Is anybody actually doing anything about climate change?

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by parmalee, Aug 8, 2023.

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Yep. And it's just going to get worse. Someday, 30 straight days of over 110 degrees will seem like . . . nothing special.

    "Remember when being over 110 for a while was considered news? We've been over 115 for a week now!"
     
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I don't remember it being nearly that great. I did play outside all the time but the humidity still sucked. We had one window air conditioner for the whole house. My uncle didn't have one until I got a little older and we visited him for a week every summer. I was very glad when he got one.

    They say that you get used to it but I never did. I didn't leave the South until after collage at age 21 but I could never live there when I no longer had to. Much of the reason I now live in the West is to avoid the humidity of the East.

    There's a lot of things you can adapt to if you have to. One summer while still in college I worked in construction in eastern NC and it was miserable. One week in August we worked on a metal roof and took salt tablets and drank Kool-Aid by the gallon. No thanks.

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    I've even played tennis in that kind of weather. After I moved out West I was visited someone in central California and we played tennis on a public court and it was quite pleasant. After we left I noticed a time and temperature sign nearby and it was in the 90's. I couldn't believe it. You could play tennis in NC in the 90's but you wouldn't describe it as pleasant.

    That was my first experience with dry heat and I loved it.
     
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  5. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

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    Yes and only six months ago I would have said exactly the same thing.

    If one do not understand the science, then consensus is what you should be looking at right? The people that do this stuff for a living.


    What happens when a bunch of guys who you respect (science /tech) tell you that this is not the whole picture?


    No of them has said AGW is NOT a thing, just that it is not the whole picture.


    I concede they could be totally wrong AND/OR politically motivated and consensus is spot on.


    I want to stop there and perhaps come back with something more substantial as I am still new here and do not want to give you the wrong impression.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist, into woo (I read parts of the Quantum Creation thread….wow!) and I am not religiously or politically motivated (I am British)


    Anyway this alert popped up today



    https://phys.org/news/2023-08-scientists-climate-el-nino-factors.html
     
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    That is, of course, true. It is merely the primary source of the warming we are seeing now. The exact temperature each year depends on a great many things, as it always has. The ENSO. The weather. Forest fires. Volcanoes.

    However, the overriding signal on top of all that is the warming that our gas emissions have caused.
    Did you just say that nuclear power has no problems? I can think of Fukushima, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, the NRX accident, McMurdo, the Surry nuclear plant accident, San Onofre and dozens of other nuclear power plant problems. You can claim that nuclear has _fewer_ problems than other forms of power, certainly. But it is in no way problem-free, safe - or even inexpensive.
    Agreed. The primary source of warming is AGW.
     
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  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes that's fair enough, but as billvon points out it's also something of a truism. Clearly a host of factors affect climate. No one has ever doubted that, but their existence does not affect the conclusion that climate change due to greenhouse gas accumulation is occurring.

    Interestingly, I only the other day became aware of what was, to me, a new piece of evidence for this. It appears the air temperature in the upper atmosphere is going down, even though at lower altitudes it is going up. This is consistent with the trapping of heat in the atmosphere, delaying its escape into space, just as the models of IR absorption by CO2 and water vapour etc predict.

    Re nuclear power I agree we most likely need a proportion of that in the mix. Wind and solar being intermittent, and electricity storage being limited, one can only replace about 50% (I think I read somewhere) of the powergen by wind and solar before you start to risk unacceptable risk of blackouts. So that leaves 50% that needs to come from a steady source. But nuclear is expensive and you have costs of decommissioning, spent fuel etc that are very high, as we are finding with the 1st generation Magnox reactors.

    I was reading the other day too about the potential of geothermal power for heating. That is not intermittent and is actually more practical in the UK than one might think. But it's very new, with no infrastructure yet, so probably only a long term proposition.
     
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  9. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I think (not sure) that we just gave up too early on nuclear power use in the US. There is always going to be some danger of course but the latest technology is far better than that of the 70's and 80's.

    We store nuclear waste "forever" but fast breeder reactors would reuse some of that waste and also bring down the time that waste is most dangerous. Carter didn't want these reactors because he was afraid terrorists would steal the plutonium produced but if we reuse it, surely that is better? The material would be kept (and guarded) onsite rather than the current situation of sending spent fuel by rail to burian sites.

    "We" also should now know not to build reactors on fault lines (Fukushima) and I think the technology is there to prevent the possibility of "runaway" reactors. I'm only marginally well informed on this issue though but those are my thoughts.
     
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  10. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

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    Ok I will rephrase.

    Nuclear power is consistent, and does not pose a threat to climate change as do fossil fuels do i.e. 37 billion tonnes CO2 per year.

    This requires good investment, maintenance, and trained staff (money – agreed) as per all other major industries if you want things to go well.

    Three- mile Island and Chernobyl were accidents, something went wrong, I am not suggesting accidents are safe.

    Even without the odd piper Alpha or The Amoco Cadiz, we would still be putting out that amount of CO2 via fossil fuel.


    Wind farms/Solar farms by comparison will have miniscule safety and hazardous waste issues compared to a 1970s nuclear reactor. also granted.


    As above the issues are output, consistency and storage (although tech on storage is improving)
     
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  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, it seems to me we have to have nuclear in the mix, whatever the risks and long term liabilities. The climate change imperative trumps the other factors.
     
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  12. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Iowa had one nuclear plant. It's main customer decided to go with subsidized energy---natural gas and solar.
    and the plant was damaged bu the derecho. So. the owners decided that rather than spend to repair the damage, just shut it down,
    Gee darn.
    Meanwhile, I had planted trees---lots of trees.
    and
    They keep the area around the house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
    I lost about 10% of them during the derecho--- but still, the survivors cool me in the summer and warm me in the winter---and we burn the dead ones to keep the house nice and warm.
    And as an added benefit: I get to listen to bird songs.

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    Ok
    If you care plant some trees------at least one for every year you've been alive, or plan to be alive.
    Based on that metric, I'm good for another 50 years.
    and

    If you really care:
    Turn off your damned air conditioner, and open a window.

    ..............................
    much to my chagrin the local university "up graded" by replacing windows with non opening windows-----------stupid--short sighted---#@%&*
     
  13. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Yes (to carry what that institution's hypocrisy is thwarting to its ultimate fulfillment), a radical change that might put a significant dent in climate change is our reverting to a pre-industrial lifestyle. That we do without both electricity and fossil fuel powered machines (similar to some plain people customs). Non-ancient carbon generators like wood would still be employed during cold weather, but due to vastly fewer playthings gobbling up energy and our (vastly excessive) population potentially being depleted from starvation, primitive medical care, etc... The build-up would still be less.

    In the context of today's "crisis", the original leftangelicals of the 19th and very early 20th century might have reluctantly been fine with a technologically regressive category of "agrarian communes". Despite Marx deeming that impractical and deferring such to the future. But (unfortunately) today's collectivists couldn't be dragged kicking and screaming into that austerity any more than their progressive capitalist cousins.

    "Green industry" alternatives still require energy-intensive manufacturing, extraction of raw materials and resources, and transportation from distant regions like China (or the West itself, if one lives on another part of the globe and the latter is the source). IOW, it is still capitalism exploiting this new "gold mine of opportunity" offered up by the impending doom and gloom (even "evil" Elon Musk supposedly led the battery EV market in 2022 via Tesla).

    Kilometers of solar arrays harm the environment, un-recycled wind turbine graveyards harm the environment, EVs of low reused vehicle value and their discarded batteries will be littering the environment, etc. And as Germany and Austria discovered after the consequences of the Russia-Ukraine war, there is still dependence on fossil fuel during the winter.

    If I were profiting from this new boom in the kosher manner, I would also highlight how the wicked fossil fuel industry is engaging in greenwashing (portraying itself as doing its part to offset climate change), so as to divert attention from my own brand of greenwashing.

    Somewhere down the distant line, however, the alternatives will do less damage than the pagan ways of the old. The cause is noble, virtuous, sacrosanct and does not need to be vetted or scrutinized closely. Thus, we need to hold to the faith and believe we will be rewarded for our suffering in the afterlife in a better world at the end of this persevering endeavor. Let us not cavort with cynicism and the loathsome ways of the Devil's Advocate -- or pry into, and suggest ill thoughts, with respect to The Good.
    _
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2023
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    All true. They merely harm the environment much less than other forms of energy.

    Consider how bad exercise and a balanced diet are for you. Exercise can damage joints, tendons and ligaments; a good diet can cause you to lose weight and thus be unprepared for the next famine. However, they are better than the alternative.
     
  15. psikeyhackr Live Long and Suffer Valued Senior Member

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    Nothing measurable in it's effects.
     
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  16. Ivan Seeking Registered Senior Member

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    957
    There is a lot of work being done for a new generation of safe nuclear power plants. I've been involved in one such project for fission. Another new approach came to my attention recently for fusion. The basic process is to establish high current flow in a plasma and then rely on the "Z-Pinch" forces to cause the fusion to occur. I don't know if this approach is feasible but they have some big-league partners, such as Shell and Chevron.
    https://www.zapenergy.com/

    I can tell you that people working on the new generation of fission reactors are doing so with a constant sense of urgency. I used to be against nuclear power because of the potential for catastrophic failures. If we learned anything from Fukushima, it is that stupid mistakes and oversights can make any nuclear plant fantastically dangerous. And stupid mistakes will happen, especially as long as we have bean counters. But the new designs are significantly safer and we are out of time. One such effort just started testing at the national lab in Idaho.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...y-revival-idaho-readies-for-new-reactor-tests

    I am still convinced that carbon-neutral biofuels are a critical part of the solution. But because so many companies took impractical approaches to biofuels [ignoring problems and solutions I identified when I started a company to look at this many years ago], we can only guess when it will be economically viable. Honda [for one] is continuing work with fuels from algae, which I believe offers the greatest promise.
    https://global.honda/en/tech/Honda_DREAMO_algae/
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2023
  17. Ivan Seeking Registered Senior Member

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    957
    I have to wonder if BP and Exxon, two of the biggest players in developing fuels from algae about ten years ago, ever intended to make it work. There is no way the complex process of producing biofuels could ever be as profitable as something you just have to pump out of a hole in the ground. Or maybe they went into it with unrealistic expectations. I do know that I saw them doing things that obviously could never work if you do the math. The biggest mistake I saw was the drive towards complex bioreactors. When you look at the best-case maximum yields per acre year, that approach fails on the first page of the calculations. The bioreactors can't cost more per acre than you can ever hope to recover from the sale of fuel.

    I had completely modeled an entire farm and production facility for algae fuels. And even using the leanest approach possible, the first profitable point I could identify required 50,000 acres; due to the economy 0f scale. It was also going to require the development of highly specialized equipment and processes, not to mention strain selection from tens of thousands of candidate strains. This all guaranteed at least hundreds of millions of dollars in development costs. It was clearly a problem only the biggest players could afford to take on.

    What really ticked me off was the over $2-trillion we spend on the wars in the Middle East. For that price we could have been free of petro products long ago. Give me a $billion and we'll be off petro in ten years. [okay, maybe a few billion, for trillions it's a no brainer)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2023
  18. Ivan Seeking Registered Senior Member

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    957
    You might say the denialists are simply melting away.
     
  19. Ivan Seeking Registered Senior Member

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    957
    This is Eric Meier with Zap Energy discussing their Z-Pinch fusion reactor concept. They are partnering with the University of Washington, Shell, and Chevron, among others.

     
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  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    My first thought. We dinosaurs don't have the head of steam to tackle it, but our children are growing up in a society where climate change is a source of jobs and education.
     
  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Well, I'm typing this from a beach chair in Cuba and I'm wearing a hoodie because it's cold. So by my anecdote, it is obvious that climate change is a Democrat hoax.

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  22. Ivan Seeking Registered Senior Member

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    Speak for yourself. I've had a head of steam going since I was ten. I am past my fifties and still going strong. Of course the CO2 problem didn't come along until a bit later. The oil crisis of the 70s and pollution problems are what first lit my fire. Then climate change came down like a hammer. This has all been the driving force of my life. It is why I got my degree in physics and has been the motivation for most of what I've done since.

    The only reason I date beautiful young women is to remind me of what we're working to save.

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    Last edited: Dec 31, 2023
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  23. Ivan Seeking Registered Senior Member

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    957
    One more kay point I want to make for anyone seriously interested in this path. [Are you listening Honda?] Perhaps as much as 25-30% of the cost of producing biofuels from algae is found in the requirement for enormous quantities of nitrogen fertilizer. I believe I found a solution to this problem. Any farm and production facility requires power. A reasonable assumption is that half of the fuel produced is needed just to run the complex - the most logical way to provide power is to burn the fuel being produced. Biodiesel from algae allows the use of high-efficiency diesel engines for the generators. And it quickly becomes apparent that the exhaust from those engines contain valuable nutrients that can be cycled back into the algae.

    Because the engines will not be venting into the atmosphere, very high compression ratios can be used. This in turn produces large quantities of oxides of nitrogen in the engine's exhaust stream. When this mixes with rain we call it acid rain. It is also known as nitrogen fertilizer. With the proper design, these NOxs can be used to produce nitrogen fertilizer for the algae. My best estimates suggests that 100% of the nitrogen required can be produced this way. And it is essentially free. The electrical power is needed either way.

    The high compression also makes the engines more efficient. The exhaust stream from the engines also provides pressurized air flow containing large quantities of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide for both energy-intensive aeration, and as a source of carbonic acid critical to enhance algae growth. The deeper you dig the more elegant this solution becomes. The generators essentially become the heart of the system.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2023

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