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  #31  
Old 11-23-2011, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Clarke View Post
No, the problem is a government structured in a way that promotes selfish thinking.
It is not so much the government as it is the economy. After all the present economic system is largely based on the flawed logic that if just everyone acts in his own self interest, somehow a good, stable and just economy will emerge. Thats Ayn Rand and all that - its not in the government, its in the economy. The governments sadly have become slaves to the economy though, so you are right in the end I guess, but it is a larger picture

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All the nimbyism regarding solutions to the problem is what is endangering the world. Without that, there would not be any new coal/oil power stations built and even the ability to shut extant ones down before the end of their operational life
What does it have to do with NIMBY - If there is no NIMBY, people would maybe just accept a coal plant in their backyard. Provided it has good scrubbers to remove the particles and sulfur from the exhause. CO2 after all does not smell or bother the neighbors. And actually some regions were profiting from it. The west of Germany kept mining coal and burning it for a long time after it had become uneconomic - mainly to keep the jobs of the miners and steel workers and all that.

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Exactly. Oil was going to run out in the 80s 90s 2000s 2010s 2020s, right? The world was going to end in 1988 1992 1994 2000 2012. When people believe something will happen, they will always keep setting the date further forwards when it doesn't turn up.
Hehe, yeah - nuclear fusion was always said to be "just around the corner in just 20 years" (that constant has not been broken as of yet).

But peak oil - I dont know. Looking at this chart - at least production seems to have reached a plateau snce about 2004, some slight increase is predicted by the IEA if all kinds of unconventional oil will be used. The environmental impact is rising sharply and the EROEI is dropping as sharply. I think these are clear signs that we are "scraping the bottom of the barrel". Of course there will be oil in the future. The statement that "oil will run out" is nonsense. The problem is not that one day there will not be oil when the day before it was there. It is that the production cannot be increased and eventually decreases while prices shoot up, only stopped by a severe economic crisis.
And more on topic with climate change - people were predicting climate change within 2-3 decades about 2-3 decades ago. And what happened? Nothing? We are still alive? That was not what they said back then. What they said was that climage is changing and global surface temperatures would rise. And they did. And now it is more than half a degree centigrade warmer than in the 1970ies. The alarmists of their time were right - just that we dont all sweat in winter by now does not mean that there is no problem. Climate change wont work that way. But still - even personal experience begins to show it. This year, trees around southern Germany started to go in bloom again in Oktober instead of around March/April next year. They started to get leafs and buds, just to be killed by frost. Of course its anecdotal (Probably happened before in history) but the hard science supports that the change is here.
These predictions about 5 years is also not that in 5 years the world will turn into a hothouse and deserts will be in the UK - but a certain threshold will be passed that has a meaning - that after that date, it will require massive efforts and uneconomic actions (like shutting down newly built coal plants - what company would do that voluntarily?) to save the greenland ice shield from melting.

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Originally Posted by Loverofnature View Post
interestingly enough, the readings of the atmosphere read, that the atmosphere is actually retracting, which is the sign of a cooldown and not a warm up.
physics teacher told me that
No offense, but I think a physics teacher is hardly a source I would build my world view on
And even if the atmosphere as a whole cools - the part we have to be concerned about is surface temperature because this is where the ice and the biota are.
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  #32  
Old 11-23-2011, 11:52 PM
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I always thought oil had at least 100 more years before running out
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:56 PM
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I always thought oil had at least 100 more years before running out
That's what the word on the street is.
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  #34  
Old 11-24-2011, 12:27 AM
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Word on the street is also that coal will take way the **** longer to run out, which concerns me greatly since coal has to be scraped up
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  #35  
Old 11-24-2011, 02:30 AM
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Coincidentally, new emails of IPCC have just been released. (Read it yesterday in the BBC website, but BBC is unavailable at the moment of writing this).
Confidence is something that cannot be restored after it has been broken. Remember when a certain group of scientists alarmingly warned the world saying that the Himalayas were going dry in 30 years time? After a simple calculation, they were proven wrong and they finally admitted they did it on a political basis. The whole debate about what is really happening to the global climate could have been over a long time ago if the data and methods used by the IPCC were openly released for revision.
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  #36  
Old 11-24-2011, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
What does it have to do with NIMBY - If there is no NIMBY, people would maybe just accept a coal plant in their backyard. Provided it has good scrubbers to remove the particles and sulfur from the exhause. CO2 after all does not smell or bother the neighbors. And actually some regions were profiting from it. The west of Germany kept mining coal and burning it for a long time after it had become uneconomic - mainly to keep the jobs of the miners and steel workers and all that.
Of course, I was referring primarily to nuclear, but it equally applies to other energy sources. Nobody wants massive wind turbines ruining their view, making noise and killing all the local birds, nobody wants a large expanse of land cleared, flattened and covered in mirrors and PV cells, and of course, nobody wants to lose their home because they're building a dam downriver. Even smaller scale sustainable energy sources such as coppiced woodland with wood burning for energy generation and carbon capture are likely to raise objections as they vastly reduce the biodiversity of the affected area.

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Hehe, yeah - nuclear fusion was always said to be "just around the corner in just 20 years" (that constant has not been broken as of yet).
Only for the last decade or so, and we are significantly closer then - just see NIF or JET. In the 90s, lasers of the power level regularly used in fusion experiments today had not even been thought of.
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  #37  
Old 11-28-2011, 06:27 PM
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The whole debate about what is really happening to the global climate could have been over a long time ago if the data and methods used by the IPCC were openly released for revision.
This is conspiracy thinking. The IPCC is merely the institution that tries to bring scientific results to politics. It does that job not perfectly, but the underlying science is not depending on the IPCC for the overwhelming majority of projects. The studies about climate, climate change and human impact are incredibly numerous and funded by all kinds of agencies. There were even some funded by "climate change deniers" that came up with the same results as the others ones. Overall, the measured impacts and changes in climate do match or even exceed the estimates of scientific modelling done many years ago. One constant is that "it happens faster than we thought".
And re this article - it is from the freaking IEA - a bunch of guys who always used to tell us that there is no problem in the next few years.

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Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
Nobody wants massive wind turbines ruining their view, making noise and killing all the local birds, nobody wants a large expanse of land cleared, flattened and covered in mirrors and PV cells,....
Oh yeah - it is much better to have stuff in the own backyard that destroys things elsewhere, by putting out CO2 or by producing nuclear waste that has to be buried elsewhere.
I dont think NIMBY is a problem so much. Actually people next to nuclear power plants do not always mind it - in some cases they are well paid. But the impact of it ranges farther. Honestly I think those who profit from something should also have to live with the impact. If someone wants nuclear power, they should not mind living next to a nuclear plant and nuclear waste storage. If someone wants solar or wind, they should not mind those contraptions built next to where they live. There is no clean and no-impact source of energy. And if one actually experiecnces the impact of it oneself, one may be much less inclined to waste energy or to create stuff that uses even more energy. This is only too easy if one can drop the trash on someone elses land or on everyone elses land.

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Only for the last decade or so, and we are significantly closer then - just see NIF or JET. In the 90s, lasers of the power level regularly used in fusion experiments today had not even been thought of.
Interestingly it seems that despite those power levels never thought of do not make that 20 years timeframe decline. Seriously - the mean value of predictions of when fusion power will be available is always 20 years over the past 25 years or so that I can remember (and possibly even before that). Some optimists who do not understand the problems in detail claim 10 years, others say it will never work, but the general number is always 20 years ([url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEMO]DEMO is said to start running in 22 years, and it is based on the assumption that ITER will produce positive results in about 15 years).
If they make it - good for them. I will accept new situations when they arise, but I would not bet the world on it. Basically there are 2 possibilities we face if we change the way we use and produce energy now - a) DEMO will work in 20 years and fusion poower will happen on a large scale in 40-50 years, then we have invested some money in energy sources that have become obsolete by then - after a lifetime of 40-50 years and have produced cleaner energy in that time - people have learned to value energy more and consume less. Not a big loss I'd say. Or fusion does not work in that timeframe but takes 60, 80, 100 years or never works as cleanly and safe as hoped for - then at least we already made some good steps. I think nothing can be lost by acting now under the assumption that fusion will not come in time.
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  #38  
Old 11-28-2011, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
No offense, but I think a physics teacher is hardly a source I would build my world view on
And even if the atmosphere as a whole cools - the part we have to be concerned about is surface temperature because this is where the ice and the biota are.
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  #39  
Old 11-29-2011, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
This is conspiracy thinking. The IPCC is merely the institution that tries to bring scientific results to politics. It does that job not perfectly, but the underlying science is not depending on the IPCC for the overwhelming majority of projects. The studies about climate, climate change and human impact are incredibly numerous and funded by all kinds of agencies. There were even some funded by "climate change deniers" that came up with the same results as the others ones. Overall, the measured impacts and changes in climate do match or even exceed the estimates of scientific modelling done many years ago. One constant is that "it happens faster than we thought".
And re this article - it is from the freaking IEA - a bunch of guys who always used to tell us that there is no problem in the next few years.
You can't claim they're squeaky clean. There is still a lack of transparency and cases of data manipulation no matter the integrity of the actual data.

Quote:
I dont think NIMBY is a problem so much. Actually people next to nuclear power plants do not always mind it - in some cases they are well paid. But the impact of it ranges farther. Honestly I think those who profit from something should also have to live with the impact. If someone wants nuclear power, they should not mind living next to a nuclear plant and nuclear waste storage. If someone wants solar or wind, they should not mind those contraptions built next to where they live. There is no clean and no-impact source of energy. And if one actually experiecnces the impact of it oneself, one may be much less inclined to waste energy or to create stuff that uses even more energy. This is only too easy if one can drop the trash on someone elses land or on everyone elses land.
About right. The problem is that for less educated people, nobody wants ANY production near them of any kind.

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Interestingly it seems that despite those power levels never thought of do not make that 20 years timeframe decline. Seriously - the mean value of predictions of when fusion power will be available is always 20 years over the past 25 years or so that I can remember (and possibly even before that).
Yes, it's subject to upward revision, but you're overstating it, ironic in the same breath as promoting the latest upward revision of your own belief
Reactions can today be contained, and work is on improving the necessary conditions and energy return. I agree that it would be extremely stupid to go 'well, things SHOULD be able to be replaced in 20-30 years so we shouldn't renew infrastructure now', as a lack of renewal would price consumers out of the market entirely unless governments are forced to regulate, and perhaps even directly set energy prices. Decommissioning some now-obsolete infrastructure before the end of its lifetime is a small cost in comparison.

On the other hand, remember that advancement is exponential. It took humans millennia to go from bashing rocks together to working simple metals, or hundreds of years to go from hot air balloons to aeroplanes, then only 44 years to break the sound barrier, then merely another 22 years to humans walking on the moon, while today, the number of transistors on a chip regularly doubles by the year. The vast majority of classic scifi underestimates progress when showing or referencing events that are now in the past, and indeed, the perception that something should be doable is an extreme drive towards its actual accomplishment.
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  #40  
Old 11-29-2011, 02:55 AM
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No one is "squeaky clean". No one. Not the IPCC, not the politicians and not science in general. About 5% of all scientific studies have falsified or badly interpreted data or did not follow proper scientific methods. But that is just 5% - it still means that 95% are good and at the number of studies speaking in favour for human made climate change even if 5% of those would be bogous, it still is vastly convincing.

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About right. The problem is that for less educated people, nobody wants ANY production near them of any kind.
Oh bummer - well, that is something to think about then. Maybe people do not want that much production then? As I said - I think everyone should be able to have production and energy and whatnot, if one is willing to accept the impact directly. The current practice of wanting energy, cellphones, cars and all that stuff but of course not have mining, exhaust, oil drilling and greenhouse gases in the back yard is evil. Mostly because it translates into others paying the price. If no one wants production near them, well then maybe there will have to be less production or it has to be changed in a way that makes people not dislike it. This would be a good incentive to build safe, clean, beautiful factories instead of those monsters they have now and that can only be built because the opinion of the people living on site does not count.

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I agree that it would be extremely stupid to go 'well, things SHOULD be able to be replaced in 20-30 years so we shouldn't renew infrastructure now'
Indeed - and I think the replacement should be made in a way that will also make sense if the fusion solution will not work out in the end.

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On the other hand, remember that advancement is exponential.
It is not always. It is for computer calculations. But in other areas an exponential increase in advancement is not leading to exponential improvement in technology. Solar cell efficiency is not growing exponentially. The development of cures for certain diseases like cancer is not exponentially. I think Moorles law cannot simply be translates to all technology and science.

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The vast majority of classic scifi underestimates progress...
That I dont get. Looking at SciFi from the 20th century, the ideas what would happen by the year 2000 are crazy and in many aspects totally wrong. True, there was not so much thought about communications, videophones and such was however about right - but they thought of space hotels, colonizing mars, artificially intelligent robots and therelike. I'd not say that they underestimated this.
But mind one thing - the purpose of good SciFi is not only to inspire people about future possibilities but also to warn about possible future consequences, present day problems and their projection in the future...
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  #41  
Old 11-29-2011, 03:46 AM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
It is not always. It is for computer calculations. But in other areas an exponential increase in advancement is not leading to exponential improvement in technology. Solar cell efficiency is not growing exponentially. The development of cures for certain diseases like cancer is not exponentially. I think Moorles law cannot simply be translates to all technology and science.
Some of these could theoretically be in the very early stages of exponential growth. I hope as much, anyway.
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Old 11-29-2011, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by auroraglacialis View Post
It is not always. It is for computer calculations. But in other areas an exponential increase in advancement is not leading to exponential improvement in technology. Solar cell efficiency is not growing exponentially. The development of cures for certain diseases like cancer is not exponentially. I think Moorles law cannot simply be translates to all technology and science.
I thought that you of all people should know not to use solar power as such an example, because you know very well, that technology doesn't progress without money, and you know what I said about the monetary implications of solar power, that it just doesn't fit the current paradigm.

If technological development was independent from everything in our society, then one could argue with such examples, but as it stands, the progress of technology is always tied to its financial implications.
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  #43  
Old 12-01-2011, 09:10 AM
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Yes thats true - social, financial and franky resource limitations are reasons to slow down "development". Which is why I dont think exponential growth in technology is not possible in all branches of it.
Especially with the law of diminishing returns in place. The only reason why technology grows fast and in some cases even exponentially is because at the same time exponentially more resources are put into it (human, natural, mineral, informational, computational). In computer technology it is a bit of a special case because in this case, at least one of the resources required (computational power) is generated by the process itself, which is why it can be exponentially growing. Processes usually only grow exponentially if they are having some feedback loop in which this happens - in which the output feeds into the growth again. Other technologies that do not have this characteristic are dragged along by computer technologies growth. Still the other resources are not growing in the same way, minearl, human and natural resources as well as energy is not able to keep up with the increasing demand of this exponentially growing technology on such a wide and large scale.
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  #44  
Old 12-01-2011, 10:26 AM
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Yes thats true - social, financial and franky resource limitations are reasons to slow down "development". Which is why I dont think exponential growth in technology is not possible in all branches of it.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and that is what you are. It's ironic that we are both against the same things, but inherently for very different reasons. You do this for the environmental reasons, and while I also know that that is of utmost importance, I'm not all that noble, because I'm in it more for the sake of technology, which I think should be obvious, based on what I said on the thread; "what is paradise to you?". The natural world is a bit too demanding for me, so it would be hypocritical of me to agree with you on those goals that would mean my demise. To refresh your memory, our past conversation about ambient room temperatures should point you the right way.

As for the rest, that's exactly how it is, because developing better computers allows the development of even better computers and so on, not to mention the benefits that come with increased computational potential. Developing cheap renewable energy sources is against such ideal, because once you get such system in place, there is no reason to invest in it anymore, and thus developing it would stop altogether. Everything in our financial system is based on the impossibility of endless growth, and as you mentioned, while there are some branches of technology where such paradigm can work to a degree, it's impossible to achieve any sort of sustainability in our current model.

Suffice to say that if the advancement of technology cannot be used to make more money than it consumes, then such development rarely, if at all, happens.
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:53 PM
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You know what the funny thing is, in Germany they decided to go down with nuclear reactors, and now they got PLUS OF 20% CO2-Emmissions in 2011.
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