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It's Not Too Early
Posted on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 @ 21:44:51 GMT by vlad

General By Marty Hoffert

In the 1970s, Buckminster Fuller proposed superconducting global-scale electrical grids to wheel solar energy collected on the daylight hemisphere halfway around the earth to the nighttime hemisphere.

Given the potential for catastrophic climate change, a question must be asked: What has happened to such far-out and disruptive -- but not necessarily unfeasible -- visions for a renewable-energy future? Right now, hundreds of new coal plants are on drawing boards around the world (see "The Dirty Secret").



Today, the world uses about 13 terawatts of power, approximately 80 percent of it from carbon-dioxide-emitting fossil fuels. If we want to keep Earth's average temperature low enough to prevent eventual large sea-level rises (see "The Messenger") -- and also accommodate continued 3 percent annual economic growth -- we will need between 10 and 30 terawatts of new carbon-free power by 2050.

Read More: http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17056&ch=biztech

 
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"It's Not Too Early" | Login/Create an Account | 3 comments | Search Discussion
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Re: It's Not Too Early (Score: 1)
by malc on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 @ 02:45:49 GMT
(User Info | Send a Message) http://web.ukonline.co.uk/mripley
As per usual the "energy solutions" currently being proposed at a national level try to fit within between two conditions:

1. Energy production matches energy consumption real-time.
2. Energy production is centralised.

Number1 gives the anti solar,anti-wind pro nuclear lobby their ammunition since sun and wind are not always there when you need it.  However if every home and business had an energy store (e.g. battery) then the intermittent nature of these sources is no longer a problem. And please don't leap in without thinking here, batteries are an example there are many forms of storing/converting energy for future release you use the best for the situation.

Number 2 gives governments an excuse to keep control of peoples lives. With nuclear having the greatest government control over the people due to the necessity of keeping this technology behind high security. If "the people" had their own energy generation facilities then governments lose power.  This is why there is no real effort in implementing micro generation.

My house in Scotland has enough energy blowing past and shining down in a year for me to be self sufficient.  The problem is the cost, planning permission (government control!) and lack of an integrated micro solution. It's all physically possible but actually exceptionally difficult at the present moment.

Most businesses have enough real-state to implement larger micro versions to be self sufficient. But again the initial capital cost is too high.

The cost of all these micro/distributed solutions would plummet if they became part of a national programme with ramped up volume production. 



Re: It's Not Too Early (Score: 1)
by ElectroDynaCat on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 @ 08:05:31 GMT
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Might I dare to suggest that our problem comes from our unwillingness to slay a Sacred Cow.
 
That is the Sacred Cow that tells us that market forces are the overriding factor in every decision we make. Market forces may work when you are buying shoes or corn flakes, but extending that thinking to the environment might not be the best route.

We burn coal to generate electricity because it, and the technology it uses are cheap and abundant. Maybe God had other reasons to put all that carbon in ground, and maybe it was to keep the climate from turning into what's on Venus.

Market forces don't care about the future, they exist only in the present. Market forces have demolished many small self sustaining ecosystems and moved on, like a virus, leaving the Earth barren. One day market forces will accomplish what tidal waves and giant meteors couldn't do, kill an entire ecosystem.

Its time to change some basic thinking, some decisions ought not to left up to the lowest bidder.




The solution is simple: (Score: 1)
by Kadamose on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 @ 09:45:20 GMT
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Destroy all forms of government and the entire money system - once that is accomplished, everything will fall into place, perfectly.





 

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