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Environment Climate Change, Pollution, Endangered Species, Industrial Agriculture, Degrading Habitats & Renewable Energy.

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  #31  
Old Mar 22nd 2011, 10:38 AM
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Default Re: Towards a greener planet.

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Originally Posted by timn8ter View Post
pffft...My '93 Pajero does that.
Haven't seen any of those on US roads.
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  #32  
Old Mar 22nd 2011, 09:30 PM
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What's interesting to me is the massive denial of a transition period. There seems to be widespread belief that we can switch from fossil fuels to "alternative" energy sources in an existential instant. The unfortunate reality is the transition period may and most likely will cover a couple of decades. During this time we cannot dismiss shale oil, oil sands or (dare I say) nu-cu-ler power. I don't relish the fact of carving up the landscape for more fossilized lifeforms to power our SUVs but it is what it is. It's either that or we go back to a pre-industrialized society.
That transition period will be mandated by supply and demand. Ongoing carving up the landscape at severe environmental expense to obtain fossil and nuclear byproducts is inevitable as demand continues to exceed readily available supply (the easy stuff). Profits are still mind-boggling for those in that form of commerce and until those margins face extinction alternative methods will play second fiddle. As transition becomes a fact it won't be a pleasant period for much of the world citizenry.
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  #33  
Old Mar 22nd 2011, 11:12 PM
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Default Re: Towards a greener planet.

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Haven't seen any of those on US roads.
Exactly.
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  #34  
Old Mar 23rd 2011, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: Towards a greener planet.

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That transition period will be mandated by supply and demand. Ongoing carving up the landscape at severe environmental expense to obtain fossil and nuclear byproducts is inevitable as demand continues to exceed readily available supply (the easy stuff). Profits are still mind-boggling for those in that form of commerce and until those margins face extinction alternative methods will play second fiddle. As transition becomes a fact it won't be a pleasant period for much of the world citizenry.
I just don't see any basis for assuming a 'transition' phase. Once oil shortages start causing serious price spikes, the damage to the global economy will be so massive as to make any 'transition' look more like a war for the last drop.

And once the global economy starts taking that kind of massive hit, I just don't see how anyone expects to afford or to fund new technology or any transition. By that time, most nations will be spending tons of money just to pay for the army to keep the peace.
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Old Mar 23rd 2011, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: Towards a greener planet.

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I just don't see any basis for assuming a 'transition' phase. Once oil shortages start causing serious price spikes, the damage to the global economy will be so massive as to make any 'transition' look more like a war for the last drop.

And once the global economy starts taking that kind of massive hit, I just don't see how anyone expects to afford or to fund new technology or any transition. By that time, most nations will be spending tons of money just to pay for the army to keep the peace.
The world's single largest consumer of oil fuel byproducts is the US military.
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  #36  
Old Mar 23rd 2011, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: Towards a greener planet.

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The world's single largest consumer of oil fuel byproducts is the US military.
That will likely continue to be the case. In a world of demand exceeding supply government controlled rationing is applied meaning the military gets it first. After that, electrical generation, transportation until there's nothing left for those of us at the bottom.
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  #37  
Old Mar 24th 2011, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: Towards a greener planet.

Personally, I imagine that the eventual resolution to supply and demand related issues surrounding a non-sustainable resource like oil will be a technological breakthrough. And, I don't mean in the sense that there are some government initiatives in place to reward people whose refrigerators run on 12% less electricity, but a game-changing, largely unexpected breakthrough most likely not even first developed as a solution to the crisis of the day.

The "Great Horse Manure Crisis" was solved (inadvertently) by the internal combustion engine. But, there are others, as well. The development of rare earth metal magnets that have changed communication technologies, or the 'invention' of the microwave as the result of nearby food melting during experiments. These types of spontaneous and radically sudden innovations seem to punctuate the human experience.

In fact, more anecdotally, I seem to recall reading something once or twice about how the perception is that technological advancement is some kind of ongoing, smooth process, when in reality, it tends to be defined by lulls and furious bouts of innovation.

At any rate, I suspect that somebody will knock over a beaker or hit the wrong button on a hadron collider, and then somebody else will recognize the staggering profit to be made from the error, and 20 years later, the whole "fossil fuel" time in human history will seem as strange as the idea of panicking over the inevitable three story mountain of horseshit covering New York City.

I say that not because I know what the innovation will be or when it may come, but more because as a society, we seem far better at predicting inevitable doom that never comes to pass than we do at recognizing that said doom never comes to pass.
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  #38  
Old Mar 24th 2011, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: Towards a greener planet.

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In fact, more anecdotally, I seem to recall reading something once or twice about how the perception is that technological advancement is some kind of ongoing, smooth process, when in reality, it tends to be defined by lulls and furious bouts of innovation.
Thomas Khun's Structure of Scientific Revolutions is the essential origin of that view (of the "lulls and furious bouts of innovation").

Just thought I'd add that.
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  #39  
Old Mar 24th 2011, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: Towards a greener planet.

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Thomas Khun's Structure of Scientific Revolutions is the essential origin of that view (of the "lulls and furious bouts of innovation").

Just thought I'd add that.
Thanks. I was pretty sure I didn't just come up with that, and also hopeful that I wasn't just making shit up.
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  #40  
Old Mar 24th 2011, 08:16 PM
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Default Re: Towards a greener planet.

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The development of rare earth metal magnets
Widely used in wind turbines, electric cars, etc.. China currently controls 97% of production and they have plans to use most of it themselves. Where does that leave the rest of us?

Although expensive and non-applicable in some parts of the world, geo-thermal looks very promising.

There is also company working on wind turbines far off-shore of Maine converting sea water to ammonia. Ammonia makes a dandy fuel.

How about thorium for reactors instead of uranium?
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