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Renewable energy – our downfall?

There is a great post on the problems with all sorts of renewable energy on Watt’s Up With That.  He does a great job of explaining the various downsides of most power sources and their lack of compatibility with the modern needs of our society.

The article is a posting of an essay by Ralph Ellis but I couldn’t find the original essay to link to.

Check out the article here.

The article discusses

  • wind power
  • solar power
  • nuclear power
  • tidal power
  • hydrogen power
  • traditional coal and oil power

The conclusion is that most of the “alternatives” actually hurt our environment more or cost us dramatically more money.  The only realistic alternative is nuclear.

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The Anti-Industrial Coup

Mr. Tracinski at TIADaily.com had a very interesting commentary on the recent decision to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant but not water vapor.  While I think that his end conclusion that this could be the beginning of the end of a representative government are likely overblown, his logic and discussion is worth reading and considering.

I originally found this article at RealClearPolitics so please click over there if you want to read every sentence.  Here are the highlights that I found interesting.

We all expect that there will be a contest in Congress this year over global warming and a “cap-and-trade” bill limiting carbon dioxide emissions. After all, the government cannot impose sweeping new controls on our lives without extensive public debate and a vote in Congress that must gain the support of a clear majority of the representatives of the people.

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Al Gore’s Doomsday Clock

Wall Street Journal – July 22, 2008

Sometimes I think that this site exists solely to condemn Al Gore.  He is easily the person that we discuss more than all else when you consider his film, his rock concerts, and his foolish statements it seems that it is all that one can read on the subject of energy. And to think that this man was a heartbeat away from being the President of the United States for 8 years in addition to a few hanging chads from being elected to the office himself.

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Gore Delivers Remarks on Energy and the Climate

Washington Post – July 17, 2008

Mr. Al Gore recently gave a speech in Washington DC regarding energy.  While many in the blogosphere will call Mr. Gore “Pope Gore” and refer to environmentalists as a religion, in this case, I don’t think that Mr. Gore makes many of the outlandish comments which I have chastised him about. Most of his comments are regarding energy independence, the status of the technology of alternative fuels, and the balance of power.

He does make a few global warming references which are a little hard to defend. He implies that the fires in California are caused by manmade global warming – this is probably not true since California has been enjoying an unusually wet climate for several decades and it appears that this current drought is simply going back to status quo.

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GM to partner with biofuels start-up Coskata

BloggingStocks.com – January 13, 2008

I am very intrigued with biofuel as an alternative source of liquid fuel to propel our trucks and automobiles down the road. This source combined with plug-in electric technology seems like a very effective method of breaking our addiction to liquid fossil fuel.

GM has been on this site a lot lately (here, here, and here). It is obvious that they are trying very hard to show themselves as a “green” company. I wonder if it is really working.

General Motors announced this weekend at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that it would partner with Coskata Inc., an Illinois-based renewable energy start-up company that plans to produce ethanol from agricultural, municipal, and industrial waste byproducts.

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Hydrogen: An alternative

CNN – November 9, 2007

No reading on this one.  It is a podcast from CNN.  If you don’t have an iPod, it doesn’t matter as you can listen to it on your computer.

As we grapple with ways to curb carbon dioxide emission as well as deal with the geopolitical problems of the world, it becomes obvious that we must find alternative ways to propel vehicles across the road.  Earlier this week, I wrote about GM’s Volt, which is an electric car.  Now here is an interview with a GM spokesperson that discusses the possibility of hydrogen fueled vehicles.

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Big Brains at Sandia National Lab Tackle the Future of Combustion

Wall Street Journal – October 22, 2007

Are you concerned with the future of automobiles and their use of liquid fuel in the future? Regardless of your stance on global warming, geopolitical reasons should dictate that most people are concerned about our source and use of liquid fuel in automobiles and its current main source in the Middle East.

This article is based on the visit by the reporter to the Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore CA.  This facility is arguably the home to some of the brightest minds in the world and their efforts in this area are quite intriguing (and sobering as well).

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Windmills and Economics

The Dilbert Blog – September 12, 2007

So now Dilbert is getting into the global warming discussion! Actually, Scott Adams, the creative force behind Dilbert has commented on global warming before on his blog as well as mentioning it in the famous strip.

His blog entry on this subject actually makes a lot of sense though and I commend him on writing this. I found the entry because he comments on the “burning saltwater” story that I also commented on. His point is that it will take energy to create hydrogen from saltwater and that energy may be created by windmills. While he doesn’t go into details as to the economics of this effort, it at least deserves thought.

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Can saltwater be burned as a fuel?

Engadget – September 11, 2007

I first saw this on Engadget but that brought me to the link on YouTube which is a captured video of a TV station that appears to be in Erie, PA.

Apparently, John Kanzius was trying to use radio frequency waves to be used to treat cancer. In the process of doing some tests, he stumbled upon the realization that saltwater can be excited by the radio waves to release its hydrogen, which can then be ignited, and used as a heat source. Further testing and some chemical analysis has shown that this isn’t a hoax.

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Can you buy a greener conscience?

Los Angeles Times – September 2, 2007

P.T. Barnum supposedly said that there was a sucker born every minute. Sometimes, when I read about carbon credits, I am not sure who the sucker is – the person buying, the person selling, or the general public for thinking it is helping!

I really don’t like carbon credit schemes.  I have written about them multiple times and most of what I read simply doesn’t make sense and is closer to scam than it is to solution.

In order for credits to be feasible and to be more than a “feel good” gesture, we need solid accounting, accountability, and penalties. We have none of that now and this article makes this painfully clear. We cannot allow credits to be used for minor contributions to a project. The credit must go to the cost of reducing the greenhouse gas. 

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