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gdeliz

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Antartica The Global Warming
« Reply #40 on: August 29, 2007, 11:44:27 am »

Global warming? I'm doing all I can to fight global warming, but just how much can one person do? I turn my air conditioner on full blast and open my windows to help cool down the neighborhood. It's not much but if all my neighbors did the same we might be able to make a measurable difference. Whenever I use the stove I shut the windows to keep from warming the outside environment, but I doubt that my neighbors take similar care.
The big problem is automobiles. Even with the air conditioning  turned up all the way and the windows open I'm probably still putting more heat into the environment than cooling but , hey, I've got to get around.

George Deliz
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John Camp

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« Reply #41 on: August 29, 2007, 05:08:28 pm »

One of the biggest problems with "environmentalism" is that is really grew up in the sixties, and its most spectacular advocates and opponents were more skilled in public relations than in science; and that has continued. In the US, the left seized upon environmentalism as a cause, and the right reacted by denying that anything was wrong. As a result, you have a situation in which the right has propagandized people who work with natural resources to believe there's nothing going on, and that the pinkos just want to take your jobs (mining, timber, building pickups) because they hate rednecks. The left has taken a delight in scare stories, to the point that many people no longer pay attention -- they've heard all that before. Remember, those of you old enough, the books that predicted international triage, where we'd have to bar traffic with Africa and India, and just let those people starve to death, because there was no possible way to feed them...in 1980?

One incident in particular contributed to a massive load of CO2 in the atmosphere, and that was Jane Fonda's film "China Syndrome", combined with the Three-Mile Island nuclear accident, which happened within a few weeks of each other. Those two things combined killed nuclear energy in the US for what will be at least two generations -- and guaranteed that we'd be burning more and more oil and coal. We could now be building extremely safe and sophisticated third-generation nuclear plants, and if we insisted that all cars be hybids and plug-chargeable, we could have cut pollution probably by 80 percent. Here in Minnesota and across the border in Ontario, houses are being built that cost only a few hundred dollars to heat, because so little energy is used. Those lightbulbs and similar technology could do the same. Basically, we need engineers and scientists, not PR people.

This Antarctica book is just another example of that kind of PR that people have become immune to. Frankly, if I'd seen it in a bookstore, I wouldn't even have looked at it, because I know what it's going to be. But I do read Nature and Science, and the articles I see there genuinely worry me.

It's not so much at the PR guys are either right or wrong, by the way, it's just that you know they are lying, and manipulating, and hustling you -- that they don't as much about the truth as they do "winning." Most people don't like that feeling of being hustled. Just want a few friggin' facts...


JC
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davaglo

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« Reply #42 on: August 29, 2007, 06:04:36 pm »

Quote
One of the biggest problems with "environmentalism" is that is really grew up in the sixties, and its most spectacular advocates and opponents were more skilled in public relations than in science; and that has continued. In the US, the left seized upon environmentalism as a cause, and the right reacted by denying that anything was wrong. As a result, you have a situation in which the right has propagandized people who work with natural resources to believe there's nothing going on, and that the pinkos just want to take your jobs (mining, timber, building pickups) because they hate rednecks. The left has taken a delight in scare stories, to the point that many people no longer pay attention -- they've heard all that before. Remember, those of you old enough, the books that predicted international triage, where we'd have to bar traffic with Africa and India, and just let those people starve to death, because there was no possible way to feed them...in 1980?

One incident in particular contributed to a massive load of CO2 in the atmosphere, and that was Jane Fonda's film "China Syndrome", combined with the Three-Mile Island nuclear accident, which happened within a few weeks of each other. Those two things combined killed nuclear energy in the US for what will be at least two generations -- and guaranteed that we'd be burning more and more oil and coal. We could now be building extremely safe and sophisticated third-generation nuclear plants, and if we insisted that all cars be hybids and plug-chargeable, we could have cut pollution probably by 80 percent. Here in Minnesota and across the border in Ontario, houses are being built that cost only a few hundred dollars to heat, because so little energy is used. Those lightbulbs and similar technology could do the same. Basically, we need engineers and scientists, not PR people.

This Antarctica book is just another example of that kind of PR that people have become immune to. Frankly, if I'd seen it in a bookstore, I wouldn't even have looked at it, because I know what it's going to be. But I do read Nature and Science, and the articles I see there genuinely worry me.

It's not so much at the PR guys are either right or wrong, by the way, it's just that you know they are lying, and manipulating, and hustling you -- that they don't as much about the truth as they do "winning." Most people don't like that feeling of being hustled. Just want a few friggin' facts...
JC
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« Reply #43 on: August 29, 2007, 06:10:10 pm »

Why is Greenland named Greenland?
Why is Global Warming based on "consensous" rather than scientific fact (which is based on scientific study)?
Why does Al Gore have the only "Company" from which you can purchase carbon credits?
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jrg

BernardLanguillier

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« Reply #44 on: August 29, 2007, 06:47:01 pm »

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It is not reasonable to expect the layman to spend the many years required studying environmental science and climatology in order to assess the merits of different interpretations of the data.

I merely point out that there are differing points of view. I would also point out, from my own personal experience, that I have observed that meteorologists often get local predictions of weather change wrong (ie. the weather forecast). Ask them to predict weather patterns a few weeks or months in advance and they can get it very wrong.
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Ray,

There are different opinions about everything. Science is mostly built on models that remain only true until they are replaced by another model with which a significant majority of scientists agree.

To my eyes, the consensus on climat change doesn't have to include all the scientists on earth to become just as "true" as the law of universal gravitation.

I strongly advise that you read the book called "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" if you haven't done it yet.

It is interesting to note that most people see in the progress of technology (say... ditigal cameras) a proof that science does actually know how the world works. The truth is more complex and - unfortunately - a lot less re-assuring. These things work and improve all the time because they are built using building blocks created by man in order to behave according to the mathematical models we have defined. In other words we created a game like lego, and are able to create the small car per the manual. It looks like magic if you don't know lego.

Another point worth understanding is that out limited mental abilities are not able to really understand at a macro level the actual causes-consequences relationship that drive the output of a complex system behaving according to rules we didn't create ourselves (like... climat). Simulation is mostly aimed at prediction but does only help macro level understanding up to a certain point.

There is often no garantee that the cause of a complex phenomenon can be identified with a simulation that reproduces the phenomenon. The only things we can really do is to change the input parameters of the models, and these parameters are typically a sub-set of the real world influences that have been selected as a result of assumptions about their relevance.

In other words, the lenght of my nose could influence global warming more than CO2, but most of the scientists decided not to include my nose as an input parameter of their models. They will therefore be unable to realize the sad truth that gobal warming would not be a problem had my nose been shorter.

Where I trust these guys to be probably reasonnably close is that my nose does probably not impact global warming much, but many expereiences have shown that CO2 does.

WE will never have perfectly closed models, but we have never had. Only an endless propaganda about the virtues of progress and the perfection of science and technology has led people to believe that science holds the truth. It has never been the case, and will probably never will. However statistics influence our lives, and plays here as well. Having 90% chance to be correct on global warming cannot be said to be less credible that most things we base our lifes on.

Regards,
Bernard

paulbk

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« Reply #45 on: August 29, 2007, 09:04:55 pm »

Environmentalism and 'ists

For those old enough to remember the United States in the post war boom 1950-60s, youíll recall you couldnít breath the air. Smoke stacks belched plumes of acrid unfiltered crap into the air day and night. I grew up on the Hudson River near Albany, New York. The Hudson and itís tributaries were open industrial sewers. Visible chemical pollution, raw human waste, and anything people didnít want went into the river. The air and water within 100 miles of any industrial area was an environmental disaster. Michael will remember when Lake Ontario was a toxic waste dump.

The United States passed the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts in the mid-1960s. And they worked. Itís taken 30 years but over time the air, lakes and streams recovered from the onslaught. It happened because of a few enlightened, energetic environmentalists tilting at windmills. Without the environmental movement unbounded capitalism would have bright orange neon signs in front of the Grand Tetons that say: Eat At Joes, No Vacancy, and Condo For Rent.

Yes, there have been excesses in the environmental movement. Trivial compared to the greater good done. Ansel Adams (and other great landscape photographers) were the original environmentalists. They showed the public whatís worth saving. Or put another way, what could be lost. Politics and photography are old friends.

btw.. I earn my living as a nuclear engineer working in the commercial nuclear power business. Business has been slow these last 25 years. But things are looking bettter.
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Ray

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« Reply #46 on: August 29, 2007, 09:33:41 pm »

Quote
There are different opinions about everything. Science is mostly built on models that remain only true until they are replaced by another model with which a significant majority of scientists agree.

Bernard,
I agree. There are. What counts is the accuracy of the prediction. At the most fundamental level of quantum phenomena there is a degree of uncertainty which even Einstein found very disturbing, "God does not play dice".

However, we've come to grips with that uncertainty. We can assign degrees of probability to the behaviour of photons, for example. We know that, on average, a certain number of the photons arriving at our camera's sensor during a photographic exposure will 'misbehave' and be seen as noise in the image. We can apply a mathematical formula that describes and predicts what that number will be.

In most fields of science we have an established a working body of theories and principles which seem to serve us well. There will always be differences of opinion at the cutting edge of development in any particular discipline, but in the case of global warming the science seems to be as sound as the science of economics, sometimes referred to as the 'dismal' science because predictions are often so far out.

Quote
To my eyes, the consensus on climat change doesn't have to include all the scientists on earth to become just as "true" as the law of universal gravitation.

It's very dangerous to judge the truth of something based on the number of people who believe it. I agree there's a certain comfort in being part of the herd. But I also agree with John Camp here. There appears to be political interference going on, but perhaps that's necessary and unavoidable. If you are fighting a war, you need public opinion with you or the war is lost before it's begun. Dissenters have to be sidelined.

In Australia we've had a very successful 'right wing' government for the past 10 years or so, that has focussed on economic development and labour reforms. They've taken the view (until recently) that the greenhouse effect (in relation to man-made gasses) is not proven. It's a convenient position to take because there seems to be no doubt that any serious tackling of this issue is going to result in serious economic dislocation. The more gradual the transition to cleaner forms of energy, (in order to avoid economic catastrophe) the less effective the results will be in slowing down global warming.

It's really a Catch 22 situation. Do what's required now and as quickly as possible, and the results could be economic depression and dislocation.

Ignore the warnings and continue development at 8% in China and India and 2-4% in countries already developed, then the economic devastation resulting from future climatic catastrophes could be as bad or worse.

Quote
It is interesting to note that most people see in the progress of technology (say... ditigal cameras) a proof that science does actually know how the world works. The truth is more complex and - unfortunately - a lot less re-assuring. These things work and improve all the time because they are built using building blocks created by man in order to behave according to the mathematical models we have defined. In other words we created a game like lego, and are able to create the small car per the manual. It looks like magic if you don't know lego.

Another point worth understanding is that out limited mental abilities are not able to really understand at a macro level the actual causes-consequences relationship that drive the output of a complex system behaving according to rules we didn't create ourselves (like... climat). Simulation is mostly aimed at prediction but does only help macro level understanding up to a certain point.

Agreed! To end on a cheerful note, let's all hope this consensus of so-called scientific opinion on climate change is wrong   .
« Last Edit: August 29, 2007, 09:39:42 pm by Ray »
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Petrjay

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« Reply #47 on: August 29, 2007, 10:18:04 pm »

Eirik the Red coined the name "Greenland" in 985 or 986 C.E. because he thought that people would be more apt to pull up stakes and settle there if the place had an inviting name. It was probably the first sleazy real estate ploy in recorded history, and initiated a tradition that is still thriving today.
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Ray

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« Reply #48 on: August 30, 2007, 12:50:25 am »

Quote
Eirik the Red coined the name "Greenland" in 985 or 986 C.E. because he thought that people would be more apt to pull up stakes and settle there if the place had an inviting name. It was probably the first sleazy real estate ploy in recorded history, and initiated a tradition that is still thriving today.
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We have a stretch of coast north of Brisbane called the'Sunshine Coast'. It's very up-market but the fact is, it rains more often there than in surrounding areas. There was some relief from the drought recently with a few days of moderate rain, except on the Sunshine Coast were it poured down causing substantial flooding.
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svein-frode

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« Reply #49 on: August 30, 2007, 10:34:49 am »

To all of you talking about science there seems to be a great lack in actual knowledge of what science is and isn't. Maby you should take som time to read a real book insted of inventing your own distorded versions of it. Even a wikipedia search might clear up a few things.

It looks like most of you haven't read the actual IPCC report either. It is probably one of the best and most thorough scientific reports ever published in the history of human kind. Before being so opinionated about it, I suggest you take some time to actually read it and add a few inteviews with the leading scientists working on the report and how it has developed over the years.
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Lisa Nikodym

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« Reply #50 on: August 30, 2007, 12:22:46 pm »

Quote
Global warming? I'm doing all I can to fight global warming, but just how much can one person do? I turn my air conditioner on full blast and open my windows to help cool down the neighborhood. It's not much but if all my neighbors did the same we might be able to make a measurable difference. Whenever I use the stove I shut the windows to keep from warming the outside environment, but I doubt that my neighbors take similar care.
The big problem is automobiles. Even with the air conditioning turned up all the way and the windows open I'm probably still putting more heat into the environment than cooling but , hey, I've got to get around.

George Deliz

  You crack me up, George.  Thanks for improving my day!

Lisa
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Ray

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« Reply #51 on: August 30, 2007, 05:43:50 pm »

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To all of you talking about science there seems to be a great lack in actual knowledge of what science is and isn't. Maby you should take som time to read a real book insted of inventing your own distorded versions of it. Even a wikipedia search might clear up a few things.

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Why don't you enlighten us as to what the heck you are talking about. All the books I read are real.
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Ray

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« Reply #52 on: August 30, 2007, 06:24:09 pm »

Quote
It looks like most of you haven't read the actual IPCC report either. It is probably one of the best and most thorough scientific reports ever published in the history of human kind. Before being so opinionated about it, I suggest you take some time to actually read it and add a few inteviews with the leading scientists working on the report and how it has developed over the years.
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Here's an extract from the summarry of that report for policy makers, from Wikipedia.

Quote
On the issue of global warming and its causes, the SPM states that:

  "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal."

  "Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid
20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations."

Footnotes on page 4 of the summary indicate very likely and likely mean "the assessed likelihood, using expert judgment", are over 90% and 66% respectively.

Let's examine that statement. There's a 90% likelihood that over 50% (ie. most) of the unequivocal warming of the climate is due to man-made gasses.

That sounds to me very much like a 50/50 situation at best. About half of the warming that is taking place could be attributed to man-made gasses. It could be more, say 60/40, but we don't really know.

There's scope for a high degree of error there, I'd say.
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John Camp

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« Reply #53 on: August 30, 2007, 07:43:49 pm »

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There's scope for a high degree of error there, I'd say.
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I can say with very little error that if you put a single loaded cartridge in a six-shooter and spin the cylinder for a couple of minutes, there's very close to one chance in six that you will blow your brains out if you play Russian Roulette one time. (This ignores certain tiny changes in odds brought about by the loadded chamber being heavier than the others, mechancial wear, poor spinning technique, etc.)

One chance in six means that you're reasonably safe playing Russian Roulette -- but those are not odds that I would take.

If there's a 50-50 chance that greenhouse gases will extensively damage the ecosystem, I suggest it would probably be a good idea to do something about them...just in case. Or even if it's 20-80. And in spite of the possibility of error.

JC
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svein-frode

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« Reply #54 on: August 30, 2007, 07:46:52 pm »

Ray, let me with the best intentions in mind, ask you this hypothetical question: If you could gamble with your childrenís future with a 50% chance of things unfolding naturally (no upside Ė status quo) and a 50% chance that theyíd face misery, would you do it?

As for science I will add a few thoughts:
1) Science is a system of knowledge based upon verifiable evidence. This mechanism assures that false knowledge will be discarded at some point. Much like a house of cards, science needs a solid foundation to develop. If the foundation is crap, the house of cards will soon collapse.
2) There is a big difference between theory and hypothesis.
3) Science and scientists donít claim to have all the answers. Scientists perform observations in a systematic and controlled manner, then publish their findings before a committee of other scientists in the same field. How these findings are being interpreted and concluded from must not be confused with the actual science.

The IPCC reports are based upon observations from close to 3000 of the leading climate scientists in the world. Nothing gets published unless it achieves consensus. This means that the IPCC reports are extremely conservative. It also means that they are as trustworthy as a scientific document can be. Then, when all is settled among the scientists, the politicians sweep in and seek to excise from the summaries anything that threatens their interests. Strongest opposition to the science have come from the US, Russia, China and Saudi Arabia. I guess their interest in censoring the report is entirely coincidental.

Whatís interesting isnít the current estimates, but how they have developed from the first IPCC report back in the 1980s. How someone isnít frightened by the picture that is being developed is beyond me. Iím not one of those who need to knock myself in the head with a hammer to know that it hurts.
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Ray

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« Reply #55 on: August 30, 2007, 09:32:37 pm »

Well, in response to John Camp and Svein-Frode,

Quote
If there's a 50-50 chance that greenhouse gases will extensively damage the ecosystem, I suggest it would probably be a good idea to do something about them...just in case. Or even if it's 20-80. And in spite of the possibility of error.



I don't know where I've written that I think we should be doing nothing about this.

What I'm trying to say is, it looks like the problem is too hard for us and that it's going to be a case of too little too late. In which event, let's hope that the authors of the IPCC report have got it wildly wrong as sometimes the meteorologists do with regard to local weather forecasts.

The problem as I see it is, we can't achieve anything without expenditure of energy. If the current sources of energy are mostly coal, oil and gas, as they are in most countries, France being one of the few exceptions with a high proportion of its energy coming from nuclear power, then even the construction of non-polluting power stations such as windmill farms, nuclear power plants, solar reflectors and heaters, photo-voltaic cells etc. are going to require that existing (dirty) power plants work flat out until the transition is made.

However, that in itself is not an insurmountable problem. The old power plants could be gradually phased out as new, clean ones come on stream.

The problem is the cost of that new clean energy. Our prosperity is dependent upon the cost of energy and the efficiency with which we use that energy. Are we able to increase the efficiency of all our appliances (on average), and make sufficient savings by reducing wastage, to offset that unavoidable increase in the cost of energy from windmill farms.

If we can't, then our material standard of living will fall and/or the poverty of undeveloped nations will continue or get worse.

A 20 watt energy-saving lightbulb produces as much light as a 100 watt conventional, tungsten filament light bulb. If we could replicate that increase in efficiency with other appliances such as vehicular transport, air travel, bull dozers, dumpers and prime movers etc, then we'd be home and dry.

Quote
Whatís interesting isnít the current estimates, but how they have developed from the first IPCC report back in the 1980s. How someone isnít frightened by the picture that is being developed is beyond me. Iím not one of those who need to knock myself in the head with a hammer to know that it hurts.

A recent survey of public opinion in Australia rated global warming as the number 1 concern, greater than terrorism in fact. However, if we tackle this problem in a manner which results in a severe economic downturn, then I would expect that high rates of unemployment would be the number 1 concern.
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DarkPenguin

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« Reply #56 on: August 30, 2007, 10:09:29 pm »

Sounds hard.  Lets not try.
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BernardLanguillier

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« Reply #57 on: August 31, 2007, 12:05:57 am »

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The problem is the cost of that new clean energy. Our prosperity is dependent upon the cost of energy and the efficiency with which we use that energy. Are we able to increase the efficiency of all our appliances (on average), and make sufficient savings by reducing wastage, to offset that unavoidable increase in the cost of energy from windmill farms.

If we can't, then our material standard of living will fall and/or the poverty of undeveloped nations will continue or get worse.
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Cost of energy is only relevant as long as there are consumers. There is no business to do on a death planet.

Cheers,
Bernard

BernardLanguillier

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« Reply #58 on: August 31, 2007, 12:43:14 am »

Quote
Global warming? I'm doing all I can to fight global warming, but just how much can one person do? I turn my air conditioner on full blast and open my windows to help cool down the neighborhood. It's not much but if all my neighbors did the same we might be able to make a measurable difference. Whenever I use the stove I shut the windows to keep from warming the outside environment, but I doubt that my neighbors take similar care.
The big problem is automobiles. Even with the air conditioning  turned up all the way and the windows open I'm probably still putting more heat into the environment than cooling but , hey, I've got to get around.

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George,

There are probably some people who will that your post on the first degree!

Nonetheless, why don't you open your fridge?

Cheers,
Bernard

Bobtrips

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« Reply #59 on: August 31, 2007, 01:24:30 am »

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The problem is the cost of that new clean energy. Our prosperity is dependent upon the cost of energy and the efficiency with which we use that energy. Are we able to increase the efficiency of all our appliances (on average), and make sufficient savings by reducing wastage, to offset that unavoidable increase in the cost of energy from windmill farms.

The problem is just a bit more complex than that.  

That 'old energy' is not all that cheap and getting more expensive by the day.  We're somewhere close to 'peak oil' and natural gas is being used up at a very high rate.  High quality, easy to extract coal is less available.  High quality nuclear fuel is a declining commodity.  

Wind is very price competitive at this moment.  Solar is declining in cost and should become quite affordable in a short number of years.  (There have been some major advances in solar that are finding their way to the market.)

Of course the best payback is in conservation, but even if we are too stupid to pursue that route we will find ourselves using 'green' power in the near future simply for financial reasons.  

Conventional fuel will continue to increase in cost.  

Sunlight will not.
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