It's too late to stop climate change -- we're already past the point of no return.

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Post by recovering conservative »

In the last couple of years, a consensus among climate scientists around the world is growing that we will have the opportunity to test the theory of the deniers -- that man-made greenhouse gases will have no impact on the environment, and the early results are showing that we are already past the point of no return, and heading into a cycle where natural positive feedbacks will accelerate warming, sea level rise, and CO2 levels.

November 20, 2010 |

It's too late. The world has missed the opportunity to avoid serious, damaging human-induced climate change. For a variety of reasons ranging from ignorance to political ideology to commercial self-interest to inertia to intentional misrepresentations and misdirections on the part of a small number of committed climate deniers, the United States and the rest of the world have waited too long to act to cut the emissions of damaging greenhouse gas pollutants. We are now committed to irreversible long-term and inevitably damaging consequences ranging from rapidly rising sea levels, far greater heat stress and damages, disappearing glaciers and snowpack, more flooding and droughts, and far, far more.

The long range goal now will be to prevent global average temperatures from reaching the 6 degree increase expected at the end of this century -- a level that would produce catastrophic earth changes too dire to contemplate:

6C rise: The consequences



If two degrees is generally accepted as the threshold of dangerous climate change, it is clear that a rise of six degrees in global average temperatures must be very dangerous indeed, writes Michael McCarthy.

His verdict was that a rise in temperatures of this magnitude "would catapult the planet into an extreme greenhouse state not seen for nearly 100 million years, when dinosaurs grazed on polar rainforests and deserts reached into the heart of Europe".

He said: "It would cause a mass extinction of almost all life and probably reduce humanity to a few struggling groups of embattled survivors clinging to life near the poles."

Very few species could adapt in time to the abruptness of the transition, he suggested. "With the tropics too hot to grow crops, and the sub-tropics too dry, billions of people would find themselves in areas of the planet which are essentially uninhabitable. This would probably even include southern Europe, as the Sahara desert crosses the Mediterranean.

"As the ice-caps melt, hundreds of millions will also be forced to move inland due to rapidly-rising seas. As world food supplies crash, the higher mid-latitude and sub-polar regions would become fiercely-contested refuges.



Up till now, over half of the extra carbon dioxide emissions that we contribute each year, have been absorbed by carbon sinks -- such as the oceans. But new evidence is indicating that these natural carbon sinks are beginning to fail, and are not absorbing as much CO2:

Meanwhile, the scientists have for the first time detected a failure of the Earth's natural ability to absorb man-made carbon dioxide released into the air.

They found significant evidence that more man-made CO2 is staying in the atmosphere to exacerbate the greenhouse effect because the natural "carbon sinks" that have absorbed it over previous decades on land and sea are beginning to fail, possibly as a result of rising global temperatures.

The amount of CO2 that has remained in the atmosphere as a result has increased from about 40 per cent in 1990 to 45 per cent in 2008. This suggests that the sinks are beginning to fail, they said.



Oceans' Uptake of Human-Made Carbon May Be Slowing



ScienceDaily (Nov. 19, 2009) — The oceans play a key role in regulating climate, absorbing more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans put into the air. Now, the first year-by-year accounting of this mechanism during the industrial era suggests the oceans are struggling to keep up with rising emissions -- a finding with potentially wide implications for future climate. The study appears in the November 19 issue of the journal Nature.

So, now the climate change issue is turning from one of preventing disaster, to dealing with the disaster and hoping the human race doesn't join the extinction list in a couple of generations!

I can't help think of that old analogy of the frog -- he'll jump out of a pot of boiling water, but will slowly cook to death in water that increases temperature gradually. The changes to climate have been slow enough for most not to take notice; although some may have noticed the increase in severe weather-related storm damage in the last 20 years! And short-term greed -- a refusal to even accept modest curbs on our oil-based economic system -- such as carbon tax and cap and trade schemes, is presenting a bleak future for our grandchildren and future generations.....if they survive! Hate to be morbid, but there's just too many idiots in the world, like that Republican congressman, who believe that God will save us from climate catastrophe.
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Post by spot »

It really does sound like a new religion, doesn't it.

None of that shrill extremism is necessary. Risk assessment is a pretty well understood business these days. For as long as reaching a tipping point into a positive feedback loop remains a possibility, given that it would be a planet-wide disaster of extreme proportions, it should be avoided at practically all costs. If those costs are lowered by starting now then we ought to start now. The possibility needn't be a certainty, it could equally well be a remote possibility and still warrant avoidance if the consequence of it happening is too great to be borne.

I'd put the destruction of massive genetic diversity on the planet just as high in terms of potential disasters. Losing all the free ice has trivial consequences by comparison. The solutions to both issues have a lot in common though, which is good news. Even if one common component is reducing the human population permanently by a factor of a hundred it's well worth aiming for.
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spot;1344676 wrote: It really does sound like a new religion, doesn't it.

None of that shrill extremism is necessary. Risk assessment is a pretty well understood business these days.
I really have to question how well risk-assessment is understood when I look at the latest numbers on climate research, and how governments are moving in the exact opposite direction -- focusing on short term economic needs, instead of informing their people that a looming disaster is on the horizon in the coming decades.

For as long as reaching a tipping point into a positive feedback loop remains a possibility, given that it would be a planet-wide disaster of extreme proportions, it should be avoided at practically all costs. If those costs are lowered by starting now then we ought to start now. The possibility needn't be a certainty, it could equally well be a remote possibility and still warrant avoidance if the consequence of it happening is too great to be borne.
Those numbers on the decline of carbon absorption in the oceans, along with an increase in CO2 levels during a period of worldwide economic decline, are pointing towards tipping points already being reached.

I'd put the destruction of massive genetic diversity on the planet just as high in terms of potential disasters. Losing all the free ice has trivial consequences by comparison. The solutions to both issues have a lot in common though, which is good news. Even if one common component is reducing the human population permanently by a factor of a hundred it's well worth aiming for.


There has been a wide range of research indicating that we are already in the grips of an extinction cycle, and the actual rates of extinction may be higher than most of the estimates so far:

Flawed Methods Seriously Underestimate Projected Extinction Rates... A Hundred-Fold : TreeHugger

As for the polar ice caps; I came across an article awhile back that present atmospheric CO2 levels (near 400 ppm.) are already too high to maintain the ice caps. Even at 400, they will continue to shrink, and rebuilding the ice caps would take a reduction of CO2 levels to 250 ppm. -- the levels we were at back at the start of the Industrial Revolution.
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Post by spot »

What I particularly dislike is politicians putting across the notion that reducing the rate of increase is a reduction. They do it for debt too.
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spot;1344713 wrote: What I particularly dislike is politicians putting across the notion that reducing the rate of increase is a reduction. They do it for debt too.


Yes, it's the same thing as calling a decrease in the rate of increase of deficits - deficit reduction. I know there is a lot of inertia in the world of politics, and politicians are going to prefer cosmetic changes to anything that's difficult and might lose votes; but I've been baffled by the degree of denial on this issue from Western leaders. They are either living in denial, or have more sinister plans that we aren't aware of. A couple of years ago, stories started appearing in the news about how the CIA is factoring in climate-change related disasters into their future projections for security concerns around the world. They are likely aware of the growing likelihood that we are trending towards the worst case scenario of a 6 degree increase, which Michael McCarthy explained: "would catapult the planet into an extreme greenhouse state not seen for nearly 100 million years, when dinosaurs grazed on polar rainforests and deserts reached into the heart of Europe"

So, if world political and corporate leaders are hearing about these future scenarios, are they (a.) listening to the deniers instead (b.) waiting for Jesus to come back and fix the mess (like U.S. Congressmen have stated; or (c.) have the powerful elites already written off most of the planet, and are making plans to consolidate northern real estate, and fight off the millions of refugees fleeing southern regions closer to the equator?
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Post by flopstock »

Doesn't stuff like this force you to have hope?

Macedonia plants seven million trees to revive its forests
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Post by spot »

It's the scale of the thing, flopster. Your good news item's the equivalent of taking one extra sticking plaster to the Battle of Gettysburg, the overall effect is negligible. You could re-forest the entire planet back to a pristine pre-human grandeur and you'd still not counterbalance man-made atmospheric pollution by greenhouse gases. One of the things schools seem incapable of teaching is the art of order-of-magnitude back-of-an-envelope estimation skills.
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spot;1344911 wrote: It's the scale of the thing, flopster. Your good news item's the equivalent of taking one extra sticking plaster to the Battle of Gettysburg, the overall effect is negligible. You could re-forest the entire planet back to a pristine pre-human grandeur and you'd still not counterbalance man-made atmospheric pollution by greenhouse gases. One of the things schools seem incapable of teaching is the art of order-of-magnitude back-of-an-envelope estimation skills.


Ah.... so do nothing.
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Post by Ahso! »

flopstock;1344926 wrote: Ah.... so do nothing.I think his point is that unless polluting is reduced by a certain percentage (he'll have to tell us what percent that is if less than 100) any reforesting is a waste of time for this purpose. The key is in the use of the word "counterbalance".
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Post by recovering conservative »

flopstock;1344863 wrote: Doesn't stuff like this force you to have hope?

Macedonia plants seven million trees to revive its forests


That's a good idea for a number of reasons, but the plan for carbon offsets that was heavily promoted by people like Al Gore (planting trees to neutralize carbon footprint) is not going to work as originally expected, since it has been recently discovered that trees are not as effective as carbon sinks as originally believed. Years ago there was actually a contested debate over whether the Amazon or ocean plankton absorbed the most atmospheric CO2. That debate has been decisively settled in favour of ocean plant life.

More bad news for carbon offset strategies comes from a series of studies such as this one, which disconfirm some initial optimistic forecasts that trees would absorb more CO2 in a higher CO2 atmosphere:

It had been widely thought that increasing CO2 concentrations would stimulate plant growth, which in turn would absorb enough carbon from the atmosphere to slow the rate of CO2 increase.

That belief appeared to be confirmed by the first six years of the experiment, during which the net productivity of the forest was significantly increased. But the new report has revealed that in the subsequent five years the net productivity of the forest has declined, a fall attributed by the researchers to the limited availability of nitrogen in the soil.

The researchers say the experiment provides strong rationale and process understanding for incorporating nitrogen limitation and nitrogen feedback effects in ecosystem and global models used in climate change assessments. In short, the study suggests that terrestrial vegetation will not be as large a carbon sink as previously thought.

"We're going to have to learn not to trust in trees to remove as much carbon from theatmosphere as we had hoped," says Professor McMurtrie.



This seems to lead to a conclusion that there will be no easy answers for solving the climate problem. Real solutions will require bringing the human race and human activity back into harmony with the planet's ecological cycles, instead of exploiting them for all their worth!

That may exacerbate the trend towards just denying or ignoring the problem, when we consider that Al Gore's whole environmental strategy has been about solving these problems with easy, quick fix solutions. If you recall a few years ago when Gore was confronted about the $900.00 a month electricity bills at his estate in Tennessee, he replied that he had "purchased carbon offsets" -- now even wealthy liberals who recognize the problem no longer have a moral argument that they can continue exploiting at will without causing any harm to the environment!
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Post by recovering conservative »

As long as I'm in a foul mood I may as well add this to the pile --: the latest report from the World Meteorological Organization seems to be confirming that the much feared positive feedback of warming permafrost freed up by retreating glaciers, is causing a marked increase in atmospheric methane levels as well as carbon dioxide:

Measurements from the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) network show increased global CH4 from 2007 to 2009 after nearly a decade of no growth. The GAW stations in the Arctic region that perform methane measurements and submit their data to the GAW World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases are shown as dots on the map above. Data from two stations are shown in the graphs. Each reflects regional and larger-scale influences of emissions. The sharp increase in 2007 on the left is linked to the site's proximity to large wetlands and local meteorological effects, while the increase shown on the right is more gradual. Nations contributing to the GAW Programme are expanding CH4 measurements globally to help scientists understand the processes governing CH4 emissions.

The latest analysis of observations from the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Programme shows that the globally averaged mixing ratios of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) reached new highs in 2009, with CO2 at 386.8 ppm, CH4 at 1803 ppb and N2O at 322.5 ppb. These values are greater than those in pre-industrial times (before 1750) by 38%, 158% and 19%, respectively. Atmospheric growth rates of CO2 and N2O in 2009 are consistent with recent years, but are lower than in 2008. After nearly a decade of no growth, atmospheric CH4 has increased during the past three years. The reasons for renewed growth of atmospheric methane are not fully understood, but emissions from natural sources (from northern latitudes and the tropics) are considered potential causes. The NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index shows that from 1990 to 2009, radiative forcing by all longlived greenhouse gases increased by 27.5%, with CO2 accounting for nearly 80% of this increase. The combined radiative forcing by halocarbons is nearly double that of N2O.

http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/arep/gaw/ ... ll_6en.pdf

I don't know what other conclusions there are to draw from this besides a positive feedback loop being established, since methane increase is galloping along at a time when worldwide recession caused an easing of CO2 increase.
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Post by spot »

flopstock;1344926 wrote: Ah.... so do nothing.


Not at all. I have some reasonable suggestions which would reduce the harm we're about to inflict on life globally. What's dangerous about your seven million trees is people complaisantly thinking they're in any way a step toward a solution - they're not, they're as irrelevant as a fly swatter in a locust plague. They're a distraction from any viable survival strategy.

Firstly I've no problem at all with the amount of energy being generated. For all I care we can consume a hundred times as much as we do now. It can't come from sources which generate greenhouse gases, that's all. Stop burning fossil fuels. Practically none was burned before 1700, we need to return to that level of use while urgently finding a way to extract the excess greenhouse gas that's already in circulation. If it becomes a balance between averagely cooler or warmer environments, it's cheap to stay warm in the cold but it's impossibly expensive to stay cool in a runaway heatwave.

I've no problem with people using animal products but domesticated animals simply can't keep farting methane the way they do. Either they're prevented or they're exterminated, either answer is fine by me.

I want an absolute limit placing on the proportion of the planet directly used by people, and I'd set it at 10% of the land and 10% of the sea, evenly balanced between fruitful and arid regions and with a total prohibition on exploiting the other 90%. Wildlife needs space if genetic diversity is to be nurtured and maintained.

That, I think, should fix matters long-term. Any other tinkering relates to surviving long enough to implement the long-term strategy. The sooner my scheme's enforced, the better.
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Post by spot »

spot;1344713 wrote: What I particularly dislike is politicians putting across the notion that reducing the rate of increase is a reduction. They do it for debt too.
And I've just seen it again, in a New Scientist of all places. A reference to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions rather than a reduction in carbon dioxide concentration. It completely skates over the fact that carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced while still adding to carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. It's weasely language.
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Post by Saint_ »

Hmmmm...with any luck, I'll be dead by the time it gets really bad. Say, 40 years or so. Well, there's a bright side to everything! That means that I got to enjoy my lifespan in the Last Great Era of Mankind! Go me! :)
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Post by recovering conservative »

Saint_;1345438 wrote: Hmmmm...with any luck, I'll be dead by the time it gets really bad. Say, 40 years or so. Well, there's a bright side to everything! That means that I got to enjoy my lifespan in the Last Great Era of Mankind! Go me! :)


Do you have children?
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recovering conservative;1345477 wrote: Do you have children?


I think he thought he was being amusing.
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spot;1345430 wrote: And I've just seen it again, in a New Scientist of all places. A reference to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions rather than a reduction in carbon dioxide concentration. It completely skates over the fact that carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced while still adding to carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. It's weasely language.


Worse then that, some recent paleoclimate studies indicate that we are likely fast approaching a tipping point, and increasing atmospheric CO2 to 400 -- 420 ppm CO2 could start an abrupt and rapid climate change. Reducing the rate of CO2 increase is worthless at a time when we are closing in on the 400 ppm level.

Significantly warmer Arctic surface temperatures during the Pliocene indicated by multiple independent proxies ? Geology

This study indicates that a temperature spike is very possible based on data from 4 million years ago when CO2 was at today's level 387.18ppm and the Arctic was 19c warmer.

The Arctic is clearly a bellwether for modern climate change. Arctic temperatures have increased more rapidly in response to anthropogenic greenhouse forcing than global temperatures (ACIA, 2004). Our independent proxy estimates indicate that Arctic temperatures during the Pliocene were considerably warmer than previous estimates derived from empirical proxies (Ballantyne et al., 2006; Elias and Matthews, 2002) and climate model simulations (Haywood et al., 2009), despite estimates of Pliocene atmospheric CO2 levels that are comparable to today (Pagani et al., 2010). This indicates that climate models do not incorporate the full array of atmospheric, biospheric, and cryospheric feedback mechanisms necessary to simulate Arctic climate. Regardless of the feedback mechanism responsible for amplified Arctic temperatures, our results indicate that a significant increase in Arctic temperatures may be imminent in response to current atmospheric CO2 levels.

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List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

QUOTE: recovering conservative

"In the last couple of years, a consensus among climate scientists around the world is growing that we will have the opportunity to test the theory of the deniers --....etc...."

Oh really now...........Are you sure about that?
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spot;1344911 wrote: It's the scale of the thing, flopster. Your good news item's the equivalent of taking one extra sticking plaster to the Battle of Gettysburg, the overall effect is negligible. You could re-forest the entire planet back to a pristine pre-human grandeur and you'd still not counterbalance man-made atmospheric pollution by greenhouse gases. One of the things schools seem incapable of teaching is the art of order-of-magnitude back-of-an-envelope estimation skills.


cool spot......with your attitude why do anything............small or large
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BTS;1345538 wrote: List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

QUOTE: recovering conservative

"In the last couple of years, a consensus among climate scientists around the world is growing that we will have the opportunity to test the theory of the deniers --....etc...."

Oh really now...........Are you sure about that?


Perfectly sure.

Given the number of "climate scientists" worldwide using the classification accepted by that site, the number of entries the site has managed to gather gives proof positive to the assertion that there is a concensus among climate scientists around the world is growing that we will have the opportunity to test the theory of the deniers.
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Ahso!;1344928 wrote: I think his point is that unless polluting is reduced by a certain percentage (he'll have to tell us what percent that is if less than 100) any reforesting is a waste of time for this purpose. The key is in the use of the word "counterbalance".


Kinda like Ol Al Gore counterbalances his 15 homes or so, jets etc.....by....um...by ....um...Useing them whenever he chooses...EH?

Yippers that is counterbalance that we can use and a prophet like Al Gore is one we need to follow to combat this messed up no good world we live in....

Can I get three hail marry's for our prophet Al?????
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flopstock;1344863 wrote: Doesn't stuff like this force you to have hope?

Macedonia plants seven million trees to revive its forests


Some more good news....................flop...................I know they don't want to hear good news but I'm gonna give em some.....

Did you know that there are MORE trees in America than when that dirty ol Columbus arrived here........Yippers there are!!!
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Post by recovering conservative »

BTS;1345538 wrote: List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


QUOTE: recovering conservative

"In the last couple of years, a consensus among climate scientists around the world is growing that we will have the opportunity to test the theory of the deniers --....etc...."

Oh really now...........Are you sure about that?


Yes, especially since I've used that same wikipedia page to demonstrate what a lousy case so called climate change skeptics have regarding "expert" opinion.

It's an enlightening article, you ought to read it, instead of just doing a term search for scientists rejecting the consensus of 97% of climate scientists: http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

What that wiki articles shows us is that the so called skeptics don't have a coherent viewpoint to present as their own. Just as anti-evolution creationists, they come in a mix of different theories and nuanced variations that have to be unraveled before their objections become clear. For example, from your wiki link, take a look at the five distinct positions that the skeptics assume:

# 1 Position: Global warming is not occurring

# 2 Position: Accuracy of IPCC climate projections is questionable

# 3 Position: Global warming is primarily caused by natural processes

# 4 Position: Cause of global warming is unknown

# 5 Position: Global warming will have few negative consequences

So, as soon as I, or any other sane member of FG posts proof that global warming is occuring, it's on to position 2; when that starts slipping, then it's on to no.3, 4, 5, and then very likely the crank who is just trolling to stir up confusion, will circle right back to the very beginning. And that's the whole point of this strategy -- to bog everything down with nonsensical, shifting objections.

I should mention that the name - Bjorn Lomborg usually gets tossed up at some point, as a climate change skeptic with impressive credentials. For some reason, Wiki didn't include him on this list -- perhaps because he is not a real skeptic -- he agrees with most if not all of the findings of the majority; but he sounds like a denier because he advocates a position of doing nothing about the growth in carbon emissions, and spending all of the money on adapting to a heating planet. And that's enough for oil-funded right wing think tanks to throw money his way by supporting his lecture tours, books and videos!
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Post by BTS »

We can hem haw around all day long but the bottom line is if we cutailed the largest producer of greenhouse gas and that would be Power stations, they produce nearly 10 billion tons of CO 2 per year and are the the planet's most concentrated source of greenhouse gases. If we looked towards Nuclear power plants like in Europe.

As of October 1, 2010 there is a total of 195 nuclear power plant units with an installed electric net capacity of 170 GWe in operation in Europe and 19 units with 16,9 GWe were under construction in six countries. We could all stop this silly bantering...
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

BTS;1345634 wrote: We can hem haw around all day long but the bottom line is if we cutailed the largest producer of greenhouse gas and that would be Power stations, they produce nearly 10 billion tons of CO 2 per year and are the the planet's most concentrated source of greenhouse gases. If we looked towards Nuclear power plants like in Europe.

As of October 1, 2010 there is a total of 195 nuclear power plant units with an installed electric net capacity of 170 GWe in operation in Europe and 19 units with 16,9 GWe were under construction in six countries. We could all stop this silly bantering...


Totally agree - but blaming Al Gore for inventing it or for being a false prophet is not going to incentivise governments to go down that route.
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Post by recovering conservative »

BTS;1345634 wrote: We can hem haw around all day long but the bottom line is if we cutailed the largest producer of greenhouse gas and that would be Power stations, they produce nearly 10 billion tons of CO 2 per year and are the the planet's most concentrated source of greenhouse gases. If we looked towards Nuclear power plants like in Europe.

As of October 1, 2010 there is a total of 195 nuclear power plant units with an installed electric net capacity of 170 GWe in operation in Europe and 19 units with 16,9 GWe were under construction in six countries. We could all stop this silly bantering...


Even nuclear is not going to be a quick easy fix to supply unlimited energy. They are expensive to build, and take years after construction starts, before they are finally up and running. And they are tremendous producers of CO2 during the construction phase, when huge amounts of concrete have to be produced and poured in the making of the containment buildings -- concrete and cement production is the highest industrial source of CO2 emissions.

I don't think there is any way of getting around the fact that life, as we have come to know it, over the last 50 or 60 years is going to have to change! The life blood of our modern globalized consumer economy is cheap oil. And that cheap recoverable oil is already past its peak, so that now the oil companies are tapping into the dirty and expensive oil from tar sands and deep off shore drilling platforms. This is why the cost of oil keeps spiking every time demand goes up due to increased economic production. When oil hits $150 to $200 a barrel in the next couple of years (depending on the world economy), then the wheels are going to start falling off the wagon of globalization. The drop in energy usage with re-localization of what's left of the economy, will cut energy demand and make any plans of large scale building of nuclear power plants unnecessary.
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recovering conservative;1345671 wrote: Even nuclear is not going to be a quick easy fix to supply unlimited energy. They are expensive to build, and take years after construction starts, before they are finally up and running. And they are tremendous producers of CO2 during the construction phase, when huge amounts of concrete have to be produced and poured in the making of the containment buildings -- concrete and cement production is the highest industrial source of CO2 emissions.

I don't think there is any way of getting around the fact that life, as we have come to know it, over the last 50 or 60 years is going to have to change! The life blood of our modern globalized consumer economy is cheap oil. And that cheap recoverable oil is already past its peak, so that now the oil companies are tapping into the dirty and expensive oil from tar sands and deep off shore drilling platforms. This is why the cost of oil keeps spiking every time demand goes up due to increased economic production. When oil hits $150 to $200 a barrel in the next couple of years (depending on the world economy), then the wheels are going to start falling off the wagon of globalization. The drop in energy usage with re-localization of what's left of the economy, will cut energy demand and make any plans of large scale building of nuclear power plants unnecessary.


Far better that we use nuclear as a stopgap than continue to burn fossil fuels at the rate we are doing. It will take as long or longer to wean humanity off its energy jag that it will to convert power production - the lead time is not that long for a modern nuclear plant and a whole life audit will show it to be far less productive of CO2 than the equivalent number of fossil fuel plants.

If you are right and there is a total collapse of global trade over the next couple of years then no planning will help - anarchy and chaos take over when you have that scale of change in that sort of timescale.
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Bryn Mawr;1345699 wrote: Far better that we use nuclear as a stopgap than continue to burn fossil fuels at the rate we are doing. It will take as long or longer to wean humanity off its energy jag that it will to convert power production - the lead time is not that long for a modern nuclear plant and a whole life audit will show it to be far less productive of CO2 than the equivalent number of fossil fuel plants.
I can't see how nuclear can provide a stopgap when it takes so long to build nuclear power plants. If there is a push for building nuclear plants, attention should be shifted to Gen. III and Gen. IV technologies. The gen three reactors are just ready for development now, and offer the promise of lower risks of meltdown, less radioactive wastes, and longer lifespans than current nuclear power stations. But maybe instead of wasting so much money on fusion research that isn't leading towards anything commercially viable, the money should be spent to speed up development on the gen four reactors -- which at the present pace of development, won't be ready for commercial production until 2030. When they are up and running, these reactors would provide all of the benefits that are currently sought in fusion power. They would burn at such high temperatures, that present day spent fuel wastes could be used as fuel. The gen four reactors would emit very little waste themselves, which would be such low grade that it would only be radioactive for about a decade, instead of the present hundreds or thousands of years. Another added benefit of that high temperature needed for operation is that the fission reaction would stop if core temperatures dropped -- eliminating the danger of out-of-control reactions and meltdowns that are a remote, but catastrophic risk of the present generation of nuclear power plants.

But, even if we have nuclear power supplying lots of electricity, unless we can convert all of the cars, buses and trucks on the road to electric vehicles, that's not going to take away our dependence on oil.

If you are right and there is a total collapse of global trade over the next couple of years then no planning will help - anarchy and chaos take over when you have that scale of change in that sort of timescale.


As I understand it from some of the Peak Oil theorists, it's not going to be a sudden collapse into anarchy, but instead a gradual chipping away at the global trade system. On one of the podcasts I listen to regularly, they featured the audio version of this lecture on tar sands and peak oil, presented by economist - Jeff Rubin, and environmentalist - Andrew Nikiforuk. About half way through, Jeff Rubin made the observation that one of the first impacts will be in trade of products that are heavy and expensive to transport -- such as steel from newly built Chinese steel plants, which are intended to flood markets in North America and Europe. When world price of oil goes above $150 a barrel, it becomes too expensive to ship Chinese steel to markets in the West, and it will have to be used for domestic production. And as oil prices increase further because of growing dependence on expensive tar sands and offshore oil, more products that are shipped around the world today will become more expensive than domestic products, and food also. If there is a silver lining in this story, the Globalization quest for the cheapest labour to mass produce products for the world market will come crashing down, and replaced with a return to localized economic activity. It will mean a decline in overall wealth, and a decline in food production -- and that will likely mean anarchy and chaos in poor nations that are already struggling with present food costs.
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recovering conservative;1345757 wrote: I can't see how nuclear can provide a stopgap when it takes so long to build nuclear power plants.The interactive UK Goverment model is at 2050 pathway if you'd like to try adjusting the variables, it's costed according to the best advice available. I'd go for as much nuclear capacity as the country can cobble together, as quickly as possible.
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spot;1345768 wrote: The interactive UK Goverment model is at 2050 pathway if you'd like to try adjusting the variables, it's costed according to the best advice available. I'd go for as much nuclear capacity as the country can cobble together, as quickly as possible.


The problem is that we may not have 40 years to fix these problems. Our economic system is changing whether globalists like it or not, because of the decline in cheap oil. There will be a drop in oil consumption one way or another -- but it's still unknown whether this will reduce carbon emissions -- since the oil industry is making an aggressive push to develop dirty oil from the Athabaskan Tar Sands.
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The site doesn't actually give a single 2050 result, it gives a year-by-year calculated consequence of the decisions you ask to be modeled.
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recovering conservative;1345757 wrote: I can't see how nuclear can provide a stopgap when it takes so long to build nuclear power plants. If there is a push for building nuclear plants, attention should be shifted to Gen. III and Gen. IV technologies. The gen three reactors are just ready for development now, and offer the promise of lower risks of meltdown, less radioactive wastes, and longer lifespans than current nuclear power stations. But maybe instead of wasting so much money on fusion research that isn't leading towards anything commercially viable, the money should be spent to speed up development on the gen four reactors -- which at the present pace of development, won't be ready for commercial production until 2030. When they are up and running, these reactors would provide all of the benefits that are currently sought in fusion power. They would burn at such high temperatures, that present day spent fuel wastes could be used as fuel. The gen four reactors would emit very little waste themselves, which would be such low grade that it would only be radioactive for about a decade, instead of the present hundreds or thousands of years. Another added benefit of that high temperature needed for operation is that the fission reaction would stop if core temperatures dropped -- eliminating the danger of out-of-control reactions and meltdowns that are a remote, but catastrophic risk of the present generation of nuclear power plants.

But, even if we have nuclear power supplying lots of electricity, unless we can convert all of the cars, buses and trucks on the road to electric vehicles, that's not going to take away our dependence on oil.




How long do you imagine it takes to build and commission a power station? the last three we built took eight, eight and seven years respectively from start of construction to commercial operation. As a stopgap that is as quick as, say, building the Severn barrage would be with far higher and more reliable output. We are starting now and expect to have at least 12.5GW worth (20% of UK energy requirements) operational by 2020. You would approach the electrification of the vehicle fleet in parallel with this development, not hold off because it is not in place.



recovering conservative;1345757 wrote: As I understand it from some of the Peak Oil theorists, it's not going to be a sudden collapse into anarchy, but instead a gradual chipping away at the global trade system. On one of the podcasts I listen to regularly, they featured the audio version of this lecture on tar sands and peak oil, presented by economist - Jeff Rubin, and environmentalist - Andrew Nikiforuk. About half way through, Jeff Rubin made the observation that one of the first impacts will be in trade of products that are heavy and expensive to transport -- such as steel from newly built Chinese steel plants, which are intended to flood markets in North America and Europe. When world price of oil goes above $150 a barrel, it becomes too expensive to ship Chinese steel to markets in the West, and it will have to be used for domestic production. And as oil prices increase further because of growing dependence on expensive tar sands and offshore oil, more products that are shipped around the world today will become more expensive than domestic products, and food also. If there is a silver lining in this story, the Globalization quest for the cheapest labour to mass produce products for the world market will come crashing down, and replaced with a return to localized economic activity. It will mean a decline in overall wealth, and a decline in food production -- and that will likely mean anarchy and chaos in poor nations that are already struggling with present food costs.


If, rather than your original collapse starting in the next couple of years you are talking of a gradual chipping away at global trade then the requirement is definitely there and a stopgap system required to get us over the delay before the introduction of cheap, clean energy whether that be fusion or fourth generation fission.

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