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Climate Change: Now What?

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  • Climate Change: Now What?

    It seems that the US co2 emissions will soon be close to 1990 levels. And one of the main drivers of this is the increasing use of natural gas. So if we really are so worried about climate change shouldn't we all be on board with the increasing use of natural gas and nuclear power?

    Why are US carbon emissions plummeting back to 1990 levels?

    First and foremost are sharp reductions from electric power production, as a result of fuel switching from coal to gas, rising renewable energy production, and increasing efficiency. Yet, the shale gas revolution, and the low-priced gas that it has made a reality, is the key driver of falling carbon emissions, especially in the last 12 months.

    As of April, gas tied coal at 32% of the electric power generation market, nearly ending coalís 100 year reign on top of electricity markets. Letís remember the speed and extent of gasís rise and coalís drop: coal had 52% of the market in 2000 and 48% in 2008.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/0...els-this-year/
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

  • #2
    I wouldn't mind nuclear power becoming more prevalent, though it has some awfully high start costs, takes over a decade to build and requires a substantial infrastructure. Personally I suspect natural gas and what oil remains will be a bridging stone until the continually dropping prices of solar and wind finally hits coal power prices, at that point market forces will do the rest.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by seer View Post
      It seems that the US co2 emissions will soon be close to 1990 levels. And one of the main drivers of this is the increasing use of natural gas. So if we really are so worried about climate change shouldn't we all be on board with the increasing use of natural gas and nuclear power?
      We should but it probably won't happen for a while. People tend to be resistant to change from the old ways unless they can be shown immediate tangible benefits. Paying higher energy costs and making sacrifices today to stop bigger problems 20, 30, 50 years down the road sadly just doesn't make sense to many in the "I want it cheap and I want it NOW!" generation.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
        I wouldn't mind nuclear power becoming more prevalent, though it has some awfully high start costs, takes over a decade to build and requires a substantial infrastructure. Personally I suspect natural gas and what oil remains will be a bridging stone until the continually dropping prices of solar and wind finally hits coal power prices, at that point market forces will do the rest.
        I view nuclear fission as a doable transition fuel. It's the only no-CO2 emission source that's powerful enough to replace terawatt levels of power in the relatively short term. And modern nuclear technology (e.g., pebble-bed reactors) is quite a bit safer than older techniques.

        U-235 is of course non-renewable, so nuclear fission is intrinsically a short term solution. But it can provide the level of power during the transition to non-depletables.

        Consequent to this will be transition into a much higher percent of electricity usage. So, electric grids will need to be greatly upgraded. Most of the renewables (I prefer "non-depletables") will generate electricity.

        With what will be the necessary abundance of electric power the U.S. should make a huge effort to build electric rail passenger lines, and not necessarily high speed rail. The U.S. has a TERRIBLE passenger rail system. It's a crying shame.

        K54

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        • #5
          Originally posted by klaus54 View Post
          I view nuclear fission as a doable transition fuel. It's the only no-CO2 emission source that's powerful enough to replace terawatt levels of power in the relatively short term. And modern nuclear technology (e.g., pebble-bed reactors) is quite a bit safer than older techniques.

          U-235 is of course non-renewable, so nuclear fission is intrinsically a short term solution. But it can provide the level of power during the transition to non-depletables.

          Consequent to this will be transition into a much higher percent of electricity usage. So, electric grids will need to be greatly upgraded. Most of the renewables (I prefer "non-depletables") will generate electricity.

          With what will be the necessary abundance of electric power the U.S. should make a huge effort to build electric rail passenger lines, and not necessarily high speed rail. The U.S. has a TERRIBLE passenger rail system. It's a crying shame.

          K54
          All of this I agree with, there's quite a bit of sun power available even for measly 10% efficient cheaply mass produced solar panels. So the ceiling can be raised quite a bit. I've seen some very creative virtual powerplant proposals come out for how we'd deal with power fluctuations now, which doesn't involve building tons of battery capacity.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by HMS_Beagle View Post
            We should but it probably won't happen for a while. People tend to be resistant to change from the old ways unless they can be shown immediate tangible benefits. Paying higher energy costs and making sacrifices today to stop bigger problems 20, 30, 50 years down the road sadly just doesn't make sense to many in the "I want it cheap and I want it NOW!" generation.
            But we do see immediate tangible benefits from natural gas. Lower co2 emissions already, and I heat with natural gas and my costs have almost been halved in the last 5 years.
            Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
              All of this I agree with, there's quite a bit of sun power available even for measly 10% efficient cheaply mass produced solar panels. So the ceiling can be raised quite a bit. I've seen some very creative virtual powerplant proposals come out for how we'd deal with power fluctuations now, which doesn't involve building tons of battery capacity.
              Agree. And there are ways of using solar PVC or thermal that don't require battery storage. Just dumping it into the grid is one way. Another way is to do this is hydrolysis producing H2 which can be stored and used a portable fuel. Portability is a big energy issue. It's one of many reasons we've been in the Petroleum Age for over a century.

              K54

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by klaus54 View Post
                Agree. And there are ways of using solar PVC or thermal that don't require battery storage. Just dumping it into the grid is one way. Another way is to do this is hydrolysis producing H2 which can be stored and used a portable fuel. Portability is a big energy issue. It's one of many reasons we've been in the Petroleum Age for over a century.

                K54
                I wouldn't do it like that, setting up virtual powerplants might be easier. A virtual powerplant is gained simple by plugging in all of refrigerators, air conditioning systems, etc... into a modem connection with the local power utility. Doing moments of surplus the extra energy will go into lowering the temperature of the fridges or the house by maybe a degree, doing deficits they're turned down. Effectively this gives you a multi gigawatt adjustable power source that can take most of the variation from the solar panels and wind turbines.

                Once we get enough electric cars on the road they can offer a few percents of their battery capacity, and then you've got a very robust power system. With its wide distribution no terrorist attack short of detonating a nuclear emp blast would be able to knock it out.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There are reasons natural gas isn't jumped on to the degree some here would expect. The methodologies for extraction are problematic. Living in Texas, one of the places where shale gas is extracted through fracking, it's arguably easier to see those problems. One is the increase of earthquakes, and the other is water use in a state that already faces yearly water restrictions and shortages.
                  I'm not here anymore.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
                    There are reasons natural gas isn't jumped on to the degree some here would expect. The methodologies for extraction are problematic. Living in Texas, one of the places where shale gas is extracted through fracking, it's arguably easier to see those problems. One is the increase of earthquakes, and the other is water use in a state that already faces yearly water restrictions and shortages.

                    Well Carrikature I can see the water problem being a factor where you are (which wouldn't be the case up here in the North East where we have tons of the stuff but no political will to go after it). And I have read nothing proving a cause and effect relationship between fracking and earthquakes.
                    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
                      I wouldn't do it like that, setting up virtual powerplants might be easier. A virtual powerplant is gained simple by plugging in all of refrigerators, air conditioning systems, etc... into a modem connection with the local power utility. Doing moments of surplus the extra energy will go into lowering the temperature of the fridges or the house by maybe a degree, doing deficits they're turned down. Effectively this gives you a multi gigawatt adjustable power source that can take most of the variation from the solar panels and wind turbines.

                      Once we get enough electric cars on the road they can offer a few percents of their battery capacity, and then you've got a very robust power system. With its wide distribution no terrorist attack short of detonating a nuclear emp blast would be able to knock it out.
                      I don't quite understand this. For building heating a holding tank of water or a rock bed can store internal energy during peak electric generation (assuming solar in the day and wind turbines when the wind is in optimal range) that can released as heat during off-peak times.

                      Not a huge fan of electric cars. I'd much rather concentrate on building electric rail with overhead wire, both transcontinental and light rail (interurban, suburban, urban.) Urban electric transport can use trolley buses which don't tear up the streets with rail.

                      I do like electric-generated hydrogen for combustion vehicles. Also we'll need something for jet fuel. They don't run well on electricity. LOL Perhaps biodiesel or some such thing.

                      K54

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by seer View Post
                        And I have read nothing proving a cause and effect relationship between fracking and earthquakes.
                        The vast majority of Texas is Zone 0. The northeast and southernmost edges are Zone 1. There are virtually no earthquakes here. Having two in a matter of hours located pretty close to fracking sites is more than just coincidence. From what I've seen, it's more likely that the deep injection wells used for water disposal are at issue more than the fracking itself, but the two are linked. In the end, absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence. People who have never felt an earthquake in their lives are getting used to the idea. It may not be proven, but the frequency and locations are pretty strong correlations.

                        The concerns with water are two-fold. The first is that fracking consumes millions of gallons of water, water that wasn't really spare to begin with. The other is that disposal of contaminated water threatens underground aquifers (where Texas gets the majority of its water). Like the earthquakes, there is not yet a proven link to certain reports of contaminated water and fracking, but the correlation is hardly one to be dismissed so easily.

                        On both issues, the primary source claiming there is no connection is the companies responsible for fracking. Hardly a trustworthy source, all things considered.
                        I'm not here anymore.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by klaus54 View Post
                          I don't quite understand this. For building heating a holding tank of water or a rock bed can store internal energy during peak electric generation (assuming solar in the day and wind turbines when the wind is in optimal range) that can released as heat during off-peak times.

                          Not a huge fan of electric cars. I'd much rather concentrate on building electric rail with overhead wire, both transcontinental and light rail (interurban, suburban, urban.) Urban electric transport can use trolley buses which don't tear up the streets with rail.

                          I do like electric-generated hydrogen for combustion vehicles. Also we'll need something for jet fuel. They don't run well on electricity. LOL Perhaps biodiesel or some such thing.

                          K54
                          Electric cars and electric rails look a lot more feasible when you don't live in a state as big as mine with cities as sprawled as they are.
                          I'm not here anymore.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
                            The vast majority of Texas is Zone 0. The northeast and southernmost edges are Zone 1. There are virtually no earthquakes here. Having two in a matter of hours located pretty close to fracking sites is more than just coincidence. From what I've seen, it's more likely that the deep injection wells used for water disposal are at issue more than the fracking itself, but the two are linked. In the end, absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence. People who have never felt an earthquake in their lives are getting used to the idea. It may not be proven, but the frequency and locations are pretty strong correlations.

                            The concerns with water are two-fold. The first is that fracking consumes millions of gallons of water, water that wasn't really spare to begin with. The other is that disposal of contaminated water threatens underground aquifers (where Texas gets the majority of its water). Like the earthquakes, there is not yet a proven link to certain reports of contaminated water and fracking, but the correlation is hardly one to be dismissed so easily.

                            On both issues, the primary source claiming there is no connection is the companies responsible for fracking. Hardly a trustworthy source, all things considered.
                            If we look at states that are doing the most fracking like North Dakota do we find a significant increase of earthquakes?
                            Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
                              Electric cars and electric rails look a lot more feasible when you don't live in a state as big as mine with cities as sprawled as they are.
                              Major cities should be connected with passenger rail. The electric supply system would need many booster stations to get from Houston to Lubbock. But as long as grid nodes are close this shouldn't be a huge issue.

                              For personal transportation hydrogen internal combustion engines or electric motor with hydrogen fuel cells are a possibility.

                              What would suggest for Texas, or for that matter any long distance travel?

                              K54

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