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Author Topic:   Fusion Power on the way - at last ?
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 106 of 130 (741680)
11-13-2014 6:00 PM
Reply to: Message 102 by Rahvin
11-13-2014 3:24 PM


Re: All Good Things Suck — At First
But Jon wasn't claiming we'd see Mr Fusion from Back to the Future. He was saying we could use fusion power stations to produce hydrogen as a fuel source for hydrogen-combustion or fuel-cell vehicles. That's a perfectly realistic position, I just don;t think it's likely because EVs are already here.

To clarify, I actually was talking about using fusion to generate electricity to run electric motors in cars.

Ringo brought up the hydrogen go-between.


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 102 by Rahvin, posted 11-13-2014 3:24 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 2.1


(1)
Message 107 of 130 (741682)
11-13-2014 7:02 PM
Reply to: Message 97 by Jon
11-13-2014 11:25 AM


Re: All Good Things Suck — At First
Fission has a stigma, and I think people have good reason to be concerned about the disposal of the wastes.

The odd thing is how people are often concerned more about nuclear waste than fossil fuel waste. A 1000MW plant might be looking at 3-400,000 tonnes of ash. This ash is toxic, though obviously not hlw, it still contains radioactive material. Most of this is dumped rather than put into the atmosphere, by many countries, but nevertheless, in the US where there are about twice as many coal plants as nuclear plants:

quote:
According to U.S. NCRP reports {source - Mod}, population exposure from 1000-MWe power plants amounts to 490 person-rem/year for coal power plants, 100 times as great as nuclear power plants (4.8 person-rem/year).

People are worried about the 'worst case scenario' while ignoring the radioactive contamination they are getting and too often neglecting those pesky non-radioactive things like the 3,000,000 tonnes of carbon emissions as well as the arsenic, lead and other fun heavy metals.

A similar sized nuclear plant produces 30 tonnes of waste, much of which could be reprocessed, and that fact means people are seriously considering 3-4 million tonnes of crap which arguably contains a higher amount of radioactive material (the heavier metals obviously don't tend to burn so they make up a higher proportion than the source coal). 30 tonnes sounds like a lot, and with a lot of nuclear power plants it certainly adds up, but it should be pointed out that the volume of 30 tonnes of high level nuclear waste is maybe 20m3. With reprocessing this can easily be reduced to 5m3 or even less, by this point the material is still radioactive but over the course of about 50 years it will be about 1/1000th as radioactive as it was fresh out of the reactor. Granted it'll still not be something people should be handling in any sense for another thousand years or so, but I'm guessing if we're still around and technically advancing we'd have found a use for the stuff by that point.

Bad things will probably happen with nuclear fission, but they'll likely be relatively localised. Terrible things will happen if we keep using fossil fuels.

The time it takes for the waste to become non-problematic means we are essentially setting ourselves up for future disasters.

Like climate change?

The half-life of fusion waste, and the fact that there is much less of it, means it can effectively be managed within a couple generations, which is, in my opinion, a more reasonable time period for company, political, etc. organizations.

Well sure, fusion would be awesome, if the best case scenario of plants that can't runaway, explosions where the radioactive material is at safe concentrations within the borders of the plant, the use of only the fuel that is required at a time rather than fuel that will last years being put in all at once, most of the material being reasonably safe within 500 years, all these things sound great. Until we figure out the engineering and the science though, we'll have to opt for other solutions.

But let's fund the boffins, maybe someone'll find something that is the key to making the whole thing work and I'm hopeful we'll all be better off because of it. How cool would it be to be powered by 1/64,000th of the sea (or whatever it is)!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 97 by Jon, posted 11-13-2014 11:25 AM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 108 by Jon, posted 11-13-2014 8:41 PM Modulous has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 108 of 130 (741691)
11-13-2014 8:41 PM
Reply to: Message 107 by Modulous
11-13-2014 7:02 PM


Re: All Good Things Suck — At First
People are worried about the 'worst case scenario' while ignoring the radioactive contamination they are getting and too often neglecting those pesky non-radioactive things like the 3,000,000 tonnes of carbon emissions as well as the arsenic, lead and other fun heavy metals.

They've been getting that for over 200 years.

Known risks are always favored over unknown ones.

And we simply do not know what problems generating all our power from fission will create.

Granted it'll still not be something people should be handling in any sense for another thousand years or so, but I'm guessing if we're still around and technically advancing we'd have found a use for the stuff by that point.

Yes, guessing. That's all it is. We have no idea what our societies are going to look like in the next few thousand years, and it is immoral to burden them with the handling of our nuclear waste, or worse: when the natural changes in political, company, or societal organization leave behind management of the waste and it exacts its revenge on humanity.

We have pretty good evidence that a variety of societal models can function with the wastes of fossil fuels. And the long-term danger they pose is minor compared to the danger posed by a failure to manage nuclear waste.

Bad things will probably happen with nuclear fission, but they'll likely be relatively localised. Terrible things will happen if we keep using fossil fuels.

But the terrible things of fossil fuels are spread over the planet. Nuclear disasters take lives immediately and their effects are very apparent. Fossil fuel use may reduce life expectancy by a few years.

Apparently people are happier with the latter guaranteed than the former as a risk.

That's how people roll, ya know?

Like climate change?

Climate change is a real problem. But it seems to be a more manageable problem than the unknown problem posed by trying to store nuclear wastes for thousands of years under unknown political or social conditions.

I mean, we haven't even tapped into all the productive area of this planet. Remember our Ebola thread? The estimate was that farming an area of the Congo roughly the size of your little island could feed all the people now eating tainted and unsustainable foods.

Anyway... there are millions of people just like me who want nothing to do with fission. So long as we live in democratic societies, nuclear fission is not the future. And solar and wind power are relatively a joke. We'll burn through our fossil fuels until there aren't any left. Or...

... we'll develop fusion.

Oh... and people think fossil fuel energy is pretty cool. It is very much a 'cultural' thing.

Until we figure out the engineering and the science though, we'll have to opt for other solutions.

And none of those solutions seem likely to replace fossil fuels before we burn through the whole damn works.

Perhaps it's ironic, but I think the saddest thing of all this is not that we will be forced to switch from fossil fuels (which have plenty of drawbacks) after running out of them, but that we will completely lose a part of history. It seems like it'd be cooler to teach 10th graders about the Industrial Revolution by showing them coal-fueled steam engines than simply telling them about this thing called 'coal' that no longer exists and never will again exist for the rest of their lives.

And that's all the more reason I would like to see workable replacements for fossil fuels than the namby-pamby, not-a-chance-in-hell, hippy shit people have been putting forward in this thread.

I'm hoping for a real alternative; so far only fusion takes that cake.

But let's fund the boffins, maybe someone'll find something that is the key to making the whole thing work and I'm hopeful we'll all be better off because of it. How cool would it be to be powered by 1/64,000th of the sea (or whatever it is)!

Googled 'boffins'. Word now stored in mental dictionary.

I agree that we are likely to figure it out eventually. What's more, whatever we figure out will probably be able to fix most of the problems we have so far created.

The question then, though, is whether people in 2500, who have made that world work, will really think it is a good thing to return the planet to the state it was in in 1750.

Probably not.

Absent of making the whole damn place uninhabitable, the beat will probably just go on.


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 107 by Modulous, posted 11-13-2014 7:02 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 109 by Modulous, posted 11-13-2014 10:41 PM Jon has responded

  
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 109 of 130 (741697)
11-13-2014 10:41 PM
Reply to: Message 108 by Jon
11-13-2014 8:41 PM


All the best!
But it seems to be a more manageable problem than the unknown problem posed by trying to store nuclear wastes for thousands of years under unknown political or social conditions.

What makes you think managing the climate for thousands of years is more manageable than managing inanimate buried objects for the same period? If the last 50 years is any track record and all...

I mean, we haven't even tapped into all the productive area of this planet. Remember our Ebola thread? The estimate was that farming an area of the Congo roughly the size of your little island could feed all the people now eating tainted and unsustainable foods.

I'm cool with provisioning food for people and all, but as an on topic comment I might point out that massive agricultural transformations can sometimes have deleterious effects of their own.

Anyway... there are millions of people just like me who want nothing to do with fission.

So? Millions of people have all sorts of opinions, some of them frankly, a bit bonkers.

So long as we live in democratic societies, nuclear fission is not the future.

Good luck with that

quote:
PRINCETON, NJ -- One year after the tsunami and resulting failure of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, a majority of Americans continue to favor the use of nuclear energy as one of the ways to provide electricity for the U.S. The 57% who favor nuclear power this year is identical to the percentage measured in early March 2011, just before the Fukushima incident.

When asked a slightly different question about increasing the use of nuclear power the opinion seems more split.

And none of those solutions seem likely to replace fossil fuels before we burn through the whole damn works.

Perhaps it's ironic, but I think the saddest thing of all this is not that we will be forced to switch from fossil fuels (which have plenty of drawbacks) after running out of them, but that we will completely lose a part of history. It seems like it'd be cooler to teach 10th graders about the Industrial Revolution by showing them coal-fueled steam engines than simply telling them about this thing called 'coal' that no longer exists and never will again exist for the rest of their lives.

If we manage to burn all the coal that's thought to be left, we'll probably all be much too dead to worry about teaching children about why we're dead. Running out isn't the problem we once thought it was going to be.

And that's all the more reason I would like to see workable replacements for fossil fuels than the namby-pamby, not-a-chance-in-hell, hippy shit people have been putting forward in this thread.

I'm hoping for a real alternative; so far only fusion takes that cake.

So instead of implementing solutions that are known to work, you'd literally just hope for the best?

I agree that we are likely to figure it out eventually. What's more, whatever we figure out will probably be able to fix most of the problems we have so far created.

I don't think it's quite safe to trust that discovering the secrets of harnessing the power of fusion will solve the problem of rising temperatures causing natural carbon stores to release more carbon and any potential sustained feedback that may result.

ITER isn't expected to get fusion for another 13 years, if all goes to plan, which it almost never does. If it works, it'll probably be another decade or two before something becomes viable for actual use. That puts us at about the time we project to hit the 450ppm mark in atmospheric carbon. If it's our only hope, let's also hope that other factors manage to stop it going any further - our estimates right now suggest that this gives us a 50/50 chance of avoiding disaster that may make every nuclear power disaster to date look preferable.

The question then, though, is whether people in 2500, who have made that world work, will really think it is a good thing to return the planet to the state it was in in 1750.

Why is that the question?

Absent of making the whole damn place uninhabitable, the beat will probably just go on.

Ay, there's the rub.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 108 by Jon, posted 11-13-2014 8:41 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 110 by Jon, posted 11-14-2014 12:19 AM Modulous has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 110 of 130 (741704)
11-14-2014 12:19 AM
Reply to: Message 109 by Modulous
11-13-2014 10:41 PM


Re: All the best!
What makes you think managing the climate for thousands of years is more manageable than managing inanimate buried objects for the same period?

Who says we have to manage the climate? We're still alive and are likely to keep kicking. Climate change makes life tough, not impossible.

If we manage to burn all the coal that's thought to be left, we'll probably all be much too dead to worry about teaching children about why we're dead. Running out isn't the problem we once thought it was going to be.

How so? I haven't seen any models for global warming that predict complete extinction of humanity.

I don't think it's quite safe to trust that discovering the secrets of harnessing the power of fusion will solve the problem of rising temperatures causing natural carbon stores to release more carbon and any potential sustained feedback that may result.

Carbon can be removed from the atmosphere. And it might become cheaper to use alternate building material, thus allowing us to plant more trees, etc.


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 109 by Modulous, posted 11-13-2014 10:41 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 114 by Modulous, posted 11-14-2014 4:37 PM Jon has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19544
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 111 of 130 (741710)
11-14-2014 2:17 AM
Reply to: Message 101 by Rahvin
11-13-2014 3:17 PM


radioactive waste
Reprocessing spent fuel is superior in every way. France has been doing it for years; despite generating ~80% of their country's power from nuclear, they've produced a tiny fraction of the waste produced by US plants.

Of course the choices of how to use fission depends on two factors ...

(1) on how much a company can externalize costs, such as the disposal of waste material (this applies to all companies not just nuclear, it is just more of a problem with nuclear because of it being radioactive), and

(2) if government wants to use byproducts for other things like bombs. The whole issue with Iran is the potential for making atomic bombs.

Many people think that the US systems -- particularly the plants used by the military -- have secondary use as bomb material as a design feature. (cue conspiracy music).

People will also be concerned that fusion can also be used to make bombs (the human race seems rather fascinated by their ability to make and use weapons of mass destruction instead of peaceful purposes ...

Enjoy

Enjoy.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 101 by Rahvin, posted 11-13-2014 3:17 PM Rahvin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 112 by Rahvin, posted 11-14-2014 2:52 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1046 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


(1)
Message 112 of 130 (741713)
11-14-2014 2:52 AM
Reply to: Message 111 by RAZD
11-14-2014 2:17 AM


Re: radioactive waste
Of course the choices of how to use fission depends on two factors ...

(1) on how much a company can externalize costs, such as the disposal of waste material (this applies to all companies not just nuclear, it is just more of a problem with nuclear because of it being radioactive), and

The issue of cost as it pertains to fission is not primarily related to waste (and if you reprocess spent fuel, "waste" is just yet another source of income).

The major issue has been the regulatory structure built up around the nuclear industry. I'd bet you feel the same way I do when someone says "deregulation," but in this case the process of cutting through the red tape is actually prohibitive to teh point that companies very rarely bother to produce a nuclear plant when they can increase capacity in cheaper ways.

What would really help the nuclear industry (other than a swing in public opinion, of course) would be some new, modern designs that could be standardized so that each plant doesn't need to get its own design approved and permitted and so on. Well, that and eliminating the ban on fuel reprocessing.

(2) if government wants to use byproducts for other things like bombs. The whole issue with Iran is the potential for making atomic bombs.

Indeed. Nuclear weapons aren't terribly difficult to make. The physics is pretty well known, at least for the most basic of devices (miniaturization and higher yields are trickier, as I understand). The issue is enriching the fissile material - either separating U235, or using breeder reactors to create Plutonium. While the sort of fuel used in US reactors is typically not enriched enough (as in, there's still some U238 and other isotopes along with the U235) to be considered "weapons grade," the same cetrifuges used to enrich the fuel for a power reactor can enrich the fuel further to weapons grade, and the power plant itself can be used to create Plutonium.

Many people think that the US systems -- particularly the plants used by the military -- have secondary use as bomb material as a design feature. (cue conspiracy music).

Concerns over US proliferation are misguided. It's like worrying that a barrel of gasoline is flammable, when it's sitting in an entire room filled with a few tons of TNT. The US already has more nuclear weapons than it knows what to do with. Seriously, the US nuclear arsenal is so large that it's becoming a problem to maintain them all (the fissile material in teh warheads is still radioactive, of course, and that means that over time the material changes and needs to be replaced to maintain the weapons). And this is with a substantially smaller arsenal than what we used to have. We don't need super-secret-conspiracy power plants when we already have dedicated facilities for nuclear weapon production.

People will also be concerned that fusion can also be used to make bombs (the human race seems rather fascinated by their ability to make and use weapons of mass destruction instead of peaceful purposes ...

Fusion can be used to make weapons, and in fact the vast majority of the US nuclear arsenal is thermonuclear (meaning fusion as opposed to fission). We've been making fusion weapons since the 50s. We just use a fission reaction to get the high temperatures and pressure to initiate fusion for the real fireworks. Making fusion happen isn't difficult. What's difficult is making it a continuous, controlled chain reaction that produces more extractable energy than is required to start and maintain the process.

But unlike fission, a fusion power plant would have nothing to do with weaponization. The products of hydrogen-isotope fusion are largely Helium isotopes. Certainly nothing useful for weapons, and in such small quantities that we wouldn't even bother with the Helium for non-weapons purposes (Helium is a limited resource growing more scarce).


The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. - Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity. Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." - Barash, David 1995...

"Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends." - Gandalf, J. R. R. Tolkien: The Lord Of the Rings

Nihil supernum


This message is a reply to:
 Message 111 by RAZD, posted 11-14-2014 2:17 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 14910
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.1


(1)
Message 113 of 130 (741733)
11-14-2014 10:55 AM
Reply to: Message 102 by Rahvin
11-13-2014 3:24 PM


Re: All Good Things Suck — At First
Rahvin writes:

But Jon wasn't claiming we'd see Mr Fusion from Back to the Future. He was saying we could use fusion power stations to produce hydrogen as a fuel source for hydrogen-combustion or fuel-cell vehicles.


Maybe that's what he meant but I was asking specifically about using fusion "in" a car (Message 11). I think we're all on the same page about that now.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 102 by Rahvin, posted 11-13-2014 3:24 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 114 of 130 (741806)
11-14-2014 4:37 PM
Reply to: Message 110 by Jon
11-14-2014 12:19 AM


Re: All the best!
Who says we have to manage the climate?

Nobody. But nobody said we have to manage hlw either.

We're still alive and are likely to keep kicking

Though not everyone is.

Climate change makes life tough, not impossible.

*ring ring*
Hello? Oh hi! Yeah, he's here. OK, sure I will. Jon, it's for you, it's Venus.

How so? I haven't seen any models for global warming that predict complete extinction of humanity.

That's because models for global warming tend not to include projections for burning all the fossil fuels (mostly because achieving this would take longer than any reliable projections we can make). A few climate scientists have done some maths on the subject and the estimates from them suggest a global temperature increase of about 15 - 30 degrees C. This would be a mass extinction, and we'd be under serious threat. Even if some humans survived in some regions, they wouldn't be worried about taking their kids to Industrial Revolution museums.

Think PETM (35% extinction rate) happening 100-500 times faster (thus prohibiting evolution from attaining dwarfism as a means to allow for diversification and extinction avoidance). Insects would collapse, and pollination would be more limited, grasses and grains would die off and the animals that graze on them would follow (if they aren't dying of hyperthermia) as would we. We might be able to survive in Antartica or Siberia or something.

Carbon can be removed from the atmosphere. And it might become cheaper to use alternate building material, thus allowing us to plant more trees, etc.

Maybe. But then maybe we still need space in say, the Congo, to build farms. So we cut down an area of forest the size of Britain.

Most of the carbon that's in fossil fuels comes from long dead plant life and trees. It formed over millions of years. I would be surprised if a world with a lot less trees in it is able to sequester all that carbon within a few hundred years, and decomposing trees do let off some carbon anyway. A tree might absorb a ton of carbon over 50 years or so, but if temperatures are rising in the meantime we can expect more forest fires that almost completely undo this sequestering in some regions.

Getting say, 300 billion tonnes of carbon out of an atmosphere, and keeping it out of the atmosphere, and doing it before too many negative effects manifest, is very difficult.

And then we'll have to store it, potentially for millions of years protecting against disaster or malevolence releasing it all into the atmosphere again!

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 110 by Jon, posted 11-14-2014 12:19 AM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 115 by Jon, posted 11-14-2014 10:31 PM Modulous has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 115 of 130 (741838)
11-14-2014 10:31 PM
Reply to: Message 114 by Modulous
11-14-2014 4:37 PM


Re: All the best!
Hello? Oh hi! Yeah, he's here. OK, sure I will. Jon, it's for you, it's Venus.

Venus's atmosphere is almost 100% carbon dioxide. We aren't even close to that. And CO2 levels were far higher during previous eras with life still possible.

I don't think our current output of CO2 is going to make our lives rosy, but it also seems unlikely that it's going to extinguish us.

We might be able to survive in Antartica or Siberia or something.

Isn't that it? Climate change doesn't screw the whole planet - just certain parts of it, particularly the parts that we currently find very attractive for putting down roots.

Maybe. But then maybe we still need space in say, the Congo, to build farms. So we cut down an area of forest the size of Britain.

Fine by me. People are more important than trees.

Getting say, 300 billion tonnes of carbon out of an atmosphere, and keeping it out of the atmosphere, and doing it before too many negative effects manifest, is very difficult.

Unless we discover a super energy source that lets us do virtually anything we want at little to no cost. Then the currently uneconomical methods of CO2 removal become practical options.

In line with my statement of people living in 2500 that I made earlier, if we develop any technologies to get rid of current CO2, will likely need to address the question of what level of CO2 we do want. The earth's CO2 concentration has changed naturally during human history, and there is likely a preferable level that we would be wise to artificially maintain, even if it means some other things go extinct.

And then we'll have to store it, potentially for millions of years protecting against disaster or malevolence releasing it all into the atmosphere again!

Or shoot it into space (the Sun? a planet we want to live on?) on rockets powered by our almost free and unlimited energy source.

Again; this is why I think only successful fusion is going to solve any of the current problems. It doesn't look like we'll be largely switching anytime soon to solar or wind or fission. Perhaps fusion won't live up to its hype even if we can get it going.

But in that case, we're all left with massive global warming from total depletion of fossil fuels. And no after solution.


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 114 by Modulous, posted 11-14-2014 4:37 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 116 by Modulous, posted 11-15-2014 7:56 AM Jon has responded

  
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 116 of 130 (741847)
11-15-2014 7:56 AM
Reply to: Message 115 by Jon
11-14-2014 10:31 PM


Re: All the best!
CO2 levels were far higher during previous eras with life still possible.

Life is possible all over the place. Human life is a different matter. If we change the climate faster than the many moving parts of our food supply chain can adapt to, that's going to be a serious problem. The PETM resulted in a 30% extinction rate and the carbon output was less than it is today.

I don't think our current output of CO2 is going to make our lives rosy, but it also seems unlikely that it's going to extinguish us.

Neither is fission power. And 'not rosy' is an interesting euphemism for 'millions dead'.

Isn't that it? Climate change doesn't screw the whole planet - just certain parts of it, particularly the parts that we currently find very attractive for putting down roots.

In that scenario, billions would be dead, and a few thousands or millions surviving in small pockets is an outside possibility I mentioned. Is this preferable to fission power?

And by 'certain parts' you mean almost all of it?

Maybe. But then maybe we still need space in say, the Congo, to build farms. So we cut down an area of forest the size of Britain.

Fine by me. People are more important than trees.

Well you were the one that mentioned planting more trees. I was just pointing out that we'll still be cutting them down even if we aren't building stuff out of them.

Unless we discover a super energy source that lets us do virtually anything we want at little to no cost.

I'd kind of like to have a contingency plan just in case we don't, you know?

Again; this is why I think only successful fusion is going to solve any of the current problems. It doesn't look like we'll be largely switching anytime soon to solar or wind or fission.

Hence why some people are arguing we should be trying to increase solar, wind and fission power production. Even if it doesn't 'solve' our problems, it can buy us the time we need to create a rainbow machine that powers the world.

But in that case, we're all left with massive global warming from total depletion of fossil fuels. And no after solution.

Naturally, if we don't have contingency and mitigation plans. I'm just suggesting we should have such plans.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 115 by Jon, posted 11-14-2014 10:31 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 117 by Jon, posted 11-15-2014 9:13 AM Modulous has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 117 of 130 (741868)
11-15-2014 9:13 AM
Reply to: Message 116 by Modulous
11-15-2014 7:56 AM


Re: All the best!
If we change the climate faster than the many moving parts of our food supply chain can adapt to, that's going to be a serious problem.

Our food doesn't really come through a 'chain', unless you are talking about a production/processing chain.

The PETM resulted in a 30% extinction rate and the carbon output was less than it is today.

Where did you get this information from?

And 'not rosy' is an interesting euphemism for 'millions dead'.

Who's dead?

In that scenario, billions would be dead, and a few thousands or millions surviving in small pockets is an outside possibility I mentioned.

Why are all these people dying?

Well you were the one that mentioned planting more trees. I was just pointing out that we'll still be cutting them down even if we aren't building stuff out of them.

Of course. But those are ones we already should be cutting down. My point was that we could cut down fewer trees overall if we weren't needing them for building material (if using other materials became cheaper).

I'd kind of like to have a contingency plan just in case we don't, you know?

We already do. It involves switching to solar, wind, fission, etc. and dealing with their consequences instead.

Hence why some people are arguing we should be trying to increase solar, wind and fission power production. Even if it doesn't 'solve' our problems, it can buy us the time we need to create a rainbow machine that powers the world.

I agree. But increasing use of these energy-generating methods shouldn't involve a reduction in our standard of living (which, despite Global Warming, continues to grow).

Naturally, if we don't have contingency and mitigation plans. I'm just suggesting we should have such plans.

Those plans won't prevent the level of global warming caused by total depletion of fossil fuels.


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 116 by Modulous, posted 11-15-2014 7:56 AM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 118 by Modulous, posted 11-15-2014 1:01 PM Jon has responded

  
Modulous
Member
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 118 of 130 (741894)
11-15-2014 1:01 PM
Reply to: Message 117 by Jon
11-15-2014 9:13 AM


Re: All the best!
Our food doesn't really come through a 'chain', unless you are talking about a production/processing chain.

Wrong. Insects are required for much of our food to get pollinated. And grains are required for much of our meat.

The PETM resulted in a 30% extinction rate and the carbon output was less than it is today.
Where did you get this information from?

Weather underground
Nature Geoscience wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica and so on.

It's not hyper obscure information beyond the realms of most search engines.

Who's dead?

Some people. You know, extreme weather events kill in all sorts of ways and it's impossible to point at any one and say 'but for climate change it wouldn't have happened'. Just like with cancer deaths from nuclear accidents, it's all in the statistics. And I was also talking future tense, so I was including people not yet dead.

Why are all these people dying?

Hyperthermia, starvation, drowning, diseases like Ebola and malaria, there's lots of ways to die in a world with global temperatures are moving towards being 15-30 degrees K higher than they are today.

Of course. But those are ones we already should be cutting down. My point was that we could cut down fewer trees overall if we weren't needing them for building material (if using other materials became cheaper).

And my point is that we'd still have less trees overall to absorb the carbon than we're releasing via fossil fuels.

We already do. It involves switching to solar, wind, fission, etc. and dealing with their consequences instead.

Exactly.

But increasing use of these energy-generating methods shouldn't involve a reduction in our standard of living

Huh?

Those plans won't prevent the level of global warming caused by total depletion of fossil fuels.

Obviously. So we should put them in place before we deplete the fossil fuels. That's what I'm suggesting. Burning all the fossil fuels at the current rate would be insane and I'm betting - pretty hard to do.

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 117 by Jon, posted 11-15-2014 9:13 AM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 120 by Jon, posted 11-18-2014 1:46 AM Modulous has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19544
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 2.9


(1)
Message 119 of 130 (742163)
11-17-2014 4:29 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by Jon
11-08-2014 5:41 PM


reality of fusion vs solar, wind and other renewable sources
Unless you can tell me what those energy needs are, you can't demonstrate feasibility for advanced and powerful first-world nations with massive energy requirements.

It seems to me that you are the one claiming "massive energy requirements" without any definition of what those requirements are.

If we look at household needs, the typical house has lights, tv, computer, stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, AC and heat requirements. All of these systems can be powered by local 24vdc systems, and we know this because we can design mobile homes and yachts with such systems. The only question then becomes how you generate the 24vdc power. Obviously batteries can be -- and have been -- used to power these, normally charged by a generator.

Thus all you need to do is take the generator output and convert that to solar panel and wind turbine output. This has been done. Google off-grid housing.

Curiously I have a friend who lives on a sailboat and is totally self-sufficient via wind and solar generation.

Pharmaceutical companies aren't very good either; but I think we can all agree that the science of developing and using drugs is a pretty good thing.

Where they are bad is for the same reasons -- they hold people hostage for services considered necessary for minimal quality of life.

Of course. I've mentioned several times that renewable energy is the only sensible route where it can be done cost-effectively and with results comparable to the current mainstream methods (fossil fuels).

When you consider the total cost of fossil fuels, not just the corporation costs, but the externalized costs to the environment and cleanup of waste and spills, including global warming, their cost is significantly higher.

For instance there are two main ways to produce paper, one is cheaper than the other when you can dump waste into a river without cleaning it, but the other is cheaper when you have to clean the waste before dumping effluent into rivers. The US is littered with the former plants and has very few of the latter (if any). Same with coal ash and other waste by-products of the fossil fuel industry.

I have no interest in discussing people rebelling against the 'Company' by putting solar panels on their roofs and windmills in their yards.

You can choose to live in their shadow and breath their exhaust, or you can choose to go your own way.

Enjoy.


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by our ability to understand
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This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by Jon, posted 11-08-2014 5:41 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 121 by Jon, posted 11-18-2014 10:35 AM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 120 of 130 (742205)
11-18-2014 1:46 AM
Reply to: Message 118 by Modulous
11-15-2014 1:01 PM


Re: All the best!
The PETM resulted in a 30% extinction rate and the carbon output was less than it is today.
Where did you get this information from?

Weather underground
Nature Geoscience wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica and so on.

It's not hyper obscure information beyond the realms of most search engines.

From your first cite I found:

quote:
"PETM: Global Warming, Naturally" from Weather Underground:

Ecosystems adapted remarkably well to the PETM warming, likely because it was gradual enough for life to adjust to the new environment. The only species extinction that scientists have found were some foraminifera that lived on the sea floor.


From Wikipedia:

quote:
Wikipedia on the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum:

The increase in mammalian abundance is intriguing. There is no evidence of any increased extinction rate among the terrestrial biota. Increased CO2 levels may have promoted dwarfing – which may have encouraged speciation. Many major mammalian orders – including the Artiodactyla, horses, and primates – appeared and spread around the globe 13,000 to 22,000 years after the initiation of the PETM.


So where's this 30% mass extinction?

Hyperthermia, starvation, drowning, diseases like Ebola and malaria, there's lots of ways to die in a world with global temperatures are moving towards being 15-30 degrees K higher than they are today.

I understand why people die.

What I don't understand is where you get estimates such as "billions would be dead, and a few thousands or millions surviving". The planet now supports more people than ever before and that that number is only increasing. As a percentage, the Black Death ousted more Europeans than even the highest estimates of climate-change-related deaths in modern times.

But increasing use of these energy-generating methods shouldn't involve a reduction in our standard of living

Huh?

Energy capture is directly related to standard of living. The competing technologies are less reliable than fossil fuels. For example, there is no existing storage infrastructure that would allow us to provide all our power from wind or solar, and there isn't even a feasible way to construct such infrastructure.

Obviously. So we should put them in place before we deplete the fossil fuels. That's what I'm suggesting. Burning all the fossil fuels at the current rate would be insane and I'm betting - pretty hard to do.

But it seems like we aren't going to put them in place before we deplete the fossil fuels. If we switched as much of our energy production to renewable as possible, we'd still be burning fossil fuels because in many cases right now they are the only option. We'd burn through them much more slowly, but we'd still be burning through them, and we'd certainly never meet the U.N.'s recommendation of being carbon free in 85 years. Unless...

We accept major decreases in our standard of living (think unstable power supply, no steel, no cement, no plastic, etc.), or...

We develop fusion.


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 118 by Modulous, posted 11-15-2014 1:01 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 123 by Modulous, posted 11-18-2014 3:06 PM Jon has responded

  
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