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For those whop believe we can't solve out energy problems

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by patsfan13, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    New process from Rice Univ.

    E. coli metabolism reversed for speedy production of fuels, chemicals


    Also the Chinese have had a virtual monopoly on Rare Earth Elements. New finds in Nebraska.

    Significant Source of Rare Earth Elements Found in Nebraska - IndustryWeek Forums


    A nice note on How thorium compares to uranium as a fuel in term of waste products. No wonder the Chinese are developing this technology. Why aren't we?

    Further on Thorium | Watts Up With That?

    [​IMG]


  2. Titus Pullo

    Titus Pullo Banned

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    Cool... maybe if everything goes perfectly, they'll all be ready for mass production in 20-30 years, about 50 years after they would have made a difference in mitigating the affects of peak oil -- a condition your team denies is even happening.
  3. chicowalker

    chicowalker Rookie

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    Do many people believe we can't solve our energy problems?

    I think most people simply don't think the answer is more of the same.
  4. Titus Pullo

    Titus Pullo Banned

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    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.

    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.

    Conservatives and their perpetual rejection of nature and the Earth's natural limits have become a scourge upon mankind.
  5. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yeah, whop believes that about out energy problems?
  6. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey


    [​IMG]
  7. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    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)

    Okay.

    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.)

    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.

    What will work?

    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.

    PFnV
  8. Titus Pullo

    Titus Pullo Banned

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    this is an excellent post, as well as a very complex post... one that will require a decent amount of time and effort to properly respond to.

    for now, please accept a small downpayment, until I can put aside more time to flesh out my views. Probably this weekend.

    Chris Martenson's "Crash Course" power-point lecture is easy to find on YouTube, and is an excellent, enthralling, easy-to-understand, apolitical primer for anyone trying to get their head around what we face. It should be necessary viewing for any high school upper classman. ... Anyhow, one thing he reminds viewers is that the end of cheap energy is not a "problem" for modern civilizations. It is a "predicament." Problems have solutions. Predicaments can only be mitigated. ... I still say "problem" a lot, just because it flows better. But his point remains.

    Nothing will fully replace what conventional oil has provided for advanced civilizations. I'm talking about its combination of efficiency, it's abundance (at one time), and its mind-boggling versatility. It is the greatest natural resource we have ever discovered and harnessed. It is why we impose imperialism upon vast swaths of the Middle East at great cost, and spend hundreds of billions more each year to find it, extract it, secure it, transport it, refine it and distribute it. Oil is the lifeblood of the global economy. Nuclear, wind and all the rest combined never will be. ... And we have foolishly, and gluttonously powered through more than half of what we'll ever find of it in a little over 100 years. I can assure you, the second half of it won't last a fraction of that span, and a lot of it will likely will stay in the ground due to cost.

    Yes, my message on this topic IS dour, and that frustrates most people who hear it. I fully recognize that, and I'm sorry. But I will say this:

    Nothing will go further to mitigate this crisis than two "easy" steps. Two steps that need to bat 1-2, and get on base. They are conservation and efficiency. People tend to vastly underestimate just how much waste pure, gluttonous capitalism truly requires. We could stave this predicament off for a number of years by establishing sensible, global mandates for conservation methods, and make an enormous dent in consumption by way of real vehicle gas-burning efficiency alone. If the world can show resilience on those two fronts, then it has a chance to stall for time. But I have my doubts it can come together and pull those off.

    I mean, think about it. The word "conservation" is strangely antithetical to CONSERVatives. As soon as they hear it, they immediately think to themselves "sounds like bigger government telling me what I can and can't do." Rinse, repeat. Just look at the light bulb debate on the Hill recently. Cons seriously didn't want more efficient light bulbs. They're THAT opposed to basic common sense.

    I've said this before, but: If the president goes on national TV, with his Dept of Energy boys right behind him, and admits to the world that we are at peak, it will instantly changed social consciousness. It will also drop the DOW about 3000 points the next day, but too bad. It will largely end the fog - the gridlock, the divergence of opinion and the pettiness about what we face, and about who caused what, and who needs to pay more of their share, etc. etc. ... It is so necessary, and so simple. But the mechanisms that keep the infinite growth paradigm going will never allow him to make that speech. Jimmy Carter tried to dip his toe in the water with something like that, and he got swept right away by the free market current. What a "downer" that guy was, huh? :rolleyes: ... You see, this perverted brand of capitalism is inherently allergic to sobering honesty, i.e., the acceptance of this planet's natural limits. That sensibility is woven deeply into the idealistic fabric of almost all conservatives.

    As any person undergoing rehabilitation will remind you: The first step towards fixing (mitigating) a problem is acknowledging there is a problem (predicament) in the first place. You and I may see it clear as day, but as long as half the country remains dead set on insisting that there IS no problem... that if we all keep praying really hard, God will put more oil in the ground for us, ... then nothing will get done.

    I'll respond with more specifics to your inquiries later.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  9. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Rookie

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    It's not just conservatives who act like pigs. Most liberals I know consume as much as anyone else. Americans, for the most part, live like pigs even though their yards look nice.
  10. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    Question: Do you believe the age of new energy (i.e. switch from petroleum based fuels/products) implies the end of capitalism?

    I don't believe that's the case...just my opinion.
  11. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Rookie

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    No.
    The capitalists seem to be constructing their own implements of destruction. That's another issue.
    The world will be safer, less toxic and cleaner without fossil fuels. The completion and distribution of Fusion technology will be the greatest advancement in human history...that is if we decide we want it more than sitting on our arses and doing nothing until the oil is gone.

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