Poll

[POLL] Is AGW a sure thing?

Yes, no doubt at all.
46 (34.1%)
No, something smells fishy.
39 (28.9%)
The IPCC's "very likely" 90% scenario sounds about right.
50 (37%)

Total Members Voted: 132

Author Topic: [POLL] AGW, let's find out if there's a 97% consensus among engineers  (Read 35585 times)

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Offline nctnico

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And where did that CO2 come from?
The CO2 is largely captured by plants and converted into other compounds, then the plants are burned or converted to other things such as fossil fuels and when those substances are burned the CO2 is released back into the atmosphere. The issue there is that the fossil fuels are like an enormous battery that has been charged up over millions of years and we are draining it at a rate orders of magnitude faster than it can be recharged.
Still some amount of that stored CO2 (which was ofcourse taken from the atmosphere) had to be released. At the beginning of the industrial revolution the CO2 levels where very low for plant life. But I think we have to be realistic: in the end all the fossil fuels will be burned.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Online Fungus

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But I think we have to be realistic: in the end all the fossil fuels will be burned.
I think there's a lot more coal in the ground than you realize.  :popcorn:

Still, there's many times more renewable energy available than we can ever use. The main thing stopping us from using it is politics and paid-for business interests.

(ie. a few rich people who won't make it to a billion dollars each if we stop burning that stuff)

If governments put the same effort into building solar/wind plants as they put into (eg.) warmongering then energy would be a solved problem a few years from now.

Plus: Cheap energy would enable a whole new era of manufacturing processes. It's a win-win situation for everybody, including those billionaires. The problem is they'd have to get off their asses, put aside their political differences and generally make an effort to improve other people's lives, not just their own.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 11:07:02 am by Fungus »
 

Offline Muttley Snickers

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I have a theory.   :-X :P
 
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Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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 #include <unistd.h>
 int main (void) { while (1) fork(); }
 

Online Marco

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Still, there's many times more renewable energy available than we can ever use.

We are still an order of magnitude removed from where PV/storage needs to be for PV to be completely self funding (ie. cheaper than fuelling fossil fuel electricity plants). Never mind the distribution network build out necessary (we need lots of HVDC).

Quote
If governments put the same effort into building solar/wind plants as they put into (eg.) warmongering then energy would be a solved problem a few years from now.

Maybe the US could do it in two decades with a moonshot type effort. Countries which don't themselves have access to good high sunday deserts, never no way. To put it in perspective you could build build many dozens Trump walls for that kind of expenditure of manpower and natural resources, something plenty of people consider outright impossible to do at the moment ...

Quote
Plus: Cheap energy would enable a whole new era of manufacturing processes.

It's not cheap with the tech we have.
 

Online Fungus

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Still, there's many times more renewable energy available than we can ever use.
We are still an order of magnitude removed from where PV/storage needs to be for PV to be completely self funding (ie. cheaper than fuelling fossil fuel electricity plants).

Why does it have to be self-funding? There wasn't any thought of cost when all those nuclear bomb factories (aka "power stations") were built in the 1950s. There wasn't much thought of cost when the invasion of Iraq/Afghanistan was planned, and that's gone into many trillions of dollars. Trump is busy preparing the country for another bank bailout, etc.

Once PV reaches a critical mass then the panels will be free to manufacture/transport. Their own output can be used to make more panels. The cost of building a "PV-panel city" in a suitable desert area (lots of sand and sunshine!) is tiny compared to all the stuff listed above and once it's built you can have solar panels being trucked out of it 24/7 for free. What's stopping us?  :popcorn:
 

Online Marco

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Once PV reaches a critical mass then the panels will be free to manufacture/transport.

It doesn't work that way until they are cheaper than fuelling a fossil fuel planet.
 

Online Fungus

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Once PV reaches a critical mass then the panels will be free to manufacture/transport.
It doesn't work that way until they are cheaper than fuelling a fossil fuel planet.

?? A fossil fuel plant will never be free to run.

Plus: A big cost of making PV panels is melting the sand. You can do that with mirrors in a desert area, at much higher efficiency then going to electricity and back.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 11:50:19 am by Fungus »
 

Online Marco

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PV and their infrastructure has service costs, limited lifetimes of components and their associated write off costs as well. Costs which are for the moment higher than fuelling the fossil fuel plants, which you'll need to maintain as backup any way. That's why until PV is cheaper than fuel it's not really economical without subsidy.

It can certainly get there, in fact I think it's likely that storing and retrieving PV generated electricity for a day or so will eventually be cheaper than fuelling a fossil fuel plant. At which point you could really go PV "for free" almost entirely.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 12:10:49 pm by Marco »
 

Online Fungus

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PV and their infrastructure has service costs, limited lifetimes of components and their associated write off costs as well. Costs which are for the moment higher than fuelling the fossil fuel plants, which you'll need to maintain as backup any way. The cost of that necessary backup needs to be added to the cost of PV.

Yes, but that's today, where solar plants are purely used for electricity production.

I'm talking about building a solar-powered PV-panel production factory. This changes the economics significantly because such a plant has two outputs, electricity and solar panels.

There has to be a tipping point where the panels become free to produce. Wages, transport costs, etc., are paid for by selling the electricity produced by those panels. Eventually a s tipping point will be reached where the whole system becomes self sustaining and electricity costs will plummet.

Yes, it will cost money to build but:
a) It's a worthwhile investment, much better than warmongering and bailing out wall-street bankers.
b) Not doing this, continuing to burn fossil fuels, has a much bigger long term cost (90% likely to be catastrophic for the economy).
c) The first country to do it will have a massive manufacturing advantage over the rest of the world and will easily recover the startup cost.
 

Offline Kilrah

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c) The first country to do it will have a massive manufacturing advantage over the rest of the world and will easily recover the startup cost.

Indeed, and once someone has proven it works others will fight to follow. So what are you waiting for to start such a project then? Probably the same as everybody else, no motivation to take risks and do the tremendous amount of work it will take to succeed when we've got something that just works so well and allows us to stay comfortably sit in our chairs and watch the world go.

We're clever enough to know we should stop using fossil fuels while there still is a large quantity of them remaining so as to avoid releasing all that carbon, yet we're so lazy and happy to keep using what was built decades ago for minimal cost instead of investing in something new so it will stay at the "we should" stage until there is no other choice (i.e. we'll have used them to the last drop). That or there's a massive worldwide conflict, and we destroy so much of our current world that when comes the time to rebuild we'll do it with new generation technology/sources because investing in rebuilding something that depends on a known limited supply woudl be stupid - again a "no other choice" situation.
 

Online Brumby

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Be practical.

A paradigm shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy is a MASSIVE undertaking for 21st century society.  Aside from the foundation of our current level of convenience, there are the power brokers that control these resources.  You are not going to have much success in completely replacing their industry while they still have huge investments in it.  You are going to have to let them buy into the new technology at a rate that permits them to transition while still retaining the leverage - and returns - that they want.  Either that, or give them the time to exit without taking a bit hit.

This will be supported by the inertia of the transition of infrastructure - there's just so much to change.

During this period, fossil fuel usage will continue to increase, but at a slowing rate until it reaches a point where increasing energy demand is matched by increasing renewable energy supply.  We aren't at this point yet - but it feels like it's on the horizon ... somewhere.  Once we get past this point, fossil fuel usage will start dropping as renewable energy becomes the prevalent source.

It's going to take time - and during that time, fossil fuels will still be used.  While the financial impact on society may be uncomfortable along the way, so long as the fossil fuels hold out until we have viable sustainability options in place across the board, that impact will remain modest.  Things will go critical if we run out of cost-effective fossil fuel sources before we get there.

One further point .... while we currently talk about the energy cost of manufacture (particularly in regards to the green house gas emissions) this cost can be completely ignored once manufacture is powered by renewable energy that doesn't involve CO2 generation.
 

Offline nctnico

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Maybe the US could do it in two decades with a moonshot type effort.
Nowadays more countries could work together and come up with the cash and the knowledge. However in some areas technological development seems to have stalled. Satellites are shot into space using technology invented 80 years ago.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Online Marco

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Nowadays more countries could work together and come up with the cash and the knowledge.

Knowledge ... that's another problem, if government tried to do something like this it would basically have to get out of the Bourne convention to head off all the IP jackals looking for billions of pounds of flesh.
 

Offline james_s

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The biggest problem is that people get set in their ways, want instant gratification and think that anything "green" is some kind of left wing liberal conspiracy. I still know people who use incandescent bulbs because they're "cheaper", they are utterly unable or unwilling to understand the concept of electricity being the vast majority of the cost of the lamps, making CFL and now LED bulbs much cheaper in the long run. These are the same sort of people who will drive around for a half hour burning up a couple dollars worth of fuel trying to find a gas station that's 3 cents cheaper per gallon. The same sort of people who buy a bunch of crap with their credit card, only looking at what it does to the monthly payment without understanding the total cost of the purchase including interest. There are a LOT of people like this.
 

Offline retrolefty

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Quote
These are the same sort of people who will drive around for a half hour burning up a couple dollars worth of fuel trying to find a gas station that's 3 cents cheaper per gallon. The same sort of people who buy a bunch of crap with their credit card, only looking at what it does to the monthly payment without understanding the total cost of the purchase including interest. There are a LOT of people like this.

 So let me get that straight. The same kind of person that would drive for 1/2 hour to save less then a dollar for gas would be the same kind of person that doesn't understand interest cost on their credit card? I'm not buying it and think you just made that up.    :box:
Edit:
 My point is that I feel you are taking quite different (but true) stereotypes and applying it to a specific person. Still not buying it.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 06:18:33 pm by retrolefty »
 

Offline Kilrah

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No, to think they save because the displayed price is lower, when they actually pay more due to the cost of getting there they're unable to take into account. Just like they don't realize they pay more due to credit card interest.
 
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Offline james_s

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I thought everyone would have met someone like that, there's a term for it "Penny wise and pound foolish", if you don't know anyone who fits that description, it may be you.  :)

I was friends with a guy for years who was a textbook example until I finally couldn't take it anymore. He always seemed to be down on his luck. Eventually I realized that it wasn't luck at all, it was repeated bad choices and then he would blame anything and everything but his own poor choices for his situation. He was so cheap that he would end up spending far more, constantly wasting money in the long term thinking he was getting a good deal in the short term. He was one of those idiots who fall for the furniture ads that say pay no interest until some far off sounding date, and then he'd act surprised when that date came and suddenly it was time to pay the piper and he was broke. He simply did not understand the concept of compounding interest, didn't understand simple things like the price per unit that is in small print on grocery store tags. Yeah that bottle is cheaper, but you use a lot of it and the bottle that costs 50% more gives you double the product! *blank stare*  |O

I'm not making this up.
 
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Offline jnissen

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If AlGore is behind it you can guarantee that it's 100% bullshit.  :-DD
 

Offline Kilrah

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didn't understand simple things like the price per unit that is in small print on grocery store tags. Yeah that bottle is cheaper, but you use a lot of it and the bottle that costs 50% more gives you double the product! *blank stare*  |O

I'm not making this up.
It's incredibly common, much more than one would think, and marketing departments are making full use of it. That's the very reason we get small packaging sizes of most stuff nowadays, make an extra buck on the educationally challenged for whom the only thing that will pop in their mind is "hey it's cheaper"! When they also play the "cute" factor even people who know and understand have a hard time resisting the "hey it's new and different!" BS. I've recently seen "airline-sized coke cans" in stores, with some BS marketing of "always have one on you" or something, didn't check precisely since it drove me crazy before I got to that, but it was like 3x the price of a normal can holding twice the amount i.e. 6x more expensive. But they were packaged in a big pack of 40 or so, so you see the price and think "but I get 40!!! cans, a normal pack is only 12!" and it works.  |O :palm:

I hate this world. I hate being aware of these ubiquitous scams. I used to have a company and manufacture/market some cool stuff, but when I realized this, other forms of scamming people and what other business owners will do to make a buck and that I had to compete against it wiped the desire to participate in this shit out of me. I know exactly how to run a successful business, but it's so disgusting I could never do it. Now it's me the stupid one who has a hard time finding something I actually feel is worth doing for this species I lost all faith in.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 07:03:08 pm by Kilrah »
 
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Online Fungus

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Be practical.

A paradigm shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy is a MASSIVE undertaking for 21st century society.

Sure, but somebody has to start.

All the arguments so far have been along the lines of "it won't happen until XXX is cheaper". I want to know why that is. Why does it have to make instant profit, why can't it be seen as an investment in the future?

Governments waste incredible amounts of money on other stuff. Several of these plants could be built for the cost of the F35 (which nobody ever really needed and is already obsolete because of drones).
 

Online Marco

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No, to think they save because the displayed price is lower, when they actually pay more due to the cost of getting there they're unable to take into account. Just like they don't realize they pay more due to credit card interest.

Credit cards in the US seem to me in a rather strange situation, for many years the credit card companies bought lawmakers to forbid adding surcharges. That's slowly being turned back ... but still, if you simply pay your balance each month you are often cutting your own wrists by not using a credit card. They come with a lot of bennies, which often are free if you don't run up credit (or rather the people not paying with credit card pay extra for you to get them).
 

Offline james_s

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I've used a credit card from the start simply for the security it provides me. Multiple times someone has placed fraudulent charges on the card and I've never had to pay a dime of it. I always pay off my balance in full every month, often I carry a small positive balance just because it amuses me to see the angry looking red numbers in my statement. Interest is for suckers, if I don't have the money in the bank, I can't afford whatever it is I'm wanting to buy. The only exception to that rule I've ever made has been my house.
 

Offline Kilrah

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Same here, only using credit card for safety, never had to make use of it but that's it. I always repay before due.
 

Online Fungus

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if you simply pay your balance each month you are often cutting your own wrists by not using a credit card.

They're also useful for emergencies. I've paid partial credit card balances a couple of times in my life when there was something expensive/urgent and I simply didn't have the cash. A couple of months interest isn't so bad if it gets you out of a hole.

 


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