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Old 11-11-2011, 10:28 AM
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Default fossil fuel subsidies

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Although the recovery in the world economy since 2009 has been uneven, and future economic prospects remain uncertain, global primary energy demand rebounded by a remarkable 5% in 2010, pushing CO2 emissions to a new high. Subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption of fossil fuels jumped to over $400bn (£250.7bn)."
World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns | Environment | The Guardian

Looking at all these subsidies for energy stuff - no energy source seems to be excluded. There are subsidies for Solar and Wind obviously and people usually complain about them because they "distort the market", but then there are subsidies for nuclear power, too (especially in terms of R&D and waste storage but also in terms of insurance for accidents) and now that number for fossil fuels. I wonder what it would look like if all the real costs, including the needed insurances for disasters as well as the cleanup costs for things like nuclear accidents, large scale oil spills and toxic mining lakes would be part of the price of a particular energy source. I wonder which energy source would then be acceptable and what would be the price and how we would regard energy then. Probably as something precious that has to be conserved rather than wasted because the true costs are paid by the general public, increasinf government debt and unremediated environmental damage.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:14 PM
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Power generation seems to create pretty substantial amount of carbon dioxide emissions, which I always presumed would come mainly from transportation. Then I look at the graph representing what sources are used in majority of energy production, and it becomes pretty obvious.

Needs more renewable energy sources, and if that doesn't cut it, then nuclear power on top of that should do the trick.
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:11 PM
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Modern nuclear is, functionally, renewable. Uranium and thorium are pretty much infinite, and the waste can be mostly recycled.

Also, what does "irreversible" mean? Does it take into account methodsw of explicitly removing carbon dioxide?
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:24 PM
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Perhaps the reason coal and natural gas are seeing a resurgence is because clean, practical sources like nuclear are constrained by nimbyism, and nobody wants to pay 10-20x as much for solar.

Quote:
Another factor likely to increase emissions is the decision by some governments to abandon nuclear energy, following the Fukushima disaster. "The shift away from nuclear worsens the situation," said Birol. If countries turn away from nuclear energy, the result could be an increase in emissions equivalent to the current emissions of Germany and France combined.
Enough said - I would even expect the increase to be significantly larger than that, since France's emissions are actually relatively low.

Transportation has nearly nothing to do with CO2 in comparison - it's just a political symbol and convenient because it's easy to screw people over to make politicians look like they're doing something without affecting business interests or making any actual change, just making people's lives harder.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:52 PM
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I think solar should only be used in exceptionally sunny environments, wind should be used in windy environments, and the same for water Also, I feel like we should continue to pursue geothermal energy, which would be more than able to replace gas and other nonrenewable resources.

<.< and that is all I have to say about this.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:12 PM
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I am not going to turn this into another nuclear power debate. We had plenty of those here and I gave my arguments against them and I have not heard convincing evidence against a couple of my main arguments except the mentioning of some yet-to-be-developed-to-economic-viability technologies which could in the future be some solution. As it is now, at this time, e.g. in pro-nuclear China they rather build classic reactors with the known risks.

I think we'd need first and foremost energy efficiency - and USE it to actually REDUCE energy demand instead of invoking Jevons Paradox every time. Then we'd need to use energy smart. And then we'd be able to replace the power generation with technologies that fit to the localities like Moco said.

I think the problem with irreversible climate change refers to the invokation of nonlinearities. If there are feedback loops involved earths climate could topple into a new state. Kind of like it jumps tracks. There are some scientific evidencess that these nonlinearities allow for no stable climate between 2°C and about 5°C above past century levels. What this would mean is that once the tracks are jumped, the effort to jump back would be rather hard - a lot of CO2 would have to be removed on purpose to do this. This in turn is hard to control - I can imagine, but this is speculation now, that such a purposeful change would have the risk of inciting a new ice age. Climate is pretty hard to control, it is one of the most massive and complex systems on this planet....
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"Humans are storytellers. These stories then can become our reality. Only when we loose ourselves in the stories they have the power to control us. Our culture got lost in the wrong story, a story of death and defeat, of opression and control, of separation and competition. We need a new story!"
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:39 PM
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We are developing highly efficient electric systems. However, that won't matter if World's population keeps growing, therefore, demanding more power (and fuel). That's the problem.
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:00 PM
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that, too. A lot of the predictions about replacing current energy production systems with others and a lot of the time calculations about how long coal/oil/uranium/gas will last into the future or how much minerals are used for solar panels/electric cars/wind turbines do calculate the present day consumption as a basis, while in reality the demand for energy rises sharply because population goes up, but especially because the population already there is using more energy per capita every year. And this is sadly even true for at least some of the nations that already are on top of the list of energy demand.
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Stop terraforming Earth (wordpress)

"Humans are storytellers. These stories then can become our reality. Only when we loose ourselves in the stories they have the power to control us. Our culture got lost in the wrong story, a story of death and defeat, of opression and control, of separation and competition. We need a new story!"
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Old 11-12-2011, 09:20 AM
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Besides, most people aren't even energy conscious, meaning that they don't think about the amount of electricity they consume. I'm kind of in the middle of all this, as I mostly at least try to keep power consumption to minimum, like keeping as little lights on as possible and using energy efficient parts in my computer, but that is also my main problem, because computer still uses at least 100W in total and it's on most of the time.
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Old 11-12-2011, 02:56 PM
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Subsidies are often political moves to gather votes. Others directly affect the costs of food production and transportation. Affecting the subsidies will directly affect the price tag of food and the most affected will be low income people. In a politically moved world, cutting a subsidy is like committing suicide. The alternative energies will have to be competitively cheap to replace fossil fuels.
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