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Author Topic: Global Warming Denialist  (Read 21944 times)
Resh Aleph
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #30 on: September 11, 2009, 09:28:28 am »

I may be looking through Gene Roddenberry's rose colored glasses, but I think technology will save the day when it comes to global warming.

Yeah, me too. Fusion power should provide limitless CO2-free electricity in a few decades. Combine that with electric vehicles and machinery and we've ourselves a solution. Auto makers are already hard at work on zero-emission cars (using fuel cells or just plain old batteries).

I also think we should start using bamboo extensively, not only for traditional wood products, but also as a replacement for other materials like plastic (where possible). So what if bamboo isn't as shiny and so what if it gets old with time, we dispose of old things anyway.

With the above solutions, it's not an absolute necessity to reduce the world population, but that would certainly help. In any case, we must at least stop its growth at some point. 6.8 billion of us dorks is quite enough.
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #31 on: September 11, 2009, 05:52:41 pm »

Quote from: Angelfish
Nuclear is the only option in that case. The production of solar cells and windmills is likely to produce more CO2 that can be saved in the lifetime of the solar cell or windmill.

How do you figure that? Consider a 300 kilowatt average windmill (yeah, a big one, but they exist). It'll last, say, 20 years, to be conservative. That means it'll produce 20 * 3*10^7 * 3*10^5 joules of energy over its lifetime. That's around 2*10^14 joules, or roughly the output from a large nuclear power plant for a year. So, you're saying that it would take a large nuclear plant a full year of dedicated power to build and maintain a large windmill? Extraction, processing, assembly, and even maintenance once built.

Answer: absolutely not. Sure, I'm sure that the first one, the prototype, could be pushing it in that regard. But that's because prototypes are worked on many many times harder than the production models.

Solar, so long as it's well-placed, also comes out way ahead in the energy balance. Even more so for non-silicon-based, which don't require high temperature processing.

And really, it should be extremely obvious that this is the case. Maybe they won't make up the difference in one year. Maybe it'll even take three years. But both of these things can last for a long time.

Maybe you're assuming that all our other electricity comes from nuclear power, so that energy savings don't translate in the least to carbon dioxide savings? That's totally disingenuous.

Resh aleph:
Most fusion designs create a lot of radioactive waste. And it's not like this waste is low-grade, or just shielding. It's the electronics. That's just stupid. As brilliant as it is, it's still stupid. You need to replace all the expensive stuff periodically. I'd only be interested in a fusion process that did not give off neutrons, weakening the reactor and incidentally producing copious high-level waste. Such designs exist, such as one fusing, IIRC Lithium into Beryllium. And it's not even an unusual isotope of lithium, either. What comes out? Alpha and gamma rays, and beryllium. No neutrons.

Still, Fusion has been twenty years off for so long, I think we'll get good solar and wind first.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 06:12:14 pm by Death 999 » Logged
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #32 on: September 11, 2009, 06:47:57 pm »

Zeracles, that's more of the kind of thing I was hoping someone would dig up. Thank you.

Jaychant, as I pointed out (twice now) not only is the GAT unreliable, but it's also been dropping the last several years, making it poor proof of global warming.


No, the tempurature hasn't been dropping. There was a single record year in the past that was an outlier, but other than that one year the trend has stayed the same.

Maybe this argument would be easier if you showed us the graph and data you're talking about.
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #33 on: September 11, 2009, 08:46:03 pm »

Zeracles, that's more of the kind of thing I was hoping someone would dig up. Thank you.

Jaychant, as I pointed out (twice now) not only is the GAT unreliable, but it's also been dropping the last several years, making it poor proof of global warming.


No, the tempurature hasn't been dropping. There was a single record year in the past that was an outlier, but other than that one year the trend has stayed the same.

Maybe this argument would be easier if you showed us the graph and data you're talking about.

http://www.grist.org/article/global-warming-stopped-in-1998/
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #34 on: September 11, 2009, 09:01:45 pm »

I think that to reach a viable conclusion about this, that graph needs to go back further than what is it.. 1880? Earth's temperature has been far from constant in its history, who says that 5000 years ago the temperature wasn't higher than it is now?
And to prevent you from calling me a smartass again, let me say to you the following:
In order to be believable to anyone and everyone, you need to present all data and all arguments and all cons to a standing point, even data that could contradict your statement, but then you need to explain how this doesn't actually contradict your statement.
Don't post something and allow people to shoot bullet holes into it, make it bulletproof from the start.
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Resh Aleph
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #35 on: September 11, 2009, 09:05:01 pm »

Most fusion designs create a lot of radioactive waste. And it's not like this waste is low-grade, or just shielding. It's the electronics. That's just stupid. As brilliant as it is, it's still stupid. You need to replace all the expensive stuff periodically. I'd only be interested in a fusion process that did not give off neutrons, weakening the reactor and incidentally producing copious high-level waste. Such designs exist, such as one fusing, IIRC Lithium into Beryllium. And it's not even an unusual isotope of lithium, either. What comes out? Alpha and gamma rays, and beryllium. No neutrons.

Wasn't the ability to use something as ubiquitous as hydrogen the whole point behind fusion? Besides, Wikipedia says the waste would only be harmful for a century or so. I think it's worth it (until we come up with something better).

Quote
Still, Fusion has been twenty years off for so long, I think we'll get good solar and wind first.

Well, last I heard, non-nuclear methods were completely impractical for the task of replacing all/most combustion plants. So I see them as a temporary partial solution, sort of like hybrid cars. Except hybrid cars might die in five years, whereas it will probably be some 40 years before mass adoption of fusion power.
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #36 on: September 11, 2009, 09:33:17 pm »

Zeracles, that's more of the kind of thing I was hoping someone would dig up. Thank you.

Jaychant, as I pointed out (twice now) not only is the GAT unreliable, but it's also been dropping the last several years, making it poor proof of global warming.


No, the tempurature hasn't been dropping. There was a single record year in the past that was an outlier, but other than that one year the trend has stayed the same.

Maybe this argument would be easier if you showed us the graph and data you're talking about.

http://www.grist.org/article/global-warming-stopped-in-1998/

I don't know how you expect climatologists to make accurate extrapolations based on data like that. Yeah, there's an upward trend, but look at all the dips and peaks prior to 1950. And we're only talking about degree changes less than 1 celcius.

You're talking about switching all coal power in the world to green power. If we tried that in the US right now, we wouldn't have enough of a civilization to save by the time we were finished. When any sort of reasonable extrapolation based on their model, even within a 5 year time period, can be made I might be more trusting. You need to make damn sure that you know what's going to happen to the world before you make irrational decisions that cost billions of tax-payer dollars. And you also need to understand whether going green won't do more harm than good.

When it's politicians, not scientists, who are on the forefront of the global warming campaign I start to worry.
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #37 on: September 11, 2009, 10:12:11 pm »

Zeracles, that's more of the kind of thing I was hoping someone would dig up. Thank you.

Jaychant, as I pointed out (twice now) not only is the GAT unreliable, but it's also been dropping the last several years, making it poor proof of global warming.


No, the tempurature hasn't been dropping. There was a single record year in the past that was an outlier, but other than that one year the trend has stayed the same.

Maybe this argument would be easier if you showed us the graph and data you're talking about.

http://www.grist.org/article/global-warming-stopped-in-1998/

I don't know how you expect climatologists to make accurate extrapolations based on data like that. Yeah, there's an upward trend, but look at all the dips and peaks prior to 1950. And we're only talking about degree changes less than 1 celcius.

You're talking about switching all coal power in the world to green power. If we tried that in the US right now, we wouldn't have enough of a civilization to save by the time we were finished. When any sort of reasonable extrapolation based on their model, even within a 5 year time period, can be made I might be more trusting. You need to make damn sure that you know what's going to happen to the world before you make irrational decisions that cost billions of tax-payer dollars. And you also need to understand whether going green won't do more harm than good.

When it's politicians, not scientists, who are on the forefront of the global warming campaign I start to worry.

Why is it that so many people don't think of the long-term?

Sure, the switch would cost a bit, but overall it would help the economy. Even though coal isn't yet as scarce, it is still non-renewable and so we are going to have to switch eventually anyway. And is it really worth risking the end of life as we know it, just because you don't want to pay a couple extra dollars in tax money?
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #38 on: September 13, 2009, 04:14:24 am »

Wasn't the ability to use something as ubiquitous as hydrogen the whole point behind fusion? Besides, Wikipedia says the waste would only be harmful for a century or so. I think it's worth it (until we come up with something better).

A) The idea behind fusion is to get in on the hot action at the steep downward slope of the low end of the curve of binding energy. Lithium is still up on that curve.
B) Lithium is sufficiently common for this to work.
C) As I said, it isn't so much that you're generating waste as that you have to replace all the really delicate reactor parts frequently because they're being bombarded with neutrons, which causes them to change what elements they are. Electronics hate that.


Quote
Still, Fusion has been twenty years off for so long, I think we'll get good solar and wind first.

Well, last I heard, non-nuclear methods were completely impractical for the task of replacing all/most combustion plants.[/quote]

The problem that keeps wind and solar out of prime time is that they are not reliable over regions as large as a European country (or a western state of the US). Over regions substantially larger than that - in particular, regions with unrelated weather, they do much better. So you'll need one or more of the following solutions:

1) only use these to help bear the heaviest loads, which mainly occur in daytime when the weather is sunny and everyone's running the AC.
That would still be a big help, but we can do better than that...
2) Have a very large grid with efficient long-distance transport of electrical power, e.g. a high voltage DC line -- it's not cloudy and still everywhere.
3) fly your turbines on kites. There's always a wind at altitude. Similarly, put the solar cells in space.
4) long-term energy storage using, say, water elevation (available in some places only), or enormous flow-cell vat batteries.


Quote from: SassyMolassy
You're talking about switching all coal power in the world to green power. If we tried that in the US right now, we wouldn't have enough of a civilization to save by the time we were finished. ... billions of tax-payer dollars.

If it only costs billions, it's not going to sink the country. Seriously. A hundred billion dollars is $300 for each person in the country. That's noticeable in the pocketbook, but you've gone deep into hyperbole and no one needs to take the statement seriously.

Maybe you're looking at powering the full power consumption of the US with cells bought at the current rates for residential installations. That'd be 15 trillion dollars. Sure, that'd be a colossal bill... but even if we did that, it wouldn't cost that much. Not close.
1) that figure includes all forms of power consumption, including vehicular, not just electric. Of course, as we wean ourselves off of gasoline the figure will approach that, but in the mean time we have a lower target.
2) ubiquitous PV would minimize the average distance the electricity needs to travel, reducing line losses. Considering how much of our power is lost in that fashion, we're going to save substantially in the usual case (not so much in Oregon).
3) large-scale solar installations are far cheaper than residential due to reductions in the relevance of conversion overhead, and truly utility-scale installations are cheaper still, being thermal (field of mirrors + steam turbine). If you are factoring in pollution due to the production of semiconductors, thermal completely avoids this problem.
4) just deciding to do it would cause improvements in the economies of scale, reducing costs further. A LOT further in many cases, as the current market for PV is so small that the factories are often basically workshops.


Quote from: SassyMolassy
When it's politicians, not scientists, who are on the forefront of the global warming campaign I start to worry.
Quote
You clearly weren't at the march meeting of the APS, where a special session featured scientists explaining the physics of air and sea convection currents as they related to GW, and assessments of various mitigation strategies. Every speaker treated GW as real and anthropogenic; while the mitigation part of the session did not justify those claims at great length, the earlier part did.
It's highly disingenuous to suggest that this is a politically based claim just because some politicians have claimed it.
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #39 on: September 13, 2009, 10:18:04 am »

A) The idea behind fusion is to get in on the hot action at the steep downward slope of the low end of the curve of binding energy. Lithium is still up on that curve.

Well, remember we currently have no fusion power at all, so the current comparisons are made against fission. And here you have a couple of other crucial advantages: the ubiquitousness of hydrogen, and the fact its radioactive waste (reactor parts) has a short half-life.

If lithium fusion doesn't have any major drawback, I'm sure it will be the next step (though I'd rather see hydrogen fusion perfected, for the sheer elegance of it).

Re wind/solar power: I watched this documentary about fusion power, where an alternative-power expert made some rough calculations regarding non-nuclear methods. He concluded that there is simply no way these methods could be enough to support all/most of the ever-growing power demand. Not that he doesn't support these methods (they are his area of expertise after all), he simply argues that they can't be an ultimate solution.
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #40 on: September 13, 2009, 02:57:03 pm »

First off, I misstated. It uses boron fuel, not lithium.

A) The idea behind fusion is to get in on the hot action at the steep downward slope of the low end of the curve of binding energy. Lithium is still up on that curve.

Well, remember we currently have no fusion power at all, so the current comparisons are made against fission.

Comparisons should be made between all options, not two arbitrarily selected options.

its radioactive waste (reactor parts) has a short half-life.

Dealing with radioactive waste is easy. Replacing the entire electronics kit of the fusion plant every few months is not. It renders it totally uneconomical.


Re wind/solar power: I watched this documentary about fusion power, where an alternative-power expert made some rough calculations regarding non-nuclear methods. He concluded that there is simply no way these methods could be enough to support all/most of the ever-growing power demand. Not that he doesn't support these methods (they are his area of expertise after all), he simply argues that they can't be an ultimate solution.

There is debate on this subject. They absolutely can supply a respectable fraction of the power, and if the infrastructure is modernized they can supply quite a lot. If, say, Europe can have its power sent from the Sahara, how often do you think they'll have cloudy day outages? Consider it won't be one point in the Sahara, but an area around as large as Europe itself.

The technology to make that real exists already. it would be expensive, to be sure, but not ruinously so - and if we were actually going to do it we'd have a lot more engineers on it and perhaps an even better solution could be devised.

That also has the disadvantage that we'd be relying on the folks who control the Sahara, but that was a tertiary objective anyway.
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #41 on: September 13, 2009, 03:35:06 pm »

Quote
Dealing with radioactive waste is easy.

Huh It's only the largest drawback to nuclear fission. Half lives extend for millenia. The Yucca Mountain depository is supposed to be the nuclear waste storage/disposal solution for the entire U.S. and a lightning rod of criticisim. Nobody wants it stored in their back yard and hauled by rail and truck though their cities. If dealing with radioactive waste was "easy" there would be little need for alternatives.
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #42 on: September 13, 2009, 04:10:25 pm »

Context. Aleph did say that it was short-lived. I didn't mean ALL radioactive waste.

Though really, if we were serious about that we could bombard it with neutrons to encourage it to decay quicker. We find it cheaper to take all those risks, though... (sigh)
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #43 on: September 13, 2009, 05:11:54 pm »

Context. Aleph did say that it was short-lived. I didn't mean ALL radioactive waste.

Though really, if we were serious about that we could bombard it with neutrons to encourage it to decay quicker. We find it cheaper to take all those risks, though... (sigh)

Yes ,Aleph was talking about fusion waste with a short-lived half life. This is news to me as I thought one of the selling points of fusion was that it didn't have any radio-active waste. Thus making fusion a superior alternative to current fission reactors.
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Re: Global Warming Denialist
« Reply #44 on: September 13, 2009, 07:46:50 pm »

Quote from: SassyMolassy
When it's politicians, not scientists, who are on the forefront of the global warming campaign I start to worry.
Quote
You clearly weren't at the march meeting of the APS, where a special session featured scientists explaining the physics of air and sea convection currents as they related to GW, and assessments of various mitigation strategies. Every speaker treated GW as real and anthropogenic; while the mitigation part of the session did not justify those claims at great length, the earlier part did.
It's highly disingenuous to suggest that this is a politically based claim just because some politicians have claimed it.
Look, I'm not saying that global warming necessarily cannot happen and I think maybe it's true that it's happening to some extent now. What I'm saying is that leading scientists are not campaigning to take drastic measures against it. The politically based claim is that within a certain amount of years there will be widespread destruction based on the weak model that scientists have for temperature rising. I think under certain ideal circumstances scientists can create a decent model for what will happen during a "perfect storm" global warming system, but right now they don't have a firm grasp on why the global temperature fluctuates by .1 degrees every 50 years.

I favor the idea of a liberal agenda more than the idea that we're globally in a lot of danger right now. It's a perfect way to increase government size and spending for the "good of the World".
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