Can Alternative Energy Save Us? In Time?

Can Alternative Energy Save Us? In Time?

I guess the real question is: Could have Alternative Energy saved us?  The answer is, Yes had we started in time. Why am I so despondent on this issue and just what am I talking about? The reasons are many but mainly it’s looking more and more like little is going to be done to make the transition to clean (read that carbon neutral or carbon negative) energy producing technologies. Government talks change then continues with “business as usual” behavior. The “Alternative Energy Industry” is doing what it can but the progress is painfully slow. In earlier days I might have reported on a company,  Sheerwind that has come up with an interesting new wind generator that generates power at lower wind speeds. I also might have brought to you attention that scientists have discovered that we can generate electricity with graphene sheets one atom thick.   So what? You say. There’s plenty of oil and coal left and time to make the change when we need to. That would be true except for the elephant sitting on your lap. Of course, I’m referring to the climate extremes issue that has been caused by our altering the chemistry of the atmosphere by utilizing carbon based fuels to power our Industrial Civilization. We’ll adapt, many say, just like Rex Tillerson the CEO of Exxon-Mobil.

Does that make any sense?

That makes no sense to me. Does that make any sense to you? As a species wouldn’t it make more sense to change the behavior that places us in dire straights. I mean face it. The coal and oil will run out. Our global financial situation is based on oil and is starting to unravel as I write. Human population has overshot the planets ability to support us sustainably and adapting means that a lot of people are going to die regardless of what we do in any vain attempt to adapt. Unusually large hurricanes and tornadoes are ravaging people today as are droughts and flooding. (presently Germany is experiencing a five hundred year flood) but lets keep burning all the oil and coal that we can bring to market. Lets keep fracking to get at previously recoverable natural gas and shale oil. Lets scrape the earth to get tar sands that have a pitifully poor return on energy invested vs energy retrieved. No, lets don’t look beyond tomorrow to provide a better world for our species, lets commit suicide. Sadly that’s exactly what we in all probability have done. And for what? To keep the system chugging along for a few more years and the money flowing to the wealthy?

I have written about this before, but in a few short months more information has come out and again Dr. McPherson brings it to our attention.

We can’t even say we didn’t know!

No matter what anyone says scientists have known for a long time that tinkering with our planets climate has consequences. The problem here is that it’s not scientists who make the big energy policy decisions. It’s the Congress and the President or more accurately the transnational corporations that have usurped that authority.

 

So, when things get rough and the climate get less reliable and the dread that haunts me starts haunting you just remember that, as Kurt Vonnegut once said, “We could have saved the earth but we were too damn cheap”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here Comes the Sun

Here Comes the Sun!

As my readers know, I have always claimed that we will never have a “renewable energy” system until we quit burning fossil fuels and rely primarily on Solar Energy to power our world. Any power source that is not renewable is ‘finite’ and will become depleted and/or, in the case of coal and fossil oil, too expensive (monetarily and environmentally) to recover. One need not be a ‘rocket scientist’ to understand something so obvious. So why are we still relying mainly on fossil fuels? What is holding up the necessary transition away from fossil fuels? Is it that we don’t understand the problem? Is solar energy not up to the task of supplying our energy needs?

You all know the answers!

Solar energy has to power to provide for our needs many times over. The following video explains that truth in vivid detail.

Solar Power Revolution – Here Comes The Sun

Solar Power seems so obvious but we here in the US are holding on to fossil fuels for dear life. Why? Is it that the media has convinced us that “fracking” will provide the energy we need forever? Or is there something more sinister going on? I think yes! I think that the fossil industry wants to hold on to their income (who wouldn’t?) and justify it with their mistaken beliefs that fossil fuel use isn’t causing climate change. If the population knew that they were lying wouldn’t we force “our” government (it is our government isn’t it?..sorry for the tongue in cheek there) So why does half the population agree with fossil interests? Do they lack understanding or are they simply confused? I think that they are confused and this video shows how the fossil fuel industry has deliberately used, what can only be called, shills to do their dirty work. A while back PBS’s  “FRONTLINE” aired the explanation in vivid detail.

Frontline: Climate of Doubt #public #opinion #denial

To my way of thinking, somewhere along the road, the fossil industry lost it’s innocence. They have become criminally liable for the damage that is being done to our planet. True, most of us still depend on fossil fuels but that is because, individually, we have few options. The industry, on the other hand, could be leading the way to a clean future where mankind can continue to develop both technologically and spiritually. They have the resources and technological know how. Due to their resistance to change we are instead most probably headed for a collective grave. I can think of nothing sadder.

Salvation…

Who knows? Maybe something will happen in time to prevent a catastrophic event from unfolding. All that I know is that if we fail to act and soon we are in deep trouble.

Have an opinion? Think me a stupid fool? Comment and I’ll reply.

Ed

 

Posted in politics of energy, solar energy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We’re in Trouble. Who’s to Blame?

We’re in Trouble. Who’s to Blame?

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored”

To even the most casual observer we (humanity) are in trouble. Our life style is unsustainable and we have financial troubles all over the world. Population growth is putting pressure on all of our natural resources. The fossil fuels that power our machinery, heat our homes  and generate our electricity are a finite and dwindling resource. Lately we have come to realize that burning them has destabilized the climate and could warm our planet to the point that we could follow the Dodo bird into that forever beyond. So, who is to blame? All of us? Some of us? If some, who? Let me aver that some are more responsible than others but  all of us have some blame.

But I didn’t do it!

But I didn’t do it you’ll say. I don’t have the resources to make a change. Fair enough. But have you done anything? Did you demand that your government have an “Energy Policy” that will lead us away from coal and fossil oil? Do you use as little electricity as you can? Lower your carbon ‘foot print’ in any way. Have you taken the time and put in the effort to learn about the problem or have you wasted your time partying and BS-ing?

It’s very true that some people are more responsible than others. Those very government representatives who have helped vested interests (coal and oil companies) to continue exploiting fossil fuels to their benefit (a false benefit) and to our detriment. The big companies that profit from the ‘business as usual’ system have done everything within their power to confuse people about the dangers of burning fossil fuels. They hire people to write articles and give speeches claiming that Climate Change isn’t happening. They also claim that we have lots of fuel left so “don’t worry, be happy”. It’s all lies. Unfortunately, many people prefer ‘pretty lies’ to the very ‘ugly truth’…

So, here is the ugly truth.

Arithmetic, Population & Energy – Oil, Peak Oil…

This video was produced almost nineteen years ago. It’s more true today than it was then. Back then Dr. Albert A. Bartlett -Professor Emeritus- of the Department of Physics @the University of Colorado in Boulder call it an Energy Crisis. It has now become an Emergency. Do you know? Do you care?

Views?

If you noticed, the informative video by Dr. Bartlett has gotten less that 2500 views in almost a year of being posted on youtube. But just to show why I ask if you care the following video got 37 Million hits in just a month or so last year. It’s a fun video, even though some claim that it’s a hoax, and people can relate to being the parent of a snotty child. But the point is, who really gives a crap? Yet the view count tells a sad story about humanity and explains why we all are, in some small way, responsible for the trouble we’re in.

 

Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen.

 

Coming to you today from Desolation Row where the climate has been destabilized.

 

 

Posted in peak oil | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Feeling Lost? You Are Here!

Feeling Lost? You Are Here!

Every once in a while I have to stop and recall how it is that we are in such a mess. So today as I was thinking about that very thing I came across the following video. Many of you know who Peter Coyote is and will recognize his voice as he narrates a brief history of how we got to be here. He makes this story more interesting by telling his personal story through the lens of energy. It’s the lens that all of our stories must be viewed through. Energy, in this case coal, oil and nuclear, which are responsible for the uncontrolled growth that has enabled humanity to overshoot the planets ability to support us indefinitely. An indefinitely is how most people think that the world is going to continue. (World without end, Ahhh-amen Ahhh-amen) Maybe not so.

A Bayesian World!

For those who don’t know Thomas Bayes was a Presbyterian Minister in England back in the 1700′s who had an interest in logic and mathematics. His main contribution concerned the phenomenon of probabilities and how they change as events happen or knowledge is  increased. He is considered by many to be the Father of the Mathematical discipline of “Probability and Statics“. So what’s my point?

I digress

To answer that question I have to digress. When I first started blogging about energy it was with the belief that  there were solutions to mankind’s energy conundrum as fossil fuels had reached their peak of production and the use there of were causing damage to the environment and altering the climate. At the time I thought that the probability was that we had time to make the changes necessary to transition away from what had obviously become a blunder to a system of sustainable energy production for electricity and transportation. Now, as I’ve learned more about what has happened and what it implies, I’m no longer sure that we are ever going to be able to save the civilization that we have all grown up in. (Perhaps it’s for the best…it’s been stated… but that is an argument for another day and with another person as I will never accept that to be true. In my mind it is a total disaster) Because of the things that I have learned and the developments that have transpired, at this point in time, the greatest probability is that humanity stands at the threshold of extinction. If by some miracle (I’m agnostic about God but I do pray for that miracle) we manage to avoid extinction it is a certainty that the world will be a much different place than it is today. A much different place than what we have been led to expect from the futurists who imagined that growth could be forever. As we squander the remaining fossil energy in a vane attempt to stave off the collapse of the world’s economic system we are making any hope of a sustainable future more remote.

You Are Here

How many times have you looked at a map of a Mall or a Subway System and seen that dot that tells you where you are in relation to where you might want to go? Dozens I’d guess.

So in relation to where we’ve been and where we might go… YOU ARE HERE!

History

This video is a history. Some will dispute that it’s true. Some will deny that what it implicates is impossible. Some will “get it” and hopefully help to make that MIRACLE come true. History is often ‘rewritten’ but the truth can’t  be obscured forever. As a species and a civilization we are in trouble. Just a few short years ago I, like most, hadn’t a clue as to just how dire our situation was. I knew that it wasn’t pretty but I  didn’t imagine what it really meant.

Regardless of what one believes, it’s plain that things can’t go on ‘business-as-usual’ much longer. The wall will be hit. The question is: where will you be then? In future posts I’ll take a look at some of the things that we might do to make the coming changes a little easier to cope with. For today, I just send my blessing, for all they’re worth.

Edward

 

 

 

 

Posted in global warming, peak oil | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whatever Happened to Earth Day?

Whatever Happened to Earth Day?

Yes, I know that we still have Earth Day, but what happened to the values that are manifest in Earth Day thinking? Back in the 1970′s it looked like things were going to change. President Carter started us down the path to a sustainable energy future then with the arrival of Reagan it all went to hell. Reagan’s political adds told us that it’s Morning in America. What they forgot to mention is that due to going back to a non-sustainable way of life that relies on fossil fuels it was the morning of the Last Day for America and the planet. Now we are nearing the end of that New Day and physics has caught up with us and our foolish ways.

Vanishing Values!

It seems odd today but many Republicans were environmentalists back in the last century. Today they are a rare bird indeed. They are attacking clean air, clean water and clean energy. Whatever happened to Earth Day. Back in 2009 American Experience Films told us the sad story of what happened to Earth Day. In doing so they tell the story of how we came to be in this place in which we find ourselves today. Facing the ravages that the overshoot of the planets ability to support us all promise for the near future and looking down the barrel of the gun of Peak Oil. Contemplating the catastrophe of the Climate Changes that will come due to our having heated the planet just a bit. We are seeing the beginnings of this coming emergency now and are beginning to realize that we will be helpless in the face of those changes. Most people are still clueless but the alarm is going to resound soon. So grab a drink, make some popcorn and get comfy. Here’s Earth Day:


Regards to all,

Ed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment