Global Warming- Correct me if I'm wrong

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Kaulen Fuhs:

thaluikhain:

Sticking the label "alternative" in front of something does not mean it's better for the environment, nor does something not having that label mean it's environmentally unfriendly.

Not inherently, no, but is that not often the case? Burning of fossil fuels, and all the destruction that goes into obtaining them, and whatnot?

Compared to say, nuclear, yes, but then nuclear isn't seen as an alternative energy source.

Compared to things that are called alternative energy, often not. Things like wind and solar power don't tend to pollute once they are up and running correctly, however due to (current) inefficiency they take a lot of resources to get going.

thaluikhain:

Kaulen Fuhs:

thaluikhain:

Sticking the label "alternative" in front of something does not mean it's better for the environment, nor does something not having that label mean it's environmentally unfriendly.

Not inherently, no, but is that not often the case? Burning of fossil fuels, and all the destruction that goes into obtaining them, and whatnot?

Compared to say, nuclear, yes, but then nuclear isn't seen as an alternative energy source.

Compared to things that are called alternative energy, often not. Things like wind and solar power don't tend to pollute once they are up and running correctly, however due to (current) inefficiency they take a lot of resources to get going.

I'd still say that perfecting and utilizing such energies, making them more productive, is better than a lot of what we've got going, at least long term. And the more we force ourselves to use them, the better we get at making them work (ideally).

I actually like nuclear power, provided it can be safely harnessed.

Kaulen Fuhs:
I'd still say that perfecting and utilizing such energies, making them more productive, is better than a lot of what we've got going, at least long term.

That is probably why so much time and money is being spent on research and development, yes.

thaluikhain:

Kaulen Fuhs:
I'd still say that perfecting and utilizing such energies, making them more productive, is better than a lot of what we've got going, at least long term.

That is probably why so much time and money is being spent on research and development, yes.

I guess I just didn't like that the OP seemed to be saying, at least the way I saw it, "Fuck alternative energy, that shit doesn't work"

Though I may have read too much into it.

Kaulen Fuhs:
I guess I just didn't like that the OP seemed to be saying, at least the way I saw it, "Fuck alternative energy, that shit doesn't work"

Though I may have read too much into it.

Ah, in that case fair enough. The idea of developing new energy sources and implementing them once they become viable is oddly very unpopular. It's either "coal is dirty, abolish now, or at least by next tuesday" or "green energy doesn't currently work, ignore for all time".

Jux:

psijac:
Zimmerman was on the phone with the police. Because you only get the audio people fill in with their own imagination what happened. It breaks against Zimmerman if you are sensitive to races issues. Trayvon however never called the police so you get to project onto him complete innocents, despite his dealings in drugs and burglary and suspension from school for fighing

look at 1:30
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-april-9-2012/the-splice-channel

I think you're in the wrong thread.

Yeah sorry about that had multiple thread open.

Trees have no use for oxygen. That's why they spew it out. Rust can only occur if oxygen and water is present. and its also explosive in large quantities.

Tree's like Carbon Dioxide. They breathe it in and use photosynthesis to turn carbon dioxide and DiHydrogen monoxide (water) into hydrocarbons in their trunks and ditch the left over oxygen

psijac:
Trees have no use for oxygen. That's why they spew it out.

Not quite true, they need oxygen for cellular respiration just like we do. They just produce an overabundance of it.

Skeleon:

psijac:
Trees have no use for oxygen. That's why they spew it out.

Not quite true, they need oxygen for cellular respiration just like we do. They just produce an overabundance of it.

Minor correction: during the day(sun light).
Which is why you shouydl remove plants at night from people who need oxygen more than others.

siomasm:

Alternatively, the effects have been greatly exaggerated with the "hocky stick" graph which extrapolates data that has turned out to be largely incorrect...

The hockey stick graph has been robustly defended by subsequent studies, despite some methodological problems with the initial paper.

(Carbon and heat levels were thought to increase exponentially but in the last ten years, carbon levels have continued to increase while general heat has not).

Really? 2000-2010 was apparently the hottest decade on instrumental record, for instance see:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/68e90632-e3d0-11e2-b35b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2ZCJbu9SD

The existing trend over a set period of time up to our current day may be an exponential increase, but no-one believes this necessarily must continue. Some models project a trend of exponential growth to continue, and others do not.

Although CO2 is thought to affect global temperature it is far from the only thing that does. Consequently, we should not necessarily expect temperature to always follow CO2, especially in the short term. A long-term trend of rising CO2 causing rising temperature may have numerous short term "blips" where other cooling effects temporarily stall rising temperatures.

The worst and most incriminating element yet is how scientific process has basically been utterly rejected where global warming is considered. IE anyone who dissents, attempts to disprove or otherwise disagrees is shouted down.
Contrary to the very nature of science where the constant exchange of ideas and attempts to improve upon conventional knowledge or revise theories when disproved.

There are indeed many people angrily responded to by the climate science community. But to an extent they deserve it: there is no particular need to treat gently people who don't know what they're talking about. People who put up good scientific alternatives to the consensus are generally treated with the respect their theories merit. For instance Henrik Svensmark's cosmic ray theory, which other scientists at major research units like CERN have taken up and are still investigating.

Also, we might expect climate change scientists to be angry and defensive. After all, most people would be defensive when there were a large bunch of antagonists - many politically powerful - who routinely slandered them as incompetent, unethical or fraudulent, harassed them, hacked their emails, subjected their work to political attack, and so on.

i take a very simple view of it.

assuming for a second it isnt man made then spending money to find a solution is just wasted money

assuming for a second is IS man made and we do nothing then the potential damage from climate change is astronomical long term both financially, quality of life and loss of life and habitats.

which leads me to the simple question. are you really willing to gamble the fate of your family and the entire human race not to mention the planet on the hope its natural?

its a hell of a reckless gamble for short term gain

Boris Goodenough:
Minor correction: during the day(sun light).
Which is why you shouydl remove plants at night from people who need oxygen more than others.

That makes perfect sense, I didn't even think of that.
I always thought they didn't allow plants for hygienic reasons; you know, spore producers in the soil or what have you. Probably also the case, but still: Certainly another valid reason for restricted usage of plants in specific areas of hospitals etc..

siomasm:
As I understand it:

Yes, it is occurring and likely influenced by mankind.
Alternatively, the effects have been greatly exaggerated with the "hocky stick" graph which extrapolates data that has turned out to be largely incorrect and thus hidden from public view whenever possible (Carbon and heat levels were thought to increase exponentially but in the last ten years, carbon levels have continued to increase while general heat has not).

The entire issue has been used to push political agenda, products and even attempt to create a second (green) energy industry conglomerate circle jerk. Basically "Certain people" weren't cool enough to join the "cool kid's club" that is big oil, so they made their own club, pouring billions of dollars into projects that inevitably fail and laundering the money back into their own hands or affiliated parties.

Not to mention so many of the things they are attempting to push as eco friendly are horrible inefficient and in some cases considerably worse in many aspects. Take for instance, electric cars: The process of extracting and refining the copper, along with the transportation to various construction facilities and finally their disposal a few years down the road is hardly helpful with all the emissions from large scale transportation to the chemicals required for refinement which eventually must be disposed of as well.

The worst and most incriminating element yet is how scientific process has basically been utterly rejected where global warming is considered. IE anyone who dissents, attempts to disprove or otherwise disagrees is shouted down.
Contrary to the very nature of science where the constant exchange of ideas and attempts to improve upon conventional knowledge or revise theories when disproved.

So what did I miss?

Well, what's been missed is a few finer points.

Starting with your last, to say that "dissenters are shouted down" is a misrepresentation. It's a duality fallacy. Science and data overwhelmingly support anthropogenic climate change. Thus the small minority of scientists who don't believe in global warming aren't just voicing an equal opinion, they are objectively wrong. This isn't a problem in science, as science is based on getting it wrong until you get it right, but those "dissenters" are blatantly ignoring very clear data and refusing to change their stance, quite possibly because they have allowed politics to cloud their objectivity (a severe error of judgment on the part of a scientist). Simply put, those "dissenters" simply have no data supporting their claim that anthropogenic climate change does not occur. Claims made without evidence are not considered valid, and by trying to validate their claim without evidence, those "dissenters" are committing a breach of academic integrity.

And yes, there are many aspects to the green movement that are complete bullshit, especially the "eco-friendly" industry. Some products genuinely are environmentally more sound than other alternatives (CFC lights, for instance, because they use less power than conventional bulbs), but for many this is a very dubious claim. The worst part is that those trying to capitalize on environmental awareness are just making things worse by making half-assed marketing efforts and hurting public opinion of environmentalism by turning it into a marketing niche.

Finally, as a student of science just starting out in my first research position, I can tell you that data is very vulnerable to tampering and can easily be skewed and misrepresented, especially to a general public that is not extensively trained in science. So, for example, when people talk about the hazards of a 2 degree centigrade increase in global temperature, it's very easy to write that off as "Well 2 degrees doesn't mean anything, that's a small number. I mean, temperature changes more than 2 degrees 4 times a year, it's called 'seasons'". Yes, 2 is not what most would call a big number. But environmental systems are extremely sensitive to changes and fluctuations in the overall temperature of the entire planet typically are extremely small fractions of a degree. Warming the entire planet by two degrees is a huge deal, and that's what has happened in the last few decades, an overall increase of about 2 degrees.

siomasm:
But there are scientists defending climate change in the same form creationists defend their own beliefs. Simply shouting down anyone who dares to oppose them without even humoring their own stance. Not to mention a number of incriminating emails supposedly hacked from the source, and their own inconsistencies with project data compared to actual data (Carbon levels and heat levels).

They assumed more carbon = more heat, which has not proven to be the case due to a lack of substantial change in the last few years, as I understand it.

First it's not carbon, it's carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. This means it allows visible light to go through but reflects IR light (heat) (to put it bluntly). The very nature of CO2 has as inevitable consequence more of it in the atmosphere would lead to increased temperatures. This however doesn't take into account other potential phenomenons which may drive temperatures down. CO2 concentrations aren't the only elements affecting the climate.

siomasm:

Esotera:

The science strongly suggests that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are causing the earth to increase in temperature, on a global scale. The earth is getting warmer and anyone who says otherwise hasn't looked at the data. Climate models are also constantly being updated to show either increases or decreases in the effects that certain factors have on cooling - scientific opinion is not being quashed and is actually quite fluid. As for 'green' products - yes, some of them are a niche market that are actually worse for the planet. Electric cars only really work if you run it on renewable electricity.

If you have valid evidence that shows global temperature rises are not due to greenhouse gases, and that the environment is not affected at all, please share it. I don't think you'll be able to find it.

Hey I got graphs too!
Apparently this was hacked (likely released from someone with morals)from climatgate. This is from 2009 mind you, but there's been quite a scandle pertaining to the fudging up (in other words, modifying or simply making up) numbers pertaining to the hockey stick graph.

Does that mean this one is right and yours is wrong? Not necessarily, but consider throwing graphs around means precious little. And no one is debating whether or not humans are effecting climate change, more of the degree and if we could really do anything to stop it within reason.

your graph is a bit of bunk
The data is right, but the data set is manipulated to serve a purpose.
He cherry picked the start of summer and the end in winter in the next year- and then extrapolated based on that. I think you can see why that would be a problem.

here is a series for you
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52KLGqDSAjo

Pushing alternative energies is far from an effective tactic to get off fossil fuels and thus lessen our effect on the climate, it is expensive, not entirely sustainable for many reasons and also undeveloped especially in infrastructure, laws and so forth. The nuclear option also has significant problems considering the problems we already have with dumping and the rest of the nuclear cycle and public opposition.

However these are the only options we have, among increasing sustainability, decreasing consumption, etc. Our future will not be half as bright or fast paced as the last two centuries were.

Even if fossil fuels did not harm our planet in any way then bringing in alternative energy sources, nuclear sources, sustainability and a decrease in consumption would still be necessary considering fossil fuels are running out sharply, we have 43 years of oil left in total and production will probably begin to decline in the next 10 years if it hasn't begun to already, several nations that used to export oil have already peaked on production including the USA and about 40 other nations. Natural Gas has maybe 50-70 years or more and coal is around 200 years.

Our future will not be half as bright or as fast paced in its development as our fossil fuel powered two centuries have been. But unless we can find a clean and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels that will power our societies at the same level of power that fossil fuels gave us then we have to go for the current, viable alternatives.

TL:DR climate change is caused by humans, we have already set in motion many changes that will be seen in the coming century, fossil fuel use has to go anyway due to decreasing stocks, we are fucked and its mostly our own fault.

Lord Kloo:
TL:DR climate change is caused by humans, we have already set in motion many changes that will be seen in the coming century, fossil fuel use has to go anyway due to decreasing stocks, we are fucked and its mostly our own fault.

The Peak Oil thing you bring up hasn't been proven. The estimates on how much oil we have left change all the time due to increased efficiency in getting oil and natural gas out of the ground.

Technology has a way forward.

The last 30 years of scientific development are leaps and bounds above the 300 years before it. Don't try to say the technological and scientific development in the last half century was less than the 1800s or first half of the 1900s.

Big_Willie_Styles:

Lord Kloo:
TL:DR climate change is caused by humans, we have already set in motion many changes that will be seen in the coming century, fossil fuel use has to go anyway due to decreasing stocks, we are fucked and its mostly our own fault.

The Peak Oil thing you bring up hasn't been proven. The estimates on how much oil we have left change all the time due to increased efficiency in getting oil and natural gas out of the ground.

Technology has a way forward.

The last 30 years of scientific development are leaps and bounds above the 300 years before it. Don't try to say the technological and scientific development in the last half century was less than the 1800s or first half of the 1900s.

Very true i admit regarding global peak oil, my estimate is only the current estimate and may likely change for better or worse as we either find new reserves or get better at digging up oil and reducing the cost of extraction, however oil will still become more and more expensive to drill up as we go deeper into the reserves we have despite how well our tech advances and also based on the fact that oil is becoming rarer all the time.

Who knows to be honest what will happen, personally i hope im wrong regarding how bad the situation is/could be..

siomasm:
So what did I miss?

I don't know whether you missed it, but it is important to take into account the basic conflict that lies at the base of climate science to understand what is going on. Climate science (more than most other sciences) is in a constant conflict of science and activism (meaning that climate science not only tries to be scientific, but also tries to change the world by influencing political decision making). But sadly good science and influencing political decision making are mostly mutually exclusive, as the science is about probabilities, insecurities and the unknown, while influencing political decision making demands unambiguous(and thereby unscientific) answers. So, much of the stuff that people are critical of about climate science can be explained by scientists deciding to be unscientific to be effective in affecting political decision making. Is it a good idea to act that way? I honestly don't know. But it at least explains why certain topics (like the failure of climate models) aren't discussed widely, without having to resort to conspiracy theories like many climate change skeptics do.

Lord Kloo:
Very true i admit regarding global peak oil, my estimate is only the current estimate and may likely change for better or worse as we either find new reserves or get better at digging up oil and reducing the cost of extraction, however oil will still become more and more expensive to drill up as we go deeper into the reserves we have despite how well our tech advances and also based on the fact that oil is becoming rarer all the time.

Who knows to be honest what will happen, personally i hope im wrong regarding how bad the situation is/could be..

The amount of natural gas we have can apparently last the United States several hundred years.

Peak Oil is only based on the terrible term "proven reserves" which has a habit of changing all the damn time due to us finding new stuff or new methods to get said stuff.

But technology in about 50 years will probably make oil irrelevant. It is a waiting game right now.

I just know the answer does not lie with ethanol, wind, and solar as they are far too inefficient and costly to replace oil.

Big_Willie_Styles:

I just know the answer does not lie with ethanol, wind, and solar as they are far too inefficient and costly to replace oil.

In and of themselves, no. But the tech is still worth pursuing, even if only as a supplementing factor, since at least solar and wind are essentially limitless supplies of energy, provided we can find an efficient way to harvest it.

Kaulen Fuhs:

Big_Willie_Styles:

I just know the answer does not lie with ethanol, wind, and solar as they are far too inefficient and costly to replace oil.

In and of themselves, no. But the tech is still worth pursuing, even if only as a supplementing factor, since at least solar and wind are essentially limitless supplies of energy, provided we can find an efficient way to harvest it.

Wind energy has a whole host of problems, largely with the amount of energy harvested per hour over the space it takes up.

And a vast majority of the energy that strikes solar panels is radiated off in heat because the panels are just not good enough.

What I'm saying is that if greatly improved, they might be viable. But in their present form, they're terrible. And highly propped up by governments, heavily distorting the energy market.

Big_Willie_Styles:
What I'm saying is that if greatly improved, they might be viable. But in their present form, they're terrible. And highly propped up by governments, heavily distorting the energy market.

Well, I wouldn't say terrible as such. Terrible for the most part if you want to run your national grid solely off them, fair enough. But there's any number of useful things you can do with them.

For example, the main stumbling block with solar panels is that they only work when the sun is out (of course), and currently there's no really feasible method of storing power large scale. However, if you want electricity to power something during the day, and don't mind not doing anything when it's cloudy, that's not an issue. Certain industries, desalination comes to mind, might work like that.

siomasm:
As I understand it:

Yes, it is occurring and likely influenced by mankind.
Alternatively, the effects have been greatly exaggerated with the "hocky stick" graph which extrapolates data that has turned out to be largely incorrect and thus hidden from public view whenever possible (Carbon and heat levels were thought to increase exponentially but in the last ten years, carbon levels have continued to increase while general heat has not).

The entire issue has been used to push political agenda, products and even attempt to create a second (green) energy industry conglomerate circle jerk. Basically "Certain people" weren't cool enough to join the "cool kid's club" that is big oil, so they made their own club, pouring billions of dollars into projects that inevitably fail and laundering the money back into their own hands or affiliated parties.

Not to mention so many of the things they are attempting to push as eco friendly are horrible inefficient and in some cases considerably worse in many aspects. Take for instance, electric cars: The process of extracting and refining the copper, along with the transportation to various construction facilities and finally their disposal a few years down the road is hardly helpful with all the emissions from large scale transportation to the chemicals required for refinement which eventually must be disposed of as well.

The worst and most incriminating element yet is how scientific process has basically been utterly rejected where global warming is considered. IE anyone who dissents, attempts to disprove or otherwise disagrees is shouted down.
Contrary to the very nature of science where the constant exchange of ideas and attempts to improve upon conventional knowledge or revise theories when disproved.

So what did I miss?

"All three major global surface temperature reconstructions show that Earth has warmed since 1880.5 Most of this warming has occurred since the 1970s, with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years.6 Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase.7"

http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence

The way I see it...

Step 1: Claim that global warming is real and that human activity is a contributing factor.
Step 2: Make up a bunch of bullshit about its apocalyptic effects and create a political agenda to stop it.
Step 3: Get scientists to confirm step 1.
Step 4: Claim that confirmation of step 1 = confirmation of step 2.

cthulhuspawn82:
The way I see it...

Step 1: Claim that global warming is real and that human activity is a contributing factor.
Step 2: Make up a bunch of bullshit about its apocalyptic effects and create a political agenda to stop it.
Step 3: Get scientists to confirm step 1.
Step 4: Claim that confirmation of step 1 = confirmation of step 2.

So, who was involved in Step 3?

Names, please. And means of manipulation. You seem adamant enough in your statement that I am inclined to believe you have some solid, objective, verifiable evidence to support it.

And if not, maybe quit it with the derision and disrespect towards the scientific community. I mean, you just called them a bunch of sell-outs. I really hope you have some substance to support that, otherwise people won't be gentle.

Vegosiux:

cthulhuspawn82:
The way I see it...

Step 1: Claim that global warming is real and that human activity is a contributing factor.
Step 2: Make up a bunch of bullshit about its apocalyptic effects and create a political agenda to stop it.
Step 3: Get scientists to confirm step 1.
Step 4: Claim that confirmation of step 1 = confirmation of step 2.

So, who was involved in Step 3?

Names, please. And means of manipulation. You seem adamant enough in your statement that I am inclined to believe you have some solid, objective, verifiable evidence to support it.

And if not, maybe quit it with the derision and disrespect towards the scientific community. I mean, you just called them a bunch of sell-outs. I really hope you have some substance to support that, otherwise people won't be gentle.

I'm calling it now, they won't be climatologists or people who know what they're on about, they'll be "experts" from diploma mills with research funded by Esso and BP.

Vegosiux:

cthulhuspawn82:
The way I see it...

Step 1: Claim that global warming is real and that human activity is a contributing factor.
Step 2: Make up a bunch of bullshit about its apocalyptic effects and create a political agenda to stop it.
Step 3: Get scientists to confirm step 1.
Step 4: Claim that confirmation of step 1 = confirmation of step 2.

So, who was involved in Step 3?

Names, please. And means of manipulation. You seem adamant enough in your statement that I am inclined to believe you have some solid, objective, verifiable evidence to support it.

And if not, maybe quit it with the derision and disrespect towards the scientific community. I mean, you just called them a bunch of sell-outs. I really hope you have some substance to support that, otherwise people won't be gentle.

I didn't mean to imply that they manipulated scientists. Global warming is a real thing and scientists agree.

What I meant was that these people start talking about global warming, and they come up with their own specific definition of it and its effects. When the scientists confirm that global warming is real, they take that to mean that scientists confirm their specific definition as real.

I'll try to make an analogy, which probably wont make sense, but here it goes. I make the claim that gravity is a real thing and that soon the constant weight it puts on us will flatten us all like pancakes. I then go to the scientific community and ask them to confirm the existence of gravity, which they do unanimously. I now claim that there is unanimous scientific consensus that we will all soon be flat as pancakes. I hope that all made at least some sense.

thaluikhain:
Terrible for the most part if you want to run your national grid solely off them, fair enough.

The problem there actually being the word "national".

The EU, for example, has reported that it could go 100% renewable in the next 50 years and still more than meet its projected power needs, but not with the current system of national grids. We'd need a single European "megagrid", possibly even covering North Africa too, with much higher efficiency than current grids can generally manage.

The most common argument you'll get against renewables is "lol, what if the wind stops blowing/sun goes behind a cloud". This only works as an argument if you assume each individual wind turbine or solar panel is only connected to the grid in its local area. The wind is not going to stop blowing across the entirety of the European continent simultaneously. A cloud is not going to cover all of Northern Africa. If you spread your renewable energy sources over a large enough area, individual variation in power output at any given time becomes statistically meaningless, hence why heavy dependence on renewable becomes increasingly viable with larger grids.

Granted, renewable in this case doesn't mean zero carbon. But it would be feasable and, according to the EU, economically viable in the long term to consume 90% less carbon on power generation than we currently do without any loss of capacity, even with today's technology.

cthulhuspawn82:

Vegosiux:

cthulhuspawn82:
The way I see it...

Step 1: Claim that global warming is real and that human activity is a contributing factor.
Step 2: Make up a bunch of bullshit about its apocalyptic effects and create a political agenda to stop it.
Step 3: Get scientists to confirm step 1.
Step 4: Claim that confirmation of step 1 = confirmation of step 2.

So, who was involved in Step 3?

Names, please. And means of manipulation. You seem adamant enough in your statement that I am inclined to believe you have some solid, objective, verifiable evidence to support it.

And if not, maybe quit it with the derision and disrespect towards the scientific community. I mean, you just called them a bunch of sell-outs. I really hope you have some substance to support that, otherwise people won't be gentle.

I didn't mean to imply that they manipulated scientists. Global warming is a real thing and scientists agree.

What I meant was that these people start talking about global warming, and they come up with their own specific definition of it and its effects. When the scientists confirm that global warming is real, they take that to mean that scientists confirm their specific definition as real.

I'll try to make an analogy, which probably wont make sense, but here it goes. I make the claim that gravity is a real thing and that soon the constant weight it puts on us will flatten us all like pancakes. I then go to the scientific community and ask them to confirm the existence of gravity, which they do unanimously. I now claim that there is unanimous scientific consensus that we will all soon be flat as pancakes. I hope that all made at least some sense.

So, in this case you seem to think that while scientists have confirmed global warming, you don't think that scientists are issuing warnings about the effects it's going to have?

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-weather/blogs/99-of-climatologists-agree-global-warming-is-manmade

http://www.ohiostatealumni.org/media/Pages/climatechange.aspx

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/5319659/Doctors-warn-of-risks-of-climate-change-for-the-first-time.html

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/03/15/doctors-warn-climate-change-may-lead-to-spike-in-asthma-cases

http://climate.dot.gov/about/overview/climate_tipping_points.html

evilthecat:

thaluikhain:
Terrible for the most part if you want to run your national grid solely off them, fair enough.

The problem there actually being the word "national".

The EU, for example, has reported that it could go 100% renewable in the next 50 years and still more than meet its projected power needs, but not with the current system of national grids. We'd need a single European "megagrid", possibly even covering North Africa too, with much higher efficiency than current grids can generally manage.

Even given the technology to do that easily, the political problems with that...just standardisation would be a major headache.

Though, how does that solve the problem of solar not working at night, though? You'd still want some storage system, and if you have that, why do you need a megagrid?

evilthecat:

The problem there actually being the word "national".

The EU, for example, has reported that it could go 100% renewable in the next 50 years and still more than meet its projected power needs, but not with the current system of national grids. We'd need a single European "megagrid", possibly even covering North Africa too, with much higher efficiency than current grids can generally manage.

The most common argument you'll get against renewables is "lol, what if the wind stops blowing/sun goes behind a cloud". This only works as an argument if you assume each individual wind turbine or solar panel is only connected to the grid in its local area. The wind is not going to stop blowing across the entirety of the European continent simultaneously. A cloud is not going to cover all of Northern Africa. If you spread your renewable energy sources over a large enough area, individual variation in power output at any given time becomes statistically meaningless, hence why heavy dependence on renewable becomes increasingly viable with larger grids.

Granted, renewable in this case doesn't mean zero carbon. But it would be feasable and, according to the EU, economically viable in the long term to consume 90% less carbon on power generation than we currently do without any loss of capacity, even with today's technology.

There are many problems with that "solution". First there are the political issues. Good luck trying to get everyone to agree on a mega-network. Secondly there is the cost issue. Renewable energies are still far more expensive than fossil and nuclear power. Maybe over 50 years that will change but as it is now this "possibility" is nothing more than a dream.

Meanwhile China is doing it right and looking into Thorium fission:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/9784044/China-blazes-trail-for-clean-nuclear-power-from-thorium.html

thaluikhain:
Though, how does that solve the problem of solar not working at night, though? You'd still want some storage system, and if you have that, why do you need a megagrid?

Not all fossil fuel plants run at night either.

Why megagrids? Firstly it's not efficient to build large-scale solar power plants everywhere. Building them in Northern Europe, for example, would not be very useful, but if you can build them out in the Sahara desert and still connect them to the European grid, well, that's much more efficient. Then there's the fact that the sun rises and sets at different times, so you get slightly different operational periods in different places which can help meet demand in other areas where you couldn't otherwise get solar power at that precise time.

Finally, it also makes different forms of storage viable. You can't realistically build solar plants in Norway, for example, but you can build pumped storage plants more easily because of all the natural reservoirs. Since your solar power plants down in the Sahara never have to offline, you can move some of the excess power up to Norway and use it to pump water into reservoirs, then as the sun goes down those reservoirs can be drained to return some of that power which would otherwise have been wasted.

Solar, however, would probably be a very tiny part of any European power generation strategy. It's far more useful in countries which get a lot of sunlight and have high power draw during the day (due to the use of air conditioning and stuff like that).

generals3:
Renewable energies are still far more expensive than fossil and nuclear power. Maybe over 50 years that will change but as it is now this "possibility" is nothing more than a dream.

Setting up the infrastructure to handle large scale adoption of renewables is expensive, but once you've done it there's virtually no cost. It doesn't need expensive fuel like a fossil plant, there aren't the enormous costs associated with decommissioning and disposal which we have with nuclear plants. Thus, long term it's not estimated to be more expensive.

Whatever power plant you build, you have to physically build it. In case of fuel burning plants, you also have to build the infrastructure to keep it fueled (or at least, someone does, and that person needs to be able to make a profit). Any form of energy infrastructure is an enormous undertaking, any rapid modernization of that infrastructure is hugely expensive. I can pretty much guarantee that decommissioning all the world's nuclear plants and replacing them with Thorium plants (in the event that the concept can be commercially applied) is also not going to be cheap.

Sooner or later, grid infrastructure will have to be upgraded anyway as it's simply more efficient to use a larger grid. That applies whether you're using renewables or any other form of power generation. As for political will, perhaps you aren't aware of quite how massively interdependent and integrated the world already is. Very few of the goods you buy will have been produced in your own country, something which your great grandparents would probably be baffled by but which is absolutely essential to sustaining the lifestyles we live today. Why should electricity be different from any other commodity in this regard?

evilneko:

siomasm:
As I understand it:

Yes, it is occurring and likely influenced by mankind.
Alternatively, the effects have been greatly exaggerated with the "hocky stick" graph which extrapolates data that has turned out to be largely incorrect and thus hidden from public view whenever possible (Carbon and heat levels were thought to increase exponentially but in the last ten years, carbon levels have continued to increase while general heat has not).

Yes. It is real, and it is influenced by mankind. The preferred term is climate change however, though global warming is close enough since the overall trend is a warming one.

No, it is probably real, but unless temps start to spike again within 5 years every current model for CO2 forcing is instead of merely slightly broken completely useless. Of course, since the only way to actually stop CO2 emissions rising would be to kill off 90% of the human race and then implement strict emission controls on the remainder, any scheme relying on reducing emissions is at BEST an exercise in well-meaning idiocy. What needs to happen is all the effort going into CO2 emission reduction propaganda needs to immediately be transferred into large scale CO2 sequestration research and geogeneering research. Also satellite microwave power although IIRC with the current materials science that's not feasible as a major power source.

Big_Willie_Styles:

The Peak Oil thing you bring up hasn't been proven. The estimates on how much oil we have left change all the time due to increased efficiency in getting oil and natural gas out of the ground.

Technology has a way forward.

The last 30 years of scientific development are leaps and bounds above the 300 years before it. Don't try to say the technological and scientific development in the last half century was less than the 1800s or first half of the 1900s.

"Peak oil" is the fastest rate of extraction. There could be oil in the earth available for centuries, but the amount we can get at per year will determine supply, and thus is highly relevant to price. Very much because it's been around so long, oil extraction is based on "mature" technologies, which means advances are overwhelmingly going to be modest. Thus we can very much project that at least in the medium term humanity is very unlikely to see an increase in oil production, and more likely a decrease.

Big_Willie_Styles:

Wind energy has a whole host of problems, largely with the amount of energy harvested per hour over the space it takes up...

What I'm saying is that if greatly improved, they might be viable. But in their present form, they're terrible. And highly propped up by governments, heavily distorting the energy market.

Total (i.e. construction and maintenance as well as generation) wind energy price is (per kWh) already very little different from fossil fuels. The headline rate is usually more expensive, but that's because society doesn't generally force fossil fuel power generation to pay the load of externalised costs they inflict on society. Given the progression of technology and increasingly inefficient ways of needing to extract fossil fuels (shale oil, fracking), wind is only likely to look more favourable compared to fossil fuels.

Currently, cheapest by some margin is gas, by estimates usually around some 20%. But wind is thought comparable to coal, oil, or nuclear.

Space is not physically an issue at all, except for tiny single-city countries like Monaco. Even countries with high population densities like the Netherlands and UK can easily spare the acreage to generate a hefty proportion of their energy requirements by wind. For nations like the USA, Canada, Australia etc., it's a bizarre joke to pretend there's a space problem. Wind power is mostly a political problem because locals don't want their little bit of the countryside dotted with turbines, and so constantly try to pass it off to other regions. And of course a conservative fondness for oil due to its traditional role in society.

ravenshrike:
No, it is probably real, but unless temps start to spike again within 5 years every current model for CO2 forcing is instead of merely slightly broken completely useless.

That statement is a load of utter bollocks.

thaluikhain:
Even given the technology to do that easily, the political problems with that...just standardisation would be a major headache.

Given the EU can get 20+ countries to agree to political reforms in their overarching international organisation, standardising a Europe-wide energy grid is child's play.

Though, how does that solve the problem of solar not working at night, though? You'd still want some storage system, and if you have that, why do you need a megagrid?

I believe a storage system is more inefficient (due to loss of energy converting to and from storage) than transport. Also, the possibility of adverse local weather for power generation over a sustained period (say, 1-2 weeks) means the local storage capability would have to be very high. A better solution without a "megagrid" is for power generation to have considerable redundancy, capabilities far above minimum requirements. The latter would probably be better via conventional power stations, which would generally operate well below maximum, but could be cranked up when renewables are lagging.

Imagine a North Sea "megagrid" (British Isles, north France, Low Countries, NW Germany, Denmark, western Sweden, Norway). It is almost impossible that there will be a long-term deficit over that much area, because if the wind/sun is weak in one place, it'll almost certainly be strong somewhere else.

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