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba—especially since fossil fuel energy [...]

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Observations

Hu’s your frenemy: U.S. and China will talk energy and emissions during state visit

obama-jintao-meet-in-south-korea

China and the U.S. combine to spew a whopping 43 percent of global emissions of greenhouse gases, so it’s no surprise that presidents Obama and Hu will spew a bit more CO2 talking about climate change and energy during the state visit this week. It’s the latter that’s responsible for the two countries’ outsized emissions: [...]

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Observations

Jimmy Carter’s solar panel makes it back to Washington, but not back onto the White House

jimmy-carter-solar-panel-at-solar-one

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter had 32 panels installed atop the White House to capture the sun’s heat. Thirty-odd years later, at least one of the panels still works, warming up in the Northeastern sunlight of Boston and sending steam heat out of a spigot on September 8, en route down the east coast from [...]

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Plugged In

Even Counting Votes too Scientific for North Carolina

I don’t have time for this. I am busy. I am on deadline for a project that actually pays the money that puts the macaroni and cheese in my children’s mouths. So as much as I love this blog I don’t have time to update right now. Except here goes. North Carolina? You remember: the [...]

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Plugged In

Guest Post: Burning Buried Sunshine

solarpanels

Oil – The Least Efficient Source of Energy By Scott McNally Solar energy is often criticized for its inefficiency – that only about 10% of the sunlight that hits a common commercial solar panel will be converted into electricity. Similar criticisms are voiced against biofuels, which have a solar energy to biofuel conversion efficiency of [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Vaclav Smil: “The great hope for a quick and sweeping transition to renewable energy is wishful thinking”

Vaclav Smil (Image: Wikipedia Commons)

That’s Vaclav Smil, the prolific University of Manitoba thinker writing in this month’s issue of Scientific American. When Smil says something I usually listen. In the last two decades he has written more than 30 books on almost every imaginable aspect of energy, the environment and the biosphere. The typical Smil approach – and one that [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Renewables: Fewer subsidies and more R&D please

There is still a substantial gap to be filled when it comes to funding renewable energy (Image: IEA)

There’s a good article in Slate which lays out a case for shuttling some of the funds spent on subsidies for renewable energy into R&D instead. The article’s main point is that the use of solar and wind power is crawling up at a snail’s pace while there is little indication that the price of [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Deconstructing John Miller’s arguments against nuclear energy in the New York Times

Nuclear power plants (Image: Fast Company)

John Miller, a social psychologist and journalist who once served as an officer on a nuclear submarine has a piece on Andrew Revkin’s New York Times blog Dot Earth in which he purportedly dismisses several claims about nuclear energy and provides evidence to the contrary; these include general claims as well as those made more [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Nuclear vs renewables: A tale of disparities.

Nuclear power plants (Image: Fast Company)

The Times’s Eduardo Porter has a short piece on nuclear power vs renewables where he makes a plea for supporting the development of new nuclear technologies with improved safety and efficiency. He is also not impressed with the history, cost and future potential of renewables. One of the simple facts that people who support renewables [...]

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