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Evolution. Yup.

10386243_767794219928117_4042458720422955744_nLooks about right to me.

25 responses to “Evolution. Yup.

  1. If ever a picture was worth a thousand words . . .

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    I have recently read that, almost unnoticed by the party of NO, the cost of green energy has dropped enormously. (Shh. Don’t tell them or they’ll squash it.)

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  2. At some point somebody should maybe realize that the green energy magic bullet ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-06-05/europe-faces-green-power-curbs-after-fivefold-expansion-energy

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    • Alan’s link reports that green energy generation in Europe, especially from wind turbines, has reached a level of production that exceeds demand at non-peak hours. That’s hardly bad news to me. It’s kind of like a farm that produces too much food and you need to find new uses for the excess or new ways to store it. This is a systems-management problem that will be solved and is far easier than, say, living underground as the atmosphere becomes too hot to survive in a runaway greenhouse effect.

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      • I read it the same way Jim. Right now, Germany is generating 50% of their electricity from solar and they aren’t exactly famous for sunshine! A big barrier here is that the ability for homeowners or small businesses to sell their excess power is consistently blocked by the fossil fuel utilities, making the conversion less cost efficient.

        I also read today that in France and China they’re going all out in dealing with nuclear waste – at last! – which has always been one of the reasons people oppose nuclear power plants here. Remove that, and maybe it’s possible. . .

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  3. A runaway greenhouse effect? Okay, then shouldn’t we do everything to limit population growth in the US? More people, greenhouse gas, more people living underground. I guess abortion is green.

    The article points out the economic costs of green energy. It matters little that green energy gets cheaper if it drives up overall energy costs. The European economy is in even worse shape than ours and does not need this drag.

    Here is another link how green energy produces more overall pollution.

    http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2010/04/21/controversial-report-wind-energy-causes-pollution/

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    • Sure, I get it. I also get, when I read to the bottom of the article, that the the natural gas industry’s conclusion is controversial, which given the origin of the report isn’t surprising. As I said, it’s a systems problem, and it’s not short-term, it is one that will take years and mainly improvements in energy storage (something the industry has in the works).

      The problem is complex but it can be solved by good engineering. All that’s lacking is an adequate percentage of politicians who do not think the world is only 6,000 years old. And just to put the whole thing in perspective, consider this reducio-ad-absurdem argument: If alll power energy were green the principal greenhouse gasses would be from volcanoes and cow farts and there would be no runaway danger.

      A few years ago that would have seemed too absurd for me to write, but seeing what’s happening in Europe shows surprising progress. Now isn’t that more palatable than, as you suggest, “limiting population growth”? Seems so to me.

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      • Actually Jim, there’s only be no / little risk of a runaway effect: if Global Warming’s true in the first place ; is solely or primarily of anthropogenic origin; and that anthropogenic origin is solely or primarily CO2 emission from the Civilized World. That’s a shaky string of ifs, Jim, many of which are already being called into question by scientists brave enough to commit heresy against the AGW Magisteria.

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  4. Jim Wheeler,
    You cannot separate out economics from the energy debate. You can do anything you want if money is a zero consideration. You made the point that green is getting cheaper. I made a counter point that it is not cheap enough. With the exception of Germany, green Europe is an economic basket case. The only other argument for green is global warming. Which in terms of what is happening right now is unprovable.

    So the argument moves to the distant future. 50 or 100 years from now. No way to disprove that or prove it. What good is a theory that is not provable or disprovable? Projections are not proof.

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    • Who said I wanted to separate economics from the debate? Who said money was a zero consideration? Not me. If you want to argue this stuff you need to pay attention.

      Not cheap enough? The data show the material cost is close to parity, so by saying it’s still not cheap enough, you are discounting the environmental factor as worthless. But the fact that green energy is close to parity in cost now is real evidence of its potential.

      Of course cost and extra time are needed to change basic infrastructure. The interstate highway system took over half a century to near completion. Should we have waited for “proof” that it would be worth the investment? I don’t think so.

      You do have a point that conservatives like yourself favor profit and short-time goals over long projects that mainly benefit future generations and involve uncertainty. Sometimes, being non-religious, I wonder about my own motives in wanting the opposite, stuff that will mainly matter after I’m long dead, but don’t you find it a little ironic that so many on your side of the aisle profess Christianity and the Golden Rule, only to vote against the interests of the 47%? Personally I don’t hold out much hope for the majority of humanity, I just want to think, while my heart’s still pumping, that I tried to make the world a little better for my kids and grandkids.

      Besides Germany, the U.K. and Scandinavia seem to be doing pretty well and are hardly “basket cases”. Neither is France, the citizens of which, despite it’s political turmoil, all enjoy annual vacations and universal healthcare that is actually affordable and does not bankrupt individuals who are unlucky in health.

      By the way, Alan, I know that none of this is going to make the slightest difference in your thinking. I’m just responding in the off-chance that it might change that of some other readers. But you are doing a good job of representing the impenetrable wall of right-wing iron-age thinking.

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      • Jim, materials costs are meaningless. Final cost per Kw to the consumer, both directly and due to tax-funded subsidies, are the real economic point and “green” energy is still dramatically more costly than traditional sources and will likely remain that way for a generation or more.

        Bit, if one either doesn’t care about the poor or doesn’t mind beggaring the productive to support the poor, I suppose this doesn’t matter…

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        • . . . materials costs are meaningless.

          No, they aren’t. Low materials costs mean potential to solve a serious problem for future generations, something you seem to recognize when you say that green energy won’t be truly competitive “for a generation or more”. If everyone accepted that limitation there would be little progress. As for caring about the poor, I’m not asking for a hike in the sales tax to pay for green energy, I’m just in favor of saving lives for future generations. Those with the money should pay for it – how about the 10% that has half of all the money?

          I can think of one analogy: paying for college. Instead of saving over a period of 18 years, most people have taken out student loans and then graduate with crushing debt. It’s the difference between short and long-term visions.

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          • Firstly, great analogy! Pushing “green energy” right now is just as stupid as going to college is for most people these days. It’s a piss-poor investment with little to no return in even the mid-term.

            Secondly, there’s no point in arguing this, I guess. You’ve admitted to wanting the productive to subsidize the less so. Hence, there’s no basis for argument.

            On compound caveat to all of this though – I’m all in favor of research spending, including pilot projects, and when we someday get a way of producing “green energy” on a macro-scale efficiently, I’ll be a happy man.

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  5. Jim,

    Like you I believe the other side is wrong. I am willing to discuss point for point with you. Do not think I concede the moral high ground with your profit and short term goals comment. While your motives I am sure are pure as the driven snow, I believe everyone else on your side is just as money grubbing, power hungry, and human as your side accuses us of.

    Now as further evidence that green energy is not as wonderful as you believe it to be, I offer this. Germany and Spain are cutting back on their subsidies to green.
    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/02/17/germany-and-spain-are-backing-it-up-on-the-green-energy-subsidies/

    Thank you for the discussion.

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  6. Jim – a valiant, well articulated effort, thoughtful effort. Thank you.

    I’d add, as I always do, that the one agressively planning and modeling and preparing for climate change are: NASA, The Department of Defense, the WHO, the CDC, the World Bank, Wall Street, the entire insurance and re-insurance industries, Walmart . . . the list is long.

    I’m going with those guys.

    Also note: a generation is a bit over 15 years. We’re sharing this planet with maybe five generations right now.

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    • 22.5 years, if I remember correctly, is the statistical length of “generation” these days, Moe.

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    • Thanks, Moe. I was starting to feel a little lonely on this page. 🙂

      You know, after this discussion it occurs to me that those who scorn spending collective assets on a long-term project like climate seem to do so because they scorn the hoi polloi as less-productive and less-ambitious than they are. They are seen as undeserving, but such a view misses the point that Carl Sagan made so well, that we are all inhabitants of the one blue marble that is all the home humanity will ever have. They can not see a future that’s not just more “survival of the fittest”. But some, including some institutions as you note, think that humans can be more than animals.

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      • Sorry you lonely out here Jim!

        That “more than farm animals’ – that’s good. Like with low wages – the employee is no longer an asset just an expense.

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      • Also, you were doing just fine on your own!

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      • I think, Jim, that you’d find if you cared to take your blinders off and look, that most of those who “scorn spending collective assets on a long-term project like climate” in fact just scorn spending it unwisely are precipitously, which is the bulk of the AGW spending efforts.

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        • I think, jonolan, that you’d find if you cared to take your own blinders off and look, that people who promote their own economic interests over that of society in general are thinking like predators. The Military Industrial Complex is a good example wherein we are still spending billions and billions every year on Cold War technology whereas the price of a single stealth cruiser diverted to, say, extending unemployment insurance, would do enormous good. Talk about unwise spending! I speak from experience because, before I did take my blinders off and began to think meaningfully about these issues and about where I came from, I thought about them selfishly too.

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  7. Jim,

    In your arguments you are again taking the moral high road. You are reducing the arguments of those who disagree with you to short term greed. To believe in Global Warming is to put the long term good of all mankind ahead of personal interests. To disbelieve in Global Warming is to put personal greed ahead of humanity’s future. You do not allow that anyone on the other side of the issue could have unselfish motives.

    You also do not allow that some on your side are in it for personal profit. I believe those who profited from Solndra are far worse than oil barons.

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    • [those who profited from Solndra are far worse than oil barons.]

      Wow Alan. That’s a reach even for you. Federal, State and local governments have a long long history of investing in or providing subsidies or tax breaks to encourage new businesses and industries. We invest billions, probably tens of billions, every single year. Some work out, some don’t. But it’s net stimulative for the economy which is the point.

      The fossil fuel industry (no barons anymore Alan, they’re multi-national corporations) is one of the biggest recipients of government largesse. We even fight wars to protect them.

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  8. Global warming, climate change are terms that distract most people from the obvious. And that is, we are polluting the f… out of our planet. Pay now or pay later but rest assured we’ll all be paying.

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