Facing Fundamental Facts

Posted on August 8, 2007. Filed under: Blogroll, Books, Climate, Economics, Links, Politics, Raves, Resources, Reviews, Science, Taxes, Technology |

I am catching up on my summer reading and ran across an excellent and highly recommended book:

Cover Image

Two excerpts are worth quoting in full:

“…Whatever they may believe about global warming, it’s time now for

all serious greens, left or right, to face up to three fundamental facts.

     First, an economic fact. Demand for electricity has been rising without

interruption since Edison invented the light bulb over a century ago.

Short of some massive economic convulsion that drastically shrinks the

economy, it will go on rising. Total U.S. electricity consumption will

increase another 20 to 30 percent, at least, over the next ten years.

Economic growth marches hand in hand with increased consumption of

electricity–always, everywhere, without significant exception in the

annals of modern industrial history.

    Second, a political fact. Neither Democrats nor Republicans will let

the grid go cold. Not even if that means burning yet another additional

400 million more tons of coal. Not even if that means, in turn, melting

the ice caps and putting much of Bangladesh under water. No governor

or president aspires to become the next chief executive recalled from

office when the lights go out.

     Third, a technological fact. Coal, uranium, and gas plants generate

gargantuan amounts of power in very small amounts of space, which

means they really can and do get built within reach of the population

centers that need the power. Sun and wind come nowhere close.

Earnest though they are, the people who maintain otherwise are the

people who brought us 400 million more tons of coal a year. …

…The next five years are set; all we can usefully discuss now is what

will come after. Will it be still more fossil fuel, a good half (or more)

of it coal? Or more uranium?

     “Neither,” the most passionate greens will respond. And from

West Virginia to Wyoming, coal miners will quietly cheer them on.

“Neither” has been the official green line since 1980, when Big Coal was

400 million tons a year poorer than it is today. What they ought to do

is part company with Hollywood and reach some sensible political

accommodation with the nuclear industry in case their global warming

projections turn out to be right. …”

“…Enough of everything. Everything that matters about energy comes

down to hot-cold cycles, and structures that pluck their order from the

hot-cold interface. Megawatt power supplies feed microwatt junctions

to propel logic through semiconductors. Hot feeds into cold to propel

motion in steam engines. And the white heat of the sun pours out into

the black cold of deep space to propel life on a tiny jewel of a planet

that spins on its axis at just the right point between the between the

inferno and oblivion. Perhaps these seeming antitheses are only

manifestations of a single, higher logic. Perhaps the logic and power

are really one and the same. Perhaps they appear different only

because we arbitarily divide our own, human-centered conceptions of

existence between heavy and light, body and mind, flesh and spirit.

At the time of creation there was infinite power in zero-space and

thus, perhaps, infinite logic in the one place and time. …”


Background Artilcles and Videos


Myth: The World is Running Out of Oil

MYTH: The World Is Running Out of Oil (ABC News)


Alberta’s Oil Sands: Facts and stats


Despite Popular Belief, The World is Not Running Out of Oil, Scientist Says (Science Daily)


Its a myth that the worlds oil is running out (The Times, UK)


Oil, Oil Everywhere . . . (The Wall Street Journal)


Oil Innovations Pump New Life Into Old Wells (The New York Times)


Plenty of oil left in the global tank (The Times, UK)


The ‘Peak Oil’ Myth: New Oil Is Plentiful (Seeking Alpha)


The World Has Plenty of Oil (The Wall Street Journal)


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