Wildfires in the US

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crfriend
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Re: Wildfires in the US

Post by crfriend »

Pdxfashionpioneer wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:42 am
We cannot rely on free market mechanisms to correct these imbalances; as the ultimate externalities these problems will ultimately require governmental action on an international scale. These efforts needed to have begun as soon as the problem was detected decades ago. The longer we delay, the more drastic the corrections will need to be and the less effective.

In short, we need leaders who
  • Believe this is actually happening
    Are willing to listen to scientists and act on their advice
    Are able to work with our allies
    Deliver bad news to the nation
    Impose new restrictions on business and therefore, ultimately, everyone of us official taxpayers.
No, the free market will not correct the problems; there's too much money to be extracted from the finite system before it implodes.

Also, it's not a matter of belief, it's a matter of understanding. This requires not only cognitive ability, but the ability to apply that cognition in ethical ways. All the other points listed above otherwise fall into place by themselves. Sadly there are no such characters currently on stage.
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Jim
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Re: Wildfires in the US

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pelmut wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:59 am
Carbon-capture using trees as the source material might work if the energy balance can be got right, but it could equally well finish up generating more CO2 than it captures.
If the trees can be converted to charcoal without much pollution, charcoal can be stable in the soil for centuries and is a great soil amendment for crops.
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Re: Wildfires in the US

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pelmut wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:59 am
Wind turbines don't pay off their construction costs.  
False
pelmut wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:59 am
Hydrogen is a complete non-starter becase the process of making it wastes large amounts of electrical power, so do the charge/discharge cycles of storage batteries.
Not that relevant really. Storage of energy is never free. And if the "wasted" energy is heating your home, then it's not wasted any more is it?
pelmut wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:59 am
We have become travel-junkies; the answer lies in reducing our travel and other energy requirements and the appropriate use of a plant-based product made from latex to control the population.
I agree that reducing consumption is by far the easiest path, and we're making progress there. But all the other technologies will play their part. We just have to make sure that we keep an eye on the externalities and properly take them into account.
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Re: Wildfires in the US

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rode_kater wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:37 pm
pelmut wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:59 am
Wind turbines don't pay off their construction costs.  
False
My statement was based on personal experience:  A very large wind turbine was built on an ideal site not far from where Charlie lives.  At the open day, I enquired about the payback time and was told it was 21 years - as long as there were no major repairs and provided the government subsidy was doubled, as they believed it would be.  The subsidy was not doubled and experience in Germany shows that, on average, major repairs costing a substantial percentage of the initial cost, are needed every 9 years.  My conclusion was that this particular turbine would never pay off its installation costs and it was as large and well-located as any other I have seen.
pelmut wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:59 am
Hydrogen is a complete non-starter becase the process of making it wastes large amounts of electrical power, so do the charge/discharge cycles of storage batteries.
Not that relevant really. Storage of energy is never free. And if the "wasted" energy is heating your home, then it's not wasted any more is it?
It is very relevant. A technology that is dependent on a process that wastes energy, as a replacement for one that doesn't need wasteful storage, is exactly the sort of hairbrained scheme that I was saying politicians should not be supporting.  How far down that road do we have to go before the evidence that it is worse for the overall environment becomes overwhelming and suddenly we have to do an about-turn?  For six months of the year, my home doesn't need heating and, in many countries, a large proportion of the power consumption is used for air conditioning.
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crfriend
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Re: Wildfires in the US

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pelmut wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:51 pm
My statement was based on personal experience:  A very large wind turbine was built on an ideal site not far from where Charlie lives.
It rather sounds like that one was sited in a "less than ideal" spot. The ones we have around here tend to be positioned close to the top of assorted hills and along coastlines with good wind patterns. Every time i see one I grin as each and every one of them represents a big middle finger extended towards Texas and the "extraction industry". Ditto for random photovoltaic farms that are cropping up hither, thither, and yon. (We've got a 10 kW array on the roof of the house now, which I keep detailed data on.)

The catch is how to store the excess generation from the daytime so it can be used when it's dark. Much of the recent "regulation" here is focused on that, and inevitably it favours the natural gas lobby. "Follow the money".
A[ny] technology that is dependent on a process that wastes energy, as a replacement for one that doesn't need wasteful storage, is exactly the sort of hairbrained scheme that I was saying politicians should not be supporting.
Indeed, and one needs to "follow the money" to see what the motives are. It's not all that hard.
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Re: Wildfires in the US

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Up here looking nearer the Pole Star than the Equator, Solar plays a diminished role in the scheme of things. Some years ago an old friend in Baden Wuttemburg in Germany had a grant-aided array of photo-voltaic panels installed on his roof. The excess power he sells back the the Grid, eliminating the need for storage batteries. The panels lose 1% of their efficiency per year, but my friend, now in his late 70s doesn't worry about that!

Here in Ireland the only purchasable panels until very recently were the water heating variety....a waste of space if you ask me, with all that extra plumbing and prone to frost damage &c. Now there is a smattering of photovoltaic panels appearing on private houses, but they need to be canted up at around 54deg. on steeply pitched roofs. I don't know if the Electricity Supply Board is playing ball or not.

We live on a very windy island and apparently it pays to sprinkle the landscape and near-offshore with lines of turbines, which is happening practically everywhere you look, except for the bankable postcard beauty spots, of course. The authorities have stopped further oil & gas exploration.

Tom
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Re: Wildfires in the US

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pelmut wrote: ↑Sun Sep 20, 2020 5:59 am
We have become travel-junkies; the answer lies in reducing our travel and other energy requirements and the appropriate use of a plant-based product made from latex to control the population.
Indeed a reduction in personal consumption will help; however, I find it a bit difficult to swallow that the small increments from individual travel restrictions are not measured against the enormous environmental costs attributed to warfare. Shut down the US military alone and you would more than offset all personal travel globally. Granted much personal travel to drink on a tropical beach contributes little value to much of anything, but I'd support travel for education and the diplomacy/understanding that is gained when done well. Send every ethnocentric history raised yank child overseas for a year or two of their teen years and soon the world view would start to recognize the humanity in people everywhere -- not just WASP's!

As to solar, there are some phenomenal developments taking place in bringing down the watt cost; and increasing the efficiency of the panels (paints, and other materials) that are making it cost effective as well -- but, is "cost-effective" the bottom line we want -- or perhaps global survival has some value? Exxon, Standard Oil, et al are the elephants in the room. They have purchased and directed dis-information and encouraged doubts to any alternative to oil -- and we dolts have bought their lines. Studies paid for by those whose bottom line are impacted probably should be dismissed upon publication.

Just as an aside; Costa Rica generates about 98% of its power from renewables; albeit a bunch of that is hydro, we do have substantial wind, solar, and some geo-thermal as well.

Yes, the old cliche -- follow the buck.
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Re: Wildfires in the US

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crfriend wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:26 pm
pelmut wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:51 pm
My statement was based on personal experience:  A very large wind turbine was built on an ideal site not far from where Charlie lives.
It rather sounds like that one was sited in a "less than ideal" spot.
It was on the top of the highest hill for miles, which stuck up above a major line of hills exposed to the prevailing wind from the South-West coastline.  There are few sites as good as that in the whole of S.W. England.
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Re: Wildfires in the US

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Faldaguy wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:05 am
-- but, is "cost-effective" the bottom line we want --
Yes, if you use 'cost' to represents the true and total cost to the environment, not one that is skewed by subsidies or commercial pressures.  Many of the so-called 'green' technologies are made to appear economical by means of subsidies, skewed taxation and feed-in tarrifs.  The buyer of a new electric car sees reduced road tax up front, but doesn't see the hidden environmental cost of scrapping the previous car which has become economically unrepairable through bad design, non-availability of parts or changes in regulations or fashion.

Repair is best.
Re-use is second best.
Recycling is bad.
Throwing away is worst of all.
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Re: Wildfires in the US

Post by Shilo »

I don’t know how long ago this occurred and who told you that but current costs for a domestic 2kw installation give a payback period of less than 5 years ( less if you’re prepared to do some of the work yourself) and that’s assuming no increase in the cost of purchasing electricity. The larger the installation the more economically viable it becomes. That’s why so many commercial organisations are installing them.
Another note :- Reduce is better than repair surely
:roll:
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Re: Wildfires in the US

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Shilo wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:42 pm
Another note :- Reduce is better than repair surely
Yes, I think we should add that to the list.
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Re: Wildfires in the US

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by pelmut » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:24 am

Faldaguy wrote: ↑Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:05 pm
-- but, is "cost-effective" the bottom line we want --
Yes, if you use 'cost' to represents the true and total cost to the environment, not one that is skewed by subsidies or commercial pressures. Many of the so-called 'green' technologies are made to appear economical by means of subsidies, skewed taxation and feed-in tarrifs. The buyer of a new electric car sees reduced road tax up front, but doesn't see the hidden environmental cost of scrapping the previous car which has become economically unrepairable through bad design, non-availability of parts or changes in regulations or fashion.

Repair is best.
Re-use is second best.
Recycling is bad.
Throwing away is worst of all.
pelmut » Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:29 am

Shilo wrote: ↑Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:42 am
Another note :- Reduce is better than repair surely
Yes, I think we should add that to the list.
I think the notion of reduce was correctly raised earlier as implied in reduced population and consumption to keep the load on mother earth sustainable; and should be at the top of the list, not just an addendum to newer notions.

With regard to " the buyer of a new electric car" -- Why Pelmut do you focus exclusively on EV's in your contention ("hidden environmental cost of scrapping the previous car which has become economically unrepairable through bad design, non-availability of parts or changes in regulations or fashion.") given that is equally true for the person buying any new car with regard to total environmental impact. Please note, disregarding total environmental cost has been widely used by the purveyors of nuclear power not factoring in the externalities of waste management.

And though I agree with the need to consider the total impacts of our manufacture, purchase and consumption -- the point I was seeking to make was not that -- but when asking is "cost effective" the bottom line we wanted -- I meant to point out that sometimes the best outcomes may actually cost more. I do not want to get the cheapest product if it is detrimental to life. I do not want to support manufacturers who promote a cheap alternative (that often increases their bottom line) if it endangers others. A simple example: Buying organically produced and marketed food often costs the consumer more than the non-organic item at the counter -- but the organic option may have less total cost to the environment, to the health of farm-workers, to the soil, surrounding wildlife, and maybe even our own health and demands upon the medical system. Sometimes it is better to pay a bit more and not be "bottom line" (greed) driven.
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Re: Wildfires in the US

Post by pelmut »

Faldaguy wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 4:47 am
I think the notion of reduce was correctly raised earlier as implied in reduced population and consumption to keep the load on mother earth sustainable; and should be at the top of the list, not just an addendum to newer notions.
Yes, I agree.
With regard to " the buyer of a new electric car" -- Why Pelmut do you focus exclusively on EV's in your contention ("hidden environmental cost of scrapping the previous car which has become economically unrepairable through bad design, non-availability of parts or changes in regulations or fashion.") given that is equally true for the person buying any new car with regard to total environmental impact.

It was because the focus has recently shifted to electric cars being the salvation of the environment. Before that it was new cars complying with Euro Directive 10.3^9 (or whatever) and, before that, it was diesel cars.  Basically anything to sell more new cars.
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Re: Wildfires in the US

Post by geron »

A letter in The Times today signed by three scientists (two of whom are Oxford professors) describes a low- temperature catalytic stripping process by which natural gas and other fossil fuels can be converted into high-purity hydrogen and solid carbon, with no gaseous carbon dioxide. They say that this is a realistic option for hard-to-decarbonize processes such as heavy transport and industrial steel production.
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Re: Wildfires in the US

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geron wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 6:24 pm
A letter in The Times today signed by three scientists (two of whom are Oxford professors) describes a low- temperature catalytic stripping process by which natural gas and other fossil fuels can be converted into high-purity hydrogen and solid carbon, with no gaseous carbon dioxide.
That's encouraging, but will it (1) be taken seriously and (2) survive the inevitable attack from the extraction industry?

The sooner we can get away from burning carbon to produce heat and use hydrogen the better. That still, however, fails to take into account that the amount of fossil fuel on the planet is finite and will eventually run out.
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