Originally Posted by Titus Pullo
We "can"... provided we all accept some very sobering and painful realities, and stop the partisan goofiness. Unfortunately, there is almost no indication this country can get past the gridlock.
We're where we are. We're who we are. There is a certain capacity for movement in what we will do.
Does that limit doom us, or within that limit, is there a more doomed and a less doomed path?
Is the less doomed but still ultimately doomed path the enemy of the solution as it really will unfold, if we are to "prevail" in the energy dilemma as you see it? (See below)
And posters like the OP here are the perfect example of why. It's the same reason nothing will ever be done about climate change until it's too late. Capitalism has made too many people too powerful and too greedy.
And here we are, greedy capitalists.
Now, being greedy capitalists: what can we do, within the confines of what's politically possible, to move toward a solution?
The partisanship lecture cuts both ways, and I'm sure our local rightists will be glad to jump on that fact. But I take it you see this thorium thingie and biofuels as inherently ill-suited to play significant roles in a solution.
13 sees solar and wind energy similarly from what I've read, and believes himself to be very persuasive because he knows the phrase "energy density." He then points out you'd need a wind farm the size of a big empty state or two to generate all the energy the country needs, or makes a more outlandish claim, and proclaims all others incapable of doing math. It does not dawn on him that we have a big empty state or two to do this in, or more like 10; it does not dawn on him that 25% of energy generation, for example, cuts down the problem by 25%. It does not dawn on him that when you say "to build all those within 10 years would take..." it means you've preemptively declared that you must get from a two-century-old fossil fuel model to any given alternative model within 10 years.
These things are not true. You do need to address the gap between one mode of energy production and the next, and doing it faster is better than doing it slower.
Of course you don't just stick them wind turbines wherever there's no people, you spread them out, and shoot for high elevations. You build solar in sunny empty places. You build a more efficient grid. You move away from gasoline-powered cars on the consumer end. Etc.
But, and this is a big but, much like my own: is the other guy really the enemy for liking some solutions that have a downside? The whole thorium thing, if I read your respective arguments correctly, evidently promises less waste from nukes, but won't be reality for 30-50 years. Well, 35 years ago I was a kid and we had our big wakeup call, supposedly. We didn't do sh1t. It really will be 30 years from now someday.
I have no problem with letting that flower bloom. I do have a big problem with nuclear being the centerpiece of a move out of oil. (Ask Japan about that one). But we're talking about powering whole modern societies. So as a stopgap I've reluctantly decided you need something else.
Nukes can melt down. Oil kills ecosystems and besides is going bye-bye. Natural gas = fracking, OMG, and 13 et. al occasionally post things about birds getting killed by windmills. (Not quite the same thing, I'll grant you, but you get the idea.)
Conservatives and their perpetual rejection of nature and the Earth's natural limits have become a scourge upon mankind.
I'm not sure you're wrong about this. I do however wonder whether we're meant to believe we can and will decide to move to natural power sources within a few years -- which is precisely the argument you make, when you say oil-based energy will now be too expensive, forever, to maintain anything like the country we currently know.
So, with the actual electorate we have, with the actual fiscal position we're presently in (I mean the recession, much more than the debt, but the political conflation of the two is also part of our reality), where do we go?
All I'm getting at is, what are the headwinds, and what are the tailwinds? We have a tailwind at present: This country needs and wants jobs, more than ever in my lifetime.
What we don't have for renewables is the infrastructure (which is already built for fossil fuels.)
Elsewhere, I saw PR
floating the idea of turning much of the present military into a modern-day CCC. It wouldn't save much money, but we could "turn swords into shovels," in his wording. We'd also avoid converting veterans into an instant new wave of unemployment, were we to stand down from our present imperial stance.
Nothing wrong with putting them to work on some turbines, if you ask me. Nothing wrong with gearing up to build the blades here either, by the way, but that's another story.
I'm not so against biofuels. I'm not so against nuclear. That's a matter of pragmatism.
I do have problems with them being looked at as the ultimate solution, and yes, I'm well aware that we'll instantly have voices clamoring to become addicted to today's expedient fix, then work on tomorrow's better version of the expedient fix, and setting us up for ecological disasters or permanent fuel vs. food moral pits.
But what's natural for humanity is to think our way out of problems. Metals are natural, petrochemicals are natural, radioactive isotopes are natural, the wind and the sun are natural. Our niche is the very fact that we exploit nature, a fact that makes us survivable only if we choose to do so wisely. But it's not wise to proclaim we have a peak-oil crisis that will not allow us to survive unless something happens to our energy policy overnight, when you know that "something" won't happen.
It's just a casandra complex. You get to be the doomsayer, and maybe you'll get to be the doomsayer who was right.
I don't get how we fix
the problem you're sure you've identified (i.e., energy will now cost more every day forever, and already would cost too much to run a society, if you removed the bumpiness of the plateau.) Do you?
So give me some hope here. What's the solution? I know it's not the solution the other guy wants. Tell me what you want.
And if the message here is really "you know, I hate your idea for a way out, and it'll never work, but neither will what I want," I gotta tell you, the messaging piece is missing from your campaign.
Please take this in the spirit it's given. I'm not trying to piss you off, I'm trying to get the serious thoughts on the table on this subject.