Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Science Forum

Science Forum

  1. 22 Nov '17 20:28
    Even if you think we should take action against AGW it does no good if the so called solutions are not effective solutions. Far too much focus has been put on the perceived problem. It is irrelevant if their are no effective solutions.

    1) What is the most effective and most efficient way to reduce GHG emissions?

    2) Also, what is the most effective and most efficient way to reduce fossil fuel consumption? This separate question is to omit concern for GHG emissions and only have the goal to conserve fossil fuels for future generations.
  2. 22 Nov '17 21:09
    Originally posted by @metal-brain
    Even if you think we should take action against AGW it does no good if the so called solutions are not effective solutions. Far too much focus has been put on the perceived problem. It is irrelevant if their are no effective solutions.

    1) What is the most effective and most efficient way to reduce GHG emissions?

    2) Also, what is the most effectiv ...[text shortened]... oncern for GHG emissions and only have the goal to conserve fossil fuels for future generations.
    1) Smarter, emissions-based land use policy. Fuel efficiency standards. Lots of nuclear power.

    2) Nuclear power. Energy-efficient lightbulbs, heating, cooling, transportation. Nuclear power. Electric vehicles. Nuclear power. Solar rooftops.
  3. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    23 Nov '17 10:14
    Originally posted by @wildgrass
    1) Smarter, emissions-based land use policy. Fuel efficiency standards. Lots of nuclear power.

    2) Nuclear power. Energy-efficient lightbulbs, heating, cooling, transportation. Nuclear power. Electric vehicles. Nuclear power. Solar rooftops.
    Nuclear power? Make that fusion power and we would be on the same page. The endgame of Nuclear power and the inherent danger of massive leaks like we have already seen makes it not worth it in the long run considering wind, wave, solar, geothermal can more than cover the loss of nuclear, a lot of countries now realize the long term dangers of nuclear (getting rid of the waste for one thing) and are decommissioning nuke plants left and right. Fusion will work even if it takes another 30 years and THAT will be a game changer, no long term danger and even if you drop a bomb on it there will be no nasty emissions.
  4. Standard member mchill
    Green Lantern
    23 Nov '17 12:13
    Originally posted by @metal-brain
    Even if you think we should take action against AGW it does no good if the so called solutions are not effective solutions. Far too much focus has been put on the perceived problem. It is irrelevant if their are no effective solutions.

    1) What is the most effective and most efficient way to reduce GHG emissions?

    2) Also, what is the most effectiv ...[text shortened]... oncern for GHG emissions and only have the goal to conserve fossil fuels for future generations.
    News Alert: The sun is somewhat larger than earth, and so, has slightly more power to offer us.

    1. Stop subsidizing oil and coal companies with grants, and other corporate welfare, and shift those resources to solar power and wind, they are cleaner, and more renewable than digging stuff up from the ground.

    2. See item 1.
  5. 24 Nov '17 15:07 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by @sonhouse
    Nuclear power? Make that fusion power and we would be on the same page. The endgame of Nuclear power and the inherent danger of massive leaks like we have already seen makes it not worth it in the long run considering wind, wave, solar, geothermal can more than cover the loss of nuclear, a lot of countries now realize the long term dangers of nuclear (gett ...[text shortened]... changer, no long term danger and even if you drop a bomb on it there will be no nasty emissions.
    "Getting rid of the waste" is not a danger of nuclear. It's a problem. Newly constructed nuclear plants actually reuse some of the waste. There's still waste in the end but it's pennies compared to coal.

    The real issue here (to Metal Brain's questions): What power source is the least impactful and most sustainable long term? Weigh the pros and cons. Ignore fusion because it's science fiction. Windmills are great but they kill birds, cost a lot of money, and they ruin landscapes. Solar is great but it requires silicon mining and needs a huge surface area (By some estimates, a solar plant the size of California might provide enough daytime energy to power the US. That's too much land). Coal is cheap but dirty, poisionous and unsustainable.

    Nuclear is extremely efficient (8,000 times better than coal), relatively safe (look it up), and ZERO emissions. It produces some pretty nasty waste, but in the grand scheme of things that is a solvable problem (compared to climate change). For each nuclear plant, we can decommission 5 coal plants. Every single car in the US could run on 10 nuclear power plants. Compare that to how many wind turbines we would need and it's like 4,000,000 (aka the Dakotas). Given the amount of energy needed, the land use for many alternative energy sources is not practical.
  6. 24 Nov '17 16:08 / 5 edits
    Originally posted by @wildgrass
    "Getting rid of the waste" is not a danger of nuclear. It's a problem. Newly constructed nuclear plants actually reuse some of the waste. There's still waste in the end but it's pennies compared to coal.

    The real issue here (to Metal Brain's questions): What power source is the least impactful and most sustainable long term? Weigh the pros and cons. Ig ...[text shortened]... the amount of energy needed, the land use for many alternative energy sources is not practical.
    Ignore fusion because it's science fiction.

    No it isn't. It is perfectly credible. It just hasn't been devolved yet and there are no laws of physics implying it cannot be done and it definitely CAN be done. But probably by the time it is developed, we will have so much well developed renewable power such as solar that there be no point in it.
    Windmills are great but they kill birds

    not more than cars or coal power.
    There is no evidence that bird populations are generally measurably reduced in arrears with windmills.

    In fact;
    https://www.carbonbrief.org/bird-death-and-wind-turbines-a-look-at-the-evidence
    "...Despite these concerns, the current body of research suggests windfarms have not significantly reduced bird populations.
    ...
    the RSPB’s conservation director, Martin Harper, says a large body of scientific evidence shows “appropriately located windfarms have negligible impacts” on bird populations.
    ...
    "

    cost a lot of money,

    so do nuclear power stations (and I am not against nuclear power)
    and they ruin landscapes.

    That is debatable as it is subjective. Some say so do nuclear power stations (and I am not against nuclear power)
    Solar is great but it requires silicon mining

    Nuclear fission power also requires mining and much more dangerous mining at that.
    + In case you didn't already know, unlike with radioactive metals, silicon will never be in short supply.
    + future solar panels probably won't even use silicon.
    and needs a huge surface area (By some estimates, a solar plant the size of California might provide enough daytime energy to power the US. That's too much land).

    By what kind of estimate produces such an absurd estimate?

    https://www.alternet.org/environment/sunlight-striking-earths-surface-just-one-hour-delivers-enough-energy-power-world
    "...Sunlight Striking Earth’s Surface in Just One Hour Delivers Enough Energy to Power the World Economy for an Entire Year..."

    There are about ~8,544 hours in one year.
    The Earth has about 510,000,000 km^2 surface area.
    510,000,000 km^2 / 8544 ~= 60,000 km^2
    Lets assume that these solar panels are 20% energy efficient (many on the market already have higher efficiencies and no doubt future solar panels will eventually reach over 90% energy efficiency; it is just a question of when);
    That means 60,000 * 100/20 = ~300,000 km^2 area of solar panels would be enough alone to power all the (human) world.
    California is 423,970 km^2 in area.
    Thus by any reasonable estimate, with energy storage and supergrid, a solar plant the size of California should be enough to power the whole (human) WORLD.
    Obviously nobody is suggesting that all the solar panels must be put in the same area of the world. I presume most will go on roof-tops.

    + who is saying we must only use solar power alone and not include other renewables?

    I have no axe to grind against nuclear but at the moment wind power seems to be generally a much cheaper cost effective and practical alternative.
  7. 24 Nov '17 16:40
    Originally posted by @humy
    Ignore fusion because it's science fiction.

    No it isn't. It is perfectly credible. It just hasn't been devolved yet and there are no laws of physics implying it cannot be done and it definitely CAN be done.
    Windmills are great but they kill birds

    not more than cars or coal power.
    There is no evidence that bird po ...[text shortened]... moment wind power seems to be generally a much cheaper cost effective and practical alternative.
    Research into fusion power began 100 years ago. One estimate I've seen is that it's still 50 years and $80 billion from reality (maybe). I don't doubt its potential, but I won't stop calling it science fiction until the first functional plant is built.

    I love the idea of wind powering the world. The Cape Wind project, proposed back in 2001 seemed like a great idea to provide power to a large chunk of the east coast. Renewable energy solutions in general are extremely popular in the state, the offshore area is by far the windiest in the whole state, and it was going to replace a few coal plants.

    17 years later, the project hasn't even started. The same progressives who love renewables don't want their views obstructed, or their birds killed, or their taxes increased. It's different when it's your backyard. Similar contentious debates have raged in Vermont, where they set up the turbines on the top of a ridge of the Green Mountains, but the project destroyed many acres of pristine wilderness. If you've ever been near one, they are really loud. Maintenance roads need built. Without a doubt, it has ruined lots of wildlife habitat. Fantasy... meet reality.

    In terms of relative output, nuclear plants are very compact. To me, nuclear seems like the best current option available, in conjunction with rooftop solar and windmills limited to farmland and along highways. What good is clean energy if we need to destroy our natural lands to get it?
  8. 24 Nov '17 17:36
    Originally posted by @humy

    There are about ~8,544 hours in one year.
    The Earth has about 510,000,000 km^2 surface area.
    510,000,000 km^2 / 8544 ~= 60,000 km^2
    Lets assume that these solar panels are 20% energy efficient (many on the market already have higher efficiencies and no doubt future solar panels will eventually reach over 90% energy efficiency; it is just a questi ...[text shortened]... pergrid, a solar plant the size of California should be enough to power the whole (human) WORLD.
    Is this calculation for all hours or just daylight hours?

    How will you convince everyone in California to move? Are we going to raze the Sequoias and Yosemite and Lake Tahoe?
  9. 24 Nov '17 18:11
    Originally posted by @wildgrass
    Research into fusion power began 100 years ago. One estimate I've seen is that it's still 50 years and $80 billion from reality (maybe). I don't doubt its potential, but I won't stop calling it science fiction until the first functional plant is built.

    I love the idea of wind powering the world. The Cape Wind project, proposed back in 2001 seemed like ...[text shortened]... and along highways. What good is clean energy if we need to destroy our natural lands to get it?
    but I won't stop calling it science fiction until the first functional plant is built.

    Then you need to revise the meaning of the term "science fiction" which doesn't equate with "not done yet".
    Most of the worlds energy supply still doesn't come from nuclear fission power and probably won't for the next hundred years if ever. So would you call the idea of most of the worlds energy supply coming from nuclear "science fiction".
    It's different when it's your backyard.

    No it isn't. There are wind turbines and solar panels around where I live (and still plenty of birds I see; they made no apparent difference at all) and I want and demand more of them. I know their impact on local wild life will be negligible. There is a huge amount of crap said against renewables.
    What good is clean energy if we need to destroy our natural lands to get it?

    wind turbines and roof-top solar panels, like I see locally, don't destroy land. The land is just as green as it was before and with about the same bird population.
  10. 24 Nov '17 18:14 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by @wildgrass
    How will you convince everyone in California to move?
    I don't and no one needs to move. I just said

    "..Obviously nobody is suggesting that all the solar panels must be put in the same area of the world. I presume most will go on roof-tops. .."

    And putting them on rooftops doesn't require people to move.
    Those solar panels that aren't put on roof tops generally won't be put into people personal living space or right in the way in front of their front door blocking people's entry into their house and many may be put on deserts and other mostly uninhabited land so won't mean anyone needs to move.
  11. 26 Nov '17 15:03
    Originally posted by @humy
    Then you need to revise the meaning of the term "science fiction" which doesn't equate with "not done yet".
    It equates with a futuristic idea or concept. Since fusion power plants don't work, it is science fiction.

    What do you think the meaning of science fiction is? Something that will never work?
  12. 26 Nov '17 15:10
    Originally posted by @humy

    No it isn't. There are wind turbines and solar panels around where I live (and still plenty of birds I see; they made no apparent difference at all) and I want and demand more of them. I know their impact on local wild life will be negligible. There is a huge amount of crap said against renewables.
    [quote] What good is clean energy if we need to destroy our ...[text shortened]... estroy land. The land is just as green as it was before and with about the same bird population.
    Yeah I guess I don't understand your math, and I think you included night time hours in your calculation. I read somewhere that if every rooftop in the US had solar (which is impractical) then it might provide 15-20% of the US electricity. If we go all electric on cars, that would go down significantly. Just the state of California wouldn't come close.

    15% is a good thing, but obviously we'll need the full 100%. Is all of that coming from wind power along highways, or are we going to designate large tracts of land for wind.

    In terms of the noise from wind, I'm not trying to disseminate bad information. Some wind farms have to turn off their turbines at night because too many residents complained. Other wind farms have come under fire from conservationists complaining about the birds. Other wind farms are unsightly. As we get more and more renewables, these issues are only going to increase. I get your point that some wind farms are not disruptive to local wildlife, but others clearly are. Look up the debacle in Vermont. It's a consideration.
  13. 26 Nov '17 16:23 / 13 edits
    Originally posted by @wildgrass
    Yeah I guess I don't understand your math, and I think you included night time hours in your calculation. I read somewhere that if every rooftop in the US had solar (which is impractical) then it might provide 15-20% of the US electricity. If we go all electric on cars, that would go down significantly. Just the state of California wouldn't come close.
    ...[text shortened]... to local wildlife, but others clearly are. Look up the debacle in Vermont. It's a consideration.
    I think you included night time hours in your calculation.

    I did.
    I read somewhere that if every rooftop in the US had solar (which is impractical)

    why impractical? And are you talking about past or present or future solar panel technology? It is getting better and more cost effective all the time.
    then it might provide 15-20% of the US electricity.

    with past or present or future solar panels? With what energy efficiency?
    The efficiency of solar panels are improving all the time.
    And why would that ~15% be a problem if the rest came from a MIX of other renewables?
    15% is a good thing, but obviously we'll need the full 100%.

    100% renewable is feasible; just use a COMBINATION of them i.e. more than one.
    Although I am not adverse to adding some nuclear to that mix as well and it CERTAINLY is currently impractical to go all nuclear!
    Is all of that coming from wind power along highways,

    No. There is offshore wind and wind farms on uninhabited mountains and terrain etc.
    + we are to use a COMBINATION of renewables i.e. MORE than one.
    Who said we are not allowed to use more than one?
    In terms of the noise from wind, ...Some wind farms have to turn off their turbines at night because too many residents complained.

    This must be relatively rare. I live in a wind turbine area and I for one have never heard anyone complain about them. For offshore wind and wind power on uninhabited mountains and terrain, nobody will likely complain.

    Other wind farms have come under fire from conservationists complaining about the birds.

    I have already covered this. They are wrong. See;

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/bird-death-and-wind-turbines-a-look-at-the-evidence
    "...Despite these concerns, the current body of research suggests windfarms have not significantly reduced bird populations.
    ...
    the RSPB’s conservation director, Martin Harper, says a large body of scientific evidence shows “appropriately located windfarms have negligible impacts” on bird populations.
    ...
    "
    I would guess bird kills from collisions with cars and trains would, at least currently, dwarf those from wind turbines. So I guess using the same logic, we should ban cars and trains.
    In fact, For all I know, bird kills from birds accidentally colliding with trees might dwarf those from wind turbines. What if that is true? Should we cut down all the trees?
    And what about the extra birds killed from global warming effects if we do NOT have wind turbines?
    Other wind farms are unsightly.

    highly subjective. And there certainly will be few complaints from 'unsightly' wind farms in mainly uninhabited areas.
    I personally live in an area with wind turbines and I want more of them here. Personally I don't see them as unsightly'.
    And not everyone is so unreasonable as to refuse to consider the wider picture; the well being of the whole of humanity matters more to me (and many other people) than the view just outside my window. And I don't see the big deal with them being there anyway. And I am still seeing plenty of birds; unsurprisingly, they haven't disappeared I see.
  14. 26 Nov '17 17:20
    Originally posted by @humy
    I think you included night time hours in your calculation.

    I did.
    I read somewhere that if every rooftop in the US had solar (which is impractical)

    why impractical? And are you talking about past or present or future solar panel technology? It is getting better and more cost effective all the time.
    [quote] then ...[text shortened]... l with them being there anyway. And I am still seeing plenty of birds; they haven't disappeared.
    They are not wrong. Your reference cites a study, in only 10 species in the UK, noting a 90% decline in one species (and likely not recovering). The "highlight" is that most species are not affected, but it is clearly hurting some populations. It doesn't suggest it's not a significant problem.

    Hopefully humanity has learned a lesson from hydroelectric. Asking questions about the environmental impact of renewable energy is a good thing.

    Here's a solid review article:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960148114007149
  15. 26 Nov '17 17:26 / 9 edits
    Originally posted by @wildgrass
    It doesn't suggest it's not a significant problem.
    and I have yet to see any good evidence it is and/or is worse than from bird kills from birds flying into trees or cars etc.
    What about bird kills from birds flying into trees or moving cars etc?
    I bet there is just as much evidence of bird kills from those things.
    Should we not have trees or cars?
    And what about the bird species saved from having less global warming? Hurricanes must kill birds.

    You seen to reject wind and solar and now even hydroelectric yet we must eventually provide some alternative to fossil fuels. Nuclear alone will not do it at least for many decades if not centuries to come. So, and this is what I don't understand, as we cannot do it with nuclear alone and if you reject solar and wind and hydroelectric, how do you suggest we should eventually go 100% without fossil fuels? You seem to suggest no solution to the problem.