Did I suggest that I had all the answers? I don't remember insisting that wind and solar power alone would meet our energy requirements.
At least solar technology continues to advance. If we can integrate active solar into building materials themselves for new construction and renovation, the footprint problem will be reduced. Passive solar is already being adopted in some countries, and could help a bit here if it were subsidized.
Your expertise is welcome.
You make a compelling case that we're headed for an energy crunch beyond our capacity to resolve. I realize that a massive nuclear power building spree might fill the gap created by cutting back fossil fuel. I'm just saying that it might create even more problems, of a different kind. Nuclear power plant operation requires a great deal of expertise. Profit considerations encourage companies to hire the least skilled employees they can get away with for a given job. Every energy industry experiences competition between safety needs and profit requirements. My concern is that these inevitable pressures predispose for more catastrophic long range accidents with conventional nuclear than with other forms of energy. Perhaps breeder reactors will be the glorious solution you seem to envision.
How many times do I have to write "NOT Breeder reactors, but Pebble bed light water reactors" before you will do more than skim my posts? I doubt very much you have looked into anything about reactor technology, and I doubt you could describe a basic steam cycle for a 19th century locomotive.
If you think that "unskilled workers" would affect the quality of such a program, think about all the unskilled workers building smart phones. They work pretty damn good, don't they? That is what quality control is all about. What is more, in a plant like this every weld (just like in any shipyard, skyscraper construction etc...) is xrayed and inspected, every joint is pressure tested, every bit of material is analyzed for it's engineering properties before a shipment lot is accepted, and QAI goes on and on at every level. I doubt you would know anything about building anything. It sounds like perhaps you have absolutely no relevant life experience in anything related to physics or engineering to allow you to judge so much as the quality of toothpicks.
Passive solar (black bag on your roof to make some water hot) doesn't work very well in temperate zone winter. It certainly won't do much in an urban environment with dense population, and it would not affect the energy market much at all. Other passive solar applications (greenhouses, skylights etc...) are already in use and available, and don't need much government support, as anyone that can afford a house can have that stuff if they are willing to alter their ideals about what their house should be. Unfortunately, folks just build as big of a house as they can fit onto their lot...
"Passive Solar", which is only vaguely definable, is already subsidized BTW...If you pass certain green building standards, you do indeed get tax compensation and credits. You also get that for what you must be calling "Active solar" which is really referred to as solar-electric.
As if building coal plants, wind turbines and solar farms requires less expertise than building a nuke. Geez. The Navy takes 17 year-olds, trains them for a year, and then they go out and run nuclear powered ships. It really isn't rocket science. Hell, rockets aren't rocket science. Sure they can be complex, as any really useful rocket generally is, but the difference between a modern plant and first gen plants is the same as between the science that SpaceX is using, and the kind of rocket science where you light the fuse and run like hell.
I'm done talking to Baptists for this run.
Anyone seen the movie "Idiiocracy"? If you have, I rest my case. It's more a documentary of the future than the comedy I think it was meant to be.
Some additional information and ideas on this:
The human population expansion is the single most important issue, the one affecting nearly every other global issue and precipitating to local levels. There is a bad habit of looking just at the number as a total: 7 billion now, 9 billion in a decade, etc. This view does not take into account where the population increase is actually happening. The fastest rise in population is in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Latin America and Far East Asia are levelling off. While Australia, Canada, and the US show moderate population increases, these increases are entirely accounted for through immigration. Removing immigration from these countries shows that the numbers are flat or slightly decreasing. Japan, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Great Britain are actually losing population, and in all but Japan that population space is being taken up by immigration, mostly from Africa and the Middle East. Analyzing these patterns, we see the following: Industrialization, modernization, and urbanization decrease population. Why? To answer that, we must look at the lives of women in all these societies. Where urbanization, modernization, etc., happen, women gain increasing control of their lives. These societies need educated, working women to sustain them. In all of these societies, women's education rates and levels have soared. Women are moving into all areas of the workforce. Educated, working women cannot afford to have litters of children. They do not want to spend their most intellectually productive years producing long strings of dependents. Along with educated women comes secularization. All of the urbanized, modernized societies have been throwing off their religiosity. This is what makes the actively religious so suddenly vehement and politically active. And, they are active mostly in the areas where control of women matters most - marriage, birth control, and "family." If we look at the areas where birth rates are rising, what do we find? These societies maintain strict control over women's lives. They use law and social pressure to prevent women from getting education, and from getting independent lives. The entire social rationale regarding women is to make them subservient to and dependent upon men. A principal means for keeping women down is keeping them pregnant. We see in these societies high degrees of religiosity to the point of outright theocracy. We see the religious factions actively involved in preventing women's access to birth control and education (which is by far the most effective form of birth control). We see the madness of opposing condoms because they supposedly support immorality, as if loading the world with millions of starving and miserable children is not immoral. However, even in these societies, we are beginning to see some positive movement. Consider the case of Latin America, once one of the principal sources of global population increase. There, many countries are finally arriving at modernization, notably Brazil, Argentina, Chile, the Domincan Republic, and Costa Rica. Population growth in Latin America is stabilizing. There are similar stories for China, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea. Again, we see the movement of women out of the "traditional" role and into the working environment. We see women increasingly educated. We see women gaining in every area of public life. And we see levelling populations. Urbanization, modernization, and secularization are spreading. Wherever they go, women are seeing to it that marriage is no longer considered a religious rite or institution, that motherhood is not an inevitable destiny, and that they do not have to take orders from men wielding the billyclub of religion. The most important question about these trends is this: will the changes be fast enough?
We only have one problem: Over-breeding. You said it. Everything else is a symptom.
The average citizen's inability to appreciate the consequences of exponential growth will be the killer of a large percent of the world's population. Just a 1% growth rate will double the population in 70 years. The current rate is 1.4% which means a doubling in 50 years – that works out to 14 billion critters by 2062. Not a shiny future.
Exponential growth isn't taught in public school, at least in a way people can understand it intuitively. One example I like. If a water weed doubles in the area of a lake it covers every day, people are pretty good at calculating the early growth. You say it covers 2 square inches on day three, they'll tell you it'll cover 4 square inches on day 5. But if you ask how much of the lake will be covered on the day before the entire surface is covered, they don't immediately realize it's half of the lake. People boating in the 50% open water the day before still feel as if the end point is a long way off, because so much water is free for them to use.
Even educated people often fail to grasp the difference between problems that escalate linearly and and those that escalate exponentially. Hence, the assumption that feedback loops which multiply climate change aren't all that important.
As a biology teacher (retired) I had many opportunities – and took them - to teach the concept of exponential vs linear growth (including the Duckweed growth on a pond). I and another biology teacher wrote a district wide unit on human population growth (the district has 16 high schools). In the unit we placed a heavy emphasis on trying to bring students to a visceral/emotional understanding of the consequences of exponential growth. There are few, if any, examples in which the growth was not a dead end.
A simple way to evaluate doubling time is, 70/% per year growth= doubling time
So a population growing at a 1.5%/year the doubling time would be 46 years 8 months.
Bravo! You did a better job than I did, as a biology teacher. With the curriculum demands, discipline interruptions and competing interruptions from stuff like standardized testing, fire drills, special assemblies and pep rallies during the school day, I never managed to cover the mandated curriculum. One year I never got to ecology at all.
Well said, David.
dunno has something to do when met kissing other mens' feet!? @ wtf~ condoms baby! or just know thy ejac~ mstrb8? ; )
Overpopulation is the elephant in the room that no one is talking about.
I have a STRONG opinion of overpopulation and I'm tired of seeing fools on a daily basis with 4, 5, 6 kids. What are you thinking!? I realize you DON'T have to think about it, and children bring you joy, and you came from a big family... -buy you are not thinking. Every child will grown up, need a house, need a car, need an ocean of gas, -will need to pave over more natural areas, and probably decide to have 6 kids too...
Somewhere in the future is the line we shouldn't cross. But why must we RACE to it??? Half as many people would mean twice as many resources. To overpopulate because it feels good is TERRIBLE. That's a person breeding like an animal.
My stance is a little softer in the rural areas -where your sense of community is only made up of family.
How about me? I had no father, I was out of the house at 20 when my brother came around, I have 2 lovely daughters, a wife with baby fever, I'm the last with my family name, I work all day by myself, I have 5 bedroom house, with a half acre lot -I COULD AND I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE A SON!
But I don't. It's the responsible thing to do, period. To "try" for a boy IS SELFISH at this point.
MY ANSWER would be, not to have population control -but just to start a campaign to change attitudes about it. 3's the limit! 2 in, 2 out is good, but 3 is OK because not every child would reproduce, and catastrophies could reduce excesses.
Sorry for the rant people - felt good though.