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Rajiv
04-03-09, 05:42 AM
Sustainable Energy - without the hot air (http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/)
A popular science book
by David JC MacKay

Professor of Natural Philosophy,
Department of Physics,
University of Cambridge


Review: (http://network.nature.com/people/U24D269FC/blog/2009/01/27/sustainable-energy)


I should warn you that this is a scary read and it pulls no punches. It uses the UK as an example and justifies it by showing that in the UK our energy consumption is about the European (and developed world) average of about 125 kWh per person per day. The rather strange unit is a “human unit”: 1 kWh is the electricity billing unit used by most utilities in the UK (priced at about 10p), and the number of these we use in a day (note this is all energy, not just electricity) is an easily graspable unit. Multiply by 365 and 60 million and you get our annual energy consumption. If you are interested, the consumption in the USA is double this at 250 kWh /p/d and in China it is about 40 kWh /p/d.

The scary part is his estimates of the amount of resources we have to dedicate to power generation to get anywhere near these totals if we intend to do without fossil fuels. Europe would need to use an area the size of Germany covered in solar collectors and situated in the Sahara to make a significant impact with solar generation. For wind power to make a significant contribution to the UK’s power generation, we need to cover pretty much all the uplands with turbines. This is not a book for Nimby’s to read as the implication is that the a future without fossil fuels requires activity in everybody’s backyard and in their neighbours.
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A good Talk by David Mackay

http://video.caret.cam.ac.uk/media/a/CU-CSF/CU-CSF-Lectures_2008-12_David_MacKay/CU-CSF-Lectures_2008-12_David_MacKay-pDL_MP3_64_audio_v06.mp3

Slides to go along with the talk

<iframe src="http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/mackay/presentations/SEWTHA7/" title="Sustainable Energy - without the hot air" height="600" width="832">><br /> </IFRAME</HTML></iframe>

Finster
04-03-09, 09:15 AM
This highlights just one of the pitfalls of trying to pick winners and losers bureaucratically. Today's politically correct "solution" may not - probably does not - factor in all the real costs and benefits of the array of possible alternatives. If we deem the real costs of fossil fuels to be higher than that reflected in the marketplace, far better to levy a tax to make up the difference (for example, to reflect the costs of air pollutants (including greenhouse gases) resulting from burning fossil fuels; after all, the atmosphere is a public resource). Then let the marketplace sort out what gives the best combination of costs and benefits. It could even turn out that the best solution is something some unknown genius is tinkering with in his garage lab - something that hasn't even shown up on the PC radar screen.

*T*
04-03-09, 09:51 AM
Gosh Rajiv you dredge up information from far & wide.
Mackay wrote an excellent book on Information theory by the way. The guy is far far far from stupid.

bill
04-03-09, 10:03 AM
after all, the atmosphere is a public resource).
bingo
Think global, apply the threat, extract carbon revenue, develop alternatives.

Rajiv
04-03-09, 10:06 AM
His book is available for free download at the first link

Supercilious
04-03-09, 01:06 PM
Interesting presentation. Thanks Rajiv. What I find very interesting is that every renewable presentation, includes as one of the methods to become greener the issue of "Population reduction".

Almost no greenie explains though how the population reduction is going to be achieved.

Finster
04-03-09, 01:38 PM
Interesting presentation. Thanks Rajiv. What I find very interesting is that every renewable presentation, includes as one of the methods to become greener the issue of "Population reduction".

Almost no greenie explains though how the population reduction is going to be achieved.

As a government policy matter, it shouldn't be attempted. Far better to eliminate policies that incentivize population growth. For example, those that pay people to have babies ... that encourage immigration (and thereby act as an escape valve for other countries' population surfeits) ... relieve parents of the obligation to support their offspring ...

... ironically policies that many "greenies" also support ...

we_are_toast
04-03-09, 02:02 PM
Interesting presentation. Thanks Rajiv. What I find very interesting is that every renewable presentation, includes as one of the methods to become greener the issue of "Population reduction".

Almost no greenie explains though how the population reduction is going to be achieved.

There are 2 ways to reduce population, decrease births or increase deaths. Every "greenie" organization I am aware of leans heavily toward decreasing births through family planning and economic growth.

The population WILL be brought down to sustainable levels. But the more we ignore the problem, the better the chances the problem will be resolved through the second method mentioned above.

Supercilious
04-03-09, 07:45 PM
As a government policy matter, it shouldn't be attempted. Far better to eliminate policies that incentivize population growth. For example, those that pay people to have babies ... that encourage immigration (and thereby act as an escape valve for other countries' population surfeits) ... relieve parents of the obligation to support their offspring ...

... ironically policies that many "greenies" also support ...

I agree Finster. Good point. Many greenies actually support "unsustainable" policies... This may be a case of ignorance or hypocrisy. May be they should start leading, and be the first to implement on themselves population reduction principles :) .... just do the right thing to protect Mother Nature and jump off that bridge :D

What I want to say is that the real, true, honest and rational greenies are a minority (a completely pissed of minority) and the whole renewable/conservation movements has been hijacked, by idiots, hypocrites, Gores, pseudoscientific frauds and corporate interest.

For Pete's sake, if you get a David de Rothschild to be a big promoter for the anti-Global Warming ( err ...and incidentaly pro catbon tax) fight, then you know it's a scam.

medved
04-03-09, 08:20 PM
I agree Finster. Good point. Many greenies actually support "unsustainable" policies... This may be a case of ignorance or hypocrisy. May be they should start leading, and be the first to implement on themselves population reduction principles :) .... just do the right thing to protect Mother Nature and jump off that bridge :D

What I want to say is that the real, true, honest and rational greenies are a minority (a completely pissed of minority) and the whole renewable/conservation movements has been hijacked, by idiots, hypocrites, Gores, pseudoscientific frauds and corporate interest.

For Pete's sake, if you get a David de Rothschild to be a big promoter for the anti-Global Warming ( err ...and incidentaly pro catbon tax) fight, then you know it's a scam.

Here is a good resource related to the environment protection: http://www.greenspirit.com/home.cfm . This guy is one of the founders of the Greenpeace, no less. In spite of this he is not an environut. The policies he recommends are quite reasonable.

Finster
04-04-09, 11:11 AM
There are 2 ways to reduce population, decrease births or increase deaths. Every "greenie" organization I am aware of leans heavily toward decreasing births through family planning and economic growth.

The population WILL be brought down to sustainable levels. But the more we ignore the problem, the better the chances the problem will be resolved through the second method mentioned above.

There's a third set of methods that's also an excellent candidate for how population will be restrained if the consequences of current policies are ingored: ... war, famine, pestilence...

Rajiv
04-04-09, 11:38 AM
I am becoming increasingly pessimistic. I fear that famine and pestilence is where we are going to end up. I do believe that the already overburdened systems in some densely populated regions of the world will be unable to cope with mass shortages of food coupled with the accompanying epidemics.

ThePythonicCow
04-04-09, 02:14 PM
I am becoming increasingly pessimistic. I fear that famine and pestilence is where we are going to end up. I do believe that the already overburdened systems in some densely populated regions of the world will be unable to cope with mass shortages of food coupled with the accompanying epidemics.
I don't know if that's where we end up, the 'last' chapter. But it does seem likely to be one of the next chapters coming up soon.

Both where I live in North Texas, and where I had occassion to visit relatives in Florida last month, there is nearby a wonderful, new, very large grocery story stocked to the gills with all manner of goodies. The variety of ways in which soy, corn and wheat can be processed and packaged is truly awesome. Such dripping excess will not last.

Our modern industrialized food supply chain will have to take a serious hit, perhaps shortly after the next time oil prices spike up or after more farmers cannot plant a seasons crop for lack of credit. A few bare grocery store food shelves will deliver a rapid shock of "consciousness raising" to all who watch the evening news on TV.

Along with that, our bodies weakened by years of lousy nutrition (most of that "food" on those grocery store shelves is unhealthy) and dubious medical care (our handling of chronic disease is a scandal, in my view), we will be vulnerable to epidemics. It's rather controversial whether the mass vaccinations that will accompany these epidemics (or even the scary prospects thereof) better aid the health of the populace, or the wealth of the drug companies.

Just as financial collapse has been an "opportunity" for the ambitious elite to grab more financial power, so will famine and epidemic be an opportunity to further centralize agriculture and medicine.

petertribo
04-04-09, 04:52 PM
Our modern industrialized food supply chain will have to take a serious hit, perhaps shortly after the next time oil prices spike up or after more farmers cannot plant a seasons crop for lack of credit. A few bare grocery store food shelves will deliver a rapid shock of "consciousness raising" to all who watch the evening news on TV.

Along with that, our bodies weakened by years of lousy nutrition (most of that "food" on those grocery store shelves is unhealthy) and dubious medical care (our handling of chronic disease is a scandal, in my view), we will be vulnerable to epidemics. It's rather controversial whether the mass vaccinations that will accompany these epidemics (or even the scary prospects thereof) better aid the health of the populace, or the wealth of the drug companies.

Just as financial collapse has been an "opportunity" for the ambitious elite to grab more financial power, so will famine and epidemic be an opportunity to further centralize agriculture and medicine.

On the agricultural theme, maybe take a look at the thread:

FED GOV Cuts Off Some CA Water: 60,000 Layoffs To Come (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8732&highlight=cadillac+desert)

Not only is the US West a desert irrigated in some parts by Federal Water which is now being shut off but there are also the depredations visited upon the Ogallala Aquifer the mainstay for the US Midwest. When that goes,.....

Add to that the mining out of US soil using chemical, industrialized farming and there is a potent mix for disaster. Plus those chemicals are becoming ever more expensive, not to mention the equipment and the fuel to drive it.

Meanwhile, via our subsidized road and fuel systems (two OIL WARS in progress), we truck food about the country in the fraudulent economic belief that this is cheaper!